The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, shortened to its acronym GISHWHES (pronounced gish-wes) by most people, is a yearly scavenger hunt that involves participants from all over the world who try to complete the most tasks and or find the most items off of a list provided by the organizers. It is well known that a large portion of the items are either very bizzare or involve acts of charity.
How It Started
The basic idea of GISHWHES was started back in 2010 by actor Misha Collins. Misha was trying to get more People's Choice award votes for the television show Supernatural. Using his twitter account he encouraged his followers to vote by informing them that Warner Bros publicist Holly Ollis promised him a rhinoceros if Supernatural made it to the #1 spot and he would share it with everyone if they helped vote for the show. Supernatural won the award and the rhinoceros turned out to be a puzzle of a rhino. Participants were told to send self-addressed envelopes to Misha, who would proceed to send the envelopes back with a piece of the puzzle which had a scavenger hunt prompt written on the back. Eventually the recipients of the puzzle pieces started to complete the bizzare requests. Apparently Misha liked the response to his little scavenger hunt and decided to do it again the next year but he decided to amp it up a bit so in 2011 he made a website and named the scavenger hunt the "Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen."
As It Is Now
GISHWHES takes place once a year in the fall and lasts for one week. Those who wish to participate sign up on the GISHWHES website and are either put into a 15 person team or they can make a team themselves. There is a $19 dollar particpation fee per participant and the money goes to the non-profit organization Random Acts. The teams will have one week to complete as many tasks or find/create as many items as possible in order to gain points.
The list, which has been put together by Misha and others, will be posted to the website on the first day of the week designated for the scavenger hunt. It consists of over 150 various tasks and the teams must either
make, find or complete as many tasks as they can and either video or
photograph themselves and or their items. These videos and pictures are
then posted to the scavenger hunt's website where they will be looked at
by the judges and if they meet the requirements the team is awarded
One of the more interesting things about GISHWHES is the type of tasks/items that make up the scavenger hunt list. Just to give you an idea, here are a couple of the items from the 2013 GISHWHES list:
- A picture of you attending a spinning/yoga class in full scuba gear
- A picture of 4 live ducks sitting in a row at a movie theater
- A video of a major CEO in a business suit doing Beyonce's dance moves for the song "Single Ladies"
- A video of you acting out an erotically charged scene BUT the actors must only talk about grammar and there must be a pizzaman involved
These are only a few of the very odd things that the participants must do in order to gain points. Each task has a different amount of points assigned to it, usually the more difficult and bizzare the task, the more points you get. Suprisingly there are only two items from past GISHWHES lists that weren't completed by anyone: coat a commerical blimp in fall leaves and get an astronaut on the International Space Station to hold up a sign with your team name and take a picture (obviously NASA wasn't too pleased with this one and put a stop to it.)
The list also includes a lot of charitable tasks that typically focus on improving the particpants communities or having them give recongnition to those in their communities that do charitable works. A couple examples from 2013 are:
- A video about someone in your community that does sustained act of generosity
- A video of you committing a "stealth" act of kindness for someone and a video of their reaction
- A picture of you entertaining a dialysis paitent for the entirety of their treatment
- A picture of you delivering diapers you collected for your local shelter
Ok, We Won, Now What?
After the scavenger hunt week is over, the judges will review all the entries to make sure that they meet the criteria and look for any entries that went the extra mile. Only one team can win the grand prize but there are several runner-up categories:
- Grand Prize: The grand prize for winning GISHWHES is a 3 day, all expenses paid trip to some "awesome" location with Misha. The first year's winners went Rome, Italy. The winners from 2012 went to Scotland and got to stay in a haunted castle and last year's (2013) winners were taken to an island near Vancouver where they participated in a Viking seance.
- Runners-Up: If a team does an exceptionally good job or their entires really impress the judges they can be named runners-up. Teams that achieve this will receive a personalized GISHWHES medallion, a GISHWHES screensaver and a certificate from Misha.
- Gish-Referrer Grand Prize: In order to get more people involved in the scavenger hunt, there is a prize for getting friends to sign up. If you refer a friend and they sign up, your name gets entered in a drawing and if your name gets drawn you get to go on the grand prize trip.
- GISHWHES Hall of Fame (GHOF): Finally if one of your submissions really catches the eye of the judges, you can be added to the GISHWHES Hall of Fame.
GISHWHES currently holds three Guiness World Records:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GISHWHES (Most Online Hugs)
http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2013/3/misha-collins-and-the-worlds-largest-scavenger-hunt-47380/ (Largest Media Scavenger Hunt)
http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/records-11000/longest-chain-of-safety-pins/ (Longest Chain of Safety Pins)