Schoolgirl's chilling letter from 1969 made spookily accurate predictions

Rosa Beckerton
Rosa Beckerton -Credit:No credit

It seems an old letter found stuffed down the back of a sofa predicted the use of Zoom video calls long before the technology had been invented.

A letter apparently written by a schoolgirl in 1969 contained chillingly accurate predictions for the future. The sheet was discovered down the back of Rosa Beckerton's sofa by husband Peter, 67, while he was refurbishing an old piece of furniture for a client. Dated February 23, 1969, it appears to be written by an 11-year-old girl imagining the state of the world in 1980.

She correctly predicts a huge shift in technology and even forecasts the Zoom revolution, albeit that happened much later. Describing her future husband's return home from work she writes: "'Hello dear,' he said to me. 'I've just got to ring up my friend on the telephone'."

"Well you'd better tidy yourself up a bit,' I said. In 1969 the telephone was a square box thing with a resiver [sic] on top of it. But now it is still a resiver [sic], but you can see the people you are talking to, for there is a screen where you can see the people. It is a bit like a television."

In 2021 upholsterer Peter found the note stuffed down the back of a sofa which was sent to him for restoration after being bought second-hand.

Rosa, 66, from Peterborough, Cambs., decided to make it public in case the author, who would now be aged around 62, is still alive. She said: "When my husband showed it to me I couldn't believe it. I thought oh my god, look at this."

"It was just so interesting, because looking at it today she's got a lot of her predictions kind of right - but in her childish innocent way she thought it would all happen in 10 years."

"I just wanted to share it in the hopes that maybe the author might see it and recognise it. My husband has found all sorts of rubbish down the side of sofas and furniture before - but never anything as interesting as this."

The letter is unnamed but comes complete with a teacher's corrections and comments in red pen - including the verdict 'Good'. It begins: "The year is 1980, the time is half-past moon dust. Here I am twenty-one years of age, sitting in a cushion of air."

"I remember when I was 11 years old and I was at school, things have changed since then. For instance, the television has changed. In 1969 it was a square box with knobs in front of it. Now it is a big screen with knobs on your chair arm to switch it on and off."

The schoolgirl imagines that she is a married bank worker. She says in times past she would have "prepared tea" ready for her husband to come home. But she adds: "All we have is a piece of chewing gum to eat. You may think that we have not enough to eat but you are wrong, because this piece of chewing gum is food. You chew this gum and you can feel the food going down. You can also taste it. There is no messy washing-up to do afterwards."

She imagines that the doors of their home are "electric" and operated by press buttons. The girl finishes her letter by saying: "Really when I think back over those ten years, things have changed tremendously."

A version of this story was first published on June 27, 2023.

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