Tjipetir mystery: Why are rubber-like blocks washing up on European beaches?

For the past few years, 100-year-old rubber-like blocks from Indonesia have been mysteriously washing up on beaches in the UK and northern Europe. The Titanic has been suggested as one of the possible sources – but now a beachcomber says she may have solved the puzzle of the Tjipetir blocks.

In the summer of 2012, Tracey Williams was walking her dog along a beach near her home in Newquay, Cornwall, when she spotted a black tablet on the sand, made of something resembling rubber.

It looked like a large chopping board and the word “Tjipetir” was engraved into it. Weeks later, she found another such curiosity on a different beach alongside bales of rubber, washed up in a cove.

Her curiosity piqued, she began to research the origins of these mysterious blocks. What she learned included stories of shipwrecks, an infamous World War One tragedy and the Titanic.

It also transpired that these blocks had been appearing on beaches across northern Europe, baffling everyone who had found them.

There has been speculation in the press as to the source of the washed-up blocks, with the Daily Mail and the Times recently running articles. The French press covered the story in April also.

But Williams believes she has worked out the source of the mystery – and it matches what the UK authorities think too.

Source: BBCNews Read more to find out about this mystery

Friederike Wegert and her children found a block in March 2013 on Borkum, an island off the German coast

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