Time capsules are on my mind this Friday, August 23, because of a story out of Derry, New Hampshire. The town’s library had a time capsule that was sealed 50 years ago. When they took a look inside it contained absolutely nothing.

Did someone quietly take the contents without the town knowing? Was there ever anything in there to begin with? We don’t know.

But we do know that time capsules can get weird.

The way they’re supposed to work is best illustrated by the first deliberate US time capsule, the “Century Safe” of 1876. The organizers sealed up mementos of their time, including pictures and autographs of prominent people like President U.S. Grant, and directed that the safe be opened 100 years later, for the country’s bicentennial.

Which is what happened.

But not every time capsule has done so well. Some were flooded out, and their contents ruined, before they could be opened.

Others were underwhelming, like a capsule opened in the 1980s in Tucson, that contained not much more than a newspaper from the 1960s and some business cards.

And there was an even bigger problem in Missouri, where an elementary school principal had directed that a capsule only be opened 50 years after it was sealed, but didn’t leave any instructions on where to find it!

My favorite time capsule story is from Lebanon, New Hampshire. The capsule, dating back to 1944, was a whiskey bottle with some letters and newspapers inside.

And, there was a punchline. “Whoever finds this bottle may keep it,” wrote Samuel Stevens. “Sorry there is no liquor in it, but I drank it all up.”

You probably also don’t want to miss out on today’s big event in Finland: the 2019 Air Guitar World Championships!

Contestants rock out onstage for the title of air guitar world champion, but the organizers say the true peak of the event comes when everyone is invited to play air guitar together.

As they say on their website, “wars will end, climate change will stop and all bad things will vanish when all the people in the world play the air guitar.”

America’s Oldest Known Time Capsule Was Made by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams (History.com)

9 Historically Disappointing Time Capsules (Mental Floss)

Lebanon Uncorks Time Capsule (Valley News)

Derry time capsule opened to reveal nothing (WMUR)

Air Guitar World Championships

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Photo by Thomas via Flickr/Creative Commons