5 Crazy Places to Find the Coin

At the end of the day, there’s really only one piece of information from the MIT Mystery Hunt  each year that matters. Puzzles come and go. Nobody really remembers them from year to year. Especially not to kvetch about them. But the coin. Everyone knows where the coin was found.

Which is why it’s important to make sure the coin is hidden somewhere original. Somewhere different. Somewhere it’s never been hidden before!

But hiding the coin must also be done with care and finesse. Choosing the wrong location can end in DEATH AND MAYHEM. It can end in destruction. If you’re not careful, it might even end in the end of Mystery Hunt itself. For example...

  1. Sitting on top of an elevator car

In general, it’s a pretty good idea to not send the thousands of Mystery Hunt puzzlers somewhere unsafe. Rooftops and steam tunnels seem obviously out of bounds. Locked doors are questionable. Having to climb through the ceiling of an elevator car to find a coin might seem like a good idea, though. Haven’t you always wanted to be this badass?

But hiding the coin in an elevator shaft is a pretty terrible idea given team sizes. Over the last few years, Mystery Hunt teams have been growing to unprecedented sizes. Why, just look at Team Project Electric Death Mayhem From Above For Great Justice (née Death From Above).

Death From Above, 10 years ago

Death From Above, 3 years ago

Extrapolating from the first 7 years of the Team Formerly And Possibly Futurely Known As Death From Above (what the hell are they called anyway? Even the Hunt organizers aren't sure. Neither are they), there are so many people this year they can’t even be fit into a picture.

This is pretty absurd. We might as well call them Team Katamari. But what kind of team will leave people behind when retrieving the coin? Nobody, that’s who. Hide the coin in the elevator, and everyone won’t fit - at least not unless they start shedding team members like a snake sheds skin. But if they don’t, the weight will just bring the elevator crashing to the ground, leaving you with no winning team. You’d have to write Hunt again! Doesn’t that sound like fun?

  1. In the cake of a main group urinal

Popular culture loves the gross and disgusting. Fear Factor cashes in on this every week. Forcing people to do icky things while we stand aside and watch is really one of the best forms of entertainment out there. Call it “ekelfreude” - like schadenfreude but better.

Check out that dude in the background. He knows he’s next, too

You might get the idea to hide the coin somewhere disgusting around campus. Then stand aside and watch hunters twitch as they handle their recently acquired treasure like a hot potato.

It’s hard to imagine a place more gross and disgusting than the one of the toilet bowls in the bathrooms on main campus. Do I even have to write the dick jokes here? I’m pretty sure they can just be left implicit.

But while entertaining at the time, disease just doesn’t seem like the best way to reward a winning Mystery Hunt team. You know how when you get really hammered on vodka and then never want to drink it again (maybe that was just my freshman year...)? Imagine that, but with Mystery Hunt. The fecal-oral route is a pretty common mechanism for spreading pathogens, especially parasites. An entire team that catches cryptosporidiosis immediately after winning would probably be pretty put off of Mystery Hunt. They might just decide not to write next year’s.

  1. Inside the office of the MIT President

The office (as in the person) of the MIT President is no stranger to being suddenly sucked into student life. Even going back all the way to the very beginning of time (that is, 23 years ago), new MIT Presidents were welcomed by being forced to sit in the hallways of the Infinite Corridor, after having his office (as in the place) taken away. It must have been miserable.

“I don’t understand. They told me I wouldn’t have to talk to anybody”

But there’s a new President in town, and nobody’s hacked him yet! (Kids these days. Back in my day, we didn’t let nonsense like term papers control our lives) What better way to welcome him to the world of hurt he’s in for than to send team after team of sleep-deprived students, alums, and people with only questionable connections to MIT knocking on his door.

Really, you only think that Mystery Hunt is under close scrutiny now. You may have the safety office on your tails now, but make the MIT President unhappy and he can probably cause way more problems. Wouldn’t it be fun if the Schedules Office decided it wasn’t going to give you rooms anymore?

  1. Between control rods of the nuclear reactor

Hunt organizers are always looking for ways to top the previous year’s shenanigans, and what better way to make your hunt unforgettable than to hide the coin in the bowels of the MIT Nuclear Research Reactor. Then you can sit back, relax, and watch as teams wander in, too tunnel-visioned to realize what a bad idea this is. Instead of claiming this year’s glory, they come out as monstrous human-animal hybrids with a sudden desire to take over the demolition industry. Your lab might be crushed and your apartment pulverized in the ensuing mayhem, but at least you’ll have an excuse to miss that meeting on Monday.

Why should New York and Tokyo get all the monster attacks?

But as fun as it might be to have a few rampaging Godzilla-wannabees around, you’re going to have to take care of them somehow. The other hunters will have to form themselves into SWAT teams to claim the prize for themselves, which means that everyone will be able to put their paintball skills to good use.

Of course, it’s far more likely that anyone sticking their hands in the core of a nuclear reactor will die. If not instantly, then only after a few weeks of agonizing fever and vomiting and nausea so severe you might prefer to be nibbled to death by cats. Which all seems like a terrible way to end a hunt. We aren’t sadists after all.