See, I'm not a nutball, it really does exist! Compare this capture
from the back of the box with your own, notice the plastic stone is
not mentioned at all here.
This had to have been from either a very early production run (before
Infocom came up with the concept of the glow-in-dark stone) or a very
late one (after Activision took over, ran out of stones, and cut costs
by creating a different package instead of producing more). At any
rate, this is far less common than the version that lists the stone.
Update: Collector Stuart Feldhamer
recently obtained a copy of this package that didn't mention the stone
but did include it. What's more, the stone was inside the
sealed envelope! This pretty much blows both of my current theories out
of the water. So now I'm trying to determine if the stone actually was
included in all copies of this variant (as a surprise prop like the
Lurking Horror centipede), or if Stuart's package is a fluke.
My immediate suspicion, of course, was someone trying to build a complete
package from parts, but if that's true, why'd they put the stone in the
envelope? Outside is the norm, and besides the envelope is hard to open
without inflicting permanent damage (although I have seen them opened
with very little).
Update II: I've heard from another guy who found a stone in his no-stone box. One is a fluke, but now with two it's starting to look like a pattern. New theory is, the stone was included in all packages, but may have been left out of the contents list on this variant. Possibly this was intended as a fun surprise to the player (perhaps mimicking the game itself, in which the stone is given to the player without his/her knowledge). As the stone is a very misplaceable prop, it's more than likely the original owners of the copies I've seen had lost it.
I asked Brian Moriarty about the variation once but he wasn't involved in the packaging process and didn't recall this anomaly. Anyone else who has one of these, LMK what yours is like.
Copyright © 2000 - 2019 Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe. All rights reserved.
(Best viewed at 800 x 600.)