Found Treasure! Six Questions with Razorback: Devil’s Den Armchair Treasure Hunt Winner
Congrats to Bob W. (AKA Razorback)! Along with his family, of four generations!, he was the first to find the Treasure of the Devil’s Den historical fiction trilogy written by James Babb. All three books offered clues to a secreted location for ‘Todd’s Treasure’ in the Fort Smith, Arkansas, area. The adventurous books were; The Devil’s Backbone, The Devil’s Trap, and The Devil’s Den.
The hunt was launched with the final release of the Devil’s Den on October 1st. Razorback and family were quick on their feet and minds to discover the Treasure! They found it that same day!
However, what is wonderful about this particular hunt, is it continues! Although Razorback receives the ‘First to Find’ treasures which were worth close to $800 dollars, the hidden box remains hidden for all others who want to seek it out and log in for a successful find! It’s now like a ‘geocache’.
Congrats again to Razorback and family! I’m so grateful for his answers to the following Six Questions! MW loves talking to those who dare to Chase Dreams of Treasure!
- 1Q) When did you first hear or learn about the Treasure Hunt involved in the Devil’s Den trilogy by James Babb?
I first learned of The Devil’s Den trilogy and the treasure hunt, here on the Mysterious Writings website. It was probably the same day you posted the Top Ten Armchair Treasure Hunts. As soon as I read about the The Devil’s Den treasure hunt, I ordered the first two books of the trilogy, The Devil’s Backbone, and The Devil’sTrap.
- 2Q) What inspired you to become involved and search for ‘Todd’s Treasure’? (for those reading and unfamiliar with the books, Todd is the character in the book who hid the ‘treasure’ to find)
Well, I was still reeling from the Breakfast Tea & Bourbon treasure being hid and found basically in my own backyard, Hot Springs, Arkansas. So, when I saw that the Devil’s Den treasure was hidden at Fort Smith, Arkansas, I was determined to find this one, or at least give it my best effort.
- 3Q) How did you go about solving the clues in the books and finding the treasure?
James Babb, the author of the treasure trilogy, asked me not to give away the specifics of where the treasure was hidden, because the box is still hidden there, giving other hunters the chance to find it (without the treasures, of course).
After I got the first two books, and started reading them, I discovered that the clues to the treasure’s location were only in books 2 and 3. I thought that the third book wasn’t going to be released until 1 October, so initially I didn’t order it. After reading the first two books, I decided to pre-order the third book, so I could get it as soon as possible. Much to my surprise, I got The Devil’s Den, in the mail a few days later.
It took about a day to go through books 2 and 3, marking everything I thought was a clue to the treasure location. Then it took about a week researching Fort Smith and looking at old maps and historical accounts, trying to match the 1881 clues to the 2017 ground. Then I bounced my ideas off different family members (my Mom, Wife, Daughter, and oldest Granddaughter) to see what they thought. So, total reading and research time was about 2 weeks.
For me, figuring out what the clues were in the books and where they led was fun and exciting. Searching for the treasure was a family affair. Besides myself, my mother, my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and my two granddaughters, aged 3 and 6, went on the treasure hunt.
We all went in one van to look for the treasure. Some of the clues pointed to a specific area in Fort Smith and we had to go to that area to apply the remainder of the clues. I knew we were going to have to do some driving around Fort Smith to locate the right spot, so we could do the walking around clues. I had one place in mind where I thought it might be, and held it in reserve as we drove all over looking for a specific starting landmark.
After several hours of driving around, we couldn’t find the landmark, so we drove to the place I thought it might be. As we drove there, I kept reminding my granddaughters what the special landmark should look like. I parked the van and we got out to search for the landmark. We had about 5 acres of timbered land to cover.
We searched all over for about an hour. Finally, my six-year-old granddaughter, hollered, “Papa, I think this is it.” We all gathered there, talked about it, and agreed that we had found the starting landmark. We then applied all the remaining clues, starting there, and was led to the resting place of the treasure box.
- 4Q) What did you and your family think or feel when looking and then finding the treasure? What’s your (or your family’s) favorite item from the Treasure Box?
The plan was to follow the clues to the treasure, but try to keep my six-year-old granddaughter up front so she would be the one to find the treasure. The problem was, we never were sure we were in the right place until we found the treasure. Plus, trying to guide a six-year-old to go in a direction we weren’t sure about, was a hoot.
The whole experience was fun! I kept telling my granddaughters that we may not find it, so they wouldn’t be disappointed, but they kept saying we would find it. When we finally found the final marker (I like to call it the Blaze) where the treasure was, our six-year-old was leading the way. She started screaming, “We found it! We found the treasure!” The treasure was hidden at the base of the Blaze, and had to be uncovered.
I told my granddaughter to start removing the things that covered where we thought the box was. She did, and when she saw the top of the box I thought she was going to jump out of her skin. Her eyes got as wide as saucers and her mouth turned into a perfect ‘O’ shape and she looked at the box and then turned and looked at us. She was speechless. I will always remember the expression on her face when she realized she had found the treasure. It was a mixture of excitement, joy, shock, and happiness. She really likes the animal pelt and the tomahawk. She also is looking forward to the pizza party her first-grade class is being treated to by James Babb. She won’t forget this experience ever.
- 5Q) Other than of course finding the secreted cache, what else did you enjoy about the hunt and the books?
The books were fun to read. They were written for a younger audience than I, of course, but I did enjoy reading about Brody’s adventures. Especially, since, the adventures take place in my home state of Arkansas. I always enjoy figuring out what the clues are in the treasure hunts. This one was very interesting because you had to figure out how the city, land, and vegetation had changed from 1881 until now, and apply the clues to the changed terrain.
- 6Q) Had you worked on other treasure hunts, and do you plan on others in the future?
I got into the armchair treasure hunts and on the ground treasure hunts late in the game, so to speak. The first one I tried was the CD-ROM scavenger hunt game, Treasure Quest, starring Terry Ferrell, back in 1996. It was so much fun and the chance of winning $1million dollars was incredible. I loved working on that hunt and spent way too much time on it.
Since then, I have dabbled with a few more hunts, including, The Merlin Mystery, Secrets of the Alchemist’s Dar, The Ultimate Quest, Breakfast Tea & Bourbon, 12th Plate Treasure Hunt, and all the MW Hunts. Right now, I am working on these hunts: Fandango, Custard’s Quest IV, The Bossall Treasure, Map of the Dead, and, Seek and Ye Shall Find: A Read and Seek Adventure. Forrest Fenn’s Treasure is the hunt that I spend a lot of time on. I took my first trip to hunt for the treasure in 2013, and I just got back from New Mexico, where I was positive that I had the correct solve.
WOW! Absolute awesome story. Totally loved it! Thanks so much for sharing it with us all, as it demonstrates one of the best aspects about Treasure Hunting; the giving of memories to last a lifetime! I’m sure none of your family and yourself will ever forget finding that box filled with prizes. WHAT A DAY!
Congrats, and thanks again for sharing your story. It inspires all of us to keep on, even after not finding treasure from a previous hunt or previous search! I so believe treasure awaits for all us (in one form or another)! We just have to keep seeking!
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