The Secret: A Treasure Hunt
For over 30 years, The Secret: A Treasure Hunt, has taunted searchers. This book, published in 1982, includes 12 images and 12 verses which need correctly matched together in order to discover the locations of 12 buried ceramic casks. Each cask contains a key to be redeemed for a valuable gemstone.
To date, only two of the twelve casks have been successfully unearthed. The first cask was found in 1984 in Grant Park, Chicago, shortly after the hunt’s release. Not until years later, in 2004, was another discovered. Hidden at the Cultural Gardens in Cleveland, this second cask was finally brought to the surface after an internet forum (Q4T) got involved in the hunt. Searchers, in both cases, connected an image with a corresponding verse, and followed clues found within both image and verse to the exact spot of burial.
From these successful finds, clues for the remaining 10 casks might be able to be identified within the verses and images for casks yet to be recovered. It is reasonable to think that similar elements used to locate the found casks might also be used for others still hidden.
One promising connection is that in many of the images numbers can be deduced. Some of the numbers noticed within the found treasures’ pictures turned out to be latitude and longitude lines for the secreted spot. Used as a general guideline, the area/city was confirmed.
For example, within image 4 (shown right), which was used to locate the Cleveland cask (along with verse 4), the numbers 1442 and 1881 are clearly visible. The latitude and longitude for Cleveland related to these; 41/42 and 81. The same was noticed for the Chicago cask. The latitude and longitude numbers of 41/87 are seen in the image, and relate to Chicago’s location.
Looking at the unused images then, and noticing numbers, may offer the same guidance. They are not always conclusive results, but if found, will certainly support an area or narrow down a search to a more specific location of consideration. It is believed some of these numbers point to areas such as Boston, Roanoke Island, San Francisco, etc. (Note: numbers are not believed used in Image 10, but instead a Mill (stone), Walk (ing stick), and Key are seen…to give ‘Milwaukee’ as the probable city; so the number method is not always used)
Other elements confirmed in the found treasure puzzles can be recognized in the verses and images of casks left to find as well. Items like outlines or silhouettes of a state, structure, monument, or major landmark; remarkable/unmistakable resemblances to objects found near the actual location; rebuses and word play. Many of these types of clues are being noticed and are helping to pinpoint the cask’s hidden locations.
You would think with all this to go on, the remaining gemstones would have been quickly redeemed. But one of the biggest detriments on locating a cask now is the passage of time since concealment. Thirty years is a long time. Although the treasures were buried in areas that were thought to be somewhat ‘discreet’ at the time, they may not have been hidden where expansion and change couldn’t have happened.
It’s possible, most likely really, that some clues in the images and verses refer to things overgrown, eroded, moved, or destroyed. It is known that Byron Priess (author of hunt) once said he felt the treasures would have been found within months. For this reason, it is thought he might not have planned for solutions to endure the test of time. And unfortunately, Preiss, the only person who knew where the casks were buried, tragically died in a car accident in 2005. Since he was the only one having knowledge of the hidden cask’s locations, searchers are completely left on their own to find them.
The challenge for discovering a cask, however, makes the reward of unearthing one all the greater. Sure, there are some casks which may be totally lost to the land. But there could still be one, maybe more, that could be physically found! And these possibilities wait for those persistent enough to continue with the quest!
Summaries will be shared about different believed locations in the coming months here. My family and I had visited Elizabethan Gardens a few years ago and scoped out a possible place of a hidden cask. Our interest was near the gate, coast line, and bench area. I’ll share this story and our thoughts in an upcoming article.
The book, The Secret, is currently out of print. However, high resolution images and the verses (all that is believed needed to locate a cask) are available here. The hunt is still active and much discussion on possible spots can be found on Q4T. Plus, an upcoming documentary on the hunt is being produced and is planned to be out soon after the turn of the year.
A lot has been shared by old and new searchers on The Secret. There is a group effort and it would be great if another was found! Join the hunt!
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