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Treasure hunt prank, from beyond the grave
Patty Henken found a small envelope in a rocking chair she bought at auction. In the envelope was a key and a note giving her directions to where $250 in U.S. gold coins was supposedly buried in a lead chest. The note was signed "Chauncey Wolcott." There was also a request to contact the State Journal-Register newspaper of Springfield, if the treasure was found. The Associated Press tells the rest:

With help of a donated backhoe, Patty Henken tore up a vacant lot in Springfield, Ill...
The dig turned up nothing but bricks and old bottles. Henken planned to return Tuesday with the donated services of a man with ground-penetrating radar meant to detect any buried items, but the treasure note's promise may already be debunked.
An Iowa woman who read news accounts of the hunt said she knows Wolcott's true identity: John "Jay" Slaven, a notorious practical joker and coin collector who often used a typewriter in his pranks.
Slaven used the pen name "Chauncey Wolcott" and lived for decades at the location where the dig took place, until his 1976 death, according to Betty Atkinson Ryan of Mason City, Iowa.
DeathPranks
Posted by The Curator on Mon Oct 05, 2009
My favorite part is the end where the hoaxee says she "fully expects" to pull a prank like this herself before she dies.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Oct 05, 2009  at  02:50 AM
That's pretty awesome. I sort of expected to hear that she insists she's not being pranked and that something's there.
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Mon Oct 05, 2009  at  09:46 AM
wink I see life imitating art here. See the movie "The Twelve Chairs" to see what I mean.
Posted by KDP  in  Madill, OK  on  Mon Oct 05, 2009  at  10:10 AM
Haha...
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Oct 05, 2009  at  12:49 PM
What kind of hoaxes-from-beyond-the-grave do suppose Cranky Media Guy is setting up even now?
Posted by Big Gary  in  Relampago, Texas  on  Mon Oct 05, 2009  at  02:53 PM
"What kind of hoaxes-from-beyond-the-grave do suppose Cranky Media Guy is setting up even now?"

He actually died three years ago. Surprise!
Posted by Accipiter  on  Mon Oct 05, 2009  at  07:23 PM
Hmm, you guys are giving me ideas here. Actually, now that I think about it, I HAVE had an idea for a post-mortem "prank" which could potentially get a lot of news coverage and which other people could (and should?) easily imitate.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Oct 05, 2009  at  08:07 PM
It doesn't sound like much of a prank if he didn't actually bury something buried there. To me it sounds like someone telling only the first half of a joke and then forgetting the "punchline".
Posted by daveprime  in  Deep in the sticks...*yay internet!!*  on  Wed Oct 07, 2009  at  06:23 PM
So, you get a note that says "I buried a treasure here and it's yours!"

My first question would be: Why is this person doing this? What do they gain?

Her first question seems to have been: Where can I rent a backhoe?

A little critical thinking could have saved her a lot of trouble.
Posted by Frosted Donut  in  Mercer Island  on  Thu Oct 08, 2009  at  03:04 PM
What if the lady that claimed to know the hoaxer actually plans to stop excavations so she can come back there at a later date? (Said my paranoid, treasure hunting alter ego).....Actually as a post mortem prank, nothing insures this person that the note will be read. Froted Donut has a very valid point in asking what this person has to gain; it makes more sence if the prankster is still alive. Maybe the note was planted by the backhoe company.hmmm ... grin
Posted by MARIO  in  new joysey  on  Thu Oct 08, 2009  at  08:01 PM
I don't really understand this story. What I'm understand is, he might killed him self. This because he seem knows when he gonna die.
Posted by kitchenaid parts  in  USA  on  Fri Oct 09, 2009  at  08:24 AM
Is it just me, or are those spamming comments saying 'Thanks for the share!' really patronising?

She went for a backhoe and ground penetrating radar first? What happened to a spade and a metal detector?
Posted by Nona  in  London  on  Fri Oct 16, 2009  at  07:45 AM
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