CHICAGO — A package addressed to Indiana Jones left the University of Chicago in a "world of mystery" Thursday, even after the school's plea for clues bull-whipped the Internet into high gear.
According to the UChicago College Admissions Tumblr site, the most plausible explanation, but "least exciting," is that someone purchased the package from a replica-maker on eBay and dropped it off at the university.
The university's admissions office received the package — addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr. — Wednesday. The staff didn’t notice anything strange, even though the crinkled brown paper was stuck with fake stamps.
“We gave it to one of our students thinking it was mistakenly sent to us and said, ‘Fnd out who this professor is,’” said Grace Chapin, senior admissions counselor. “They came back laughing to us and said, ‘This is for Indiana Jones'... [We] opened it and were in a world of mystery from there.”
Inside the package, the staff found a weathered journal modeled after that of fictional U. of C. professor Abner Ravenwood, ol’ Indy’s mentor.
The velvet-spined book was filled with photos, postcards and fake paper money, all “mostly, but not completely handmade,” according to the U. of C. Tumblr site.
“You touch it, and it feels like its been on a shelf for many years,” Chapin said. “It feels like an old book. It’s not like someone just went to Barnes and Noble and bought a journal and put some stuff in it.”
The office asked for help from “nerdly social media sites,” even going so far as to set up an email account for the mystery.
Chapin said there has been an outpouring of ideas but few answers.
Lucasfilm denied the item was a promotional gimmick for the "Indiana Jones" franchise, according to the Tumblr.
Others have suggested the package is part of an online alternate reality game, and the typos on the package — like a misspelling of “Illinois” — are clues.
Or maybe the mail is a work of “abandoned art.”
“There’s this movement in art where you leave art in places and don’t take credit for it and leave it for people to enjoy,” Chapin said.
After the package’s viral life dies down, visitors to the university can still enjoy it.
“Whether or not we figure out what it is, we’ll have the special collection take it and put it in the archives,” Chapin said.
Something the archaeology professor himself might have enjoyed.