Mystery Fundraiser Features

Puzzles and Ciphers Hold Secret
of Hidden Gold

Have you ever dreamed of finding a sunken pirate ship full of gold doubloons and pieces-of-eight? Or of digging for buried treasure? Or possibly of catching a leprechaun and finding his pot of gold? Well, here's your chance!

PALLADIAN Interactive Theatre now offers area public service organizations the opportunity to raise funds for worthwhile causes by sponsoring a community-wide treasure hunt with Real Treasure for the lucky finder.

Would-be treasure hunters will need to solve a number of clues to find the location of the gold - including crossword puzzles, word-searches, logic puzzles, optical illusions, rebuses, codes, and cyphers. Some of the clues will be very challenging, while others will be simple enough that most anyone could solve them. (The authors recommend boning up on old issues of GAMES Magazine).

Alan Lance Andersen, director of PALLADIAN Interactive Theatre, warns that there will be a number of red herrings. "Several of the puzzles are provided simply to throw you off course. But at least one of the red herrings is, in itself, also a valuable clue. If this sounds awfully complicated -- it is!" said Andersen. "This is intended to be a sophisticated and challenging treasure hunt with prizes worth thousands of dollars."

"We have gathered treasure items from all corners of the Earth," said Andersen. We have ancient Roman coins, 700-year-old Sultans of Delhi silver coins from India, coins from sunken shipwrecks, and Catherine the Great 5-Kopeck pieces so large you better wear steel-toed shoes if you drop one on your foot. We have $5,000,000 banknotes from Hungary and Japanese occupation currency. We have gold and silver bullion coins. And for treasure chests, we have himitsu-baku Japanese puzzle boxes, log-style puzzle boxes from America, and even exotic carved puzzle boxes from Transylvania!"



Any treasure may contain items of greater or lesser value; gold coins are obviously worth more than copper pennies, but the distinction is not always so obvious. Part of the challenge is to determine which things are really valuable and which are not.

Clues to the hiding place of the treasure will be featured in a special edition newspaper, the Treasure Gazette, which will be sold at designated locations around the community. Proceeds from the sales of this newspaper will go to benefit a charity or other worthwhile cause. Additional clues to the treasure will be provided at sponsoring merchant locations, in local newspaper stories, and in subsequent publications of Treasure Gazette. PALLADIAN Interactive Theatre will continue releasing additional clues until someone finds the treasure chest.

The cost of publishing the newspaper will be paid for with advertising sold to local merchants. There will be three levels of advertising support -- 'Advertisers,' 'Sponsors,' and 'Patrons.' The latter will not only have their ads in Treasure Gazette newspaper, but will also have unique clues to display at their places of business. Treasure hunters will need to visit these merchants to take advantage of these specialized clues.

"Some people will simply enjoy working the crossword puzzles, word searches, codes, cyphers, and other puzzles or reading the stories," said Andersen. "Of course, if you are a truly dedicated treasure hunter, you are welcome to focus all your time and energy on finding the treasure."

The story line associated with the treasure is customized to the locale in which the treasure hunt is held. "In Missouri, we base the clues on legends of lost Spanish silver minds," said Andersen. "In Florida, it's pirate treasure. And in Iowa, it's the Hoofengoofers."

Never heard of Hoofengoofers? -- most people haven't. Hoofengoofers are the "little people" who inhabit the Des Moines River Valley. They are Central Iowa's answer to gnomes, leprechauns, and nisser. "Trolls are known to inhabit the hills and forests of Northeast Iowa," said Andersen. "Out here in the prairies, we have Hoofengoofers."

Legends and stories about Hoofengoofers will be included in Treasure Gazette, and the treasure hunt will be entitled "Hoard of the Hoofengoofers." The Hoofengoofer stories will also include clues to the location of the treasure.

The Hoard of the Hoofengoofers gives you the opportunity to help support a worthwhile cause while solving puzzles and clues while searching for a real treasure of substantial value.