I met with Eric and Rob, in Chicago, in 2014. Along for the adventure was my friend, Charles Moore (who was with me back in 2005, when we knocked on J.D. Salinger's door). After we poked around Grant Park, Eric and Rob took us to Milwaukee in search of another key.
This is a clip from an early cut of our documentary, The Secret of Byron Preiss.
Somewhere out there, right this minute, in some dark corner of a public park within the borders of the contiguous United States and Canada, are 10 ceramic keys that were buried in 1982. Each key, when found, can be turned in for a real gemstone worth about $1,000. The clues to finding the keys are hidden in the details of 12 paintings and 12 verses that appear inside an old book, The Secret: A Treasure Hunt. Do you have what it takes to find one?
I was eight years old when I found a copy of The Secret: A Treasure Hunt at the Bedford library, outside Cleveland. This would have been in 1986, in the dark days before the Internet, when it was impossible to simply Google the book to see if the keys had been found. I figured they'd all been dug up, already - or would, before I turned 16 and could drive off in search of them, myself. And so I forgot about it for many years.
Flash forward to 2014. I was working as a crime writer, finishing up research for a book called True Crime Addict, about my obsession trying to solve the Maura Murray case. I desperately wanted to leave true crime behind forever and so I began looking for an unsolved mystery that might be fun to explore for once. Maybe even something I could share with my son. And then I remembered the book I found when I was his age.
I learned that the hunt was still on! In fact, only two of the keys had ever been found. The only person who knew the exact location of the buried keys was Byron Preiss, who died in a tragic car accident, in 2005.
Since then, I've traveled across the country in search of these damned keys. I've dug holes beside the Fountain of Youth, poked around the lost colony of Roanoke, explored San Francisco and Milwaukee, and got lost on Staten Island. I've also gotten to know some of the people close to Byron - the artist, John Jude Palencar, for one - as well as Byron's family. Learning about Byron's legacy has made me a better father. And the adventure has opened my eyes to great, beautiful world around us.
I have much to share with you, in 2017. I have completed a documentary, The Secret of Byron Preiss, with Low Spark Films, which we will submit to festivals later this year. And there are plans for a sequel to Byron's book, as well.
Check out the trailer!
For now, I wanted to share the basics with you. On this site you can explore the puzzle paintings and verses. You can also learn about the history of the book and find links to messageboards devoted to theories about where the keys might be found. The book is available in Kindle format as well.
Feel free to share your own theories in the comments sections.
If you have a possible solution you would like to share with the community, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can Skype about it.
In the coming weeks, I will post interviews and clips that will shed more light on the story and reveal new clues that lead to the locations of the buried treasures.
For those who have obsessed over this book for years, we look to you for guidance and help. Please remember, this website is a fresh start for people new to this mystery, so be kind when we throw out some bone-headed new theories.