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The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Image 02
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Image 02

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Saved by Oregonian
on May 2, 2018 at 9:55:53 am

General notes on Image 2



Image 2


Specific Observations

  Please record your notes about this image in the list below.  Use the letter/number grid to identify the point on the image that you're describing.  To keep things organized, 1) please start each observation with a letter/number combo (in bold), and 2) add new observations in the right place on the list to keep everything alphabetized.

  • B3-B7 - There appear to be letters in the lion's mane, possibly spelling "NAVY WAY" or something similar.
  • C6 - The "birthmark" on the lion's forehead is almost certainly significant.
  • E8 - The number "80" appears in the lion's mane.
  • F5 - There may be something written in cursive across the lion's nose.
  • F5 to G5 - The "hourglass" shape formed by the black part of the lion's nose may be a reference to the capstan from the Maine.
  • F6 to H9 - This appears to be an African Fang mask, possibly modeled on the one on display in the Louvre Museum.
  • F9 - The number "36" (or possibly "436" or "+36") appears in the lion's mane.
  • G2 - The squiggles in the lion's mane may form a "33" turned sideways.
  • G3 - The squiggles here may form a "79" turned upside-down.
  • G7/8 - The forehead of the mask shows an outline of the Charleston harbor in South Carolina (see below).
  • G7 - Faint line, looks like a streched U
  • H1 - There appears to be a Christian cross hidden in the lion's mane, similar to the cross carved in the stonework in Image 3.
  • H6-H9/I6-I9 - Looks like possible arches
  • H9 - There's a interesting string draped over a stick.  Taken together, the stick and string resemble a pair of sunglasses, or a part of a boat mast
  • I2 to J5 - The arching pine (fir tree possibly?) branch could represent the curve of Highway 703 as it passes through Mt. Pleasant just east of Charleston. 
  • J2 - Golden pear.  (A possible reference to the Pearman bridge that once crossed the Cooper River from Charleston and connected to Highway 703.  The bridge was demolished in 2005.)
  • L2 - The flower is a daisy, the birth flower for April.
  • N4 - The pendant (or ornament?) is in the shape of Fort Sumter, which is located in the Charleston harbor (see below).
  • N5 - The tall pole and the short shadow in the middle of the "Fort Sumter face" form the long and short hands of an analog clock.  The indicated time of 4:00 indicates the month of April.  The long "nose" ends in a white tip, possibly making it a reference to White Point Garden.
  • O9 - The jewel is a diamond, the birth stone for April.  There appear to be two initials in the lower left corner, possibly "TS" or "TF."  There are also two white triangles that might represent something.
  • P9 - "JJP," the initials of the artist, John Jude Palencar.





Other Notes:

  • Because this image is linked to immigration from Africa, the place with the greatest historical significance would be Sullivan's Island, which was a major port for the slave trade carrying Africans to the New World.  According to Wikipedia, "Sullivan's Island was also the point of entry for approximately 40 percent of the enslaved Africans brought to British North America, and has been likened to Ellis Island in New York City, New York."
  • Sullivan's Island is also the setting for much of Edgar Allen Poe's short story "The Gold-Bug" (written in 1843).  Poe spent two years in the Charleston area when he was serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Moultrie between 1827 and 1829.  There is now a Poe Avenue that runs by the Fort Moultrie National Monument on Sullivan's Island.  The Charleston casque may be related in some way to "The Gold-Bug" or to some other writings by Poe, including "The Cask of Amontillado" (sometimes spelled "The Casque of Amontillado").
  • The woman with the wings presumably represents an African immigrant.  The butterfly could be based on a number of different species that have eye-like dots on their wings to confuse predators.  The butterfly imagery is mentioned on page 17, in the "New Passage" section of the book, where it says that the fairies from Africa "fluttered down, like a windfall of butterflies."
  • Several features of the painting (described below) seem to direct us to White Point Garden in downtown Charleston. This blog post gives a good overview of the monuments there.  This Imgur photo album gives more close-up pictures of the monuments and features.




Image Matches

The pattern on the forehead of the mask shows a map of the Charleston, South Carolina area. The Charleston peninsula is visible in the middle, with Drum Island beside it.  Most of the major waterways are shown.


The narrow arch shown at the tip of the peninsula could be a representation of the major streets in that area.

The bend in the pine branch near the pear could represent the bend in Route 703 (Coleman Blvd) as it passes through Mt. Pleasant just east of Charleston.  To the southwest of this bend is Patriots Point, which is one of two departure points for ferries to Fort Sumter.


Prior to its demolition in 2005, the Silas N. Pearman Bridge would have connected at the upper left corner of this map, where Route 703 splits in half to form the on-ramp and off-ramp for the bridge.  The bridge passed over Drum Island and connected to the Charleston peninsula.

The hanging object with a long, thin nose like a flagpole appears to be a representation of Fort Sumter, which has a distinctive five-sided shape.  The military connection might explain the star and stripes.


  The two lines that go to the "nose" of the pendant may represent the two ferry routes that serve the island, leaving from Liberty Square in Charleston and Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant.


  Note that the shadow from the nose (or flagpole) of the pendant ends in a white point.  This might be a hint that we should focus our attention on White Point Garden, a park in downtown Charleston.


Two of the dots on the butterfly's wings are dark rings with white centers.  A similar color pattern can be found in White Point Garden, where the cannons are painted black and the barrels are filled with white plaster.


These cannons could be the "arms extended" that are mentioned in Verse 6.

Charleston - White Point Garden: Seven-inch banded Brooks rifle

A line in Verse 6 mentions the "long palm's shadow."  The dual meaning of "palm" appears to be emphasized in this image by the crossed palms of the woman's hands that form the shadow of a palm tree on her chest.  (Click on image for close-up.)



The palm shape in Image 2 and the mention of "palm" in Verse 6 could both just be general hints toward South Carolina.  According to Wikipedia, "The palmetto has been a symbol for South Carolina since the American Revolutionary War when it was used to build a fort on Sullivan's Island that withstood British attack. The palmetto tree appears on the first symbol of the state, the seal created in 1777. It was officially named the state tree in 1939.  It is a very popular state symbol." The South Carolina state flag (shown at right) also features a single palmetto under a crescent moon. 


Alternatively, the palm references could be a hint toward a specific palm tree in or near White Point Garden.

There appears to be a Christian cross in the lion's mane. This could represent Church Street, which ends at White Point Garden.  To see the arrangement of streets in the area, visit our White Point Garden landmarks page.

The "birthmark" on the forehead of the lion is almost certainly significant, but no one has managed to find a solid match for the outline so far.


The light/dark contrast forming the shapes seems very similar to the relief sculptures on the base of the Fort Sumter monument in White Point Garden.



Latitude / Longitude Hints

There's a "33" in the lion's mane at middle-left.

Rotated for clarity:

This number initially appears to be a "36," but it could possibly be a "32" with the "2" turned upside-down.  There also seems to be a "5" formed using the upper part of the "3," and to the left of that there is either a "+" or a "4."  This is (obviously) a difficult number to interpret.

There's an upside-down "79" close to the lion's whiskers.
Rotated for clarity:
There's an "80" to the right of the lion's eyes.  
The tip of the Charleston peninsula is located at 32.8 degrees north and 79.9 degrees west.  A range of 79 to 80 degrees for longitude would make sense, but 33 degrees only begins around 20 miles further north and 36 degrees would put one up around the middle of North Carolina.  It therefore seems more likely that the "36" is actually a "32" with the second digit turned upside-down.  That would create a range of 32 to 33 degrees of latitude, which works for Charleston.  The upside-down "2" may have some other significance in the puzzle.



Questions, questions, questions...

  • What is the symbolism of the golden pear?
  • Why is it on the branch of some conifer?
  • Is the arching shape of the branch significant?




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