To the surprise of workers at the University of Chicago, a mysterious package dropped into their laps the other day. Addressed to a Professor Henry Walton Jones Jr, its antiquated (and photocopied) stamps, the lack of a professor by that name, and strange contents led to a lot of confusion. Until an enterprising and knowlegeable person finally figured it out:
What we know: The package contained an incredibly detailed replica of “University of Chicago Professor” Abner Ravenwood’s journal from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It looks only sort of like this one, but almost exactly like this one, so much so that we thought it might have been the one that was for sale on Ebay had we not seen some telling inconsistencies in cover color and “Ex Libris” page (and distinct lack of sword). 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.
So they put out a call to see if anyone could identify the point of origin. And it happened:
According to Paul, this package was en route from him in Guam to his intended recipient IN ITALY (registered mail confirmation attached) when it must have fallen out of the package in Hawaii. Our address had originally been put on the manila wrapping of the journal just for cosmetic effect. We believe that the post office wrote on our Zip code on the outside of the package and, believing the Egyptian postage was real, sent it our way. From Guam to Hawaii en route to Italy with a stopover in Chicago: truly an adventure befitting Indiana Jones.
Paul has graciously let us know that he will make the intended recipient a new journal, and that we are welcome to keep this one— thanks, Paul! It will find its home in the Oriental Institute at UChicago because, as many have noted, “It belongs in a museum!”. We will post a link here when its exhibit is finished— we hear they’re working in some neat history about the men who inspired Indiana’s character, so it should be way cool.
One has to wonder whether his dad’s diary may meet a similar fate. Someone should get on that!