GISHWHES, which is an acronym for the modestly named "Greatest International Scavenger Hunt World Has Ever Seen" is a five-time Guinness World Record breaking scavenger hunt hosted by Misha Collins aka angel Castiel from "Supernatural."
This unusual and elaborate international hunt aims to translate that loud social voice into real-life, as they believe 'normalcy' is overrated and that the true living can be found hidden under the rocks of community artistic creation and in acts of artistic sublime public performances. Moreover, "we are all artists and have gifts for society, no matter what our capabilities or talents."
— GISHWHES (@gishwhes) July 8, 2014
GISHWHES website explains how thousands of participants from over 100 countries are placed on 15-person teams and for one week, "through laughter, blood, sweat and tears," as they go out into the real world and create 'art,' the likes of which the world has never seen and acquire items on a wild scavenger hunt list.
The items in this list could be anything at all, from "Take a picture of you hugging a war veteran" to "perform a sock puppet show at a children's hospital" to "a formal tea party replete with parasols, silverware and a string quartet situated in a junkyard or garbage dump" to "...giving coats to a homeless shelter" to "clean a pool dressed as a storm trooper next to a sun-bather", and so on. Depending on the most creative ways these items are 'captured,' (videos or images) the more points the team will be awarded.
"We try to create a list that is challenging, thrilling and absurd. We like to see items that make us tear-up and laugh out loud. We like to have participants break out of their comfort zones, humiliate themselves a bit and do a bit of good in the world," GISHWHES says.
I have this inexplicable feeling that I'm going to end up dressing one of my dogs in drag next week. #GISHWHES
— Katie Barry (@Nova8604) July 29, 2014
The registration for 2014 scavenger hunt has been closed and on 2 August Collins will post the list for scavenger hunt online, and each team can start scavenging. Usually, teams for the scavenger hunt are formed via random assignment, or, if a group of fans wants to participate together, there is an option to organize a team yourself.
In 2012, they shattered two Guinness World Records: one for the largest scavenger hunt ever, with more than 14,000 participants from 69 countries and the second, for the most pledges to commit a Random Act of Kindness, with 93,000 pledges in 94 countries. In 2013, they broke two more records: the longest chain of safety pins – over 43,000 safety pins creating a chain almost 2 kilometers long; and the most hugs worldwide in one week – 108,121.
Last year, the 15 members of the winning team Vatican Cameos joined Collins (who is also the creator of GISHWHES) in British Columbia for a chartered seaplane adventure and enjoyed a Viking séance. The year before that, the winning team (Badwolf) was flown to Scotland with Collins to stay in a Haunted Castle.
It's their fourth year, and they're looking to add three more world records to their existing five, and this is the first year that the event will feature celebrity-led teams. Meaning, no longer are the teams competing against fellow fans — they're up against the likes of the Canadian actor William Shatner.
this year's #gishwhes is a sure hoot. william shatner and orlando jones are playing. awesome surprise if you see them in your team.
— Jay-r Trinidad (@Targrod) July 29, 2014
"William Shatner has, for some reason, become single-mindedly obsessed with winning the scavenger hunt," says Collins. "If you go to his Twitter homepage it basically says 'Win GISHWHES... He basically had people apply to be on his team. It was a full-on recruitment drive."
@mishacollins can I have a night scope and you in the crosshairs? What kind of fish?
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) July 23, 2014
And while Shatner has a leg-up on the competition after curating his own team, Collins says he's built in a safety net. If the winning team has a member with over 100,000 followers on Twitter — or $100,000 in the bank — the runner up team will also get the big prize. Also, he's not entirely sure Shatner has it in the bag.
The team that accumulates the most points over the course of the week-long hunt will go on an all-expenses paid three-day trip to an exotic locale, maybe even the "King's Landing, in Croatia where they will set sail on a pirate ship captained by Collins and be treated to a survivor-style weekend adventure of revelry, mayhem and wondermentation."