Se­cret Stash

A decades-old book could lead to a can­is­ter buried in Lake Park.

Milwaukee Magazine - - Culture -

BURIED SOME­WHERE IN LAKE PARK (MOST LIKELY) IS A SMALL, ceramic cask, about the size of a cof­fee can that con­tains a key. That’s what a num­ber of trea­sure hunters who have read The Se­cret, pub­lished in 1982 by By­ron Preiss (not the self-help best-seller), agree upon. But where in the park, ex­actly, no­body knows for sure. Preiss is said to have per­son­ally buried 12 casks in 12 dif­fer­ent U.S. cities in 1981, be­fore dy­ing in a car ac­ci­dent in 2005, a tragedy that brought about a brief pe­riod of freer in­for­ma­tion shar­ing among Se­cret hunters. The free-for-all ended when Preiss’ widow an­nounced that she still had the prizes for find­ing each cap­sule, a jewel, in­clud­ing an amethyst for Mil­wau­kee. Af­ter 35 years of search­ing, only two casks have been re­cov­ered, in Chicago’s Grant Park and in Cleve­land. In Mil­wau­kee, a large amount of dig­ging and ar­gu­ing and puz­zling has so far turned up noth­ing. A hunter here for more than a decade, Betsy Gru­eninger, tends to be­lieve the cask re­mains buried at the base of a tree in Lake Park, and like the other sleuths, she draws her con­clu­sions from the cryptic words and il­lus­tra­tions in the 35-year-old tome. She wor­ries that land­scap­ing at the park may have bro­ken the cache. To men­tally undo these changes, she’s on a mis­sion to see how the park looked in the ’80s. “We must find pho­tos of that era,” she says.

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