Reading and researching history and its many treasures. It occurred to me the amount that have been lost. So begins the Lost Treasures series, where we look at the wonderful, thought-provoking tales of treasures that have disappeared into the annals of history.

Although not an old tale, a modern-day treasure hunt, with 9 of the original 12 items still to be found, is that of 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 represent events and people 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 honouring the terms of the treasure hunt. As of November 2021, 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.

Within the book lies 12 images, each apparently representing a group of immigrants who came to North America from some foreign country. Each image is also linked to a particular month and contains that month’s birth flower and that month’s birthstone, which is also the jewel for that casque. The text of the book includes twelve verses that describe where a casque is hidden.

Below are the images and text in their correct order.

As of 2021, three of the treasure boxes have been recovered. The first was found in Chicago, Illinois; the second in Cleveland, Ohio; and the most recent treasure box was found in Boston, Massachusetts. The remaining nine treasure boxes have not yet been recovered. The Boston treasure box’s recovery was filmed for Discovery Channel’s television show Expedition Unknown and aired on Wednesday, October 30, 2019.

The first casque was discovered in Chicago in 1983 (see newspaper article below) by Rob Wrobel, Eric Gasiorowski and David James.

The casque associated with Image 4 and Verse 4 was buried in the Greek Cultural Garden in Cleveland, Ohio by Brian Zinn and Andy Abrams 2004.

The third of the twelve casques was discovered quite publically in an episode of Expedition Unknown. Host Josh Gates and Josh Krupat, a game designer, set out to find the buried treasures from late author Byron Preiss.

Gates took on the secret of “The Secret” in an Expedition Unknown special, which spurred Krupat’s wife and two kids to join him in exploring their Boston home for the treasure they would eventually find in Langone Park in an active construction zone, thanks to “a little bit of luck” and “a little skill.”

The episode of Expedition Unknown can be watched below.

With the passage of 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 a park that 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.

Byron Preiss died in a 2005 car crash at age 52, and never disclosed the locations of the remaining casques. But 35 years later,  many forums for the discussion of the clues, and groups of searchers are still actively looking for the secrets treasures.