For 100 years, a package marked "May Be Opened in 2012" has been sitting in a museum in Otta, Norway. It was given to the town of Otta by a local resident, Johan Nygaard, back in 1912. There's been enormous speculation about what the package might contain. Money? A diary? Stock certificates?
Finally, last Friday, the 100-year-mark arrived, and the town gathered to open the package. There was a live video feed, so the entire world could share in the excitement. The mayor carefully opened the package, peeked inside... and it turned to contain: "not-too-valuable notebooks, newspaper clippings, community council papers, a letter, small drawing and other bits of paper." In other words, nothing of any value. [time.com
Some of the newspapers were dated 1914 and 1919, which means someone must have opened the package after 1912 to put them in there. Perhaps they removed whatever was in there and inserted junk in its place.
The affair reminds me the bequest of Francis Douce
. When he died in 1834, Douce, who was a wealthy collector, willed a box to the British Museum with instructions that it be opened on January 1, 1900 in 66 years. The British Museum did wait, as instructed, but when they finally opened the box, it contained nothing but a bunch of worthless papers. According to rumor, there was also a note from Douce in the box explaining that he thought it would be a waste to leave anything of greater value to the philistines at the British Museum.
I wonder if Nygaard had heard of Douce's bequest? He might have read about it in 1900 and decided to do something similar. Probably not. But it's a possibility.