Scientists Struggle To Prove It’s A Fake, Handwriting Expert Could Be Key.
A bottle was found on a Canadian beach 4 years ago. It had a note in it.
The note is dated April 13, 1912, and bears the name of 12-year-old Mathilde Lefebvre, a third-class passenger.
It reads: “I am throwing this bottle into the sea in the middle of the Atlantic. We are due to arrive in New York in a few days. “If anyone finds her, tell the Lefebvre family in Liévin.”
Shortly before midnight the next day, the ship would strike an iceberg, causing it to sink in the early hours of the following morning.
Mathilde, three of her siblings and their mother, Marie, were never seen again, but 105 years later a note apparently signed by Mathilde was found on a Canadian beach.
“The bottle could be the first Titanic artifact found on the American coast,” said historian Maxime Gohier.
“She’s a famous passenger,” said Manon Savard, a professor of archeology and geography at the University of Quebec at Rimouski. “She was featured in an exhibition in France in Cherbourg Museum, there was an exhibition on the children of the titanic and she was mentioned there.”
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Academics with the university in Rimouski, Que., are now working to authenticate the message.
So far, radiocarbon dating has been done on both the cork and the paper that was wrapped around it.
“We received radiocarbon dates that are consistent that means that they are older, if they were recent dates we could rule it out as a hoax, but the dates are consistent.”
Testing on the bottle itself has also been found to be consistent with the date written on the letter.
But there are questions and doubts — including the handwriting — which is much different than what was taught to children that age in French schools at the time.