Last fall, Lone Shark Games and Wired Magazine conducted a month-long, nationwide manhunt for reporter Evan Ratliff, with $5,000 on the line. After 25 days on the run, Ratliff’s love of gluten-free pizza spelled his downfall when the owner of Naked Pizza caught him in New Orleans. This time, it’s your turn. Lone Shark Games, in conjunction with Wired Magazine and Universal Pictures, are searching for a few good men (and women) adventurous enough to put their regular lives on hold for a month, starting in late February. Selected “Runners” will be provided vital technology along with seed money to escape detection for a month. Every Runner to make it a month without getting caught receives a $7,500 reward. But, as the contest notes, “people will be trying to find you, and they’ll use any means allowed in the rules to try to figure out where you are.”
This companion piece to The Hunt for Evan Ratliff serves as a promotion for the upcoming Universal Pictures film Repo Men. In the film, Union employees Remy and Jake (Jude Law and Forest Whitaker) repossess artificial organs from their recipients after a period of nonpayment. Thus, taken in context, the Runners are in for the flight of their lives. Of course, Lone Shark Games President Mike Selinker assured me that Runners who are caught should not have worry about the Union harvesting their organs…for all definitions of “organ harvesting” that you or I would know about.
It appears that a penchant for gluten-free foods can cost you, as Evan Ratliff learned earlier today. As of 7PM EDT tonight, Jeff, the owner of Naked Pizza, the only gluten-free pizza shop in New Orleans, caught Evan redhanded. As a gracious gesture, Evan received the pizza free of charge. As we previously reported, Evan has spent the last three weeks attempting to avoid capture as part of a contest for Wired.com, with $5,000 at stake.
Read about Evan’s capture here, or follow the whole harrowing ordeal by reading about the hunt at wired.com/vanish. Congratulations to the @vanishteam on Twitter for tracking Evan down, and to Jeff for sealing the deal.
Congratulations are also in order for Evan, who successfully evaded capture for three weeks before his appetite got the better of him. For a detailed account of his capture, read the breakdown at Newscloud.
On August 13, 2009, Evan Ratliff wrote a feature article for Wired entitled Gone Forever: What Does It Take to Really Disappear? In the article, Ratliff profiles the disappearance and subsequent hunt for family man Matthew Alan Sheppard as well as the stories of other infamous missing people including Marcus Schrenker, the money manager who attempted to fake his death by crashing his plane in Florida. The article goes on to note that every year, thousands of adults decide to abandon their lives: according to a British study, two-thirds of missing adults make a conscious decision to leave.
The article inspired Evan Ratliff and Wired editor Nicholas Thompson to stage a manhunt of their own. Starting on August 15th, Evan Ratliff disappeared and challenged Wired’s readers to find him. The first person to find Ratliff, pass on the codeword “Fluke”, the name of Matthew Alan Sheppard’s black labrador, and email Ratliff’s response to [email protected] will receive $5,000. The contest will either come to a close when someone successfully locates Ratliff, or when he emerges from hiding victorious on September 15th. As Grant Hamilton at AbsurdIntellectual.com notes, this is reminiscent of newspaper contests dating as far back as 1927, when the Westminster Gazette challenged its readers to locate the fictional “Lobby Lud” based on his description printed in the daily newspaper.