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The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Verse 12
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Verse 12

Page history last edited by Oregonian 2 years, 9 months ago

General notes on Verse 12

  • This verse is linked to Image 5 and was used to find the first casque in Chicago, Illinois in 1983.  That casque was found in a wooded corner of Grant Park, across Jackson Drive from the Art Institute of Chicago.
  • The three teenagers who solved the puzzle and found the casque were Eric Gasiorowski, Bob Wrobel, and David James.  The write-up provided by Gasiorowski is one of the best explanations of how they put it all together and dug up the casque. 
  • Our own attempt to explain all the written and visual clues is given on the Image 5 Verse 12 Solution page.




Lines Interpretation(s)

Where M and B are set in stone

- "M and B" referred to the names of Mozart and Beethoven inscribed on the Chicago Symphony Center at 220 S. Michigan Avenue, across the street from the Art Institute.  (The people who found the casque thought "M and B" meant "man and beast" and was a reference to the nearby sculptures of The Bowman and The Spearman, but those sculptures are in bronze rather than stone.)


And to Congress, R is known

- Congress Parkway is the next major street south of Jackson, and it passes The Bowman as it runs into Grant Park.


- The meaning of "R is known" is unclear.  The "R" might simply mean "railroad," which intersects Congress at the west edge of the park.  Alternatively, the "R" could stand for "Roosevelt University," which is inside the Auditorium Building at the corner of Michigan and Congress.


L sits and left

Beyond his shoulder

Is the Fair Folks'

Treasure holder

- "L sits" is, in this case, a reference to a seated Abraham Lincoln.  There are two bronze statues of Lincoln in Grant Park, but the one that shows him seated is a statue called Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State located near the Congress Parkway entrance.

Seated Lincoln by Zulema (zoblue), on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Photo by  Zulema (zoblue) on Flickr.


The end of ten by thirteen

Is your clue

- The area north of the Lincoln statue features lines of trees running east-west and north-south.  The number of trees in each row and column is variable, to allow for an open, grassy area in the middle.  (Note that the image below is from a modern topo map.  It is not a landscaping plan and it certainly doesn't capture the exact layout of trees from 1980.)



- In a 2018 newscast explaining how the casque was found, Rob Wrobel explains these lines of the verse by saying "Ten by thirteen trees along this way."  A hand-drawn map shown in the same newscast has 13 dots in a horizontal row and 10 dots in a vertical column.  At the point where those lines intersect, there is a dot labeled "hole."  (Click on image below to see the full-size screenshot.)


- If you browse through the historic aerials for this spot, it appears that the trees have always been in straight lines, BUT... trees have almost constantly been cut down and replanted.  All of the trees in the northwest corner were all cut down and replanted sometime around 1988.  So the modern tree grid will not tell us much of anything about which trees were present or absent in 1980.


- In his write-up of the casque solution, Eric Gasiorowski explains how the "ten by thirteen" clue related to the lines of trees and how tree removal in the park had already made the puzzle very difficult to solve by 1983:


"Bob called the publisher to contact Bryon Preiss personally.  After getting the run around, Bob finally made contact personally with Mr. Preiss.  Mr. Preiss asked Bob to go through the process that we had gone through to get were we were.  Bob relayed everything that we did and at the end Mr. Preiss asked what we thought of 10 x 13 again.  Bob told him about counting the trees, but that the numbers didn't add up to 10 in one row running east to west and 13 running in another north to south. Mr. Preiss chuckled, if I remember the story right from Bob, and suggested that we go back out and recount the trees, and adjust for any that may have been missing."

"WELL... lo and behold, unknown to us the city of Chicago had cut down a tree in each of the rows that would have pointed to the treasure area.  Without the information made available to us, the site would never have been found due to the change in the count of the trees.  Once we adjusted to the open spots in the rows, we suddenly lined up and started to do the final dig."

"I cant say how much frustration it caused not to have the original trees in location.  We could have finished the hunt almost a year earlier, lol.  Looking now years later at the trees in the park, there is no way anyone would have ever found the marker for the 10 x 13 clue.  The east / west line is 80% cut and multiple smaller trees replanted there in the line."

[Describing the north / south tree line in modern times:] "It's amazing, only 3 of the original 13 trees remain, and no contiguous line remains to point to the site.  I saw 15 odd trees in a zigzag line to the treasure area."



Fence and fixture

Central too

- The distinctive design of the fenceposts in Grant Park was reproduced in Image 5.  Presumably, this line of the verse tells us that one of the fenceposts should be near the casque site and possibly in line with a row of trees.



- "Fixture," though, is far less clear.  The two parts of the Merriam-Webster definition that seem relevant are:

  • "something that is fixed or attached (as to a building) as a permanent appendage or as a structural part"
  • "a familiar or invariably present element or feature in some particular setting"


- It appears that we're looking for something permanant and probably man-made.  A lamp or bench might qualify, but a tree probably would not.


- Preiss would (presumably) not want people digging close to underground electrical wires.


- If the fence was shown in Image 5, could the fixture also be hidden somewhere in the image?


For finding jewel casque

Seek the sounds

Of rumble

Brush and music


- These lines at the end of the verse appear to step back from the specific details of the casque spot and give more general hints about the landmarks surrounding the area where the searcher should be.


- "Sounds of rumble" obviously refers to the trains that pass by on the tracks close to the site.


- "Brush" probably refers to a paintbrush and to the Art Institute of Chicago, located nearby and almost due north of the casque site, across Jackson Drive.  ("Brush" might also have a double meaning, in reference to the trees and shrubs of the park.)


- "Music" probably refers to Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, which is located northwest of the casque site, across Michigan Avenue from the Art Institute.


- "Hush" would probably refer to Grant Park, which spreads out like a quiet oasis to the east of the casque site and is a strong contrast to the noise of the city coming from the west.  "Hush" may also be a (very) subtle reference to Carl Sandberg's poem Jazz Fantasia where he writes of musicians going "husha-husha-hush with the slippery sand-paper."  Sandberg is closely linked to Chicago, although Jazz Fantasia was not part of the Chicago Poems collection.




Other Notes:

  • A Chicago Tribune article published on August 9, 1983 gives more details about the find:


  • The casque was found in the northwest corner of the park, in an area bordered by Jackson Drive and the fence along the railroad tracks.  The distinctive fence shape (minus the halo) is on the left.  The electrical box attached to the wall on the right is what some searchers have interpreted "fixture" to mean.

  • A February 2018 news story on the local Chicago ABC affiliate included a fleeting glimpse of what appears to be the map that the kids in Chicago sent to Byron Preiss in 1983.  The map covers the area near the Lincoln statue in Grant Park.  Most of the map is carefully drawn in black, but there's a sloppier bit in green ink (possibly added later) that shows a series of east-west dots labeled "13" and a series of north-south dots labeled "10."  At the intersection of those lines of dots there is a circle with the word "Hole."  Presumably, the dots have to represent trees.  (It would be useful to know who added the green markings to the map.)  In his write-up of the solution, Eric Gasiorowski reverses the layout and says that it was 10 trees in the east / west row and 13 trees in the north / south column, but it isn't surprising that memories would be different about the small details.   (Click on image below to see full-size screen capture.)

  • This aerial photo from 2002 shows the corner of Grant Park where the casque was found.  Jackson street is running across the top and the statue of the seated Abraham Lincoln is the dark dot in the semicircle at the bottom.  The train tracks are visible along the left edge.





Comments (4)

bestauntie said

at 3:19 pm on May 31, 2017

On this video the guys that found it show the exact location of the dig site. Can we add a screenshot to the page? It is at the very end of the video. So the 2nd to last bullet point that suggests the casque was buried possibly where a tree was missing on the grid pattern is wrong. The top red circle on the picture shows the spot where the boys (now men) say it was).

"The end of ten by thirteen" "Fence and Fixture too Central too" perhaps the exact spot was exactly in the middle of the wall and fence at the end of the tree line. That makes the last 5 lines of the poem irrelevant to solving the poem, just extra fillers that might help or might distract you. If you see the remaining 5 lines you might think "well, I should keep going from this spot and listen for rumble" but really you have found the place to dig and should stop. Anyone else have any suggestions?

I think it is important to work backwards from the clues of the solved puzzles to help us with the others-which doesn't necessarily mean that they are all the same type of solve though. Just worth noting.


bf5man said

at 5:30 pm on May 31, 2017

One of the Chicago solver (Eric I think) has created a PDF explaining how they did solve it back then. The pdf can be found here:
It displays the treasure location and and is an interesting read.
A bit of history, when they dug the hole, they were off a little bit. That's when one of them hit the side of the hole with the showel in despair that clay fell down and revealed the side of the cask, they took the following picture of it: http://kspot.org/trove/2712793878_f289d741fc_o.jpg

Oregonian said

at 1:59 pm on Jul 15, 2021

Thank you both for your input! When I first set up this page many years ago, I hadn't read Eric's write-up of the solution. Now that I've read it (and watched the 2018 news story with Rob) I feel pretty confident that we've finally nailed down the solution.

Percy Walters said

at 4:12 am on Jun 8, 2023

I was told that M and B stand for Mozart and Beethoven on the symphony building and R stands for Roosevelt University but I actually like the boys solve better, just shows that you can be wrong in the right direction as long as you get the correct dig site.

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