The Whistle Pig Treasure Hunt and the Arena of Life Solution (Teddy Roosevelt/Mellon Arena)

Whistle pig treasure hunt

map in the Whistle Pig treasure hunt book

February 2nd is a celebrated day for the Groundhog. Each year people gather for the custom of watching a Groundhog emerge from his burrow in order to predict either an early Spring or 6 more weeks of winter. The largest celebration for this, in the United States, is Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. A place which is highlighted on the map in The Whistle Pig Treasure Hunt.

The tradition for Groundhog’s Day has its origins from both ancient lore regarding animals forecasting weather, and Candlemas day, also February 2nd. It seems these two items were combined for the creation of the holiday celebrated today.

whistle pig treasure hunt

At Punxsutawney

A poem about Candlemas clearly provides its link:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another light.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.

And although other animals, like the Bear who were awakening from hibernation, were featured in stories of old, it is the Groundhog who took its place in the US. The first known written record for a festival for the Groundhog was noted in 1841, but it is believed others were held on earlier date. Actual year is lost in time.

The Whistle Pig Treasure Hunt uses the moving out of the darkness and into the light, like the Groundhog, in its book as a theme. The treasure hunt includes ten short stories and the search for a ‘Key’. The ‘Key’ is never specified but clues to its location are said given within the book.

As noted in previous posts, The Whistle Pig Treasure Hunt and The Whistle Pig Treasure Hunt Page Anomalies, there are obvious anomalies to realize; Plus, a secret message was found by ‘aligning all the firsts’ in the last chapter. The message was:

Bare the Cross
Leave the Center
Find the Fruit

Agreed upon solutions, or undeniable solutions by discovery of a ‘Key’ which has been in place since 2003 (Feb. 2nd), haven’t been found to date. The Hunt remains a mystery.

In the book, it says, “The value of the key’s physical location can only be discovered by searching out and prizing the allusions and references embedded within the stories.”

That line, along with the fact Searchers are to Pass the Book/Pig around, suggest the Key is tied to its location and the value is not a monetary value but a value recognized by the Journey.

whistle pig treasure hunt‘Prizing the Allusions and References’ seems to feed back to that thought as well; as the Prize/treasure is what the stories can inspire within yourself by reading. The location may confirm these thoughts.

I’ve shared this before, but for me the stories inspire getting out there and appreciating ‘life’. The stories speak of adventure, liberty, love, war, and pursuits of happiness. They encourage going after your American dream.

In one of the Stories, Grandfather’s Office, thought by many to hold many allusions and clues, are sentences which suggest going after your dreams and not to sit idle. Such as:

*”It was old oak school chair and not friendly to the seat. Grandfather said it was that way for a reason.

*”The grid part of the calendar had 31 boxes full of marks, x’s, and handwritten annotations in various ink colors or pencil leads.”

There are others like the above, but these to me point to not sit around too long and get busy- fill up your calendar, work and have FUN.

But one of the lines I find most intriguing in this story is where it mentions visitors who were looking for the office, and were “timidly poking their heads through other doors on the main hall in what must have seemed a Fruitless search”.

This sentence seems to allude that in order to Find the Fruit, or not have a ‘fruitless search’, (as mentioned above in the encoded message ending with Find the Fruit), you must not be poking timidly around but head straight towards your destination or Dream. Know where you are going in life.  Get in the Arena of Life.

One other line in this story, which I find suggestive for something, is the mention of how the ‘Grandfather’ marked the calendar with a Black Star.

Although not a ‘Star’, Teddy Roosevelt is known to have marked his diary with a large X and write, ‘The light has gone out of my life’ on the day his first wife died, 2 days after the birth of their daughter. Interestingly enough they had married on his 22nd birthday, and Page 22 of the Whistle Pig Treasure Hunt is marked with a X. Light and Darkness, like the Whistle Pig, seems relevant.

Whether or not the marking of the X refers to this particular connection to Teddy Roosevelt or not, the entire chapter to me, which is the SECOND chapter (and two’s seem to pop up much in this hunt as well) alludes to his famous remarks below:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

For those who have the book, read Grandfather’s Office, and the above. I find the mention of ‘light bulbs spotted with dust’- (faces marred by dust) and other possible ‘allusions’ within… interesting.

the whistle pig treasure hunt

image of key in book

But here are my thoughts for a Solution to the hunt. I would welcome thoughts for such a theory.

The book seems split in half with the turn of the Key image beginning every chapter, and with a poem about the Whistle Pig on page 48.

What if the first five chapters allude to things of Teddy Roosevelt and ultimately his speech about getting into the ARENA (quoted above)… and the last five allude to Pittsburgh or Ultimately the Mellon Arena- now torn down.

What if we are to stand in the ARENA or get in the ARENA of LIFE.

To me, standing in the Arena, possibly the ‘Key’s physical location’ can offer a way to Prize the allusions and references embedded within the stories.

Breakdown of how it could work……. Briefly….

Chapter 1-Black Heart Cherry– Many thought this hinted to the Run for the Roses- Roses were on Teddy Roosevelt’s coat of arms

Chapter 2-Grandfather’s Office– his famously known speech about the Arena of Life

Chapter 3- Two Dogs, thought to be about Boxing, which is used as an analogy in TR’s speech

Chapter 4- Full Moon– Gettysburg, and TR is with Abe Lincoln on Mount Rushmore

Chapter 5- Winterland- Grateful Dead- Can maybe a song relate?? OR in 1989 the Mellon Arena did hold host to performances by the Grateful Dead on April 2 and 3.

Key turn:

Chapter 6- Cork– Vietnam- Mellon arena held major political rallies..did it hold something in relation to Vietnam

Chapter 7-48 States– Rock Star- film in 2001 used the Mellon Arena

Chapter 8- Sand Castle– is seen to describe layout of Pittsburgh

Chapter 9- Egg Hunt– Pursuit of Happiness

Chapter 10- The Bow- Rainbow at end and provides message saying not only how, but what— ‘find the fruit’ (or the ‘Melon’ (Mellon arena))

We are told on page xii: “The pieces come in many forms and this puzzle does not publish the number of pieces within the box. Without steadfast rules and armed with only vague instructions, you will be forced to open your mind to accept any reference as possible guidance.”

If you put the two ‘halves’ together, not that I have found definite allusions for all the chapters, but then it could allude to finding the KEY in the ‘ARENA’ in Pittsburgh. The Mellon Arena. Was a light or key placed somewhere there in 2003 on groundhog’s day??

AS has been suggested by another searcher to indication road directions:

Bare the Cross -cross blvd.
Leave the Center- leave center
Find the Fruit- Melon

This is only a summary rundown of a theory for a solution. It needs work, I know. Could be deemed wrong, I know. I haven’t found a physical ‘KEY’. Is there one?

There are other connections not mentioned above to Pittsburgh, the Arena, and Teddy Roosevelt that could be seen. For instance, I know black and gold on the calendar were noted many times, and this suggests ‘Pittsburgh’, and the gold fish on the calendar could be seen to connect to the movie ‘The fish that saved Pittsburgh’ which was filmed there. Stuff like that.

But are they intentional or coincidental. What do you think?

As for myself, I love the possible solution for The Whistle Pig Treasure Hunt to encourage the getting into the Arena and living life to the fullest.  But evenso, I continue on, and am glad to have you join me on this quest for the Whistle Pig treasure hunt key.


Best of luck in all that you seek! Treasure the Adventure!

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6 Responses

  1. Buckeye Bob says:

    This certainly looks like a fun puzzle.

  2. Jenny Kile says:

    It’s a small little puzzle book that is fun to bring out and ponder. The stories leave you wondering, and then there is that ‘Key’ to find……lol….

  3. Shannon says:

    Bare the Cross
    Leave the Center
    Find the Fruit

    Find/look/see/Image of the “Whistle Pig” (his head – just like in the picture on the book)
    Just out of the alignment of the center of the magnifying glass.
    “Coordinate,” right on the eye of the whistle pig . . .

    41.051597, -79.008120

  4. Buckeye Bob says:

    Any thought to some sort of system for each chapter? A “key” (different than the prize, but that might be a hint) to solve each one?

    The mention of the bow and fruit instantly reminds me of some research I just did about the “unibomer”, Bomer being a Jewish season and the bow representing the rainbow on a particular holiday. There was a rainbow and the bow and arrows there, in this one there’s the additional fruit.
    The first thing that jumped into my mind was William Tell, shooting the apple off his son’s head.

    I’m tempted right now, but I really have too much else on my plate. So I’m limited to researching this one for the time being.

  5. Jason says:

    The Bow story is a Red-herring – ‘Decoy’

  6. Albarel says:

    I can’t believe I’ve had this book since 2003. Was fun to come across your web page and dig out my old book. Sad that no one has made any progress in the last 14 years. I re-read it, reviewed my old notes, let my mind trip over some new dead ends. It’s also a shame that there doesn’t seem to be any trace of the official website or the author out there.

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