Web Exclusive: Michigan man finds message in a bottle decades later

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EATON RAPIDS, Mich. (WLNS) – A lot of people dream about being lucky enough to find a message in a bottle from a stranger. And that’s exactly what happened to one man who was out hunting in Michigan on Halloween night.

“I was about to get out of the kayak and I noticed a bottle floating there and was just going to pick up the trash,” Stan Reinke said, “but then I noticed there was like a stick inside the bottle. And I was like, is this really a message in a bottle?”

It was the real deal.

Inside he found a letter from a young man written in April 1976. The letter had one request for the lucky finder: write him back and tell him the date.

“You know I was thinking that it was gonna go down the river and out to Lake Michigan or something,” Troy Braman, the mystery writer says, “not stay within 100 yards of where I dropped it.”

Braman is now retired and lives 40 miles away in Bath. He says he would’ve been about 14 years old at the time and that putting messages in bottles was one way he passed the time while fishing.

“It was probably just something to do, you know,” Braman says. “You want to see how far it can go, if you hear anything back. Never heard anything back, you know, until last night.”

Braman assumed the bottle sank to the bottom of the river or broke during the winter.He never imagined he’d get a response decades later.

The two men did get in contact over Facebook. They haven’t met in person yet but Reinke says he plans to mail the bottle and the message to Braman soon.

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