When it rains, it pours.
Just last week, after lamenting the (possible) end of Forrest Fenn’s famed treasure hunt, we spread the word about a new treasure hunt based in Michigan that had emerged unexpectedly from the ongoing circumstances caused by the Coronavirus.
As it turns out, Michigan may not be the only place an intrepid treasure-seeking puzzler can look for a challenge that ends with riches.
We recently received a message about the latest cache being hidden by “the Treasure Man” H. Charles Beil, a curious figure who is supposedly hiding caches of gold, coins, crystal skulls, and other valuables all over the country.
His goal is to hide a cache in each of the fifty states, and apparently, the hunt for his fifteenth cache — the Gallows Harbor Treasure Hunt — will soon be underway.
[This chest, designed to look like the Ark of the Covenant,
is supposedly already in place, awaiting cagey solvers.]
From the message, which was structured like a press release:
H.Charles Beil has hidden a multi-million dollar treasure weighing nearly a half ton in the Appalachian Mountains.
The treasure consists of six large brass chests, crystal skull signed by actor Dan Aykroyd and six smaller chests filled with gold, silver, precious gems, coins, pewter, jewelry, historical items and custom art objects.
I went looking for more information, and was a little surprised to see mentions of H. Charles Beil confined to treasure hunting forums and other odd corners of the Internet, rather than being reported in the major news outlets, as Forrest Fenn’s hunt was.
That’s especially curious if five of the caches have been found. How were none of them reported in online news sources? (At least, as far as I could tell.)
Of course, Fenn’s treasure hunt was quiet for years before it gained mainstream press, so it’s not impossible that this has flown under the radar, just highly unlikely.
The Treasure Man caches have evocative names like The Lost Cache of Wolf Run, The Secret Lovers Lost Cache, or The Legend of Woodsy Swamp, and they’re often steeped in local lore. (Click here for a rundown of many of the caches.)
Although sites like GallowsHarbor.com and TheTreasureMan.com have some details, they’re more like teases — hints you’d expect in a promotional campaign — instead of fully informational sources. It appears that most of the helpful information for these hunts are tied to the Treasure Man’s Facebook Group, where many hunters post videos and information relating to their efforts to hunt down these caches.
The Gallows Harbor Treasure Hunt is apparently tied to a book that hasn’t been released yet. This does make the websites, as well as all the cloak-and-dagger elusiveness feel like a PR stunt to sell a book, rather than a puzzly adventure. But again, I have no proof one way or the other.
I wish I had more details to share with you, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers. It seems like the most useful and accessible source of information about the caches is Mysterious Writings, a website and YouTube account dedicated to treasure hunts of all sorts. You can check them out here and here.
If this is all true, then it’s a marvelous endeavor that is bringing joy and excitement to adventurous solvers all over the country. If it’s not, then it’s a fairly elaborate and well-constructed hoax that will hopefully boost some book sales for the Treasure Man.
Either way, it’s an interesting story, one that we hope sparked your imagination and your puzzly spirit.
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