Among the most popular stories in cryptology are those about a hidden treasure, the location of which is described in an encrypted text. Here are three more stories of this kind.

There are several stories about encrypted messages that allegedly describe the hiding place of a treasure. In the first part of this article, I covered three stories of this kind. The chances that one of these treasures really exists and can be found are as good as zero. Today, I am going to present three more crypto treasure stories. One of these treasures probably does exist – it might be found one day by a clever mystery solver.


The Fenn Treasure

The Fenn Treasure is reportedly worth over a million dollars. It was supposedly hidden by art dealer and author Forrest Fenn (born 1931) somewhere in the Rocky Mountains in 2010. When asked why he created the treasure hunt, Fenn said he “just wanted to give people some hope.” The location of the treasure can allegedly be derived from the following poem:

As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.
Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.
From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

Of course, this poem is not a cryptogram in the narrow sense, as it was not created with an encryption method. Instead, it can be regarded as a puzzle.

There is, of course, no proof that the Fenn Treasure really exists and that it can be found by “decrypting” the poem. In addition, it is far from clear, whether the treasure (if it exists) is as valuable as Fenn says. However, there is at least a realistic chance that one day it will be found – something that cannot be said about the other crypto treasures I am aware of.

Several people have claimed to have found the treasure, but no one has ever provided any evidence supporting their claim. Three people are known to have died while searching for the treasure. As a consequence New Mexico police have tried to pressure Fenn into ending the hunt, but to no avail.

Is the story true? Yes.

Does the treasure exist? There’s a good chance that it does.

Can the cryptogram be broken? There’s a good chance that it can.


The Peralta Stones

The Peralta Stones are a set of engraved stones displayed at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa, AZ. Some people believe the engravings indicate the location of a gold mine or a hidden treasure. Wikipedia gives the following description:

The stones consist of “two red sandstone tablets and a heart-shaped rock made of red quartzite. Each block is approximately 8.25” (~ 21 cm) by 14” (~35.6 cm) and 2” thick, weighing about 25 lbs. Each red stone block is carved with lines and one long line. When the two blocks are placed side by side and the stone heart is inserted the long line has 18 dots pecked into it. This style of map is known as a Post Road Map and it is a style used in Mexico and Spain during the Mexican–American War. Inscribed on the stones is the date 1847, and one stone contains a relief of a heart, which the heart-shaped stone fits perfectly. The heart shape fits neatly in the second stone. The back of the stone that the heart-shaped stone fits into has the outline of a cross carved on the back. The back of the other stone has the word DON carved into it.



The two red sandstone map pieces are displayed with a third white sandstone of similar size and weight as the red ones. The history of the white stone was cited by an author using the moniker ‘Azmula’. Azmula cites the history in the Superstition Mountain Journal, issue 27 of 2009. He attributes the original citation to M. Kraig Roberts. Mr. Roberts’s article is titled “History of the Chain Of Possession Of The Stone Maps”. The Journal article is a history of the white stone. The white sandstone has a side showing a Priest who is assembling the Peralta Stones to form the map. The reverse side is known as the Horse Map. The Priests Stone contains Spanish text that states that to find the gold you must find the heart. The lower half of the number 8 in the red sandstone map has a small heart carved in the circle.

Some people interprete the lines and the symbols on the Peralta Stones as a map. Allegedly, this map indicates the location of the so-called Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. The numbers on the stones are believed by some to be a formula for the map scale.

Some other hypotheses say that the stones don’t lead to a gold mine but to a treasure or a buried vault containing valuable art objects.

Others think the symbols encode a message. Some even claim to have deciphered the message. For instance, the following cleartext was proposed: “Be ready boy, are on a map on Arizona county scale, scale map.” Many other theories exist, but neither a gold mine nor a treasure has ever been found.

There is serious doubt that the Peralta Stones are genuine and that the gold mine (or the treasure or the art vault) really exists. As a skeptic I am generally doubtful about stories like these. For a critical treatise of the Peralta Stones check here.

Is the story true? I doubt it.

Does the treasure exist? I doubt it.

Can the cryptogram be broken? I doubt it.


The Oak Island treasure

Oak Island (Nova Scotia) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. In the late 18th century, an expedition allegedly discovered a man-made pit in the ground of the island. This came as a surprise, as Oak Island was located far from civilisation. Over the centuries, numerous theories have been developed about the Oak Island pit, some of which say that a treasure is or was hidden there.

Because of the many excavations that took place in and around the presumed pit location, the original structure is not visible any more. Some even believe that there never was a pit on Oak Island. If so, the 18th century expedition that allegedly discovered the pit lied (perhaps, they did not want to admit that they had not found anything interesting on the island) or they misinterpreted a natural as artificial.

According to one of the many Oak island legends, the following stone was found in the pit (the picture is taken from Edward Rowe Snow’s True Tales of Buried Treasure):


The ciphertext is easy to decrypt. Here’s the cleartext: FORTY FEET BELOW TWO MILLION POUNDS ARE BURIED. It goes without saying that nobody has ever found these two million pounds in the pit or anywhere else on Oak Island.

Is the story true? No, it’s a hoax.

Does the treasure exist? No.

Can the cryptogram be broken: It is already broken, but the cleartext doesn’t lead to a treasure.

Further reading: Alster bottle post mystery: Fourth bottle post has been found


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Kommentare (9)

  1. #1 Rich SantaColoma
    11. Februar 2018

    About the “Oak Island Treasure”, you write:

    “Is the story true? No, it’s a hoax.
    Does the treasure exist? No.
    Can the cryptogram be broken: It is already broken, but the cleartext doesn’t lead to a treasure.”

    Thank you, Mr. Voice of Reason. Oak Island is a perfect case example of the ability of the Human Mind to hold onto Hope beyond the last shred of reason. So in that way, it’s sort of nice. Frightening, too.

    That poor island was dug out into a gigantic crater… and filled in again. Millions of $$$ have spent… wasted… and continue to be. Now the new excavators are digging back in the old rubble, “finding” the junk from all the old, failed attempts have left behind, along with all their shattered dreams.

    Again, fascinating, but sad, too. The whole story is a life line to those who are willing and able to grab it, a warning to not waste one’s life on phantoms made from the imaginations of careless and inconsiderate minds.

  2. #2 Breaker
    11. Februar 2018

    So it seems there is some question as to these ciphers.

    “Forrest Fenn” – Fenn is AKA Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, a known pedophile and cult leader. Founder of the Church of Satan, he was disavowed of all military rank and status in the early 90’s. He has made numerous appearances on TV in the past on Oprah and Geraldo, forming an alliance with them to create a Mockingbird Project out of his associations in the Psychological Warfare Department.

    He was a part of an original team of “Z” Agents, that he personally oversaw as a director of numerous programs that were geared at creating a VERY serious cabal. I cannot contain all the activities of this one man, but can tell you that he was one of the original cryptographers of the Zodiac and Scorpion Letters.

    This “Poem” is found accompanied by his book “The Thrill Of The Chase”, and “Too Far To Walk”, where on page 25 he shows a cryptic illustration of a man talking to a child. In the background of the picture, is a series of books that are made to spell out a phrase…..”IM ZODIAC”

    The picture can be seen here:

    “Forrest Fenn” is a Pen Name that he writes under….

    He previously was a part of numerous assassinations and political threats to police, politicians, and other officials, working under Bush Sr. and others he teamed with to form the “Shadow” Govt.

    Notice the “Shadow” in his Poem? This is taken from a NSA File on Beale Ciphers. Each one of his clues is taken from a previous treasure hunt of some sort.

    His affiliations can be seen here encrypted into one of the cards that was made by the “Zodiac”:

    Describing his appearance during the Kennedy Assassination and a statement of involvement in drug trade “I’M THE CIA INYA NOSE”

    The Poem, Thrill of The Chase, is another form of “The Most Dangerous Game”, and so far there have been 4 mysterious deaths (3 recognized as “Searchers” for the chest, 1 missing in areas frequented by Fenn) that show that there is a “following” of sorts….

    You forgot to mention that one NSA “Treasure Map” issue @KlausSchmeh….lol

    The Poem itself has three lines with a 26 letter count.

    They are used to create three Vigenere Tableau’s, with the first line of them used to create a shift, vertically entered to move each line accordingly.

    Taking them and creating three templates, and then running the Acrostics (first letter of every word in poem) they are entered into the cipher to derive a portion of a solve.

    Taking the Acrostics and making them into a 6×6 grid and stacking numerous grids on one another you get 166 letters in a large vertical graph, making up a map of words that shows a certain location on the map.

    These locations are sites that he is trying to lure people to specifically encouraging individuals to go at times by prodding them to go out, knowing they are ALONE in their journey. He specifically targeted individuals that were recently separated from their spouses and those that were facing financial stresses, encouraging them to explore the outback of the Rockies for his chest filled with gold and jewels, as well as leaving hints behind to other treasures in the description of his puzzles.

    The problem with the poem is that it is very complex to be able to perfectly account for every letter and still accommodate for the multiple layers. This leaves Fenn tasked with including 3 partial solves that are then mixed in with gibberish to throw off the search even further.

    Remember that the poem “describes” an area in Colorado on the border with Utah, that was made to be a holdout of the Rebel Jesse James’s R+R Camp, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s holdout in “The Blaze”, and at the same time leads you to another area in the deciphering of the acrostics that ALSO fits the images of the poem’s descriptions, but hides it in northern New Mexico in the desert near Bisti, NM where there are a series of hundreds of Natural Arches that Fenn calls “Rainbows”.

    There are numerous discussions on that show there is a behind the scenes affair going on there and on other discussion boards that are manipulative and are filled with other Ciphers and amateur Cryptologist’s discussions.

    So the whole thing as a chase for his specific treasure seems to be a lure, whereas the poem leads victims to be selected accordingly….

    This is the picture of a man’s map that met his fate on a river raft down a New Mexico river. This map was found to be in his front seat of his car WITH HIS BOOTS IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER…look at the markings found on the map, which are not confirmed as even being his possession. You can see the outline of the hooded killer.


    They later found his backpack where the search teams had gone through the areas to search for his remains, and were surprised to find his pack AFTER searching the area thoroughly.

  3. #3 Breaker
    11. Februar 2018

    About The “Oak Island Treasure”

    That can be found here:

  4. #4 Breaker
    11. Februar 2018

    Now about the “Peralta Stones”

    They were crafted at a later time, but the mines that they led to can be found in the work of the Jesuit in the later 1600’s before their banishment.

    The Peralta’s were there in the area mining when the expusion fo the Jesuit happened, leaving behind their stone crosses and a series of mines that the Natives later refilled the entrances to….

    The story gets more confusing when the man named James Reavis with the KGC in the late 1800’s was trying to convince the valley residents that he had been granted a HUGE land grant from the Kingdom of Spain, taking control over the WHOLE VALLEY of Phoenix, and stealing every Mining Claim in the mountains of the Superstitions.

    This land grab was funded by the people that were sent through shady connections to the valley, described in “The Beale Papers” as a Hunting Party, having 30 men in their team.

    This was funded by the Standard Oil Trust of Rockefeller and JP Morgan, making themselves a mere financier, and leaving the mining to their men, they later massacred them to cover their own trails, leaving the Beale Papers as a “Testament” to their deaths and to leave blame on the Apache, inciting more wars with the natives.

    The men’s bodies were found in Arizona some miles on the trail from the mines and the tales of their deaths and the mystery behind the person called Jacob Walz (Waltz) was the only thing that anyone knew about the operations.

    When deciphering the Map Stones, it dawned on me then that the Beale and the Peralta Stones were connected when I saw the coded numerical sequence as the signature that tied them into the Beale’s adventures out west.

    At the bottom of the Map Stones was the cryptic line of carved numbers and symbols….

    2 = 3 – mine symbol – 18 = 7

    The Beale says that they left for the mines on a “2 Year Contract” leaving in the 3rd month of March, to mine for 18 months (or more) and returning to mine for 7 months after depositing the first in Virginia.

    In this coded line is the evidence that ties the two halves of these puzzles together, and weaves them into one story, to take the person through the history of the affairs of the Land Removal Acts of the American Military under the OAK and KGC, and the Gold Heists that were conducted at the helm of this operation that forged their financial empire at the turn of the 20th century.

  5. #5 Magulwes
    13. Februar 2019

    bezüglich des Oak Island – Rätsels habe ich in Ihrem Blog noch nichts über das sog. “La Formule” Kryptogramm gefunden.
    Entdeckt hat es wohl eine gewisse Zena Halpern. Erwähnung findet es in ihrem Buch “The Templar Mission to Oak Island and Beyond: Search for Ancient Secrets: The Shocking Revelations of a 12th Century Manuscript”.
    Vielleicht habe ich es ja auch übersehen, aber falls nicht, hier die Abschrift aus besagtem Buch.

    Natürlich kursieren im Netz einige mutmaßliche Entschlüsselungen, aber ich dachte es wäre Interessant, wenn Sie, Herr Schmeh, es ohne Kenntnis der anderen Entschlüsselungen (wenn es dafür noch nicht zu spät sein sollte) versuchen zu dechiffrieren, um zu sehen was Ihrer Meinung nach dahintersteckt.


  6. #6 Klaus Schmeh
    16. Februar 2019

    @Magulwes: Danke für den Hinweis. Ich kannte bisher nur dieses hier als Oak-Island-Kryptogramm:
    Das von Ihnen verlinkte sieht ähnlich aus, hat aber wohl einen anderen Inhalt. Das schau ich mir auf jeden Falll genauer an.

  7. #7 Alamo R
    16. Mai 2019

    Breaker, regarding you think Forrest Fenn is the Church of Satan Aquino, how silly can you be? Fenn does not look much like Aquino at all, and Aquino is much younger. Are you just excited because you’re a closet Christian and look for Satan everywhere? There is nothing to worry about a bunch of goths running around in black lipstick and listening to backwards music. They had a bad childhood so decide to turn to the dark side., Later, when they are on their deathbed, they ask God to forgive them. And regarding the men who died searching for the treasure, they did themselves in by white water rafting and cliff hanging, foolish acts. It was not Fenn’s fault they were not careful

  8. #8 David Oranchak
    8. Juni 2020

    According to this, Forrest Fenn’s treasure has recently been found:

    I wonder what the solution was!

  9. #9 Breaker
    21. Juli 2021

    “And regarding the men who died searching for the treasure, they did themselves in by white water rafting and cliff hanging, foolish acts. It was not Fenn’s fault they were not careful”

    Not that careful….that’s a good one

    So the one found dead tied to the tree in the outback of the Rockies was an accidental bondage experiment of some kind?