The Art of Darkness

Mysteries by Mail

June 10th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Mysterious Package“It began one evening with a strange letter from a law firm I’d never heard of. Inside, I was informed of the passing of my Great Aunt Hanna – I didn’t even know I had a Great Aunt Hanna – and she had left a note for me. It was handwritten, and contained within a frail, ancient envelope. It was written in longhand, a warning about ghosts, and some coordinates that seem to be from a small island in the South Pacific. There was a map fragment of the island as well, but none of this makes any sense.”

The Mysterious Package Company is a members-only service that allows you to arrange “unannounced deliveries of a strange and otherworldly nature” that will draw the recipient into a quaint and curious story which might involve anything from crossword ciphers to medallions with cryptic symbols. With the slogan, “We tell stories you can touch,” here’s the company description from their Facebook page:

The Mysterious Package Company provides unique and custom-made gifts delivered by mail, and wrapped in a hand-crafted experience unlike any other. Custom made crates, letters and telegrams from long-lost relatives, and seemingly innocuous newspaper clippings add a richness to the curious goods contained within. Each experience is uniquely tailored to each person.

We are a members-only service. Membership is free, but you must fill in our application form in order to be considered as a member. We are more than simply a way to send packages, we are a community of like-minded people who believe that life needs to be less mundane.

An application does not guarantee membership.

It is the policy of The Mysterious Package Company to neither confirm nor deny our involvement with any specific packages. That would be telling.

This sounds really, really awesome.

There are some glowing reviews of the service: The Nerdery Public bought a package for himself so he knew the origin of the mysterious mailings, but he was still enthralled by the details and had a great time “solving” the puzzle. Mark Ramsden started receiving items when a friend arranged a package for him, so he had no idea where these things were coming from and was completely flummoxed. He detailed the whole thing in a series of blog posts titled, On Being Haunted, and it’s fun to read his accounts as he tries to figure out what the hell is going on. Strange Girl in a Little House got a different storyline, and there are several photos of the various package contents.

Having to apply for membership before seeing what the company offers is a little dismaying, but “The Curator’s” explanation in this article about the company makes a lot of sense:

membership is a layer of protection between the person sending the gift and the person receiving the gift. If one were to receive something unusual in the mail and do a web search for it and find out that, yes, it’s from The Mysterious Package Company, and it cost such and such, with a big buy now button, that would destroy the mystery. With membership, even if they discover that it’s from us, it’s a gift that you are unable to buy for yourself. This makes the experience priceless, something that we think our members appreciate.

If you need a gift for “someone who has everything,” this would be a very cool option.

Posted in Needful Things | 10 Comments »

10 Responses

  1. Goth Gardener Says:

    I love it! It has the same feel of
    S. by J. J. Abrams.

  2. Cat Says:

    You have officially done a shit job of keeping this a secret. You were on my list for potential giftees, ya know. ;)

    Actually, what I really want to do is something like this myself. I have subscribed to their ongoing mystery (yes, I totally applied a while ago, and DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING), and I’m excited to see how it’s put together.

    Also, since the cat’s out of the bag, they have a kickstarter for a new, big project:

  3. Cat Says:

    Oh nevermind. It hit BoingBoing. So much for being mysterious. :P

  4. Mim Says:

    That looks brilliant! It must be a little weird getting something like that through the post, though. I’d be worried about frightening my friends.

  5. cookie Says:

    Like the idea but why not do something simular on your own? Back when stamps were cheap I used to send out Christmas cards to randomly picked strangers and added personal comments like, Thanks! Your words always make me feel better.” or ” I’m praying that you get it!”. NEVER did anyone question who the hell was I and a few sent me cards for years with equally friendly comments. Humans, gotta love ’em.

  6. xJane Says:

    Annd, signed up.

  7. Kaitlin Michelle Says:

    I want someone to send me this so bad!

  8. Catherine Says:

    A hugely disappointing experience. I signed up, all excited, and ordered one of the larger packages for my mother’s 75th birthday. The first package arrived, and she was delighted – mystified – all that I expected. Then… nothing. The first mailing indicated she would be receiving another package in “5-10” days, which she eagerly anticipated for the first few weeks. Then anticipation turned to frustration, disappointment and skepticism. According to the timeline when I signed up, the experience should be concluding right about now, but she has yet to receive anything but the first mailing, which quite frankly she has written off as someone playing a cruel prank on her. I contacted the “Curator” who offered nothing but “oops, we are behind”, and has now even stopped responding to my emails. Do not waste your money. I spent $200 on a couple of pieces of paper, and now my mother even thinks I forgot to get her anything for her birthday. A fail all around. I’m debating just telling her what I bought and spoiling the surprise if the the other packages ever do get shipped – which I am highly starting to doubt.

  9. Max Armstrong Says:

    Disappointed too!
    After 4 MONTHS of waiting, I was supposed to get 3 mailings and a reveal. What I got was the middle mystery, not the first and not the “big gift in a crate”. I had to explain to the recipient because nothing made any sense. I wasted 200.00 on a confusing pile of paper scraps and nothing else. What a crappy Christmas gift. What a RIPOFF, don’t waste your money.

  10. Lori Says:

    I wish this had been a good experience, but the “curator” seems to be more interested in selling you more stuff than delivering the packages and experiences they/he/she promised when they first suckered you into a purchase. I purchased a four-package experience for my daughter. The first package was a week late, but that’s okay, I’ll overlook that. Maybe they were really busy. The second package was also late, as was the third. The fourth and final “reveal” was supposed to be mailed August 5. I sent an email August 12 asking when it would be delivered. I got an email full of mumbo jumbo and a $25 credit to my account that I will never, ever use, because I won’t do business with this company again. I emailed again August 23. I’m awaiting a response. In the meantime, my daughter googled what she had received and found the answers on Reddit. Surprise ruined. She’s moving this Friday, so she may never get the final package. The only mystery about this company is wondering if the packages you paid for will ever be mailed. Save your money! This company does nothing but send emails, suckering you into buy more stuff they will never deliver.

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