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The Further Adventures of the Mystery Coke Machine

May 28, 2015

Things just keep getting weirder and weirder at this unusual Seattle landmark.

Seattle's Mystery Coke MachineCapitol Hill is one of the coolest districts in Seattle. Amid all of the trendiness, one thing remains representative of the area’s shaggier and more blue collar past: The Mystery Coke Machine, which we first told you about last year, at 918 East John Street.

What makes the Mystery Coke Machine so mysterious? Nobody knows who owns it, who put it there and most importantly, who keeps it fully stocked. The machine’s old fashioned prices recently rose from 55 cents a can to 75 cents, but that’s still rather inexpensive.

Over the past year, the machine has attracted lots of attention and new fans. It’s been profiled by several news organizations and its Facebook page has more than 19,000 followers. Many of the machine’s regulars are totally mystified by its “mystery” button too. Pressing it causes the machine to dispense a totally random selection of beverages, anything from Nestea to Hawaiian Punch.

Determined to find out who restocks the machine, a reporter for Vice magazine interviewed the general manager of a nearby locksmith shop last year. When asked if he had ever seen anyone refill it he said, “Nope. [They] must come in the middle of the night on a weekend or something.” Locals and tourists alike have speculated that the machine is maintained by everything from space aliens to a ghost with a Coke problem.

A Seattle film student named Marcy Stone-Francois directed a short sci-fi film called “Mystery Soda” for her final project, and used the real machine. (It’s about a timid young man who presses the mystery button and drinks the contents of a creepy black can.)

Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of the Mystery Coke Machine. According to the Facebook page, it was recently attacked by vandals who covered it in blue graffiti. Despite its unpleasant new paint job, the machine remains operational…and mysterious.

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