Yesterday it was reported that the John F. Kennedy Peace Capsule that was being dug up and opened in Michigan after 50 years of sitting in the ground. And just as we feared, everything inside was a wet mess.
MLive has raw video of the time capsule opening from yesterday afternoon. And it’s not a pretty sight. “Well, there’s some microclimates,” a man said after cracking open the top of an enormous crate. Two men in respirator masks dutifully dug through the gigantic time capsule, now filled with water.
Despite pulling out some commemorative plates, an old pair of boots, a coffee grinder, and some large ice tongs, it’s hard to identify most of what was inside this unfortunate time travelling box. The vast majority of the time capsule’s treasures are now little more than pulpy bags of mud.
“This may be a long process,” Ron Bloomfield, historian at the Bay County Historical Society told MLive. “We have to deal with it like it’s a shipwreck because of all the water.”
Burying things in the ground is one of the worst ways to preserve them for future generations. And this crate, filled with dozens of items that the people of 1965 had hoped would survive into the future, shows just how badly a time capsule can fail.
This time capsule wasn’t even supposed to be opened yet. The people of Bay City, Michigan had originally intended it to be opened in the year 2065, but the local government recently decided that fifty years was enough. And it’s just as well that they did. Another fifty years in the ground would not have helped preserve these dripping bags of mush.
No one knew for sure what exactly was inside the time capsule before it was opened. And for the most part, many of the paper items will be lost forever, despite being wrapped in plastic.
Photo of the time capsule being buried in 1965 from the Bay County Historical Society
“My dad wrote a letter and paid [the crew that built it] $3 to put it in the capsule,” one local Bay City resident told MLive. “I asked him what he put in it, but he said, ‘You’ll find out in 100 years.’ Instead, it was 50. I know he left a message for us five kids.”
Buuuuttttt..... that message is probably gone now. And that’s kind of the way things go for us time capsule nerds.
Most time capsules are boring, others are ravaged by weather or time, but every now and then maybe, just maybe, you get a pristine capsule with something really cool inside. This, my fellow time capsule nerds, was not one of those times.
Good effort, folks of 1965. Maybe you’ll get ‘em next time.
Images: Screenshots from MLive
This article originally appeared on Paleofuture, a Gizmodo blog looking into the future that never was