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A Guy Found a Dozen Lost Carl Sagan Tapes in a New York Thrift Shop

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Carl Sagan was an inspirational figure to many of us, but he may not have had his last word just yet—because a dude on MetaFilter is claiming to have unearthed a box of his personal dictations on cassettes bought in a thrift store.

Christopher Stangland claims to have picked up a box of unlabeled Sony dictation machine tapes from a Volunteers of America thrift store in Binghamton, NY, way back in 1993. Now, having listened to them, he's confident that they're Carl Sagan's personally dictated recording—including personal notes, correspondence and business instructions.


He claims they date back to some time around 1984, and offers plenty of evidence which suggests that they are indeed of the provenance he claims. Firstly, he shows off an audio recording from one of the tapes which, well, sounds just like Carl Sagan.


Second, he describes that virtually every recording ends with the phrase "with every good wish cordially", which was, indeed, one of Carl Sagan's favorite endings to letters. Finally, one of tapes has a label on it suggesting it belonged to Sagan.

None of which is cast-iron evidence that he's right, of course—but together, it's certainly enough for us to think that this could be a stash of Sagan's sweet nothings. Now, Stangland is trying to work out what he should do with the collection. He's unsure if he should put them on YouTube or because they're personal, and is instead toying with either donating them to Cornell, where Sagan was based, or selling them privately.

Regardless of what happens to them, we sure hope we get to hear more of them soon—if only to find out if it really is him. [MetaFilter via Matt Haughey]


Images and video by Christopher Stangland