Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Treasure: In Search of the Golden Horse

Treasure: In Search of the Golden Horse

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Treasure: In Search of the Golden Horse'
Start a new discussion about 'Treasure: In Search of the Golden Horse'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Treasure: In Search of the Golden Horse, or TISOTGH, was a treasure hunting puzzle published in 1984 by the Intravision production company. It was conceived as a story-based contest by filmmaker Sheldon Renan similar in concept to that of Kit Williams' Masquerade (book)
Masquerade (book)
Masquerade is a children’s book, written and illustrated by Kit Williams, which sparked a treasure hunt by concealing clues to the location of a jewelled golden hare, created and hidden somewhere in Britain by Williams...

. The puzzle was presented in two formats, one in an elaborate book illustrated by Jean-Francois Podevin and published by Warner Books (ISBN 0-446-38160-8), and the other as a direct-to-video motion picture filmed by Renan and starring Doryan Dean (Dory Dean) with Elisha Cook, Jr. in a supporting role. Voice-over narration was provided by actor Richard Lynch with music by composer Jesse Frederick
Jesse Frederick
Jesse Frederick is a film and television composer best known for writing and performing the themes to popular television shows such as Perfect Strangers, Full House, Family Matters, and Step By Step.-Early years:...

. The film was first aired on cable television
Cable television
Cable television is a system of providing television programs to consumers via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through coaxial cables or digital light pulses through fixed optical fibers located on the subscriber's property, much like the over-the-air method used in traditional...

 and subsequently sold on VHS
VHS
The Video Home System is a consumer-level analog recording videocassette standard developed by Victor Company of Japan ....

, Capacitance Electronic Disc, and Laserdisc
Laserdisc
LaserDisc was a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium. Initially licensed, sold, and marketed as MCA DiscoVision in North America in 1978, the technology was previously referred to interally as Optical Videodisc System, Reflective Optical Videodisc, Laser Optical...

 formats by Vestron Video
Vestron Video
Vestron Video was the main subsidiary of Vestron, Inc., a home video company based in Stamford, Connecticut that was active from 1982 to 1992. It is considered to have been a pioneer in the home video market....

.

Designed and promoted as a contest, the puzzle asked treasure seekers to solve the rebus contained within the story to find the location of a one kilogram gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 horse statuette buried on public land somewhere within the continental United States. The puzzle itself was designed by puzzlemaster Dr. Crypton (Paul Hoffman). The first person to solve the puzzle and dig up the horse before the May 26, 1989 deadline would keep the horse and an additional $ 500,000 USD locked in a safe deposit box to be opened by a key hidden within the statuette. The solution was designed to be obtainable by either reading the book or watching the video(s), as all puzzle formats were considered exclusive of each other, albeit sharing certain similarities. The rules of the contest were overseen by the independent advertising agency, D.L. Blair.

Although the promoters of the contest claimed the rebus was solvable within the allotted time frame, this did not prove to be the case. The deadline passed without solution, and the prize was later donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a 501 non-profit organization whose mission is to help children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with mentors that try to have a measurable impact on youth....

 charity. Even though the puzzle deadline had passed... neither Paul Hoffman nor the promoters of the contest publicized the actual solution. Thus, many enthusiasts continued their attempts at solving it. Seven months later, Nick Boone and Anthony Castaneda, having arrived at what is now called the "Captain Nemo" solution to the book, travelled to Tennessee Pass
Tennessee Pass (Colorado)
Tennessee Pass elevation is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States.The pass traverses the continental divide north of Leadville in a gap between the northern end of the Sawatch Range to the west and the northern end of the Mosquito Range to the east...

 in Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 and dug up a vial on National Forest Service land near the 10th Mountain Division (United States) military memorial. The vial contained a congratulatory message. To date, other visitors to the area have been unsuccessful in exhuming additional artifacts of the contest.

Based upon comments made by the promoters, rumor continues to circulate among the puzzle-solving community about a second silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 horse that was buried in conjunction with an unproduced ColecoVision
ColecoVision
The ColecoVision is Coleco Industries' second generation home video game console which was released in August 1982. The ColecoVision offered arcade-quality graphics and gaming style, and the means to expand the system's basic hardware...

 game. No supporting information has surfaced.

Controversy continues to surround the Boone/Castaneda solution, partly because several of the conclusions reached in their solution are considered to defy logic or are not clearly defined by anything within the puzzle materials. Certain comments made by the promoters referencing changes to the actual burial site during the contest's production have led many enthusiasts to believe that those changes caused the puzzle to be unsolvable, and that Boone & Castaneda were guided by the promoters and their results published in order to bring closure to the quest. Litigation by several contest participants has proven fruitless.

Although the contest is officially concluded, websites continue to appear proposing new solutions to the puzzle or its elements. To date, no complete solution has been independently verified, and the promoters maintain the "Captain Nemo" solution as the official conclusion. Several forums exist where ethusiasts continue to discuss aspects of the puzzle, the most popular one created by treasure hunter Rick Igou.

See also

  • The Clock Without a Face
    The Clock Without a Face
    The Clock Without a Face is puzzle book by Eli Horowitz and Mac Barnett with illustrations by Scott Teplin. It was published in 2010 by McSweeney's...

  • Money Hunt: The Mystery of the Missing Link
    Money Hunt: The Mystery of the Missing Link
    Money Hunt: The Mystery of the Missing Link was a 1984 contest video directed by David Hemmings and written by Gregory Ross. The video was a contest containing the clues necessary to solve a puzzle...

  • Masquerade (book)
    Masquerade (book)
    Masquerade is a children’s book, written and illustrated by Kit Williams, which sparked a treasure hunt by concealing clues to the location of a jewelled golden hare, created and hidden somewhere in Britain by Williams...

  • Paul Hoffman (science writer)

External links