web analytics
The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Boston Claim 2019

Boston Claim 2019

Page history last edited by Oregonian 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Reports of a find related to Image 11 & Verse 3

  • In October of 2019, there were widespread claims that the casque linked to Image 11 and Verse 3 had been located in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • The casque was supposedly found in Langone Park in the North End.  A newspaper article with very limited information was published in the Boston Globe.
  • No real evidence of the find has been produced, but that silence may be due at least in part to the non-disclosure agreements that many of the participants signed with the producers of Expedition Unknown.  (A show about the latest developments was broadcast on 10/30/19.)
  • This page is a place where people can discuss the possible find and what it might mean.  Note: There seem to be strong feelings in connection with the claim.  Please be courteous to all users and respect the fact that different people may have different thresholds of proof and different criteria for deciding whether a casque has been found.




Let's start with the shape in the woman's sleeve:


Baseball home plate

Image 11

Fenway Park


  Everyone involved in The Secret seems to agree that the shadow in the woman's cuff (above middle) is a clue and has some relation to baseball.  Some people think that the shape matches the shape of a baseball home plate (above left). Other people think that the asymmetrical five-sided shape appears to be a hybrid between a home plate and the shape of Fenway Park (above right), the legendary baseball field in Boston. 


  So this is as good a place as any to start your evaluation.  Ask yourself: Which of the two interpretations above seems most likely?


  If you answer "Fenway Park" then... great, you're on your way to one of the worlds most famous and revered baseball stadiums, located right on the edge of the Back Bay Fens.  While you're there, you'll probably find some strong matches for phrases like "the coliseum with metal walls" and "a green tower of lights in the middle section."  Those connections are spelled out in our proposed Image 11 solution.


  And if you answer "home plate" then... great, you're still on your way to Fenway Park, because it is by far the most famous baseball field in all of the greater Boston area!  Any search connecting Boston and baseball is going to tell you to start with Fenway Park, the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball and the home of the Red Sox.




So now you're by Fenway.  What do you see?

  We know from all the other casques that the image should contain multiple matches to confirm that one is approaching the right area for the casque.  This isn't even a complete list, but here are a baker's dozen of the strongest visual clues supporting our proposed Image 11 solution.


Matches Interpretations

  Anyone looking around Boston for possible destinations would notice the similarity between the Back Bay Fens and Image 11.  The fens form the shape of a bent left arm, with a clear shoulder, elbow, forearm, and hand. The Muddy River that flows through the fens creates a winding blue line that weaves back and forth in the area between the "elbow" and the "shoulder."


 In addition, two city streets beside the fens create the impression of an upraised thumb and a straight-line bracelet that goes across the "wrist" of the arm.




  The bird's perch forms a large, boldface, sans-serif T.  It is the symbol for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (known to locals as "the T"). 


  The MBTA Fenway Station is located on Park Avenue, exactly where the woman's thumb would be in the "arm map" of the Back Bay Fens.  The MBTA Kenmore Station is actually closer to Fenway Park, though, and it's the main one used by fans going to the park for a game.  Kenmore Station is located in Kenmore Square.



  The triangle on the stole resembles the most famous triangle in Boston: the huge Citgo sign, located at 600 Beacon Street, near Kenmore Square.  Both have a wide rectangle framing a set of concentric triangles that point upwards.  Anyone crossing Beacon Street between BU and the fens would have a view of the sign.

(Citgo sign photo by Beyond My Ken - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link) 



  The symbol on the woman's stole indicates we're looking for a street grid that forms a double "A." Because Beacon street runs at a diagonal relative to the regular street grids, there are at least two strong candidates (shown at left).  The place where both of those patterns overlap is at Kenmore Square on Beacon Street.


  The similarity between Image 11 and the keyhole design of the Kelleher Rose Garden in the Fens was one of the first connections made by searchers in Boston.  Both have large, concentric circles connected by a thin line to a rectangle below.


  The Kelleher Rose Garden is located directly south of Fenway Park in what would be the bicep of our Back Bay Fens arm map.  Anyone starting in Kenmore Square and passing Fenway Park would reach the rose garden by continuing in the same direction.

  The rectangular front panel on the woman's dress (matching the rectangular part of the keyhole shape) has a pattern that very strongly matches a design on a planter structure in the Kelleher Rose Garden.


  The flared, black hair on either side of the woman in the picture resembles the wings spread out behind the figure of "Victory" in a World War II memorial in the Fens.  The memorial is northeast of the rose garden and in the direction of the turnpike.



  The "checkerboard" curve below the globe resembles the arch of the Boylston Street Bridge.  We see it as we pass the north end of the Victory Gardens.  (And the connection is emphasized by the reflection on the tabletop.)

  Walking across the Charlesgate overpass, pedestrians have the chance to look down and see an unusual structure tucked in beside the freeway.  It's a circle and a curve, both made of bricks, with steps connecting them and a few lamp posts scattered around.  The official name and purpose of the structure are unknown but it has been in the same spot for decades.  Most people involved in The Secret call it "Two Circles" or "the 2C site." 


  The proportion of the two circles is captured perfectly in Image 11 and even the diagonal line connecting them is perfect.  This is no coincidence.


The second gray shadow in the woman's cuff resembles an outstretched leg, with a pointed toe, a clear heel, and a widening leg.


The shape is a very strong match for the Charlesgate sidewalk at the Two Circles site.  Unlike a normal city sidewalk, it has an angular bend it in to accommodate the offramp.  And, because the street has limited space, the sidewalk narrows to a "toe" at the intersection.  The red trace in the image at left shows the shape from Image 11 superimposed on an aerial of the spot.  (Normally this wiki is skeptical of anything requiring an aerial view, but a searcher on the Charlesgate overpass would have an overhead view of this spot.)

  The streetlights in the Charlesgate area, north of the turnpike, have a very unusual, distinctive design.  They are large spheres held up by little "pegs" at the base.  (Note that the peg below the sphere in the image is different from the rod that gives the angled connection between the two circles, as described above.)




  Prior to 2011, searchers at the bottom of the Charlesgate off-ramp would have seen a white utility box with a flat, overhanging, rectangular lid.  And, behind the box on the side of the off-ramp, a pipe and a joint form a pair of parallel lines (one wide and one narrow) running along the side of the overpass.


  This is a very strong image match, and it's hard to see how there could be any reason for that white table in the lower left corner of the image except to recreate this scene.


  Near the white utility box there's an "h" shape formed by the seams in the concrete sidewalk.


  This is not a common shape in city sidewalks!  Streetlights are usually placed in a grassy area between the sidewalk and the curb, to leave all of the sidewalk available for pedestrians.  Even when they're placed in a sidewalk like this, it's very rare for them to line up with the sidewalk joint.  (See photos on the Image 11 page for more info.)  And the "h" shape in the painting is even pointing directly at the bright star, as if to tell us that the shape is associated with a bright light.






Matches Linking Image 11 to Langone Park

 So what's the evidence in the other direction?  If people decided that a baseball clue pointed to a recreational field in Langone Park in north Boston, what matches would they see there?


Matches Interpretations






  As far as we know, no one has ever even proposed any matches between Image 11 and Langone Park.  As described above, the one piece of evidence that is often cited is that the shape in the woman's right sleeve might resemble the home plate in a baseball diamond.  But there are over 100 baseball and softball fields in the greater Boston area and the most famous of them all (by several orders of magnitude) is Fenway Park.  So the baseball reference doesn't do anything to specifically support Langone Park, and may actually support the route from Kenmore Square past Fenway Park to the Back Bay Fens.







Verse 3

  Okay, so what about the verse?  How well does that match up with the two possible sites?  The chart below offers a comparison.


Langone Park Interpretation Verse 3 Back Bay Fens Interpretation
Wall of Boston Public Library at Copley Square and a reference to a letter by Horace Walpole.

If Thucydides is

North of Xenophon


Wall of Boston Public Library at Copley Square and a reference to a letter by Horace Walpole.



Take five steps

Five subway stops, as indicated by the "T" symbol in the painting.





In the area of his direction

Go west, as indicated by the Walpole letter.




A green tower of lights

In the middle section

The Green Monster - the left field wall at Fenway.  It's one of Boston's famous landmarks, and where it ends at center field ("in the middle section") there is a tower of lights (and the Citgo sign is visible in the background).




Near those

Who pass the coliseum

With metal walls

The nearest one can get to the Green Monster without entering Fenway ("the coliseum") is to pass by on Lansdowne Street, where the walls of the park are formed with massive steel girders.


"Water" = mouth of Charles River

"Stairs" = ? (No stairs on ball field)

"Home" = home plate on ball field

Face the water

Your back to the stairs

Feel at home

"Water" = Muddy River

"Stairs" = steps between circles at 2C

"Home" = reference to "Dirty Water" by the Standells ("I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you're my home") 


According to Wikipedia, "'Dirty Water' is beloved by the city of Boston and its sports fans" (which, again, ties things back to Fenway Park).




All the letters

Are here to see

Searchers facing the Muddy River will also be facing the Back Bay Fens victory garden where the paths are identified by letters.


Hint to Boston and Paul Revere's ride.

Eighteenth day

Twelfth hour

Hint to Boston and Paul Revere's ride.
Continuation of the Paul Revere hint

Lit by lamplight

Double entendre.  Fits with the Paul Revere hint and also hints that the final spot is lit by lamplight.



In truth, be free.







Evidence for the 2019 Langone Park Claim:

Piece of evidence
Plastic Box Photo

  We don't know the story behind the pictures below, but they are the photographic evidence that has been offered to support a Boston find (and we thank the wiki user who provided them).  The bit of plaster at far right appears to be remarkably pristine and white for something that has 40 years underground, absorbing rainwater and minerals.  It does, however, have a clear resemblance in shape to the original casque.  If these photos are real, they appear to rule out any chance of a misunderstanding.  Either the Boston casque was real or it was a deliberate fake.



  It would be great to see some close-up pictures of the supposed casque fragments showing the detail.  We would have expected those pictures to be released during the episode of Expedition Unknown or shortly thereafter, but they never were.  Does anyone know where those fragments are now?  Were they ever given to an independent archaeologist who could either say "yes, this looks like something that has spent 40 years underground" or "give me a break - that's obviously fresh plaster of paris"?


  If the fragments are the evidence for a Boston find, it is truly bizarre that they have not been thoroughly photographed and examined by a wide variety of independent experts.


the Boston Globe article

  The article published in the Boston Globe appears to take the claim at face value.  The article does not present any evidence to support the claim and the authors do not appear to have a strong background in the whole puzzle and the hunt.  (Not surprisingly, the authors do not go full Woodward and Bernstein to verify the evidence in a 40-year-old novelty game.)


the gemstone

  The Boston Globe article includes a photo of the searchers holding a gemstone in a box.  It might be the original stone from 1980 or it might be a prop purchased for the TV show.  There has always been some doubt about whether Byron Preiss actually pre-purchased all 12 gemstones or whether he was just waiting to buy a stone if and when each casque was found.  It's also not clear what might have happened to any such gemstones after his death.  (If the stone were really purchased in advance and were purchased with corporate money, they are presumably now the property of whoever bought the company at the bankruptcy auction.) 


  What we know for sure is that the Preiss family does not know where any of the casques were hidden, so they cannot confirm or reject any solutions based only on the proposed location.  If the Preiss family did provide the jewel shown in the photo, it would be interesting to learn what evidence (if any) convinced them that the find was legitimate.


Expedition Unknown

  Expedition Unknown made an episode of their show based on this claim, and some people clearly consider that to be strong evidence.  Viewers should be aware, however, that EU has a pattern of manufacturing props and then doing "reenactments" to entertain their viewers.  (The "old Polaroids" of the Milwaukee site shown in an earlier show would be one example.  The administrator of this wiki routinely receives emails informing him that the Polaroids still exist because the person writing the email saw them on TV.  The power of television to convince people that they are seeing reality is an amazing thing.) 


John Jude Palencar 

  The artist who painted the pictures for The Secret participated in the EU episode, which presumably means that he vouches on some level for the accuracy of the find.  (It also presumably means that he has signed a nondisclosure agreement limiting what he can say about what went on behind the scenes.)  Ordinarily, the endorsement of the artist would carry enormous weight.  But before the Boston claim in 2019, Palencar apparently went on the record in an interview and said that there wasn't a casque in Boston.  It's hard to count him as an authority now without weighing the contradiction of his earlier statement. 


  The only two clue interpretations Palencar seems to have publicly made for Image 11 are that the shadow in the woman's sleeve is based on a baseball home plate and that the stole she wears resembles the nautical flags on the USS Constitution.  Both interpretations seem quite plausible.  Neither one links directly to Langone Park.


Anything else?  Feel free to add to this table if you know of any additional evidence to support the claim of a Boston find.


Some of the pieces we don't have (as of 8/5/20 include:

  • shards of the plexiglass box,
  • shards of the ceramic casque (identifiable as such),
  • an independent assessment of the shards by someone who has not signed an NDA with Expedition Unknown,
  • the metal core of the key,
  • an "Aha image" from Image 11 confirming the spot,
  • other clues hidden in Image 11 that would lead searchers to Langone Park, and
  • any confirmation from John Jude Palencar that he used Polaroids of Langone Park to paint Image 11.




  There appear to be three possibilities to explain the current situation:

  1. Byron Preiss buried the casque in Langone Park and then John Jude Palencar, for reasons known only to himself, said "Screw it, I'm going to make the painting irrelevant to the real site and just fill it with a few dozen pictures closely tied to the Back Bay Fens."  This does not seem like a particularly strong theory, but it (presumably) can't be ruled out.
  2. Byron Preiss buried the casque in Langone Park and took his usual Polaroid pictures of distinctive features in the immediate area.  Palencar incorporated those pictures into his painting, but all of the corresponding features have disappeared from the park and from the historical records.  Under this theory, the similarities between Image 11 and the landmarks in the Back Bay Fens are all entirely coincidental.  This is at least slightly more plausible than Theory #1, but it still seems highly unlikely.
  3. We are currently left with only one plausible theory: Someone is conducting a deliberate hoax (similar to what happened earlier in San Francisco).  If the "plastic box photo" is valid, the connections to a real casque are too strong to be coincidental.  So what presumably happened is that someone made a fake casque out of plaster, scattered the pieces on a construction site, waited for the workers to find them, and called it a victory.  And Expedition Unknown wanted an episode that would bring in viewers (and ad money) so they filled in the gaps with "reenactments," arranged for a gemstone, and wrapped up the whole package into a TV show.  Not a satisfying theory, admittedly, but it appears to be the strongest one so far.


Obviously all of the above could change dramatically if some real evidence of a find is ever produced.



Update 7/3/21


  Summer is here again and, once again, there is a renewed push to bring conformity to all the various pages related to The Secret.  We have received various requests to accept the Expedition Unknown episode as definitive proof and label the Boston casque as found.  Setting aside the obvious question of why people care so much about a wiki they claim not to read, we are willing to give our latest list of reasons for the existence of this page.


  1.  This is, as people have pointed out, a wiki devoted to The Secret.  It is not a wiki devoted to Expedition Unknown, and nothing that happens on that show is directly relevant to what we do.
  2.  EU is a commercial TV show.  The only reason for its existence is to attract viewers and make money.  The producers have every motivation to go along with a bogus find that makes a good story and they have absolutely no motivation to expose that find and waste a show.  They are, therefore, far from being any sort of reliable judges as to whether a find is valid.
  3.  The supposed Boston find of 2019 was very obviously a staged event intended to give a child a fun treasure hunt experience.  And EU went along with it and added even more stagecraft of their own because heartwarming stories about happy children make good TV and attract viewers.  (We are not opposed to making children happy, but, again, this is a wiki about The Secret.  The warmth of the story really isn’t relevant.)
  4.  For over a year now we’ve had a chart on this page inviting people to explain some of the “clue-like” features in Image 11 and show how they would match with the Boston claim.  In that time, absolutely no one has offered any ideas.  There just isn’t any match to Langone Park and the image clues overwhelmingly point to a site in the Back Bay Fens.  To believe that Palencar simply put the shape of a baseball plate in Image 11 and then left it to the readers to tear apart some 100 different baseball fields in Boston, looking for the right spot in the right field, does not even begin to pass the sniff test.  Everything we know about these puzzles tells us that there should be many, many images matches narrowing down the right spot.
  5.  Because EU presented the Boston find as real, and because so many observers accepted that find without applying any critical reasoning, searchers in other places have now gotten the idea that they should dig holes in other well-maintained sports fields.  New York, Houston, San Francisco, and other cities are now finding holes in their baseball fields, creating all sort of problems for players and parks departments alike.  The idea that Byron Preiss, a baseball fan, would want an army of people to start damaging baseball fields around the country is patently ludicrous.  Baseball fans care about the tiniest and most trivial details, from the height of the pitcher’s mound to the dust on home plate.  They would NEVER want to see people digging random holes in the infield.
  6.  EU is obviously not going to come forward and admit that Boston was a hoax, because it would damage their brand and lower their profits.  The other people who participated in the show (Palencar, etc.) may now be realizing some of the unintended consequences of their choices, but they can’t come forward because of their non-disclosure agreements with EU.  The best outcome at this point would be for the person who pulled the hoax to come forward and do the right thing: admit that the casque isn’t real but that the stunt was done with the best of intentions.  The second-best outcome would be for the real Boston casque to be found.  Neither of those things appear to be happening.  So that leaves us with the third-best outcome: This wiki will continue to be the lonely voice of reason, pointing out that the claim is bogus and trying to steer people away from damaging public property.
  7.  It is noted that other people created this wiki.  Good job.  But even a glance at the “page history” link on each page will show that the current Chief Editor (Oregonian) did more than 99% of the work in creating the well-organized resource that exists today.  That work created a renewed interest in the puzzle and brought more than 8 million page views to this site.  So the current leadership has a certain “sweat equity” that gives them the right to make the editorial judgment calls.  And this call isn’t a tough one at all.  The Boston casque was bogus and the people who accept it unquestioningly are doing real harm both to this puzzle and to the recreational areas in the puzzle cities.  Because this is a wiki about The Secret, this wiki will stay true to the puzzle itself and stay true to the vision of the author: “It is not the intention of the Fair People to destroy the beauty of nature or Man through their challenge.”  Feel free to dig holes in neglected areas by railroad tracks or muddy backwaters, but please stay away from sports fields and well-maintained lawns and gardens.  The casques are not going to be there. 



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.