FAQ

Who are you?

Nobody. Regardless of what the puzzles might imply, you don’t need to know anything about me to solve them.

If you do know my name, then please keep it on the down-low until my kids are grown.  They don’t know where the treasures are, or have any hints for you.  Don’t be their stranger danger.  Thanks.

What’s the treasure hunt?

I hid a treasure somewhere outside, in a Missouri state or local park, and if you find it then you get to keep it.
That’s the whole game.

How do I play?

Find an active hunt on this site and read the clues… and then go find the thing.  You won’t need to dig anything up, so please leave your shovels at home.

I want the game to be accessible to more people.  That’s why it won’t take an advanced degree in cryptography to solve the clues.  It’s possible to “dial in” on the hunt locations with info available to the public via your search engine of choice.  I find most of the top level hints on the target park’s website.  But Google won’t put the prize in your hands.  You’re going to need boots on the ground, too.  I’ll sneak the city or area name into the first few lines of each riddle if I don’t say where it is outright. Have fun with that.

[Update 12/2019] So I’ve caved in a bit on this.  Rather than say “it’s in Missouri”, I’ll give a general direction like “central” or “southeast”.  As much as I want the hunts to be a challenge, I’ll concede that some of the difficulty should be dialed down to $50…

If you find the prize you can of course keep it secret, but it really helps me if you can drop even an anonymous note to let me know it’s gone.  I’d also love to hear your searcher stories – hit me up on the contact form on the main page.

Finally, if you’re having fun then help spread the word.  The more the merrier, and a merry me makes more treasure hunts.

But there’s really treasure, right?  None of that “the treasure was the journey” bull?

I thought about not answering this one, but I think it’s safer if I do.

The answer is … sort of?  There’s no gold or jewels because, let’s be real, I don’t have any.  So sure you will win memories, and a nice little letter … and oh yeah, cash.  Usually there will be a $50 prize.  For special hunts it might go up to $100. For now at least, I’m setting the goals in that range.  So “treasure” is a stretch perhaps, but the prizes are real.

That’s a cruddy treasure.

You could leave the treasure for someone else to find.  I’m sure they will be okay with that.  Or, help spread the word about our little game, and I’ll use the advertising and merchandise revenue to make the prizes bigger, better, and more frequent.

But! People do weird, strange, dangerous things if they think there’s a boatload of money involved.  I don’t know if the crazy line is at fifty, or a hundred, or a thousand dollars, but I do know that I don’t want one mega winner. More games = more players = more winners = more happy = more games.

… that’s the circle of MOTH.

For the moment, the prize is enough to treat yourself to a nice dinner, but not enough to think that dangling from a cliff is going to be a good life decision.

How long til a new hunt starts?

There’s no schedule or quota.  On my own I can squirrel away enough for a new hunt about every other month.  Once there is enough money saved up for a new prize, then there will be another hunt – even if one is still ongoing.  Check the home page for a list of active hunts.

That’s dumb.  I want one now.

Thanks?  I’m glad you like the game.  Maybe pick up a nifty thing from the store.  After Redbubble takes their 80% cut, you’ll have a nifty thing and I’ll get a few bucks that will go toward the next hunt’s prize.  I’ll keep a running tally on the home page showing how far we’ve got until the next hunt is funded.

Is this a scam?

Nope … I can’t imagine how to use the game for evil with the rules it has.  There is no pay to play.  If you think you know where the prize is, go get it.  You don’t even need to tell me that it’s gone… though it would save me a lot of time and money if you did slip me an anonymous note via the contact form.

Aren’t you afraid of lawsuits?

Sure.  But there is no activity in modern life free from the shadow of litigation.  Does that mean we should do nothing? That sounds boring.

So let’s make this deal now: if you are playing the game, you are deciding where you go and what you do.  You are deciding how much risk to put yourself in based on your physical health and ability.

For my part, I am no spring chicken, and I will not put anything in a location that I wouldn’t let my kids go to.  So, let’s agree to keep this game safe, fun, and lawsuit-free.

Why are you doing this? What’s the catch?

It’s fun to think about big treasures and pirate maps and riddle poems. Unfortunately, Missouri is thin on swashbucklers and eccentric millionaires who want to stash their cash on land that won’t get you sued for pursuing.

I am not a millionaire (nearly a million dollars short, in fact), and I’m probably never going to break even on this… so I’ll do this for as long as it’s fun, and then I’ll stop.  I mean, none of my other hobbies pay for themselves, so this one isn’t so peculiar.

No, really… what’s the catch?

If you’re still on the fence, words aren’t going to do the trick.  Try searching for one of the treasures. When you’re out there seeing clues in every branch and stone … you’ll know. It’s a relaxing, exciting sort of mix; a mystery that pulls us out of our day-to-day long enough to remember that life used to be more than bills and politics.

That’s all?

Yep. Memento mori.

I found this weird, hollow, clay acorn. What is it?

I leave these here and there for the younglings to find. I didn’t bother to note the locations so no, I can’t tell how many have been found, or how many are left. There’s a dollar coin inside if you crack it open, or you can leave it intact and shake it every now and then for a smile. Or, you could hide it somewhere to put a smile on someone else’s face. It’s yours now – you do what makes you happy.

Will you do a hunt in my area?

I’d love to.  Before I check out, I’d like to send searchers to every park in Missouri.

I mean now.  Will you do one where I live, now?

Drop me your location via the contact form on the home page.  If I know there are players nearby, I think it’d be fun to get a hunt in your area.  From the third hunt on, I will need to get permission from the city or state where the hunt is going on, just to protect myself from silly lawsuits.

Can I run a hunt?

Sure you can.  Come up with a prize, post a few flyers, and voila.

If you mean can you run it here – then probably not.  There’s too much liability in that for me to hand the reigns over to a stranger.

If you want to collaborate on a puzzle… we can talk about it. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying: “Three can keep a secret if two are dead.” I’m leaning toward nope, but haven’t fallen off the fence yet.

Your hints are too hard.

You don’t have to go it alone.  Grab a friend, or trade ideas in the hunt comments.  I think the hunts are easy, but then I have the answers in front of me.  If a hunt starts to get too cold I will toss a hint out there.

Your hints are too easy.

You might enjoy a tougher challenge then – have you heard of the Forrest Fenn poem?

As always, Happy Hunting

– MOTH