Mysterious Indiana Jones Journal Arrived At UChicago After USPS Tried To Be Helpful With Lost Package

from the the-world-we-live-in dept

Last week, the University of Chicago got some attention for posting to its admissions Tumblr page a story about how a package addressed to one “Henry Walton Jones Jr.” had appeared in the mail. It apparently took them a little while to realize (a) that this was the “real name” of Indiana Jones in the famous movie series, and (b) that the package was an amazing replica of the journal Jones uses in the first of the movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Everyone started to speculate what the deal was, with the UChicago folks wondering if it was an elaborate and creative attempt at getting admitted.

If you’re an applicant and sent this to us: Why? How? Did you make it? Why so awesome? If you’re a member of the University community and this belongs to you or you’ve gotten one like it before, PLEASE tell us how you acquired it, and whether or not yours came with a description — or if we’re making a big deal out of the fact that you accidentally slipped a gift for a friend in to the inter-university mail system. If you are an Indiana Jones enthusiast and have any idea who may have sent this to us or who made it, let us know that, too.

I love that “why so awesome” question slipped in there… There was also speculation that it might be part of a viral marketing campaign or alternative reality game. But, in the end, the answer was really quite mundane. This was really about… the US Postal Service being helpful (or trying to be). There’s a guy named Paul Charfauros, who makes such replicas and sells them on eBay. He told the University of Chicago that the USPS had contacted him recently to inform him that it had lost one of his packages, as it had slipped out of an envelope.

“Somewhere between Guam and Italy the replica fell out of its original external package and was lost in Honolulu, Hawaii,” Garrett Brinker, director of undergraduate outreach for the university, said in an interview with Wired. “Then for some reason, with fake postage, no tracking, not even a zip code — it looks like the Postal Service had to manually write in a zip code on the package — somehow without all of that the package landed in our laps in Chicago, Illinois.”

Basically, the package above was in another envelope address to the real buyer — but when the inner package slipped out, the USPS assumed that it was an accurate package, and shipped it on to the address at the University, even without the postage (and, apparently, they didn’t even ask for the proper postage from the recipient, which is a little odd). Either way, the seller has agreed to let the University keep the copy in exchange for some UChicago swag. And, back at the University “multiple departments” are now fighting over the journal. Perhaps they should consider buying a few more from Charfauros…

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Comments on “Mysterious Indiana Jones Journal Arrived At UChicago After USPS Tried To Be Helpful With Lost Package”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Ironically, though the concept is based on the “Grail Diary” used by Indy’s father (Sean Connery’s character) in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the “Ravenswood Journal” is not seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark!
(The book Indiana Jones uses to make notes in Raiders is not shown to be Abner Ravenswood’s, but implied to be Indy’s own.)

Dirk Ruffly (profile) says:

From the "that-isn't-as-odd-as-you-think" dept.

” … and, apparently, they didn’t even ask for the proper postage from the recipient, which is a little odd …”

This isn’t odd at all. Note that the stamps are Egyptian (if, in fact, they are real stamps.) Postal services generally deliver mail from one country into their own country without charge. That is, the originating country sets the rate and collects the postage; the assumption is that mail is seldom one-way, and there will be a roughly equivalent volume of mail heading in the other direction.

btr1701 (profile) says:


> Perhaps they should consider buying a
> few more from Charfauros…

I was interested enough to follow the link to the guy’s eBay page and it says he has no items for sale, so either he’s quit making them or he’s out of stock.

Too bad, really. I would have liked to add one to my replica collection. I already have a replica of the golden idol that Jones steals from the temple at the beginning of Raiders, the shankara stones from Temple of Doom and the Grail from the third film, as well as a full-size replica of the Ark itself, constructed from the original Lucasfilm molds. This diary would have been a nice addition to the collection.

Anonymous Coward says:

Here is the question would it be fair to let Paramount take a cut of the sales of this item?

The guy did all the work, he produced a real item and created the market for it, now why should anybody else be entitled to a cut from that ever?

This is exactly why I have a strong dislike for unnatural monopolies, they are not based on work done they are based on entitlement mentality and that can only create parasites.

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