Thanks to John and Kit for this wonderful tribute. They have produced a puzzle that, in my opinion captures the essence of The Secret. True to form, this puzzle explores an iconic American city, and brings the solver through its history. As part of my own research, I believe The Secret is about human, civil, and equal rights. Preiss wanted the reader to discover the hidden, and sometimes not-so-popular histories of American cities. John and Kit have recreated this theme. They have also modernized the game. This entire puzzle can be solved from home. Unlike the originals, which sometimes contain parks and landscapes that cannot be viewed from Google Maps and Goolge Street View, this puzzle is a true arm-chair treasure hunt.
Getting started – the shape of her appendages are the highways through the former Confederate states. Her gown, the Mississippi River, divides America in two. Her head is in Indiana, a play on words for the head of an Indian. Her boot is Louisiana. The main theme we should take away from the image is the division of America. The Mississippi River, as well as the Civil War (Confederate states) divided America in two.
Many have noted that the wolf/lamb/bull on the leash looks like many different animals. If we take the leash as highway 35, then this animal sits in Mexico. Looking for instances in the book (The Secret). Mexico is referenced as having a beast of multiple personalities. This reference is on page 174 and under the chapter about Trog/Symps (creatures that seek to divide America).
And if, instead of a consensus, a pork barrelling stalemate results, who can deny that a two-headed, bipartisan beast is yet superior to the four-headed fairy of this kind which haunts Canada or the one with the thirteen-way split personality that is the scourge of Mexico.The Secret p 174
The branches represent the Mississippi and its tributary the Ohio River (tribute casque, tributary rivers).
The line with the gem hanging down represents the Missouri Compromise Line. Any states north of the Missouri Compromise line were admitted to the US as slave-free states, and any states to the south were admitted as slave states. This line also divided America in two. It forms part of the northern boundary of Tennessee. The gem is positioned around Nashville.
Searchers have noted that the woman appears to have the profile of Queen Victoria. We also have the monarch butterfly and a queen chess piece in the image. Queen Victoria represents the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which divided America in two down the Mississippi River. All land with rivers that flowed into the Mississippi were designated as Native American land. All land with rivers that flowed into the Atlantic were designated as colonial land. This is our third clue about dividing American in two.
We also have some major clues related to the Trail of Tears. The gem in the image is shaped like a teardrop, and the Native American has one of her feet out of its boot. On the trail of tears it is said that Native Americans were not allowed to stop walking. The pace was so treacherous that they were not allowed time to fix their shoes if they came off.
What city sits near the divide between the North and the South (Missouri Compromise Line), and the divide between east and west (Mississippi), and was on the Trail of Tears? Nashville. Looking closer at Nashville, we know it is the state capital. The image comprises of a chair or “seat” symbolic of the capital. The wavy pattern is the two loop-like bends of Cumberland River and the flat line of the seat is the Missouri Compromise line. Using the Tennessee capitol building as a general starting area we can begin to interpret the verse at the Bicentennial Mall.
Your way has a twin
A man of adventure stands
At the beginning and the end
Cross four spans
Next, John and Kit put something new in the puzzle. For this clue we need to use Google. The answer to the clue is only found online.
Valkyrie’s window with 7
It’s important to find all clues
Learned now from methods past
The window has a queen chess piece, so we google “Valkyrie Queen”. We get the below link as our first result:
We have strong hints that suggest a divided America, and we have the shape of the Valkyrie Queen. Taking these together we come to Fort Negley, not far from the Bicentennial Mall.
Fort Negley was built after the Union sieged and won the Battle of Nashville. Minnesota regiments were instrumental in capturing the hill, those regiments lost more men in the Battle of Nashville than any other Civil War battle.
The wall at Fort Negley also resembles our the brick structure in the image.
There are two gun-sight looking metal structures at this fort. They are used to look out at some distance as one might have looked out over a cannon. We have a branch with a dangling gem in the image. We can take this to represent a dangling fruit. As such we use the Peach Orchard Hill gun-sight.
The Peach Orchard Hill gun-sights peer south from the fort. We see train/railroad symbols in the image. This means to peer south through the gun-sight and view the railroad. The “hub” is a rail car wheel. Nashville is a huge railroad hub, and there is a giant rail station a few miles south of the fort.
In the beginning and the end cross 4 spans
Looking south from the fort there are 4 spans south of the fort that form a similar shape to the Bicentennial Mall. However, these “spans” are divided up by streets.
Looking closely at the first three spans, we can see that they form the handle of the tomahawk. This is why 3 fingers are shown gripping it. Fort Negley is the base of the handle. Craighead St, Wedgewood Ave, and Walsh Rd form the blade.
Two circles three (2 C’s from Boston). Hill, swamp, and valley deep is Houston. These refer to Cottage Cove, and Fort Houston respectively.
Next we need to interpret the major players in the image. The sheep/wolf/bull has been identified as Sitting Bull from Ellensburg’s bull sculpture. It can be seen here in the Oregonian. 👀😂😂😂 Sitting Bull was killed while being held in captivity by the Indian Agency Police. These were Native Americans conscripted by the US government to police other Native Americans. Sitting Bull was killed by Lt. Bullhead after it was believed he would try to flee camp with his ghost dancers. The wolf/sheep aspect of the bull (I think) is to be interpreted as a ‘sheep in wolf’s clothing’, as Sitting Bull was actually a fairly peaceful man (sheep), though he was seen as a threat (wolf) by many others.
Remember that the head of the Native American represents the state of Indiana from our original map. So this helps us tie in “Bullhead” to ‘Indiana head’ or ‘Indian head’. Here is the map again so you don’t have to scroll up.
Now that we know that the Native American’s head is Lt. Bullhead we can take our next logical step.
We take Brown’s Creek and Craighead St to get John Brown Craighead
Three dragon of the C
In the San Francisco puzzle we jump from Golden Gate Park to China Beach. Here we are about to make a giant step distance wise. We are headed to the Craighead House a few miles west of here. We use the third span (three fingers) to take Wedgewood Ave to the Craighead House.
An Emblem of B
It’s down below
Notice the Victorian style, the brick color, the position of the windows, and the shadow running down the left side of the house. The peace sign is the emblem of Sitting Bull (B). The butterfly is a flying buttress – an external support system used for old walls. The gem hangs from a tree just like the peace sign hangs.
Viva the fair folk, and their treasure keep
This last line helps point us to the exact location of the casque at Craighouse. If we look for instances of Mexico or Spain (from the word “Viva”) in the book we get the Trog Symps again. These guys are bad. The book says that they seek to divide mankind politically. They inspired man to be belligerent and start civil wars in the US, Spain, El Salvador and others. The Symp is left wing, and the trog is right wing. They espouse opposite political alignments. The key here is the civil wars and the devisiveness of their politics. This puzzle’s theme is the Civil War and a divided America. These guys are right in line with that theme. The book says that they like to hangout on sidewalks in front of embassies and their picture has them standing in front of the US Capitol building. Remember that Nashville is our state capital.
The woman is also holding a leash. People generally walk their dogs on sidewalks. Taking the hint about sidewalks we look at the entrance to the Craighead House. The peace sign hangs down close to the front gate. The sidewalk past the entrance looks a lot like the bottom of our chair’s seat in the image. Most of the major components of the image can be matched to this location. Thinking along the sidewalk theme and using “two circles three”, and “dragon of the C” – I think this is a hint to use the creases/cracks in the sidewalk for our dig spot. “Two circles three” is a reference to the 2 C’s in Boston. One of the popular theories there is to use the creases in the sidewalk to line up the dig spot. “Dragon of the C” can reference China Beach in San Francisco. A similar theory is used to lineup the dig spot there with the creases in between the concrete blocks on the sea wall. I think the “T” in the image is to be used as the “T” in the cracks of the sidewalk.
John and Kit intended for us to use Google Street View to solve this puzzle. The painting was specifically tailored to match the 2014 street view of the Craighead House. https://goo.gl/maps/atgUUQMHeGD2
That is it! There is one more background clue to this puzzle. There was a famous Craighead named Jean Craighead George. She wrote a children’s book called Julie of the Wolves. It is about an Eskimo girl in Alaska that runs away from home after marrying an abusive husband. She ends up befriending a pack of wolves to survive. Preiss used literary references to tie together his puzzles. This clue ties together our Native American, the wolf on a leash, and our ties to the Craighead family.
Other photos from the trip.