If you love a historically drenched and honest-to-goodness real treasure hunt, Discovery is where you need to be Wednesday night.
Just think Curse of Oak Island and the films Indiana Jones and National Treasure wrapped up like a delicious Italian calzone. The finale (Wednesday) of Discovery’s Expedition Unknown heads to Boston’s Little Italy (the North End) for a tale of one family man’s nutty sounding hunch. He figured that the treasure might be under a baseball plate in an old park based a cryptic book out of print and mostly forgotten… but not by him.
He contacted nonfiction TV explorer Josh Gates, who loves a real-life exploration and challenge. The hunt was on.
For this episode, the remarkable find in Boston’s North End was caught on camera with Gates and his team, along with Jason Krupat, his family, and the construction crew who could not believe the cockamamie story Krupat told them was true.
Are you in?
The story is wild and the Boston Globe interviewed the man who had a moment of clarity. Jason Krupat solved a puzzle from a 1982 book called The Secret. This book was written by a man who used colorful prose, riddles, and poetic clues to steer amateur treasure hunters to 12 Plexiglas casques buried in 12 cities around the country.
On the finale of Expedition Unknown, we head to Boston with Gates, who has already done some shows on this The Secret business. We’re talking about THE Secret, a historical treasure hunt across the USA with couplets and prose that leaves a trail of clues as to where a treasure can be dug up. And it’s 100 percent for real.
Not only did Krupat figure out the clues, he told a construction crew what he thought… and they filed it away. Until one day, when they unearthed something that should not have been under the home plate of an old baseball field.
We don’t want to spoil all the fun. You have to watch. Gates spoke to us ahead of this episode to provide some details about the actual book, the author, and more intel you can bone up on ahead of the episode.
Monsters & Critics: Byron Preiss, who in 1982 released a book titled The Secret died in 2005, as of today, how many couplets/clues are unsolved that he buried?
Josh Gates: Byron’s book is a fascinating and sometimes maddening treasure hunt. He buried 12 treasure boxes in 12 parks across North America.
— Discovery (@Discovery) October 25, 2019
Within each box is a key. If you find the key, you turn it in for a precious gem and some serious bragging rights at having cracked an extremely difficult puzzle.
The first box was found by three teenagers in Chicago a year after the book was published. Twenty years later, the next box was unearthed in Cleveland by two lawyers. And then…nothing. It’s been nearly 40 years, and ten of the boxes are still in the ground. Now, another one has been found in Boston!
M&C: What do you think was Preiss’s goal in this undertaking?
Josh Gates: Byron was passionate about history and heritage, and I think his goal was to inspire people to get off their couches and explore their cities and the history of those cities.
Each puzzle celebrates a different immigrant group — the Irish in Chicago, the Greeks in Cleveland, and the Italians in Boston.
M&C: Even though Preiss died in a car accident, are his heirs honoring the legacy of giving the precious stone to the key holder?
Josh Gates: Yes. Byron’s wife, Sandi, maintains the prizes of the game, and his daughters, Blair and Karah, have participated in our previous shows to help celebrate their father’s ingenuity.
M&C: Do you think your first Expedition Unknown episode on The Secret has created a new interest across the country? And if so, do you imagine it will inspire others to recreate their own treasure hunt and book to capitalize on the finding of any hidden treasure?
Josh Gates: We’ve made two previous shows on The Secret, and since then, we’ve received thousands and thousands of e-mails from people who have become obsessed with the hunt and are convinced they’ve figured out where the remaining boxes are buried.
As to whether it inspires more local treasure hunts — time will tell. We’ve got nine other boxes in this puzzle to find, too!
M&C: How long were you and your team in the Boston area filming this episode with the Krupat family?
Josh Gates: Jason reached out to us to tell us that he thought he’d found a box, and I was on a plane the next day.
At the time, I was filming in the Indian Ocean, so it was a brutal commute! We were in the city for a few days and then another day filming in New York.
It’s all part of the show, and I can’t wait to share the adventure with our viewers. What Jason and his family put together is remarkable.
M&C: Where do you think the nine remaining casques are out there?
Josh Gates: It’s pretty well agreed upon that there’s a box in San Francisco, one in Milwaukee, one in Charleston, one in Houston, and one in New Orleans.
Some believe there’s a box in Montreal. As to exactly where they are… if I knew that, I’d have them in my hands. So, stay tuned!
The season finale of Expedition Unknown airs October 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery Channel.