Help me find a book on fictional folk, with a super secret prize!
August 18, 2007 9:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to recall a (likely) out-of-print book. It was released in the eighties (or perhaps very early nineties). It was largely a comedic/humorous encyclopedia of various forms of fictional characters (fairies, dwarves, elves, etc). But... with a twist

Apparently along with the book came a contest, in which some sort of secret treasure is/was buried someplace on the Earth's surface. If you correctly decrypted the clues scattered throughout the book, you would uncover the treasure, which, I believe at the time, was some flavor of cash prize.

I'm sorry I can offer nothing else. I stumbled upon the book in a cabin during a family trip somewhere in Mississippi, around 1993. At that time, the contest was over, I'm just curious as to what happened with that little book, and if there was ever a winner.
posted by The Giant Squid to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Is it in this list?
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:47 PM on August 18, 2007

posted by LobsterMitten at 9:49 PM on August 18, 2007

Best answer: Oh, yay, someone asked about this book! Okay, let me find it.


Okay, it's called "The Secret: A Treasure Hunt." Here's the cover.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 10:08 PM on August 18, 2007

Huh, can't find a place on the Web with much info about it. Oddly enough, apparently the puzzle hasn't been solved yet.

Well, for the curious, the book is mostly an odd sort of humor book about goblins and fairies and the like, only the conceit is that they came over to the New World and changed. The new versions of the beasties are generally puns on the old name and jokes about modern life circa 1982, such as "Elf Alpha," a health-food nut, and the Geodesic Gnome. These are accompanied by some very nice art -- some airbrushed, some pen and ink, and some neat little soft sculptures of the creatures in question, set into their native habitat and photographed.

The puzzle part really isn't integrated with the rest, there are some color plates that are supposed to give clues to a treasure, much like Masquerade linked above. I'd love to know the story behind this book, I suspect it was two projects squished together in the name of marketing.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 10:16 PM on August 18, 2007

Okay, one more little bit before I go to bed. Here's an image for an actual entry to give you an idea what I'm talking about, and I suppose to help the poster be sure it's the same book.

I guess I'm a little thrilled about this, because I've been hanging onto this book for years, reading it every once in a while, and allowing it to survive every book purge. So I'm just glad that I've somehow justified keeping the poor tattered thing so long.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 10:25 PM on August 18, 2007

Response by poster: Welp, it's The Secret!

Armchair Treasure Hunts, eh? I've been googling based on terms like "alternate reality game", but this definitely works as well.

AskMe -always- wins. Thanks to all.
posted by The Giant Squid at 6:06 AM on August 19, 2007

Interesting story about how one of the twelve buried treasures was found by two adventurous lawyers 20 years after it was buried.

You know, someone should round this up into a FPP; I'll bet the hivemind could solve the rest of the puzzles in no time!
posted by TochterAusElysium at 9:32 AM on August 19, 2007

I don't think I will ever be able to think about anything else after seeing this.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 4:37 PM on August 19, 2007

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