You’ve seen the word floating around Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook attached to pictures of people in odd clothes made out of food or animal hair. And all the while you’ve been wondering what the hell is going on. Have people suddenly developed a new economical clothing line to change the fashion industry?!
Unfortunately, no. It’s just Misha Collins and the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen (GISHWHES).
The Supernatural star, best known for his role as Castiel, has come together with dedicated fans for the world’s only, worldwide annual scavenger hunt. This week long hunt brings together thousands of participants from over a 100 countries to complete kind, fun, and creative challenges. In a team of 15 “Gishers,” the name given to participants, they complete challenges and submit photos to GISHWHES for points. At the end of the challenge a group of “shadowy judges” determine who has the most points to be declared the winning team!
The winners are then whisked off to an all expense paid trip with Misha! Past years have included trips on a pirate ship in Croatia, a viking seaplane adventure, and a stay at a haunted castle in Scotland. This year the destination is Iceland, which includes dog sledding and a party in a volcano. But that isn’t all! You join a community of people determined to let their “freak flag fly and release their inner teenager.”
In it’s 6th year it has grown to include notable participants like Chris Pratt, Larry King, William Shatner, William Macy, Tony Hawk, Felicia Day, and author John Green. It’s broken world records for largest online photo album of hugs, with 108,121 hugs recorded, and the most pledges received for a charitable campaign. It even has a special lounge coming to San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) for GISHWHES participants to bond and cause all sorts of mayhem.
At this point, GISHWHES has either blown your mind or scared you off. For those that are still with me, every single person that participates in GISHWHES gets something different out of the social scavenger hunt. And that’s exactly what Misha wants.
“The memories that I have, that I’m most fond of, are memories of experiences when I did stuff that people told me I probably shouldn’t be doing. Or that my own inner barometer told me that I shouldn’t be doing.”
GISHWHES is designed to make the shut in sneak out of their comfort zone. To do things they never thought possible. To grow and become stronger. It’s also for the family that doesn’t get to do much together and sees this as an opportunity to coalesce around something exciting. It’s even there for those people who just want to, “take photos of themselves in compromising and humiliating wardrobes.”
For Misha it’s also, “an incredibly creatively gratifying experience.” Even though he teased that it “pumps up his ego” that GISHWHES is attached to 7 Guinness World records, this is his baby and he’s proud!
— NASA (@NASA) August 9, 2014
Because of passionate fans (looking at you old and new GISHWHES members) Misha’s been able to bring people from all over the world together, raise money for charity, and even get William Shatner to stalk him on social media. Win, win for everybody!
Every year brings new challenges come to the hunt. Some are simple and some are crazy and border on the “should I really be doing this? Omg this is crazy” scale. One challenge that he’s most proud of is the space challenge. Participants were challenged to get an astronaut to write GISHWHES in space. After continuous harassment (aka gentle requests for help) NASA let GISHWHES down and asked for their astronauts to be left alone so they could do “real science.”
But was GISHWHES done with space?! NO IT WAS NOT!
The following year they gave NASA another chance. (Because why not? We love space!) Somehow a team got the right numbers, and called the right people, to get a mountain on Mars named after GISHWHES. When that happened…Misha was floored.
“At the moment I learned that, and Nasa actually ended up posting on their official Twitter feed that they had named a mountain on Mars GISHWHES, I was like, ‘You know what? I could just hang it all up right now. I feel like I could die happy at this moment. This is truly incredible.”
Runner ups for favorite GISHWHES challenges were: clothes made out of pet hair, all the people dressed as The Flash that visited particle accelerators around the world, fully decorated Christmas trees interrupting flights, and bodies covered in bacon grease. Priceless and somehow extremely satisfying.
So you wanna join GISHWHES here?
You’ve stared at that registration button for ages. It’s letters mocking you to press it and get it over. But you’re scared and can’t help wondering, am I good enough for this? Am I brave enough? Well Misha’s thought of that too.
You don’t do GISHWHES on your own. This is a team effort!
“There’s an incredibly wide variety of items for every hunt. The items range from solving logic puzzles and math problems to creating mosaics of Jensen Ackles face.” (Those are mosaics we want to see.) GISHWHES even has items like donating to a local shelter or being kind to someone.
“We make a concerted effort to even make sure there are items that somebody who doesn’t have the use of their legs or somebody who is agoraphobic, would be able to complete. And because you’re on a team of 15 people and you can join the hunt either with 1 friend or 2 friends, or 15 friends. Or all by yourself. And we make sure that you are placed on a team of 15 people.”
Not artsy? Don’t worry. Someone on your team might be the next Picasso! Not gutsy and willing to embarrass yourself? No worries! Someone on your team with dress up as the Arrow and go grocery shopping!
No matter who you are, there is a GISHWHES item/challenge for you!
You’ll be thrown in the trenches with your new brothers & sisters and create bonds that will last. Don’t be afraid, newbie who’s just on the edge of signing up. Misha believes that being a little afraid of the unknown GISHWHES challenges, is a sign of emotional health.
Click on that registration button and challenge yourself. Do the impossible and shake things up in your life. Find joy in the unthinkable.
No one comes out of this the same way they came in.
That includes you.