Indiana Jones Mystery Package
We donâ€™t really even know how to start this post. Yesterday we received a package addressed to â€œHenry Walton Jones, Jr.â€. We sort-of shrugged it off and put it in our bin of mail for student workers to sort and deliver to the right faculty memberâ€” we get the wrong mail a lot.
Little did we know what we were looking at. When our student mail worker snapped out of his finals-tired haze and realized who Dr. Jones was, we were sort of in luck: this package wasnâ€™t meant for a random professor in the Stat department. It is addressed to â€œIndianaâ€ Jones.
What we know: The package contained an incredibly detailed replica of â€œUniversity of Chicago Professorâ€ Abner Ravenwoodâ€™s journal from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It looks only sort of like this one, but almost exactly like this one, so much so that we thought it might have been the one that was for sale on Ebay had we not seen some telling inconsistencies in cover color and â€œEx Librisâ€ page (and distinct lack of sword). The book itself is a bit dusty, and the cover is teal fabric with a red velvet spine, with weathered inserts and many postcards/pictures of Marion Ravenwood (and some cool old replica money) included. Itâ€™s clear that it is mostly, but not completely handmade, as although the included paper is weathered all of the â€œhandwritingâ€ and calligraphy lacks the telltale pressure marks of actual handwriting.
What we donâ€™t know: Why this came to us. The package does not actually have real stamps on itâ€” the outside of the package was crinkly and dirty as if it came through the mail, but the stamps themselves are pasted on and look like they have been photocopied. There is no US postage on the package, but we did receive it in a bin of mail, and it is addressed to the physical address of our building, Rosenwald Hall, which has a distinctly different address from any other buildings where it might be appropriate to send it (Haskell Hall or the Oriental Institute Museum). However, although now home to the Econ department and College Admissions, Rosenwald Hall used to be the home to our departments of geology and geography.
For those of you who have wondered as hard as we have how we came to get this Indiana Jones journal: we have our solution.
As some theorized, this did turn out to be the work of â€œRavenbarâ€ (real name: Paul, from Guam) on Ebay. After several days we were able to get in touch with Paul, who confirmed with us on Saturday that this was, indeed, his work, but that he did not know how it had gotten to us. Paul contacted us late yesterday to let us know that he had just received a letter (originally we were baffled as to how he got mail on a Sunday, but then we remembered time zones exist) from the USPS sorting service in Honolulu, HI (from a guy who, coincidentally, is also named Paul) stating that the outer package of something he had mailed had been found without its contents at their facility.
According to Paul, this package was en route from him in Guam to his intended recipient IN ITALY (registered mail confirmation attached) when it must have fallen out of the package in Hawaii. Our address had originally been put on the manila wrapping of the journal just for cosmetic effect. We believe that the post office wrote on our Zip code on the outside of the package and, believing the Egyptian postage was real, sent it our way. From Guam to Hawaii en route to Italy with a stopover in Chicago: truly an adventure befitting Indiana Jones.
Paul has graciously let us know that he will make the intended recipient a new journal, and that we are welcome to keep this oneâ€” thanks, Paul! It will find its home either in Oriental Institute at UChicago because, as many have noted, â€œIt belongs in a museum!â€. We will post a link here when its exhibit is finishedâ€” we hear theyâ€™re working in some neat history about the men who inspired Indianaâ€™s character, so it should be way cool.
Thank you to all who have emailed tips or ideas about this documentâ€” we appreciate your sleuthing on our behalf! We will now return to this Tumblrâ€™s regularly scheduled programming: providing cool UChicago facts to prospective students. We look forward to welcoming our first members of the Class of 2017 when they receive admissions decisions from us on Tuesday afternoon.