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03. Cleveland – Shhh… The Secret Podcast

by | Feb 3, 2018 | 0 comments

Episode 03 Cleveland

 

 

 

JM, George Ward, Brian Zinn, and Andy Abrams talk about the Cleveland solution

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JM
Welcome everyone to episode three of the secret podcast. It’s been a big month with a lot of publicity and a lot of new people coming into the fold, we would like to welcome all of you into the madness and best of luck. We would also like to encourage you to listen to the first two episodes of this podcast and most importantly, get a copy of the book and read it. There’s a lot of collective data out there on the hunt, and not all of it is helpful. It’s important that you read the book and understand how the hunt works, how the clues work, and decide for yourself how much of the online information you want to believe. There are several sites out there and they all have information and theories on them. But the only sure answer is to dig up a cask. And I guarantee you that if anyone online had a short answer, they would have dug up a cast by now, the best thing that you can do if you aren’t in a city with a cast buried in it is to read the book and examine the puzzles, all of them, not just the one closest to you. Figure out the methods BP uses to give clues and how they work by looking at the soft cities figure out the instructions on how to do the puzzle. The biggest mistake you can make is to start in the middle of the puzzle. Another thing I’d like to address is digging without permission. A member of our team was recently contacted by the Parks Department in his city asking him if he had been digging, they were very unhappy about holes being put in a park without permission. This isn’t 1984 Well, it’s more like George Orwell’s 1984. We live in a surveillance state. When you put a three foot hole in the ground in a park people are going to notice and you may get fined and ruin any chances for future people with real solutions to have a chance to recover a cask. I know you want to think that you have the whole thing solved in a day. But I’m here to tell you, you don’t digging holes without permission, claiming you found a cast with no proof and telling people that you know the solutions but refuse to discuss them is all poison for the well. And continuing behavior like this has no other aim than to ruin the hunt altogether. It would be wise not to continue with such behavior. We shouldn’t have to scold people like their 10 year olds. But if you want to act that way, it’s a climate you’re choosing to put yourself into, we can only assume that you’re trying to ruin the hunt for everyone. There are ways to get permission and to do things correctly, it would be wise to take those paths moving forward. I’m not going to tell people what to do. I’m just saying it’s not a good idea to keep this up. Because of our awesome co host George Ward, we have a Facebook site for the podcast now where you can ask questions and participate in discussions regarding the remaining casks. It’s the secret podcast on Facebook, all you have to do is search s and then three H’s, the secret podcast and you’ll find it. You can also post questions and requests for upcoming episodes there if there’s something you want to discuss, or you want to have us break down or you have a question about something posted up there. We’ll get to it on the podcast or a member of our team will answer it for you. This month, we’re talking about the second cast found the one in Cleveland. And we’re honored to have Brian’s in and Andy Abrams, the two individuals who dug up the Cleveland cask in 2004. On the show with us. You might also remember seeing them on the recent episode of Expedition unknown. And hopefully we’ll get to discuss some of that as well later on in the episode. But right now, let’s just jump into things with Cleveland and welcome Brian and Andy to the show. You guys are known for finding the cask in Cleveland in 2004. Let’s go back a little bit before that. How did you get involved with the book in the first place? When did you first find it or pick it up or learn about it?

Brian Zinn
I bought the book in a bookstore when it came out in 1982. I believe I was a freshman in college. Down in Philadelphia. I went to Penn which is coincidentally where Byron price went as well. I bought the book I love puzzles and that kind of stuff. And I got hooked and

JM
how long did you mess around with it before you put it down? Or did you ever put it down? Did you did you keep it So I’m gonna have it for the, for the entire time from the time you got it till 22,004.

Brian Zinn
I messed with it the entire time I was in college, I thought that there was a cask in Philadelphia. And I got absorbed with the picture, which coincidentally turned out to be the Cleveland picture, I got obsessed with it, I could go into all my crazy ideas that I would go into downtown Philadelphia, I would go into the pen library looking up star charts and historic things. And I would do this on a weekly basis. Then when I graduated college, I packed all my stuff away, ended up going to law school up in Boston, even though the pictures were burned in my mind, and the verses were burned in my mind. For example, if I’m walking down the street, and I see something that looks like something from the picture, I’d be looking around a little. And that’s but I didn’t open the book, I had lost track of where I had put the book, went to law school, I ended up graduating law school got a job in New Jersey, and I got married and had some kids and taking up a lot of time on the podcast, I don’t know.

JM
So a little life got in the way. And then basically you it was it when you found quest for treasure that you kind of really got into it seriously, again.

Brian Zinn
Oh, no, no, what happened was, is that a few years before, quest for treasure, even started with the secret, I had found the book we had moved, just moved into a different place in New Jersey. And I was unpacking my college stuff, my college box, and there was the book. And I picked it up and I looked through it and I just got the fever again. And I remember reading that at some point they were going to publish the solutions in a second book. So I went and looked up to see if the second book of the secret was published. And it wasn’t and there was nothing on the secret. So I tried to contact Byron price and the publishing company to find out what the solutions were. And if they ever published it, I figured that the hunt was over the solutions must have been published two years ago. And I was dying to find out where everything was.

JM
Did you write him a letter or column or Yes,

Brian Zinn
I wrote him a letter. I sent him a fax they wouldn’t respond to me.

JM
He said the man a fax. Yeah. I still save

Brian Zinn
the fact I still have it. I still have I sent him a nice letters explaining what I just explained to you, you know, where are the solutions? Didn’t get a reply. And I couldn’t get past the receptionist. You know, she just said, you know, he’ll call you back and he never did. Then I ran into end end join my law firm where I was and what year did you join? EMD? Do you remember?

Andy Abrams
And back to New Jersey in the early 2000s?

Brian Zinn
I guess. So it must have been around the year 2000 or 2001. When Andy shows up and Andy is very good at talking himself into and out of many things. I basically, I basically showed him the book tried to explain it. I take it that’s the first time Andy had ever seen or heard of the secret. He says, give me the book. We’re gonna call buyer and price after I explained it all. Well,

Andy Abrams
well, hold on that wasn’t you this was over a period of months. Because first you came into my office and you have to stand that Brian was kind of known at the law firm, for being a master waster of time we had to bill at the firm. And he was constantly going through diversions and puzzles and video games and things I had. And it was a black hole time suck if you went into his office and and I was totally victim to that. So he walks into my office one day a said tell me about this thing you did college and how you remember this, Brian, you you would go out. If you went out at midnight on a certain night on a certain day of the month and you stood at a certain place, he would see something and I just looked at Yeah. And like he was out of his mind. I’m thinking that’s what you did in college. So the first couple times through, I was sort of impenetrable in terms of being sucked in because I knew if I did, but I don’t think I ever ever anticipated. I’d be talking about it 17 years later, but the first few times I kind of dismissed him out of hand. Then he came to my office one day and you can take it from there, Brian.

Brian Zinn
Well, I got into other things too, like playing Zork online and

Andy Abrams
he enrich My life measure.

JM
Alright, so Andy’s the charmer finds a way to get a hold of BP. He

Brian Zinn
says, Alright, we’ll try and call so get on the phone with the receptionist and he just says Byron price, please. And she says, Hold on, ah. Environment price gets on the phone. And Andy hands me the phone

JM
like that seat for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Hands on the phone, talk to Rudy. All right. So you talk to him. And he says, according to the art, I’ll just paraphrase so we can move along a little bit. So he says to you, as far as I’m concerned, the game is still on. And that’s what gets you kind of excited about trying to find a cask for yourself at that point.

Brian Zinn
Absolutely. And also, at that time, we had the internet, it was a little bit primitive, but it was still there. So I started searching for things. And lo and behold, at some point around 2003, I think it was, I find a post by Fox saying, anybody out there who’s ever heard of the secret, I was amazed when I joined the group, and we started talking and the rest is history.

JM
Let’s go back to that time period, say early, you know, 2003 quest for treasure is there, there’s a thread for the secret, which, you know, it looks like you and fox and a few other people created most of the pages of the threads on there. The initial ones, there’s kind of this climate of everybody’s trying to do what they can to figure things out, bits and pieces of information are coming in about, you know, what people are finding in inside the images and what they could mean and all that. And you decide that you’re looking for Matt told the story that he was looking for the Chicago cask in Washington, DC. So these things are extremely ambiguous. And you were saying that you were looking for what you thought was in Philadelphia, what was the cast for image for your snooping around Philadelphia? And then what happened to it? Had you plan to take a trip to Philly already? Or did you plan the trip out after the I just want you to go over the incident with Johan and the message board and what had come up kind of at the last moment that caused you to head to Cleveland.

Brian Zinn
The picture has an L and a bell on it implying Liberty Bell. It has a strange looking picture that could be a lion or the face of Ben Franklin. The Jewel is in a keystone. And Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State. So almost everything and there are tons of arches that look like the arch in the picture in Philadelphia. So yeah, I was heavily into looking at Philadelphia, from the internet, and almost everyone on queue for tea. The Bulletin Board website also thought that it was in Philadelphia, we didn’t know which verse went with it. What we did is we started searching for words and things like that on Google or whatever. And I had typed in Socrates, Pindar appellees, from one of the verses, and nothing came up, nothing interesting came up, right. And about a month later, Johan posts that he did the exact same thing. And something did come up. It turns out that a new website had just posted something on the Cleveland cultural gardens. And they said, on the wall of the Cleveland cultural gardens are these names of famous Greek people. And Socrates, Pindar, and appellees came up and Google caught it. You know, when you click on the link, you start to see the picture of the of the garden, the front of the wall. And as soon as I saw, you know, I mean, that picture was burned in my mind. I knew that that was Cleveland. And then you start searching around and other things in the cultural gardens and in the Italian cultural garden, is the fountain with the thing that looks like Ben Franklin’s face. And it was just, it was more than one aha moment.

JM
You corral Andy. And you both get permission from your better halves to go on this adventure to Cleveland, nine hours, and Andy’s late getting to your houses the way the story goes. We’re actually

Andy Abrams
at the Borgata in Atlantic City at And we’re in a bar. And he he keeps he, I want to show you this, I’m gonna show you this. I said, Why just have a drink now with a bunch of guys. And he starts pulling up pictures of the of the clip and cultural gardens and the wall and the columns. And he’s talking to any shy man and seek the comps for the search and, and his aha moment transfers over to me and I don’t want to be at the Borgata anymore. I want to be in Cleveland. I can’t believe what he’s showing me. Because if it really is true, then he has the spa. Yes, the place. And there’s only so much you can glean from the picture. You really know you have to be there if you’re ever going to have a chance to see it through. So he now there’s this buzz and I can’t get out of my mind. And I’m reading everything I possibly can there’s a fever pitch, and he says, I’m gonna go and plan on a trip to Cleveland. And yeah, I I said to my wife, my friend, Brian from work, wants to take a trip to Cleveland. And she goes, Uh huh. And I said, he’s, he’s wants to look for this treasure we’ve been talking about. And I said, Because hey, you’re gonna get the you’re not gonna fly. So now it’s just like going across the money now we’ll split the guests. She said when you go on, I said Friday. And she said, she goes, you know, Sunday is Mother’s Day. And I said, Yeah, I’ve got two little kids. And O’Brien has kids. She goes, You do whatever you want. You just better be home by Sunday morning for Mother’s Day. And I said, Yeah, that’s fine. So I get to his house. We drive all night. And he drives all night. He is so wired up.

Brian Zinn
I drove nine hours to Cleveland and nine hours back in basically a 24 hour period.

Andy Abrams
Yeah. Yeah. As as we got. I remember driving through and that’s a miserable drive through the state of Pennsylvania on route 80. Because it just goes forever. And then when it turned to Ohio, and we thought we were finally gonna be really close. You know, we everybody’s using was that Matt not Matt MapQuest, right. It was it gave us another hour and 10 minutes, we were gonna vote, so we quit there. So we get to the hotel around three o’clock in the morning, and we check in. And we know we have limited time. This is what I remember, we check into the hotel, I’m exhausted, I had already slept in the car, he’s not sleeping at all. I fall asleep for a few hours. I think he stays up continues to read over everything he’s ever researched. Because we know we have well got we know we have one shot.

Brian Zinn
We’re under the we have one VA on the clock, we’re under the gun. And we

Andy Abrams
had set a drop dead time of like six o’clock to leave because that’s the only way we can make it back and make breakfast in bed for our wives. You know, so that was gonna be quittin time. And so we get we get up at 730 I think and we got to check out I remember the woman says to me, woman’s had to make a check. And it’s in a check. And she goes, When did you get here? I said about three hours ago. So she looks to me. Here comes Brian. Walking over in these tube socks pulled up to his knee and the short shorts shorts. And this kind of pink salmon shirt. It’s not Alexa Paco. He’s not my because she gave me this look like we don’t rent rooms by the hour. I said we were not. So he walks over to check out and she goes so what are you guys doing in Cleveland today? I got to check out the Rock Roll Hall of Fame. And Brian whips out a map because actually, we’re going to check out the cultural gardens and I go, he is my boyfriend. I lied. There’s no way around it. So we we check out drive to the gardens

Brian Zinn
night. Yes, hold on, go to McDonald’s to get breakfast. And we ended up getting lost on the way to the garden.

Andy Abrams
Not a not a good sign of things to come. But I do remember when we got there. You know, we were like little kids. This was something he’d been studying for 23 years. This was something that you got crammed into me over a much shorter period of time. But the excitement level was crazy. And the newspaper guy comes to meets us. And there’s a photographer named Marvin, and they’re looking at him and me and like we’re the smartest guys in the room. And they want to be part of this. So I remember turning the corner with Brian and seeing the wall and the columns. And I remember it was like Christmas morning like Kid waking up.

Brian Zinn
We parked right near the columns. And I got out of the car and I just had to take it all in the columns in the wall. You know, this was something that had been burned in my mind for years and years. I said hello to the reporter and the other guy and then I said just a minute, I have to go check something out and I ran over to the Italian gardens, to see the fountain and everything else. And to tell you the truth that made the whole trip right then in there just seeing everything for real.

JM
You went over and you saw the arch that you saw the fountain. The Lions had that kind of spits water out of it

Andy Abrams
right into the hash

Brian Zinn
All right, we had solved the puzzle, right then in there, even if we didn’t find the treasure. That’s how I felt,

JM
I got a question for you. So you, you arrive there, you’re on side, you see the wall, you see the columns, you’re looking around. And you notice, because all the stuff even though it is somewhat close together, it’s not all crammed into one area, you have to walk, you know, a few yards over to the Italian gardens, and you have to walk around the area a little bit. And there’s a lot of little plots of space there rectangular plots, if you will all over the place. So what was it that made you go to the back of that wall versus any other rectangular plot that you could find in the area? Because you had an arch? You had a fountain, you had all kinds of things that match the image? What was it about the wall that that drew you to that spot? Because it is kind of Uncanny that out of all the spots you could have dug? You guys pick the right one,

Brian Zinn
right? Well, in the nine hour car ride. On the way over, there were a few things that didn’t, that we didn’t know the answer to, the biggest one was seven steps up, you can hop there is no back of the wall on the internet that just wasn’t there, we’d had no idea what it meant. So we just had to keep looking around until we could figure it out. And you know, we were walking around behind the wall. And the I think was the first one to see, you know, the seven steps leading up from down. You know, there was a big steep hill behind the wall.

Andy Abrams
Also, though, when we got out of the car, you know, you know, you’re in a place where the author has been, because the all the visual identifiers are there. So you know, he was here, you know, those columns in the wall? It’s there’s no question. And as you walk through the columns towards the wall, there’s a huge grass rectangular plot. When I saw that, I think when we both saw that with our first idea was, well, it must be in that grass. And that was the front side of the wall. And that’s what’s pictured. So it made this sense. And it says in a rectangular plot. So before we ever went to the back, John, in our estimation was going to be in the front. But it was like 60 by 90, it was a pretty big plot of land, and I’m thinking they’re never gonna let us dig this entire thing up. So we’re gonna have to figure out where so as we were scouting that spot, a guy comes over with the truck, and they start setting up white chairs on the lawn. And we looked at the guidance of what are you doing? And he goes, we’re setting up for a wedding. And we said, What do you mean, he’s setting up a wedding? He said, Well, there’s a wedding here at 12 o’clock. And that’s about 930 in the morning. And we realize, wait a second, we just drove nine hours, we’re so pumped up, and they’re gonna have a wedding. And there’s just no way they’re gonna let us dig the ground doing, you know, people taking vows. And so now there’s this, oh, my God, we pick the wrong day. Right? Like, what did we do? And we’re devastated. That’s the roller coaster ride, like we’re so up with the comps in the wall. And then the chairs have been set up and and right, then it’s over. Right. But we started scanning around. And remember, we walked to the back of the wall, because we wanted to see the road that curved. That was Martin Luther King Drive. Yeah, Brian, I can’t remember, that was remembered as being labored liberty, right. And that was the road that curved beneath two countries. So now we’re on the backside of the wall, which right until you get there, you would never find that when a pictures of it nothing even on the internet. So we’re sitting there, and we’re kind of wrapping your head around the fact that, you know, now by process of elimination, we can’t even dig by the huge rectangular plot. And we started to notice that this area, unlike the front has steps, this area has a sunken pit area where you have to walk up and we start walking it. And lo and behold, it’s 123, we get to six, and we’re right in front of this huge rectangular flower planter. And now we both look at each other, like wait a second, because this last one, you can’t just walk you got to hop up on it. And so again, we’re we’re plugged in, we’re pumped up, we’re like, it’s here, it’s got to be here. You know, I don’t know what you know, ultimately, how you gotta get lucky. Sure, if they haven’t set up chairs in the front, we may have spent an inordinate amount of time in the front trying to calculate things, but something kind of helped us and push this to the back. And once we got there and you saw the layout, it made a lot more sense.

JM
What you’re saying is there’s a small set of stairs in front of the planter. And then there’s this patio, and this is going from the bottom of the stairs up towards the plot where you’ve dug. So there’s the set of stairs. There’s a small, small little patio of cement and then there’s a another stair or two. I think it’s almost like a bench in front of okay so it goes right to The bench there’s what looks like a kind of a big stone bench. And then the planter is up behind the bench area. And the bench would actually be the sixth step of the little group that you’re going on. And

Brian Zinn
then you’ve got the patio and then the five other little steps.

JM
Okay, so it was five steps, and then the patio and then the bench. And then the, the plot was right behind the bench area.

Andy Abrams
Right, that patio was flat, I think you walk down three steps to get to the patio area. But once you’re there, you wind up walking 12345 steps up, the six step up, as you said, is that plateau kind of table area in front of the flower pot, and the seven thin if you’re standing on that ledge, you can hop up onto the top of that

JM
long, big flower. And you’re standing behind the wall right there. You got it exactly. And

Brian Zinn
I think because we had that clue in our mind, because we couldn’t solve that one seven steps up, you can hop that that’s what we were looking for, you know, you go up five little steps. And we wanted to find six and seven. And we did

JM
here comes the tricky part. And this is what has been a subject of debate. We’ve talked about it. It’s been brought up many times, it’s the one thing that we still can’t be 100% sure of so if you’re coming at the back of the wall from that direction, and you’re trying to count stones per hat, how he describes you to count them in the verse, you’re going to end up a completely polar opposite of where you should be digging to find the cask. Right.

Brian Zinn
Yeah, that’s right. And that’s where I dug for five hours.

JM
So yeah, as the story goes, You tore up that whole entire piece of land there. Just like Chicago. At the very end, you got totally fed up. And then Andy went over and kind of stuck the pole in the ground and hit something and once you tell us how it went digging for five hours, the wedding’s probably come and gone, it’s getting close to six, you’re gonna have to get back, how do things turn for the better

Andy Abrams
as were digging, and we he counted it out, he had the shovel, I was the videographer I wanted to capture this moment for him. I know it’s been 20 years, you know, so he counts facing the wall, we count from right to left, whatever was the number over and we count 10 down, it’s exactly 10 down beneath the 10 stones. So we said Alright, this is the X marks the spot. It’s got to be here. And so he starts sticking the prodding pole in and he’s doing it. And it’s amazing that they let us dig because there’s there’s shrubs in there, you know, part of what was a little unfair. I mean, they mentioned the the couplet in the verse and pictures that we’ve subsequently seen, shown that there were two couplets are urns on each side of the wall. They had been removed when we were there. So that would have been another identifier for us to make it even further obvious, but they weren’t there over time. So he’s digging down. And yeah, we didn’t know it was two feet, three feet. The planter itself, probably what about four, maybe four more feet. It’s not just dirt, he’s displacing shrubs, the horticulture guy is allowing it, I can’t believe it, we’re digging down. He’s hitting root if the root of these huge trees that were growing from the sides, so we had to chip away at the roots. So

Brian Zinn
it took that’s why it took so long. I mean, there were just roots and rocks and everything in there.

JM
So you don’t have to tell me about that. Right.

Andy Abrams
We’re preaching to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but I mean, he he every time you hit the roots, you convince yourself that’s a different feel like that’s something else. Yeah.

Brian Zinn
And I have to give him the credit, kept volunteering to dig, but I wanted to find this thing. So I did not let Andy dig for five hours.

Andy Abrams
There was the Bugs Bunny cartoon, when he’s the genie shrinks down Daffy Duck and he winds up in that little clam shell with the Prowler. He goes my mind. It’s all my mind. Like that. Brian was a miniature Daffy Duck, and he was just dig in and dig in. And I wanted to capture it. And the lower we went, he kept he’d stop and go, I don’t understand. It’s not supposed to be more than two feet or three feet. How can I start

Brian Zinn
saying, all adds up? It’s got to be here. It’s got to be here. We solve every clue we have at all.

Andy Abrams
Yeah. And the the part that was really driving us crazy or made us fearful is if it’s not here, then maybe it just doesn’t exist. Maybe the Chicago thing was a hoax to sell the book.

Brian Zinn
And that’s a good thing as it Denine at the time, we nobody knew there were rumors that the people in Chicago had found it, but nobody ever saw a newspaper article or anything at that point. Wayne?

JM
Well, that’s what Matt had said on the last episode is that there were rumors that something was found in Chicago, but it wasn’t like it is today, where you find out about it the next day, it’s kind of, you know, urban legend, so to speak. So you guys weren’t even sure whether that this was a legitimate thing at the time or not. Now, this

Brian Zinn
was a huge, a huge leap of

Andy Abrams
faith, if that’s the only way you can describe it, but having made the leap, having driven the distance, having found what we thought was pretty much the X marks the spot, we were prepared to dig or I was prepared to watch him dig through the base of this thing and come out the other side, right. So we figured you’re either going to hit the bottom, or you’re going to find that at some point. But if it wasn’t there, then I in my mind thought, but maybe he really didn’t bury the treasures. Maybe it’s just something that was supposed to get you kind of pumped up because there was no other place he could possibly be. So after five hours, he climbs out of the box, all of the dirt had been displaced in the side with the guy who runs the guard and says, Don’t worry about it, we’ll put it back for you. He has to now hoist himself out of like this. It was like a coffin. Like Dead Man Walking, he sits down on the front steps for the whole five hours.

Brian Zinn
The news guy was asking us questions and interviewing us the whole time

JM
while you’re digging the hole.

Brian Zinn
He was there for the whole thing.

JM
So in one year, you have the news guy. Yeah. So what do you do for a living and asking you all these questions in the other ear? You have? Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this man and woman. What a strange scene it must have been.

Andy Abrams
There were people from the wedding, I remember in white toxins or something who came around the back of the wall while Brian was three feet down in the hall? And the like, what’s he doing? Hey, what are you? What are you guys doing? And we were digging for treasure. Come here, look at this. So the gas correlating, we’re coming around to see Ultimately though, like if it was one of those fast action, you know, things like the wedding disappears, the chairs are pulled away. The newspaper guy who was talking us all the time, so to lose his enthusiasm. And Marvin the photographer is sent away, you know, if we reach a point that it’s not going to be found, and, and we hit literally rock bottom.

JM
It’s been all these hours, everybody’s pretty much on the verge of giving up. Some people have given up, Brian crawls out of the Roman to tub, the big stone planter box. And what happens for everybody who’s just new to this and tell me what happens. How does Andy end up inside the hole with a shovel,

Brian Zinn
I just grab a soda at that point. And I sit down on the steps exhausted, just absolutely exhausted. I know that our time is almost up. And Andy takes the probe and walks to the other side of the box,

Andy Abrams
it was about 430, we knew we had about a half hour left. So this was kind of time to say our goodbyes, but you were just tired. You were totally defeated. Like you i He was so upset. And I felt so bad for him, you know, because this was the combination of all these years of work. So I’m standing there and he happens to sit at the bottom of the steps now. So I turn to look at him. And I’m looking at the roadway as a curves. And we had gone over the verse 10,000 times over the nine hours that were driving every possible meaning and I’m seeing a curve and I know the time. So I said at one point, you know, Brian, if you are facing this direction, different perspective. And you’re looking at the first line beneath the two countries as the row curves, you would actually if you counted it now, same way, stones from right to left, it would take you to just the other still within the box. I just as I climbed up on the box, I realized you’re still in the box. And I said we counted the same 10 stones down, but it put us on the exact opposite side of the flower box. So I said it would you know it would put you here and he’s drinking his Pepsi and he is so bummed. And he takes the metal pride that we got at Home Depot and he goes here, knock your socks off. And he kind of tosses it at me like annoyed. And so I take it and I drive into the ground once and I tell the story to my friends because it still blows my mind. Like the old and I think it’s always this one’s John like the old tootsie pop commercial. And how many licks does it take to get the Santa was like a one, two. And that third one literally, there was a different feeling. I had prodded he dug but I prodded I knew it wasn’t a root and I knew wasn’t a rock. So I did it again and there was a scratching sound. And I get these chills like goosebumps again. Whereas down as you can base now I’m starting to come up and start moving to the dirt away of the hands. I said and we come across this big shard of Plexiglas and it doesn’t belong that we had seen garbage we had seen things know that but Nothing like this. So I look at Brian. I said, Brian, he said what I said, I just found a huge piece of plexiglass and he goes, Yeah. And I took it. I winged it out and I could have cut him through his juggler.

JM
He thought you’re messing with them.

Andy Abrams
Yeah. And I said to him Plexiglas, and I go Plexiglas is translucent man. And I throw it at him. And as the last syllables coming out of my mouth, he is in the dirt with his hands, like a golden retriever, trying to dig out his favorite bone, mine, mine, mine, all mine. Yeah, the way he’s back. I mean, all of a sudden, like, that’s the thing, the emotion, the breadth of of depth of emotion from as high as we were to as low as we went. And in that instant, right back that the possibility existed, maybe it was there, and within maybe 1015 minutes, we have the top shoveled off, and we know and now the newspaper reporter goes, holy shit. Oh, my God. He calls Marvin get back here. The horticulture guy is going oh my god, what is that? So we know it’s not some bag of roots. And he works it and works it and slowly but surely, we on Earth, this thing, he pulls it out of the ground, and it’s this large, probably basketball sized plexiglass sturdy plexiglass box, and inside is the remnants of the cast because over time, I guess it had caved in. And it was filled with dirt. But we knew

JM
you guys said that it was pretty caked in there. Like it had been been destroyed previous to you guys even arriving and probably been pushed in there and been been filled with mud for a while, right?

Andy Abrams
Yeah, it may have been that when they planted shrubs in because remember, there were shrubs in that box. So at some point somebody dug and think nobody hid it, because it was two, two and a half three feet down. Nobody had so they may have done it. But it was clear because the first time that Oh god, I poked it with the prodding thing and I broke it. But that mod had been caked on for years and years. So now he’s got it. And it was so fragile. We go back over to the Italian garden in the fountain that had been this thing for him for 23 years. And he washed it piece by piece. He took out his toothbrush, and I started scraping away the dirt till we could uncover and man I gotta tell you, it was ridiculous.

Brian Zinn
It was It was surreal. It was like I can’t believe that we actually found this.

JM
Did you have a cell phone at the time? Were cell phones around? Nah, yeah. Yes. Yeah, I did see you were able to call but

Andy Abrams
you know what John, it was like, I want to say it was like the palm pilots. And because when even when we videoed it, it was on a handheld. You know, one of those big cameras you put like on your shoulder. It wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t like we had our smartphones. And you can video this stuff. So we didn’t call anybody you didn’t call I don’t remember I didn’t call home we just knew was like an episode of 24. And we were in the last hour. The end. We were like Jack Bauer and Chloe, and we had solved it. But now the electricity the newspaper guy cuz he’s been writing all day. It was the happy ending, like one hour early, there was no happy ending. So he’s cleaned it off. We’re staring at it. And just as we have it laid out, we’re like, Okay, we gotta go. And they’re like, what? You gotta go it’s, it’s, it’s six o’clock, and we gotta leave now. We’re not gonna make it for Mother’s Day. So we pack up our stuff. We we hug our friends. And we say goodbye. And the two of us are still just like what just happened. So we drove in silence for quite a long time,

Brian Zinn
for most of the nine hours back end was asleep. And I drove just on adrenaline. And it was actually a horrible horrible rain and thunderstorm. But I kept trying to wake in the up to talk about it.

Andy Abrams
It’s funny, I don’t remember that. I trust you. But I it was a very, I was definitely emotionally spent. I can’t remember ever doing anything. That again, the high was so high and the low was so low in such a compact period of time. So I do remember stopping and I had said this before, but we stopped at like a Bob Evans or something restaurant. Yeah, yeah, I’m sitting there with him. And Brian, very chatty tonight, but not always the most reactive guy. And I’m like, What are you feeling? Like? What are you thinking this and now I’m interviewing him. I said, I don’t understand. This is 23 years in the making. How does I mean what’s going through your head? And he’s you were eating and he looks at me. He goes, I gotta tell you, you know, next to the birth of my kids. This is the greatest moment of my entire life. And I got complete goosebumps because I got it. Like my portion of this was so truncated in time. It was packed into about a year and then it was super packed into his last couple months and weeks, but he had been living this 23 years. Thought it was was confident Philadelphia and here we were, you know, 1000s of miles away, and we we hit the spot. So it was an amazing thing. But now we have

JM
Have it was it the first dig that you ever went and did for on this?

Brian Zinn
Absolutely. I mean, I don’t know if anyone dug anything up to that point. From the quest for treasure boards, I’m not even sure.

JM
Is there anything that you wanted to ask? Or was there any internet questions for Brian and Andy about the actual find itself the dig George? No, there weren’t any

George Ward
about the dig. The only thing that I take from this, and I take the same thing from Chicago. And it seems to be a problem now, with with people who are currently working on these puzzles is that the visual clues in the paintings are obvious. And they’re not obvious. Like they may not be obvious until you get there. But when you get to the site, they’re obvious there’s nothing else those columns could be there’s nothing else that planner could be there’s, you know, there’s nothing else that fountain could be in these to solve them. You don’t have to, like you’re not, you don’t have to zoom in on an image and count dots, things don’t kind of look like something else. They look exactly alike.

JM
That’s a good point. You guys went when you were doing your image comparisons, and I know, we will post this photo that I made, along with the other photos we have up on our Facebook page. But I made I did a photo where we took all of the things that were found in the Cleveland image, and we superimpose the real images over the actual painting. And we’ll post that up there. But there wasn’t anything in that image that you had to like use a microscope to see your strain your eyes, it was all pretty straightforward. You know, sizeable images that you were finding, correct?

Brian Zinn
Yeah, that’s correct. John, June, Alan Carr is an amazing artist. And he has figured out ways to just blend things into the paintings. And you really don’t know what it is that you’re that you need to see. Until you’re there. Or until you see it on the internet, I guess.

Andy Abrams
Now I think about it. I remember the thing that hooked me before he even showed me the wall when that was discovered, because that was claimed that that got me in a car driving nine hours. But I remember when he showed me the the Cleveland Terminal Tower, the silhouette. And I remember when he showed in the trees, and I remember when he showed me, the state of Ohio, it brought me right back to highlights magazine, when I was a kid used to find the images in the picture. And we all played it. We all you know, I’m 51. But like, I remember how much you’d go to that page. And that was the thing you wanted to circle before your brother and sister got to find them. So when I saw that, that combination of puzzle and imagery, and then the other stuff. And then as he first explained it to me, I didn’t know which verse went with, it was so brilliant. It wasn’t that one, one with one to one with two. So to have to put that together, the fact that there were those identifiers that were a little tricky. But then when you got to the side, very large, dead on confirm is that this is where it is. There’s no question. It’s almost like if you bothered to get all the way there. He was rewarding you by saying look at the picture. You’ll know when you’re close when you see these two or three things.

JM
Yeah, it seems like the whole thing works like that in some respects. Because when we’re saying it’s it’s hidden in plain sight, or you know, when you see it, you know what it is, it’s not an optical illusion, it’s not a blur that you just happen to catch it the right light, it’s something that he’s blended into another object to make it look like something else. But when you actually see it, you see, oh, that’s a tree, or that’s a box er, that’s a, you know, that’s a window sill or whatever it is that you see, once you see it, you see it, the whole puzzle kind of works like that, for example, that in St. Augustine, the first chapter written in water, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense until you’re standing in front of what he meant you to, for you to see when you’re reading that. So the whole puzzle and I think what George was was getting at was that there was nothing that was ever questionable where you said, Well, this kind of looks like this. I mean, the tiles in image four are definitely the tiles that you see at the the cultural gardens. The pillars are definitely the pillars the walls, definitely the wall, the fountain is definitely the fountain, it’s nothing you have to strain to see. Right.

Brian Zinn
Don’t forget the center’s cup. That’s also there were so many aha moments when you get there. And also back then there were a few things that we had just barely figured out. I believe we had just figured out I think it was Fox, who figured out that there are latitudes and longitudes hidden in the pictures. And I think that we had figured that out about them only a month before we went to Cleveland. So it was like an additional confirmer for Cleveland.

JM
Well, Georgia. I mean, I do personally believe there’s a deeper puzzle going on and I’m sure if Matt were able to join us tonight. He was unable to join us but if you were here we’d be taught discussing the The path and how that works. But it just goes to prove once again George’s point that you really don’t need to understand fully how the puzzle works to actually find a cask. And I guess that’s one of the flaws going on, you guys didn’t have any conception that there was a starting point. And you go from here to here, or any of that stuff, because I mean, you were there you barely knew about the Chicago find. So there’s really no model on how to do these. Correct,

Andy Abrams
right? It was it for us it was, it was written, it was written in the verse, seek the columns for the surge, once he had the information about the wall. And once you stand there and see it, what amazes me to this day, 13 years later, is even standing in the at the columns, looking at the wall, it can be anywhere, even if you get to the right side of the wall flipping a coin, it can be anywhere. If you get to the flower box, have we not poked the poker in that spot or poked it two inches to the right, and I go all the way down, I got stupid come on at six o’clock. Let’s go. So the way I looked at it, and I know you guys have done a ton of work on planning out deeper meanings and methods to the probably linked together a lot of these, you know, there’s a latitude and longitude. There are images that go from larger to smaller that gets you from state to city to place and then there are confirmed errs of that place. But I believe that coupled with the words that take you to the spot, there are at least one or two confirm errs that are so absolute, that give you that you know, I’m within a few feet and I have to dig here like when you said the part about St. Augustine, right. Unless you were standing there or had vacation there, you would not know that the book starts with written in water. And my favorite I’m sure you’ll cover in another episode. But my favorite one to this day is is the North Carolina buy don’t listen to conquerable determination. Like when I see that again, when you cover it, you’ll cover it but to stand at the base of a statue and see words written on the statue and know he looked up he was thinking I need something here. Oh, that’s a cool quote by dauntless and unconquerable determination. And unless you had been to Kill Devil Hill, and unless you had seen that on the wing statue, you wouldn’t know that it’s there. But once you’ve seen it, your heart beats 10 times faster every second because, you know, that’s a place where he stood. So definitely pen in hand, which he confirmed for us when we met him. He basically took notes on his whereabouts. And when he decided where he wanted to dig, he took notes. And then he would create the verse around what he had seen in the pictures he took. Yeah, that’s

JM
definitely one of the the if you could call an ongoing theme in this. That’s definitely one of them is that the riddles are sometimes are clever. And you will know them when you see them. Undoubtedly. I mean, it’s like they just jump out at you when you’re standing there and you’re at the right spot and you’re reading the thing the right way and interpreting it the right way. So I agree it’s full of that. So okay, they find the cask. And let’s let’s set it up. Now you have to contact Byron price, I assume, did you call them or

Brian Zinn
the newspaper guy talk to Byron price because he interviewed him for the article. And basically Byron price says that, you know, he hasn’t been to the vault. The jewels are in a vault. He hasn’t been there in a long, long time. And he needs to find the key. I think that made the Cleveland article as well. So I just waited to hear from them. A month goes by two months, three months. So finally I sent him an email saying, you know, we’d like to come out and see it and he says he can’t find the key for the wall. I check in with him every now and then I don’t know how long it was. It was several months wasn’t it end?

Andy Abrams
was either July or August. I could I could double check. But it was certainly a couple months because we got a little fidgety and antsy. Like why I mean, this whole idea that there was a vault somewhere, you know, so perfect. It wasn’t even that it was a safety deposit. But he couldn’t find the key to the vault like the Cryptkeeper. And we’re like, What are you talking about? We just went to Cleveland. You gotta be able to find the jewel. So and it was kind of cool. It was kind of cool about the whole thing, like, wasn’t a big deal. So when when Brian you set it up with him, he finally found the day and we wanted to New York together.

Brian Zinn
Right? We picked the day and we drove into New York. And along the way we’re thinking you know, we’ve never met him. What is it? What is it going to be like? We were like joking to ourselves. Maybe this is going to be like a scene out of Willy Wonka where, you know, he’s got a half a hat on and half o’clock and all that kind of stuff. And the funny thing is we when we get to his office, we go up into the elevator and we walk out of the Ella Vader and we’re in a room that is coated with like aluminum foil. Yeah. The ceilings everything. And we looked at each other he goes, and we say, wow, we really are in Willy Wonka’s factory.

Andy Abrams
Yeah, it was like a space. It was like a space chamber. It was so weird in the middle of this New York building skyscraper we walk in. And you’re right. It was all silver, like covered in aluminum foil. And we didn’t know where the entry door or the exit door. It was like a final it was like a final test or rite of passage to fit your way in and out. If you were going to meet him, right? You remember that?

Brian Zinn
It was literally we, I guess we get to the door. We we somehow get out of that room, we get into his main office area. It’s not his office. It’s like his whole office building. And they’re just books everywhere. 1000s and 1000s of books everywhere. And it’s a very busy office. Receptionist brings us over to Byron price. He comes out of his office, I had brought the cask, we each brought our books with us. He loved seeing the cast. He ended up autographing our books at some point. But he started reminiscing about things and were you in the car end? Or was it just me? No, we weren’t. And so we got into his convertible little convertible car. And we drove to this vault, this bank, and we got into the, into the bank, and I guess he hadn’t been there in a long time. So we were like waiting in the bank for like 20 minutes, we had no idea what he was doing. He was talking to the teller so eventually, he got permission to go. And he takes us down into the basement in the vault with him with his key to the box. And before he opens the box, he’s he’s talking to us. And he is basically saying, you know, the solutions are in the boxes in the vault as well. He asked me what gemstone it is. And I told him, it’s the Aqua Marine, as he didn’t really even remember that. You know, he’s more like in an absent minded Professor kind of guy. That’s how I think of him. And but but he’s very funny. He ended up taking a picture of us like a selfie and sending it to his wife. He was dating his wife at the time that he buried the treasures. So you know, this was 20 years ago, we stand about 15 feet away from him while he takes the box behind a screen. And we hear him rustling through it. And it’s pretty dark in there. He says, Oh, the solutions. They’re not here. And he keeps looking some more and, and he says, Oh, I forgot about these. And it turns out that he had, I think it was 25,000 right end $25,000 Savings Bonds $25,000 in savings bonds that he had left there for 20 years. So it was probably a lot more than that. And he didn’t even he didn’t even buy us lunch.

Andy Abrams
He case. He’s going through the box. Well, you got a picture. Like he said, the court the offices. It’s not like a hoarder. But there’s books everywhere there is this. There is this quirky feel to the guy. And but he was definitely

JM
well, he was a publisher, right? He’s a player of the publishing company. Yeah. And you guys were attorneys. Yeah, right. Why he probably figured you guys could pay for your own lunch.

Andy Abrams
No. We I remember, you know, as he’s rifling through, we’re both kind of looking at each other. Like he, he there was an air of excitement about him because he said, you know, we don’t know if he’s gonna give it to us and leave. He got very chatty, and we’re thinking, let’s hang with him. Let’s have lunch. Maybe he’ll tell us something that we can use for another dig site. We’ll ask him some questions. You know, and he was pretty free with with information when we went up going to lunch. But yeah, as Brian said before, that he’s digging through the bugs up. Here’s the here’s the Ruby or he you know, that’s not it. Well, he

Brian Zinn
says, here’s the here’s the blue jewel. And he comes out and he hands it to me and you know, it’s dark in there. It turns out he gave me the wrong jewel i He gave me the Sapphire instead of the Aqua Marine. The app Marine is my birthstone. And I had only been looking 22 years for it. And so I still don’t have it.

George Ward
When I find the one in St. Augustine, I’ll trade you.

JM
A very, very elite group of trading people who have only people who have found gems from Byron prices the secret. Three users,

George Ward
there’s one question since you guys were talking about him being kind of absent minded. The biggest question that I’ve gotten so far is somewhere in the forums. Brian, you said that he mentioned the 10 by 13. His feet instead of trees.

Brian Zinn
Yes, I remembered. I tried to remember everything he said that day because I truly wanted to help everyone on the boards. So you know, that’s why we had lunch with him. And we hung out and all that. And so I was just trying, I couldn’t write it down, that would be rude. And he would stop talking. So I basically just had to try and remember everything he said, and I distinctly remember him going through the book, talking about, you know, he was like flipping through the pages while we were waiting for his car or something. I got him talking about Chicago. And he said, Yeah, and then B that would stood for Mozart and Beethoven, and 10. By 13. That was feet. He did say that. And he told me the story about two young stockbrokers. And there was a concrete slab and some construction going on. And they couldn’t, he told me all this, that they couldn’t get to the casks. So they sent him a picture of the slab. And he said to them, well, when the slab is removed, then the job is yours. And this is what he told me. And, you know, it was 22 years ago that he’s remembering this from so and he’s at, he couldn’t even remember that the solutions weren’t there. He couldn’t remember that he had lost $25,000 in savings bonds. So maybe he got some of these things wrong as well. And I think he did. But I can tell you, that is what he told me.

JM
It was a long time. And he had done a lot in his life and his career. Since the time of burying these things, there’s probably a good chance that he did forget some things that some people would say, you know, look, when you do something as magnanimous as this, you don’t forget about it. But you know, maybe you do lose track of some of the details.

Brian Zinn
Well, I think if this was the only book he ever did, and if he was like, famous for this, keep remember every detail when he puts out like a book a week. Right? So yeah, and he’s into making money selling the books. Maybe he really loved the idea of doing this. But it was just a book to him just just a way to try and make money. Because he even mentioned that he thought that everyone would dig up all of these things right away, and that the publisher would kill them. That’s what he thought.

George Ward
Now I know everybody listening would would kill me if I didn’t ask, is there anything that he told you that would help? The current

Andy Abrams
searchers? We actually have the solutions. So

George Ward
you, if you could just mail those to me, that would be nice.

Brian Zinn
I put everything on the quest for treasurer bulletin boards in detail. You know, now you’re asking me to remember everything from 40. If you go to the quest for treasure bulletin board, and you look at the thread called Cleveland, you will see I wrote down pretty much everything that he told me.

George Ward
And we’ll we’ll link that somewhere, make it easier to find.

Andy Abrams
I remember after we came back, I read through every entry, everything that was on, but I had never gone on. I was always I was sort of a silent partner. But after we found it, it was so exciting. I know Brian used to use the icon for his bride Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. So I started using the icon for Hobbes, like his imaginary friend, and he was Eggbert. So I became Siskel, and so partnership and start accommodating things we definitely put down everything we saw took in smelled felt, we put in there with the hope that it would help somebody else solve something else because we had our moment. And even then the Cleveland Plain Dealer then came out with like a 10 page weekend insert article where he the author, he basically transposed what was happening in real time. And you got the feel it’s an excellent article,

JM
Christopher Evans, will we’ll put a link to that article up as

Andy Abrams
well. It was it was great. But I would say this, though, you guys say? Well, I don’t know if he’d remember. It’s 20 Some years ago. I don’t know that. I don’t know that. I totally agree with that. Because he didn’t go in connection with his other books to different places and dig and get on planes and digs. And then have to write these, you know, these these complex verses to go with his friends paintings. I think this was far different than whether it was fantasy, you know, stuff or not. It was very different than anything else he wound up doing and when it’s I publishing later, and you remember where you went, I don’t care. But I remember where I was, you know, 24 years ago when it’s significant. He asked us when we were at lunch, you know, what do we see what was the solve and we showed him you know, a number of the clues. I didn’t get the feel that And then, you know, he never said to us, you know, did you ever consider this part? Or there’s also this or I’m surprised you solved it, because she never figured out this part of it. You know, we showed him all the identifiers, we got him to sort of like what we’re telling you guys. And he looked at us and said, You got it.

JM
There’s some theories about why he would be apprehensive about wanting to continue his enthusiasm for the puzzle to be solved it after 20 some years. I mean, this is these are just some arguments, not saying they’re my opinions. But there’s some arguments that I’ve heard that after 20 years, it’s not of his benefit to continue the Haunted to give clues, the only thing that is going to come from him perpetuating it is he’s going to have to get gems and meet with people and give out the prizes. It seemed like he was not in any kind of way, looking to put out a second book after 20 some years, you know, maybe he had just forgotten some of the things. Maybe he didn’t, it probably didn’t behoove him to want to continue to get everybody else to solve it. So a we feel that there was maybe a process of vetting someone when you went to tell him that what you thought were the answers to some of the riddles and where you thought it was, if you were completely off base, he might go as far as to say, well, there’s not even a treasure in St. Augustine. But if you were onto something he maybe he would help you out then didn’t seem like after 20 years, that he wanted to perpetuate something that was just gonna continue to take up his time and he’d received nothing from it. There’s been that argument has been made about it as well.

Andy Abrams
I’m gonna tell you this. And Brian, you may feel differently, but I’m going to tell you this is one of the you know, besides being one of the few that found one, okay, we were definitely one of the few whoever gets to sit with them and talk to them face to face. And people can argue and dissect and try to figure things out as much as they want. But this was just a guy grew up in Brooklyn, New York, had a family did this thing when he was younger. When we sat with him that day. He was psyched that we were there. I do remember very well, the selfie that he took he said, Would you guys mind if I take this? I have to show it to my wife. Like there was a a youthful exuberance that came out that huh, after all this time, wasn’t that this was his legacy, his great achievement in life, but that he had done this and then finally came back. I never got the feeling that this was now going to be a huge annoyance factor who’s going to deal with it. I thought he was kind of tickled that

JM
do you think he was just as enamored that you guys at your age were had dug one up?

Andy Abrams
I without question as I sat there, I could feel his enthusiasm for the fact that we attract them down. I don’t know that he felt like we were weird guys, who for 23 years had given up families and lives to do this. When he met us he saw We’re just two regular guys, two lawyers. And this was this was a journey that Brian had been on. I joined them. And he was right. You’re right. He smiled. He was that we I never felt like in those that hour and a half two hours that we sat there at lunch, that he got annoyed being there. He was talking freely, not about solutions, but generalities of what he did. I mean, if we had to do it all over again, right now, my God, the questions I would ask him, he wouldn’t have answered any of them by it. So he was a little bit he wanted to get it goes right back, John to the very first question. Brian asked him on the phone. And when he said President concern, the game is still on. Even in that moment, sitting with him. The game was still on it. Was he going to wasn’t going to benefit financially. No, it was going to sell any more books. I bought my book on eBay for $3. You know, back then. So you know, it was it was more than here he was. He was 23 years older than when he buried them here. And we’re finding this thing and he enjoyed it. I enjoyed the lunch we had with them. It would never struck me as a nuisance. We left there on a real high, not just because we turned it in and Brian got the job, but because the author was I remember feeling he was very tickled by the fact that we had spent the time and that we had actually found it. So I don’t think if people came along, he would have been annoyed. Yeah, you

Brian Zinn
could tell when he was telling us about especially when he touched the cask and saw it for the first time definitely in a long time. Definitely. You could tell there was the guy who would jump fences to dig dig holes and write things down. And he said that he would. This is something I may not have actually posted. He said that he would take the photographs and whatever he wanted to put in the photos and all the clues and he would put it in a big envelope and send it to John Jude Palin car, but he had like this rubber stamp or something that said the secret on it. And he went stamped the back of the envelope Hello.

JM
Oh, you know, it’s good that there was that kind of camaraderie back then when you This is 1314 years ago. And now there’s still a lot of interest going on. But the camaraderie isn’t like what it used to be on the message boards. And hopefully we can get to an atmosphere where it is back to that same kind of work ethic that everybody had back then of trying to combine efforts to figure things out. And a lot has been figured out since then. We’ve gone back and dissected Cleveland, we’ve dissected Chicago, found a bunch of things that were missed, we’ve proposed a deeper meaning to things going on. But, you know, like, for the most part, the guys in Chicago, they didn’t solve every clue. They found a cask, you guys didn’t get every clue. But you got enough of the big ones to get you in the right spot to dig a hole to find a cask, if it’s that easy. What happened on Expedition unknown? Where’s where’s the cask, man? Let’s, let’s get into that a little bit. So I mean, it was we first heard on our little group that you guys were going to be doing this well ahead of time. And it was pretty exciting. And we got to hear some of the details about how it went down. But we all had to wait like everybody else to watch the episode and see what happened. You know, why don’t you get into it a little bit about how that all transpired. I know that they contacted you. And they said, hey, you know, you know, why don’t you come on the show, we’re gonna go do this. And then before you knew it, Andy was was in Cleveland, again, talking with the crew, right?

Andy Abrams
I knew of the show. I didn’t know much about it. But they had come up with this idea. And the producer had run across against the article from Cleveland and was aware of the book. So she called Brian, and then Brian, call me. So you got to talk to this lady. They want to do an episode on the secret. And going back to when we left Bob Evans, restaurant, I remember driving home and we were talking to each other going, you know, when they make this into movie someday, who’s going to play you who’s going to play me? And we were laughing about it 14 years ago. So now the idea that they were going to do a TV show was hysterical, that we’re gonna get to revisited. We wound up. I know, they came to New York, and met me. And I showed them a bunch of things about New York, because after Cleveland, Brian and I had scattered around New York quite a bit. I remember going to Ellis Island with him way back when and, and done some work there. So we were just kind of trying to get them in the mood and show them some things, but also show him how incredibly expensive and difficult New York was.

JM
Did you give him any information, I noticed that Josh proposed his own kind of little solve for New Yorker at least a partial salve to what he thought the verse was talking about. Did you feed any of that in to him? Or was that his original idea? Or do you know,

Andy Abrams
I spent time with the film crew or not the film crew, the director, the producer, and a couple other people in Battery Park and I was pointing out certain things.

Brian Zinn
One part of this expedition on knowing that AMD may not really be that familiar with was when they first contacted me. They had no idea, you know, where they were going to search or anything. And they asked me, because I was involved with the Cleveland fine. They asked me where is the closest? How were you the closest out of out of all the sites. And I know I had been at St. Augustine about three times. So I had suggested St. Augustine, I said, But you know, it’s going to be tough getting permission to dig there. And I had a friend in us who lives in St. Augustine, Al Maseeh. Ag, and he was invaluable boots on the ground, actually getting permission from the people in St. Augustine. Were helping to get the permission there. And he also he met with the producers in the the historic library there showed them the pictures, all sorts of things. He ended up not getting on the show, because they wanted me and Andy to be the ones searching for it. Right. But I want to give a shout out to Al Maseeh ag because he was invaluable. He’s been researching this for about three or four years now himself. He just doesn’t post on the board,

JM
the owner of the fountain of youth he was reluctant. I mean, he’s reluctant to let anybody look their way. I know George has had some difficulties searching around with the GPR but you have a relationship with him. What are his thoughts? Has he discussed anything about the widespread popularity that a national TV show could bring to the hunt and what what it might do?

Brian Zinn
He thinks is just gonna bring more people digging at night.

George Ward
I have a mutual friend with the owner as well and I’ve talked to him a good bit and he’s just sick of people digging in the fountain of youth. Right if you get caught digging in the fountain That’s it, you will be prosecuted like he’s at that point now.

Andy Abrams
But I wouldn’t say this. He was really cool that day. And yeah, he knew that the exposure was going to bring all kinds of folks. I just tell you quick, funny aside, I told this to Brian yesterday, I was in court yesterday, I got a phone call. I came out of court. It was a woman from Washington. And I said, Who is this? I looked you up? I solved St. Augustine. I said, What? She said, Yeah, I said, You, who are you? She’s always say on Expedition unknown. I just wanted to call you. It was sort of like, it was a little bit like, it was little bit like Stephen King’s misery. I’m like, Well, who are? So she said, I said, Well, have you been looking for a long time? Because now I saw the show. So I went online, I spent about five minutes on it. And I’m thinking, odds are she’s really crazy. But what if she’s just a savant and she actually do. So she’s telling me, but

JM
she spent more time trying to find you and contact you to find the

Andy Abrams
treasure. But the solve that she told me, she said, Well, if you look at the sign the very, you know, what I’ve written and water. And as you walk in, there’s a keystone door right there. I said, right. And she said, Well, he’s wearing silver plating. And he mentioned silver. And she says, I think it’s buried right behind them. So I started to realize she doesn’t really know. But she’s so into it, like she’s really into, which was kind of cute. And she said, and this is my favorite part. She said, Well, the first types of Shell limestone, salt, and so she’s trying to tell me, well, it’s Florida. So there’s shells. She goes in salt, because there’s a refreshment stand right behind him. And I’m sure there’s a thing of salt on the counter. So I started laughing, because I’m thinking she has things she’s got the perfect solve. So yes, it’s bringing out a lot of people, some of them are just, you know, hopeful. But to get your point about the owner, I truly believe that if especially in the group that you’ve put together, because I always think about the fact that I would I would love. John, if you found Milwaukee, if George found St. Augustine, like you want to spread the wealth of the excitement of the feeling of an earthing it, it was second to none. And you guys have worked so hard and are so smart about so much of it, that you deserve that feeling. So I feel like because of this small group, or this, you know, the the, the the knowledge of certain people, if George, for example, you went back, and you had a real solve something that was legitimate, and you’re not just some guy coming from California who saw the episode on TV, and you showed him the clues, I believe he would be excited enough to accompany you and say, Well, let’s take a look and see what we can find. I don’t think he wants 1000 people coming in digging. But I think if it’s a well thought out, potential solve, that’s true. I have no doubt, for example, that if I called him tomorrow and said, Hey, John, we were going to be down in St. Augustine, something unbelievable came up. I want to show you these pictures, see what you think. Because he’s also a wealth of knowledge. As we walked around with him, he’s going, Oh, that wasn’t there. And the found with the kid with the that was there was moved to 19 You know, 94 so he knows everything. And he got sucked in. And if you just somebody off the beaten path who wants to dig I agree he’ll have you arrested. But if you’re George, who’s been to St. Augustine, who knows, John, you’ve put your time and your dues in and your theories are legit. I think he would welcome those types of endeavors. Because I think he would like to find the solve if it didn’t mean digging up the entire park.

George Ward
He would definitely like to have it solved it especially because it would stop people solving. He does have requirements like you can dig there’s a there’s a historical director that you have to go through and his requirements are you have to have insurance number one, and you have to have a damn good solve. Like he has to look at it and be like yeah, okay, that’s that’s plausible. And if you email him with those things, he’ll come back to you and he’ll be like yeah, oh company you want to dig you can dig up very, very small area exactly where you think it is.

Andy Abrams
And he’ll accompany I mean, even when we were down there and Brian was walking through a lot of the clues and and the observatory and the wind rose and the small man in that this is diorama that’s been this is 1960 with these little guys, you know, George you’ve been there and in front of the wind rose near man was when Rose and you sit there? And he goes no, that’s been there since the 60s and so you know, that was there and you know, you’re close to the observatory. So we felt pretty good about that spot. And just to give you this part of it, like when we went back and forth and got the hit with the GPR there were electrical lines, gas lines, it sure seemed like you know, it could have been excavated by mistake those things

JM
are useless those GPRS they are

Andy Abrams
they Oh, boy boy, when way is many times it’s like we had to shoot one scene again or again. We hit that spot and they started digging it out and they saw that clear, smooth surface that looked like it was a it was it looked like it was see through and you would see the dirt And My heart jumped out of my chest. Brian, I you did too, like we were dying because I’m thinking, holy shit like we That’s it. Part of me was like, I’m not worthy of this moment guys like Georgia spent John, you spend like I was glad Brian was there. I know he spent a ton of time there. But I thought all right, Josh is promoting it the host. And we thought we had it and when he started to unearth it, and it came out that black tile action, oh, that reaction was so dead. We didn’t, they didn’t say shoot it again. Give us another action, we died. Because I remember saying I remember saying who knew we were digging in and Palestinians. Formal bathroom master bathroom. Like there was no reason that this black smooth pile would be two and a half feet down as opposed to beer cans or something you know. So that was crushing. But I will tell you guys this as well. And I don’t know if Brian, I don’t know if this will this didn’t get shared at all. But even after we spent 10 hours there, we would have gone way out to the point number Brian, that White Rock is via

George Ward
anchor. And then there’s another monument that they showed you digging out I think in the credits,

Andy Abrams
yes, but we wanted to spend some time there we had, we thought we didn’t have it. And we got to that point. And that’s the area that you’re standing by the water. If you look at this, like this manmade hole in the distance, a huge crucifix, I think. And it kind of looked like the palm tree that’s not really a palm tree. And if you stand a certain angle, that White Rock look like the that that Rock of Gibraltar or glacier thing that’s in the water that we couldn’t figure out. And we’re looking at it and says by the tall tree. And now John, the owner of the found youth says something about this is the memorial for pine, it was for Captain pine. And he goes pine, pine is a tall tree goes and he goes Holy shit. So now all of a sudden we go wait a second, this, this marker matches that white stone. If you stand here, that crucifix looks like the bark of the tree that’s making up the palm tree. That is no reflection in the water. So we started digging around that and again, wasn’t there, but just shows you, you know, right down the way from those obelisks. So it’s God, man, you know, you know it’s there. And it’s maddening, to not be able to narrow it down. You guys have done so much work on it. And I believe that at some point, you’re going to figure out one missing piece that takes you to that spot. And I think when you do and you contact John, he’s going to say, yeah, come on down. And let’s find it. And I George, I agree with you, he’ll be thrilled that people will stop. But for the moment, it’ll be more thrilled to hold the cask in his hands when you pull it out because you become a child, your 10 year old child digging up buried treasure, and it’s super

George Ward
cool. Yeah, just for anybody that’s going to dig in St. Augustine, if you want a piece of Expedition unknown history, that sewer pipe is everywhere, right outside of the gate. Just everywhere you dig, you will hit that sewer pipe, you will pull up just bags of it. And and for the creepy stalker lady that Ponce de Leon statues only been there like 10 years.

Brian Zinn
By the way, I just want to point out, I’ve also been contacted by many people saying, you know, they’ve solved things in five minutes, and they know that it’s in Dallas, or they know that it’s in Salt Lake City or St. Louis. And I think I think we should let them go with it. And the journey is more fun than than the destination. You know, it’s a big part of it. I totally agree. Especially, especially if you have kids or something like that. If you think that it’s in Salt Lake City, and you have these clues, take your kids and go go on a treasure hunt. I mean, that would be fantastic.

George Ward
Yeah, that we’ve had since the expedition unknown episode, we’ve had an influx of new users. It’s crazy. And they have all these ideas that are just outlandish ideas, that couldn’t possibly be true. But it’s important that we kind of nurture that because you never know what they’re going to find. These puzzles aren’t solved. We don’t know the answer. So

Brian Zinn
right. If somebody thinks it’s in Dallas, you know, a woman actually was like, trying to convince me that it was in Dallas, and I wouldn’t say no. Right? I said, if you think it’s in Dallas, you know, these are plausible theories. Do you have any kids? I think she had two daughters. They say, go go on a little vacation, go for

Andy Abrams
it. I remember about five years back, maybe six years back. We vacationed in the Outer Banks, and I have my then 678 Shall be at next week. My daughter was 12 and my nephew was was also 12. And we had done some work on North Carolina, but it didn’t be being there. And so I said, Hey, you guys want to spend a day on a treasure hunt. And to this day, I mean, other than the one I did with Brian was one of the most enjoyable days of my entire life. We started at the wing. We I showed them the clues. We worked our way across the bambridge we got thrown up you know we did the whole thing and it was such a thrill. As a dad with your kids, we didn’t even bring digging tools that day, we just did the journey, like Brian said, so good, clean family fun, great, are there guys who are more involved scientifically trying to solve it? Sure, it takes all kinds, but that one person who happened to see something, an image that the four of us don’t know, but way back then, you know, stood on that ground and saw it and goes, you know, that reminds me of the such and such oblique statue and you go, Whoa, because sometimes you just gotta get lucky. And maybe there’s going to be somebody in this new batch who has sees one of the identifiers, and is familiar with that, and would never know unless you happen to be at that spot. And maybe that’ll unlock a clue that does whenever Brian said to me, he needed a fresh pair of eyes. And sometimes for all the naughty things you sift through every now and then is a good one.

Brian Zinn
You know, back in 1982, when I bought the book, and I was going down, because I thought it was in Philadelphia and taking the trolley down to the site. Every week or so. I had a ball. It was a lot of fun. And there was no internet and nothing beats that. It’s it’s just a great hobby and a great thing to do.

George Ward
I think one of the most important clues that I ever got from St. Augustine actually came from my dad, who is in no way interested in this. Like I presented this to my dad, like you were saying with fresh eyes, I kind of wanted, you know, to to have somebody who wasn’t interested at all. Look at it. And he reminded me the very first lines in the St. Augustine, first chapter written in water, he reminded me that as soon as you walked in the fountain of youth in the 80s, there was where there are now pictures. There was a painting of Florida and written right in the Gulf of Mexico was the first chapter. I would have never known that clue. Unless my dad told me

Andy Abrams
and that is icing. I just got chills when you tell that story like that is so that is so cool. Goosebumps. Goosebumps. That’s so cool.

George Ward
There’s a free clue for St. Augustine. There you go.

Brian Zinn
So if you wanted to know more about the background of Expedition unknown, although I told them we were very close to St. Augustine, I knew there was a chance we wouldn’t get permission. So you know, OWL help us with that. But they want they had me walk through the Solve for St. Augustine to see, you know, they wanted to judge it for themselves. And then they had we go through a solve for another city as a backup. And I picked the North Carolina one. I thought that that was the next closest one. So that was the backup for Expedition unknown if we couldn’t get permission for St. Augustine. We were going to probably do North Carolina.

JM
There was a lot cut out it seems like from the episode, was there anything cut out that could be of any

Brian Zinn
help? We went through pretty much all the clues of verse nine which is the verse that most people think of it with St. Augustine where we went through the near men with wind rose What shall limestone silver unsold means? I explained about the goose pan or the duck pond and you can still hear the honking. So they cut all of that out. So I was told that they’re probably going to do a repacking of the episode at some point online where they’re going to show the uncut version of a lot of stuff. So when that comes down, I guess that will let you know we worked

Andy Abrams
for like nine hours till it was dark and we were there for nine hours shooting that day and they truncated it to without commercials that eight minutes and out of all of it the only questions I got me on the treasure hunt where did I have a prosthetic leg because I was wearing this impression sleeve on my leg of the time because two days before we went down the chute I tore my calf muscle and I didn’t want to be on camera on crutches or a cane so I figured I’ll a cool name I look like a pirate on the treasure hunt with a pegleg but I remember that I remember it just for for if you if you want to wrap people’s motivation and stuff. The host was very very into it, I think because it was gettable it was possible. I guess all these things he looks for whether it’s the Yeti or Loch Ness Monster, yeah, he never finds anything. No. And that’s what everybody said, John, they said, Well, I go with him actually.

Brian Zinn
That’s actually how I sold the episode to them is because when I was talking to the producers, I said, jokingly, you know, he goes after these huge things from history and he can find a cask essentially, without our hell

Andy Abrams
he was he was so into it. And I and I joked with Brian about it afterwards, I said, it’s kind of like what would I call a brain like the gene And during Marian principle from Gilligan’s Island like everybody always thought ginger was so attractive she’s in that cocktail dress and and that was the big scruffy gives the bee with ginger. And that’s to me is like Stonehenge and the Loch Ness Monster. But over time, he realized Maryam was was kind of cute and really attractive. And there’s something about it. He was gettable, like there was something bad like maybe the common man could get marry in. So here’s Josh gates. And I remember after we left, we did, we did St. Augustine, we did Cleveland. They were going up to Cleveland after that. And Brian was super busy with work, because the kind of work he does that week. And so they asked, and I was able to fly up to Cleveland to walk them through. But they went to Powell car after that. And just to give you a sense, I went home, and Josh gates, texts me out of nowhere, two days later, because Hey, it’s Josh gates here. I’m with Powell and car. I haven’t cracked him yet. He’s, I ride back to hysterical I love the real time update. I asked them what powered car would sell the Cleveland painting because he sells the paintings. I said, Brian, you should have that over your fireplace. Like that’s your pain. Right? And way back when I think he was willing to sell what was a brand for $2,000 way back when? Yeah, yeah. And so now he he said I talked about car, they’ll sell the Cleveland original for 7000 Oh, the appreciation right? I said you should have bought it when you have the chance. He said I said See if you can negotiate with him. I said he writes back to me, I feel you might get them down to about 5000 I got about zero out of him. So he really pressed him that day trying to and the point was he was enamored not as like a TV host who’s trying to get ratings but like a little kid he sent me a few texts afterwards like if you ever hear about anything I’d love I’d love to be a personal he got sucked in and even the last line of the show which was the one that gave me goosebumps when he said he goes of law I got beat today I got smoked to somebody said but you know this is by far my favorite expedition I’ve ever done I think it’s because he realized how fun it is to go out and try to dig with your hands and find this buried treasure and that it is gettable

JM
it’s I think it’s the only one that he was able to drive in Iraq Z and that’s that’s probably the real reason.

Andy Abrams
You know, we Brian did a really nice job of walking him through a lot of St. Augustine. I know we had talked about North Carolina too. I remember at the time they didn’t give permission to dig in North Carolina so it wasn’t even the MLB told us they the Park Service wouldn’t let them dig there. So that one was routed out pretty quickly which was disappointing. I think if you had I don’t know anybody would want to watch all nine hours there was a lot of ground covered and just walking through things certain tree placement that George I’m sure you’ve seen over and over and over. It’s just conversation that was had little bits and pieces from the from the guy who owns the park telling us a bit of the history. And remember Rodney tell us about the fountain that was there with the girl with the umbrella, right? Yeah, it wasn’t we weren’t

Brian Zinn
going through everything. I even explained that I thought this was either the first or the St. Augustine was either the first or last place that Byron price buried cask because he’s calling them casks. And they mentioned cask on a sign there. And it seems to refer to it as a container. But it was actually referring to a helmet that’s what a cask is is a helmet. Cas qu E and I think Byron Preiss just misunderstood it to mean container and because it’s written that way on the side

Andy Abrams
yeah, as Brian said, Brian said which was so brilliant when he saw that because you right when you look up cask, nothing defines a cask as a treasure holder it doesn’t exist. Right You’re right Brian pointed that out where we stood they said look, it’s like he was standing in the show you the cast the helmet that concluded that helmet and talking about it and there’s a story about something that shipped over at that time, and the cask and and Brian said I guarantee was standing right here when he said whom Cask is kind of a cool term for treasure holder. And that’s how it morphed into these casks that were buried. There’s no question that’s what happened. So that’s where

Brian Zinn
he got the name from there read from that sign from the fountain of view was probably either the first or the last place he was at. That gave him the idea.

JM
That is all the time we have for this episode of The Secret podcast. Remember to visit us on our Facebook page. And thanks for joining us for this month’s episode. Tune in next month when we will discuss the Houston portion of the puzzle with our special guests Brian Hill, formerly of the Houston parks department, and avid treasure hunter and longtime participant in the secret. Our good friend will house down in Houston. Until next time, You take care now.

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George Ward
JM
Brian Zinn
Andy Abrams

 

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