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The Secret (a treasure hunt) / Image 09
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Image 09

Page history last edited by Oregonian 9 months, 3 weeks ago

General notes on Image 9

  • This is the image for October and the immigration reference is to the Netherlands.
  • This image is thought to be linked to Verse 5 and a casque in Montreal, Canada.
  • For anyone interested in possible connections to Île Notre-Dame, Île Sainte-Hélène, and/or Expo 67, the expo 67 terre des hommes photo album on Flickr is an absolute must-see.  It has over 19,000 (!) historical photos of the area, showing just what a crazy acid trip of an experience the 1967 Expo must have been.



Image 9


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.

  • D5 - The jewel in the middle of the hat is an opal, the birth stone for October.
  • D7 - The smooth outline of the hat changes to some very specific bulges here.  The shape of the outline is a reasonable match for a wider view of the SE bank of the St. Lawrence river where it passes Montreal.  
  • E3 - There's something hidden in the curls near the man's right ear.  Some people see letters and possibly a face.
  • E5 - The curls on the forehead may form "J19" or possibly "J9".
  • F7 - The curls of hair under the man's left ear are probably forming numbers or letters.  If letters, they might be JSA, JSH, or JSR.
  • F9 - Something is scratched into the wall here.  Some people see "Fèe" (the french word for fairy).  Others see "Peel" (a street near the legeater dog in the Golden Square Mile). 
  • G5-6 - There are four collar shapes that are obviously significant here.  Two are on the outer black coat and two are on the inner white shirt.
  • H4 - The flower is probably a cosmos, one of the birth flowers for October.
  • H5 - The stairstep pattern below the collar is very likely a stepped gable or crow-stepped gable from a roofline.  This fits in with the Dutch connection for the image, because such gables were a common, traditional design in Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • H7 - The square symbol above the dog contains an X indicating "10" (for the tenth month, October).  It also contains two symbols that may be runes (see below).  The "X" could represent an intersection where a small street crosses a larger one.
  • I4 - The number "67" (or possibly "467") is hidden in the flower.  The "6" could also be a musical note. 1967 is the year that Montreal hosted the universal exposition.
  • I7 - The legeater dog is the most distinctive feature of this illustration and it may be a reference to a lamp post at 1440 Rue Drummond in the middle of the Golden Square Mile.  (See below for more info.)
  • I7 - The black symbol next to the legeater dog is thought to be a representation of the Habitat 67 Building.
  • J6 & K6 - The hands appear to be forming some kind of symbol, possibly a church.
  • K4 & K7 - The sleeve cuffs have a checkered pattern that may be a reference to the checkered flags waved at the end of an auto race.  Montreal is the location for the Canadian Grand Prix that is held on Notre Dame Island.  The sleeve cuffs are also very similar to the sleeve cuffs in Image 1.  In both cases, the squares start very clearly and distinctly at the top and then fade away toward the bottom.



Image Matches

  The most distinctive feature of Image 9 is the "legeater dog" that appears in a golden rectangle on the man's shirt.  The design closely matches the (bizarre) bases on the lampposts outside the George Stephen House located at 1440 Drummond Street in Montreal.  The house was built in 1883 for George Stephen, 1st Baron Mount Stephen.  The lamps are an Italian design and very similar lamps are still in use in Palermo, Sicily.  (See photos here, here, here, and here.)  However, no other examples of this design have yet been found in North America.


  Most landmarks in The Secret are deliberately modified and obscured in Palencar's images.  The design of the lamppost base, however, is captured in unusual detail.  Only one thing seems to have been changed: the nose of the animal has been lengthened to change it from a cat or some kind of goblin into a recognizable dog.


Photo by wiki user Delilah, our Montreal detective!

  The legeater dog appears inside a golden rectangle and the image has a repeated motif of gold-colored squares.  They appear on the beret, the cuffs, and the neckline of the jacket.  This is very likely a strong hint in the direction of the Golden Square Mile, a neighborhood of historic older homes at the foot of Mount Royal in Montreal.


  The George Stephen House, with the legeater lamp posts, is located near the center of the Golden Square Mile.


  The shape beside the legeater dog has not yet been explained.  It appears to be formed from a series of connected squares with a few curves on one side.


  If the gold-colored rectangle represents Montreal's Golden Square Mile, it's possible that this is a cross-section or floor plan for one of the historic buildings.  To identify the building, we may need to look at aerial photos from around 1980.


  The other interpretation that has been proposed for this shape is that it is an abstract representation of the Habitat 67 Building, which is visible across the St. Lawrence River from Notre Dame Island.


  There are two main theories for how to interpret the beret that fills the top of the picture.  The first theory is that the broad, spreading shape might be a representation of Mount Royal, which forms the skyline over downtown Montreal.


  If the man's head represents Mount Royal, it would make sense that the face would be half sad, because half the hilltop is taken up with a cemetary.


  This photo was taken from the northeast side of Mount Royal, looking to the southwest. 


  Obviously, the wavy lines on the right side of the hat must be a representation of something.  It would be very helpful to find the right match, because that might tell us where we should be standing when we face the hilltop.

By Montrealais at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2974363

  The other major interpretation for the shape of the beret is that it is a reflected and (very) stylized representation of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Notre Dame Island in the Saint Lawrence River.  The track was built in 1978 and is the home of the FIA Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.


  The picture on top at right is a reflected copy of the original beret.  Note that the wavy lines on one side of the beret roughly correspond to turns 11 through 15 in the map at right.

Map of the 1980 layout of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve by Xander89, taken from Wikimedia Commons. CC-BY-SA-3.0

  The repeated use of a checkerboard pattern - and particularly the two checkered cuffs - might be connected in some way with the checkered flag used to signal a winner in an auto race.  The Canadian Grand Prix has been held on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (almost) every summer since 1978.


  The start & finish line for the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was repositioned several times over the years, but (fortunately) racing enthusiasts kept track of the different layouts.  The map in the row above is correct for 1978 to 1986, which is the time frame when Preiss would have been there.

The shape of the Montreal and Laval islands could be shown in the man's mouth and chin...
... or perhaps in the man's mouth and nose.  Either way, it's a strong match for the city of Montreal.

  Alternatively, the mouth could be a representation of the mirrored shape of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.  The north end of the track forms the smiling side of the mouth, while the south end forms the frowning side. 


  In particular, the hairpin curve known as "L'Epingle" at the northern tip of the circuit seems to be clearly shown at the edge of the man's smile.


  The left side of the white shirt collar may form the outline of southwestern Quebec, where the boundary drops south, turns eastwards for awhile, and then makes a final, short drop to the south beside Montreal.

  The right side of the white shirt collar forms a very reasonable representation of the St. Lawrence River, as it flows northeast through Montreal.


  This is one of the strongest pieces of evidence confirming the Montreal location.

  The neckline of the man's shirt features a series of steps that go down and up.  When inverted, it forms the shape of a crow-stepped gable, which was a distinctive architectural feature in Holland.  The inclusion here might be just a nod to the immigration match or it might represent a specific building.


  By far the best match that has been found for the pattern on the man's neckline is the roofline of Trafalgar School for Girls in Montreal (far right).  The Trafalgar School is located within the Golden Square Mile, across Avenue du Docteur Penfield from Percy Walters Park.  There are probably more crow-stepped gables to be found in other historic neighborhoods, such as Old Montreal.


  Alternatively, the steps and checkerboard may be a nod to one of the stairstepped buildings found in Montreal.  The Sun Life Building that borders Dorchester Sq. is one candidate.  Another is the Aldred Building in Old Montreal.
  There's an interesting cross-hatched pattern on the man's neckline above the stairsteps.  The only strong match that has been proposed for that is on the trading stickers for the 1980 F1 Grand Prix season.  (The card for Montreal is shown at far right, but all of the racetrack layouts in the sticker series have the same background.)

  The flower on the shirt appears to be almost a cross between a calendula and a cosmos, both birth flowers for October.  It's also very similar to the Montreal city logo (far right) that was adopted and publicized in 1981 after a contest.  Each lobe of the "logo flower" is meant to be a combination of the letters V & M, for "Ville de Montreal."

  The flower on the shirt appears to contain the numbers 76, 67, and/or 767. Expo 67 was held in Montreal in 1967.  The Olympics were held in Montreal in 1976.  Both events were staged (at least in part) on Notre Dame Island, an artificial island that was built for the event in the Saint Lawrence River.

  Several people have also suggested that the flower could represent a rose window of the kind often found in cathedrals and other religious buildings.

  There's a rose window at Dawson College, which is a few blocks south of the Golden Square Mile.  The window is made of tan stone that matches the color used in the painting. 


  There's an even more flower-like rosette on the towers of the Notre-Dame Basilica located in the historic district of Old Montreal.  The basilica match has the advantage of being located beside the Aldred Building, which is a natural match for the stairstep pattern on the man's shirt.


  The man's hands form an awkward and unusual position, with some fingers pointing upwards and others arched over and down. 


  The best explanation that has been proposed is that this is a reference to a sculpture by Alexander Calder that was created for the 1967 World's Fair on Île Sainte-Hélène.  The title of the work is "L'Homme" (Man) so it's fitting that the image shows a man making the shape.  The sculpture was relocated in 1991, but at the time Preiss visited it would have been directly along the route described on the Verse 5 page.

"Man, Three Disks" by Alexander Calder, Île Sainte-Hélène, Montreal
Photograph by Montrealais, from Wikimedia Commons. CC-BY-SA-3.0
  On the wall to the right of the man there are some scratchings that are obviously significant.  If those letters spell out "Peel," as some people have suggested, it could be a hint toward Rue Peel, which runs through the Golden Square Mile two blocks away from Rue Drummond.  Rue Peel also runs all the way down to the river and ends up in Griffintown, just two blocks away from where the Canada launched (see Verse 5 for more info).

 The square with the X appears to contain two runes.  The one on the left appears to be wunjô.  The one on the right appears to be a reflected version of laguz.


 The "runes" have an interesting resemblance to the characters in the logo for Expo 67.  The logo appears prominently on a wall at the Place des Nations, where the opening and closing ceremonies were held.

Expo 67 logo.svg
By Julien Hébert - Official Expo 1967 Guide Book. Toronto: Maclean-Hunter Publishing Co. Ltd. 1967. p.29, Public Domain.

  The collar of the man's robe may have an outline that represents the roads around Mount Royal.  (Note that the map at far right is turned almost upside-down, so north is at the lower right.)


  If this interpretation is correct, the lowest, central park of the neckline (between 4 and 5) would correspond to the George-Étienne Cartier Monument on Av du Parc.  The stretch between 3 and 4 would be contained inside the campus of McGill University.


  This map interprets the edge of the shirt collar (the blue line) as the Voie Camillien-Houde, the road that divides Mount Royal between the cemetery and the park.

  The hair contains various curves that could be numbers.




Latitude / Longitude Hints

Montreal is between the latitudes of 45 and 46 degrees north.  It is between the longitudes of 73 and 74 degrees west.




The Rembrandt Connection:

Image 9 appears to be a visual reference to Self-Portrait with Beret and Turned-Up Collar, which was painted by Rembrandt in 1659.


Each painting shows a single individual seated before a flat, golden-brown background that only varies in subtle degrees of light.  Each subject is wearing dark robes that tend to fade into the background and is seated with clasped hands, looking directly at the viewer.

The figure in each portrait is wearing a beret that crosses the forehead in a broad arch.  Graying, curly hair protrudes from under the beret on each side, partially covering each subject's ears.
The tunic worn by each subject has a high collar that runs along the lower edge of a cheek before plunging down to leave an open neckline where it meets the chin.




The Mirrored Composite Structure:

  • The two sides of the man's face do not show the usual symmetry.  The individual is smiling with an open eye on the left side of the image and frowning with a more narrowed eye on the right.  In addition, the left half of the background is dark and the right half is light and the necklines on the two sides of the tunic are not symmetrical.  All of these contrasts suggest that the image is meant to be a combination of two different figures (or of two different aspects of the same figure).
  • If you place a mirror along the line of the jewel and the nose, you can create either a smiling face on a dark background or a frowning face on a light background.  (The smiling, sharp-nosed fellow with the wide hat and high collar looks very much like Napoleon Bonaparte. Note: There is a restaurant in Montreal named Bonaparte, close to the St. Lawrence River.)
Original image of Christ the Saviour (Pantokrator), a 6th-century encaustic icon from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai. Mirrored composites formed from each of the two sides of the face (using Photoshop) to make it easier for people to visualize the two different depictions.




The Percy Walters Park Theory:

  Most of the discussion on the Verse 5 page centers on Saint Helen's Island in the St. Lawrence river, but the clues in the image seem to point in a different direction.  One strong match that has been proposed is Percy Walters Park at the base of Mt. Royal near downtown Montreal.  Consider the following evidence:

  The use of the man's beret as a representation of Mount Royal would make sense for Percy Walters Park, which is located at the base of the hill.



  The golden rectangle on the front of the man's shirt may be a reference to the Golden Square Mile, a neighborhood of historic older homes near downtown Montreal.  Percy Walters Park (outlined in red on the map at far right) is inside the Golden Square Mile.
  The best match that has been found for the "stairstep" pattern on the man's neckline is the top of the Trafalgar School for Girls in Montreal.  The Trafalgar School is across the street from Percy Walters Park.
Photo by wiki user Delilah.  (Thanks!)
  On the south side of the park, where Avenue McGregor makes a bend, there is a sign with a gold-and-black checkerboard pattern that resembles the pattern on the man's shirt and cuffs.
Photo by wiki user Delilah.  (Thanks again!)
  No one has ever offered a strong explanation for why the "legeater dog" is in the picture. The lamp bases at the former Mount Stephen Club are actually fairly small (see image at far right) and they are not a well-known symbol for Montreal.  Most searchers agree that the casque is not buried at that spot.  But if the gold-colored rectangle refers to the Golden Square Mile, we may be looking for a place that is somehow associated with dogs inside those boundaries.  And Percy Walters Park is an off-leash dog park.  (This might also explain why the image is considerably more dog-like than the original lamp base, which may actually show a cat of some kind.)
Photo by wiki user Delilah, our Montreal detective.
And, finally, there is the interesting interview that Byron Preiss gave to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on 10/25/1982.  In describing his adventures burying the casques, Preiss volunteered that "dogs got in an uproar" at one site.  None of the other proposed locations in other cities are in off-leash dog parks, so it makes sense that Montreal would be the site of this experience.




Other Notes:

  • Several people have suggested that the design on the front of the shirt might actually be a map of the area on the southeast side of Mount Royal in Montreal.  (Click on map below to see a larger version.)
  • Under this interpretation, the zig-zag neckline would be the "stairstep" boundary of Mount Royal Park.  The lowest point of the neckline would be the Trafalgar School (which also has the stairstep profile).  The legeater dog in the gold box would be the George Stephen House inside Montreal's Golden Square Mile.  And the flower could represent the rosette window at the College Dawson.
  • The Abbot's fingers form an X more or less directly over Edifice/Academie Bourget, however, his hands take up so much space in the picture that the "church" he's creating could be the Anglican Church of St. James the Apostle (Rue St. Catherine X Rue Bishop), or the Soeurs Grises Convent (there is a mall on the NW side that has a large arch-shaped window that could be the "arc of lights" from the verse). 




Questions, questions, questions...

  • Is there some significance to the way the hands are clasped with certain fingers raised?
  • What is the meaning of the two runes in the square with the X?
  • What is the meaning of the black shape beside the "legeater dog"?  If it's a floor plan, what building does it match?
  • What do the curves at the right edge of the hat represent?  (A road?  A river?)




How to obtain permission for attempted recovery




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Comments (Show all 87)

Delilah said

at 10:52 pm on Oct 28, 2018

Awesome, Brad! I find the Golden Square Mile shape incredibly accurate! Good catch! Can't say anything about GWL, but still everything points out to the golden square mile. (Also maybe all the little golden checkers, which are little squares indeed!)
Keep it up with the good job!

Brad said

at 2:07 am on Nov 18, 2018

Any thoughts on this being related to the hatching on the coat, above the steps, but below the white collar?
This is an aerial from the top of Mount Royal. If the front of the coat was the Golden Square Mile, then could this be the cemetary above?
Would Preiss have had access to at leas a map of the cemetary showing the rows?

Burbank_ian said

at 11:33 pm on Jun 4, 2019

Having never looked at this image but receiving the emails when updates take place, I thought I'd look at the crossed fingers. To me when first looking at them they looked like a spiral staircase. After a quick look online it seems that Montreals spiral staircases are quite the feature and some quoting the staircases as a symbol that best represents Montreal. So maybe, the fingers are another city confirmer?

Quite a good article about the staircases and their history to the city:

Oregonian said

at 8:44 am on Jun 5, 2019

That's a great connection! I'd never heard of those outdoor staircases, but the article makes a good case for them being iconic in Montreal. This is definitely worth investigating.

Do we have any locals on the wiki? I'd be very curious to know if there are any of those staircases in the area of Notre-Dame Basilica and the Aldred Building in Old Montreal.

Oregonian said

at 9:32 am on Jun 6, 2019

Folks, I am increasingly open to the idea that the lamps outside the Mount Stephen Club are a complete wrong turn. There's just absolutely nothing else in that area or on Drummond Street that would match up with the puzzle, and the feature is way too small to be a general clue to Montreal. If I had to bet on it right now, I'd guess that Preiss never even saw the lamps on Drummond Street. Instead, there must have been another set of similar lamps outside a different building, probably in Old Montreal. That style of lamp was once very common in the New York / Ontario area.

Check out this view of the lamps on the north side of the Notre-Dame Basilica, along St. Sulpice Street: https://goo.gl/maps/7Y6ZDemnottrwC5BA Those lamps don't have the "legeater dog" feature, but they're similar, and they're still in place because the basilica is a historic site. I'm guessing that the lamps we were really meant to find were in front of some other building that was torn down sometime after 1980. But I don't know how we would go about proving that.

Agnes said

at 1:47 pm on Jun 12, 2019

Dear All,
I’m new here.
I started working with puzzles. I’ve collected what I’ve found in pictures 9 and 12 and uploaded to the Wiki. I hope the ideas will be useful for local seekers.

Brad said

at 8:30 am on Jun 16, 2019

Hey all, stumbled across this idea for the hand gesture while doing research on Pinterest. Yeah... research...
There is a hand gesture within the Greek Orthodox church used in the Icons that has religious significance, in particular that the fingers spell the first and last letters of Jesus (IHCOYC) Christ (XPICTOC) i.e. ICXC when spelled out as such. Some sources say it's spelled out in the English alphabet (which makes it dubious in my mind...) Either way... the hand gesture is very common in the icons, and has religious significance.
It's ALMOST the same as the Right hand of the figure. The exception being that the ring and little fingers do not cross in our image. This may be a line to follow, as the gesture shown may have some significance in the Greek Orthodox church. My knowledge of the church is limited to me designing a church a few years back, so I can't go too deeply into the iconography. Maybe someone else knows?
Source: https://aleteia.org/2016/06/12/what-do-hand-gestures-in-icons-mean/
Alternatively, it could come from the Roman orator's hand gestures, particularly one meaning "expressing wonder or amazement"
Source: http://www.romanmysteries.com/sites/romanmysteries.com/files/cms_images/gesturesoftheorator.jpg
Maybe it's some hybridisation based on the same process of the fingers spelling out a word. Top to bottom, X ^ (Chi, Lambda) or front to back Lambda Chi. Maybe a fraternity? Lambda Chi Alpha were at McGill Campus until 2011. McGill Campus is on the edge of the Golden Square Mile, just below Mt Montreal.

Oregonian said

at 10:25 am on Jun 17, 2019

The religious icon interpretation of the hand position has come up a few times and I think it has merit. The question is: what are we supposed to do with it? The rules for the puzzles specifically rule out any casque in a cemetery, but is it possible that the casque is buried on church property of some other kind? (If so, it would certainly explain the bit in Verse 5 about getting permission to dig it out.) The satellite views of the Basilica de Notre Dame show some sort of park-like courtyard beside it. The area is enclosed by the buildings on that block, so we don't have Google Street View to help us. Does anyone have any ground-level photos of that space?

Oregonian said

at 12:02 pm on Jun 17, 2019

I'm hesitant to go down this rabbit hole (truly) but there's one connection here that's just too interesting to ignore.

The "Christ Pantocrator of St. Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai" is a religious icon from the 6th century AD. It shows a figure (presumably Jesus) wearing a black robe in front of a gray-black background and making a sign with the fingers of his right hand. At first glance it looks like a truly awful painting, because the neckline of the robe and the two sides of the man's face are not symmetrical. But many scholars have pointed out that putting a mirror to each half of the painting creates two different mirrored composite images that are much more realistic and life-like. And that, of course, is exactly what we see above in Image 9. The fact that both painting include the hand gestures, the necklines of the robes, and even the arched eyebrow on one side of the face makes me wonder if this is more than a coincidence. Maybe the painting at St. Catherine's is what gave Preiss and/or Palencar the idea for a split figure?

Kang said

at 1:56 pm on Jun 17, 2019

"Christ Pantocrator of St. Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai"
- Or could perhaps be a clue that Saint-Catherine Street West runs smack through the Golden Square Mile. Intersects both Peel St and Drummond St (the latter a half a block from the Mt Stephens Club where the Legeater lamp is....

Brad said

at 7:03 pm on Jun 17, 2019

Any artist who has done any study or can actually paint, and has painted a few things is most likely aware of a lot of things. Even people without formal training trawl Pinterest for "ideas" (every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief, they'd kill for their inspiration.- U2), and in the past, you would just buy books, or have them bought for you. Most of us will have a universal history of art book, and these books are often thumbed through until something sticks or sparks inspiration. I would assume Palencar had an exposure to Iconography, and even to this concept. Da Vinci in the Mona Lisa used a technique called Sfumato (google search it and the ML is the example image), where the Left eye image was painted to the painting's left, and the right eye image painted to the right, so painting separate images left and right is not unusual, unknown or obscure. We should assume the asymmetry is purposeful, even if Palencar was not aware of Christ Pantocrator.

Brad said

at 6:57 pm on Jun 17, 2019

We could look at 2 things- 1. the "meaning" of the gesture, and; 2. the structure of the gesture.
The "meaning as per the Roman Orator link above could be "an expression of wonder or amazement". Orators would make this gesture when they were saying something that should illicit wonder or amazement ("hey, Jesus just made wine from water... pretty amazeballs, yeah?" <insert gesture here>) Maybe we are supposed to be looking in or around something that would illicit a sense of amazement in us, such as a beautiful view, a giant monument, or a plaque with a quote of great revelation.
The structure of the ring finger-to-thumb gesture is one that creates Greek letters. It is done with one hand (not 2), so ours is not exactly the same. However, the hands could be making a new structure based around the same concept. if you look at the index fingers, together they make an X, if you look at the R hand middle finger, it makes a chevron (upturned V), or Lambda in Greek. It could be the house of a Lambda Chi chapter (there was one in Montreal during the 80s). Or, it could be something like the first and last letters of a word, like L_ate_X. But I think it's moving too many steps away when we're going that deep. I still prefer the simple answers.
OR... it could be a combination of the two, where we're supposed to revel at the wonder of something that has to do with the structure of the fingers.
I would highly doubt that it's on church grounds. Preiss would have had to ask permission to drop it off, if expected us to ask permission. I don't think that is the best interpretation of that line though. If he asked someone permission to bury something, that person would be in on the hunt/ joke, and would create a weak point in the security. I think it's more likely a figurative asking of permission of something, like pagans would ask permission or give thanks to trees they would chop down for religious reasons (such as making runes).

Oregonian said

at 9:48 am on Jun 18, 2019

The "permission" bit could definitely be figurative, but then why Montreal? It would seem more appropriate for something like St. Augustine, as a hint that the casque is on private property and maybe as a nod to the Native Americans who lived there for thousands of years.

And, while I agree it's unlikely, I wouldn't completely write off the idea that some figure in Montreal knew about the casque and waited patiently over decades for someone to come and claim it. A person like that would need to have self-discipline... the ability to stay silent for long periods of time... the ability to keep a vow. So it's intriguing that the bit in Verse 5 about asking permission comes right after the lines that spell out "ABBOT." Hmm...

Kang said

at 11:41 am on Jun 18, 2019

Abbot. Permission. MISSION. Hmm...

Indigoone said

at 9:07 pm on Jun 17, 2019

I know it's out of context, but something I keep noticing even reading about Dutch immigration is that Montreal is never really cited. Mainly Ontario and Alberta. Has anyone ever found any evidence in their research that Montreal was a major point of immigration? I was reading on this site recently.


wildshadow20@hotmail.com said

at 7:27 pm on Jul 21, 2019

Hello. New at this, but i hope to be of some help ! What first hooked me was Josh gate's documentary on the subject. I have been reading a lot since and finally, yesterday, me and a friend went over to Ste-Helene island to look up some stuff and information. I don't think we found anything really new, except maybe a set of stairs (5 steps each) a stone throw away from the white rock that have previously been talked about. (Pretty much like the stairs on image #9 i think)


And right in the middle of these stairs is a compass (Rose des vents)


Some have suggest the casket could be buried 12 paces from the white rock, but the way i read the verses, i understand that the casket would be buried 12 paces from a tree, closest to a white rock ? That would be the tree right behind my daughter standing on the white rock in the fallowing pictures. But i might be wrong, (most likely), English is my 2nd language and i'm not an expert at it.

I plan on going back either this week or next weekend with a few tools to validate a few things.

Oregonian said

at 8:27 am on Jul 22, 2019

Somehow, until I saw these pictures I hadn't realized that the compass rose on Ste Helene island uses an O instead of a W for the western direction. But, of course, it makes sense. (I still remember enough of my high school French to know that Ouest = West.) It would have been a really clever clue towards Montreal if Preiss had included that O somehow in the puzzle, but I'm not seeing any connection.

The main thing that keeps me from accepting this as the spot is the number of trees. The verse talks about "the only standing member of a forest," but the photos always seem to show a lot of trees around there. Is one tree noticeably older than the others? Could the other trees be fast-growing species that were much smaller in 1980?

wildshadow20@hotmail.com said

at 7:28 pm on Jul 21, 2019

Here is the picture of the tree behind the white rock


Oregonian said

at 9:13 am on Jul 22, 2019

Thanks for all the pictures!

If you make another trip to the island, here's what I would like to know:
- Is there any tree that could be twelve (big or small) paces eastwards from the east side of the stone?
- If so, what kind of tree is it? (If you don't know, just take some good photos of the leaves and we should be able to figure it out.)
- How close are the tree roots to the surface? Do the roots spread outwards or do they go more straight down into the ground?

I'm guessing that this will be a situation like the New York City puzzle, where roots have spread to enclose the casque and ordinary shovels won't work. If the casque is really at the base of a tree, we'll need to use an Air Spade. "Get permission" indeed...

wildshadow20@hotmail.com said

at 1:31 am on Jul 23, 2019

I can sure do that. Do we know when the casket was buried exactly ? Because i came upon this picture and all the tip of the south shore was paved with a road... I highly doubt he would have buried it next to that...


It's dated from the 21st of august 1980. We are still looking from more pictures in the Montréal archives from that time. In 1991-1992, there was some major excavation work going on in that area.

Honestly, the more i look at this, the more i doubt this is the spot. Never the less, we still have some ideas to look into :)

Oregonian said

at 9:47 am on Jul 23, 2019

WOW!!! What a great find! That's one of the biggest contributions to this wiki in quite a long time.

I agree with you that this makes the southern tip of the island less likely, but it certainly doesn't rule it out and – in some ways – it makes the clues a better fit. The big question is whether the white rock was there in 1980. If it wasn't, then this spot is definitely wrong.

But IF the casque is really at the southern tip of the island...
- This explains why there wasn't any clue about "O" for "west" (because the compass rose wasn't even there).
- This also explains why Preiss was so careless about the direction of the paces. Obviously we can't go 12 paces west of the stone and dig in a paved street, so the stone itself is 12 paces west of the hiding spot.

When I look at this picture I see a dark blue box (probably a tour bus) parked at the tip of the island. To the right of the bus are the steps coming down from the little hill. Above and behind the bus I see a white line that might be a sidewalk. Can you tell where the sidewalk would have been? Could it have met the road right beside the white rock? That's my main question right now.

wildshadow20@hotmail.com said

at 11:45 am on Jul 23, 2019

Hard to say. That area is all fenced up at the moment. I think they are making some excavation work right there. And it's completely different right now. No more paved road, more trees all around. IF the casket was there, its probably lost, or have been dig up. But i will go take a few more pictures. The fence is not that high and almost nobody goes at that part of the island.

Now regarding the 12 paces, the way i interpreted it is that it's 12 paces from the tree that is closest to the white rock/stone. but like you said, there are many trees... If he meant more then one tree, there would have been an s at member... There was no trees at all there in 1967. They came later, most likely a little before 1980 for the floralies... Also, what could be considered the last standing member of a forest ? A tree ? An animal ? Could it be a statue or drawing/painting representing that ?

Oregonian said

at 9:38 pm on Aug 26, 2019

Hi, folks! I don't have time to work on this at all right now, but a reader in Montreal has made an interesting suggestion. Maybe the shape formed by the man's fingers in Image 9 is actually a reference to the gigantic Alexander Calder sculpture called "L'homme" (The Man) that was built for the World's Fair in 1967. The sculpture is formed from several arches and points, similar to the way the man's fingers form arches and peaks. At the time Preiss visited in 1980 or 1981, the sculpture was still in its original position near the southern tip of Saint Helene's Island, right along the route proposed on the Verse 5 page. You can see photos of the Calder sculpture here: https://artsology.com/calder_sculpture.php

One thing that makes this seem very possible to me is that Calder welded his initials onto the sculpture to sign it and he also added the number "67" to indicate the date. The "7" has a line across it, making it match one of the sevens formed in the flower in Image 9. That seems like too much to be a coincidence. Anyway, this seems like a very strong find, so give "Marc in Montreal" the credit for it.

Freeki said

at 8:02 pm on Sep 10, 2019

I know that Dominion Square(Dorchester Square + Place du Canada) was renovated but did they really dig? its almost the same as the old square. https://imgshare.io/image/IhjRO
Ive always try to look for a spot with a connection to the Netherlands Dorchester Square has the Boer memorial but also the painting itself is from the number 1 baroque painter Rembrandt(should we need to look for buildings in that style?Those buildings are at Dorchester Square!)Also Dorchester Square is in the golden square and Place du Canada just outside.

But there is another huge connection Cornelis Lely the man who reclaimed land from the sea(Flevoland, first inhabitants 1967 and officially a township in 1 januari 1980) just like Notre Dame Island and a big part of Saint Helen's Island, he also was governor of Suriname.

Freeki said

at 7:36 pm on Oct 25, 2019

Royal Montreal Golf Club, The Club's first course was a 9-hole layout on Fletcher's Field in Mount Royal Park.

In 1878, Montreal's Crystal Palace was relocated to Fletcher's Field. The structure was destroyed by fire in July 1896. In 1879, Fletcher's Field was identified by the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain as a notable source of Hyoscyamus niger, a psychoactive plant.

Just google Hyoscyamus nige and history of golf.

Baraka said

at 5:58 pm on Jan 5, 2020

I did some exploring on my own to satisfy some photo requests as well as satisfying my curiosity. As I came back, I stumble of some aerial pictures of the southern tip of Sainte-Helene Island showing the "Place des Nations" in April 1986. " http:////depot.ville.montreal.qc.ca/vues-aeriennes-obliques-1960-1969/VM94-B261-001.tif " It sadly shows, no white rock, no compass, no stairs, i.e. none of the very interesting things that WildShadow20 found last summer.... However, I am still a believer that the casque has hidden somewhere in Parc Jean-Drapeau (Sainte-Helene and Notre-Dame Islands)

wildshadow20@hotmail.com said

at 6:32 pm on Jul 26, 2020

It's what i have been looking for, for a while now. A clear picture of the area around that time. Thanks for the info. It pretty much rules out the southern type of the island. And like you, i believe it could be buried on Notre-Dame Island. There or on Mount-Royal.

Baraka said

at 5:15 pm on Jan 11, 2021

The Montreal Secret searchers are in need of your help. We want the Montreal Park Authorities to implement a program similar to the one of the San Francisco Park Authorities in order to accept, consider and approve dig requests. There are many good solves for the Montreal's Casque that cannot be "completed" since no dig requests are even considered at this point. We need your signatures on this petition https://www.change.org/TheSecret_Allow_Dig_Request_in_Montreal as a gesture of support of the Montreal Secret searchers. Thanks in advance for your support.

John Murray said

at 7:42 pm on Jan 11, 2021

Hello Baraka I have downloaded my solution to Montreal I think you will find is fits quite well.

KJRP said

at 10:12 pm on Jan 11, 2021

Where can we find it to peruse?

Baraka said

at 11:58 pm on Jan 11, 2021

Hi John, Your solution is matching image 09 with verse 02 which is quite not classical. Verse 2 is deemed to be paired with New Orleans. But until someone finds the casque, no one can say they are right or wrong for sure. You found that there was major work done on the plaza of Place Ville-Marie in 2018, there was also extensive work done on the plaza in the late 1990s. I do agree that, if the casque was buried at the plaza, it is gone by now. However, I do believe that the Montreal Casque can be found using image 9 and verse 5 as commonly agreed upon and that it was not buried at Place Ville-Marie and it is still retrievable. In the flower, we can see the numbers 7 6 and 7. They could represent 76, 67 and 767. In 1980, if I recall correctly, the restaurant located at the top of Place Ville-Marie was named "The 767"... You have some interesting interpretation of image hints, such as the nose of the character representing the domes on the Marie-Reine Cathedral. There are some good ideas in there. I would really appreciate it if you can support my initiative and add your signature on the petition. And if after many digs, the casque is still missing, then your solution becomes more attractive.

John Murray said

at 1:17 pm on Jan 22, 2021

Hi Baraka
Are you from Montreal?
I could share more with you personally to your email if you like

John Murray said

at 5:06 pm on Jan 12, 2021

Hi Baraka, I know many feel that verse 02 should be associated to New Orleans but I was born and raised in Montreal.
Back in 1980 we had a referendum to gain sovereignty over Canada. This is why I truly feel that verse 02 should be marched with image 09.

I have also worked on image 07 with verse 05 and believe I have a solution that works quite well. I hope to attempt to dig there this year once Covid restrictions are lifted.

Limey said

at 9:58 am on Jan 8, 2023

Some observations on Image 9:
The ruffled part of the beret may be an interpretation of Rembrandt’s 1654 painting ‘Landscape with cottages’, which was stolen in the 1972 Montreal Museum of Fine Arts robbery. http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/151672875/image_9_beret_and_rembrandt.jpg
(notice the flick of hair on image 9 matches the tree in the painting).
The face is a good caricature match of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister (noted by Sabrina X, YouTube) and was on the $10 bill throughout the 1970’s/1980’s. http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/151672881/image_9_sir_john_macdonald.png
I think that the square at H7 refers to Pie-IX Boulevard which is a major road running from Laval across into Montreal. It runs straight past the Olympic Stadium (‘76’) to a major crossroads with Rue Sherbrooke E. (could be the highlighted ‘X’). Rue Sherbrooke runs south into the main areas of interest. http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/151672884/Image9_pie-IX_marked.jpg
The flower at I4 seems to contain the key dates for Montreal – ’67 (Expo 67) & ’76 (Montréal Olympics). http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/151672887/Image9_calendula.jpg
The black blocks in the ‘legeater’ square at I7 is actually an addition to the original painting and is covering a fleur de Lys (the symbol on the flag of Quebec).
I took this image from my TV during one of the Expedition Unknown “The Secret” episodes, of the original John Palencar painting. http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/151672890/image9_original.JPG

Limey said

at 9:59 am on Jan 8, 2023

The George Stephen House appears to have three image matches – legeater, fleur de Lys (on the railings) and the flower pattern (circled in this image). http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/151672893/image_9_george_stephen_house_flower.jpg
A similar pattern can be seen on the Mount Royal Chalet glass panels above the doors. http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/151672899/Mount_Royal_Chalet_Montreal.jpg
The clasped hands and the chequered sleeves are a close match to the Christ Church Cathedral (noted by a Rick Spero YouTube comment), and which is about 6 blocks from George Stephen House - especially the chequered floor inside which is the same colour as image 9 and is five squares wide (the same as each sleeve). http://thesecret.pbworks.com/w/file/151672902/image_9_clasped_hands.jpg

Limey said

at 10:11 am on Jan 8, 2023

BTW, Sabina X makes a good case for Verse 8 being the match for Image 9, especially Mitchell building, Beating of the World, Step on nature cast in copper and Woman playing harpsichord. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnA3YeHL8Ss

Fandango said

at 4:22 am on Feb 25, 2023

I think the face in the picture is a very stylised version of a formula 1 race car. The bulbous tip of the nose is the front cone. The 2 nostrils are the front wheels. The mouth is the front wing. The long bridge is showing the long central part of the car. The eyes symbolise the back wheels and the thick brow is the rear wing.

Another nod towards Villeneuve race track.

Limey said

at 8:20 am on Mar 25, 2023

It’s curious that the leg and hoof of the ‘legeater’ in image 09 is shown outside the square. I think that this is the casque location clue – the hoof is the white stone on St. Helen’s Island, the leg is the tree closest to it and the square is the square shape of The Place des Nations Expo 67 pavilion. When the stone and tree are viewed in line with each other, they look very similar to the hoof and leg in the painting. They also line up with the south west corner of The Place des Nations pavilion which I think is a possible casque site.

Percy Walters said

at 4:08 am on Jun 8, 2023

I think this one might be pretty easy compared to most but I could be wrong on that assessment, I think the ask for permission to dig part has thrown a lot of people off. I don't see anything different from a park in Montreal than to the other locations.

KJRP said

at 11:20 pm on Mar 3, 2024

Some food for thought: https://youtu.be/k-CHu44IhJQ

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