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The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Verse 10
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Verse 10

Page history last edited by Oregonian 5 years, 6 months ago

General notes on Verse 10

  • This verse is thought to be linked to Image 12 and a casque in the New York metropolitan area.
  • Please note: The Image 12/Verse 10 combination contains several references to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island.  Both sites are important historical landmarks where treasure hunting is completely prohibited.  There is no chance that the New York casque is buried at either of these sites, and attempting a dig on either island would very likely result in serious criminal charges.  Please don't even attempt it.  The visual references to these two islands in Image 12 strongly suggest that one should see the islands on the way to an ultimate destination in a less sensitive spot somewhere on the perimeter of the New York harbor.




Lines Interpretation(s)

In the shadow

Of the grey giant

- The most obvious giant in the New York area would be the Statue of Liberty.  In a literal sense, the shadow from the statue would not extend to any land other than Liberty Island.  More figuratively, "in the shadow of" could mean "nearby" or "overshadowed by."  Reasonable places might include any spot on the perimeter of New York Harbor.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Generic License   New York Harbor, showing Upper New York Bay in red. Ellis Island (north) and Liberty Island (south) are shown in the northwest corner of the bay.  (Illustration by Wikipedia user Decumanus, based on original public domain image courtesy of NASA.)


Find the arm that

Extends over the slender path

- The "slender path" could be a reference to The Narrows, the tidal strait separating Staten Island and Brooklyn. It is a slender (but very busy) path for all the ships that come in and out of New York Harbor.  In this case, the arm extending over the path would be the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.


- The slender bridge that connects Ellis Island to Liberty State Park is not a possible solution because it was only constructed in 1985.


In summer

You'll often hear a whirring sound

- Several companies offer helicopter tours of the New York Harbor, which likely explains the "whirring sound."  (The tours are presumably more common in the summer when the weather is good and there are more tourists.)  The NYPD also operates a helicopter that flies over the harbor.

Ellis Island 01.jpg by Victoria Belanger, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License   Aerial view of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the New York Harbor, taken from an NYPD helicopter by Victoria Belanger (on Flickr).


Cars abound

- Like any densely-populated metropolitan area, New York City has a huge number of cars crowding its streets, so it's possible that this line is just a broad confirmation of the urban location.  But the lines above and below, about whirring sounds and nearby signs, are much more specific, narrowing our search down to a small portion of the city.  It's therefore likely that this line is telling us to look for a place where cars really, really "abound," in more than the usual levels of New York City congestion.


- "Cars abound" on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.  There is no major highway along the Staten Island side of the Narrows, but Shore Parkway runs along the western edge of Brooklyn, providing views of the Narrows and of the Statue of Liberty.


Although the sign


Speaks of Indies native

The natives still speak

Of him of Hard word in 3 Vols.

- "Indies native" is most likely a reference to Alexander Hamilton, who was born in the Leeward Islands in the British West Indies


- "Natives" could be a sly way of referring to students @ Fort Hamilton High School, Preiss' alma mater (Class of '68)


Take twice as many east steps as the hour

Or more

From the middle of one branch

Of the v

- This verse is linked to Image 12, so "the hour" would presumably be 11:00, the time shown on the clock in that picture.


- The "V" must be some ground-level feature found in the general area of Fort Hamilton HS. A walkway in front of FH HS formed the shape of a "V" (image from 1996), where you can clearly see two branches of the V.


- The instructions to take 22 steps "or more" are too vague to stand alone as the instructions for where to dig.  If we reach this point in the puzzle and take the 22 steps, we will presumably see something in the area that will show us where to dig.


Look down

And see simple roots

In rhapsodic man's soil

- "Simple roots" could be interpreted as a young plant.  If that interpretation is correct, the line probably refers to a newly-planted tree.  (No other form of plant would be long-lasting enough to be a reliable landmark.)


- "Simple roots" could also be interpreted as "humble beginnings" and could be a reference to the aforementioned individual of whom "the natives still speak."  Preiss seemed to like metaphors and double-meanings, so it's possible that this line refers to both a tree and an individual growing up in some spot on the margin of New York Harbor.


- "Rhapsodic man" may reference George Gershwin, who was born in Brooklyn, NY, and whose most famous composition is Rhapsody in Blue.  Gershwin's parents emigrated from Russia, which would tie in with the Russian theme of this casque, but this may also refer to Preiss himself: the "simple roots in rhapsodic man's soil" may refer to Preiss' own humble beginnings at Fort Hamilton High School.


Or gaze north

Toward the isle of B.

- "Isle of B." is most likely a reference to "Bedloe's Island," an older name for what is now called Liberty Island (where the Statue of Liberty stands), which can be seen north of Fort Hamilton High School.




Other Notes:

  • The most solid clue in this verse is the guidance that we should "gaze north toward the isle of B."  If "B" is the name of the island (rather than the name of some famous resident), there are only two strong possibilities: Liberty Island (formerly Bedloe's Island) or Belmont Island.
  • Gazing north toward the Statue of Liberty, would mean that one is standing in the vicinity of The Narrows in either Staten Island or Brooklyn.  Gazing north toward Belmont Island would mean that one is standing in Brooklyn in the vicinity of Williamsburg.  In the former case, the "slender path" would be The Narrows.  In the latter, it would be the East River.
  • The interpretation on this page hints broadly toward one solution that is being actively pursued by a group in New York.




Comments (Show all 108)

skeller@... said

at 1:00 pm on Feb 10, 2018

Hi I like so many here no doubt saw the episode on Expedition unknown, so I have not been working on this for years, only a couple weeks. My question is and I hope to get a response, who decided the images go with this or that verse? I have really only looked at New York and Louisiana, but I noticed that because the face of the woman in image 12 resembles the Statue of Liberty, it must be New York. Then I noticed the hand and arm holding the mask on image 7 could be taken as the arm holding the Flame on the Statue of Liberty! Maybe this is why so many have not been solved, who did the matching of the verse to the images? Thank you

Drumman said

at 12:35 am on Feb 11, 2018

I can't say for sure that the verse/image pairings are correct. I have sometimes wondered if the verses could line up with other cities/images than the pairings listed. However, I feel nearly 100% certain that Image 12 is NYC, and nearly as confident that Image 7 is NO. I also feel that the people that have been working on this for 35 years have probably looked at various combinations, and as a result concluded that these are the best pairings. While I agree that fresh eyes and minds can help, I do think it's worth not throwing away the decades of work that exists.

Pizzoli said

at 6:00 pm on Feb 10, 2018

Anyone else notice that the spacing and capitalization in this verse is different from the rest? Like the lines are intentionally spaced and random words capitalized/not capitalized that shouldn't/should be?

Below is the letters in order of how they appear in the verse, nothing spelled out that I can see. Maybe its an anagram puzzle? Anyone else have an opinion?

Drumman said

at 4:19 am on Feb 18, 2018

Has anyone considered the idea that “east steps” might means stairs instead of paces? I know the number is assumed to be 22 (2x11), which depending on height would probably give a staircase of 1-2 stories. NYC is notoriously flat in topography, but it’s possible that there is some kind of hillock or building entry (it looks like Federal Hall, for example, has 18 steps).

Jess said

at 1:16 pm on Feb 20, 2018

I think you’re probably right. The measurements in the solved verses were all objective and definable (though ‘paces’ is given in the Milwaukee verse, other ‘steps’ seem to mean stair type steps). Would be counterintuitive to set everything out in very variable measurement when the locations are so precise! 22 of my 5’3 midget steps would probably be 15 for someone else!

Guardian said

at 2:53 am on Feb 21, 2018

A pace is 30 inches. 22 paces is 55 feet.

Jess said

at 5:39 am on Feb 21, 2018

Surely you’re not supposed to be able to measure 55 feet when you’re out and about?!

Jess said

at 5:40 am on Feb 21, 2018

But interesting fact- literally never knew that.

Guardian said

at 5:47 am on Feb 21, 2018

Back in the early ‘80s when my family took me all over the place at their whim, we’d always see people with a measuring tapr “claim” an area for themselves, usually to set up something like volleyball or badminton. I’m starting to wonder if he was thinking along those lines.

AlexK said

at 10:05 am on Feb 21, 2018

I would say probably not. Obviously, as it has been pointed out, the verse says steps and not paces. When it come to the "or more" part, I would suggest you think out the box. That line is not as literal as what it seems, and if you were within range of the spot, I figure it would make more sense. It seems like a vague number of steps, but I am sure it is not. Double meaning.

Guardian said

at 12:49 pm on Feb 21, 2018

Or he was making an estimate. But even then, there could be a double-meaning.

AlexK said

at 1:39 pm on Feb 21, 2018

An estimate would seem very unlikely when you look at how precise his directions where in the other puzzles. An estimate is a guess, why would the person that placed the casque in the ground give an estimate that is clearly vague? If you are reading that line literally, then 22 steps or more could be 1,000 steps. It is simply a play on words. FYI: if you are using the proposed solutions on this site to start your hunt, you are already on the wrong path. The shape of her dress is not Manhattan, or Brooklyn, or Staten Island.

Jim said

at 5:13 pm on Feb 22, 2018

Here's a strange coincidence. Back is HS we did a thing where we had to measure our "pace." A pace was the distance of 2 steps. Mine (back then) was about 5'. 11 on the clock x 5 ft = 55 ft. Your 22 paces = 55 ft. It doesn't seem to make sense now that I wrote it. (This hunt is turning my brain to mush)

Drumman said

at 11:10 pm on Feb 21, 2018

I'm not even 100% sure it's 22. "The hour" is kind of vague. Many presume he means "the hour (on the clock)," but what if he means 120 (2 x the number of minutes in the hour)? I just don't know for certain.

maltedfalcon said

at 11:20 pm on Mar 10, 2018

its steps not paces, 22 steps would be between 48 and 57 feet. the or more clause would mean he is not sure how long your step is
but it will be obvious you are walking toward something finite that will stop you from going further, a wall or an object. so he estimated the steps short, the or more takes you the last little bit.

Fandango said

at 3:26 pm on Apr 16, 2018

I have been looking at this verse for sometime and wish to throw a different spin on the solution.

"In rhapsodic man's soil"
Rhapsodic man always reminds me of Freddie Mercury ala Bohemian Rhapsody, who was a lover of NYC in the 70's and 80's and in his soil could be a direct link to his house in the area. Other ways it can match with him are the following:-

"Speaks of Indies native"
"The natives still speak"
Freddie was born in Zanzibar, but was schooled in India and his correct birth name is "Farrokh Bomi Bulsara" I am not sure if there are any other links to this name itself.

So I did a little research on houses he had in NYC and came up with the following... http://nymag.com/realestate/features/65221/
This gives a specific location and may be one of many homes he had in NYC, but it may lead someone with local knowledge to link this location to the puzzle.

Sorry if this throws a curve ball, but I thought I better share, just in case it leads us to finding the elusive casque.

Andrew said

at 10:01 am on Apr 18, 2018

I think the poem very strongly describe things in and around John Paul Jones Park in Brooklyn. It doesn't match the image (perhaps the images are just setting the location that it's close to the shore, but I would have assumed they would be visible from the final site.)

Audimike78 said

at 9:56 am on Jul 30, 2018

does anyone else think the void between the bird's legs looks like Governor Island?

Kang said

at 10:02 am on Jul 30, 2018

I do believe it's a clue. However, no I don't believe it's a very good match to Governor's Island. I do believe it matches something else. Just my opinion.

bestauntie said

at 10:53 pm on Jul 31, 2018

BP didn't go to Fort Hamilton High School, he went to Midway. His best friend (the books photographer) went to high school with him and he said they went to Midway.

Mister EZ said

at 11:19 pm on Jul 31, 2018

Byron Preiss must be one of those popular, common names like Smith, Jones and Doe....because that name shows up in their list of alumni:


bestauntie said

at 8:39 am on Aug 2, 2018

It has been confirmed that Byron Preiss went to and graduated from Midwood High School. BP grew up in a section of Brooklyn called Flatbush. This theory of Fort Hamilton does not hold water.

I don't know why he is on the list, but he did not graduate from there. I'm too lazy to look, but perhaps two of the schools combined at one point?

Coincidentally, this is right by Prospect Park...start your search there.

Mister EZ said

at 9:34 am on Aug 2, 2018

I'm not too lazy to look....but, am not in NY area.

Or, I'd head out to both H.S.. and the local libraries to have a look-see.

I'd probably also head out to the county clerk and county recorder's offices, to see if it was possible to verify residences....or, to take a look at various surveys, plats, plans, etc for specific public areas. Plans that might have been filed back in the day. That would show specific changes, over time, to most authorized changes, including design, layout, and landscaping. (Where I live, plans like that are filed *before* work is done to public areas, like parks...and, those are retained. Maybe the local recorder's office has those, too.)

Mister EZ said

at 11:41 pm on Jul 31, 2018

This also lists him there...

BUT....I did find a comment from somebody else who signed his online memorial book, following his wake/funeral. That person also said that they were classmates at Midwood High. (Not Midway).

So, must be, since two different people who knew him back in the day said they were classmates of his at that high school. (A yearbook from either h.s., circa '68 should verify it.)

bestauntie said

at 8:39 am on Aug 2, 2018

It has been confirmed by one of his best friends AND a Midwood Highschool yearbook.

Mister EZ said

at 9:24 am on Aug 2, 2018

Not just from one of his best friends (as I've already written)....also by another person, who wrote on his memorial guidebook that he was a classmate of hers. (Of "Hers"....a female....not the photographer from the podcast.). Two separate corroborating sources stating that he attended Midwood.

However, also confirmed by 'a' Midwood H.S. Yearbook. One.

Any chance he was a transfer student and attended both high schools?

Checking "more" H.S. Yearbooks *might*confirm that....every student, from all 4 grades, had their pictures in all 4 years of the yearbook from my H.S. Of course, Midwood and FHHS may not have done that....their yearbooks might have only contained seniors.

(Just trying to cement Midwood in stone and completely eliminate Fort Hamilton H.S.....either way, I'm not sure that will eliminate FHHS as a way point in some people's proposed solutions. For me, thinking that he went to FHHS was just interesting trivia....)

Kang said

at 9:58 pm on Aug 2, 2018

I've been looking into this. But haven't found some of the items mentioned. I heard Ben Asen on the podcast talk about attending Midwood with Byron.
Mister EZ - can you elaborate on the post-funeral online memorial posting you recall seeing? Do you happen to have or recall the URL?

Bestauntie - you mention seeing a Midwood HS yearbook with BP in it. Do you happen to know any other info? They year? Was he a graduating senior in that one? Did you see it personally or is this info you uncovered somewhere?

I don't doubt either of your info. Just trying to help see if we can pin this down.

I DID contact the curator of the Brooklyn Collection of the Brooklyn Public Library and can confirm that they looked through the 1967-1969 editions of "The Tower" for me - Fort Hamilton HS yearbook - and they reported to me that there is no Byron Preiss in those editions. They did not mention whether or not only graduating seniors are in the book or other grades as well. They did not have yearbooks from Midwood for the relevant years. Still looking for those.

Mister EZ said

at 11:02 pm on Aug 2, 2018


In the middle of the page, there is a box with rotating comments from people who signed the guest book, now expired. Look for the comment from Elizabeth Cohen Mayer.....should be the first comment that appears, after the page loads.

Audimike78 said

at 2:24 pm on Aug 2, 2018

Ok so I'm looking at Prospect Park. If you look at the shape of the park it matches the woman's head and arms. If you look at the shape of the bottom of the park it looks like the bottom of her dress. Then on the east side of the park is a oval shape that matches the water droplet that is laying on it's side. And to the west of that at the far edge of the park is a horse statue that looks similar to the "lion" in the crashing waves. If you go to Lookout Hill you can "look down" (south) and see Midwood HS. There is a memorial to the "Maryland 400" it's a pillar with a sphere on top. But the inscription is what go me! All the letter U are replaced with letter V. And the monument looks like the clockhands. So go east from there and hopfully find it!

Audimike78 said

at 2:25 pm on Aug 2, 2018

Kang I look forward to your response. ;)

Audimike78 said

at 2:39 pm on Aug 2, 2018

Kang said

at 9:37 pm on Aug 2, 2018

My response would be to encourage anyone here to follow wherever the clues seem to lead you. This puzzle needs new ideas! Frankly the current theories of how the puzzles do and don't work and some of the "accepted truths" haven't found one in nearly 15 years. Now maybe that's because they've all been lost to time. Or maybe one of the vets is one clue away. Or maybe a rookie will come up with some crazy idea and blow this open. To each his own....

Joecool said

at 1:58 pm on Jun 27, 2021

Hi there New York seekers! I haven't been involved in the search for the casque in New York, mostly concentrating on the San Francisco search. But me and my lovely wife (a NYC native) have what we think is a dead on solution for the New York puzzle. Out solution has a different base assumption than the consensus solution. Note we are using the images and the poems just like Preiss wrote them, nothing wacky or out of the ordinary, just a different base assumption. Every item in the verse and most of the items in the image fall perfectly in line. So if you would like to hear our solution, just drop me a line. We're out in San Francisco, and won't be going to NYC any time soon, so we need some local help. Cheers!

John said

at 9:59 pm on Nov 26, 2018

I have a few ideas but unfortunately they all seem to lead different directions.

One thought for “The natives still speak of him of hard word” is John Murphy who led construction of the Verrazzano Narrows and was called “Old Hard Nose” for being tough. And workers included the Mohawk Ironworkers, which ties to the “natives” phrase. I’ve searched a bit for a book about it “in 3 volumes” without luck. I’m wondering if “volumes” could have any different connotations.

Another “Isle of B” is “Randall’s Island”, formerly “Buchanan’s Island”, in the East River. And I think Roosevelt’s Island was formerly “Blackwell’s Island.

Brad said

at 10:41 pm on Nov 26, 2018

I have been translating the hiints pages in the Japanese versino of the book, and I can say that the translation for this part of the V10 page is pretty striaght-forwards and probably correct:
"Mr. Preiss answered my question with a riddle. Watch your words to get to this entry, the start is chicken. That is what he said."
The hints sectin in the Japanese book seems to be froma conversation between the translator and Preiss. The word "chicken" is printed in english, so is as correct as correct can be. This "Him of Hard words" has something to do with chicken. That's coming from the author's mouth! Hoping it helps, because it's thrown a spanner in my works.
As for the Isle... remember the hints for the solved casque that read M & B set in stone. They were initials, and this could be along the same line. I have been thinking that it may not be as direct as we all think. Maybe the island isn't an island per se. An isle is a small island. Maybe it's smaller than we imagine. Maybe B isn't a straight up name, but a generic name for the actual name... I am thinking something like Duck Island in the lake in Prospect Park. The small island of Bird (Duck). It may even speak of an island that isn't surrounded by water... here we have traffic islands- things in the middle of the road. It could be something like that...non-water island???

Guardian said

at 9:10 pm on Dec 1, 2018

A traffic island on Broadeay has been suggested, and Buchanan’s Island was part of my solution until I realized it can’t be seen from my spot. I also had a location on Governor’s Island at one point, but the visible isle to the north is Manhattan. At this point, I’m thinking that if it’s not a traffic island, it’s either something that’s not there any more or something very obscure and specific

Limey said

at 11:06 am on Sep 30, 2022

Hello from across the pond in the UK. I got hooked on “The Secret” after watching the ‘Expedition Unknown’ series (like a lot of people have) about a year or so ago, and have a few thoughts that may or may not be of interest.
The Grey giant may refer to the USS Intrepid which arrived in New York harbour in 1981 and was probably big news then. I also see a possible number 8 in the upper left and right ‘Ishihara’ like panels – Pier 88 is next to the USS Intrepid in Pier 86 – “In the shadow Of the grey giant”?
Also looking at the solve of the Boston casque on ‘Expedition Unknown’, I suspect that “Take twice as many east steps as the hour” could be not as evident as it reads (In the Boston case, Jason Krupats’ solve interpreted “Take five steps” as five wharfs. So could the “east steps” be streets?
Opposite Pier 88 is West 48th Street, if we continue all the way along, we get to 5th Avenue (could this be the “V” – Roman numeral), and then across into East 48th Street. If we then go halfway along East 48th Street between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue, we can turn right into Madison Avenue (From the middle of one branch of the V). We continue down Madison Avenue across 22 east streets to East 26th Street (twice as many east steps as the hour) and we arrive at Madison Square Park, which stretches to East 23rd Street (twice as many east steps as the hour Or more). Could this be a possible site? I know some of the verses don’t fit in with the theory but going back to the Boston solve, I still struggle to connect the final resting place from the clues in the verse!

Limey said

at 2:54 pm on Oct 10, 2022

….Also the USS Intrepid has two ‘arms’ that stick out from it’s bow, maybe one of these overhung a pathway or it’s shadow did (see uploaded image).

Percy Walters said

at 4:21 am on Jun 8, 2023

I have it in Brooklyn in John Paul Jones Park named after a navy officer but also the same name as a member of Led Zeppelin. In the Japanese edition it refers to an epic song, well you can't get any more epic than stairway to heaven. Also it is right next to Ft. Hamilton which is the indies native.

Limey said

at 9:53 am on Jul 8, 2023

I think that ‘Liberty’s’ right sleeve is the key and location marker. The unusual shadow under her nose looks like a pointer pointing to the sleeve.
Here is my full solve:

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