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Atlas Quest

Letterboxing Glossary: M

magnetic north
To where the compass points, a location about 1,400 miles south of the North Pole and true north.

In a galaxy far, far away, in a time a long time ago, there was a humanoid working on a project. At the time, it had no name. It was a website about letterboxing, tentatively referred to as Letterboxing 101 for lack of a better name. It had tutorials (among other features), and it needed pictures to make things look cute and welcoming. Completely unrelated, but happening simultaneously, his girlfriend read a book called Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same—an amusing book of a cute little Easter chicken in ridiculous and hilarious settings. She decided to make her own such photos setting chicks in famous Nancy Drew scenes, then did one with the chick trying to carve a stamp. It was hilarious, and the humanoid working on the website decided to add it to the Stamp Carving tutorial. He liked it so much, they worked to get additional humorous photos, one for each tutorial.

They had a lot of fun taking photos, and the girlfriend decided to name that first chick in the first photo Marjorie, because it was yellow, the color of margarine. Later, when the name for the website was decided upon (Atlas Quest), the girlfriend suggested that it would be funny to create a photo with the world on the chick’s shoulders, in the pose of the classical Greek mythology. So it was done. It was liked. And it became the official Atlas Quest logo.

Over the years, other details about Marjorie’s life have come out. She was born in Indianapolis, is married to a nice chicken named George, and has a kid named George Jr. And she has a dark past she prefers not to talk about. And she’s been the popular and ageless mascot for Atlas Quest ever since.

Marjorie, the AQ mascot
Martha Stewart
Martha joined the letterboxing lexicon on April Fools Day 2002. The perpetrator of the joke, Legerdemaine, indicated that he was contacted by “The Martha” wanting to do a show about letterboxing—publicity that he felt the letterboxing community was not prepared to handle. Several on-going inside jokes have resulted, including the famous K-Martha hitchhiker, that have lasted through to the present day.
A popular carving medium sold by Staedtler Mars. Most of the sizes available are famous for being so thick it can be carved on both sides, or even the edges.
Short for Missing In Action, a box designated as MIA is unaccounted for and presumed missing.
An extremely small letterbox, usually hidden in urban locations where larger boxes are too difficult to hide well. Film canisters set the standard for a microbox, but any letterbox of an equivalent size are considered microboxes.
missing letterbox
A letterbox that has been confirmed as missing, regardless of reason.
The part of a stamp, usually made of wood, glued to provide structural support to the stamp and allow an even impression to be made.
Someone who, for some horrible reason, has never discovered the joys of letterboxing and is more likely to mistake a strange box in the woods as something evil rather than an object of great beauty and joy. A term borrowed from the well-known Harry Potter books where a muggle is someone without magic powers.
muggle card
Sometimes muggles (see entry above) find letterboxes by accident. A muggle card is left in letterboxes to educate the muggle that found it about letterboxing, explaining what they found and what to do with the letterbox. It’s not required, but for letterboxes in high-traffic areas, it can be prudent to include one. Sometimes, you’ll find them available for sale in the AQ Marketplace or make your own. There are templates from the Forms Center to get you started.
Muggle Cards
mystery letterbox
A letterbox whose clue does not explicitly state the starting point for the hunt. Letterboxers must figure out where to start based on sometimes cryptic (and possibly annoying!) hints contained within the clue.