‘The Secret’ is coming to Lancaster County

The Secret

In 1982, Byron Preiss created a treasure hunt called The Secret when he hid twelve “treasure casques” in twelve different North American cities. Preiss then encoded their locations in his puzzle book of the same name, which contained 12 verses and 12 full-color illustrations by fantasy artist John Jude Palencar.

Book cover to The Secret.

Prospective fortunate hunters needed to link a drawing with the correct poem as the combined pair unlocked the treasure’s hiding spot. Shown below is Image 5, matched with Verse 12, revealing Chicago’s treasure location. It was found in 1983 by three Dungeons & Dragons playing teenagers.

Image 5 and Verse 12 from The Secret.

The contest looked simple easy but turned out to be fiendishly difficult in real life as only three have been found so far—the most recent at Boston in 2019.

The Spirit of Adventure

In the spirit of Preiss’s The Secret, Uncharted Lancaster, in partnership with the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County, is excited to announce a similar treasure hunt.

Concealed inside the unblinking eye
there the great treasure lie.

Aided with a five stanza poem and beautiful painting by local artist Scott Cantrell, you will be exploring historic and architecturally significant Lancaster County locations over a six week period. Those able to complete the quest unlock the resting place of a cache that redeems for an 18-pound loot crate filled with over a thousand dollars in $1 coins.

In addition to walking away with a cash-filled loot box, the winner goes home with Cantrell’s painting valued at around $2,000. That means the entire treasure hoard has a value of over $3,000!

Sorry, but this is not the actual decoder paper.

Stay tuned for details on how to play. The hunt begins March 20, 2021.

Never miss a treasure hunting update or clue by signing up below or following Uncharted Lancaster on Facebook.

Yep, that’s a loot crate with OVER a thousand dollars in $1 coins!

Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County

The Trust was established in 1966 to help “stem the rapid destruction of historic properties in Lancaster County.” Through the years, the Trust has been active in preserving many historic properties in Lancaster County that contribute to their respective communities as unique places for people to live, work, and play.

Their equation for success has been working for over 50 years. Look around you and know that our advocacy and direct action have resulted in saving hundreds of historic structures and other sites throughout the county. The flip side is that not everything can and should be saved. The Trust continually faces this delicate balance and works closely with all parties involved to reach an equitable decision for all. Sadly, it sometimes takes an irreplaceable loss to a community before preservation moves higher on the priority list.

Follow the Trust on Facebook for more architectural information and history from all over Lancaster County. Learn more at their website, or better yet, consider becoming a member of the Trust today. 

Scott Cantrell

Scott Cantrell is a working artist and teacher at Lampeter-Strasburg High School.

Snapshot of Cantrell’s studio.

He works mostly with traditional art materials such as pencil, paper, paint, canvas, photo, and ink, referentially commenting on the illusions created with these materials. Utilizing these common artistic tools, Cantrell attempts to provide a home for the concept of memory within a seemingly practical context. 

Yet, Cantrell is always being reminded that memory is fleeting and that it is completely individual.  Driven by the fundamental fear of forgetting, ultimately a fear of death, his work is part of a grieving process, personal and historical, seeking some kind of resolution.  

Click here to visit Cantrell’s website. You can also see his stunning work on Instagram and Facebook.

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