This Week in Time Capsules: DVDs, Radar and Ruminating About DeathS

This week was a big one for capsule aficionados. Time capsules are as much a Fourth of July tradition as hot dogs, boating, and getting your fingers blown off with homemade fireworks.

So, needless to say, a lot of time capsules were plunged into American soil yesterday. But for some people — like Oceanside, California mayor Jim Wood — burying a time capsule is less a light-hearted celebration of your town, and more a stark reminder that we'll all be dead pretty soon.

Time Capsule Includes Marines DVD, Diet Coke, Thoughts of Our Own Mortality

This week, the people of Oceanside, California (near San Diego) buried a time capsule set to be opened in the year 2038. The time capsule includes a phone book, some menus from area restaurants, a Junior Seau wristband from USC, a can of Diet Coke, and a “Tan Your Hide in Oceanside” t-shirt. Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton also included a DVD in the time capsule which shows a "typical day" for Marines at the camp.

One of the interesting things about time capsules is that they often force you to face your own mortality and the impermanence of everything you know and love. “I don’t know if I’ll be around in 25 years,” mayor Jim Wood told Patch, “but looking to the past is important."

Remember that time capsule burial ceremonies can be a great opportunity for children to learn something. Specifically, that nothing lasts forever and that we're all just wet robots in a nasty, brutish world waiting our turn to join those thousands of lost and forgotten time capsules currently rotting underground. [Oceanside-Camp Pendleton Patch]

Mystery 1980s Time Capsule To Be Opened Down Under

On July 13th, the residents of Sumerset in Queensland, Australia will open a time capsule from 1988. But nobody seems to have any clue what's inside.

"The organising committee have been working tirelessly to try and track down residents who were involved with the project 25 years ago," resident and community development coordinator Amy Stockwell told the Queensland Times, "but attempts have been unsuccessful so the opening of the capsule and unveiling of its contents will be a surprise for everyone."

Residents plan on creating a new time capsule, the contents of which will be decided by August 9th. [Queensland Times]

Ohio Town Still Chasing The Dragon

Teachers, students and residents in Niles, Ohio took one last crack at trying to find a 1964 time capsule at a local high school. About 40 people armed with metal detectors and shovels searched the school grounds, focusing around an area that used to have a statue of William McKinley. According to the Tribune Chronicle, locals think that the time capsule might have a yearbook, a Beatles record from 1964, an issue of the school newspaper, and a cardboard toy of the school mascot — a Red Dragon. [Trib Today]

Early 19th Century Coins Found in New Jersey Capsule from 1921

A demolition crew in Keansburg, New Jersey recently found a time capsule hidden inside the cornerstone of an elementary school that they were tearing down. The capsule includes some one-cent coins thought to be from the early 19th century, a copy of the local newspaper from 1921, and some photos. The contents of the time capsule will go on display at the new school, which is expected to open for the 2016-17 school year. [Middletown Patch]

Elementary School Gets Bigger Tech To Aid Time Capsule Search

Last week we learned about an elementary school in Michigan that's racing to find two time capsules before the building and land are handed over to new owners. Well, they're still at it. And this week, the school has now brought in ground-penetrating radar for their hunt. Adam Patton, an employee at PM Environmental — the company that's lending the school the equipment — says that the ground-penetrating radar will make for a much more efficient search.

“It looks like a jogging stroller,” Patton told the Lansing State Journal while describing the equipment. “It shoots radar waves right into the ground.” [LSJ.com]

Century Old Time Capsule Opened in Illinois

The town of Durand, Illinois opened up a 100-year-old time capsule this week which included many of the usual suspects: some newspapers, some photographs, and a piece of paper signed by people of the town. It's not exactly the Holy Grail, but a neat time machine nonetheless. As the newscaster in the video mentions, it would've been great to at least get a closer look at the contents. [WIFR]

Massachusetts Town Has Annual Time Capsule Inspection Ceremony

Each year, an 800-pound time capsule in Braintree, Massachusetts is inspected (but not opened) on Independence Day. The capsule was sealed in 1976 and includes some newspapers, a few magazines, and a $100 U.S. Savings Bond. The time capsule was sealed with argon gas to preserve it for generations to come. There's no mention of an opening date, but most Bicentennial time capsules had the ambitious target-date of 2076. Here's hoping that $100 U.S. Savings Bond is still worth something by then. [Patriot Ledger]

Top Image: Middletown Patch