New Hampshire time capsule opened 50 years later offers big surprise

A time capsule that was opened in New Hampshire recently was found to have nothing inside — sparking speculation about whether someone stole its contents, or whether anything was placed inside at all.

The safe, a time capsule sealed in 1969, had been sitting on a shelf in the Derry Public Library for the past five years, and, before that, at the old municipal building, the library's director, Cara Potter, said.

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Potter told WMUR-TV it was opened for the 50th anniversary of when it was sealed and "no one touched it until last spring." She said she "was considering running a library program around opening it, and I wanted to open it to see if we could physically do that."

"It took us several tries to get it open," Potter said, noting the combination was on the back of the capsule. "We had the combination, but it is an older safe, so by the time we actually got it open, there was a number of staff people standing around watching."

But when they finally opened the safe... it was empty.

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"We were a little horrified to find that there was nothing in it," the library director said. It's unclear to town officials whether someone stole what was in the capsule, or if there was ever anything inside the safe to begin with.

"Because it was 50 years ago, we were speculating that there could have been some Alan Shepard items in there, because that was around 50 years ago," she said, referencing the astronaut who was born in Derry. "It was just the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, so we just won't know what happened to them."

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No one has an itemized list of what was originally placed inside the time capsule.

“It is a mystery,” Potter added to Boston.com. “I don’t know that we’ll be able to solve it.”