The Sideshow

Mystery behind ‘Indiana Jones’ package solved

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Indiana Jones is still getting mail (photo: UChicago Admissions)

Indiana Jones is still getting mail. (University of Chicago admissions department)

Last week, a mysterious package arrived at the University of Chicago. Addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr., the brown-paper-wrapped package featured Egyptian postage and was tied with old-fashioned string. At first, the University's admissions department didn't know what to make of it—there was no Henry Jones on staff. But then a movie buff pointed out that that's the name of the great (and fictional) archaeologist, Dr. Indiana Jones.

So, why the heck was Indiana "Don't call me Junior" Jones getting mail at the University of Chicago? It turns out the package was actually a replica of a journal written by "Raiders of the Lost Ark" character Abner Ravenwood. This particular replica was created by a "Raiders" enthusiast who then sold it online. Apparently the journal fell out of its box at some point (it was supposed to go to a buyer in Italy), and the mail service assumed the decorative package was the real thing. (In the films, Jones attended the University of Chicago, where he met Ravenwood.)

The department's Tumblr account described the book/prop's craftsmanship: "The book itself is a bit dusty, and the cover is teal fabric with a red velvet spine, with weathered inserts and many postcards/pictures of Marion Ravenwood (and some cool old replica money) included. It's clear that it is mostly, but not completely handmade, as although the included paper is weathered all of the 'handwriting' and calligraphy lacks the telltale pressure marks of actual handwriting."

Also included: photos of stars Harrison Ford and Karen Allen (who played Marion Ravenwood, Abner's daughter), maps and a host of other Indiana Jones treasures. University spokesman Garrett Brinker said the props usually sell for around $200. "Apparently, it takes [the creator] two weeks to make one of these replicas, and then he sells them to people all over the world," he said.

Oddly, the package was delivered even though it had no real postage. The stamps were photo-copied replicas. We like to think the U.S. Postal Service could tell the  fate of the Ark of the Covenant was hanging in the balance. And we can't let the Nazis get it now, can we?

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