Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Masquerade and the Treasure Hunt That Drove Readers Insane

If you spend any amount of time online, you'll have run into numerous conspiracy theorists.  They'll point from bystanders in the background of news footage, to arcane symbolism on currency, to scenes from blockbuster movies, and explain just how all these things fit together to prove that the government is secretly behind every natural and man-made disaster, ever.   But it isn't just world events that can spur this apophenic obsession.  In 1979, artist Kit Williams published Masquerade, which became a bestseller, not just on the strength of its artwork, but because the artwork contained clues to an actual buried treasure: a golden hare wrought by Williams.  Hazlitt has a great retrospective article on the lengths people went to to find the treasure, and the details of some particularly obsessed seekers.  "Afterwards, on the way to the pub, he checked the names written on the sides of the vans, looking for the author's response... He had finally realized that the author possessed a listening device that could detect vibrations from his typewriter keyboard."

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