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Find the jewel, win the cash: A riddle-driven Twin Cities treasure hunt


Ready? Get your brain working here, and give this Twin Cities-based riddle a shot. It points the way to a location in Minneapolis or St. Paul.

"Life's a game sometimes, it seems: you often play the fool.
Save your soul if you were meant to find our hidden jewel.
Think South—not North, nor East or West—to eat, pray, play, and live.
Life went awry for a man nearby who had but one to give."

Any idea?

Well if you think you might know, maybe keep it to yourself – as it could score you some cash.

The Great Twin Cities Treasure Hunt

That riddle is the fourth and most recent from Johannes, a Twin Cities man who likes treasure hunts and wants others to have some fun. So he's currently in the middle of running The Great Twin Cities Treasure Hunt.

The goal: Find a jewel hidden within the city limits of Minneapolis and St. Paul, with help from clues that are posted daily at 9 a.m.

Click here to see the clues. A fifth one will be posted Tuesday morning.

"Really, I just like the idea of folks running around trying to figure out my riddles and clues and secrets and just sort of sorting out my mystery," Johannes – which is an alias– told BringMeTheNews in an email. "And, well it’s just a really sort of a self-serving thing, I guess… but it’s a lot of fun, and someone’s taking home some dough in the end, so win-win, right?"

But as he reminds hunters: "Don't be a dummy. Don't break the law."

This hunt ends Tuesday, Feb. 24 (assuming someone doesn't find it before then), and if the money isn't claimed, it'll get put into the pot for the next hunt.

How does it work?

The jackpot part is interesting.

It's made up of donations from regular people, and how much you donate partially determines how much you take home.

Donate more than $5 to the pool before the fourth clue is posted, and if you find the jewel every cent is yours. (As of Monday, that's $300.) Donate less than $5, or donate after the fourth clue is posted, and you get half of the total.

Anything left over will be put into the pot for the next treasure hunt (which has yet to be scheduled).

You can donate via PayPal by clicking here.

In the future, Johannes hopes to improve the website as well as improving the way donations are made and prizes are paid out. He admits the set-up isn't how he'd like it right now, but assured competitors the event is legitimate.

The big treasure hunt of course is the St. Paul Winter Carnival Medallion. But Johannes says the Twin Cities have an "avid, devoted treasure hunting base, and they’re sort of underrepresented, hunts-wise."

You can call 651-504-HUNT (4868) to check the jewel's status, and email Johannes if you want to find out more, at

Right now, the website and payment method are, by Johannes' own account, not where he wants them to be.

"My hope for future hunts is to build as a more… uh... robust experience, including a more transparent look at when and by how much pot totals increase," he wrote. "I'd absolutely understand if someone was like… hmm… seems like a scam... because I’d be skeptical too. ... That all said, I assure you this hunt is as legitimate as your concern."

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