'Raiders' Mystery Solved: How Did The University Of Chicago Obtain Indiana Jones' Diary?

By Staff Reporter on December 18, 2012 1:13 PM EST

Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Poster (Photo: Lucasfilms)
Indiana Jones
A replica of Abner Ravenwood's journal was sent to the University of Chicago (Photo: Tumblr/HO)

Last week, the University of Chicago's admissions department received an incredible Indiana Jones diary that was delivered to the office.

Origins unknown, the mysterious diary revealed a lot of old photographs of landmarks, elaborate diagrams, names, maps, and post cards. In addition, University of Chicago admissions office spokesperson Garrett Brinker also said that the book contained photos of Hollywood actor Harrison Ford during the filming of the epic adventure movie.

The journal was actually a replica of a movie prop that belonged to Abner Ravenwood of the film. Not only was the Ravenwood character the mentor of Indiana Jones in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but he was also coincidentally a professor of the University of Chicago professor.

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According to students researching the journal, the character Indiana Jones was loosely based on two U of C professors. What's more, Abner Ravenwood was an Egyptologist and an archeologist at the school nearly a century ago.

Despite the interesting ties between Ravenwood and the University of Chicago , why was the diary delivered to the institute's admissions office?

According to the research team at U of C, the journal was delivered to Guam and was addressed to Henry Walton Jones Jr., the given name of Indiana Jones. What's more, the the package was actually supposed to be enroute to Italy for a person that had bought it from eBay.

Apparently, the journal was a part of a package that had fallen out. When a U.S. postal worker saw that the small package was addressed to Jones at the University of Chicago, the worker then added the Chicago ZIP code.

However, when the admissions office received the mysterious package, they had no record of a Henry Walton Jones Jr. in the faculty.

Eventually, the school confirmed on Monday afternoon that the journal was a handcrafted replica made by eBay vender "Ravenbar," who specializes in Indiana Jones movie memorabilia. Ravenbar is in fact Paul, a resident of Guam.

Paul also realized the error when a letter from a Hawaii mail sorting facility told him that the outer package was missing its contents.

In an exchange with Paul, the University of Chicago confirmed, "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."

Thanks to the series of mix-ups caused by poor packaging, the research students at the University of Chicago had an opportunity to engage in a rather fun mystery about one of the most famous factitious archaeologists of all time. Paul told the university that he will make a new journal for the buyer and that the school can keep the package that made its way to them.

The University of Chicago may place the journal in permanent display at the school's Oriental Institute.

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