Thursday, January 26, 2012

The weird true story of the golden hare treasure

The weird story of the golden hare

Back in 1980, an unusual craze gripped the imagination of people around the world.

Kit Williams a British artist produced Masquerade, a beautiful picture book that was more than just a book of paintings or children's book.

It was treasure hunt, cloaked in the imagery of the beautiful pictures and poetic text, that pointed the reader towards a valuable golden hare that he had hidden somewhere in the British landscape.

The golden hare was made from 18ct gold and decorated with precious stones and was a beautiful hand made work of art.

Worth £5000 at the time, it was packed in wax and sealed into a clay tablet where it was designed to remain in good condition for as long as it lay in the ground.

This pictorial treasure hunt could be solved by following the clues hidden in the book, finding the riddle and then answering it.

For many, the treasure hunt became an obsession as people worked to solve the puzzle. Some took to the countryside with spades, others plotted the location with maps and information gleaned from books or the library.

The idea of the book was that the prize could be claimed by contacting Kit and giving the exact location, or alternatively digging it up themselves.

Kit Williams was besieged with attention, often appeared in the media and received sackfuls of post each day from people offering solutions, or more likely begging for clues.



To everyone’s surprise, the location of the golden hare was discovered in February 1982 by a man called Dugold Thompson.

He claimed to have deducted the location of the hare by lateral thinking and investigation into Kit William’s life.

To explain the fact that he had not solved the riddle he claimed that his dog had led him by chance to the statue.

Bizarrely, it turned out that Dugold Thompson was friendly with an ex girlfriend of Kit Williams who had told Thompson about a picnic she had been on with Williams.

She remembered Williams holding a magnet near a statue of Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, in a park in Ampthill Bedfordshire. Disappointingly, it seems that Thompson had cheated.

In 1988, the golden hare was sold at Sothebys to a mystery buyer in Egypt for £31,000 where it has remained.

The Answer and the Riddle.

The exact location of where to dig was indicated by the shadow cast by the statue at midday on the Vernal Equinox, 21 March.

CATHERINES LONG FINGER OVER SHADOWS EARTH BURIED YELLOW AMULET MIDDAY POINTS THE HOUR IN LIGHT OF EQUINOX LOOK YOU

Reading the first letter of the first word on each page gives the phrase CLOSE BY AMPTHILL, a clue to the hare's location in Bedfordshire.

In another bizarre twist the clues were deciphered by two physics teachers from Manchester, Mike Barker and John Rousseau at the same time the golden hare was uncovered.





Buy A Jewellers magnifying Loupe for £6.99

 Gold and silver hallmarks main site