The Golden Apple Tale Armchair Treasure Hunt

By Kurt Konecny

armchair treasure hunt

Golden Apple Tale treasure

Unlike “Treasure: In Search Of The Golden Horse” and “Perplex City” from my previous two columns, “The Golden Apple Tale” is an armchair treasure hunt that has NOT been solved, and the location of the treasure remains a mystery to this day.

Released in 1982, “The Golden Apple Tale” by Cam Kaskgn seemed to be riding on the armchair treasure hunt wave created by Kit William’s successful “Masquerade” book/treasure hunt (1979). The author buried a golden apple figurine adorned with diamonds and other jewels, designed by goldsmith Jeffery Juhas somewhere in the continental United States.

All of the clues needed to find the location were inside the book, hidden in the writing and the illustrations by Karen Wagner, and the first person to send the correct location of the hidden apple to the author would win the prize. If your solution was correct, the author would pay for your transportation to the site, and he would accompany you on the final step of your adventure.

And…that is where the story of “The Golden Apple Tale” ends. As far as anyone knows, the treasure was never found.

People continue working on the hunt to this day, and some clues have been deciphered, such as the phrase “PLACE IN ORDER” found in letters hidden in the illustrations, The words “PINE TREES” found in state names surrounding the illustrations, and the word “CASSIOPEIA”, which is decoded from the names of states in an illustration of the United States.

There is a also a poem that runs throughout the book, which is thought to be a kind of verbal roadmap to the location. The poem (misspellings included) reads:

Although the Sun rises in the East
Low lands will have frost
Tomorrow is another day
Over and over again

If your clock stops,
Watch someone elses.
Hands are helpful,
But a shovel works best.

Chose a City, then proceed to this rhyme,
Miss Muffet’s meal didn’t cost a dime.
Travel 3 leagues plus 2/3 more west,
Before you decide to exit and rest.

In your quest,
Do not rest long.
Your hunt ends,
Where your return begins.

Seek a presage
to give you a clue.
Three are 2s and
Two are 3s.

Some trees have leaves,
And some have needles,
At this point in time,
They all look like hay stacks.

That which
you’ve seen to be so,
Use a map
In the rain, wind, or snow.

Your Quest draws nearer
So don’t get to smart.
In order to retrieve,
You must first construct.

From the remainder,
Locate the Omphalos.
Man has two feet,
So look that far down.

Graviety is important,
So don’t treat it lightly.
A car has two headlights,
Discard the two dimist.

Friends are caring,
But gossip will spread.
Don’t let it bother you,
or go to your head.

Some stars at night,
Rest on the horizon.
Be very quiet or
you might wake one up.

It is not known if the “PLACE IN ORDER” refers to the stanzas of the poem or not, but some of the poem has been deciphered (“Miss Muffet’s meal didn’t cost a dime” = Free Whey = Freeway), but the solution to the puzzle remains out of reach.

Almost as tantalizing as the book’s puzzle is the puzzle of the identity of Cam Kaskgn, the book’s author. Readers have speculated since the release of the book who the author may be, given that Cam Kaskgn is most likely a pseudonym/cipher. The most prominent guess seems to be Jef Raskin, who worked at Apple Computers and was one of the pioneers of the Macintosh project. The book contains a biography of the author, and Raskin seems to fit some of the profile. Jef Raskin passed away in 2005, and his wife refutes any suggestions that he was the author of the book.

Efforts have been made to contact Jeffery Juhas (the goldsmith) and Karen Wagner (the illustrator). Juhas has said that he only knew the author as Cam Kaskgn and never knew his real name, and that he doesn’t know where the apple was buried. Efforts to contact Karen Wagner have been unsuccessful. The Post Office box that the solution was to be mailed to has also changed owners several times since 1982.

The author and the book’s publishing company were located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, so most people believe the apple to have been hidden in Michigan, Ohio, or Wisconsin. It’s not known if the apple is still buried. Theories persist that the the author retrieved the apple after sales of the book proved disappointing. Also, much like the treasure hunt “The Secret”, over 30 years have passed since the publication of the hunt, and many landmarks or referenced features may have changed, making the solution potentially impossible to solve.

The publishing company (believed to have just been the author), seems to be nonexistent, and copies of the book are impossible to come by. The only available copy of the book seems to be a PDF posted online many years ago by someone who scanned the book. If you would like to see the book, or to try your hand at solving it, it can be found here:

Like many other armchair treasure hunts, this hunt was a labor of love that someone put their heart and soul into, only to have it end up being mostly unnoticed. A handful of people are still working on the hunt, though, and perhaps there is still a golden apple out there somewhere, waiting to be found.

Maybe you will be the one to find it?

~ By MW Team Writer Kurt Konecny

Kurt Konecny lives in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and has a B.A. in English. After accidentally stumbling across Kit Williams’ book “Masquerade” at the library when he was a child, Kurt became captivated by tales of buried treasure and armchair treasure hunts, and he has carried that love with him through his adult years.

His other hobbies include geocaching and ghosthunting.

Read More of Kurt Konecny’s posts


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8 Responses

  1. Jennifer Kile says:

    Such a Mystery and a Treasure Hunt offering possible Adventure! Love this of course! 🙂 Thanks for this article and summary of the hunt, Kurt. I had Printed off the PDF long ago, and every now and then, bring it out to ponder….

    One never knows when ‘inspiration’ or an ‘aha moment’ might happen on it….

    It’s great to have this on site now. Thank you! So much out there!

  2. Buckeye Bob says:

    This looks like a beautiful piece of art. And a curious quest. My time is limited at the moment but this is another thing I want to get involved in.
    Thanks Kurt.

  3. Madesquare says:

    My head already hurts.

  4. MartinS says:

    I’m afraid this one is lost in time. I’ve been working on it for a few years. Jeffrey Juhas is still a prominent jeweler in Grand Rapids. I’ve reached out to him a few times with no luck (I suspect he’s the author, though he’s denied it in the past). Perhaps I’ll post my incomplete “solution” on my site aka “general solve.” 🙂

  5. MartinS says:

    I’m heading out this weekend for a BOTG search. Thanks to your post, I dusted off my research on this one and had one of those “aha moments” that you mentioned above. It resulted in a very precise end location!

    Once I don’t find it (lol), I’ll do a blog post.

  6. Jenny Kile says:

    BEST of luck to you! I hope you do FIND IT! How amazing that would be! Please let us know!

  7. Iron Will says:

    I’m looking it over now Jenny. The premise that a 12 yr old could solve it as easily as an adult gives me a chance 😉

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