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December 14, 2012

Indiana Jones: Mysterious mail arrives at University of Chicago

Posted in: Movies

The mysterious package and handmade journal "belonging" to Abner Ravenwood. (Kayleigh Pryzgoda / University of Chicago)

The mysterious package and handmade journal “belonging” to Abner Ravenwood. (Kayleigh Pryzgoda / University of Chicago)

The University of Chicago is grappling with a mystery today involving Indiana Jones, of all people.

According to the university’s admissions department Tumblr page, a package arrived at the university on Wednesday addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr. Unsure where to put the package, the student office worker set it aside until someone realized it wasn’t intended for any actual student or faculty member, but a fictional character who in his story was once enrolled at the University of Chicago: Indiana Jones.

The character’s Wikia profile, compiled from information released about the character through the films, TV series, video games and supplemental novels, says he was a student there sometime in the early 1920s.

When the package was finally opened, the mystery grew. Inside was an apparently handmade re-creation of Abner Ravenwood’s diary. Ravenwood, for those not familiar with the Indiana Jones films, was Jones’ professor at the University of Chicago whose knowledge of the Ark of the Covenant set in motion the story of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1981 film starring Harrison Ford as the adventuresome archaeologist.

Interior pages from the journal. (Kayleigh Pryzgoda / University of Chicago)

Interior pages from the journal. (Kayleigh Pryzgoda / University of Chicago)

“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,” the admissions department wrote on its Tumblr page.

Some sleuthing on the part of the university discovered that the package had never actually been sent through the mail — the postage on the outside of the package was not real, even though it was dirty and scuffed as though it had been in transit.

So why did someone send this package here? Is it promotional? Is it an attempt to gain admission to the university? Is it some kind of art project?

The university is baffled and is soliciting help and advice, establishing an email address — indianajonesjournal@uchicago.edu — in order to get tips and insight.

A representative from Lucasfilm expressed bewilderment about news of the package. So it was not a misdirected bit of film promotion.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) faces his worst fear in the Well of Souls in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." (Lucasfilm)

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” (Lucasfilm)

Have theories of your own? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

– Patrick Kevin Day

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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