University of Chicago Confused by Crazy, Wonderful Indiana Jones Package

Intricate materials arrive in the mail

Headshot of David Griner

"If you're an applicant and sent this to us: Why? How? Did you make it? Why so awesome?" These and many more questions are being asked this week by the University of Chicago admissions department, which received a bizarrely intricate package addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr.—which will be familiar to film buffs as the full name of Indiana Jones, from the Lucas/Spielberg franchise. Inside was a lovingly crafted replica of the journal kept by fictional University of Chicago professor Abner Ravenwood, whose writings are used in Raiders of the Lost Ark to guide Jones's quest for the Ark of the Covenant. Per the university's blog: "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 [Abner's daughter] 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." The assumption is that it's an amazingly creative application from a potential student. There aren't any clear signs that it's some kind of guerrilla marketing related to the Indiana Jones films or merchandise. Which leaves me really just wondering one thing: If someone is obsessed enough to create something this detailed and complex (even faking the foreign postage and somehow getting it delivered), how could he or she misspell "Illinois" on the address label? Hat tip to the Sun-Times and Chicagoist.

UPDATE: "We were just as surprised to see this package as you were!" Lucasfilm tells the university, apparently confirming that this isn't a marketing stunt. The school has collected various other theories about the package at that same link.

UPDATE: The university has solved the mystery, revealing how the package's journey was "truly an adventure befitting Indiana Jones."

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
Publish date: December 14, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT