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Encountering a Muggle


liquidswar
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We had a muggle encounter recently in a mall parking lot with mall security on patrol. He saw me placing the cache back under a lampskirt from afar and drove up to inquire what I was doing with the lightpole.

 

We are still new at this, and my husband's understanding is that no muggles are to find out about caches. Going by the letter of the law, he didn't want to explain what we were doing and told him we would just leave the property. I felt that by doing this, he'd go examine the lampskirt after we'd leave and probably destroy the cache. I explained we were geocaching, and he understood what it was already (he was just checking).

 

However, I am finding trouble doing other urban caches because of the muggle factor - my husband's plan is to dart if we see anyone approaching (but what if it's a fellow geocacher wanting to meet and greet?). What have been your experiences with muggles approaching you asking what you are doing? Should we just try to make an excuse so we don't give away the cache, and what if we know the cache is compromised - we should explain it, right? My husband believes in not explaining ourselves to anyone but police (if we ever get approached by one). :ph34r:

 

Also, anyone got any interesting stories of direct muggle encounters?

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It depends on the situation. If it is someone with authority, for example a police officer or the land owner, you are best off leveling with the person.

 

In theory you should have a right to be wherever a cache is hidden, so the only reason to keep your activities

secret is to prevent vandals, spoilsports and busybodies from tampering with the cache. Of course that isn't always the case and caches are sometimes placed where they shouldn't be.

 

In situations where you are there legally use your instincts to make the call. If it's a seemingly friendly dad and his kids, perhaps you can introduce them to the sport. If its a few beer drinking teenagers, a neighborhood busybody, or the local curmudgeon, it might be a good idea to kep what your are doing under wraps..

 

In situations where you find yourself potentially breaking the law (e.g. trespassing, parking on a highway, breaking park rules, etc.) its best to leave when confronted (and even if not) and issue a Needs Archived cache log explaining why the cache is in a poorly chosen location.

Edited by briansnat
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My general rule when asked is to explain what I'm doing, and if they seem interested at all I may give them a pamphlet on Geocaching.

 

However, I do try to size up the people asking. If they look like they may be more interested in taking or destroying the cache, I will not be quite so open. :ph34r:

 

Also, if possible I try to retrieve and return a cache without being seen.

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We are still new at this, and my husband's understanding is that no muggles are to find out about caches. Going by the letter of the law, he didn't want to explain what we were doing and told him we would just leave the property. I felt that by doing this, he'd go examine the lampskirt after we'd leave and probably destroy the cache. I explained we were geocaching, and he understood what it was already (he was just checking).

 

Just on a side note, this mall security cop, once explained to that we were geocaching, informed me of two other caches hidden within the mall parking lot, and gave me some advice about the one I was heading to next. Too bad he wasn't consulted on spoilers - I tuned out what he was telling me when I realized he was giving away how to find it. :ph34r:

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Get some muggle cards at www.geocachingu.com (free to print yourself). I printed about 20 or so on cardstock and keep them in my swag bag. They've come in handy a few times.

 

The other posts are all good advice. Use your judgment with non-authority figures. I enjoy talking about the hobby and hope that others would be interested too. If they seem like nice friendly folks I've sometimes talked for quite a while.

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One tip while doing something like a lamppost micro... Once you have figured out & found the cache, take it a distance away from the lamppost to do your logging. Then only after you're done, take it back to the lamppost and re-deposit it as you found it.

 

Never stand beside the lamppost the whole time you are logging the cache, looks too suspicious!

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I try to stay away from lamppost micros, because that's not my kind of caching, but sometimes, you just have to do them (I've even done one while I was asleep, my name is signed on the log, I swear!). Park your car so you block it, have a friend block the views if possible, and log from inside the car.

In other situations, when I am doing the kind of caches I like to find, the ones in the woods, or in a park, when I've got the ammo can or tupperware open on my lap, or on a stump or something, and a muggle comes along, I turn to my geocaching buddy and ask them if they want peanut butter and jelly, or ham and cheese, and cover/close the container. This might get some strange looks when you're 50' off the trail, but it works.

If I'm still searching I pull out the camera or start talking to someone on my GPS, or even pretend the GPS is a camera.

Otherwise, I walk away and come back later.

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Also, anyone got any interesting stories of direct muggle encounters?

 

Here's one of my favorites. I was out in Mountain View, CA last year for a meeting at Google and scheduled a late flight back home the following day specifically so that I could spend some time in that cache rich area.

After spending several hours finding lots of caches I was making my way back toward the airport and went to find a couple of caches that were out near the bay in a open space area that had some wide flat trails going through it that seemed to be used by joggers but when I parked I didn't see anyone around. I started down the trail looking for a cache, that from what I gathered from the name was probably hidden in a large stump. I came to a spot where the trail ran straight for a couple of thousand feet and saw someone in the middle of the trail several hundred from where I was, which according to my GPS, also seemed to about the same distance to the cache). The muggle was jumping rope, and as I approached, noticed that he had picked a spot not more that 15' from a large stump to do so. I continued walking past, nodding as I went by, glancing over my shoulder occasionally to see if we was going to move on. He didn't. Eventually, I got to a chain link fence around some sort of building and had to turn around. I walked back to the muggle, said hello and told him exactly what I was about to do. He stopped jumping rope and watched as I found the cache then asked a few questions about the game. Then he said, "looks like fun, it's probably good exercise too", then put his headphones back on and continued jumping rope.

 

I ended up finding more caches that day (but quite a bit) than any other day of cacheing. Most of them were pretty unforgettable but that particular cache was memorable because of the unusual muggle encounter.

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i find myself wondering the same thing. we're pretty new to caching.. so it takes us some time to make the find. its hard NOT to encounter muggles at this stage in the game.

 

here's a funny story for ya...

 

my partner in crime(P.I.C for short) and myself were out in an area close to our home that we THOUGHT we knew pretty well. as we were walking to the area where we thought we'd make the find, we noticed it was covered with swimming muggles. we continued down the path and came to a picnic table. we took a seat, contemplated what to do, and decided to check the area to see if we could see anything. all of a sudden we notice a man in a canoe right smack in the middle of the river fishing.. about 20 feet away from us. he must have seen us poking around and started rowing to shore.

 

P.I.C and I looked at eachother knowing well that we'd have to explain ourselves. he came ashore and made conversation. i mentioned we were 'looking for treasure' and ended up telling him what we were doing (he seemed like a cool guy). he said that he had been looking up caches in the area a few nights before and he knew there were a few in that particular area and started mentioning other cachers by username (bcc picnic to be exact). he said he knew what it was, but that he didnt have a GPS so he hadn't ever gotten a chance to go, and offered to help us look around a few potential spots.. all of them leaving us empty handed.

 

the man disappeared for about 5 minutes while we were searching right on the banks of the river. a 2nd and 3rd muggle came by in a paddle boat and asked 'what i was looking for'.. i said 'nothing'. P.I.C and i were about to give up. We walked back to the man's boat to say goodbye and thanks him for trying to help. He came from further down the trail and says "how long to you girls have?".. this confused us. he seemed to know all about caching when we first met, so i figured he knew that they were always there. then he says "tell ya what, i dont have much time here .. so i'll give ya a hint if you promise to post that the Freaky River Dude helped you find it".... so after some complaining on our part (we KNEW he knew where it was), we walked on down the trail. and sure enough..... about 150 feet from where we were looking.... there it was... staring right at us. he was nice enough to almost lead us off course so we could make the find ourselves.

 

anyway -- def. was in our best interest this time to make conversation. otherwise we never would have found it and would have left empty handed. instead we got a smiley... got to send some handmade jewelery out into the world...and left with some pretty funny memories :-)

 

those muggle cards are a fantastic idea, i'm going to print a few

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Maybe I'm a little more hardcore, but I never tell anyone anything. I've learned that (in general, not geocaching specifically) it's impossible to size people up by appearance alone, so the risk is too high to let them know what I'm doing.

 

If asked at all, which is rare (see below), I just make an excuse about hiking (for park caches), and I have a little notebook (for urban caches) and just say something vague (e.g. "I'm monitoring the area").

 

However, your best offense is a good defense, so to speak: Just avoid being caught!

 

1) Start with the above advice of bringing things back to your car, or at least away from GZ when you find them. Much less suspicious that way.

 

2) Be super stealthful all the time for urban caches. Assume people are watching! Talk on your phone, wander around like you're busy, and try to grab the cache without making it obvious. Lifting up a lampskirt can be done behind your back while sitting on the lamp, and you can usually feel around and grab the cache. Then follow #1 above.

 

3) Absolute worst case, if a muggle just won't go away after you successfully got the cache, come back later to put it back (same day).

 

4) Wear something with the geocaching logo on it. Fellow GCers will know what it is and say something, no one else will. That way you don't have to say anything. I use the baseball cap most of the time, and the white shirt as well. Perfect (and came in useful once when I met a fellow cacher who started to give me a hard time, then fessed up!).

 

Anyway, it's mostly common sense. But I definitely err on the side of not telling anyone anything, and doing my best to avoid encounters rather than having to explain myself.

Edited by AbMagFab
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We had a muggle encounter recently in a mall parking lot with mall security on patrol. He saw me placing the cache back under a lampskirt from afar and drove up to inquire what I was doing with the lightpole.

 

Is a security guard or a property manager really considered a muggle? Don't they have a right to be immediately told of your intentions on their property?

 

Do people generally not get permission to place micros in parking lots?

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Get some muggle cards at www.geocachingu.com (free to print yourself). I printed about 20 or so on cardstock and keep them in my swag bag. They've come in handy a few times.

 

Where are these cards available at? That address doesn't work.

 

And just my 2 cents on the subject - if it weren't for a fellow geocacher explaining to me what he was doing, I wouldn't have known about the sport and wouldn't be here today.... he simply told me he was "on a virtual scavenger hunt", which then could have lead to 2 different scenario's - first, if that sounded boring to me, I'd have left him be and gone on my way. But, as it intrigued me somewhat, I started asking questions and he was more than happy to show me what he was up to. Even brought me with him to the cache he was looking for so I could check it out, and that was all it took to get me hooked. I've even ended up giving up one of my other hobbies and selling my equipment so I could get my own GPS and stuff, and my wife and I now have a hobby that we both are having fun doing together, and eventually when our son gets older I'm sure he'll enjoy it with us too!

 

Had the guy been stand-offish and not given me the time of day, I would have never known......

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I've done the pretending-your-GPS-is-a-cellphone thing a few times. It also helps to carry a clipboard or notebook and pretend to make notes about whatever you're inspecting/searching through. I also have this shirt that looks a lot like a highway worker shirt I've worn a few times. I've thought about getting a "Guardrail Inspector" name tag...although, "Lightpole Inspector" would be good, too... :)

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Our team had been searching for a cache at a local restaurant that was placed without any meaningful hints and coordinates that were about 30’ off. We had searched about 3 times with dnf's. Finally we made one last search on a Saturday afternoon when muggle activity was high. I was on my hands and knees looking under a ledge on the front wall of the building when a very friendly couple stopped and asked if I had lost something. I replied that I had dropped the set out of my ring. They asked what does it look like and I described a March birth stone. They helped me look for it for about 10 minutes and asked if I had a flashlight. I said yes it's in the car. I went to the car to tell my partner not to bring the gps onsite that I had been discovered by muggles and returned to the site with my flashlight. We searched a few more minutes and they left. I got away with that one.

It wasn’t 2 minutes later when a lady that was eating near the window came out and asked what I was doing. I could not spin up another story to beat that one so I confessed and explained geocacheing. She said that sounds like fun and returned to her meal. We later found the cache :a nano attached to an old fashion grass trimmer hanging on the wall.

 

On another occasion I was caught by a guy eating his lunch in his car parked next to a cache site at an auto parts store. I just told him that I was leaving my lunch order for tomorrow and a catering service will come by later and get it. That worked also, though he thought it was a little strange.

 

Then there is always the Fuzz and the rent a cop. It is best to tell them the truth. Sometimes they can direct you to what you are searching for.

 

Shadow rider11

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This didn't happen to me but it did happen yesterday to someone looking for one of my more difficult caches. They had been searching for a difficulty 4 in an urban environment and when they had given up and were heading to their car a worker from a restaurant that was several hundred feet away yet within view ran out crossed the street and directed them where to look. The cache seems to provide a bit of entertainment for some benevolent muggles.

 

I'm planning on introducing myself and seeing if they would like to learn more about the game.

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We had a muggle encounter recently in a mall parking lot with mall security on patrol. He saw me placing the cache back under a lampskirt from afar and drove up to inquire what I was doing with the lightpole.

 

We are still new at this, and my husband's understanding is that no muggles are to find out about caches. Going by the letter of the law, he didn't want to explain what we were doing and told him we would just leave the property. I felt that by doing this, he'd go examine the lampskirt after we'd leave and probably destroy the cache. I explained we were geocaching, and he understood what it was already (he was just checking).

 

However, I am finding trouble doing other urban caches because of the muggle factor - my husband's plan is to dart if we see anyone approaching (but what if it's a fellow geocacher wanting to meet and greet?). What have been your experiences with muggles approaching you asking what you are doing? Should we just try to make an excuse so we don't give away the cache, and what if we know the cache is compromised - we should explain it, right? My husband believes in not explaining ourselves to anyone but police (if we ever get approached by one). :anibad:

 

Also, anyone got any interesting stories of direct muggle encounters?

 

When I was returning to my car after finding a new hide (FTF), An angry man for across the street came over to my car. He damanded to know what I was doing at this playground. I told him not to be alarmed and explained a little about geocaching. I told him to look up geocahing.com and he could learn more about it. He said he was not happy about the playground being used for this. I said some cachers feel the same. That is why I came here at 7:30 Sunday morning.

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The above reply is one of the many reasons I avoid all the "I'm geocaching crap." When I first began, I used to get freaked out about muggles but since I've changed my method, I've had numerous encounters but they almost always go smooth and I've never had an incident. Here is what I do:

 

-For authority (police officer, land owner with premission, etc.) I simply say "I'm geocaching". Actually never had this happen but this is what I would do.

-For so, so authority (security guard, store owner who thinks they own the sidewalk) I simply say "I'm on a scavenger hunt. Ends right there about everytime.

 

Everyone else, I say "I'm looking for something, wanta help?" A couple times the next question is "What are looking for?" I have a couple wild tales I like to tell, but my favorite goes like this:

 

My girlfriend (I'm married BTW) and I were standing here and she got mad at me and threw a cheap ring at me that I had once won for her at a fair by knocking down some milk bottles. She would wear it for sentimental value. Well, we've made up now and I thought it would be kind of romantic if I found it for her.

 

I tell this story as I continue to search for the cache. Almost always, they start changing their dialog for an excuse to get out of there. Most of the time I don't have to tell the story because once you say "Wanna help?" it puts the game on them. Most are just being nosy. They didn't realize there would be real work invovled and they quickly make an excuse to get out of there. They're nosy curiousity has been satisfied. I had one nosy old guy, who obviously didn't want to help but had no problem standing there watching me search and occasionally making small talk. Finally, I said "so are you going to help me or not?" He made an excuse about a bad back and moved on.

 

I've actually had a lady start helping me as I was searching a line of bushes for a decon. "As soon as she did, I told her that I was actually standing about 20 feet that way at the end of the bushes but I searched their yesterday. Maybe you could go down to that end and double check it for me. She did, got bored quick and made an excuse to bolt."

 

I'm just about muggle immune now. People just don't care. I ended up at a cache in a hospital parking lot again searching for a decon in a bush line. After about 2 minutes I look up and there are several big windows to offices or a reception area of the hospital and several people were just stading there watching me. I waved a big goofy wave and just went right on searching. Found it, logged it (discretly, no one saw this part) and moved on. The cache is still on my watch list and still being found over a year later.

 

For the example above, instead of telling the angry man you're geocaching, you just use my story but you change it to. "My wife and I had taken our son to the park, when we got in an arguement and she threw her $7000 wedding ring at me. I searched and searched and couldn't find it. I was just coming back to search some more. I have to go to work now but I'll be back to look some more." Then circle the block and see how long he searches for that $7000 wedding ring :).

Edited by Morning Dew
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We had a muggle encounter recently in a mall parking lot with mall security on patrol. He saw me placing the cache back under a lampskirt from afar and drove up to inquire what I was doing with the lightpole.

 

Is a security guard or a property manager really considered a muggle? Don't they have a right to be immediately told of your intentions on their property?

 

Do people generally not get permission to place micros in parking lots?

 

No response? That's odd.

Edited by Team Cotati
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I try to stay away from lamppost micros, because that's not my kind of caching, but sometimes, you just have to do them (I've even done one while I was asleep, my name is signed on the log, I swear!). Park your car so you block it, have a friend block the views if possible, and log from inside the car.

In other situations, when I am doing the kind of caches I like to find, the ones in the woods, or in a park, when I've got the ammo can or tupperware open on my lap, or on a stump or something, and a muggle comes along, I turn to my geocaching buddy and ask them if they want peanut butter and jelly, or ham and cheese, and cover/close the container. This might get some strange looks when you're 50' off the trail, but it works.

If I'm still searching I pull out the camera or start talking to someone on my GPS, or even pretend the GPS is a camera.

Otherwise, I walk away and come back later.

 

I know what you are talking about (lampost micros)! This mirco took 20-25 mins of searching before i found the little guy!! We simply acted like we knew what we were doing??!! We normally just say: 'we're on a 'high-tech' treasure hunt using a GPS'.lamppostmicro.jpg

Edited by Lovey Pigs
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ok Im really new at GPS'ing.

 

I looked and looked for the cards at the above site and couldnt find them. Is there a new link?

 

Pigs....too funny! I went in search of a cache a few days ago, couldnt find. Knew it was there - there was recent finds on the log. Returned with hubby tonight...WALKED OVER IT. Walked by it. Tripped over it. And hubby said --- FOUND IT.

 

Yup -- it was just like that ^.

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ok Im really new at GPS'ing.

 

I looked and looked for the cards at the above site and couldnt find them. Is there a new link?

 

 

He typed it wrong. Go here and scroll down.

 

http://www.geocacher-u.com/

 

 

 

Here's my encounter.

 

We were geocaching in the mountains last weekend. We were my wife, two kids (3 and 5), and my friends with their three kids (7-12). Hunting in groups is a lot of fun and safe, so I thought! The geocaching out there is pretty much out in the middle of the forest looking under rocks and logs. We took a little while to find this particular cach and the kids finally jumped on it! They pulled it out and started putting some of their trinkets and toys in.

 

Almost at the same time two tweekers came out from behind a bush and started accusing us of trying to take their campsite. They were filthy dirty, full of tattoos & body piercings, drinking beer, and appeared to be sketching a bit. I noticed one had a gun in his back pocket. We told them we wanted nothing to do with their campsite and my buddy starts playing it real cool and tells them straight up what we are doing. He shows them the gps and the toys and log inside the container. They start telling us people were driving back & forth the night before and they were getting upset and said if they drive by one more time or if they find them they were going to shoot them.

 

Just then alarms started going off in my head and I felt possible danger. I started thinking up different scenarios as to what could possibly happen at this point and what I was going to do, putting a plan into action if you will. I had a .45 in my truck and it was about 350 ft. away from me. I was trying to think of some way to get to it. I started walking the general direction of my truck but nobody was moving. I think everyone was pretty much scared at this point. I put together a couple plans to which if the guy fired a shot at me I was going to try to keep running at him to try to jump on him & suck up the bullets so my friend could have a chance to jump him with me blocking his view.

If that didn't happen, it was run for the truck and come back to save the day. Needless to say my adrenaline was pumping pretty good.

 

Just then the kid starts pulling the gun in and out of his pants. He pulls it out, turns it sideways, looks at it curiously like he’s not seen a gun before or like he stole it and is checking it out, then puts it in his pants again. I’m thinking oh great the kids are going to freak! I almost made a mad dash for the truck myself! But the kids remained cool as did I. He starts saying things like pretty cool huh? “Don’t worry man, I’ve got the safety on, Don’t worry I’ve got the safety on.”

 

Just then my buddy looks down at the gun the next time he pulls it out and says, “Hey is that a pellet gun? I used to have one just like it! Does the CO2 leak out all the time?” He starts engaging conversation with the guy. The guy is totally believing and getting into the conversation my friend is working. I take a look down at the gun and I see a little tab on the bottom of the pistol grip. “It is a pellet gun!!!!” Well that was a huge relief! But I still was a bit uncomfortable because I didn’t want to get shot with a pellet. The plan was to still make a run for the .45 in the truck then come back and try to maintain some sort of control of the situation if things got worse.

 

We started just engaging in useless banter just to waste some time, telling stories we thought would amaze them or some dumb jokes. I started realizing how screwed up they were by how completely idiotic their poor excuse for a joke was. I was thinking if we all stood there long enough one of us would think of a way out of this. It was an uncomfortable situation and we were tiptoeing around our words to be sure not to upset them.

 

I turned to my friend and said hey its getting dark lets go find another geocach before it too late? One of the tweekers says yeah lets go find some! My friend and his quick wit says the next cach is a long ways away from here, we’ll be driving a while. This seemed to disinterest the kid as his camp was 500 feet from us and I think he wanted to head back for more beer.

 

So we started walking back to the trucks & put the kids in their carseats when one of the tweekers tells my buddy hey come over & check out our wood pile. Or something like that. I really wasn’t sure what he said but I saw my friend disappear behind some trees around a bend down a short winding road.

 

I get my kids buckled in, cup my hands around my mouth, and yell out to my friend “Com’on lets go!!!!” A few seconds later I see him running back up the road towards us. I start my truck and he walks by me and says “How do you eloquently end a situation LIKE THAT?” I said, “THAT’S exactly why I yelled for you!”

 

All turned out good for us but it made me realize what a crazy world we live in and it’s not just on the news you see on tv or hear on the radio. What I learned; we were lucky this time, but we need to be aware of our surroundings. Do not walk into a dangerous situation if at all possible. If you have even the slightest little feeling that something seems a little “off”, get out of the area and reassess what might be happening. In this situation we were taken by surprise but I was certainly glad to have had numbers on my side.

 

:laughing:

Edited by Four2Score
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My general rule when asked is to explain what I'm doing, and if they seem interested at all I may give them a pamphlet on Geocaching.

 

However, I do try to size up the people asking. If they look like they may be more interested in taking or destroying the cache, I will not be quite so open. B)

 

Also, if possible I try to retrieve and return a cache without being seen.

 

Where do you get these pamphlets at? Is there a website that you can print off a page about geocaching if someone finds it by accident?

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