The Muggle Menace

What’s this about the muggle menace?

If you have not been off planet earth over the last decade or so, then you will have heard of muggles, the term used usually in conjunction with a certain wizard of book and movie fame. You know the one. HP are his initials. In his pottery old world muggles are the people that do not participate, or lack the skills to participate, in the world of wizardry or witchcraft. These muggles do not even know that there is witchcraft and wizardry happening around them all the time. Silly muggles!

caricature of a muggle

Muggles Do Exist!

In the world of geocaching, muggles exist –  for real!

In the geocaching world muggles are the “other” folks, those that don’t even know that there is a whole world of exotic hide-and-seek going on around them. Or, they might be folks that may become geocaching keeners in time, but have not yet been introduced to the world of geocaching, so know nothing about it right now.

As you travel around seeking and finding geocaches, GPS in hand, muggles are the people that drive by you on the highway wondering briefly why your car is parked off on the shoulder and the people from the car are staring intently at a fence post beside the farmer’s field.

A muggle is the guy with City Works Department shirt on, coming up to you as you root around in the bushes beside City Hall looking for a cache that you are sure you will find any moment, and wonders “what in heck are you doin’?” in a really loud, muggle attracting voice.

And, a muggle was us, until good friends invited us into the geocaching world.

Good Muggles

Good muggles are those folks you meet when you are geocaching that seem genuinely interested. People you are comfortable with explaining the whole process to, knowing that when you leave, so will they, not touching the cache, taking nothing, and leaving nothing behind. Until they get their own GPS going, that is.

A good muggle is the person we encountered one day, rolling up to us in his wheelchair and exclaiming “did you find it yet?” This muggle did not participate in geocaching, even though quite a number of geocaches around the world are wheelchair accessible. He took his enjoyment from watching folks show up at the geocache coords, and try to locate the hidden treasure. If they didn’t find it soon enough, out he rolled for a chat. Nice fellow. One of the pleasures of geocaching is meeting folks like that.

Muggles or Geocachers?

Muggles or Geocachers?

A good muggle is a person or persons that smiles and flashes a GPS at you as you approach a hidden cache. Right away you know they are kindred spirits, and the conversation comes quick and easy.

Bad Muggles

A bad muggle is a person that, when you encounter them, your geo-sense kicks in, and you just know that if they see you at the cache, it won’t be long after you are gone that the geocache might be gone, or interfered with, too.

Muggle Avoidance Strategies

Geocachers become adept at disguising their activities when an enounter with any muggle is about to occur. Since you really cannot tell up front if a muggle is a good one or a bad one, when a muggle approaches you while you are on the hunt, do something else!

Next time you see someone on the cell phone, and they are in an unlikely spot to be chatting, their cell phone might actually be a GPS device. Holding a GPS device up to the ear while the muggle is around is a good way to disguise the real reason you are at that location.

Another ploy is to stand with your fellow geocacher looking at the view, and holding your GPS out at arms length as if you were taking a picture. It would take a sharp eyed muggle to see that the cell phone you are taking the picture with is actually a GPS. And, come to think of it, there are some GPS’s now that do have cameras built it!

Geocaching with a significant other? Get into a close embrace. It will appear as though a little privacy is what you were looking for. Muggles should typically keep on going by if they encounter people hugging passionately in the woods, beside the highway, in a parking lot… or wherever.

Get Creative Avoiding the Muggle Menace

Many geocaches have a note in them explaining what geocaching is about, and requesting the finder to leave the cache where it is. We would like to think that most muggles would comply, leaving the cache closed and where it was after signing the log, checking out the swag, and maybe leaving a little something for the next geocacher to find.

Then there are the muggles that won’t. The ones that can’t or don`t read the note… or, you know, people that just don’t care to see others have fun! These are the types the make caches disappear.

That`s why it is good to geocache with muggle awareness as part of your standard operating procedure. That way, the geocache that you just found will still be there for the next geocacher to find after you are gone.

What kind of muggle avoidance tactics have you had to use? Had an interesting experience with a muggle? Why not share it with the geocaching world in the comment box below?


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