Greetings, I am writing you to confirm
that David Blaine’s puzzle is indeed
still unsolved? I assume that there is
some amount of delay between finding the
map, getting the amulet, making the contact
and verifying the solution. Can you confirm
that this process hasn’t begun?
The reason why I ask -- and I am no
crackpot! -- is that I went to the
location that I deduced from the clues
(the “easy“ way, not your way!),
saw a structure that would work remarkably
well to hide and map/treasure and that
unexpectedly fit in with another clue
in the book, but the map was conspicuously
To tell you that I am not crazy, let me
say that of the “marker” near
the stone, the last half of the digits
Of course I don’t expect any guidance.
But please let me know for sure that the
quest is still ongoing, so that I know
I am pulling my hair out for a *reason*
(and I don’t have much left!)
[Cliff: The $100,000 Challenge remains unsolved.]
I appreciate you getting back to me so speedily,
and am reassured that the quest remains
As for your “no easy way” comment,
are you contradicting Blaine in his Paula
Zahn interview? ::
ZAHN: [...] Let’s talk a little bit
about how tough it is going to be for people
to determine in this book where the clues
are and where they’re not?
DAVID BLAINE: I kind of created it, so --
with help, of course, but I created it so
that it would be very simple, if you were
to think outside of the box, or if you were
to go the typical way of solving clues,
it would be very difficult. [...]
If there is no “easy” way and
the only route is the cipher route, then
I don’t have a chance!
Am I allowed to tell you my ideas about
where the treasure is? Or, if I actually
found it, might this disqualify me?
(Just need to vent without jeopardizing
my secrecy... I feel I’m 80% of the
way there (uh huh)... )
[Cliff: I cannot confirm or deny anything about
Well, I wasn’t thinking it would be
a conversation, more like a monologue where
you say “uh huh” every so often.
But shucks, I wish my damn girlfriend was
more interested in this...
Well, I tried to keep quiet, but I find
myself composing imaginary e-mails to you
when I can’t sleep at night. Now that
is seriously deranged! Even more deranged
is that I’m contemplating taking on
a partner, and I think it’s more to
share my ideas than for any help I need...
So before splitting imaginary money, I am
starting this monologue. You are expected
not to reply to anything I say (and in fact,
I will send a couple of short e-mails to
more plainly establish that there is zero
information in your not responding!).
Read my messages, delete them, send them
automatically to junk mail, whatever. Maybe
I just need to share a wee bit to relieve
the burden and to clear my mind.
I thought there might be some little value
to you as well in seeing how one person
in particular is going about trying to solve
...if I win, I’ll be sure to take
my undeserving girlfriend to a nice place
Like a five-star hotel (for instance, The
The treasure is in New York city. Right?
The treasure is not in New York city. Right?
Sigh. Originally, I was going to take my
girlfriend to the Sherry-Netherland instead
of the Pierre. A little too obvious, perhaps,
but my rule when following the clues has
always been to side with the obvious over
Then I made things more “accurate”
and thought we should stay somewhere a little
more north (or to be more precise, 30 degrees
off of north -- did you know I have lived
in NYC almost all of my life and it is only
this challenge that made me discover that
NYCs “north” is not really north?)
All well and good. Last night I’m
lying in bed, and now that I don’t
have to compose imaginary e-mails any more,
my mind was free to roam. That damn Refrigerated
Coke stuck in my mind. It’s been in
the back of my mind for weeks, but hey,
who can determine these things?
Out of my subconscious then, I had a sense
it was in a picture. I knew which one. I
didn’t know why or where in the picture,
and I didn’t check it until a little
while ago, but there it is. Coca-Cola. Sitting
in the same chapter as the hotel me and
my girlfriend will now stay in if I win.
This really is double-edged, as now I have
to figure out why my greater accuracy led
me off the mark.
Did you know that if you rotate 1/3rd of
a circle 3 times, you end up facing where
However, let’s say I’m standing
in a spot, call it MC, and I have in my
sights another spot, call it V or shift-8.
Now let’s say I want to rotate *something*
120 degrees. There are many complications
with this. Do I:
1. Spin myself 120 degrees, and then traverse
a path to V?
2. Do I spin the map on which I am standing
120 degrees? If so, does V move too?
3. Do I pretend I am at the center of a
circle, and spin the world around *me* 120
4. Do I spin absolute north 120 degrees,
and traverse relative to this?
And then, one has to ask, if the MC where
I returned to was the same MC I first went
to. I don’t think so.
I don’t feel like plotting 30 points
on a map.
I shall try to make some educated guesses
MC also equals: church, hospital, shelter,
mission? Or anything that could be described
as a “complex”?
I began this game telling myself that if
the map/treasure was not in NYC, then I
wouldn’t care as much. So I filtered
out anything that would lead me out of NYC.
I did this consciously, as filtering things
out can be helpful.
Then at a later point, I decided it was
in CP in NYC, and filtered out pointers
outside of it.
But this makeshift map may very well point
outside of CP. I think I have to relax this
And keep my eyes open for:
a cluster of red dots 282 of something,
or something 23.5 feet off the ground 5
pieces of red cloth, 5 red flags, or 5 red
stripes 12 shotgun shells? 6 machetes, blades,
propellers, fans, or watch-hands
Sigh. Oh what a tangled web we weave, when
first we practice to retrieve!
So, good old DB decided to release a “serious
clue” today on Larry King. Wonderful...
just when I’m hot on his trail.
Preliminary thought seems to indicate that
it is a pointer to Columbus, and, therefore
CP. Is it anything more than this? I mean,
you can’t even get at the statue with
all the construction, not that one anyway.
He said the clue “puts you right there”,
so is he just trying to point to CP?
Hmm.. Simply a pointer to CP this late in
the game doesn’t seem satisfactory.
After all, it’s like it’s own
little city in there! Although I suppose
with the CP mindframe alone, some of the
other things fall into place.... Still musing
here at 4am.
Combine this with someone spinning erroneous
(I hope!) theories on the quest4treasure
board which nonetheless include the same
map I’m working with...
Looks like I may have some competition on
my tail soon.
Yikes! HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME!
It’s nice to see someone else is awake
at this hour! I’ve always been more
of an owl than a lark :)
Wait, what am I saying, I have to say “Yikes!”
(again). A response! No one can say there
was any information in that one, right?.
After all, you are likely to get a bunch
of e-mails about this new clue... I mean,
I know my e-mail was full of question marks...
I must stop that habit!
But it’s nice to know you have been
reading my e-mails, and not only in my head.
I should really go to sleep now. But I have
to work this out a tad more.
My original reasons for thinking the new
clue pointed to Columbus:
* Remove the 7s from Levi’s tattoo
= Columbus birthyear
* 10 weeks - ten weeks after Columbus sailed
on his first voyage he found land
* also 10 weeks = 70 days, and the base
of the statue is 70 feet (this one’s
a slight stretch)
* and, as usual, my CP mindframe. This seems
to have helped me *hugely*, even though
it could arguably act as a blinder.
But now a few other things have fallen into
* Your spammaps rivulet of consciousness
that I have returned to from time to time
was posted on none other than Columbus Day.
* From the dates, it looks like he reached
land exactly 10 weeks later (and not, for
instance, 6 weeks and 5 days). This is just
* Egads - he landed in Haiti!!!!!
I always wondered if the other map was significant!
As well as the text relating to it. Now
I shall have to reread it.
Okay, other people are going to be on to
this. Is this some kind of coincidence?
I start sending you e-mails about this,
and then this! I’ve had the analogy
of the map for weeks, only recently making
it more precise. I swear, if the morphic
resonance theory is true, I have to find
a way to shut my brain from propagating
I am not even going to be megalomaniacal
to suggest that my e-mails had anything
to do with DB’s new clue!
Oh wait, there I go, being megalomaniacal.
Imbuing the world with a sense of mystery
by creating a puzzle over it also seems
to be linked with emotions that a lot of
crackpots tend to feel. Go figure.
Okay, I gotta get to sleep. I think. Maybe
just a little more studying. I barely know
anything about Columbus.
P.S. I always did wonder what those 6 dots
in a circle with one displaced meant. I
still don’t know, but perhaps with
this new connection I shall figure it out.
For some reason I connected it with the
question on your spammaps rivulet about
the seven dwarves. You know, 6 there, 1
left out... Sigh. We’ll see....
Probably my last coherent thought for today...
I realize now that DB wimped out on Llarry
King. He had his clue all written down precisely,
and then he had to throw in the “and
drop the most common dice number” comment.
It took me a while to realize this, but
I think there’s a 95% probability
that the “if my tattoo is fearless”
portion of his phrase is saying the same
thing as the “drop the dice” extra
hint. So here I am trying to figure this
out, when he did this step for us! Actually
making it more confusing for the thinkers
Doesn’t he have faith in our ability?
On the other hand, maybe he shouldn’t,
as I still don’t know why not having
fear and not having 7’s are equivalent!
Sure I can come up with stretches, but now
that I realize the equivalence, I am filing
it in the back of my mind for low priority!
(and perhaps, i realize, the non-closed
circle on the map with a 7th element missing
was actually a clue for the tattoo)...
This e-mail is just the last paragraph of
a longer e-mail that I was going to send
(and may send at some point). I’ve
been saving potential e-mails as Drafts,
one so as not to inundate you, two because
I realize sometimes just the writing is
helpful, and two and a half, because I don’t
want to see DB end up on a talk show and
give out another clue relating to my thoughts
(paranoia the destroyer ;)
So I am concluding this evening with a line
of thinking that I especially like, tinged
with mystery, if not reality (at 4am, mystery
There are in fact two “amulets”
in the book. One modest one, that we see
in the Village, and one not-so-modest one,
near the very end of the entire book.
Like Indiana Jones faced with a choice of
chalices, we might do well to “choose
But wouldn’t it be interesting if
these were one and the same?
and that the actual amulet/orb/whatever
is found wherever the Village ends up being,
and that this location is “near Harmony”
in one way or another.
I still wonder about that other amulet.
I figure that, most likely, it is the “equivalent”
of the one in the village, in that the church
is meant to be “Harmony” and it
is near Harmony.
It is possible, though, that it is the “wrong”
amulet, because if you don’t rotate
properly, you end up near Carnegie Hall.
There is also a “Rose” museum
next to Carnegie Hall.
I actually got hung up here for a day or
so, even though I *knew* it was not the
proper rotation. Don’t know why I
tried the improper rotation first.
But, coincidentially enough, across the
street is a place called “The Sun Room”
(think Shine Deli -> Sun Room). You can
get coffee and there are books, mostly on
God. And, funnily enough, one of the books
on display in the window was Calvin and
Hobbes’ “There’s Treasure
Funny huh. Now that I think about it, though,
I found the rotation to be more obvious
than the scale, and you would only end up
here if you had the scale right. So this
amulet probably functions the way I stated
This would be a good point to mention the
“second” village that DB visits.
The jarring element here is “huge posters
of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio”.
In the absence of additional travel information,
I plotted a point in the same direction,
at the same distance from MC to V. I ended
up smack-dab in Lincoln Center.
Brad Pitt = orchestra pit? Leonardo DiCaprio
has movie in the back of the book, and there
is a picture of Harmony back there? ->
Posters of orchestras and harmony? Seems
a little convoluted.
Also doesn’t seem terribly important
at this juncture!
P.S. -- by which I mean pre-script, not
post-script -- I am switching back to The
Pierre. I had made a case for either hotel,
the one for the Pierre being a little more
convoluted, but now that I caught reference
to the Four Seasons directly below the picture,
that settles it! Enough about hotels!
There is something nagging me. And that
is the belief that the Final Resting Place
should be in CP. The thing which sticks
in my mind most is the final chapter.
There are numerous references on the surface
to BC in CP (not to mention the several
“Cliff” references that seem to
be turning up). But more importantly than
that is this:
I am a Square when it comes to Magic (and
not enough of a square when it comes to
math), but what more beautiful symbolic
representation of certain, um, enlightening
elements in CP than the Simeon mosaic? Pillar
-- aka Pole -- halo of Light at the top,
and it virtually screams: “construct
square(s) and get 4-digit # here”!!
And what better way to exceedingly narrow
down a location in the little city within
a city that is CP?
But unless I am missing something, and the
goal really is shift-8, then it is not to
be (although I am no master dessinateur).
One wonders then what Simeon *would* tell
me if I were as square as I should be.
I have tried many things with this chapter.
The most commendable was just taking references
to Hours, and converting them to Minutes
(a la Einstein quote). This happened to
be a Six by six Square, which excited me.
But alas, it’s construction was not
possible. Seeking a shortcut through “IV
X I” has also not proved definitive.
I am not giving up on this, but it is not
in the realm of that which I am most following
right now. I have not written about it here.
It is close to my heart still. But, one
likes all threads to be tied up in the end...
I hope this falls in the realm of not actually
giving me information, so that you can reply
The rules state:
“It is not necessary to damage or destroy
any real or personal property.”
and I don’t wish to engage in behavior
that conflicts with this.
In NYC, at the base of some trees are stones.
They are embedded in the soil, however,
sometimes they are movable, and with some
effort can be pulled out. Would you say
that this conflicts with the above official
My life would have been a lot easier if
you had just said “Conflict”!
Why didn’t you!!
Which makes me wonder... it certainly reinforces,
at least a little bit, the idea that it
might be in the ground still...
But I don’t think it is.
That pretty much sums up how I feel. I had
been planning on having my next e-mail (which
is now this one) be a heartfelt one which
ended with me getting tears in my eyes at
the sight of a basketball court. But that
was days ago, and it feels like months.
I am about to collapse. I must be a big
idiot. Those stones were harder than I thought
to come out! I got tired after 30 minutes.
Then I took a break and went to a diner
for some coffee. There, I had what I thought
was a revelation -- I had been wondering
to myself if there were anything in the
book to narrow down the location of the
stone even further -- yes, after arriving
at the shift-8, gasping at the anagram of
an number (post-Howard Hughes operation),
noting the color, after connecting shift-8’s
to trees, trees to each other, and arm gestures
together, seeing a building with the name
of a tv show featuring same arm gesture,
after looking up curiously at a watchful
eye, standing under it and wondering whether
I had an average stride.
Yes, after all this. Staring at a square
and wondering which one. And I thought I
had the answer while in the diner. The big
clue in the sky, which I thought had been
maxed out, but then I marveled at its potential
versatility and your potential genius, clues
within clues within clues within villages
within villages. The scale getting smaller
and smaller like shrunken heads.
So I looked at the clue in the sky and turned
it the most logical way. Then I flipped
a few likely stones. Then I turned it the
secondmost logical way, and did likewise.
Then I thought I should take the perspective
into account, and not just the appearance,
turned it back the logical way, and flipped
a couple more. I was about to apply this
to the secondmost logical way, when I got
the teeth-chatters, a pain in my abdominal
muscles, realized I couldn’t feel
my hands, and got tired of the dirt.
Bear in mind that I was trying to be as
inconspicuous as possible, so that all of
this took HOURS and then a few more HOURS!
Did you have to pick such a damn busy street?
Rev Mike ain’t gonna be happy with
his tree bed! But I’m sure he won’t
even notice. People barely noticed me, even
though I was a nut case, sitting on the
curb at 3 in the morning, playing in the
I must be an idiot to have misinterpreted
something so severely and at the same time
thought it was the work of a genius.
I’m not sure where I fell off the
beam. I know I must be *so* close, but all
I feel right now is the desire to sleep
for twelve hours. Maybe my stride isn’t
average. Maybe the square, the village square,
and the village don’t all compute.
Maybe that clue in the air has served its
full potential. Maybe it’s the car
grill we need to look at now after all (although
turning the picture in the secondmost logical
way seems to coincide with this).
Or maybe I’m just a moron with my
hands. I assume I would be able to tell
if the stone were a stont... I mean, I don’t
have to take a hammer to it or anything,
do I? God help me if I do.
And who the hell knows what I am looking
for anyway? I know the rules state a map,
but is that the one I have? Then it’s
an amulet, but David says it’s a ball,
an orb, a whatever-the-heck, and I’m
putting my money on the latter, since it
figures visually in the clue that I assume
is very close to the end.
You’ve done a brilliant job, by the
way (I think, after all I haven’t
figured it out. Maybe I’m just supposed
to find Juan Carlos near the Artist’s
Gate, and whisper “Dawn” in his
ear while he does a sketch of me, after
which we both go to the aquarium together
and play with yo-yos).
And after being pissed about David’s
new clue, I have to say thank you, as it
lit a fire under my ass. I could have gone
to the village a while ago, but who knows
if the rest of the revelations would have
come so quickly.
Now if I could only see the light.
...to be continued, but I’m completely
drained of any ideas right now. It’s
kind of scary, to have come so far, and
not have any idea right now what to do next.
Oh yeah, and the best part is that I even
went to mass today, for the first time in
whoknowshowlong. I could’ve saved
myself the trouble and checked the book:
“Houdin didn’t pray.”
I reread your rivulet after getting some
sleep and a clearer head. Now I get it.
At first the phrase “spurious conclusion”
bothered me. I had a flash of being on the
wrong track. Then I looked it up. Botany.
Nice. Can you PLEASE be quiet? You’re
giving away the WHOLE store! And I need
to rest, not to worry about some treasure
hunter on my tail!
Now I know my e-mail didn’t influence
you because you wrote the rivulet before
I wrote my e-mail. Nonetheless, I did make
these connections just recently. I think
I need to put my head in a stont, to keep
the thoughts to myself! Please stop post-saging
my thoughts :)
I had a new idea, about a couple of minutes
after I said I was out of ideas. After going
to bed (I do my best thinking laying down!),
I came up with something that seemed very
pretty at the time, but I decided I would
literally get sick if I went back out again.
Unfortunately, after some sleep, this idea
seems quite the opposite of pretty.
Time will tell.
(BTW, car grill as the final clue all the
way. I mean, duh, it’s got a stone
in it! And all I saw last night besides
dirt, sitting on the curb, were cars rushing
at me. And -- absolutelly best of all --
this journey for me began with a stone on
page 59 of all pages. It is only fitting,
and aesthetically beautiful, that the last
clue should involve the other image of the
But where where where? Did I miss it in
the spot I was last night? Doubtful. Maybe
my new idea points to it. I absolutely do
not have the constitution for a brute force
That is the best word to describe it. And
now I am really going to sleep for 12 hours.
I don’t know where I am going wrong.
Let me explain my original theory:
Houdin walks fifteen paces... then he fires
into the village (“square”). Although
the place of interest in the real world
is not fifteen paces from “under the
watchful eye”, it is fifteen from the
entrance. Good enough for me.
So I assumed that the thing I was looking
at on the ground was a microcosm of the
“square”, and each stone was actually
a “building” -- so, in other words,
he fired into one of the stones, and that’s
the “ball” we want to retrieve.
And then I had the idea that if the square
on the ground is really a village, then
the picture of the other village in the
book with the shift-8 might tell us the
Okay, I believe I dug up all the relevant
That was last night.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), even on
the brink of exhuastion, I took one more
walk down to the end of the block even though
it wasn’t the direction I was going
And I noticed a similar structure on the
ground sans tree.
Then after I wrote you my e-mail, I concocted
the following: I started by thinking that
it isn’t Houdin’s arms we want
to walk into, but David’s. In his
similar gesture, there is a tree falling.
I initially took this to mean that I was
in the right spot, because removing the
stones was like uprooting the tree.
But then I thought, perhaps the tree has
already fallen, i.e. it is no longer there.
(Then, in the Houdin picture, there are
really two trees, one small one to the side,
but still (apparently) on the same street.
Initially, I took this to mean that that
was the “other” shift-8, the one
you get if you don’t rotate properly,
which happens to lie along the same numbered
street but further east. I thought that
And if I drop the metaphor of the square
being the village, then really by walking
fifteen paces, Houdin *becomes* that tree
that we actually see outside the place.
Houdin becoming the tree is similar to how
the crucifix by itself now symbolizes Jesus,
and of course he bears the same hand gesture.
Anyway, Houdin does not fire on the other
guy, therefore, we are not looking for another
tree, but yet a similar structure.
Then there is the SP reference, which I
noticed doubly referenced with the entourage
signifier. Perhaps it was more important.
On the previous page, there is R,L,R,L which
definitely implies paces. 20-30 plus about
30, equals about 50-60, and it was around
54 on my legs to the new place of interest.
Sigh. Here is when my excitement was mounting.
Remember, I am convinced the final location
of the stone is presaged in the car grill
clue. So then I do some counting and I gasp.
If I were a puzzle creator, I would definitely
want to send a message to someone who had
arrived at the final resting place and about
to use the very last clue. Something that
was not possibly of value otherwise. So
you know (I hope) that I saw 38 choices
This to me is final confirmation.
Okay, now taking the grill clue: I face
oncoming traffic, as if a car’s grill
is approaching me, then I look down at the
square, with the grill superimposed in my
mind upon it. And I turn over stones.
Ha! That makes it sound so easy. Actually,
I try to kick one that I think is the most
likely, because I don’t want to draw
attention to myself. It takes about an hour
to dislodge. Turn over. Nothing.
Then my girlfriend gets off work, and I
need her to “cover me”. When she
is there, I turn over another 6 stones,
then I give up, get something to eat, go
home and that is it.
To be more precise, I turned over 3 or 4
stones in the NE corner of the square, the
most likely place facing a car grill. Then
I reasoned that perhaps, since I can’t
see an “X” after all, it must
be on the bottom of the stone, if only metaphorically,
and that I should reverse it (or if I am
“in the car” looking at the grill
superimposed on the square) and I turn over
3 stones on the NW corner of the square.
Nothing. I don’t think I did the most
northwesterly corner one, but looking at
the grill it’s hard to make a case
that it’s an absolute corner one.
And I know the grill is the wrong shape,
but I took the bottom of the ribbon or whatever
that’s on the grill to form the bottom
border, and that looks right.
Before actually turning over stones, I told
my girlfriend I was 99.9% sure that the
treasure was in that ground somewhere, and
that there was a 70% chance it would be
in one of the first two stones I turned
over! And I felt it too. So “crestfallen”
is putting it mildly.
I will try to do the other two corners.
However, I am quite sick of this, and doing
this makes me acutely uncomfortable. As
my girlfriend will tell you, I usually don’t
put things back the way I found them, and
these stones look quite a bit more “up”
than the ones around them.
I find it hard to imagine that I am doing
what was intended. Yet I find it hard to
imagine an alternative. Perhaps you assumed
anyone who got this far would take one look
at the ground, do a little thinking, and
know immediately which ONE FRIGGING STONE
the thing was under.
These types of stones seem the perfect place
to hide a hollow stone. They are removable,
yet highly unlikely to move without a purposive
force behind them.
So maybe I just don’t have the right
But at this pace, I will have to go through
a lot of uncomfortability to brute force
it. Sure I can try the other corners, that’s
only 6 more stones.......
......but I am losing my oomph.
I have become detached from the anguish!
One good result of my (temporary) detachment
is that I am not feeling anxiety about someone
else being right on my tail. I don’t
like being motivated by fear.
Right now I am considering:
1. Turning over every frigging stone, starting
with the corners. At my pace, and with my
girlfriend only available to help me every
so often, it should only take about seven
-- Again, I would expect to know the stone
if I went through the trouble to pull it
out. I’m not saying there needs to
be an “X” on the bottom, but something.
These stones were freaking heavy. I don’t
know if I twisted them every which way,
because like I said, I was very uncomfortable
-- (some woman asked us what we were doing,
and my girlfriend made up a story about
urban archaeology!) -- but I would hope
to know it offhand. Please let me know if
I should bring a hammer!
2. Look for more clues in the book. Perhaps
the rest of the numbers on the license plate
signify something. Perhaps the R,L,R,L near
SP in the book signifies something else.
3. Relax the assumption that what I’m
seeking really is in the ground there. The
coincidence of 38 makes me doubt that I
should do this though. Where else would
I have a hard time believing that after
all these cerebral flights of fancy, the
thing would resort to a brute force, physical
draining, aspect. Which is what keeps the
thought nagging in the back of my head that
maybe I missed it in a stone I already turned
over because I was rushing and I didn’t
twist it the right way, or apply pressure
in opposing directions, or some such thing
These thoughts are not pleasant.
Either I am a bumbling idiot, or one insight
away from the end. I’m siding with
the former at this point. The only thing
I know is that I REALLY, REALLY don’t
want to dig out another stone on what feels
like the busiest freaking street in NYC,
unless I know EXACTLY which stone it is!!!
I’m going to sleep I hope. Perhaps
a new day will shed new light.
(I still hate you, but now I am starting
to feel some embarassment for myself to
temper the hatred!)
At this point in my adventure is when I
began to entertain other possibilities.
I started thinking about the car aspect
of it. But only briefly. Because that’s
when you asked me to re-send you those e-mails
and I went back out into the CRUEL world!
I still wonder about that... Were you misleading
me? Were you just telling me I was in the
right place? Obviously I took it to mean
“Keep digging up stones!” and
that was (I hope) wrong...
Anyway, I’m going to take a short
break now. This is more time-consuming than
I thought it would be. You owe me dinner
or at least coffee, and the promise to answer
all my questions when this is over, whether
I am the winner or the loser...
I tried to re-send you those e-mails again,
earlier in the day, but I had no success.
Nothing to lose sleep over, right?
After I was supposedly “going to bed”
again last night, I had to look at the picture
again for a little while (I had only brought
a not-so-good photocopy to the “site”).
Yes, I noticed the vague writing in the
bulb. I had noticed it several weeks ago,
but now I was a wee bit more motivated to
know what it said.
Okay, what it *most* looked like to me was
“N39”, but I dismissed the implication
of digging in the dirt to find an unseen
Next, it looked like “N37”.
Okay, even though I said I was NOT going
back unless I was SURE, this motivated me
to skip sleep and head out into the cruel,
cruel, cruel, cruel, cruel world.
What I did:
I stood in front of the stones and faced
(New York’s) North -- i.e. my back
was to the traffic along the street. I then
began to count, starting in the upper-left-hand
corner. I count like this: “1, 2, 3...”
I learned how to do this when I was younger.
After reaching the end of that row, I continue
downward, then left, then up, so that I
have counted around the entire outer perimeter.
Then I start on the inner row along the
After the top inner row, I have two choices.
I can skip down and do the lower inner row
from left to right, or I can continue “circling”
the square, even though there are no inner
stones going down, and do the bottom row
from right to left.
That’s what came more naturally, so
the stone I land on is in the lower inner
row, to the left, one away from the very
last stone to be counted.
Double double toil and trouble...
I get the stone out. At first I get excited
because there is *some* marking on the bottom.
It ain’t an X, in fact I can’t
tell what it is. I wrap it in a plastic
bag and take it to a “secure location”,
which to me means about 50 feet down the
block, and I investigate.
Either I am a moron...
...or you have underestimated the effect
of soil, time, and weather upon the opening
...or I have the wrong stone.
Yes, I tried to stretch it. God knows it
was heavy enough to carry, maybe I should
have dropped it!
Normally, I would say I gave up too easily.
If this were the first or second stone,
I might agree with myself. But I have pulled
too many. This stone *does* look different
from the others, though, even when I put
it back in the ground.
Then I went on to the next to last stone
if you count the other way. This one was
amazingly reluctant to leave the ground.
I thought this might be it. After all, we
are “facing” the car in the picture,
and from this orientation, we are facing
the square in probably the most natural
way there is to face it (as well as facing
the traffic, though not head-on).
Out it came after much hustle and bustle.
(Actually I thought from the stone’s
visual location on the car grill, that it
should really be N38 by this counting method.
But all I had was the photocopy and the
writing is not visible in it. So I was spared
forcing my eyes to see a 38 in the bulb
until I got home, and I didn’t feel
like spending another hour turning another
stone only to feel disappointment.
I am NEVER going to try this in the daytime
again! It took me three hours to turn two
stones, I had one older lady eye me suspiciously,
and funnily enough, ran into another older
lady that I had met at mass a few days ago!
Haha! I really spun a tale to explain my
presence there. Sadly enough, my encounter
with her was the highlight of my day (she
is a very nice person).
I don’t know if I am motivated enough
to try N38. I believe a good night of sleep
won’t have me waking up again until
daylight. Gee, like a “normal”
Don’t worry, when/if I find it, it
will make up for all of this! It’s
been a great adventure, even if my fun-meter
is tipping into the negative range lately.
I really do question whether you intended
this last part to be so frustrating. I would
guess that you did not. I was probably a
few random neural firings away from moving
on to figuring out something else. (Turning
up one stone or two or three is okay, but
when you start turning up the whole square,
it does begin to feel like “damage
to property”, of which I seem to be
- surprisingly or not - very squeamish.)
Until my head stops pounding and my rest
has been reached.
Okay, I think I have let the physical nature
of this aspect of the challenge, as well
as the feeling of being so close, and especially
my anxiety and digging up stones in the
middle of a busy street, overwhelm my thinking
process that got me this far.
Sure, I came home last night and looked
at the picture. Seeing the mysterious writing
in the bulb made me not look at something
a little more clearer: the license plate.
Here we go:
4C = 4 corners = the square
1 = one side has 11 stones 8 = one side
has 8 stones 8 = one side has 8 stones*
0 = one side has 10 stones
* But one side doesn’t have 8 stones
does it? No. It has 9. But methinks very
strongly that it *should* have 8. And you
know what they say, if you want something
done right, you gotta do it yourself!
I can’t believe I’m contemplating
going out into the cold *again*! Narrowing
it down to one row is even less of a narrow-down
than I thought I had before, but it’s
the excitement of the new revelation that
My only fear at this point is that I will
not know the stone when I see it. Feeling
that I am engaging in questionable activity
by digging up these stones makes me a little
careless in my investigation when I finally
do get them out.
By my line of reasoning, I would think that
you would want an “X” on the bottom
of the stone. In case someone got to it
by accident, then there would be a chance
they would investigate it more, and then
contact you (yes you, I have no doubt who
will be answering the phone at the other
end of the line!).
I do not think I missed it with the two
stones of today. But those will be easy
to recheck. I’m betting on good old
N38. Face the car grill, face the square
- I think I was being too clever when I
faced the oncoming traffic.
Ah, what’s the worst that can happen:
I spend all night digging out nine stones,
load them into a pick-up truck, take them
home, smash them, bend them, break them,
throw them at the cat, etc.
Well, the best course of action right now
would be for me to get some sleep first,
and tackle this in the wee hours when there
are less people around.
Will this just be a repeat of excitement
followed by frustration? Time will tell...
Downward and inward.
Every now and then I would scan your old
rivulets to see if I had missed anything
before my time. I did that the other day.
I actually understand things! My favorite
is the tree with “Potato Pah-tah-toe.”
But I don’t know how I had previously
missed the June 27th one, especially as
I was on the lookout for a pic like that,
So, Simeon is telling us GPS coordinates!!
That is SO wild!! I wonder if they are the
coordinates to the final resting place,
bypassing most of the necessary connections.
If so, it must REALLY be difficult (and
massive probably - for instance, my first
thought at encountering the “IV X I”
was not that it was a shortcut, but rather
that I needed to reinterpret every “I”
in the chapter as the number 1!).
And *that’s* the goldbug reference!
I had thought it was to the “Beesop
Castle” -> Belvedere Castle.
Well, it’s nice to have that settled.
Better late than never. My only regret is
not that I had any chance at solving it,
but that if I had discovered this sooner,
I would’ve immediately let go of the
CP lamppost analogy, and been *much* more
willing to let go of the idea of the treasure
being *in* CP, and hence would have taken
my map more seriously.
Well, that’s water under the bridge.
Talk to you later, maybe. :)
Am I losing my mind?
I went back to the site. I found nothing.
I unearthed the rest of the 9 stones which
lie along the south border of the square.
No “X” and lots of solidity.
I rechecked the one I had first unearthed
this morning, the one that is “N37”,
the one with the funny markings. I could
have sworn I felt a little give at first,
but then I didn’t.
Well, what the heck, it was the best candidate
of the bunch, so I took it home!
I tried banging it a bit with a hammer and
chisel, a tiny piece broke off the side,
but I have no idea if that is normal for
this kind of brick.
My girlfriend tells me that I am going to
wake the neighbors, and - worse - she thinks
that I am losing my marbles, and I am beginning
What should I tell her?
How deliciously ambiguous! On the one hand,
you are agreeing that my marbles are gone,
on the other hand, the treasure might very
well be in the shape of a ball...
Well, here’s where it stands. I’m
going to put off hammering until tomorrow
when I awaken (assuming I don’t sleep
until Friday!) and then we shall see what
we will see.
I would have more confidence in my convictions
if I could stop seeing a grid of stones
in my field of vision! And maybe if I had
slept more since the new Blaine clue. And
maybe if I had eaten better. And maybe...
Let’s sum up the evidence for:
1. First stone I dug up after my interpretation
of N37 clue. 2. Markings, or maybe I should
say coloring, make it look different than
other stones. 3. Was along the row where
there were 9 instead of 8. 4. Is in the
general vicinity of stone on the car grill,
1. This mother-effer seems as solid as a
regular stone. 2. There’s no freaking
“X” -- couldn’t you at least
have put an “X”?
Looks like we’ll have to wait a little
while before we have our chat.
Amazingly, I think I’m going to sleep
as soundly as a stone!
Because if it’s in there, then I’ve
got it, nothing to worry about! If it isn’t,
then I don’t want to think about this
puzzle or see another stone for at least
15 hours anyway.
If you know that it’s in there, and
you are feeling _frustration_ that I am
going to wait until tomorrow to hammer,
then I am SOOO happy about that! >:->
I have awakened, and done some preliminary
Little pieces came off, but I’ve never
taken a hammer and chisel to a stone before,
so I don’t know if that’s normal.
The Michelangelo quote comes to mind...
Now what’s with this rivulet? Is it
me or have I read this exact same thing
The only good thing is that I can actually,
for the first time, interact with a stone
without *worrying*. Hey, at worst, I only
have to retrieve 9 different stones and
play with them all. Actually, this sounds
like a nightmare.
I still am not thinking properly. The reason,
I think, is that I am not having fun anymore.
Indeed, I feel like crying.
I look back at the November 7th rivulet.
It reminds me of what I think is supposed
to happen with the stone, and there is a
vampire reference there too...
Are you telling me to drive a stake through
this frigging thing?
I know, I’m stretching it. I have
to laugh. I’m becoming a nutso.
Helen of Troy... Trojan Horse... something
hidden inside something...
And is it me, or is there a symbol in the
sky in yesterday’s rivulet? One that
looks like DB has on his forearm before
I wish I could read what it says after “Look
Okay, I can’t do this right now. I
haven’t slept enough. I’m going
back to bed.
Hatefully yours, T
Venom spew: If this is the stone, or even
if one of the other 8 are the stone, then
you guys did TOO good a job. I mean, really,
who’s going to go digging stones out
of that thing by *accident*? You could have
and should have made it more identifiable
Lestat says: “Still whining, Louis?”
I hate to disappoint you or myself at this
I know my mental state could use some sleep
My girlfriend is not helping.
Okay. A little ordering here.
What I believe I am right about:
1. That this square is the place referred
to by the pic. 2. That the license plate
tells me the stone I want is part of the
side with 9 stones.
What I might be wrong about:
1. That the bulb says “N37”, or
that I am interpreting this (counting) correctly.
I can even make myself see things such as
“W29” in the picture. My eyez
iz going crazy! 2. That I would be able
to tell the correct stone from a brief visual
and tactile inspection.
I also don’t know how accurate the
actual positioning of the stone in the picture
is. Am I supposed to be able to deduce which
direction the car is heading from the sunlight
I look at the rivulet image. Obviously,
one head is popping out above the others.
There are 8 of them, probably because I
took one already.
Obviously the picture had jumped out at
me even with the vampire rivulet.
But I thought it had to be more complicated.
Why am I dismissing the obvious this late
in the game?
I have to say, I feel a little embarassed.
You are seeing all my bumbling foolishness,
whereas before I only shared after connections
snapped into place.
Okay, but who cares.
The most obvious interpretation is that
if I face north, it is the center stone
of the southern outer border.
(Then I try to make it more complicated.
The most likely location of a missing face
in your pic is in the middle on the right.
If that is supposed to represent the stone
I took, then blah blah blah...)
Now I read tomorrow today. 2nd dot = pillar
Okay, this could be confirmation of the
above, because it is the second stone in
the group of 9, but only if you face south!
So the above could also mean that I have
the right stone, which would be number 2
if you face north.
And the vampire analogy could very well
have meant to keep chiseling away.
But I don’t think so.
But here is my main problem:
If it is that center one, then it really
doesn’t match up with the stone in
the grill, nor with anything near “N37”.
Depending how you count, it could be “N17”
or perhaps “W26”. It’s hard
to make a case for either of these being
in the bulb. Unless I am misinterpreting
how to *use* the bulb. Sigh...
Okay, clickety-click: “bread without
any ingredients” is in fact two dots
away from pillar->ball. Also, this is
the longest sentence of the bunch, standing
out in that way.
This would correspond to the picture if
we start at the bottom, from left to right,
and then go up, so counter-clockwise. Why
it should be this way, though, I don’t
Also N17 <- first commandment, seventh
But I can’t lie to my eyes - no way
that pic says 17.
My other problem is that this center stone
is not “two away” from the one
pillar->ball 300 700 = 37 bread without
ingredients. Amend: 1 7
It’s clicking with about 70% certainty.
If it were 100 or 90% I would go out right
now. But as it is, I will wait until tonight.
Will this be the final ascent out of despair?
Time will tell...
I just realized how much easier, less uncomfortable,
this would have been if I had a car! Just
park right alongside there, dig up a stone,
take it into the privacy of my car. Repeat.
I have had quite enough! Perhaps the sense
of being so close, with the possibility
of literally being physically one stone
away from the treasure, has overwhelmed
I now have in my possession “N17”.
To be more precise, I have the center stone
from the southern outer perimeter.
Cursory inspection at the sight proved disappointing,
but I took it home anyway.
I got a little more excited on the train.
I had the following thoughts:
The official rules state we are looking
for a map. The one that potentially comes
to mind is the paper in Dali’s painting,
at the top of the cross. For a while, I
had speculated that the map was towards
the top of something, maybe a tree or a
And I always thought “stont” might
mean “stone T”.
So I realized if you superimposed a cross
on the grid, with the top at the south,
then N17 would be the very top of it.
(Not to mention the following crazy idea
- I always thought the sun was going to
play some role in finding the treasure.
A la Indiana Jones. You have had images
of the sun on your site. DB talks about
how every one should get the chance to watch
the cycles of the sun. Not to mention the
Tarquo pic which has never figured definitively
into any of my connections. Even the rivulet
where you talk about Indy has you in sunglasses.
Now that I think about it, you had the sun
*and* something that reminded me of the
tattoo in your “Open” rivulet.
Fanciful thought - the sun hits the cross
on top of the church and projects a shadow
of a cross onto the stone grid. And then
you take the top of that cross.)
In any case, I now have two stones. I hit
the N17 stone with my makeshift chisel.
Some pieces broke off, but this thing seems
as solid as a stone. Go figure.
Do you have any words of encouragement?
Perhaps I have stepped into a parallel universe
where no treasure was hidden. Well, the
joke’s on me.
In between the two sites, before I found
the second site, I had gotten frustrated
and starting turning to the book and having
some fanciful thoughts, some old, some new.
Then I made the connections to the second
site, went digging, and got frustrated again.
I thought I would continue to ground
myself in a little more hard, cold reality
- those horrible stones.
Now I am ready to give up on those stones.
At least for a few days. Sure, I can brute
force them. But I am going to entertain
my speculations first, because that is far
This will lend itself to peaceful rest.
But it will also lend itself to what I do
best - have flights of fancy and then try
to ground them in actual clues.
That is what I am beginning to do now. Reawakening
some past ideas that I had, and ones that
I was beginning to have a couple of days
They involve the sun.
I always thought that if I ever had to meet
someone as part of this treasure hunt (another
flight of fancy) and they asked for a password,
the first one I would try would be “Dawn”.
And I am starting to think that dawn is
very important indeed. But not as a password.
(Ah, it feels so good to do this after all
that frustration. I don’t care if
nothing comes of it. *This* is what is really
Okay, let’s make some connections
here. Now in the back of my mind, I realize
that all of these connections might very
well lead me to the same stone that I have
in my possession. If that’s the case,
then so be it. I value the experience. And
anyway, I will be much more motivated to
bang the crap out of it if that is the case.
I don’t remember exactly when I got
the Indiana Jones idea. But I do remember
saying to my girlfriend, maybe 4 weeks ago,
“Honey, I think I might have to go
to CP at dawn and watch the sun hit Balto’s
I am believing in the sun again now (though
But to get me anywhere at dawn would require
far more than a simple speculation as that.
We have the Tarquo picture, which seems
important as hell. He is standing by “Shine
Deli”, which to me is a clue about
what he is pointing at -- not his watch,
but at the sunlight reflecting off of it.
Then we flip the page and we see how the
sun has formed a ghost image of the dog’s
Now where have I seen a ghost image like
that? Yep, the picture of the car -->
We can conclude that there is a connection
then to this last (or near last) clue.
Let’s see what else we got.
The shadow puppets.
The vertigo chapter, and how DB hopes that
we all have an opportunity to watch the
sun come up and go down. I always thought
he was trying to tell us something important
In between my investigation of the two different
“square” sites, I briefly turned
to the “premature burial” chapter
because I don’t think I had used anything
from that chapter in my adventure yet. Now,
after seeing stones on the ground like that
at the sites, the close-up of David’s
burial site, with those tile-like stones
around me reminded me of that.
-> i.e. connection to final site.
What else do we see in this chapter, that
could possibly involve the sun? Absolutely:
the shadow of the cross. Combine this with
an image of what could be a map at the top
of a cross, and this becomes very significant.
Let’s turn to some of your past rivulets
June 15 - the aforementioned Indy one. I
have already noted the sunglasses. Now I
will quote: “...somewhat dim, and he
always saves the day.”
Sounds like a description of dawn to me,
October 31 - quote: “...lured to stay
the night for the promise of money.”
Right about now, the doubts in my mind about
this fanciful idea are diminishing.
My initial conclusion right now, and I will
have more speculations to follow, is that
I should go and stand in front of that stone
grid while the sun is coming up.
But I want to flesh it out more, and I am
certainly going nowhere this coming morning!
I am going to sleep on this, and feel refreshed
in the morning.
(Just when you think you’re done with
something, it starts to get even more interesting!)
I have already mentioned the sun in your
“Open” rivulet. It’s funny,
I always wondered if that little shadow
in front of the tattoo was just an accident.
Clever, you put in a way to symbolically
refer to it.
And now I think I understand the references
What hurts vampires? Well, two things: a
cross, and the sunlight.
October 8 - quote: “the SLEEP key,
the WAKE UP key, and the POWER key.”
What is the common connector here? The sun.
Picture of a shadow being cast on stones
Ha! Any doubt is getting *very* very small
(And another rivulet that I remember off-hand,
about a “sun map as large as a card
(Side thought: I hope the idea won’t
eventually be to dig in the ground *underneath*
the stone I have, because this ground is
Well, it’s been very interesting.
I find myself going to bed at a regular
I will probably sleep way past Dawn, but
who knows, maybe I’ll wake up at 4
in the morning feeling refreshed (highly
As it stands, here are my probability estimates:
68% - that the whole sun idea will lead
to the same stone I have in my possession.
So I will bang it some more in the morning.
But I have a growing hatred of stones at
5% - that I will have to use a mirror in
conjunction with these ideas.
27% - that there is some other, as yet unknown,
path that this leads to.
Lestat says (something like): “I’m
beginning to feel like my old self again.
There’s some life in these hands yet.”
Guess what? I’m having trouble sleeping.
A little thought yields the following:
Throw out the mirror idea. Nothing warrants
it. Reduce the probability that there is
a further path to 0%. I can’t see
how or why a shadow would lead to that.
So we are left with the shadow itself.
The top of the cross is the point we are
Given the location of the cross relative
to the rising sun, there is only one way
the shadow of the cross can be oriented,
and that is with its top along the southern
border. And then, it’s side either
extend to the sides of the square, or go
within or beyond it, in which case a centered
cross makes the most sense anyway.
Therefore, the top of the cross can only
be the center stone along the southern border
that I brought home today.
This thing feels solved to me, Cliff. I
finally brought in the last hanging strands.
So I am just going to ask you flat out:
how the heck do I open this thing? I have
tried stretching it, twisting it, banging
it, and getting angry at it. What is going
Please. My heart is beating too fast.
I realized I may have jumped to a foolish
conclusion, but the combination of april
fool’s, hoax, and “stone”
in quotation marks made me think that the
picture of the stone and orb on your website
*were* the treasure.
I realize that isn’t necessarily so,
from your e-mail below. But please write
back to confirm this, as the emotions I
am feeling right now are strange and unpleasant!
Okay, I am catching my breath. I don’t
know why I was so quick to interpret it
in a particular way.
All of a sudden,
every stupid thing that every idiot speculated
on that it was a hoax, or that the picture
itself was the treasure, came flooding into
my mind, but more importantly my heart.
I just went from confused to absolutely
I just came back from the cruel world again.
I figured I had become so attached to assuming
it was one of stones on the surface of the
tree bed, that I had not explored the ground
underneath. This was because of some comments
that DB had made about the stone and that
no digging was necessary.
But, I reasoned, the final connection came
from the chapter called the premature *burial*,
so I decided to go out again, and dig into
the ground underneath N17.
I got about 7 inches below the curb, which
I consider a lot for digging into a NYC
sidewalk! I mean, it began to feel like
I was doing something bad to the property
- if a cop had come by, he probably would
have stopped me.
So now I am at a loss. The puzzle feels
solved, the book feels closed. I have absolutely
no more ideas. Trying to come up with anything
else would feel contrived and artificial.
Yet I have nothing to show for the work
I have done so far.
Then I come home, and read your new stuff,
and I am more bewildered than ever...
I was hoping I would wake up today and feel
less that I have stepped into the twilight
In my fragile emotional state, all the new
stuff on your website has me reeling, emotionally
I am having the sinking feeling of being
But I just can’t believe that. I *know*
that those were clues leading to that location.
If they were all for a treasure that was
never hidden based on those clues, I am
absolutely stunned, and sunk.