Friday, September 16, 2016

Adventure via the mail

The Mysterious Package Company is having itself another Kickstarter.

I have never been a customer of the Mysterious Package Company. Instead, I got to be something far better. I got to be a recipient!

One of my favorite stories by Gilbert K. Chesterton that doesn't involve Father Brown is the Tremendous Adventures of Major Brown (who isn't related to the good priest, as far as I know) The title character finds himself in the middle of a pulp plot and it turns out he was mixed up with the subscriber of an adventure service that hires actors and such to let people live a story.

The Mysterious Package Company performs this service via post. Which is a heck of a lot more reasonable a business model than renting houses and filling them with actors and props.

My experience with them started when I got a crumpled letter in the mail marked up like it had been in the dead letters office for years. I noticed immediately that it made several references to the works of Robert W. Chambers.

My immediate conclusion was that one of my friends from the Midwest had started a game of De Profundis, the Lovecraftian RPG of letter writing horror. Yes, that's a real thing. So I fired off a crumpled and stained letter to the person who I thought most likely to have started the game, using a lot of elements from Chambers' works. Confusion ensued.

When an actual package arrived, I felt like things had gone above and beyond with people could easily get away with with the desktop publishing. A little bit of research later, I found out about the Mysterious Package Company. 

I intentionally did not find out what else I might expect in the story that I found myself in. But now I knew what kind of ride I was in for. And being the dark until that point had been a lot of fun.

Telling a story through letters and newspaper clippings and the like is an age old method. It makes senses, piecing together events through different artifacts. It might not be as visceral as actually walking into a haunted house but looking at real photographs and yellowed news clippings is still more of a gut-level experience than reading a book or watching a movie.

And the Mysterious Package Company does a dandy job delivering that. And the last package is always guaranteed to be a doozy. 

Getting packages from the Mysterious Package Company was quite an experience. And the journey of finding out not only what the story was but what the heck was going on was an adventure. I'm glad they're apparently doing well and stretching their wings with another Kickstarter.

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