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Excuses To Muggles


Laugh Your Cache Off
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Well, ever since we started geocaching we always (of course) are constantly aware of muggles being around. We all know that it is for certain that a muggle will or has asked about what we are doing.

 

The craziest time that we were caught was just outside the boundary of what appeared to be a rather snobbish retirement community at dusk on the edge of a wooded public walking trail. We had pulled our car to the grassy median on the side of the road (out of the way). While we were looking about with our flashlights a lady had pulled up beside us and asked if we needed help. I politely said "no" and that we were fine. Well, wouldn't you know it....merely minute later, an aged gentleman (in his seventies) in his golf cart pulled alond side of us and asked what we were doing. You guessed it, she snitched!!! LOL!!! When I explained what we were doing he said "Jee Oh what?"

 

After politely explaining our reasoning for being there he seemed satisfied. That is until his apparently scripted depating question....."You all ain't terrorists are you?" Yes, he was serious. It all ended well and we left the scene with the find and one heck of a log entry!!!

 

What stories would you care to share????

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Well, ever since we started geocaching we always (of course) are constantly aware of muggles being around. We all know that it is for certain that a muggle will or has asked about what we are doing.

 

The craziest time that we were caught was just outside the boundary of what appeared to be a rather snobbish retirement community at dusk on the edge of a wooded public walking trail. We had pulled our car to the grassy median on the side of the road (out of the way). While we were looking about with our flashlights a lady had pulled up beside us and asked if we needed help. I politely said "no" and that we were fine. Well, wouldn't you know it....merely minute later, an aged gentleman (in his seventies) in his golf cart pulled alond side of us and asked what we were doing. You guessed it, she snitched!!! LOL!!! When I explained what we were doing he said "Jee Oh what?"

 

After politely explaining our reasoning for being there he seemed satisfied. That is until his apparently scripted depating question....."You all ain't terrorists are you?" Yes, he was serious. It all ended well and we left the scene with the find and one heck of a log entry!!!

 

What stories would you care to share????

 

A woman was walking with her big dog on the bike trail and asked what I was doing (I was tromping through woods/ bushes a couple yards off the paved bike path). Seeing the dog, I quickly asked her to continue on her way and explained that I was trying to get a skinny stray cat to come to me so I could check it and make sure it was ok. I told her that it was starting to come near, and then darted further into the woods when it saw the dog. She continued down the path, and I started into the woods at nothing saying "here kitty kitty....its ok" until she was out of sight and ear-shot.

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I actually had to use: "just playing around with my GPS kind of a game...", I had a guy who lived next to the property "Big Piece Meadows Cache GC186TP" is in, stop and ask if I was OK, and then what I was doing.

 

I probably will use :"Search Team practice, we set out markers and send the co-ordinates to the other members to find", in the future,

Sounds more serious than " I am hiding toys for people to find " LOL

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"The wife said I need to bring the kids home for a proper funeral"

 

"I'm searching for a digital camera my kids dropped while blackberry picking the other day"

 

The second one had the effect of the old chap fetching a strimmer and scyth clearing it all back for me. Cache wasn't there though. It was 10m further down ... flakey signal.

 

Cust.

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" I am looking for the government's secret mind control transmitter"

 

" I am looking for the landing sight of the mothership"

 

"I am looking for Elvis"

" " Bigfoot, Amelia Earhart, DB Cooper,Fountain of Youth, Jersey Devil, .....etc.....you choose.

 

"I dropped a contact"

 

"Don't you hear that? shhhh, the voices, the voices are calling..."

 

" Must find Precious..."

 

Say something totally wierd, and most people will just walk away, but say it like you completely belive it.

 

LOL

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What stories would you care to share????

 

I haven't had a great number of muggle encounters. I carry a small 3x5" notebood (with water proof paper) that I use for jotting down notes that I want to remember for my online logs, copying down coin/tb numbers for discovery, etc. A few times when I have been in the woods and someone comes walking down the trail I might sit down, look up into tree, at my GPS, and write something down. I've never had anyone stop and ask what I was doing.

 

I've been "caught" twice while searching for a cache by the police. The first time I had found the cache, went back to my car to sign the log (it was probably 10 degrees out at the time) then went back and replaced the cache. As I turned around a cop pulled into the small park and stopped. He rolled down his window and asked, "What were you hiding back there?" I explained what geocaching was about and he said I was good to go. Somewhere I've got a paper that I downloaded that has a nice description of geocaching that can be folded in thirds and given to anyone that you might encounter.

 

I got muggled one other time at a cache that is one of the most scenic and tourist spots in town (there is a gorgeous 100' waterfall nearby). It was on a cache that I had DNFd on several times (too many muggles was a legitimate excuse for a couple of those). While searching for it a couple of people had climbed down the steep trail before I could see or hear them coming and asked what I was looking for. I explained Geocaching to them and had a nice chat with them for about 20 minutes. They said it sounded like a lot of fun and wanted to try it sometime. I would have asked if they wanted to help me look but I didn't have time and logged another DNF. I found it withing2 minutes the next time I looked for it.

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I’m glad you started this string, I’ve always been curious how fellow geocachers deal with muggles, and cops—specifically. Sometimes I think it could be a lonely day in the hurt locker if such an encounter isn’t handled properly. Typically, I try to avoid talking to anyone. Timing goes a long way. Strangely, I have never in my several months of doing this run into another geocacher while geocaching. I’m sort of surprised about that, or least I thought I’d see people who I thought were geocaching.

 

Here are some of my solutions to remaining incognito:

 

* Urban environments: I’ve held the GPS to my ear, always seems to work.

 

* Suburban environments (the most difficult I think): move very quickly and if you act like you belong there most people go along with it, I try to blend in when possible and if I anticipate an encounter I attempt to vanish.

 

* Suburban environment at night (even harder if you’re using a light): red filter lens, subdued clothing, one eye for the cache, one eye for everything else. I do most of my caching off of a motorcycle, it is always appropriate to squat next to it and check out the engine.

 

* Rural environments: stay alert surroundings and evade others with or without them knowing you were ever there.

 

Thus far it has worked and I’ve certainly been in some compromising situations/places. I think if I were ever cornered I would tell them exactly what I’m doing instead of fabricating a story, but I rather just skip all of that completely.

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I've been "questioned" by several muggles during my searches. Depending to the situation, I'll make up something or tell them about the game. When I'm caught by the authorities, I'll always tell them about the game. Sometime they let me continue and other times they say to move on. I always keep an explanation paper in my geobag.

 

I've used the excuse of looking for birds or other animals and marking the position.

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"Radiation fallout, please be careful people it is quite dangerous, unless you have had the shots you may want to move on".

 

"I am writing a novel and need some inspiration for the murder scene"

 

"An unexploded Bomb, that my great grandfather said was buried here back in the war"

 

"Wildlife sperm samples, want to help find some?"

 

"I think I left my underwear here last night, I can't really remember as I was very drunk, but believe me she was cute" - Burp!

 

"A small tupperware container with some cheap trinkets in, you know, little plastic soldiers, Micky D toys, fridge magnets. Was left here by a pensioner called Dan out the Can. Want to help me look for it?"

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one occasion: the truth about the game

other time: I work for the us geological survery, and we think there is a quake fault line out here, i am searching for a place to place a sysmograph via GPS coordinates. then a group of men will come and locate the actual hardware, but you cant tell anyone, as kids will desgtroy the equipemnt if they find it"

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This is a different kind of encounter. The first cache that I had ever hidden was about 400 feet from my house along a walking trail. A couple of days after I had hidden the cache, I looked out my window and saw two older ladies searching my front yard and around my basketball goal. I went out and asked them if I could help them and they replied that they were thinking of getting a basketball goal for their house and wanted to look at mine close up. I thought that was rather strange and we talked for a couple of minutes and off they went. After having that weird encounter, I turned on my GPS and checked my coords. for my cache and discovered that I had accidently published that coords. for my house instead of the cache. I quickly posted a note and change the coords. and so far I have not had any more old ladies in my front yard wanting to play basketball. LOL :)

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only once have I been asked. A co-worker & I were out one day on lunch looking for a micro in the middle of town. we were asked what were looking for and if we needed any help. we both looked at each and were silent for a minute then just told him we were on a scavenger hunt. he had a car GPS and asked if his might help, but we just said we were fine and continued our hunt. :laughing:

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My best all-time excuse was to a college student napping in front of the final of a very devious multi-. I explained to him that I was performing a structural integrity test on the area that he was in for my master's thesis. The guy was so nice about asking him to get up, he even asked if he could help! Good thing he didn't know foresters generally don't do buildings... The cache owner applauded my efforts to protect the integrity of the cache location :bad:

 

2nd all time favorite was a way to save a bit of walking. While caching with another local cacher at a cache noted for its LOOOONG hikes between stages, we happened upon a railway worker getting ready to go through an access gate. We knew the next stage was over a mile down the tracks so we hitched a ride. We did, in that case, explain what we were doing after the service he provided. I think we even got him interested in the hunt!

 

Recently, I had a creepy muggle come up and ask me if I was looking for dead bodies. No response and quickly DNF'ed due to the warm cozy feeling he gave me... :rolleyes:

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:blink:After reading all of the replies, I truly believe that we are missing an opportunity to recognize some of the most creative hobbists around. There def needs to be an end of the year award for most creative, yet confirmed, muggle brush off---- Can't wait to see the news coverage, as they show up in thier news vans, in the middle of unbeaten path looking for the nut who is seeking a stray cat who's sitting on an old buried land mine and no one speaks english....
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Only been doing this for about two months now, and already been confronted twice. (I must not be very stealthy :blink: ) The first time a lady who lived in back of a street cache came up and asked me if I had a problem with "her stop sign" I told her no and explained what I was doing. She calmed down and told me "you just can't be too careful any more!" So very true that you just can't trust people with stop signs anymore! :unsure:

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Well this finally happened to me yesterday. I was in a forested area near an apartment complex and adjacent to a walking trail. After about 1-2 minutes of looking, a threesome of teenage boys spotted me and walked past where I was searching. They seemed nice, said hello and then promptly sat on a fallen tree stump right next to where I was (and not far from where I had parked my car). I think they were looking for a place to smoke....(smoke what? I'm still not sure.)

 

Obviously I couldn't continue to search but I did have to walk past them to get to my car. As I passed they asked what I was looking for. I told them I had dropped a piece of jewelry over the past weekend but didn't have luck finding it. That seemed to satisfy them but they also seemed relieved I was leaving.

 

We had a cache in our neighborhood get plundered by some kids about a year ago. These boys may have been caching themselves. I thought about just telling them the truth about what I was doing but I kept thinking about the cache owner and how badly I'd feel if these boys were actually up to no good.

 

Note to self: try to cache when school is still in session and not when the kids are getting out for the day.

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I was checking up on caches on my laptop when working away at a school, and some of the Year 6 children came up and asked me what I was doing- I responded with "Looking for treasure"

 

"But Clare, you can't find treasure on the internet!"

"You can if you know where to look!"

I then explained geocaching to them, which they thought was very cool, but I'm not sure they believed me it really existed!

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I’m glad you started this string, I’ve always been curious how fellow geocachers deal with muggles, and cops—specifically. Sometimes I think it could be a lonely day in the hurt locker if such an encounter isn’t handled properly. Typically, I try to avoid talking to anyone. Timing goes a long way. Strangely, I have never in my several months of doing this run into another geocacher while geocaching. I’m sort of surprised about that, or least I thought I’d see people who I thought were geocaching.

 

Here are some of my solutions to remaining incognito:

 

* Urban environments: I’ve held the GPS to my ear, always seems to work.

 

* Suburban environments (the most difficult I think): move very quickly and if you act like you belong there most people go along with it, I try to blend in when possible and if I anticipate an encounter I attempt to vanish.

 

* Suburban environment at night (even harder if you’re using a light): red filter lens, subdued clothing, one eye for the cache, one eye for everything else. I do most of my caching off of a motorcycle, it is always appropriate to squat next to it and check out the engine.

 

* Rural environments: stay alert surroundings and evade others with or without them knowing you were ever there.

 

Thus far it has worked and I’ve certainly been in some compromising situations/places. I think if I were ever cornered I would tell them exactly what I’m doing instead of fabricating a story, but I rather just skip all of that completely.

 

We have done the "GPS is a cell phone" thing in a few urban areas, walking around like we are trying to get a better signal talking to ourselves. I also find that bringing our 100+ pound rottweiler along tends to keep people from bothering me when I am solo caching.

Edited by littmannlovers
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"If I tell you, I'll have to kill you."

 

"Jack told me the hatch was located somewhere around here." <--For 'Lost' fans. :-)

 

Actually, I haven't had any direct encounters...yet. A cop drove through my location and I immediately suspected he was suspicious of my daughter and I, so I immediately started formulating excuses. We were near a historic site, so I could have said that my daughter and I were tourists. Luckily, nothing happened.

 

I saw on another board the suggestion of carrying a clipboard, as that makes you look 'official.' I think it's a brilliant idea! Might try it.

Edited by Toaster Rodeo
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Had an almost first encounter today. Took a friend and told him to stop looking, there are people coming. We were off the path and looked very suspicious. I had a pad of paper and the gps so in my head I played out we were conservationist looking for a rare frog. Luckily they kept walking.

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I've never had trouble when out in the open, e.g. doing urban caches. And only twice have I been asked what I was doing. Each of those times I was searching in trees and brush, was just off a trail and had people walk by. With GPS in hand I just told them I was a surveyor and "somewhere around here is a property line marker." I figured if I told them I had lost something, esp. jewelry, they would come back and look themselves. NOBODY seems to be interested in looking for a property marker.

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I usually answer them as I would if s/he was a police officer. Since I'm not doing anything wrong, I figure a real explanation gets them to see me as quirky instead of kooky. Think of it this way: If you saw somebody acting strange in YOUR neighborhood, would you be more likely to keep an eye on them if they said they were geocaching or if they said they were looking for bodies/UFOs/lost city of Atlantis etc?

 

But I do like the property line answer :D

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Back when we first started geocaching we would pretend the GPS was a camera or cell phone but now we keep a stash note and a print out from our local geocaching association on us whenever we geocache. This way it's easy to explain it and if need be get them to read up a little on it.

 

I think the worst thing you could do is hide away from the muggle, or quickly put your gps back in your pocket. It makes you look suspicious. Geocaching isn't illegal, so there's nothing to hide!

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I have never been caught by a muggle while caching. But one time, as I was walking into a park with my GPS (I have a Garmin GPSmap60) I had a lady as if I worked there. I think my GPS makes me look like a park ranger or a maitenence person. Well this lady asked if I worked at the park, I said no. (I live in TX). She asked me if there are a lot of snakes in the park. I told her that I have seen a few but I have yet to see a venomous one. She looked horrified and asked me what she should do if she sees one. At this point I was having to hide my amusement at her idiosy. I just said, stay away from it. If you see one, just don't go near it.

 

I swear, some people are so ignorent, it is funny and sad at the same time.

 

What I didn't tell her was that I like to catch snakes and play with them, I think they are cute...unless you get a king snake that poops on you, then that isn't so good, but a little garder snake is fun to play with. I wonder what her expression would have been if I had told her that! :)

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I've only once ever encountered anyone who really seemed to pay us any attention and ask any questions. And he simply asked "are you letterboxing?". I explained we were playing a similar game called geocaching, and it was played with a gps. He was satisfied, but watched us for a few minutes as we wandered around trying not to get too close to the actual cache incase he might later become a muggle.

 

I've found since I cache with the 3 kiddos nobody pays us any attention. We could be out NOT geocaching and make the same moves just checking out a pine cone on the ground or anything else (although they are getting older, they still stop to pick things up along the walk).

 

Since hubby has a back injury that makes it difficult to walk, he drives us around and lets us out at the nearest parking area. We actually worry more about HIM looking more suspicious than us. Let's see, mom and 3 kids walking through the park looking for a geocache. Middle aged man sitting alone in a vehicle parked next to a playground. Yep, he gets all the attention, NOT us, lol. I just made sure I printed him out a geocaching brochure incase he needs to explain himself to law enforcement really quick, lol.

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I had accidently published that coords. for my house instead of the cache.

 

I almost did that, I was testing my "mark" feature since it was my first cache placement and thought I had the coordinates of the new cache I placed. Luckily we decided to go back and take 4-5 readings to average and realized the first one I had was NOT the cache at all but my house. Glad I figured that out before it was published, my dogs wouldn't have been too happy, lol.

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I've only been caught by the police once but the funny thing was he drove up to us and asked "Did you find it?"

 

That doesn't suprise me, the FTF on my new cache today was a State Trooper. I'm just glad that there are people like him in the position to advocate for our hobby.

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You can try talking to yourself and walking in circles. Wait, we already do that! B)

Holly cow is that funny.

I had a muggle as me "how many bars I had?" he thought I was looking at my cell phone. I told him I was not getting good reception and moved on.

Mostly I try to explain what I am doing to see if they are interested. Most are.

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I went caching with a few other cachers from the area last weekend. One of the caches we did was a micro hidden near a memorial shrine. The funny thing about this particular hide was that it was on the other side of an almost waist deep stream that was flowing pretty good. When we arrived there were 2 young muggles on a 4-wheeler . They both followed us around and asked questions while we paced the opposite bank from the cache trying to figure out if there was an easier way over. I'm always hesitant to tell youngsters that there's a cache nearby, so we only mentioned that "it" was on the other side of the stream and that we needed to get across. Eventually we decided that there wasn't an easier way and waded across the creek. In this case, we didn't have to tell them anything because nature provided a barrier to keep them from watching us search. It took about 15 minutes to find the micro and when we returned to the other side of the stream the crowd had grown quite dramatically. There were now five quads, a golf cart, a pickup truck, and 2 SUVs. I couldn't help but notice one particular fellow in the pickup truck that had a huge smile on his face and couldn't stop laughing when he saw us emerge from the creek.

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Ha-Ha those are some pretty funny stories. I haven't been caching for all that long, but I do have a pretty good story. I placed my first cache, "Tennis Anyone (My First Cache)" near the tennis courts where my high school, team practices. One day while at practice, our head coach was talking to us, when he leaned back against the wall next to the courts, and as luck would have it, stuck his hand right into the hole where the cache was. He pulled it out with a puzzled look, and I had to explain the concept of caching to the entire team. After I had finished talking, they all had odd looks on their faces (except for my good friend who is also my caching partner). The team was saying things like "Geo-what" "FTF DNF . . .WTF?", and "what in the world is a GPSr?". I just smiled and laughed. As far as field excuses go, if I think I can trust the muggle, I tell them exactly what I'm doing. If I don't think I can trust him, I make up some weird excuse which usually works.

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As a law enforcement officer that caches...if encountered by police tell the truth(I cant stress that enough). Most (and I mean most, not all) will understand. You may have to dumb it down to terms like "treasure hunting with a GPS unit" but if you got caught in a lie or deception that may cause for further delays and questioning. Whether you like it or not police are paid to be observant and to ask questions for something that doesnt make sense. Such as someone looking around a bush for 5 minutes!

 

Good luck caching and I hope your encounters with police are more encouraging than less than memorable!

-XC

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Im with some of the other on this one... I always explain what im doing and explain what geocaching is. If i feel that they can not be trusted whis is pretty rare then i just dont look for it and come again another day. Usally the person sounds pretty interested and when they do i invite them along for the hunt. Correct me if im wrong but isnt caching sorta along the lines of "the more the marrier".

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"Who am I? Why am I here? What planet is this? I demand you take me to your command authority as designated by your governmental structure system or cultural identity ascriptions! Why am I naked?"

 

When said as rapidly as possible it has a rather stunning effect.

 

Of course, you could always try plan B... just tell them the truth. I always keep a stack of pamphlets from Geocacher University on hand. It helps do wonders in explaining what I am doing.

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