Message in Bottle Turns Up After 50 Years, Thanks to Superstorm Sandy

Douglas Caballero

No, it's not a hit song by the Police or a romantic film starring Kevin Costner. But it is a bright moment in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. A man literally found a message in a bottle in the debris of the devastating storm — almost 50 years after the missive was first tossed into the sea.

In 1963, 12-year-old Dennis Komsa created an experiment: He wrote four questions on a piece of paper, put the note in a Mason jar, and threw it into the Atlantic in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. He was hoping someone would find it and mail it back to him, so he enclosed a nickel for postage and his return address.

Then in November 2012, a week after Sandy wrecked the New Jersey coast, Norman Stanton found the bottle while cleaning up litter from the storm in his sister's yard — only two-tenths of a mile from the note's origin.

The questions written on the note were: "Where was the jar found? When was it found? How was it found? And anything else which might help me."

Fifty years at sea is a long time. But did his Mason jar break any world records? Komsa, now 61 years old, checked with Guinness World Records. Unfortunately, the record for finding a bottle tossed into the sea is 97 years and 309 days, set in 2012 by a fisherman in the United Kingdom.

Komsa was recently reunited with his jar when he and Stanton attended the 100th anniversary of Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

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