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Riddles, doodles and illumination … They will “rack their brains” to unearth a treasure of 50,000 euros hidden in France

That someone “ooooose” touch Juliette’s notebook! The “tiny”, “the one in faux leather” that she takes “almost everywhere”. “This is where I’m going to jot down all my clues, makes us understand this 31-year-old Lyonnaise. There will be numbers, series of letters, translations … It won’t look like anything, but I know what it all means! ” The young thirty-something, independent researcher in thanatology in real life, risks being “a little less reachable” from Thursday March 25. “I will have a treasure hunt”, she explains, laughing. This date corresponds to the publication of The Gold of Sipán, a book of riddles that serves as a support for a treasure hunt organized by Les Editions of the treasure. Uborn “magnificent statuette in solid gold with eyes set with emeralds” worth 50,000 euros has indeed been carefully hidden somewhere in France.

But where the hell? There is still 552,000 km2 to rake, so on allowed himself to go there with the nerve, the air of nothing, with Julien Alvarez, the founder of Editions of the treasure. “Rather north or rather south?” L’interested is a grave : “I will not let go of you, even under torture!” Failed, it will be necessary to do as everyone else: wait and go through the book of riddles … To find this damn statuette, no need to break your PEL to buy a boat, a trellis, a fedora hat or a metal detector: “Vour brain and a little luck will be more than enough to get to the end “, promises Julien Alvarez.

No need to go shovel in your neighbor’s garden! The statuette is hidden on public land, not private.

Julien Alvarez, founder of Editions du Trésor

to franceinfo

Any resemblance to a game that has existed in the past would not be purely coincidental. “If it reminds some of the mythical ‘Golden Owl’, that’s quite normal. On is in the same line, confirms Julien Alvarez, himself “owl” since “a twenty years”.

“Owl” ? This is how we call the thousands of people who got it into their heads, from the beginning of the 1990s, to find a bronze owl with a height of 50 cm that a man, who then called himself Max Valentin (from his real name Régis Hauser), buried there again somewhere in France … on the night of April 23-24, 1993. To tell you, at the time, the “owlers” even exchanged information on the late Minitel to get their hands on the volatile.

This time with The Gold of Sipán, the internet will be a much better ally. But not only: Gérard Simon, alias “Garp” in the middle, “historic ‘owlter'”, also leafed through his dictionaries, his encyclopedias and the mathematics books that this former professor kept. “Having worked in IT also helps me a lot”, relishes the 68-year-old retiree, who counts on the fingers of one hand the puzzles that have resisted him. “I am able to work on a scavenger hunt for half a day without stopping. When I walk around, I sometimes think of a clue and I go back to it.”

Once, while taking the RER in Paris, I had an illumination, a flash. I took out a piece of paper so as not to forget this new possible lead.

Gérard Simon, “cooler”

to franceinfo

Gérard Simon, who goes “inaugurate” his fourth treasure hunt by diving into The Gold of Sipán, thought “to do several thousand kilometers per year”, at the wheel of his Renault Mégane, to advance his investigations. he can “to take detours” because he thinks he has found something. “I think there’s a return to childhood and I like that. We’ve all read ‘Treasure Island’, ‘Red Rackham’s Treasure’, well there you go, that’s what I appreciate”, says, with a big smile in his voice, the one who is still today president of the Association of Gold Owl Researchers (A2CO) and its some 150 members.

Juliette, the Lyonnaise, “hold that” from his father. “He used to give me puzzles when I was a kid. It made me thinkget my brains out, and I kept that thing … ” On point, “sometimes” to use an impediment as an excuse to cancel a dinner … and dive back into an adventure “because I think I have discovered a lead”.

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Screenshot of the Facebook group of "The Golden Owl". (FACEBOOK)

Some go so far as to form groups on Facebook. One of them, entitled “La Chouette d’or”, has 1,300 members, including this Parisian Internet user, intermittent in the spectacle in life, who takes the opportunity to “learn a lot of things about the history of France, but also mathematics, astronomy, geography …”

I feel like a knight of the round table in search of the Grail.

An anonymous member of the Facebook group “La Chouette d’or”

to franceinfo

She started doing it recently, “with the first confinement”, “to get away from it all”, says the 24-year-old woman. And she’s not the only one : It’s hard to say how many participants we’re going to have, we don’t know if it’s going to be 20,000, 30,000 or 50,000, allows himself to intervene Julien Alvarez. But one thing is certain, with the pandemic, we feel that people want to escape. “

Julien Alvarez believes that there will be a winner, and that “it will be in two years to come “. Be careful not to go too far: twenty-eight years later, Régis Hauser’s “Golden Owl” is still missing. ATu the moment of leaving The Gold of Sipán, cit will do precisely 10,197 days that we search for the mysterious bird. Which makes it, to date, the longest treasure hunt still underway in the world.

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