Twenty-six years ago, the people of Burke, South Dakota buried a time capsule outside the local Veterans Memorial. This past Tuesday, they dug it up–and found a bunch of bags of smelly, soggy trash, The Mitchell Republic reports.
In a video from The Republic, local officials pry the capsule out of the ground while about 30 spectators wait eagerly, cameras ready. When they open it up, though, they find that most of what’s inside has been waterlogged into ambiguity. After laying the would-be mementos out on the pavement, Highway Superintendent Tony Shattuck wipes his hands on his jeans. “This is not a good commercial for Ziploc,” one onlooker said.
The capsule contained documents and photos from the establishment of the memorial, according to Raymond Roggow, the man who originally put it together. But Roggow and his co-conspirators don’t remember exactly what they were, and it looks like they won’t find out. Besides a VHS tape and a large flag, other items were smudged or bleached and smelled “rotten,” says The Republic.
According to Matt Novak of Gizmodo, this is a more common time capsule scenario than one might think. “As I’ve said many times before, burying stuff underground is literally the worst way to preserve something for the future,” he wrote yesterday. “And yet we keep doing it.” At least this time the stuff was already in garbage bags.
Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to firstname.lastname@example.org.