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The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Image 10 Verse 8 Solution
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Image 10 Verse 8 Solution

Page history last edited by Isstvan 2 months, 1 week ago



  The casque associated with Image 10 and Verse 8 is (or was) buried at the eastern foot of the Locust Street Ravine Trail inside Lake Park in Milwaukee, WI, somewhere in the near vicinity of these coordinates: 43°04'08.1"N, 87°52'06.1"W.  (Finding the exact spot to dig will require an on-site investigation.)


  Views of the Milwaukee City Hall get us to the city (from the image).  A very detailed walk-through takes us from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to Lake Park and to the Grand Staircase (from the verse).  Images of lawn bowling and a cicada nymph confirm that we are meant to turn right at the top of the stairs (image).  We are guided down the Locust Street Ravine Trail to a group of birches (verse) where we would see some symbol on a tree (verse) and the confirming image of a cement disk (image).  Preiss probably meant this to be the easiest of all the puzzles, but the removal of the group of birches took away the crucial clue for the final spot.



Detailed Solution

The solution given below will present clues from the verse and the image in a way that narrows down the search area to that specific point.  Bits of the original image are shown in the left column in cells with a tan background.  Lines from the verse are in the same column but with a yellow background.  (For more detail about any particular clue, check the page for Image 10 or Verse 8.)
Clues Interpretations

  Unlike most of the other 11 paintings from the book, Image 10 does not have any (known) numbers representing latitude or longitude.  Perhaps to balance out those missing map clues, the image includes more than the usual number of city-level clues to get us started in the right place.


  Our first clue is the combination of the millstone, the cane and the key being juggled.  They form a rebus telling us the city where we should be searching:

"mill" + "walk" + "key" = Milwaukee.

  The "castle" floating in the mist is a very close match to the distinctive profile of Milwaukee City Hall.

  The hands of the juggler seem to be representations of the hands of Solomon Juneau in the bronze relief on the Juneau Monument in Juneau Park.


  (Just as in the puzzles for New York and Houston, the artwork here includes images from various parks where the casque isn't hidden, partially as clues to the correct city and partially as red herrings to distract readers from the correct location.)



All of the clues up to this point combine to put us somewhere in the metropolitan area of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.



1) View the three stories of Mitchell

  Mitchell Hall is a three-story building located on the corner of E. Kenwood Blvd. and N. Downer Ave on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  It is the closest campus building to Lake Park.



2) As you walk the beating of the world


  Kenwood is a company that makes electric kitchen mixers (blenders) and they advertised their "Electric Chef" model as being a "Kitchen WORLD BEATER."



  This line is clearly confirming that we have the correct three-story Mitchell building and that we should start walking down East Kenwood Boulevard.



3) At a distance in time

4) From three who lived there


  The "three who lived here" is a reference to Downer, Hackett and Shepard avenues east of the UWM campus.  Those three avenues were named after some of Milwaukee's most prominent early citizens.


5) At a distance in space

6) From woman, with harpsichord

7) Silently playing


  "Woman with harpsichord" apparently means Marietta Robusti (1560? – 1590), whose self-portrait shows her by a harpsichord.  This is therefore a reference to Marietta Avenue, the next street one would cross moving eastwards along Kenwood Blvd.


8) Step on nature


  After crossing Downer, Hackett, Shepard, and Marietta, one reaches Lake Park, a large natural area on the edge of Lake Michigan.  This line is telling us to enter the park.



9) Cast in copper

  The most common object "cast in copper" is, of course, a penny, which features a profile of President Abraham Lincoln on the front and a picture of the Lincoln Memorial on the back.  This reference is telling us to continue from the end of Kenwood and go directly into Lincoln Memorial Drive, which runs along the east side of Lake Park.




The map above uses the line numbers from Verse 8 to illustrate the steps so far.



10) Ascend the 92 steps


  Following Lincoln Memorial Drive around the north and eastern edges of Lake Park brings us to the Grand Staircase. Searchers on the spot have carefully confirmed that the staircase does, indeed, have 92 steps.  This is a very precise confirmation that we are in the correct spot and should go up the stairs.



11) After climbing the grand 200

  "The grand 200" is thought to be a reference to the Grand Staircase because, when viewed from above, the outline of the staircase is a double C.  Two C's in Roman numerals equal 200.



12) Pass the compass ...


  Byron Preiss liked his wordplay, and he probably knew that most searchers would assume that "compass" meant the navigational tool that points northwards.  But, in this case, the "compass" we need is the tool used for drawing circles and arcs


  Lampposts in Lake Park display a Masonic symbol that features a prominent compass.  One such lamppost is located at the top of the Grand Staircase.  If we pass that compass and go around the north side of the Lake Park Pavilion, we are standing at Point 12 in the map below.  There is a footbridge to the northeast of us and a broad, flat lawn to the southwest.





  At this point, the two red balls held by the juggler very likely have a dual significance.  It's possible that the pair of spheres represent the two large, circular openings seen in the arches at each end of the Lake Park Footbridge.  That footbridge is directly beside where we are standing at Point 12.

Lawn bowling photo by lhourahane on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0

  Given the way the balls are being held and tossed, however, it's even more likely that they represent the balls used in lawn bowling.  And, standing at Point 12 in the photo above, one would be directly beside the Lake Park lawn bowling greens.  (The greens are located 100 yards west of the Lake Park Pavilion and are just out of view on the left side of the aerial photo above.)  This is a powerful confirmation that we are in the correct place.



12) ... and reach

13) The foot of the culvert

14) Below the bridge

  There would be no "culvert" at the Lake Park Pavilion or the Lake Park Bowling Greens.  If we are to find a nearby culvert from Point 12 in the photo above, we will need to continue northwards and approach the footbridge and the nearby ravine.


  Crossing the Lake Park Footbridge brings us to a culvert at the northern end of the bridge.  The culvert drains water and also provides access to a hiking trail that leads down the slope, following the side of East Ravine Road as it runs southeast. 


  Hidden in Image 10 is a shape that resembles a cicada nymph.  Cicadas are sometime (incorrectly) called "locusts," so this could be a hint towards Locust Avenue or a locust tree.  The name of the hiking trail that runs under the Lake Park Footbridge is the Locust Street Ravine Trail, which gives us another confirmation that we are in the right place.


15) Walk 100 paces

16) Southeast over rock and soil

  The Locust Street Ravine Trail runs southeast as it passes under the footbridge and descends to Lincoln Memorial Drive.  The trail has flat sections of soil interspersed with stone steps, as shown in the photos below.






17) To the first young birch

There are currently no living birch trees along that stretch of the trail, but if you look in the overgrown area between the trail and the road you can still see the stumps with the distinctive white bark and horizontal lenticels, as shown in the photos below.  There were clearly birch trees here at one time and we may still be able to find all the stumps and count them.  ( the stump in this photo has been turn over and three holes have been dug to the south of it 1/28/18)



The first young bïrch (July 16 2021, over rock and soil to the lake, S lighthouse trail)


18) Pass three, staying west

19) You'll see a letter from the country

20) Of wonderstone's hearth

21) On a proud, tall fifth


  "Staying west" tells us that we should reach the correct tree without crossing Lincoln Memorial Drive. 

  It isn't clear what would represent a "letter from the country of wonderstone's hearth," but that reference point disappeared when the trees were cut down.  It could have been a sign or a marker posted on the tree, or it could have been a shape carved into the bark.  In any case, we should still be able to find the correct tree by counting the stumps and looking for the fifth one.  The description of a "proud, tall fifth" tells us we should only consider large, established trees.  We can ignore any stray saplings.



22) At its southern foot

23) The treasure waits.

  The route down the hiking trail along East Ravine Road will take one toward the intersection with Lincoln Memorial Drive.  Near the final tree before the intersection, there is a large cement disk similar to the millstone shown in Image 10.  The disk is likely our final clue to confirm that we are in the right place. (Two rather large holes have been dug to the south of this "lid" 1/28/18)



Final Location: 43°04'08.1"N, 87°52'06.1"W

(Latitude: 43.0689167°, Longitude: -87.8683611°)





Other Notes:

  • If this solution is correct, this should be a fairly easy casque to find.  East Ravine Road limits the search area on the south side and the Locust Street Ravine Trail limits the search area to the north.  The verse tells us that the casque was buried at the "southern foot" of a birch tree, and some evidence of the stump should still be there.  And the soil will not be anywhere near as hard and compacted as it is in other search locations that have seen more foot traffic.
  • The Milwaukee search was recently featured in a story in Vice magazine.  It sounds like the managers of Lake Park are sick of the search and want the casque to be found.  This might be the right opportunity for someone to propose a responsible, careful dig and work with the park administration to get permission.
  • Good luck, Milwaukee searchers!  Let us know if you find it. 



Update 3/18/18:

  • We've had several reports from Milwaukee that someone dug a deep hole beside the manhole/millstone.  The dig was apparently done without permission and the diggers left a mess.  They also didn't bother to fill in their hole.  (Photo provided by wiki contributor Mister EZ.  For more photos and analysis, visit his Flickr photoalbum.)
  • We've also had reports from some searchers that they found shards of plastic and possibly ceramic when they examined the hole.  To see photos of some of the bits that were found, visit the Flickr photo album posted by wiki contributer K.Kep.


Comments (10)

Guardian said

at 1:03 am on Mar 11, 2018

Someone dug up the spot without permission. If it was there, it’s gone now.

Mister EZ said

at 7:50 pm on Mar 22, 2018

Whoever dug that hole and left it in disarray.....bite me.

I'm pretty sure (absolutely positive) that any shards I found in the dirt around the hole were from a cup and saucer....not even close to being from a casque. Might have come from / been used at the Lake Bistro at one time. The surface of the cup portion, under the caked on dirt, is pitted and rough. But, that's just what's left of the porcelain's glaze after 'aging'.

One picture of the two pieces K.Kep and D.Kep found, shows a cracked eggshell pattern on the surface, lower left. That tells me that those were glazed (maybe still are...but, rough/pitted like the cup shard). They're not sure if those pieces are from a casque or not. (I don't think so....but, maybe.)

K.Kep said

at 9:20 pm on Mar 22, 2018

We aren’t convinced it is... and we 100% agree there are mostly pieces of.... cups, saucers, and plates.... etc.....but there are 3 pieces in question that don’t correlate to any of the other pieces we picked up. We are sure 90% of what we found is old dinnerware and antique China... the color of the pieces in question and and the opposite side, texture, material... it’s was nothing like all the other junk... then with the plexiglass.... we just don’t know.... we never claimed it as the casque, but just trying to show others what we found. And the surface of the white side of those pieces is actually very dull, while the other side with that rainbow “shiny” glaze like appearance is a head scratcher....

RLee Waldron said

at 12:04 pm on Mar 23, 2018

I hate to tell y'all, but that doesn't look like someone dug a hole. It looks like a scour hole from below the overflow outlet of a sewerage forcemain.

JulieM said

at 12:19 pm on Mar 23, 2018


Mister EZ said

at 12:22 pm on Mar 23, 2018

Search for images of scour holes....tell me how many have buckets inside, dirt scattered around the opening, lose soil inside it and a pile of junk (muddy glove, half filled hug /gallon of water and garbage bag filled with empty water bottles L/ jugs) nearby.

Look at my Flickr pics...and trust me, somebody dug that hole. The center wasn't positioned below the overflow, either. ;)

Guardian said

at 12:10 am on Mar 24, 2018

There were scour holes all around my home for years because of leaks. That’s no scour hole.

mrnad said

at 6:52 pm on Jan 11, 2021

Kind of curious, has anyone gone out probing and been caught doing it when they maybe shouldn't have been? I guess I'm wondering what happens in practice if they catch you. Like do they just tell you to leave, do they call the police, something else?

Linda S said

at 7:13 pm on Jan 11, 2021

I know of some folks that were told to put the dirt back and leave, I know others have been chased away and the rangers say if they catch someone its 10 grand fine and 1 yr prison, this is all in San Francisco.

mrnad said

at 1:20 pm on Jan 12, 2021

It's been frustrating. I think I have a good theory as to what the final site marker is for the Milwaukee puzzle, so I wanted to do some probing around an area. It's a small targeted spot, so I tried a few times getting a permit last year. I was hopeful, but they are just not giving out permits anymore. They seem tired of the whole thing. I'm really tempted to go out and try my luck probing, but like you say, the documented legal penalties are steep. That's why I was curious if anyone had some experiences as to what actually happens if you get caught probing.

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