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NPR Arts & Life

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (Of Lost Mail)


Now, a good old-fashioned mystery in the Windy City. Last week, something unusual arrived at the University of Chicago admissions office. It was a thick manila envelope tied with string bearing all kinds of worldly looking stamps and postal markings.

GARRETT BRINKER: We received this package that was addressed to Henry Walton Jones.

SIEGEL: That's Garrett Brinker director of undergraduate outreach at the University of Chicago and actually, it was Henry Walton Jones, Jr.

BRINKER: Who we assumed to be some professor on campus, tried to look up his name, tried to look up an address where we could redirect this package to.


It turned out Jones was a professor, sort of. In fact, he was a...


WILLIAM HOOTKINS: (as Major Eaton) Professor of archeology, expert on the occult and, how does one say this, obtainer of rare antiquities.

BLOCK: Otherwise known as Indiana Jones. Inside the package, a detailed replica of Abner Ravenwood's journal as seen in "The Raiders of the Lost Ark" film, including photographs of his daughter Marion, copies of Pan Am tickets, maps and fake money.

SIEGEL: Also fake, on closer inspection, the packages' stamps. But the question remained, who sent it and why? Again, Garrett Brinker.

BRINKER: We knew we were on a quest, I guess you could say.

BLOCK: Some thought it could be a movie marketing strategy or perhaps a perspective student's application. Well, this morning, the truth emerged. A man in Guam contacted the University of Chicago saying that one of the replica journals he sells on eBay never made it to its highest bidder in Italy.

SIEGEL: Apparently, the journal had slipped out of its original packaging somewhere in Hawaii. The only name and address that remained, Henry Walton Jones, Jr. in Chicago, Illinois, where Brinker says it will stay.

BRINKER: It's been a lot of fun. It's been interesting. It's been exciting and I think it's really created kind of a buzz on campus.

SIEGEL: The man who created the journal says he will donate it to the university and will send another to the customer.


BLOCK: I'm Melissa Block.

SIEGEL: And I'm Robert Siegel. You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.