Last fall, the Slominski and Lawton families of Garner, North Carolina were vacationing in a remote area of Cape Lookout National Seashore when they noticed small objects bobbing in the surf. They collected a few of the items, and for roughly thirty minutes many more examples of the same item continued to float by. Not knowing what they were, they limited their collecting to about fifteen pieces. The items gathered were delicate glass tubes with a thin tube at the top containing a graduated paper scale, with a larger air-filled chamber at the middle, and a small bulb at the bottom filled with little lead pellets held in place by a cotton plug.
During the recovery, one of the fragile items fractured and from it they recovered a paper scale with the words “Sea Water G. Tagliabue New York.” Despite seeing what they described as a “hundreds” of the items in the surf, when they walked down the beach to see how many had washed ashore they couldn’t find anything—no complete pieces, no broken glass, no loose paper scales…nothing. It was as if the bobbing items had simply vanished into thin air.