1. The mystery package.
An astute student mail worker realized this wasn’t meant for a random stats professor and brought it to the attention of the admissions department, where it had been delivered. Henry Walton Jones Jr., is, of course, the real name of Indiana Jones.
2. What was in it.
An incredibly detailed replica of Professor Abner Ravenwood’s (Indy’s mentor) journal from Raiders of the Lost Ark, postcards from and pictures of Marion Ravenwood, and some vintage replica money.
The department’s Tumblr says, “It’s clear that it is mostly, but not completely handmade, as although the included paper is weathered all of the ‘handwriting’ and calligraphy lacks the telltale pressure marks of actual handwriting.”
3. Some initial sleuthing revealed:
The package was weathered to look like it came though the mail, but the stamps were photocopied replicas. Also it’s addressed to Rosenwald Hall, which in the past housed UChicago’s geology and geography departments, but is now admissions. They wondered if the package was perhaps part of an application or a lost gift and asked the Internet to help solve the mystery.
4. They promised it wasn’t a hoax — on their end, anyway.
“Any hints, ideas, thoughts, or explanations are appreciated. We’ve been completely baffled as to why this was sent to us, in mostly a good way, but it’s clear this is a neat thing that either belongs somewhere else — or belongs in the halls of UChicago admissions history.”
5. Even going so far as to reach out to Lucasfilm about it…
It was a dead end. The package was not a viral marketing campaign.
6. …until finally some Internet sleuthing cracked the case. The package was originally bound for Italy, but now will live in a museum at UChicago.
After receiving many tips, UChicago reached out to Ebay seller “Ravenbar” (real name: Paul, from Guam), who confirmed that it was his work, but didn’t know how it got to the university. A day or so later, Ravebar was contacted by USPS sorting service in Honolulu, Hawaii, which said the mystery package may have accidentally fallen out of its real packaging — and was sent to Chicago. The real destination? Italy.
Ravenbar is graciously making the Italian recipient a new journal. The one in Chicago “will find its home either in the Oriental Institute at UChicago or the Special Collections at the Regenstein Library,” according to the admissions department’s Tumblr, “because, as many have noted, ‘It belongs in a museum!’”