THE WORLDPOST
09/23/2013 06:36 pm ET

Beachcomber Finds Oldest Message In A Bottle ... But Won't Open It?

The world's oldest message in a bottle may well have been found in Canada, but good luck trying to read it.

The fascinating item was discovered earlier in September by a British Columbian man as he explored a beach on Vancouver Island’s west coast, according to CTV News.

"I was just walking along and here's this bottle lying in the sand," Steve Thurber told CTV. "I thought it looked pretty neat and I picked it up and it had a message in it."

According to the Vancouver Sun, Thurber said he was able to discern cursive lettering on the outside of the message without opening the bottle, even identifying an apparent signature by Earl Willard, dated Sept. 29, 1906. The outside of the envelope also noted the bottle was thrown overboard 76 hours into an ocean trip from San Francisco to Bellingham, Wash.

While thrilled by the possible historical significance of his find, Thurber maintains he will not be opening the green-grey bottle any time soon.

"It's been like that for 107 years and I'm not gonna just bust it open because I think there might be something else in there," Thurber told CTV.

If authentic, Willard's note could be the world's oldest known message in a bottle. According to Guinness World Records, the oldest message in a bottle on record was found after 97 years and 309 days at sea. That bottle was thrown into the ocean by a Captain Brown and discovered last April by a fisherman in the United Kingdom.

Thurber is continuing to research Earl Willard in the hopes of finding any information about the origins of his rare discovery.

“Maybe there was only one [bottle] that the guy sent out and I found it. It is like one in a billion chances,” Thurber told the Global News. "I guess it is a chance thing that you find something that somebody sent out into the water. I mean, even if it was a year later or ten years later, but a hundred years later is just unreal."

For now, Thurber said he is trying to keep the bottle safe in a cool, dry place. As for opening it up, he told The Globe and Mail his friends haven't yet given up hope of a big reveal.

“People have had dreams that I went on Jay Leno and he opened it up on the air," Thurbed said. "You never know."

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