Top 10 Craziest Things Found in Time Capsules

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Top 10 Craziest Things Found in Time Capsules

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Well, that is NOT what we were expecting. For this list, we'll be looking at the most shocking and surprising items ever uncovered in time capsules. Our countdown includes An Electroshock Therapy Video, A Soviet Message, A Firsthand Concentration Camp Account, and more!
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Top 10 Craziest Things Found in Time Capsules


Well, that is NOT what we were expecting. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Craziest Things Found in Time Capsules.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most shocking and surprising items ever uncovered in time capsules.

#10: A Whiskey Bottle… & a Joke

In 2015, a time capsule was uncovered in the town of Lebanon, New Hampshire that had been kept under the stairs of City Hall. It was from 1944, and it consisted mainly of a whiskey bottle. However, the bottle held a note which read: “Whoever finds this bottle may keep it. Sorry there is no liquor in it, but I drank it all up.” The note was left by Samuel Stevens, who – as a historical footnote – had worked as a city surveyor for the town. The capsule also contained some old newspapers and a penny, but the decades old joke was definitely the highlight.

#9: A Prediction About Mussolini

In 2016, while restoring Portland stone at Southampton Guildhall, masons uncovered a time capsule in what seemed to be an old lemonade bottle. Inside was a note penciled on the back of a pack of cigarettes dating back to 1935 which read “19th September 1935, Stanley Jeffery, George Groves, Fred Pearce. Mussolini threatens war.” The message seems ominous, but it appears to be referring to Mussolini’s rejection of a peace treaty from the League of Nations which took place shortly prior during the Abyssinia Crisis. Eerie, yes, but not much we can do with the information now.

#8: An Electroshock Therapy Video

The West side of Indianapolis was once home to a state hospital, and in 1958 a time capsule was buried there. The capsule, most interestingly, contains a video which shows images from the groundbreaking ceremony for the Bahr Treatment Center – which treated mental health conditions – as well as something a little more sinister. Though not all of the audio survived, there are mentions of electroshock therapy as well as insulin shock therapy, and the missing bits of dialogue make it unclear exactly what was being said about them. Let’s just say treatment for mental health ailments has come a long way!

#7: The Lisa Mouse

In 1983, Steve Jobs spoke at an Aspen, Colorado conference and during his presentation used the Apple Lisa mouse. He donated this mouse to be included in a time capsule that was being buried in the area, which was scheduled to be unearthed in the year 2000. But when the time came to open it, the location became ambiguous because of construction and landscaping taking place in the region. Luckily, the experts from the National Geographic series “Diggers” were on the case and managed to find the capsule in 2013. The footage aired in an episode the following year. Bet the firmware was waaaaay out of date.

#6: A Piece of Cake

When the owners of a Niagara Falls, Ontario funeral home uncovered a time capsule from 1948 while doing renovation on their building, they were probably expecting the standard items inside. And sure, they did in fact find newspaper clippings, letters and postcards but there was one thing included that isn’t exactly part of your basic time capsule formula: a piece of cake. They guessed that it might have been a slice of cake from the opening party for the building, but we can’t know its origins for sure. Who’s willing to take a bite?

#5: A Spooky Kid’s Message

Montgomery Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico apparently had many of its classes bury time capsules in the years that it was open. One was found in 2016 and included messages from a fourth grade class from 1968. Most included the standard contents that you would expect kids to write about, but another was a little darker. Greg Lee Youngman opened his note saying “I am dead” and went on to say that he was born in 1900 (which is likely untrue unless he was a very old fourth grader). We’re not sure if he was just presuming the capsule would be opened many years in the future, or if he was pretending to already be a ghost.

#4: A Hiroshima Fingernail

One of the world’s most well known time capsules contains something pretty strange. Osaka, Japan was home to a 1970 Expo, and for the occasion they built a very well thought out capsule intended to be opened 5000 years in the future. But they also included a “control” capsule that was opened in the year 2000 to check on the state of the items inside. Each capsule has over 2000 items inside, and one of them is a fingernail from one of the survivors of the Hiroshima attack that took place in 1945, decades before the capsule was made.

#3: A Soviet Message

On July 15th, 2012, people uncovered a time capsule underneath a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Vulkanny, Russia. It had been left there by a Soviet Komsomol youth organization on July 15th, 1979, and was coincidentally found exactly 33 years later. It was apparently common practice to bury time capsules under statues of Lenin during this period. The contents were addressed to the "socialist society in 2024” so clearly it was opened earlier than intended, and the message inside was an optimistic one, expressing that surely future societies would be better off than the one in which the letter was written... which is open to debate.

#2: A Whole Apartment

While most of the other entries on our list follow the conventional format of a time capsule, this one is entirely different. Belle Époque socialite Marthe de Florian lived in an apartment at 2, Square La Bruyère in Paris until her death in 1939. Eventually, it was inherited by her granddaughter, Solange Beaugiron, who fled Paris during World War II and essentially left the apartment abandoned, though she continued to pay the bills until she died in 2010. The apartment was then uncovered after decades of disuse, and the entire thing was effectively preserved for decades as a grand and opulent example of a time capsule.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Original Opera Recordings from the Paris Opera House
Coins Belonging to Paul Revere
A Vial of Penicillin from MIT

#1: A Firsthand Concentration Camp Account

While most time capsules are made with an element of fun and excitement in mind, this one was created during one of the darkest times in human history. Marcel Nadjari was a Jewish Greek national imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp being forced to work as one of the Sonderkommando, who brought their fellow captives to the gas chambers to be killed. He wrote of his harrowing experience and sealed the 13 page account in a thermos which he buried underground near the chambers. Nadjari was fortunate and survived Auschwitz, however his time capsule wasn’t found until after his death.
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