Mail for Indiana JonesA mysterious package arrived last week at the University of Chicago addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr., which looked like it had been postmarked in Egypt. Admissions officials had no clue who Jones was, but a student “snapped out of his finals-tired haze” realizing who Dr. Jones was: the fabled archeology professor, Indiana Jones.

The mystery grew deeper when they realized the postage was faked and inside was an incredibly detailed replica of “University of Chicago Professor” Abner Ravenwood’s journal from the film, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The department posted about it on Tumblr and set up an email address to search for answers: “If you’re an applicant and sent this to us: Why? How? Did you make it? Why so awesome?”

In a description they wrote, “It is a bit dusty, and the cover is teal fabric with a red velvet spine, with weathered maps,  postcards, pictures of his daughter Marion Ravenwood, and “some cool old replica money” included.”

Mischief Managed

The wonderful tale of how the book ended up at the school was uncovered with clues from the internet and the US Postal Service:

“As some theorized, this did turn out to be the work of “Ravenbar” (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 from the USPS sorting service in Honolulu (from a guy who, coincidentally, is also named Paul) stating that the outer package of something he had mailed was found without its contents at their facility.

Indiana JonesAccording to Paul, this package was en route from him in Guam to his intended recipient IN ITALY when it must have fallen out of the package in Hawaii. (The Chicago) 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.”

It Belongs in a Museum

Jounal with airline ticket

Garrett Brinker, director of outreach for the University of Chicago, told Wired, “Now we even have multiple departments on campus that want this journal and want to store this journal, including special collections in one of our libraries…. So it’s turned out to be quite a fascinating story.”

What will become of the package? The school posted an exciting update:

Paul has graciously let us know that he will make the intended recipient a new journal, and that we are welcome to keep this one— thanks, Paul! It will find its home in the Oriental Institute at UChicago because, as many have noted, “It belongs in a museum!”. We will post a link here when its exhibit is finished— we hear they’re working in some neat history about the men who inspired Indiana’s character, so it should be way cool.

(READ the original posts from the U of Chicago)

Thanks to Nic Bernstein for suggesting the story!

Leave a Reply