By Elle Gray-Thynne
Clint Buffington – an American musician found a message in a bottle washed up on a deserted Caribbean island in 2013, only to find himself in contact with a man hailing from Town End Farm.
On looking for the sender, Clint wrote “I found this message in a bottle on May 26th, 2013. For years I just held onto it afraid I would destroy the message in the process of opening the bottle. But finally, after years of honing a technique to open and preserve fragile messages with minimal damage, I went for it.
Clint Buffington has previously stated in one of his blog posts on his website – www.messageinabottlehunter.com that he knew the bottle had to be from the 1970’s as the glass material and metal cap haven’t been commonly used since the 1980’s. With the bottle shape appearing to be from that period.
After studying the contents of the bottle, details were starting to become clear, with the note suggesting that the owner is from Sunderland.
Buffington decided to take another look at the message recently and was able to reveal even more details…
“The author appears to be saying something like “I’d like to hear back from you, please include your name, sex, age, etc.”
“As I peered at the ‘Bar’ part, I started to suspect, then became totally convinced that after the ‘R’ came a letter ‘K’ and the word turned out to be ‘BARKING’ rather than BARCLAY’
This led to Buffington doing a google search for Barking Sunderland and narrowing it down to Barking Square.
“Taking it all together, I realized that the full address is
Town End Farm
Tyne and Wear
Finally, Buffington turned his attention towards the top of the paper and may have deciphered a name.
“The first name could be something like, say, Addy, Maddy, Eddy, Teddy or Paddy.”
Then finally, after a widespread social media appeal, he got in contact with Paddy Taylor, a fisherman who sent the original message! After reaching Paddy, Clint told SGM:
“Well, all I can say is that it feels like magic, solving this message in a bottle and finding Paddy. The odds were stacked decidedly against us, and yet, here we are. I credit Paddy’s neighbors, friends, and family for seeing and sharing my post on Facebook. It was Paddy himself, with his partner Sue, who saw the message, and realized that what I thought was an “H” in the last name was actually an “A”.
It’s unusual for a message in a bottle mystery like this one to actually be solved by the person who sent it! I’ve never had that happen! There’s also the fact that the message was impossibly, incredibly, hopelessly degraded. I guess that’s why it took me 2.5 years of examining it to finally glean enough information to find Paddy – or rather, for Paddy to help me find him.”