Masquerade by Kit Williams was published in 1979 and is often considered the forerunner to armchair treasure hunts. The book contained clues, both visual and verbal, which led to a buried treasure. The treasure was an 18-carat gold hare decorated with precious stones. The book consisted of 15 detailed images and a story about the Moon falling in love with the Sun. Within this story, the Moon’s gift for the Sun is lost by Jack Hare, who was supposed to deliver it to the Sun.
Whoever discovered the location of the lost golden hare (the moon’s gift), by solving the puzzle in Masquerade, was the keeper of the valuable jewel.
Fandango relates a similar story. The Sea King falls in love with the Wind. The Sea King’s gift to the Wind is lost by ‘Fandango’(a fox), who was supposed to deliver the Golden Key to her. Like Masquerade, clues are hidden in the book (both visual and verbal) that lead to the treasure. Whoever discovers the location of the lost Golden Key can be the keeper or learns how to retrieve $10,000 in cash.
The similarities between the two hunts do not end with only the story. Fandango incorporates various features included in the Masquerade hunt and even refers to Masquerade in one of its ‘puzzles’. More about this is discussed in ‘The Number Squares of Fandango.’
Obviously, the exact same method used to solve Masquerade should not be used in Fandango. But, comparing how Fandango includes items found in the Masquerade puzzle, could offer some clues on how the hunt of Fandango could be solved.
The solution to Masquerade was found by drawing lines from eye’s through the longest finger/toes of animals in the images to a letter in the framed border phrases of those images. By applying this method, the ‘Master Riddle’ of the hunt was revealed. Once this riddle was understood, it provided precise directions on where to find the buried treasure. This method was hinted at by a sentence in the beginning of the book which stated, “To solve the riddle, you must use your eyes…..” (the eyes in the images were used)
Fandango consists of phrases in a framed border and there is a Master Riddle to be discovered, as well. Drawing lines from inside the images (through many attempted things (eye’s/noses/fingers)) to the borders, AFAIK, has not yielded anything considered to be the Master Riddle. What has been found, though, are corner ‘star shapes’ in the border do provide a few words, but not a ‘Master Riddle’.
Both hunts contain hidden images in their pictures of what is later to be found. For Masquerade it was a hare in each image, and the golden hare was the buried treasure. In Fandango, keys are hidden, and a golden key is to be found. Although the hare’s of Masquerade were only additional fun, it is unclear if the key’s offer assistance to Fandango’s solution (since it is not solved). My thoughts are they are placed there for fun, like Masquerade, but as said, this is not certain.
Both hunts contain special red letters in their borders which spell out words. Masquerade also included barbed letters which spelled out words. Fandango does not include any barbed letters, but it does include a few special blue letters that spell out a phrase ‘Pace forty south’.
In Masquerade, each image was used to provide a word or phrase in the Master Riddle. Like mentioned above, this was accomplished by drawing lines to the letters by using eyes and longest digits for the two points depicted in the images. Although the letters given could have been anagrammed, there was a key for the ordering of letters. This key involved puppets, their colored rings, and matching number square.
Once the Master Riddle was formed in Masquerade, the first letter from each word/phrase from an image, gave the acrostic; ‘Close by Ampthill’. The riddle was as follows:
“Catherine’s Long finger Over Shadows Earth Buried Yellow Amulet Midday Points The Hour In Light of equinox Look you.”
Solving this ‘Master Riddle’ informed a person to dig where the cross-shaped monument of Catherine of Aragon’s shadow (close by ampthill) directed him to, at noon on the equinox. Different phrases and details in the images and story provided other subtle clues to confirm the spot. However, the only thing used to find the Master Riddle was simply (but not easy) drawing lines to the border.
The Master Riddle of Fandango is not known to have been discovered. In a radio interview, Pel Stockwell (the author) had made a comment to say different components piece together for the finding of the riddle. But, it is not completely understood what precisely he meant; how do they piece together? how would they help with the riddle?
Other resemblances are noticed between the books, too. For instance, the second image of Masquerade has the Sun (a man) wearing pants displaying constellations. In Fandango, page 26, the shirt of the one fairy, is similar. Both books also include a summary of the hunt and story at the beginning. Masquerade’s ends with:
“Along the way many adventures befall Jack Hare, but in the end the Jewel is lost. Where it was lost and where the Treasure lies buried is the final puzzle of MASQUERADE.”
Page 3 of Fandango has (at the end of the brief summary):
“Finally, approaching the Goddess, Fandango discovers the gift is lost. Where the Key was lost is the mystery of Fandango. Discover the key and the Treasure will be yours.”
One of the main differences between the two hunts is the knowing of the ‘Treasure.’ For Masquerade it was stated a ‘golden hare adorned with jewels’ was buried somewhere in Britain. A picture of the treasure was shown on the back of the book. It was buried in a ceramic container with the inscription: “I am the Keeper of the Jewel of Masquerade which lies waiting safe inside me for you or Eternity.”
Fandango’s actual treasure is unknown. It is stated it is hidden somewhere on Mount Desert Island, and it is called a ‘Golden Key’. Finding this ‘Golden Key’ will include instructions on how to retrieve a $10,000 Treasure from a safety deposit box in a secure location, if wanted. Stockwell has said the following:
“Part of the excitement of our childhood hunts was not only looking for treasure but the surprise of discovering what the treasure actually was. We think that is part of the fun of treasure hunting. For those who like to have a defined value we have stated the treasure is worth over 10,000 dollars and should the finder not want the actual treasure they may choose instead ten thousand dollars in cash.”
So it would seem, until someone finds the ‘Golden Key’, no one will know what exactly Fandango lost?
Best of luck in your search!
(photo credit-wikimedia-peetlesnumber1-Acadia, Cadillac Mountain)