The demise of GISHWHES was greatly exaggerated by Misha Collins himself when he announced the end of his charity scavenger hunt in 2017. Collins, who plays Castiel on Supernatural and known internet troll, murdered the old iteration of the scavenger hunt by changing the name to GISH. Basically, he chopped off half of the name and created an app. Super dramatic, right?
What was formerly known as The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen has since been adapted to the less obnoxiously long title of Greatest International Scavenger Hunt. To be fair, Collins did seem to have a stronger revamp in mind, as he teased a partnership with a major tech company following the cancellation announcements in 2017, but it never came to fruition. Instead, GISH just had a breakup with WHES.
The annual scavenger hunt began in 2011 when Collins enlisted his followers to partake in a bizarre scavenger hunt with the weirdest tasks you could possibly think of. There are two things people need to know about Misha Collins: He’s the weirdest dude on the internet and he has a huge passion for charity. Add the two together and you get GISH.
Inspired by a scavenger hunt played at his college, The University of Chicago, Collins was determined to create a scavenger hunt that brought the internet together. He designed GISH(WHES) to prompt participants to bring forth as much good in the world as they possibly could—all while wearing dresses made of cheese or popcorn.
Every year, GISH sets its sights on several main charitable endeavors. A portion of the registration fee to join the hunt goes toward that charitable goal. This year, both tasks were especially personal to the GISH family. Giles Duley, photojournalist and IED survivor, has been working with Misha Collins and GISH(WHES) for years. Even after losing both legs and an arm, Duley continues to share photos of the devastation war brings to the world and its inhabitants. He uses his experience war experience to bring awareness to the issue through GISH and beyond.
The United States dropped over 2 million bombs on Laos, a small country in Asia, between 1964 and 1973. Most of the bombs are still littered across the country, waiting to be detonated. The bombs are spherical and to children, they look like toys. Over 8,000 children have been injured or killed from the undetonated bombs—almost half of the 20,000 victims in total.
GISH registration costs managed to raise enough money to clear bombs in 25 family farms. Given the high number of children who lose their lives to these bombs that were dropped before they were even born, GISH aimed to raise money for prosthetic limbs. On top of that, a portion of registration costs also go toward Misha Collins’ charity, Random Acts—an organization focused on spreading kindness through hunger campaigns, building schools, helping teachers, and any other act of kindness you could possibly think of.
The fundraiser within the scavenger hunt set a $200,000 goal to clear even more farms and fund prosthetics for affected kids. GISH raised a total of $241,861 in less than a week. This is what GISH is all about. Sure, teams strive to spread some weird during the duration of the hunt, which usually takes place in the first week of August. Everyone competes with tasks like making ugly Christmas sweaters into bathing suits or partaking in Stormtrooper acrobats, but at its core, GISH is about changing the world for the better.
Be it visiting someone in a nursing home, donating to an important cause, becoming an activist, getting involved in politics, or brightening the day of someone in the hospital, those are the items that GISHers, and the people whose lives they touched, remember the most.
Untapped Cities is not affiliated with official GISH judging, which will likely be posted around November. This year, the winning team will head to Laos with Misha Collins. Usually, the trip is purely about having fun, but this year, the lucky winners will get a chance to see their fundraising efforts in action—and maybe spread a little kindness while they’re there.
Here are 28 of the best, most inspiring items of GISH 2019. Whether these teams submitted a stunning photo, have a great story to tell, or worked hard to change someone’s life for the better, these GISHers did a remarkable job during the 2019 Hunt.
28. Item 34: Trooper X Games
“Item 34: The Federation of Stormtroopers has been officially sponsored by the X Games this year. Let’s see a highlight from one of their competitions with the stormtrooper participating in an extreme sport.”
Shell and Jon of the Illusive Yetis enlisted Jon’s friend Rob to partake in an epic feat of Stormtrooper skateboarding. Shell and Jon claim that Rob had a difficult time pulling off the tricks in the mask, but that’s obviously just a cover story. Rob is definitely Force-sensitive.
The daring display of Republic athleticism was photographed by Rob’s girlfriend Bailey at Shaw Millennium Skatepark in Calgary, Alberta Canada. Is it a coincidence that Millennium is in the title of the park? The conspiracies are strong with this one.