Treasure hunt book from the '80s

Does anyone remember an unusual book from the early '80s that essentially gave clues to finding a so-called treasure? If I remember correctly, as you read the book for clues to find something hidden in the U.S. if you followed all the clues, you would be rewarded with a cash reward. I want to say it was called “The Secret” but that may be wrong.

I also seem to remember that the author was associated with National Lampoon in with the National Lampoon in some way. I had the book long ago, but it is gone now.

It has nothing to do with the recent book called “The Secret.”

I just wonder if anyone ever solved the riddle.

Here’s a previous thread about this kind of book:

The general term for such books is “armchair treasure hunts.”

I actually remember that thread, but it doesn’t reference what I am looking for. Maybe I should have not said treasure. It was more of a riddle.

Sincere thanks.

The Secret - Here’s the cover art

Ted Mann is the National Lampoon connection.


That’s it. Thanks. It’s interesting that, apparently, a lot of the prizes are still out there

Publisher Byron Preiss also wrote the comic strip One-Year Affair for Lampoon.

The original from the 80’s the started the craze is Masquerade. I heard about it when it was featured in an article for Games magazine.

Although the original gem prizes are no longer available, 10 of the “casques” (ceramic boxes) are still out there. Finding someone willing to try digging them up is almost as difficult as locating them. If there’s anyone in: New York, New Orleans, Roanoke, San Fransisco, Charleston, Milwaukee, Montreal, St Augustine or Houston that wants to try digging a 3ft hole, let me know and I’ll give you some theories on where to put your shovel…:wink:

I’ve put a bunch of possible “solution” sheets together like this one…)

This reminded me of another similar gimmick used to advertise Canadian Club whiskey. Where else would it lead me but : In those old Canadian Club ads, did anyone find the hidden cases of whiskey? - The Straight Dope ?

I grew up in Charleston SC - I still go back pretty regularly. I even read that book in the 90s, but always thought that all of the goodies had been cleared out long before then.

Weird that some are still out there, and even in places I might be familiar with!

Here are some ideas on Charleston…

(I’ve since discovered that the white object I mention is this memorial.)

…and here’s an old article about the last time one of these things turned up…

The guy who found it still visits the Quest4Treasure forum occasionally and posted this memoir about a week ago.

"When Siskel and I finally met BP, he ended up taking us to the bank vault in NYC where the jewels were kept. He also said the solutions to the puzzle were in the same drawer. I got the impression that he was very similar to the “absent-minded professor.” Don’t forget, it took him about a year to find the key to the vault. Siskel and I stood outside the private room as BP sifted through the drawer which he had not looked through in about 24 years. One thing he found were savings bonds totalling $25,000 which he had forgotten about. You would think that since Siskel and I were responsible for him finding those bonds, that he would have treated us to lunch at least, but no such luck.

So, each jewel was individually wrapped in white tissue paper. He apparently looked through them all, and gave me what he said was “the only blue one here,” which turned out to be the sapphire. I was too excited at the time to notice the mistake, and I have no idea why it would be the only blue one. It was a little dark in the vault, so he could have just thought the aquamarine was grey or some other color, or he could have missed it entirely. I did not get to see the open drawer. He also said that there were no solutions in the drawer, and made the comment, “they must be in closet at home I guess,” or something like that.

It was not until I took the jewel to a jeweler that I was told it was a sapphire. I put it in a setting, as you can see above. BP was later killed in a tragic car accident a short time later. I wrote to his widow about the solutions possibly being at their home, but she said she looked and could not find any. I have no idea what happened to the jewels. Perhaps they are still there, if no one knew what the key was for.

I went to St. Augustine a few years ago, but found nothing. Siskel went to Nag’s Head, North Carolina, with me on the telephone, and he found nothing. But the search goes on, because it is so much fun to do."

The puzzle basically consists of twelve images:

…and twelve verses…

The idea was to match an image to a verse and use that pair to find a casque. The casque (a ceramic box made by New York sculptress JoEllen Trilling) held a key which could be redeemed for a gem. But Byron was killed in a car accident, and 10 of the 12 puzzles went unsolved. The location of the 10 casques remains a mystery…