There was much head-scratching last week after the University of Chicago received a curious package addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr., also known as Harrison Ford’s pop culture icon Indiana Jones from the famous film franchise.
The parcel contained a detailed replica of a journal kept by Abner Ravenwood, Indiana’s mentor in Raiders of the Lost Ark. As well as the journal, officials from the school revealed the package included “weathered inserts and many postcards/pictures of Marion Ravenwood (and some cool old replica money).”
An extra layer of mystery was added by the fact that the Indiana character in the films has a day job as an archaeology professor at … the University of Chicago!
Days after the university revealed the mysterious package via its Tumblr blog, the Raiders mystery has been solved. The sender of the parcel has been tracked to Guam and is said to be a “prop replicator.”
It turns out the puzzling parcel was inserted inside another package that was then mailed to Italy where someone had bought it on eBay. However, when the smaller package fell out of the bigger parcel, a well-meaning US postal worker saw it was addressed to one Henry Walton Jones, Jr., at the University of Chicago and added the Chicago zip code.
With no Henry Walton Jones, Jr., at the university, school staff were baffled. It was only when a student researched the name online that the link to the Indiana Jones character was unearthed. From there, the school discovered the true origins of the journal, the prop replicator from Guam.
University of Chicago spokesman Garrett Brinker explained:
“Apparently, it takes him two weeks to make one of these replicas and then he sells them to people all over the world. He says they usually go for about $200 [but] I believe this one went for $177.”
With the Raiders mystery solved, Brinker said the Oriental Institute, the university’s famous museum, has asked to display the journal in its main lobby:
“They asked for it and now it is in their possession.”
Here’s hoping the buyer in Italy gets a swift replacement! Here’s the package as it arrived in Chicago (complete, you’ll note, with awesome retro stamps):