Mission: Treasure is a literal local treasure hunt with a fake backstory inviting the public to solve a series of puzzles and clues to uncover $25,000 — hidden somewhere in Hamilton County.
This is the fictitious tale that serves as the background of the hunt:
Local researchers have discovered documents belonging to famed 19th-century Cincinnati industrialist Jeremy Longford. The historic items, whose significance went unnoticed for years, are believed by history experts at Ohio River University to contain vital information regarding the whereabouts of a long-forgotten treasure, supposedly hidden by Longford just prior to his disappearance.
Jeremy Longford, born in Cincinnati in 1852, was a notable industrialist and philanthropist best known for his furniture company, which furnished many of the world's wealthiest Victorian homes. Though he lived a modest lifestyle, he is believed to have been one of the Midwest's richest businessmen during the 1800s.
Rumors of a hidden treasure have circulated the Cincinnati area ever since Longford's mysterious disappearance in 1890. The disappearance has never been explained, and the treasure has never been found.
The search kicks off Nov. 11, and those registered will receive a packet in the mail before then with "clues, writings, and a map that were copied from Longford's recently-discovered belongings." Additional clues will be released through Nov. 13. After that, all the information you need to uncover Longford's treasure will have been revealed and the physical treasure hunt begins.
Registration is $49.95 and tickets are available at missiontreasure.com.
The hunt was devised by Gordon McKnight — a Cincinnati resident with a theater background — and Matt McKnight — a publishing exec. And, according to the hunt website, the brothers "spent the better part of the year researching, writing, and crafting clues for this treasure hunt experience inspired by Cincinnati's rich history and inviting modern-day landscape." Gordon invented the character of Longford, and Matt helped craft all the clues.
The hunt is geared for those ages 12 and up and does, in fact, include a real cash treasure. However: "There is not literal cash hidden, and the $25,000 will be paid as a reward via check to the first registered participant to find the treasure. The reward is subject to income taxes."
A portion of ticket proceeds will also go to help Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
For more information, visit missiontreasure.com.