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Page history last edited by Oregonian 8 months, 2 weeks ago


Welcome to the wiki for The Secret

  This is a wiki for solving the 12 puzzles contained inside The Secret, a puzzle book published in 1982 by Byron Preiss.  To set up the puzzle, Preiss traveled to different locations in North America to secretly bury a dozen ceramic vases, or, as he called them, "casques." Each casque contained a small key that could be redeemed for one of 12 jewels Preiss kept in a safe deposit box in New York. The key to finding each casque was to match one of the paintings in the book to one of the verses in the book, solve the resulting riddle, and start digging. Since 1982, only two of the twelve casques have been recovered. The first was located in Grant Park, Chicago, in 1983 by a group of students. The second was unearthed in 2004 in Cleveland by two members of the Quest4Treasure forum. Preiss was killed in an auto accident in the summer of 2005, but the hunt for his casques continues. 



  For more background on the book and the authors, see the history page on this wiki.  If you would like to jump in and participate, visit the To Do page to see if you can help answer any of our big questions.  (Other contributions are always welcome too, of course!)

The Rules - Site Summary - Tips for Puzzle Solving - Online Resources


“It is not the intention of the Fair People to destroy the beauty of nature or Man through their challenge.”
- The Secret, p. 219


The Rules


(from page 219 in The Secret)

"Every treasure casque is buried underground, at a depth of no more than three to three and one-half feet.  The casques are protected by lustrous transparent boxes, and are sealed."


"The following places do not hold any treasure:

(a) any life-threatening location, such as a dangerous highway embankment, a contaminated area or active railway track
(b) any cemetery
(c) any public or private flower bed
(d) any property owned by the contributors to the book, their families or friends."


A few other bits of wisdom about the treasure spots are well worth keeping in mind:

  • Byron Preiss was a businessman and was aware of liability risks.  Any place that is likely to have underground irrigation or electrical wiring should immediately be ruled out as a digging spot.  This would include zoos, formal gardens, bases of lampposts, and so forth. 
  • Preiss was also a responsible citizen and he wouldn't have wanted his treasure hunt to cause any harm or do any damage.  Your solution shouldn't require you to tear up a lawn or disturb a natural area.  The casques are only going to be in places that have already been disturbed by humans and where further digging wouldn't be a problem.
  • It appears that Preiss may have been casual about the distinction between public and private property (or he simply may not have known who owned a piece of land).  In at least two cases that we know of (St. Augustine and New Orleans), there is reason to believe that Preiss buried a casque on private land in a neglected bit of space beside a parking lot.  But it is highly unlikely that Preiss expected us to pay admission and go past a gatekeeper to get into some private property for digging.  If your solution requires you to smuggle a shovel down the leg of your pants, sneak past an admission booth, and dig a hole amid a mix of visitors and staff members, your solution has almost no chance of being correct.
  • In every case that we know of, the burial site is beside some distinctive, man-made feature that is represented in the image or verse.  (See the Solutions page for more info on the "Aha! icon.")  The presence of the artificial feature within a few feet means that the casque can't be out in an open area or in some pristine natural preserve.  There has to be a distinctive object (made by humans) very close to the burial spot.
  • Please do not dig without permission!  We have received many reports of unauthorized people digging holes around various parks.  That kind of behavior damages public resources and creates (understandable) bad feelings toward this whole adventure.  The Secret is only meant to be a fun exercise that gets people outside, exploring new places.  There is no "treasure" to be had for finding a casque.  So please take the time to work through the proper channels and solve the puzzles in a way that does no harm to the local landscape.



Site Summary


  Each of the 12 images in the book represents a groups of immigrants who came to North America from some foreign country. Each image is also linked to a particular month and contains that month's birth flower and that month's birth stone (which also the jewel for that casque). The text of the book includes twelve verses that describe (in varying detail) where a casque is hidden.  The first step in solving the puzzle is to match up each image with the appropriate verse, month, stone, flower, and country of immigration.  The table below gives the most likely connections, based on the work that has been done so far.



Image Verse Likely City Birth


Source of

Month Number









Image 1 Verse
San Francisco June Time on clock (6) Pearl Rose China

Status: The search for Casque 1 has narrowed to a strip of land in Golden Gate Park, extending from the eastern end of Strawberry Hill to the California Academy of Sciences.  The map gets us to the right area and then the verse takes us on a stroll through some of the local landmarks.


San Francisco Searchers: We have a Proposed Solution for Image 1 and Verse 7 that narrows the search area to a small section of path at the top of an outdoor stairwell in Golden Gate Park.  The path is currently paved with asphalt, covering any potential dig spot, but in 1981 the paved area may have been narrower, or the path may not have been paved at all.  (We know from city planning documents that the park formed a task force in 1993 to begin bringing GGP facilities into conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.)  If the asphalt covering was put down 25 years ago to improve accessibility, it has probably kept the soil and the casque undisturbed all this time.  But now it presents an obstacle.  Any test of this solution will require cutting away a square of asphalt with the permission and active participation of the park staff.




Image 2 Verse
Charleston April Time on clock (4) Diamond Daisy Africa

Status: Casque 2 was almost certainly buried in a gravel path beside the Maine monument in White Point Garden, a small, historical park at the southern tip of the Charleston peninsula.  To understand the layout of monuments and other features in the park as they existed in 1981, see our White Point Garden Landmarks page.


Charleston Searchers:  We have a Proposed Solution for Image 2 and Verse 6, but the chances of recovery are very slim.  Following the removal of the Maine monument in 2007, the city dug a large hole to build a concrete base for the Moultrie monument.  In the course of that construction, the casque was almost certainly destroyed either by the process of driving sheet piling into the ground or by the mechanical excavation.  The sad reality is that this one is probably gone for good.




Image 3 Verse
Roanoke Island January Time on clock (1) Garnet Carnation England

Status: Casque 3 was likely buried on the edge of the Waterside Theatre inside the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site on Roanoke Island in North Carolina.  It's a beautiful spot but that selection is going to make the recovery a little bit difficult.  Historical records show that the amphitheater was going through a period of decline when Preiss hid his casques in the early 1980's.  He probably had no trouble digging a hole without anyone asking questions.  Unfortunately for us, the theatre has since been upgraded and it receives much more attention and care.  Security cameras will probably make a secret dig impossible.


Roanoke Searchers:  We have a Proposed Solution for Image 3 and Verse 11.  If you are interested in attempting a recovery, we strongly advise you to work with the relevant groups, including the National Park Service and the Roanoke Island Historical Association, in planning any dig.  Let us know how it goes!




Image 4 Verse
Cleveland March Triangle (3) Aquamarine Daffodil  Greece

Status: The search for Casque 4 has been completed!  The casque was found in Cleveland in 2004.


We have a partial write-up for the Solution to Image 4 and Verse 4, but it could use more photos and more detail.  Please add any additional information you have!  It will help us learn more about these puzzles and about how we can solve the rest of them.

  Wiki user Lori Sobota has provided a collection of photos showing the Greek Cultural Garden in Cleveland where the casque was found.




Image 5 Verse
Chicago May Warts (5) Emerald Lily of the Valley


& Scotland

Status: The search for Casque 5 has been completed!  The casque was found in Chicago in 1983.


We now have a fairly detailed write-up of the Solution to Image 5 and Verse 12.  Two of the big lessons from this puzzle are that A) Byron Preiss used trees as landmarks, and B) trees make lousy landmarks when a puzzle can last for decades.  Even in 1983, just a few years after publication, some of the trees in Chicago had already been removed, making it difficult to find the burial spot.  The searchers were only able to clear up the confusion by calling up Preiss and getting some clarification from him on the meaning of "ten by thirteen."


Trees are thought to be very important for the solutions in St. Augustine, Houston, and Milwaukee.  Searchers will need to pay careful attention to old photos to see what has changed.  A spot that is completely bare today could easily have held several large trees forty years ago.




Image 6 Verse
St. Augustine September Asters (9) Sapphire Aster Spain

Status: Casque 6 was almost certainly buried at the base of a tall pine tree on the grounds of the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park in St. Augustine, Florida.  Searchers were meant to line up the water jets of a fountain with the white dome of a building ("like moonlight in teardrops") and follow that line down to "the base of a tall tree."  Amazingly, the property has changed very little over the past 40 years and all of the major landmarks are still in place.


Florida Searchers:   We have posted a very detailed Proposed Solution for Image 6 and Verse 9.  The clues narrow the spot down to only a few square feet on the surface, so a dig would be practical.  Unfortunately though, the final spot is under a cabbage palm that the owners want to protect.  So no dig is likely to happen.




Image 7 Verse
New Orleans December Time on clock (12) Turquoise Narcissus France

Status: Casque 7 was almost certainly buried in downtown New Orleans on the site where the former St. Charles Hotel once stood.  The hotel, which first opened in 1837, was once one of the major landmarks of the southeastern United States.  It resembled the U.S. Capital building and had a dome that tourists could visit to look out over the whole city.  After the first two versions of the hotel were destroyed by fire, the third St. Charles opened in 1896 and stood for over 75 years until it was torn down in 1974.

  The destruction of the St. Charles Hotel sparked an outcry and led to the creation of new groups and new laws intended to preserve the historic architecture of New Orleans.  In setting up his puzzle in 1981, Preiss included an obscure quote about the majesty of the former hotel.  Arrows along the edge of the clock face were meant to take searchers on either of two walking routes through the streets of the Central Business District from the Piazza d'Italia (constructed in 1978) to the parking lot where the hotel once stood.  The design of Image 7 linked the new architecture with the old, and the arrows of the walking route ended simply in the word "PRESERVATION."  Sadly, this casque was probably lost when the Place St. Charles was constructed on the site of the former hotel in 1983.


New Orleans Searchers:   We have a Proposed Solution for Image 7 and Verse 2 that explains the route to the former St. Charles Hotel.  There's never been a satisfying interpretation about the lines from Verse 2 about the "namesakes of gnome and fay" meeting at the site.  Those clues, and a few others, were probably meant to pinpoint the exact spot for digging.  Interpreting them now will probably be impossible unless someone finds a photo showing the details of the parking lot as it existed in 1980.




Image 8 Verse
Houston July Columns (7) Ruby Larkspur Persia

Status: In 1980 or 1981, when Byron Preiss visited Houston to bury a casque, there was an antique steam locomotive (Number 982) prominently positioned on the southern edge of McGovern Lake in Hermann Park. Most of the locomotive was painted black, but the nose was a bright, shiny silver that made it visible from a long ways away.  Preiss used a line of sight starting at the nose of the locomotive and passing through a fountain to guide searchers to the burial spot on the far side of the lake. 


  This was probably meant to be the easiest of all the puzzles.  But in 1982, the same year The Secret was published, the city repositioned both the fountain and the train, disrupting two of the major clues!  To understand how the area has changed over the past 40 years, see our Hermann Park history page.  Amazingly, despite all the major renovations that have taken place, there is still a chance that the casque may be intact although the hiding spot has now been covered by a path.


Houston Searchers:   We have posted a very detailed Solution for Image 8 and Verse 1 that walks through the different clues and narrows the spot down to about a square yard.  If you are interested in pursuing the recovery of this casque, you will need to somehow get the full and active participation of the Hermann Park Conservancy and Houston's Parks and Recreation Department.  At a minimum, you'll need to have a detailed plan showing how you'll do the dig, how you'll limit disruption to the park, and how you'll repair the damage to the path when you are done.  Ordinary digging tools aren't going to get through the path, so you might have to rent something like a concrete saw or even a Bobcat mini loader to clear the surface.  It won't be easy (or cheap) but a dedicated searcher might be able to get it done.




Image 9 Verse
October Roman Numeral X (10) Opal Calendula Netherlands

Status: Clues in Image 9 seem to direct the search toward Mount Royal and the "Golden Square Mile" neighborhood in Montreal.  In particular, the "legeaster dog" seems like a very specific detail to confirm the neighborhood.  It would be difficult to dig in a crowded downtown location without being observed, so that might explain why this is the only puzzle that tells us to "get permission to dig out."  But clues in Verse 5 seem to steer us more toward Saint Helen Island or Notre Dame Island in the Saint Lawrence river beside Montreal.  Those places would have made it far easier for Preiss to dig without being observed, but they would also make it less clear why searchers should get permission before digging.




Image 10 Verse
Milwaukee February Red Balls (2) Amethyst Primrose Germany

Status: The search for Casque 10 is focused on Lake Park in Milwaukee.  Although the image appears to have many references to the downtown area, the reference to "92 steps" in the verse would appear to focus our attention directly on the Grand Staircase.  We have identified a spot at the base of a tree that would agree with both the image and the verse.


Milwaukee Searchers: We have a Proposed Solution for Image 10 and Verse 8.  We need people to investigate the spot and map out the birch stumps along East Ravine Road.  If it seems like the ground may have been left undisturbed, it might be worth trying to get the necessary permissions.  (Just don't try to dig without permission.)




Image 11 Verse
Boston August Globe Gold Squares (8) Peridot Gladiolus Italy

Status: The search for Casque 11 is focused on the "Two Circles" structure in the Charlesgate neighborhood near the Back Bay Fens in Boston.  The site appears to have remained relatively undisturbed over the past 30 years, and the casque may be recoverable.


Boston Searchers:  We now have a Proposed Solution for Image 11 and Verse 3.  We now need people to investigate the spot, get the necessary permissions, and do the digging.  The site has no aesthetic or historical value, so it should be easy to get approval.  Let us know how it goes!  (Don't try it on your own though.  People in Boston are understandably nervous about strangers digging holes, and the police have already been called to investigate searchers at this spot at least once.)


There was a claim in October of 2019 that the Boston casque had been foundExpedition Unknown showed up to film an episode, but no substantive evidence was produced to support the find.  (And the idea that Preiss, a baseball fan, would want to send people around tearing up the city's baseball diamonds is simply not credible.)  The real casque likely still awaits discovery.




Image 12 Verse
New York City November Time on clock (11) Topaz Chrysanthemum Russia

Status: The search for Casque 12 narrowed long ago to the base of a single street tree near the edge of New York Harbor.  It appears that the tree has survived intact over the past 40 years and the casque may still be recoverable.  The challenge now is to find a way to extract the casque without harming the tree.  The most promising strategy would be to use an air spade to loosen and remove the soil.  This approach would actually help the tree by undoing decades of compaction and allowing water and air to reach the roots.  If anyone knows of an arborist who might be willing to provide an air spade and handle the excavation, please contact us through this site.






Tips for Puzzle Solving


  Only two of the 12 casques have been unearthed so far, but those experiences allow us to give some general advice to anyone who is interested in joining the hunt.


  Broadly speaking, there are two types of puzzles in The Secret:


  • Journey Puzzles take us on a trip through some interesting area to reach a casque.  These are the classic pirate treasure map routes that go winding and looping along indirect dotted lines until they lead us to the final spot.  Chicago, Roanoke Island, San Francisco, Houston, Milwaukee, and Boston are all puzzles of this type.

  • Destination Puzzles, on the other hand, start us in the vicinity of the casque and give us a series of obscure clues to confirm the location and narrow down the spot.  These puzzles may have been Preiss's way of letting people join in the hunt even if they didn't live near a spot.  Many of the clues in these puzzles can only be solved by library research and obscure sources.  Cleveland, Charleston, St. Augustine, New Orleans, Montreal, and New York are all puzzles of this type.


  The key thing to keep in mind in solving a journey puzzle is that none of the clues after the initial starting point were meant to be interpreted by armchair enthusiasts (using 1980's tools).  There would be no point in sending people on the walk if they could simply "jump ahead" by interpreting a later clue.  What this means for searchers is that, after starting along the route, all of the clues are going to be for small, innocuous features that wouldn't be mentioned in any guidebook.  There will be references to the number of steps in a staircase, or the name of a highway bridge, or the view across a lake, or the naming of paths in a community garden.  What you won't see is any mention of a major tourist landmark that would have been on maps or brochures in 1980.  The "compass" is not likely to be a well-known lighthouse.  The "giant pole" is not likely to be a totem pole or other attraction.  The "object of Twain's attention" is not likely to be on any list of the first hundred things one might think of after researching the life of Mark Twain.  The whole point is to reward exploration and the discovery of the obscure features one can only see at "see-level." 


  With destination puzzles the situation is reversed.  Many of the clues can only be solved by poring over obscure sources in a library.  There is nothing in White Point Garden in Charleston that explains the naming of the twins Edwin and Edwina.  As far as we know, there is no public monument in New Orleans that includes the quotation about the St. Charles hotel.  Armchair searchers have made great progress on these puzzles, but even the internet has its limits when dealing with Preiss's convoluted way of making connections.  Phrases like "natives still speak of him of Hard word in 3 Vols" requires both some serious research and a willingness to make some jumps.


  Other things to keep in mind:

  • Study the work that has already been done.  This wiki collects several decades of work on solving these puzzles.  You'll get a huge head start if you take the time to understand what has already been found (and what has already been ruled out).
  • Start with the puzzle and work towards a place, rather than the other way around.  The images in The Secret are so abstract that they can be creatively interpreted to fit almost anyplace on earth.  If you start with a preferred destination and try to make one of the images fit, you're absolutely certain to find some "matches" but you won't really be making any progress.
  • Keep in mind that Preiss and Palencar didn't have access to Google Maps.  Satellite views are fantastic tools for modern searchers attempting to reconstruct what a site looked like in 1980, but those same tools should not have been necessary for solving a puzzle back in 1980.  There are definitely many overhead views represented in these images, but they all show roads and sidewalks that would have been readily available in road maps and park brochures.  If your theory relies on knowing the overhead shape of a clump of trees or some natural feature, it's not likely to be right.
  • Move from the famous to the obscure and from the public to the secluded.  Every image in The Secret includes at least one well-known landmark.  The painting for Cleveland included the Cleveland Terminal Tower.  The painting for Chicago included the Chicago Water Tower.  Those references are only meant to get us to the right city or the right general area.  The casque in Milwaukee isn't buried at City Hall, and the one in New York isn't buried at the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island.  Start with the famous places referenced in the picture and then move from there to the hidden spots that even the locals have never noticed.
  • Beware of pareidolia.  The human brain has a strong ability to pick out the faces in an image, but sometimes those circuits are a little overactive and we see faces in clouds and other random shapes.  There may be "secret faces" hidden in some of the images of The Secret, but those faces may also be just our own imaginations.
  • Similarly, beware of apophenia.  The human brain also has a tendency to see patterns in what are actually just random data.  The artist who painted the images for The Secret was very clever about throwing in random brushstrokes.  Sometimes they mean something and sometimes they don't.
  • Use your common sense.  Preiss wasn't expecting you to dig through some nice lawn in the middle of a park or an athletic field.  He dug his holes in bare or weedy areas where the soil was already loose and where he was protected from view by trees and walls.  If your solution sends you to a well-maintained or heavily-trafficked area, it's almost certainly wrong.  You shouldn't need to cut through grass (or any other plant roots) to get to the casque and you shouldn't need to be in a very public spot.
  • Don't mess things up for other searchers.  Unearthing the remaining casques will very likely require getting cooperation and permissions from various public and private landowners.  If you damage an area or leave holes for other people to fill, you'll only be giving the whole hunt a bad name.  So - please - be responsible, do no harm, get permission first if possible, and be sure to clean up your mess!
  • Have fun!





Online Resources


Discussions about the search are hosted at:

All of these sites attempted to solve The Secret using discussions and all ran into the same problem.  By posting new theories and new discoveries in a single, ever-lengthening thread, each forum created such a backlog of unorganized material that it was impossible for anyone to keep track of what had already been found.  The thread at Something Awful, for example, started on May 31, 2013 and in less than a week had more than 1,200 entries.  That thread now has more than 5,700 entries, making it very difficult for new people to join the search and get caught up.  The goal of this wiki is to present all of the discoveries in an organized way, so that searchers can quickly and easily see what is already known about each image and each verse.


There are many photo albums on Flickr and PhotoBucket where people have posted images relevant to The Secret. Some of the better ones are:


Important: As of early 2019, Flickr is planning to change their terms of service.  Free accounts will now be limited to only 1,000 photos, which means that many relevant photos from the albums listed above (and others) will soon be going away.  Searchers may want to download copies of the most useful photos now, so that they aren't lost forever.


Some of the useful websites for doing research include:



In the Files Section - A pdf template for a plexiglas casque container.





Wiki Update (2/18/18)


  It's been a month since the Travel Channel show aired on January 17th and thing are finally getting back to normal around here.  Page views on the site are back down to under 10,000/day and hopefully property owners are feeling less besieged by requests to dig.  But we've made some amazing progress over the past month and we've had some great contributions from new people who have joined the wiki and have quickly gotten up to speed.  So to mark this anniversary of the "big surge," I'd like to recognize a few of our contributors who have really moved the search forwards.  Here's my own personal assessment of the Top 10 Recent Discoveries on The Secret!

10) The concrete slab under the Moultrie monument in Charleston.
Wiki user Chris Andrews did some careful investigations in Charleston and documented that a concrete slab was installed below ground level when the Maine monument was removed (which is great to know but probably ends all chances of recovering the casque for Image 2).  

9) Sash-hattan
Wiki user Drumman spotted the shape of Manhattan that was staring us right in the face, hidden in plain view in Image 12.

8) A tree grows in New York Harbor.
Amazingly, there is also a large and fairly clear tree trunk hidden (sideways) in Image 12, but no one spotted it until wiki user Pizzoli pointed it out.

7) "Dryades Street and Cours de Naides (now St Charles Avenue) in New Orleans were named after wood and water sprites respectively."
We don’t get a lot of new input related to the verses, but wiki user Jess made a potentially big discovery related to Verse 2.

6) Watch out for the alligator!
We knew that Image 6 had lots of clues for Florida, but wiki user Halla4 was apparently the first person to point out that there is a very clear alligator lurking along the edge of the big stone.

5) It’s not a scythe - it’s Albemarle Sound!
People have struggled for years to understand the weird objects on the right arm of the knight in Image 3, but it took wiki user Drumman to point out that they form the shape of the North Carolina coastline.

4) That old pine tree?  It’s still there.
This wiki had a solution for Image 6 that required a large pine tree in a certain place, but we didn’t realize that the pine was still there until wiki users Marvin Calhoun, Zteam, and Andy Hafler nailed down the evidence.

3) Even more amazing? Palencar painted a picture of the spot with the pine tree.
This wiki has always promoted the idea that each image includes an “Aha Moment” of recognition at the burial spot, but it took wiki user Kang to point out the hidden depiction of the FOY hiding spot in Image 6.

2) Those blocks by the park are… blocks by the park.
People have almost certainly pointed it out before over the years, but it it didn’t really register until wiki user Kimberley posted about it: The squares on either side of the Golden Gate Park map in Image 1 are city blocks and the fingers are pointing at streets.

1) If the dragon head is on the left, the map is flipped from left-to-right
The single biggest discovery was the observation by wiki user Goonie68 that the head of the dragon in Image 1 matches the dragon above the entrance to the Golden Gate Park Senior Center.  For years now people have been saying that the backwards “Gh” at the top of the map must mean that the map itself is flipped, and the response has always been to point out that the “flare” in the bottom right corner where Fulton bends is in the right place.  But if there are only two objects above the crossed arms, and both of them are shown in a way that clearly indicates a flip, then it seems very clear that we are meant to flip the upper half of the image from left to right.  And that's what makes the solution finally clear.

  Thanks to everyone for these and all the other insights on the wiki over the past month.  I've tried to give credit where it's due in the above list, but if I got anything wrong, please let me know and I'll try to set it right.  Keep up the good work!


- Oregonian (wiki administrator)




Interested in Contributing to this Wiki?


  Careful and substantive contributions are always welcome!  Your contributions can explain a theory, but you should avoid lecturing the readers or putting down other approaches.  Be sure your contributions are always professional, courteous, and helpful to the search.  And, of course, remember that what you add may end up getting changed or removed by another wiki editor.  That's how the wiki process works.


  If you want to add to this wiki, but you aren't sure where to start, please check our To Do List.


  If you want to add to this wiki, but you're nervous about using the wiki editing system, feel free to play around and experiment in the sandbox page


  If you're contacting the wiki administrator about access or other issues, be sure to add "pbworks.com" and "gmx.com" to the safe list in your email program, so responses don't end up in your spam folder.



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Comments (Show all 60)

Guardian said

at 10:58 am on Feb 14, 2018


DanaSkully said

at 1:34 pm on Feb 15, 2018

I'm pretty sure I already shared this before, but I wanted to share it again for anyone else who is new and who does not own a copy of the book.

Before I bought my copy, I assumed the pictures must be HUGE, and that The Secret book would be map-sized. It's not. Here's two pictures comparing it to a dollar bill: https://imgur.com/a/jORpD

I share this because I used to think that I should be analyzing every pinpoint of the pictures. Now, I don't think it's even possible. The scans you see online end up brightening the images.

Because honestly, they are DARK in real life. The shadows fade to black very quickly. There's not much hidden in them. And watching Expedition Unknown, when I saw how huge the Palencar paintings are, I thought, if I were the artist, I'd be annoyed that my 20 by 35 paintings (or bigger?) got turned into 4.5 by 6 inch pictures upon publication. Tiny details get lost like that. Maybe not clues, or maybe they did lose a few clues when they shrank them, who knows.

Jeff C. said

at 7:59 am on Mar 30, 2018

The verses are supposed to take you from a start point, to an end point in a linear fashion, while the Images contain visual clues you should see on your way...along with clues to narrowing the search down to a certain place in a certain city to make this linear journey. It’s not just finding random willy-nilly things that fit the clues, yet do not fit a linear path. And if you throw an idea out there, please for the sake of others, make sure you reasearch it first and that your research is correct!!
One other thing...there are a few people on here that aren’t being very respectful toward other folks theories, or thinking about the hard work that goes into them. I would ask people to refrain from using statements like, “too bad that guy is in the wrong area!”, or, “ I’ve poked around for half a day at your location, and it’s a total waste of time, everybody.” None of us knows where the casque is buried, so unless somebody’s research is just wack from the get go, it is irresponsible and plain rude to make absolute determinations about the validity of someone’s theory, unless you can show with absolute certainty that it is wrong. (Maltedfalcon, this isn’t meant to be directed at you, as (IMHO) you obviously had cause to call out false info.) THIS WIKI IS FOR FOSTERING IDEAS, NOT SHOOTING THEM DOWN! Let’s keep it that way.

Kang said

at 3:01 pm on Apr 1, 2018

JeffC - my opinion is in line with yours on almost everything said here. If someone picks a spot willy-nilly, they can almost certainly twist things or find a fit to many clues. And with limited exceptions concerning Chicago or Cleveland - unless that person has dug the hole, found the casque and posted pictures, every statement made on this or any other forum is at best an opinion or unproven theory and at worst complete BS. Everyone here should think on whether what they're about to post fits with that or not before posting.

However, my opinion differs on the verses. And I just want to clarify. I don't believe that the verses are always linear. In the Cleveland puzzle, the part that has the specific directions to the exact dig spot are in the middle of the verse - while the directions that immediately precede that step (leading you to the spot) come after. And though you don't say this - while some verses can be interpreted as largely being like a set of directions - other verses are nearly devoid of language that reads like directions. Just something to think about as we try and solve these.

And yes, for anyone wondering - my musings above are at best an opinion and at worst total BS. Just food for thought.

KJRP said

at 12:11 am on Apr 2, 2018

I managed to complete the Cleveland Solve Summary that also validates the Non-Linear clues to finding a Jewel:https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HuMUByB0MIJQhiIjKLMzJitbiT5Jo2tv/view?usp=sharing

maltedfalcon said

at 1:25 pm on Apr 2, 2018

This is very good, I believe you are correct the verses do not necessarily need to be dealt with linearly. You have a mistake though item 2/2 is the wrong curve, and you ignore the method to get from the transit tower to the columns. (which is how we know the curve you point out is not the centaurs tail.)

KJRP said

at 2:49 pm on Apr 2, 2018

Thanks for the great feedback! I still see either the Centaur's Tail or the Centaur's Helmet as a solid fit for the curved Road. As for the Terminal Tower, I believe it was included so that locals would spot an easily recognizable landmark to connect it to their City. If you look at my Chicago solve link above, you will see the exact same pattern were the Water Tower is the furthermost visual clue from the rest. The same is true in San Francisco, whether you're rooting for Coit Tower or Sutro Tower, they are both far away from all of the other clues.

maltedfalcon said

at 3:12 pm on Apr 2, 2018

well true, but neither sutro or coit is in the image... as far as the centaur's tail examine the intersection of east blvd, MLK and E105 st but be sure to look at it pre 2005, Did you come up with this all by yourself? I am impressed.

Ameripicks said

at 9:49 pm on Apr 4, 2018

Had a phone call with John Jude Palencar. He was very gracious in talking with me. The conversation went on about 7 minutes. I was calling about the possibility of making better photographs of his art work than we have now. Even if he got permission from John Colby and Brick Tower Press to do so, he still doesn't want anyone else to have or make High resolution photos of the paintings. Partly out of his honor to Byron Preiss and not to get into any litigation about it. He did want me to tell everyone this so not to call or email further about it. He is not going to change his mind. He was very nice and a bit chatty reflecting back on the days He and Byron kicked around ideas on where to bury the casques. It was very entertaining him telling the stories. I am trying to remember them while I type. Even told about the Cleveland bury that the Police drove by when Byron was up there on the planter frozen in fear with shovel in hand. He did say “the easiest two have been found”. He did say Josh Gates was close. He quickly backed up by saying that he could not say by 5 ft or 5 miles really. He was referring to the TV footage of the Milwaukee casque hunt. But a little to the left or right is all you need to do sometimes. Side - I am always a believer in poking beyond the dug hole in all directions just in case you are close. I told him I lived closest to Charleston and St. Augustine but most interested in San Francisco right now. He said yes and the one up there in Minneapolis I think. He was on a roll at this point. I could not get in a "but or What?". I do think he meant Milwaukee. So don't freak out. He said that there is more clues in rest of the book. The Tale Simply Told & Passage To The New World. That the immigration story was important to him (Byron). Referring to Cleveland again, he said is why they chose that place because of the immigrant focus there. Funny side - There was a wedding going on in the park in 2004 when they found the cascade. Part 1 of 2.

Ameripicks said

at 9:49 pm on Apr 4, 2018

Part 2 of 2. John Jude Palencar did say about the reprints of the books that the images were “HORRIBLE”! Some clues couldn’t be or would be hard to make out. So – Looks like the original book is GOLD. Not to say that one can’t just figure out clues and find one without it. Apparently He does know were some of them are buried. But we know he is obligated at many levels not to tell. Not that something might slip out unintentionally. He did say that Byron would drop in and stay at his place when passing through. Used Johns place like a 2nd home. Probably why He did 3 so close to his house. John seemed to have more memory or stories to tell on them. They were very good friends as He told me several times. This is all I can remember right now. Probably all to tell anyway. He did say to me but certainly to all the ones in the group I was calling for “Good luck in the hunt”.

Burbank_ian said

at 10:43 pm on Apr 4, 2018

WOW! what an amazing call you had with him. Sounds like a very gracious fella in sharing a few of his memories with you. Nice job.

Kang said

at 10:32 am on Apr 8, 2018

Posting this on the front page as I think it's relevant to multiple (or all) puzzles. If anyone has not seen Odeyin's latest post - check it out. It's pushed me off the fence.

No scanner invented that. The odds alone of getting those 16 letters in that order are 1 in 43 sextillion. While not completely 'hidden' or particularly tiny in the original image it is certainly obscured. Easy to miss. As in, you'd only notice it if you're being particularly observant. Yet hard to understand in the original. And it is something that is able to be made more clear via photoshop-like enhancement. Others can believe what they wish, but my takeaway on this is that while I won't be trying to use photoshop to examine an entire image, if I think I see something in the original (at a reasonable distance out) I would feel safe using photoshop to lightly enhance, to see if it clarifies the artists intention.

amy sabel said

at 9:05 am on Apr 11, 2018

Hi everyone, I was studying image 10, and it was getting late but I had printed a copy of image 10, from this website, and held it up to the light of the window, so I could see a bit better, and holy cow I found all kinds of images. numbers, stick people? fairies? I think it may be when John P. did the paintings he could have easily etched in the paintings, these hidden clues? then brushed over lightly, maybe he used oil paints, you would tend to see better something that was etched, oils also flow better on canvas? Also I investigated the paper, regular paper is thin , and has watermarks and some images that you see maybe from original watermarks from the paper. For the most part images I saw in an area were images from the artist, not watermarks in the paper. Anyhoo, it is worth while to get a really good copy from your local printer? or your own? and a magnifying glass. I think its a bit archaic but when it comes to dark images that we are working with it may pay off to see some clues, from images that are dark. Also because back in 82 we didn't even have this wiki site or the technology we have now. One more thing, when looking, at these images don't forget about negative space, i feel like a found a few more clues to confirm my solution to image 10. Hoping this is helpful to all

Kang said

at 10:07 am on Apr 11, 2018

Amy - after Odeyin posted about the not exactly hidden - but somewhat obscured JPP signature in the Roanoke image, I had wondered about this. Since scans and photoshop were not available in the 80's I wondered if maybe holding the page up to the light was a technique we were intended to use. But doing that with a printout might be a different experience than trying it with the book.

For anyone that has a copy of the actual book - on the pages that the images are printed on - is there something printed on the opposite side? Text? The next image? Or it it blank? What if anything can be seen/gleaned by holding the page up to the light?

Great thought Amy! Let's follow that thread....

Jess said

at 3:46 am on Apr 12, 2018

On the back of each image is the next image, nothing else. The paper is similar to that you find in a biography or something where the text pages are in standard paper and the paintings section is whiter and more card like. I can take normal pictures to show the book open etc once home if helpful!

Jess said

at 3:47 am on Apr 12, 2018

And I’ve not tried holding it up to the light, but doubt that shows anything. It’s card like, the ink is shiny but basic. Will try though but don’t get excited!

Jess said

at 3:56 am on Apr 12, 2018

Also as mentioned- the next image is printed directly onto the back of that image. There would be too much noise for that to be possible.

I’m wondering whether it might be easier to do a little video showing the book in scale and how the pages are configured etc as this might show it more dynamically than photos. If anyone has any questions about the original book itself, let me know and I’ll try to answer them :)

amy sabel said

at 8:52 am on Jun 13, 2018

I have a "Q" ?? For anyone who has actually dug any holes in search of casque, has it been easy to dig or hard to dig?? Sorry to ask such a question, but in my dig, the earth is full of boulders and large rock, shale, black rock, clay and bricks.....So I am wondering if I am wasting my time here on the spot we have been trying to dig?? Would Preiss have dug all that up and then put it back?? I am not sure I want to continue my dig? My daughter and I have been trying in an area....and I admit I am the weak one...LOL however she is not, but we can't even probe because we hit rock, so we keep digging we are about 2 1/2 feet downish, and we go a little wider so you can get into the spot, but keep digging huge rock??? Anyone who has dug, are you going thru this too, I'm thinking I may need a strong arm for the rest or should I assume this may not be the spot??? Thoughts anyoneeeee

Oregonian said

at 4:04 pm on Jun 14, 2018

I think we all agree that new obstacles to digging may have been added on top of the casques over the past 37 years. My proposed solution for the Houston would put it in a spot that was covered with a crushed gravel path sometime around 2001. My proposed solution for San Francisco is under a patch of asphalt that may have been added in response to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But both of those were obstacles added later on top of the soil. It's very hard to imagine that Preiss would A) dig through rocks and bricks to make his hole, and then B) put the rocks and bricks BACK where they would be obstacles for the next diggers. That just doesn't seem likely at all. From everything we've seen so far, Preiss chose neglected spots in parks and gardens where the soil was meant for growing things. And he didn't spend a whole lot of time on his solo digging efforts. If you're struggling to get two feet down and you're still hitting rocks at that depth, I'd say you have some pretty powerful evidence that you're in the wrong place. (But, of course, the "Oak Island type" searchers will insist that the rocks are proof that someone was trying to protect something of value just a little bit deeper...)

Linda S said

at 12:57 pm on Jul 16, 2019

So does anyone know approximately when BP was in San Fran, trying to take time for book to be written and published and all, may be late 1980 early 81? thanks for any input

Kang said

at 2:03 pm on Jul 16, 2019

If you are asking when he might have buried the casques, according to publicity interviews Preiss did when the book launched in Nov, 1982 - they give varying accounts on when he did it but all seem to point to a time frame of Fall/Winter '81 to early Spring '82. Though it is likely he may have been working on the puzzle for a while before that. Preiss also went to Grad school at Stanford in the early 70's. So he had previously lived in SF and had to have been quite familiar with the area.

Linda S said

at 3:21 pm on Aug 10, 2020

all I have to say is WOW the work and time you have done Oregonian, is amazing,, thank you so much

Linda S said

at 12:48 pm on Apr 7, 2021

it is with a heavy heart i am posting this
our community lost a great person on April 4, 2021
John michael pivonka aka JM was taken away from us.

for those who dont know JM, He and Kit Palencar did the Tribute 13th casque.

we are trying to set up a floating candle vigil for Tues April 13 2021.


Linda S said

at 1:21 pm on Apr 12, 2021

4-12-2012 today John Michaels is laid to rest.
may we never forget all he has done and given to us and our communities.
RIP John

Linda S said

at 1:24 pm on Jan 4, 2022


On the first month of the 40th, The Secret gave to me...
Signed Ben Asen Prints!

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Secret Ben Asen has made prints of the Fair Folk photos available to hunters. Over the past few months Ben has been going through his archive to find as many photos from the Secret as he can. He sent the negatives off to be restored and rescanned, and now he is releasing the highest quality prints I have ever seen.
Each of these prints are individually produced by Ben in his lab, signed and sent on their way.
Ben will also be selecting a couple of photos every few weeks and making a post about them. Telling a story about how they were shot, where they were shot, why Bryon wanted them shot.

Ben has only released 22 prints on his site at the moment, but he has asked us to let hunters know, if there is a specific Fair Folk print you would like which is not on his site, just send a message to Ben Asen Photography and he will do his best to get it for you if he can.

Even if you aren't interested in purchasing prints, I would encourage you to go to Ben's site and look at the quality of these photos compared to the book versions. Words cannot describe how clear they are.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these prints is being donated to UJA New York's Byron Preiss Children's Fund. A fund which strives to enhance children’s lives with educational services in New York and around the world.

If you would like to donate to the fund directly you can do so here: https://www.ujafedny.org/byron-preiss

The podcast is now adopting this fund for all future charity events. We will be donating proceeds from merch sales and Patreon to this fund from now on.

The Podcast will be purchasing a signed print from Ben and giving it away to a hunter soon, so look out for that in the near future. :)
No purchase necessary, void where prohibited, yadda yadda yadda, party on!

Linda S said

at 3:20 pm on Mar 9, 2022

SF has opened DIG PERMITS but rules have changed and only 1 free dig, its costs alot to dig after the first..i guess they think we are rich or this is a way to stop us from searching.
good luck everyone

Isstvan said

at 2:33 pm on May 23, 2022

Why are the images on this site so much better than 12T? The 'artifacts' in the paintings are so different. By which I mean all the colored dots, slashes, holes, etc... Its as if someone realized the printed version wasn't good enough and had to re-add clues. In one puzzle, you can clearly read the word "HERE X" where the casque is (IMO)

Linda S said

at 2:37 pm on May 23, 2022

cause this was on of the first sites and IMO is the best for images and talks
welcome to the group

John Murray said

at 11:49 am on Jul 27, 2022

I have read that two of three casques were detectable with a metal detector due to metal found in the key. How do we know this is accurate? Did the finder’s actually try metal detecting? If not how do we know there may actually be metal in the key and the a metal detector can help find a casque? Where did this information come from?

maltedfalcon said

at 1:52 pm on Jul 27, 2022

2 of the three found casques had wires in them, a small angled wire in the key originally thought to actually be a hex key, but it turns out the wire was just steel wire they had at the casting shop. in the lid there were two small pieces of wire to support the tail and the antenna of the fairy and the dragon. The total length of these wires is < 3". One of the casques had no wires and was reinforced with burlap. It has been suggested by the artist that the majority of the casques were reinforced with burlap since it was easier to do. Duplicate casques were mocked up and tested with High Quality metal detectors were used to check the casques, The casques were indeed detectable from a distance of about 2 or three inches outside of the plexiglass box, any further distance the casque became un-detectable. So if you have a really really good metal detector and you get within an inch or two of the casque and it is one that has wire re-enforcement, you will have no trouble finding it. If you get within 2 inches and you depend on the metal detector to find it and it is a burlap re-enforced casque, you will miss it.

John Murray said

at 9:46 pm on Jul 27, 2022

Ok thanks for the explanation

Limey said

at 11:34 am on Aug 20, 2023

I wonder who has the solutions now? were they put back in the bank vault after being misplaced or if not where are they!
From the History page on this Wiki:
In describing his meeting with Byron Preiss, Egbert wrote: "When Siskel and I finally met BP, he ended up taking us to the bank vault in NYC where the jewels were kept. He also said the solutions to the puzzle were in the same drawer."

Oregonian said

at 5:57 pm on Aug 20, 2023

After you posted that, I realized that I should go back and document the source of the quotation, just in case Q4T ever goes away.

Limey said

at 10:46 am on Aug 25, 2023

Interesting. Thanks for updating the info Oregonian. I suspect that BP took the solutions out of the vault to refresh his memory when helping the Chicago boys Eric, Bob and David with the “ten by thirteen” query in 1983 and decided to keep it at hand in case of further queries. He probably put it somewhere between 1983 and 2004 but forgot where. It may have been put in the leaves of one of the “tens of thousands of books scattered around” - from Egbert’s Q4T post.

Oregonian said

at 7:14 am on Sep 14, 2023

I have a suspicion that people apply for access to this wiki because they think we have some secret members-only section where we discusss the really good evidence. And when people discover that access only means that they can do the tedious work of fixing broken links, they lose interest.

In any case, we're limited to 400 users and we've been right at that limit for years. I just swept through and tossed a dozen off the users who have had access but have never even logged into the site. And then I added a dozen people who have been waiting to get access. But folks... there's really no secret vault of members-only information. Don't apply to join the wiki if you don't want to do the work of editing it.

Oregonian said

at 12:34 pm on Sep 16, 2023

I've started creating a "proposed solutions" list at the bottom of each image page, to help us pull those links out of the comments and get things a little more organized. For some reason, there are lots of proposed solutions for San Francisco and only one or two for any other site. There must be many more that I'm overlooking, so please add to the list.

New solution ideas are always very welcome on the wiki, by the way. You can post a PDF or (if you're comfortable with the PBworks editing system) create a new page. Just please don't try to squeeze your own solution into someone else's solution page. Each solution should be able to stand alone, and if you want it up on the wiki you need to create your own page or document for it.

KJRP said

at 7:12 pm on Nov 11, 2023

If you are interested in hearing a new theory for how Byron Preiss chose the cities for the casques, I am providing a link to my latest YouTube video that is only 5 minutes long: https://youtu.be/QtZLn-gwUZ0

Limey said

at 6:59 am on Feb 18, 2024

Although BP told Egbert (one of the Cleveland Casque finders) that “the pages following the verses (which make up the bulk of the book) have no connection with the puzzles, and contain no additional clues.", I can see “clues” and “connections” in the “Field Guide to the Fair People” pages:
Page 199 for ‘The Job Goblin’ appears to give clues linking Verse 1 to Image 8 which I have detailed in the Image 8 comments section.
Page 83 for ‘Handimanticore’ shows a bucket with ‘222’ on it. The Verse 5 second line is “Two twenty two”. This is a clue that the line refers to the number 222 rather than two 22’s or 2202, etc.
For Image 1 there is a clue that we may have to flip and reverse the dress in the ‘Field guide’ (Glitches, p.190) – “HISTORY: The Glitches are Oriental, as is evidenced by their fondness for long scrolls that read right to left, top to bottom, or any damn way but left to right”. (which I have previously noted on the comments for Image 1).
There must be more.

Oregonian said

at 1:09 pm on Feb 24, 2024

Hi Limey,

I missed your comment about the Glitches last year. (Glad you posted it again!) Yes, I totally agree that the "Field Guide to the Fair People" is full of hints related to the casques. But those hints (if real) are all just incredibly subtle. None of them are strong enough to help someone solve a puzzle, which is probably what BP was trying to communicate. The hints in that part of the book appear to just act as confirmers — a subtle nod telling searchers that they have, in fact, found the correct solution. Ironically, I think the confirmers are strongest for the New York solution, but that's the one that doesn't get published here, in order to protect a tree that has grown from "simple roots" to something much larger.

Limey said

at 11:28 am on Feb 25, 2024

Yes, any hint that can be uncovered, no matter how minor, may lead someone’s train of thought to a more major “Aha” moment.

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