By Tim Binnall
A man searching for a famed treasure thought to be hidden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park found himself the victim of a rather cruel hoax. According to a local media report, the unnamed individual had actually traveled to the city from France with the express purpose of locating a piece of an expansive treasure hunt created by author and publisher Byron Preiss back in 1982. Somewhat similar to the more famous Forrest Fenn treasure, this particular puzzle features 12 ornate boxes buried in 12 different cities throughout North America and each of these casks contains a key to a safety deposit box containing a precious jewel.
In the nearly 40 years since Preiss launched the treasure hunt with his book The Secret, only two of the boxes have been found. Nonetheless, countless people with dreams of solving the mystery and obtaining the author's hidden riches have tried to locate the casks in the various major cities where they are believed to be buried. This brings us to the unfortunate Frenchman who ventured to San Francisco last week and stunningly unearthed an ornate object which he initially suspected was one of the elusive boxes.
Alas, whatever visions he may have had for how he was going to spend his windfall soon went up in smoke when he realized that the cask contained no key. A subsequent inquiry with the family of the artist who made the box that is buried in San Francisco confirmed that the object discovered was actually a crudely-made fake. While this was, no doubt, disappointing news to the man who found the faux cask, fellow treasure hunters likely saw it as good news in that it means that the real box is still hidden somewhere in the city.