Fifty-five year old Jack Wurm had reached the depths of despair. He had failed in business and now was killing time walking along a California beach between job interviews.
As he plowed through the sand his eyes fell on a half-hidden bottle. He kicked it idly and then stooped to examine it. A note was inside. So he broke it open and read, "To avoid all confusion I leave my entire estate to the lucky person who finds this bottle and to my attorney, Barry Cohen - share and share alike. Daisy Alexander, June 20, 1937."
He passed it off as some sort of joke, but later learned that Daisy Alexander was heiress to the vast Singer Sewing Machine fortune and if he could prove the validity of the note he would be entitled to half of the 12-million dollar fortune!
Research revealed Daisy Singer Alexander to be an eccentric who lived in England. She often tossed bottles into the water wondering where they went. She died at 81 in 1939, leaving no final will. Wurm claimed the fortune and the case began to wind its way through the complicated court procedures. An ocean-current expert testified that a bottle dropped in the Thames River could wash to the English Channel, then to the North Sea, through the Bering Straits, into the North Pacific, and end up in either California or Mexico. He said the journey would take approximately 12 years. In actuality in took 11 ¾ years. Jack Wurm had found a fortune in a bottle!