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GISH: Local resident participates in international scavenger hunt competition

By Staff | Aug 14, 2020

Vera Insixiengmay, who completed her freshman year at Shepherd University this spring, helps Creative Procrastinations and Whimsical Necessities owner Emma Casale, right, make a wedding dress out of plastic bags on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — On Saturday afternoon, passersby stopped and stared as Creative Procrastinations and Whimsical Necessities owner Emma Casale worked with her friend, Vera Insixiengmay, to craft a wedding dress out of plastic bags in front of her store on German Street. The dress was one of many creative items Casale had been tasked to complete over the course of last week, to compete in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt.

This is the first year Casale has competed in GISH, and she said she hopes to do it again next year. She first became interested in it, after watching all 15 seasons of the television series “Supernatural” during her bout with COVID-19 in March. The series’ star, Misha Collins, founded GISH “to bring out the weird, creative and adventurous sides of people while doing good.”

“It’s one week every year — the first week of August. They release a list on Saturday and you complete as many items on the list as you can, for points, by 2 a.m. the next Sunday morning,” Casale said, mentioning that the list items are completed by groups of approximately 15 people, many of whom are strangers at the beginning of the competition.

The competition itself includes some list items that are show in-jokes, according to Casale, while other items are focused on environmentalism or social activism.

“One thing on the list was getting people to register for voting,” Casale said, mentioning one of the list items was a continuation of a social justice cause on last year’s list. “People wrote letters of support to a man in prison in Alabama. He has been in jail for 38 years for a $9 robbery. This year, they’re making origami doves to send to the governor of Alabama, to encourage him to give him a pardon.”

Next year, Casale said she hopes to not be the only person in Shepherdstown participating in the competition.

“I already can’t wait for next year! I think there are enough Shepherdstown people who are crazy enough, that I think we could have a competitive team next year,” Casale said, mentioning she loves how the teams aspect of the event creates an international community. “I just love it — I just think it’s such a great thing. GISH seems to cross all economic and racial divides, because there tend to be a lot of diverse people into ‘Supernatural.'”

Although Insixiengmay only helped Casale compete this year, she said she plans to compete on the team Casale builds for next year’s event.

“I was obsessed with ‘Supernatural’ in middle school,” Insixiengmay said, mentioning she just finished her freshman year at Shepherd University. “I would love to join GISH again next year — it will be great!”

To learn more about GISH, visit www.gish.com/.