Last week we shared the story of a mysterious package that arrived at the University of Chicago addressed to, of all people, Indiana Jones.
The rumpled parcel, covered in vintage-looking replica stamps, contained a journal and photographs apparently belonging to Prof. Abner Ravenwood, the fictional Egyptologist and mentor of the bullwhip-toting adventurer.
The admissions staff at the university who received the package were suitably befuddled. If it was a prank or hoax, it was a meticulously devised and enormously clever one. To the person who orchestrated it, the staff posed a simple question on their blog: “Why so awesome?”
Many people assumed it was an elaborate publicity stunt by a Hollywood studio to generate buzz about a rumored (but unlikely) Indiana Jones sequel.
As it turns out, the package was neither the creation of a clever hoaxer nor a publicity stunt, but instead a bizarre mailing mix-up.
Paul Charfauros, who lives in Guam, makes a presumably modest income creating replica movie props and selling them on eBay. He had recently prepared one such package of Indiana Jones replicas, at the price of $200, for a customer in Italy.
Not long after sending it, however, he received a notice from a post office in Hawaii stating that his package had fallen out of the larger envelope in which it was shipped.
Despite having phony stamps and a misspelling of “Illinois” on its face, the orphaned manilla package containing the movie memorabilia somehow maneuvered through the postal system and landed in a University of Chicago mailroom.
Mystery solved. Only one problem remains: the eBay customer in Italy still doesn’t know where to begin looking for the Lost Ark of the Covenant.