Time Capsule With Over 100-Year-Old Germs Found At Former Bellevue Hospital Medical College

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – In 1897, a time capsule was sealed up and hidden away in the cornerstone of what was Bellevue Hospital Medical College in Manhattan. Now, it has been found.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Story

A few weeks ago, that building at East 26th Street and 1st Avenue was demolished.

The contents of the time capsule were recovered and they’re now in the hands of New York University bacteriologist Dr. Martin Blaser, who says it was no ordinary time capsule.

“In addition to papers from that time and materials from students from the Bellevue Medical College and the newspaper the New York Sun from 1897, it also had a test tube that had some bacterial spores in it that were gotten and cultured from a patient in 1896,” Blaser told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.

Blaser says his team is trying to wake up those spores and grow them so they can study the organisms.

“We are interested in the question of whether seventy years of antibiotics is changing the organisms that live in the body. The organism that was put in the time capsule was a normal organism that lives in the human body. By having this organism and comparing it to present day organisms, we may have a chance to answer the question of whether our own organisms are changing or not,” said Blaser.

Blaser says the specimen was put there by a bacteriologist named Edward Dunham. He says Dunham was one of the city’s early bacteriologists and that it was he who first described that these bacteria actually form spores.

Blaser says that scientists knew spores could last a long time, but they didn’t know how long. There was even a note saying that he hoped future generations would record how long they lasted.

What would you put in a time capsule? Share your ideas below!

More from Alex Silverman
Comments

One Comment

  1. more normal then you says:

    Amazing how people can change a story to somehow wage politic wars in the comments section. this is a freaking story about bacteria, go somewhere else you politic trolls.

    1. anothercomment says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. I mean, I hate stuff just as much as the next guy, but trolling is counterproductive.

    2. ASenseOfHumor says:

      Poor you. You have no sense of humor.

      1. seriouslynow says:

        Actually, we’re just tired of the -same- damn joke, every freakin’ time.

        1. Bob says:

          Only sad part is, it is no joke😀

    3. Dances With Fascists says:

      We are engaged in class warfare that super rich elitists have been waging against the other 99% for decades now, largely winning to such an extent that America’s core values which used to inspire the world have now succumbed to atrocities like preemptive wars, indefinite detentions, and torture. Theirs is the mentality that would weaponize if they could the old bacteria that is the subject of this article and use it against their fellow Americans if there was a way they could profit from doing so. That is what we are up against, they’ve already killed thousands of American soldiers to do their dirty work and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan innocents so you can take your infantile control freak attitude about what other people should and shouldn’t discuss in public forums and shove it where the sun don’t shine, Bubba. You get to regulate what YOU say and nothing else, capisce?

    4. Dances With Fascists says:

      @”more normal” clueless moron, we are engaged in class warfare that super rich elitists have been waging against the other 99% for decades now, largely winning to such an extent that America’s core values which used to inspire the world have now succumbed to atrocities like preemptive wars, indefinite detentions, and torture. Theirs is the mentality that would weaponize if they could the old bacteria that is the subject of this article and use it against their fellow Americans if there was a way they could profit from doing so. That is what we are up against, they’ve already killed thousands of American soldiers to do their dirty work and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan innocents so you can take your infantile control freak attitude about what other people should and shouldn’t discuss in public forums and shove it where the sun don’t shine, Bubba. You get to regulate what YOU say and nothing else, capisce?

      1. setanta says:

        you got it beyond backwards ,capisce ? YOU CONTROL your infantile impulses and post your scatology where it belongs .

  2. bill says:

    Also notably, the construction worker who opened the cornerstone is said to have found a singing frog.

    1. Bugs Bunny says:

      “Hello ma baby, hello my honey,
      Hello my ragtime gaaaaal … “

    2. Barb says:

      HAHA!!! Fantastic!

    3. Rebecca Smith says:

      HAHAHAAAAAAAA aaaaah I forgot about that.

  3. Ken says:

    I think I hear a predator drone flying over your house Rod!!!

    1. Byron says:

      That is silly. The Government Panel that decides which Americans to kill doesn’t meet on weekends. Rod you have a good 2-3 days before you have to worry.

  4. Ken says:

    I’d put in a worthless Federal Reserve note. It may be worth something as an antiquity someday. It can teach future generation to never use fiat money.

    1. Northwoods says:

      Dear Ken Doll,
      You have a great idea there! Better yet, send me a few bundles of your worthless fiat currency, and I will see that it is safely stored away.
      Or perhaps you could use some to buy yourself an anatomically correct…….brain.

      1. Stephen Gueyher says:

        So you feel that a dollar backed by faith is a stable currency? For someone that speaks of others not having brains, I have to wonder if you’re just projecting your own inadequacies?

      2. refreshthetree says:

        The dollar is worth 3-5% of what it was back then. You aware that the great depression was a direct result of the fed setting low interest rates, and inflating the monetary base right? I know this doesn’t relate much to the story other than the fact that the federal reserve didn’t exist back then, but you have a big anatomically correct brain I am sure you can deal with some off subject points, right?

    2. George W Ehrwell says:

      The Roman emperors added base metals to their silver coins as a way of raising revenue. Hence a silver coin used during the reign of Julius Caesar had a much higher silver content (94%) than a “silver coin” (0.04%) used during the reign of Diocletian. Thanks to the information contained in old Roman coins, we can see that it is not the currency OR the coin which is to blame for seigniorage and inflation. The blame rests with those who tamper with the inherent value of our money.

  5. Calvin Hobbes says:

    It’s a great idea. Researchers today should create a series of time capsules to help the future answer exactly these types of questions. Everything from bacteria and viruses to genes from plants, animals, and people. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune just some thought and effort.

  6. Jeff Hagar says:

    Contagion and the destruction of todays people because a science lab student drops it on floor. Spreading the intitial viral strain of Flu.

    1. momsaid says:

      Cap’n Trips lives!

  7. Swiss says:

    Democrats will want to add an ammendment to the Endangered Species Act. 100-year-old germs don’t grown on trees, you know.

    1. Swiss says:

      They may even want to add an amendment.

  8. Linda W. says:

    A twinkie.

    1. JS says:

      scarily, it will probably have maintained its exact shape color and consistency. And be just as edible… ewww…

      1. andrew says:

        I think you meant to say mmmm…

  9. Bryant Clair Larsen says:

    This is how every Zombie movie starts…..

    1. Tom Menino says:

      It certainly may explain the zombie crowds in tents on Wall Street these days.

      1. Norman56 says:

        Notice how filthy and anti-social they are (and that is why Keith Olbermann made an appearance). Just like zombies. Come to think of it, that does describe Progressives, doesn’t it?
        Definitely NOT Tea Party people.

        1. Dances With Fascists says:

          That’s right the Occupiers are DEFINITELY unlike any Teabaggers who have no souls because they are psychopaths without empathy or conscience, so all they care about is themselves and tax cuts for themselves, and as far as their fellow Americans needing healthcare, they’d just as soon see them suffer and die like wounded animals in the woods. The Occupiers in New York’s Liberty Park on the other hand are there for the other 99% of us and they are heroes working to improve America and the world instead of just pushing selfish and psychopathic agendas. Norman you are SO right that they are NOTHING like Teabaggers!

  10. Stephen says:

    Spores? I thought it said Smores. Never mind.

  11. Alan Whitney says:

    Very interesting…

    Unfortunately, we are now all going to die…

    1. Gopackgo says:

      Unfortunately we are all going to die …no matter what!

  12. JonMc says:

    See this preview tiny url for a short biography of Dr. Edward Dunham
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/6yuaqsz

  13. Bob says:

    I would put Barack Obama in it.

    1. NY9Solyndra says:

      That would be a cruel thing to do to future generations. As it is, they’ll be paying for his economic destruction, but the possibility of having his spores regenerate in the future is too horrific to ponder.

    2. Alan Whitney says:

      Oh, GOD… Whhat if he mutated????????

      1. mixitup says:

        He is a MUTANT!!11

      2. Paul says:

        He can’t possibly mutate into anything worse, that’s for sure.

  14. Freddy says:

    How is this ‘time capsule’ different that what would be found diggin up 100 year old graves?

    1. NY9Solyndra says:

      100 year old graves are open to the elements and to interaction with other bacteria and chemicals. Sealed time capsules are….sealed.

      1. Bernie says:

        Some graves are sealed, the types of outer burial containers varied during this time and many would contain perfectly preserved specimens. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people entombed from this era. Essentially they are time capsules, but I would not want to be the one to open the capsule! P U

  15. Miss Clean Hands says:

    I believe the bacteria they are referring to is Clostridium Difficile. It is a nasty bug you can get by taking one or two antitiotics. You can also get it from someone who didn’t wash his or her hands.

  16. John Prince says:

    First I had hopes for Y2K, then Bird Flu, then Pig Flu, Then X class solar flares. Quit getting my hopes up!

    1. ericmaclean1 says:

      Don’t forget listeria!

  17. SockRayBlue says:

    Talk about a “blast from the past”; sure do hope no one opens that Pandora’s Box.

  18. Jack Belk says:

    Wise is the man that plants a nut that grows a tree he’ll never sit in the shade of.
    Congratulations to a great visionary. May his forethought be as valuable as it was intended.

    1. michael says:

      beautifully said

      1. Churchill's editor says:

        It should be “man who” not “man that”.

    2. Robert Jones says:

      You ended in a preposition.

      1. Turban says:

        “That is nonsense up with which I shall not put.” — Winston Churchill

        1. Churchill's editor says:

          “I will not put up with that nonsense”

      2. NY9Solyndra says:

        “You ended in a preposition.”

        You refer to a flexible convention, not a rule. Look it up.

      3. Alan Whitney says:

        I ended in a proposition…

        1. Dogtor Obvious says:

          A proposition I started with . . .

      4. Liberated commentor says:

        We don’t need your stinking rules. This is the 21st century. We have grammatical freedom!!!!! Fascist.

        1. Churchill'seditor says:

          Yes, no rules and less understanding.

    3. Bert says:

      Makes me wnat to go plant some nuts.

      1. tweed says:

        She died two months ago, you sick sob

      2. Dances With Fascists says:

        Join your local Tea Party, you’ll find nuts galore.

  19. jeff6tiimes7 says:

    “We are interested in the question of whether seventy years of antibiotics is changing the organisms that live in the body.”

    Learning is good. Good learning is better.

    The folks who are embarking upon this “learning” should take a a few semesters on rhetoric. It might save them some time.

  20. steadyteddy says:

    Obama’s balls would be a nice addition to the time capsule… Oh wait, he doesn’t have any!

    1. Egullsklaw says:

      We got ABL because too many people knew that HE knew. Some secrets just cannot be kept.

    2. Gavin G. says:

      I think it was SEAL team, while the ‘windbreaker’ sat in a W.H. room in D.C. staring at a monitor. Realistic is an ‘idiot’.

    3. the Boodge says:

      It was year’s of Bush’s terror fighting policies that got bin laden, not obama’s. He just gave to orders for the SEAL’s to pull the trigger! If Bush would of got OBL, the way obama did, you would have bitched about how he wasn’t given a FAIR trial!

      What troops have come home? We are still in Afghanistan, Iraq and now in Libya, which is the ILLEGAL WAR! Congress APPROVED the war’s in IRAQ and AFGHANISTAN, NOT LIBYA!

    4. Al:ve says:

      Bringing home troops? Who deployed our military resources to Libya, and extended the occupational timeline for Afghanistan an extra 15 years? Who’s raised the national deficit an extra $3 trillion through corporate stimulus plans funded by proletarian tax dollars? In other words, who’s the idiot now? The man who still has the audacity to question a government which strips its peoples of their rights, or the man who hasn’t put enough research into arguing a perspective his government told him to believe?

      Revolution is right around the corner.

    5. Chuck says:

      Oh, he has huge balls and a whole lot of nerve.

      Now, if he only had a brain…

    6. ma67 says:

      Do you mean the drones that have been infected by an unremoveable Chinese trojan which ultimately will program the drones to attack the U.S. Obama is killing America. Obama is the anti christ.

  21. Green Baron says:

    Most important, these bacteria–the taxonomy is not specified–existed long before the discovery of the first manmade antibiotic. Thus, it might not have genes for resistance against these drugs, such as are found in many bacteria today, such as Staphylococcus aureus. Perhaps a genetic study of these bacteria, if they indeed can be revived, might give clues as to how to reverse the increasing drug-resistance of bacteria. By the way, in some cases, drug resistance can originate in nature. I wrote an article about just that in Environmental Science & Technology, Nov. 1, 2006.

    1. Alan Whitney says:

      Bless you! Would that I had applied myself, and obtained an educcation!

    2. Chuck says:

      Sir, are you sure that you’re not mistaken about the date of your article?

      I believe that November has always been the Swimsuit Issue in that publication.

  22. seaden says:

    I’d put Barack Hussein Obama and his wife in the time capsule. We’d be guaranteed that they couldn’t do anymore damage to this country for at least 100 years.

    1. NY9Solyndra says:

      That would be a cruel thing to do to people in the year 2111.

      1. Alan Whitney says:

        There will BE no 2111…

  23. Scott K. Smith says:

    Marvin, Nobody cares about or wants your sperm. Go back to the Kleenex.

  24. Ken Puck says:

    My father was born in 1897, but that year is as remote to our eyes as the Crusades. When living memory is eclipsed, the past becomes a foreign country.

    1. Grimmer says:

      Beautifully written. Time marches on, reality as we know it drifts slowly away, then disappears.

  25. Paul says:

    I think we should put a dollar bill and a copy of the constitution – both soon to be extinct if we are not careful.

  26. Scott F. says:

    That can be dangerous. What is the samples contain viruses of the Spanish influenza or something? Over so much time, our immunity to these viruses will have been lost after that many generations, leaving us wide open to these diseases. Remember how illnesses common to Europeans wiped out many peoples isolated from the European continent in the past, likewise, we have been isolated by the passage of time.

    1. Mommynator says:

      Only bacteria form spores. Spores are the dormant form of those kinds of bacteria. Perhaps one should educate one’s self.

      1. Chuck says:

        No, mommy, it is you who needs an edgucashin. It’s spelled s-o-r-e-s and you can kill em with some backteen spray. Owie gone gone.

  27. stinkeye says:

    Put Justin Bieber in a time capsule….or any other of the flash in the pan manufactured “talents’ of today.

  28. Katz says:

    Likely Clostridium
    Bacterial spores may be viable for 100’s of millions of years.
    Cool!
    If we dismantle made by man that is more than 20 years old, there will be plenty of work to go around. With the added bonus of a few surprise time capsules.

  29. S. Moore says:

    This comment section.

  30. maxf says:

    Its strange that the building was demolished before they found the time capsule. Didn’t anyone keep records at the hospital?

    1. Chuck says:

      I read a few years ago that over 50% of all time capsules are lost or forgotten.

      1. Stan Tistics says:

        And I read that 85% of statistics are made up on the spot.

  31. Joe says:

    Any piece of consumer electronics – no matter how slick or state of the art. Would be an obsolete oddity when the time capsule was opened up 100 years from now.

    Throw an iPad in there. The folks in the future can all have a good laugh about how much buzz the iPad had in 2011.

  32. David Emerson Powell says:

    I think those bacteria and germs escaped and are marching down wall street! Ha ha ha ha hah ha!

  33. Ghostsouls says:

    It’s pretty amazing if they can revive those spores and gather data from them. With today’s technology, who knows what can be learned that could help us today.

  34. Lawrence E says:

    These old germs can’t hurt you. They have to pee every ten minutes.

    1. J.D. says:

      And they nap frequently.

  35. RENIE says:

    OBAMA LEAVE HIM THERE FOR FOUR HUNDRED YEARS ONLY TO OPEN IF THE FUTURE IS STRONG ENOUGH NOT TO LET THE MENCE GROW OR ORGANIZE.

  36. Jack says:

    And the Zombie apocalypse begins

  37. Bill Holic says:

    I would put my ex wife in it

    1. Texas Mike says:

      I thought about that too Bill but then I realized there was too good a chance she’d be found and I didn’t want to take the risk.

    2. Chuck says:

      I was wondering why I haven’t seen your wife around lately.

  38. David B says:

    If I had a time capsule I would put a couple of joints and a twelve pack of rubbers just in case science etc lets me live that long.

    1. Chuck says:

      you really should use a vaporizer. just saying…

  39. BHancock says:

    Any singing frogs? HELLO MY HONEY! HELLO MY BABY! HELLO MY RAGTIME GAL!!!!!!!!

  40. Jop says:

    Wow… One hundred years ago someone named Dunham had a virus that had and wanted to preserve. Fifty years ago someone named Dunham created a virus and it became President. I wonder what the next fifty years will bring.

    1. laura says:

      That is a perfect analogy! Right on!!

  41. Michigan J. Silverback says:

    What to put in the time capsule?

    A singing frog, of course.

    1. Scptt K. Smith says:

      Kermikt would NOT be interested !

    2. Sillyme says:

      “Hello mah honey, hello mah baby….” lol

    3. silly me says:

      “Hello mah honey, hello mah baby…” lol

  42. Robin Scott says:

    Pandora’s Box was opened by curiosity seekers. Just sayin’.

  43. Forrest Sergente says:

    I would put beer in the capsule…but then I’d keep getting into it.

  44. doubting it says:

    Well, well, more bacteria and more viruses for scientists to manipulate. Is this going to be the next big plague they put out to get rid of us?

    1. len says:

      Exacto! People need to research race-specific bio weapons, asap.

      1. Chuck says:

        I think Obama already beat you to it.

  45. Richard says:

    Time to CRANK UP Bruce Willis Again!

  46. Corey says:

    That’s cool🙂

  47. ricpantale says:

    Just suppose, the spores of a hundred years ago were not dangerous and now the human body is not immune to them…Contagion!!!!!

  48. Isitcontagious? says:

    It’s alive!

  49. Jimmy says:

    Another movie possibility.

  50. Linda says:

    Awesome!

Comments are closed.

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