Solutions to the MW Treasure Hunts: The Lost Philosopher’s Stones

MW shares the solutions to the previous MW Treasure Hunts: The Lost Philosopher’s Stones below.  This June 2017 launching series of MW Treasure Hunts involved 4 scrolls, each with its own treasure to find worth $250 dollars.

The Scrolls were all meant to be solved all within a short amount of time and they were!  By the end of the 2017 summer season, all 4 cash prizes of $250, totaling $1000 dollars, were awarded to their winners!  Read more about their stories on the MW Treasure Hunts Winners Page.

MW thanks all who participated in The Lost Philosopher’s Stones treasure hunts.  They were so much fun to offer and very exciting to do.  Thanks to all and congrats again to the winners.  Below are the solutions to those Scrolls, and as you will notice, they were all very solvable!

Solution to Scroll I:

The Lost Philosopher’s Stone was found at Falling Springs Falls above Covington, VA.  As the Scroll revealed it was hidden 9 steps from the corner of the fence to the tree; Under a rock (x under rock) at the Base of Tree (ABSE FO ETER)

It was at the OVERLOOK (blue letters in text)

The phrase ‘is it the fourth ‘ was provided by red letters in the text (said to be last words of Thomas Jefferson)

The text within a heart shape (VA’s slogan is VA is for Lovers) hinted to Thomas Jefferson.

Plus, Thomas Jefferson described the Falls as one of the most beautiful known.

Thomas Jefferson was the keyword to use on the letters –  LSANRXLCA – with the Vigenere cipher in order to get- Covington.

The other letters- TFPALJ revealed WISDOM via a Caesar shift cipher of 3 (t>W, F>I, P>S, A>D, L>O, J>M)

The phrase ‘near two to the sixth’ revealed near 64.  Route 64 is near the falls.  (2 to the sixth power/math)

The images matched the location.

That is basically it.  Not all clues were needed.  And as you can see it was very solvable.


Solution to Scroll II:

armchair treasure hunt scroll

Scroll II

The Lost Philosopher’s Stone was found at Fort Hill, Fort Washington State Park, PA.  As the Scroll revealed it was 70 steps from the corner (of something).  This something was the Platform at Fort Hill which other clues revealed.

PA is known as the ‘keystone’ state and so the key with stone alluded to that and the State.

GNOAL HET DEGE INFD ONSET was an anagram for ALONG THE EDGE FIND STONE- the stone was along the edge of the main mowed area at Fort Hill and a pathway.

White circle + (a marshmallow) – yellow circle was a rebus for Whitemarsh.  The area of Fort Hill

ROCK/LOOK was ‘look under rock’.  Again, a marker rock was on top of the Lost Philosopher’s Stone.  The image of the tree matches the Tree and platform at location.

BNTQZFD gave COURAGE via a Caesar shift of 1.

The text hinted to George Washington and Fort Hill

VIBEYCHVSUQNVXBA confirmed GEORGE WASHINGTON via the Vigenere Cipher using Keyword: Pennsylvania

152, 195, 71, 73, 141, 13, 78, 83 in GREEN connected to words in the text. Number the words in the text then use them to give a sentence about War.

Blue Letters in text were: HISASNOCKW : An anagram for Wissahickon.  This is the name of a creek nearby.

Red Letters in text gave the phrase ‘He who is he in the story is he who was there where it is at’  (GW was at Fort Hill)

These were all the clues found-and then used to find the Stone.


Solution to Scroll III:

armchair treasure hunt solved

Scroll III

The Lost Philosopher’s Stone was found at Chestnut Ridge State Park on the Eternal Flames Trail in New York.  As the Scroll showed, a person was to stop at the 15th trail marker on the Eternal Flame Trail, walked 13 steps to the Tree with marker 100 on it, and then turn to walk another 7 to the tree in image.  The Philosopher’s Stone was ‘hidden under moss between roots’ of that tree illustrated.


The text hinted to James Monroe and New York

The image in top left hinted to PARK (a car is Parked)

A ORIGINAL THINK (red letters in text) was an anagram for A HIKING TRAIL

The Ouroboros hinted to Eternal as it can be a symbol for eternity  (it was on Eternal Flames Trail)

Two Keys hinted to the fact there would be Two Keys needed to be used on a cipher

One was first used on JCDSKEOPICW to give JamesMonroe –   This KEY was ACROSS.  If back found by using JamesMonroe instead (as this would be a probability by past scroll solutions and text), then it hinted to the way the other keyword would be found- since it was to be noticed ACROSS was the 19th word- going forward- in the text.   So going backward 19 in Text revealed UNITY; the other Key word. There were other clues for this. Such as:

Next to the Two keys, BNC and ALAE (BALANCE) are seen on a scale like image. They are balanced by 19. (B=2, N=14, C=3)  (A=1, L=12, A=1, E=5). 19 on each side.  The two keys were 19 – up and down- in the text (like a see-saw/scale)

Since this was next to Two Keys, and ACROSS was found to be one key and the 19th work forward in text, then taking the 19th word from bottom of text provided the Second Keyword to use on the YVCP code.  This was the Vigenere cipher- double key (ACROSS and UNITY) giving CHESTNUT RIDGE.

The MAP matched road, parking lot, and trail for Eternal Flames.

Many clues hinted to forward/backward or union of opposites.

The STAR is actually the symbols for FIRE and WATER (upward and downward pointing triangles)- Eternal Flame trail has a waterfall where fire (from a natural gas leak is lighted to give fire) is found behind the waterfall-  FIRE and Water together- opposites.

14-15-9-20-1-18-5-4-15-13 revealed MODERATION (backwards) and this method hinted to the BALANCE find.

That’s basically it for that one.


Solution to Scroll IV:

The Lost Philosopher’s Stone was found at Newton Hill at Elm Park in Worcester, Massachusetts.  It was hidden Under a marker Rock behind the tree across from the top 5th step on the #4 (GREEN) Fitness Trail at Newton Hill.  The image on Scroll matched location.

Text hinted to John Adams

Two Keys hinted to two keys needed – which were John Adams in the polyibus cipher-  5×5 grid.  So use the following letters in a grid form:






This then was used with the numbers down left side:  52 = 5 row, 2column:  1 row, 2 column , ETC. and spelled Worcester

The numbers 6-72-2-29- 30- 13 and 1-3-5-72-2-8-9 were Letter counts and gave School Teacher which John Adams was in Worcester

Ladybug in image hinted to Massachusetts.  It is its state bug

The image of the Apple hinted to NEWTON and image of the HILL was HILL for NEWTON HILL

FZRIGPZ gave ELM PARK by using keyword VIRTUE in the Vigenere cipher (backwards)

WHFGVPR was shift of 13 for Justice (the Virtue found on Philosopher’s Stone and hinted at in text and quote)

The symbols underneath text are symbols on keyboard and translate to numbers- which then gave Letter Count for each Paragraph and yielded ADAMS.

Green numbers gave TRAIL  (first letter of word count)

Once on SITE, the bike rakes as illustrated would be seen.  There is a map there which would have confirmed 4 is the Green Trail.  It would be noticed that the Blue Trail meets it shortly up the trail.  Once at location the Steps -as exactly shown on Scroll- would be seen.

The red letters in text gave “Where green meets blue so will you go too”  (referring to trail)

About all for that one.



The next MW Treasure Hunt will be very similar in nature to these.  They are made to be solvable and FUN!

MW goals for the MW Treasure Hunts are to inspire exploring and the learning of new places, things, and people!

I hope you all join us on the many more to come!

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