The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club
Mysterious Stranger: A Book of Magic

Mysterious Stranger: A Book of Magic is ostensibly a non-fiction book - a mix of autobiography, history, tricks and self-help. But this work by master magician David Blaine has an armchair hunt built into the book. Published in USA on 29 October 2002 by Villard Books. ISBN 0375505733. 224pp hardback - though there are, apparently, several different editions of the book. The UK edition runs to 256 pages and is ISBN 0752219898 published by Channel 4. The hunt was open (with a few exceptions) to US, Canadian and UK residents.

The hunt is a code woven in the text of the book. Blaine and Bill Kalush comissioned puzzle-master Cliff Johnson, author of The Fool's Errand website, to develop the hunt, after inital consultation with crytographer Dave Phillips. Blaine is famous for his street magic and endurance stunts such as his encacement in ice in Times Square and his 36 hours standing motionless atop an 83 ft pillar in Manhattan

Sixteen months after publication, on 20 March 2004, the hunt had been solved by Sherri Skanes, a retired school teacher from Ventura, California, USA. The solution led Sherri and her son to 2451 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles. On the estate a gold orb was buried and the finder is able to claim cache of gold coins worth US$100,000.

One of our bulletin board members started a discussion on the club BB. There is also discussion on David Blaines official MSN Message Board, and a highly active discussion on a special instance of the Quest4Treasure forum.

The puzzle's co-creator, Cliff Johnson, who has contributed to all three boards, above, has a website called the Fool's Errand. Cliff published a full solution on his Mysterious Stranger page shortly after the treasure's discovery. In addition Cliff also hosts an account of the final stages by the winner.

Return to the site contents or the list of hunts for the general public.