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Gishwhes is a massive global scavenger Hunt that is part silliness, part art, part kindness and 100% fun.

– GISHWHES, Source

G.I.S.H.W.H.E.S (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) is a scavenger hunt hosted by Misha Collins.


In January 2011, Misha Collins ran a scavenger hunt known as the Rhino Puzzle for fans around the world. At its conclusion he promised to run another scavenger hunt which is GISHWHES - the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. The items to be collected were to be submitted via pictures, videos or websites.

Misha tantalised fans about the project with an enigmatic video released in September 2011 on the original website

Another co-conspirator to the GISHWHES phenomena, Miss Jean Louis, spent several years as a backup dancer for John Jacobson (of “Double Dream Hands” fame) but found the job to be unfulfilling. After a few years of working as a banana farmer, she found her true calling and retrained as a dental hygienist. When that didn't work out, Miss Jean Louis again turned to the world of bananas for solace, until meeting Mr. Misha Collins at BananaCon'96. It was this random and brief connection over a deluxe banana split that would catapult her career track into overdrive in the coming years.


2011 winners, Team #83

Dates: November 18-29, 2011. The hunt commenced on November 18th at 2:12 am Moscow Daylight Time and ends at Tuesday, November 29th at 10:44 am.

Prize: The 2011 winning team joined Misha for a romantic spaghetti dinner in Rome, Italy.

Winning Team: Team #83. Two individual contestants were also chosen to fly to Rome.

Items: Full 2011 List of Items, Full 2011 List of Items

The list included items such as

Photos of:

  • An unconventional, but practical, use of Mayonnaise. (9 points)
  • Photograph a bust or statue of Nicolae Ceaușescu wearing a sock monkey hat. (14 points)
  • A woman wearing a dress (and only the dress) made entirely from bacon. (43 points)

Video of:

  • A church choir singing “eye of the tiger” in a church. (32 points)
  • Attorneys playing musical chairs. (11 points)
  • A parrot onstage at a comedy club doing improv. (15 points)

The entry fee was a donation of minimum $10, or an essay to a topic dictated by Misha.

Misha Collins with the 2011 Guinness Certificate

Misha had consulted with the Guinness Book of World records, and to win the record for the 'Worlds Biggest Digital Scavenger Hunt' 500 teams were required to participate. In the end over 6,200 participants from 65 countries signed up to form 621 teams of 10 people. The Competition now hold the Guinness Book of Records record for the largest photo scavenger hunt.

Items from the hunt



2012 winners, Team Badwolf

Dates: October 30–November 4, 2012

Prize: The 2012 winning team participated in a slumber party at a haunted castle in Scotland with Misha Collins.

Winning Team: Team Badwolf

Items: Full 2012 List of Items, Full 2012 List of Items

The list included items such as

Photos of:

  • A uniformed Burger King employee enjoying a McDonald’s Happy Meal (33 points)
  • Hug a uniformed Veteran (42 points)
  • Create a portrait of Jensen Ackles entirely out of skittles doing his pouty “Blue Steel” look. Must be AT LEAST 2 feet by 2 feet (38 points)

Video of:

  • Wearing swim flippers and a mask, approach a complete stranger in a public space and then hand them a “seaweed bouquet” with one flower in the middle of it (82 points)
  • Three of you dress up like frogs and play “leapfrog” in your local Starbucks or chain coffee shop. We must see patrons and must hear “Ribbit!” each time you leap (31 points)
  • Recite “The Raven” to a crow (21 points)

Items from the hunt



2013 winners, Team Vatican Cameos

Dates: August 11–18, 2013

Prize: The 2013 winning team went on a viking seaplane adventure with Misha Collins in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Winning Team: Team Vatican Cameos

Items: Full 2013 List of Items, Full 2013 List of Items

The list included items such as

Photos of:

  • A stormtrooper at a laundry mat folding clothes (56 points)
  • A fully dressed nun in her habit going down a waterslide or swinging on a rope into a river (100 points)
  • Retrofit a wheelchair and its owner to look like a powerful superhero in a “Gishmobile.” (69 points)

Video of:

  • Go to work dressed as a robot. We must see clips of you getting ready in the morning, commuting, and arriving at work and doing your job. We must also see the reactions of people you pass on your commute and/or at work (102 points)
  • Have elementary school kids perform the Ukranian Arkan dance or the Greek Kechagiadikos dance – we’re not prejudiced so either is acceptable (63 points)
  • A university professor giving a technical explanation of why the telegraph will inevitably be making a comeback (58 points)

Items from the hunt



2014 winners, Team Impala

Dates: August 2-9, 2014

Prize: The 2014 winning team was treated to a survivor-style weekend adventure of revelry, mayhem and wondermentation in Croatia on a pirate ship captained by Misha Collins.

Winning Team: Team Impala (Interview by GISHWHES-is-coming)

Items: Full 2014 List of Items

The list included items such as

Photos of:

  • Find an object that you’re holding onto for all the wrong reasons. Destroy it mightily (17 points)
  • Stage a mini-newspaper boat regatta in a public fountain with at least four competing vessels. We must see intense competitiveness and gambling (23 points)
  • Suck blood from a doughnut (10 points)

Video of:

  • Go through a drive-through at a fast food restaurant in your invisible car. Order, among other things, a Diet Water. You must have a passenger in your invisible car, and you both must be “seated.”(36 points)
  • (slow motion). Set to opera music, stage a water balloon fight between 10 or more participants all wearing business suits (44 points)
  • Create a Rube Goldberg machine that includes “Eye of the Tiger”, an image of John Travolta, a toilet plunger, and acorns, among other things (91 points)

Items from the hunt



Dates: August 1-8, 2015.

Prize: The 2015 winning team joins Misha Collins on a trip to Costa Rica.

Winning Team: Team Widdermacker (website)

Items: Full 2015 List of Items

The list included items such as

Photos of:

  • Kick back in a hammock that’s suspended from trees on opposite banks of a river. (Make sure it’s a safe section of a river to be suspended over.) (71 points)
  • Have a tea party with a special needs child or pediatric cancer patient dressed as a character from “Alice in Wonderland.” (46 points)
  • Get Taylor Swift or any musician with over 5 million followers to publicly announce she/he loves supernatural (157 points) - Genevieve Padalecki item

Video of:

  • Do a dramatic reading of your grade-school report card (22 points) - Felicia Day item
  • Design and build a voice recognition device or robot stationed next to a toilet that flushes it when prompted by the voice command, “Crowley.” We must see you speak for 10 seconds prior to saying “Crowley” (you can say whatever you wish for this 10 seconds) but only see the flushing when “Crowley” is uttered. We must see the speaker’s face, the flushing mechanism and the toilet bowl in the video framing the entire time (84 points)
  • Gishzoontite! Get a host or reporter on a major network news or talkshow program, to say “gishwhes!” as a fake sneeze (as if they are trying to subtly sneak it on air) (87 points)

Items from the hunt




In 2018 the competition dropped the "WHES" and became simply GIDH - Greatest International Scavenger Hunt. It also launched an app to assist players.

Mini hunts were introduced during the pandemic, with the first one taking place for 24 hours on April 25, 2020 and included tasks that could be done alone, and at home.


In 2012 GISHWHES introduced a mascot, wh each year was a new mashup of two animals:

2012: Fograt

2013: Wooster

2014: Elopus

2015: Dinomite

2016: Slangaroo

2017: Porcupanda

2018: Possubull

2019: Assbutt

2020: Sqroose

2021: Beeline

2022: Chillax

World Records

Misha Collins with Guinness World Records certificates

GISHWHES has broken several Guinness World Records. Personalized certificates can be purchased through the The Guinness World Records Store using the provided "ID" and "Code".

Largest Photo Scavenger Hunt (2011)

The largest photo scavenger hunt is 'Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen', which was carried out by 6,200 participants and organized by Misha Collins (USA) between 20-29 November 2011.

– Guinness World Records, Certificate of Participation

Largest Media Scavenger Hunt (2012)

The largest media scavenger hunt is the 'Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen', which was carried out by 14,580 participants and organized by Misha Collins (USA) between 29 October and 5 November 2012.

– Guinness World Records, Certificate of Participation (ID: 130607-766; Code: egeo2436EG)

Most Pledges for a Campaign (2012)

The most pledges received for a campaign is 92,596, achieved by GISHWHES (USA) for 'Pledges to Commit a Random Act of Kindness' from 30 October to 5 November 2012.

– Guinness World Records, Certificate of Participation (ID: 130709-948; Code: xstl9182XS)

Largest Online Photo Album of “Hugs” (2013)

The largest online photo album of hugs contains 108,121 photos, and was achieved by GISHWHES (USA) for the campaign 'GISHWHES Hugs The World 2013!' from 11-18 August 2013.

– Guinness World Records, Certificate of Participation (ID: 130723-1629; Code: vhan8424VH)

Longest Chain of Safety Pins (2013)

The longest chain of safety pins measures 1,091.8 m (3,582 ft 0 in) and was created by Misha Collins (USA), as part of the GISHWHES event at Central Park, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada on August 13 2013

– Guinness World Records, Certificate of Participation (ID: 131204-7583; Code: jsrp4299JS)

Largest gathering of people dressed as French maids (2014)

The largest gathering of people dressed as French maids is 695 at an event organized by Misha Collins (USA) in Seattle, Washington, USA, on 3 August 2014. At the same event, participants also broke the record for the most participants in a decorated hat competition.

– Guinness World Records, Official Guinness World Records Website

Most people in a decorated hat competition (2014)

The most people in a decorated hat competition is 695 at an event organized by Misha Collins (USA) in Seattle, Washington, USA, on 3 August 2014. Participants also achieved the record for the largest gathering of people dressed as French maids at the same event.

– Guinness World Records, Official Guinness World Records Website

Longest human chain to pass through a hula hoop (2014)

The longest human chain to pass through a hula hoop consists of 572 participants and was achieved by Misha Collins (USA) in Miller Community Center, Seattle, Washington, USA on 3 August 2014.

– Guinness World Records, Official Guinness World Records Website


The End

On November 19 2022, Misha posted a video and also emailed past GISH participants that the event was ending:

This past decade-plus of GISH has been absurd, beautiful, and profound. GISH has become a verb, as in, "I GISH with my teenage son every year"; GISH has become an adjective: "Your pastrami hat is very gishy"; GISH has become a noun: "My girlfriend is a dyed-in-the-wool Gisher;" and, perhaps most importantly, GISH has become a community. I have watched countless friendships blossom, marriages form, and Gishers taking care of one another in the most beautiful ways over the years. Without hyperbole, you Gishers have served as a near-constant reminder to me that we don’t have to live as unthinking cogs—that we don’t have to just do what is expected of us in life, but that there are nearly infinite possibilities for how we can live, how we can relate to one another, and what we accomplish in the world. I’ll never stop being grateful for all we’ve accomplished together.

GISH started with a lark, a playful little romp I started almost by accident on Twitter 13 years ago. The first Hunt had 300 participants and members of the winning team got a cup of tea. We went from that to a group of tens of thousands in over 100 countries getting NASA to name a mountain on Mars, breaking 8 Guinness World Records, shredding countless buses, helping save the lives of multiple stroke victims, and planting tens of thousands of trees worldwide — and we also helped many wonderful organizations including Giles Duley’s Legacy of War Foundation, our partner who helped us support a hospital for children impacted by war in Afghanistan, fund a team of minesweepers and a mobile prosthetics unit in rural Laos that is still working to this day, and help a community of over 100 Rwandan genocide survivors to build a beautiful, self-sustaining farming cooperative, giving them economic freedom and food security.

But—and this is the hard part to say—I think it’s time for me to take a break from GISH. As much as I love GISH and as much as I love you all, I need to focus my energy, so for the time being I am putting the GISH Hunt on ice. I’m not saying definitively that the 2022 Hunt will be the last GISH ever, but I am also not saying that there will be another. At this point, I don’t know what the future holds.

There is a quote from the poet Rilke that I love: "Everything is gestation and birth." This is a time for gestation. And when the time is right, something new will be born. I’m not sure what that new being will be, but I am sure it will be good and I hope that you will come with me on that adventure—whatever form it takes.

This was a hard decision to come to and it took a mountain of deliberating to get here. It was hard because I love the GISH community, I love what GISH does in the world, and because this means a major change for the GISH team–who now need to find other work and start next chapters.

I want to take a moment to acknowledge our small, devoted team who have helped GISH blossom from a seed of an idea into a global force: Philip, my creative partner who guided the Hunt's growth with his business acumen and playfulness while consistently dialing the weird up to 11—without his brilliance, the first GISHWHES would never have have happened in the first place. Kim Blake, who helped me pull off the very first 300-person Rhino hunt; Tracy, my first GISH gnome, whose technical prowess helped get the Hunt off the ground and keep it going, and who has exhibited endless patience supporting the GISH Community since the beginning; Monica, who brought GISHBot to life and has contributed to a million projects—from GISH virtual haunted mansions and escape rooms to the annual coffee table book to helping foster the GISH Bunker into a thriving community; Olivia, whose brilliant design work brought early websites and coffee table books to reality; Katy, our chief Schwag Gnome, whose endless abilities to source products and manage shipments is only rivaled by her own truly weird creative spark which lit up not only GISH, but Death2Normalcy (you can blame her for the dental chair and the creepy sailor babies); Laura, whose creative designs during the early years were only rivaled by her "Dinomite" SDCC security service; Taylor, whose wonderfully weird writing and social support helped GISH through some of its nascent days; Chris, who has been working on this for so many years, I have lost track—she has managed the Item list for many years as well as being incredible curator of special guests, a creative lead, writer, designer, editor and for a very long time the voice of GISH on social media; Charlie, who has brought his stalwart guidance as VP and (let’s call a stormtrooper a stormtrooper) has been running GISH soup to nuts for the past six years. Charlie has devoted those years of his life and career to GISH and made countless sacrifices to keep this monstrous undertaking afloat; we would not be here without him. Charlie helped GISH thrive as it lost the "whes" and gained live Zoom guests, better accessibility, and a greater global impact. Riley, our spectacular art director and designer who brought so much of GISH’s look and the Gishporium’s merch to life (chances are good you have some small, cherished object in your house that was birthed from her mind); CJ and Lauren, who, with Tracy, masterfully shepherded GISH Winners to some of the farthest reaches of the globe; Michelle, who brought creativity and guidance to the Hunt and the Gishporium through Stands; Kristin, our genius talent coordinator, without whom we never would have had so many fascinating GISH guests and our Zooms would have never gone so smoothly; Chip, for his tireless Gishporium support; Philippe, whose technical acumen helped us birth an app and keep the site up and running (no matter how many times you all tried to crash it)… and my friends, Dave Lavery, my cast mates, my own mother Rebecca, and countless others who I’m probably going to be embarrassed to realize I forgot to list who have provided support and many of the inspired creative Items that you have been subjected to.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also thank Giles Duley and the team at Legacy of War Foundation; without their badass, selfless dedication to sharing stories of courageous people, we wouldn’t have been able to make such an impact — and without the hard work and support of the wonderful volunteers at Random Acts, we wouldn’t have been able to see those donations through.

Last but not least, I want to thank someone without whom none of this would be possible: ME. (Just kidding. This was getting too heavy, and I was tearing up a little.) No, the people I want to thank the most are you, my gishy Gishers. You are the beating heart of all we have done. GISH was the spark, but you were the ones that carried the flame of good everywhere you went and built it into a source of endless light and hope. We literally could not have done this without you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

One more thing I want to add: all of the GISH parts of speech—the noun, the verb, the adjective—will live on. We still have one another, and we still have this GISH Community. Whether through the GISH Bunker or social media or in person, we are still all connected and are still able to come together when the spirit strikes us—and I hope we do. We still have the artifacts of your artistic endeavors and the good work you have done lives on and will continue to have ripple effects throughout the world for all time. There are farms that are thriving in Rwanda because of you, formerly homeless refugees going to college now because of you, a dance school in South Africa that’s churning out graduates because of you, 70 square miles of critically endangered habitat in Nepal is permanently protected and will be teeming with life for decades because of you, an Indigenous tribe in the Amazon able to replant and thrive again with access to clean water because of you, and a mountain on Mars named in your honor by the US government. You did that, with power that came not from this Hunt, but from the reserves of creative energy and determination to make the world a better place that already exist inside you. Whether there is another GISH anytime soon or not, I cannot wait to see what you accomplish next.

Before we put GISH to bed, we’re banging a few gongs before the lights go out: we’re almost done with 2022 Judging and will be making a winners’ announcement soon. We will also be throwing a final blow-out goodbye party in the coming weeks—more on that soon. I hope to see you there so we can celebrate each other and this wonderful, weird family together.

Whatever the next chapter might bring, you will always be my beloved, weird, rebels and my gishy Gishers, and I'm looking forward to the new ways that we can have fun changing the world together—whatever they may be. May we all find ways to GISH on!