Fantasy Author’s Puzzle Has Outsmarted Treasure Hunters For Thirty-Five Years — Until Now!

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There Is Treasure Buried Somewhere in Milwaukee

And not just in Milwaukee, but there are nine other North American locations that supposedly contain buried treasure, including the possibilities of New York, San Francisco, and Montreal.

The treasures were hidden in 1981 by author Byron Preiss as part of a wider plan to promote his new fantasy tome, The Secret.

Predating the identically titled self-help book by a quarter of a century, Preiss’ fantasy novel The Secret included a series of puzzles in the form of riddles with corresponding paintings.

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If solved, the puzzles would lead readers to a real-life ceramic container, or casque as Preiss called them. Each casque contains a key to a safe-deposit box, which holds a gem worth roughly $1,000.

The contest was inspired by a similar book by Kit Williams called Masquerade.

That quest offered a golden rabbit figurine to any reader who could decipher its location from clues within the text. That challenge remained a popular mystery and topic of conversation in literary circles until it was solved in March of 1982.

It also proved to be a highly successful marketing technique.

The Masquerade quest helped spawn a literary genre known as “armchair treasure hunts.”

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While The Secret never sold as many copies as Masquerade, it did achieve a cult-like following among an extremely dedicated group of amateur sleuths. Within months of its publication, over 700 people wrote to Preiss claiming to know the location of the casques.

But it wasn’t until the following year that one of the treasures was actually recovered by three teenaged students in Chicago’s Grant Park.

However, the next puzzle wasn’t solved until 2004…