Time capsules have been around for decades – more than a century, in fact. Indeed, one of the earliest examples was buried all the way back in 1900 in Detroit, Michigan. It wasn’t to be opened for another 100 years. And over the decades, people have been burying all kinds of things in the ground, to be dug up and be amazed by years later. So when one man popped open a time capsule he buried in 1993, its contents inspired a wave of nostalgic memories. What’s more, they’ll be familiar to anyone who grew up in the ‘90s.
Back in 1993, 10 year old Aaron Schaefer decided to bury a time capsule containing some of his most prized possessions. The Indiana native wrote that the capsule was not to be opened before 2050 – a date he has since admitted he was “certainly ambitious with.”
Upon opening the capsule in 2014, Schaefer found that it was absolutely crammed with objects. Indeed, his 10 year old self certainly hadn’t wasted any space. He may have totally blown off his original opening date by around 36 years, but he was clearly just too eager to be reminded of what he’d left inside.
At first glance, the contents of the capsule certainly looked far more interesting than those found in most time capsules. Indeed, the majority buried in America in the 20th century contained ordinary items such as coins, stamps, newspapers and a Bible.
The first item Schaefer picked up was a handheld video game, Plane & Tank. The simple Radio Shack game involves taking control of a tank while a plane attempts to bomb you from above. ’80s kids will have fond memories of these LCD screen games, which took off in the early part of that decade.
For some reason, Schaefer had decided to pack a whole bunch of different batteries into his time capsule. Presumably he thought power would be scarce in 2050. And yet, he’d failed to include the batteries necessary to power Plane & Tank. We guess 10 year olds aren’t that forward-thinking, after all.
Alongside a handful of coins, Schaefer had also packed a bunch of sugar crystals into his time capsule. He wrote on imgur that he’d intended for a “futuristic and awesome… Fortress of Solitude” effect upon opening the capsule. Because that’s how 10 year olds’ minds work, obviously. And we can’t say we blame him, either.
Among the other items in the capsule were a series of family photographs from Schaefer’s childhood. While they were likely plenty sentimental, more than anything they just highlighted the crazy fashion sense of the early ’90s. Just check out those wild blue trousers. He’d also included a picture of his pet rat, Noduh. In a classic act of rebellion, Schaefer named the rat after a phrase his parents had banned him from uttering.
Strangely, Schaefer had squeezed a perfectly preserved, dry-mounted scorpion into the capsule. Perhaps his younger self had predicted they might be extinct by 2050? With certain scorpion species already considered endangered, he may not have been entirely off the mark. But by opening his capsule 36 years too early, he unfortunately made the question irrelevant anyway.
In an apparent effort to remember the TV shows of his youth, Schaefer also included a 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of TV Guide. Inside was a list of what ’90s critics judged to be the best television series of all time. It included such gems as M*A*S*H and Dallas.
For extra protection, Schaefer had sealed a number of items inside their own “historic object containment envelopes.” In the first one, however, instead of something truly historic or rare, he’d simply chucked in a bunch of his favorite rocks.
Then again, according to one redditor, NorGu5, Schaefer’s rocks were pretty special after all. Indeed, he pointed that the samples included “a Crinoidea, brachiopods, what looks like a corral and more.”
The second “historic object containment envelope” in the capsule sounded slightly more promising than the first, at least. Indeed, the 10 year old Schaefer wrote that this envelope contained baseball, football and basketball cards. He’d gone on to claim that they were “stars of [the] time.”
But by opening the capsule early, of course, Schaefer’s “stars of our time” line had become largely irrelevant. After all, it was only 2014, and many of them hadn’t yet faded from memory. Some have even been immortalized forever thanks to pop culture, like Darryl Strawberry and Don Mattingly’s appearance in The Simpsons.
Back in the ’90s, card collecting had become a craze. In fact, some people believed that cards such as Schaefer’s were a solid investment. It’s therefore no surprise that he’d decided to stash his in a time capsule, where they couldn’t be damaged, destroyed or thrown away inadvertently.
As it turned out, however, the cards weren’t really worth anything at all. This was largely due to everyone having the same idea, which resulted in the market being flooded. Indeed, one redditor commented that he’d sold thousands of baseball cards in the early 2010s for a meager $12.50.
Yet while the cards might not have been worth much money, they still held plenty of sentimental value for Schaefer. And many who grew up during that era can relate to the doomed business venture that was collecting baseball cards.
Apparently, 10 year old Schaefer was also a budding magician. Indeed, he included what was apparently his “favorite magic trick” in the capsule, alongside a note to read the instructions. Presumably, he felt that by the time he’d reached 67 years of age, he’d have forgotten how to perform it.
According to the box, the trick involves making a marked bill disappear, then reappear inside a seemingly sealed tube. It’s a twist on the classic “bill in lemon” trick performed by magicians for centuries. But instead of a piece of fruit, it uses a tube.
Unfortunately, Schaefer admitted on imgur that the trick wasn’t quite as impressive as he’d thought at the time. And while anyone who didn’t grow up in the ’90s might say the same of the rest of the contents of the capsule, they provided a wonderfully nostalgic journey down memory lane for people of Schaefer’s generation. Indeed, they’re far more interesting than some coins and newspapers…