News portals report on Hamburg bottle post mysteries

For a long time I tried to get the press interested in the mysterious bottle post findings at the Alster. The web portals and GMX have now actually jumped on it and report on it.

Deutsche Version

It’s about probably the biggest unsolved mystery associated with my Cipherbrain blog. Since 2016, I have repeatedly reported on the strange messages that various people have discovered in bottles on the Alster and in the Isebekkanal in Hamburg. They are sequences of letters and numbers that make no discernible sense. It is possible that they are encrypted.

Quelle/Source: Schmeh

In total, nine of these messages are known to me by now (unfortunately, I don’t know the location of one of them), but there must be considerably more. I published my last article about this three months ago.

Quelle/Source: Christina Stacke

I have already tried several times to interest the local press in Hamburg and other media in this story. Unfortunately, this never worked out. So my Cipherbrain blog remained the only source on the Hamburg message in a bottle mystery for a long time.

Report on

A few weeks ago, I brought the message in a bottle story to the attention of journalist Alexander Walter. Mr. Walter had previously reported on about the solution of the second Zodiac message and interviewed me about it. Fortunately, Mr. Walter also found the message in a bottle story exciting and decided to write about it. In a detailed telephone conversation I supplied him with information about it.

Quelle/Source: Reddit

The article by Alexander Walter appeared today on (in German). An English version is available with Google Translate. The same article was also published at GMX. Mr. Walter has thankfully quoted me at length.

Mr. Walter also talked to Dominique Eggerstedt, who found the first Alster bottle mail I know of and forwarded it to me. He writes:

Dominique Eggerstedt was stand-up paddling on the Isebek Canal with a friend when she saw a small liquor bottle floating in front of her. She noticed it was a message in a bottle and fished it out of the water. “Then I took a look at it right away, too,” she recalls in an interview with our editorial team, “and thought, ‘Wow, that looks kind of exciting!

In addition, the article reports on the numerous meaningful words that can be found in the letter salad of messages in a bottle. One comes across, for example, “assault order,” “submarines,” “maximum danger,” “combat,” “defense,” “zone” or “sectors.” The name “Marie” and the country names “Madagascar,” “Sumatra” and “Borneo” also appear.

Also noticeable, as can be read in the article, are the numerous spelling errors, such as “Vernzehen” (television), “Inschrivt”, “Dezibell”, “Bissmarkstr” or “Litvazsauele”. Besides letters and numbers, the messages also contain symbols such as circles or rectangles. Among the letters there is a mirrored “E” and an upside down “T”.

Can more be found out?

The articles on and GMX have led to a few new comments on my January article. I’ll copy you into the comments field below this article.

It would be great, of course, if more message-in-a-bottle finders would respond to the article. Maybe even at some point the author of these strange messages will reveal himself. After at least five years one could dissolve the history finally times.

If you want to add a comment, you need to add it to the German version here.

Further reading: The Top 50 unsolved encrypted messages: 19. The Kalinigrad bottle post


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