Mystery Solved: Indiana Jones Package sent to U. of C. in Mailing Mix-up

By Lizzie Schiffman on December 17, 2012 5:11pm 

CHICAGO — The University of Chicago has solved the mystery behind a package addressed to fictional professor Indiana Jones, according to a post on the admission office's Tumblr page Monday.

"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," U. of C.'s admissions office posted on Tumblr.

The university confirmed the suspicions of several online sleuths, tracing the package's origins to eBay user “ravenbar,” a Guam resident named Paul, who creates and sells replicas of props from the archeological thriller on the auction site.

Paul told the university the items they received were his work, but said he'd shipped them to a buyer in Italy, not to the Hyde Park college campus. Days later, on Sunday, Paul told U. of C. he'd received a letter from a Honolulu post office explaining the mix-up.

The seller told the university that "our address had originally been put on the manila wrapping of the journal just for cosmetic effect" before it was sealed in another package and addressed to his Italian Indiana Jones enthusiast.

By the time it reached the sorting service in Hawaii, the replica fell from its outer packaging, and the post office shipped it to the address listed under the name "Henry Walton Jones, Jr.," the adventurer's moniker before earning the "Indiana" nickname, mistaking fake Egyptian postage for the real thing in the process.

"From Guam to Hawaii en route to Italy with a stopover in Chicago: truly an adventure befitting Indiana Jones," U. of C. wrote in its post chronicling the adventure.

Before making contact with the faux artifact's creator, the university solicited the help of "nerdly social media" participants to investigate the case, even setting up a tip-line, indianajonesjournal@uchicago.edu, to field any "clues, ideas, thoughts or musings" that could help explain the mysterious package.

Paul told the university he would make a new replica journal for his customer and told U. of C. to keep the one they'd intercepted.

"It will find its home either in the Oriental Institute at UChicago or the Special Collections at the Regenstein Library because, as many have noted, 'It belongs in a museum!'" the admissions office posted on Tumblr Monday.

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