Jump to content

The Secret (treasure hunt)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cover of 1982 book The Secret

The Secret is a treasure hunt created by Byron Preiss. The hunt involves a search for twelve treasure boxes, the clues to which were provided in a book written by Preiss in 1982, also called The Secret. These boxes were buried at secret locations in cities across the United States and Canada that symbolically represent events and peoples that played significant roles in North American history. Anyone who uncovered one of the treasure boxes was entitled to exchange it with Preiss for a precious gem; after Preiss died in 2005, his estate assumed the responsibility of honoring the terms of the treasure hunt. As of 2024, only three of the twelve boxes have been found. Preiss kept no record of the treasure boxes' exact locations before his death, leaving it a possibility that the remaining boxes may never be recovered.


Clues for where the treasures were buried are provided in a puzzle book named The Secret produced by Byron Preiss and first published by Bantam in 1982.[1] The book was authored by Sean Kelly and Ted Mann and illustrated by John Jude Palencar, John Pierard, and Overton Loyd; JoEllen Trilling, Ben Asen, and Alex Jay also contributed to the book.[2] A Japanese version was published in 1983, and the English version was re-issued in 2014.[1] The book contains 12 images and 12 verses; an image must be linked to a verse, with the information they contain used to locate a buried "treasure casque".[3]

The Secret book variants
Year ISBN Language Format Publisher
1982 ISBN 0-553-01408-0 English Paperback Bantam
1983 0276-831122-7339 Japanese Paperback Futami-shobo
2014 ISBN 978-1-59687-444-2 English Hardcover ibooks.com
ISBN 978-1-59687-401-5 Paperback

Treasure boxes[edit]

As of 2024, three of the treasure boxes have been recovered.[4][5] The first was found in Chicago, Illinois; the second in Cleveland, Ohio; and the most recent treasure box was found in Boston, Massachusetts.[5] The remaining nine treasure boxes have not yet been recovered.[4] The Boston treasure box's recovery was filmed for Discovery Channel's television show Expedition Unknown and aired on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, a recovery which only occurred due to the puzzle being featured in two previous episodes of the series.[6][7][8]

Over time, some of the cached casques may have been destroyed, or been built over, as was happening with the Boston casque, which was buried in Langone Park, in Boston’s North End which was undergoing renovation, resulting in the casque being dug up in an excavator. Clues would no longer match in cases where the surrounding area has changed since the book was originally published.[8]

Note: This table is the consensus from the majority of searchers.

Image No.[9] Verse No.[9] Verse opening Status Location (solved, or likely) Ref.
1 7 At stone wall's door Unsolved San Francisco, California [10][11]
2 6 Of all the romance retold Unsolved Charleston, South Carolina [12]
3 11 Pass two friends of octave Unsolved Elizabethan Garden, Roanoke Island, North Carolina [13]
4 4 Beneath two countries Solved (2004) Greek Garden, Cleveland, Ohio [14][15]
5 12 Where M and B are set in stone Solved (1983) Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois [16][17]
6 9 The first chapter Unsolved St. Augustine, Florida
8 1 Fortress north Unsolved Hermann Park, Houston, Texas [18][19]
10 8 View the three stories of Mitchell Unsolved Milwaukee, Wisconsin [20]
9 5 Lane Unsolved Montreal
7 2 At the place where jewels abound Unsolved French Quarter/Lafayette, New Orleans, Louisiana
11 3 If Thucydides is North of Xenophon Solved (2019) Puopolo Field, Boston, Massachusetts [5][21]
12 10 In the shadow Of the grey giant Unsolved Queens/Coney, New York, New York [22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Book Variants". 12treasures.com. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  2. ^ "The History Behind 'The Secret'". Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  3. ^ The Secret (1982), pp. 7–8
  4. ^ a b "Shhh! The Secret Podcast". 12treasures.com. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Baker, Billy (October 25, 2019). "Hidden treasure, a family's quest, and 'The Secret'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "EPIC SEASON FINALE OF DISCOVERY CHANNEL'S 'EXPEDITION UNKNOWN' STARRING JOSH GATES UNCOVERS FAMED HIDDEN TREASURE". discovery.com (Press release). October 28, 2019. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "Expedition Unknown: 'The Secret' Treasure Found in Boston". Discovery Com. Retrieved 2020-03-24.
  8. ^ a b "The Secret Solved". Expedition: Unknown. 2019.
  9. ^ a b "The Secret (a treasure hunt)". Retrieved November 9, 2019 – via pbworks.com.
  10. ^ Walker, Wilson (March 4, 2019). "Treasure Hunters May Be Closing In On Prize In Golden Gate Park". KPIX-TV. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  11. ^ Parks, Shoshi (September 20, 2019). "S.F. Marks the Spot for Buried Treasure". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved November 10, 2019. A fantasy author's 37-year-old cache may soon be unearthed in one of the city's 220 parks. But which one?
  12. ^ Behre, Robert (April 22, 2019). "Discovery Channel team to dig up Charleston's White Point Garden in search of buried key". The Post and Courier. San Francisco, California. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  13. ^ Kile, Jenny (June 9, 2019). "In Search of the Roanoke Island Casque of The Secret Armchair Treasure Hunt: Six Questions with Dustin and Deidra White". Mysterious Writings. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  14. ^ Firschein, Merry (July 18, 2004). "Treasure hunter strikes pay dirt". The Record. Bergen County, New Jersey. p. 1. Retrieved November 9, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Firschein, Merry (July 18, 2004). "Treasure: A 22-year quest ends in a park in Cleveland". The Record. Bergen County, New Jersey. p. 12. Retrieved November 9, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  16. ^ Swartz, Tracy (January 17, 2018). "Travel Channel show revisits '80s treasure find in Grant Park". Chicago Tribune. pp. 1–3. Retrieved November 10, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "The Secret of Byron Preiss: How they found the Chicago key". Retrieved November 9, 2019 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ Brasted, Chelsea (April 9, 2019). "There's a secret treasure in New Orleans. We may have found it". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved November 11, 2019 – via nola.com.
  19. ^ Truong, Thanh (May 18, 2018). "The Secret: There's a treasure buried in New Orleans". WWL-TV. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "Milwaukee Solve". Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  21. ^ Conti, Matt (October 30, 2019). "Treasure Hunt Leads to North End Baseball Field". North End Waterfront. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  22. ^ Kile, Jenny (April 18, 2019). "Six Questions with James Renner: In Search for the New York City Casque of The Secret (A Treasure Hunt)". Mysterious Writings. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]