First off, I want to let you know that what you are about to read is 100% real and not planned out ahead of time. Enjoy!
I’m scrolling through facebook in my dorm room with two other friends who are doing homework, and I see it: the post. A fake account on a Biola affiliated facebook page posts a picture with coordinates, strange letters, a man, and a flying clock. He writes, “The Benefactor wishes to announce that a fifty-dollar bill has been hidden somewhere on campus for the first person or persons who find it.”
I read it and immediately think it’s fake because that posts is the definition of sketchy. Then I start to think, what’s the worst thing that could happen if it’s true? My friends think the post is fake as well, but I am intrigued and want to find out more. I look up the coordinates and find they lead to Texas… Crowell, Texas. I put two and two together and figure that means Crowell Hall, but Biola has Crowell Music Hall and Crowell School of Business. I look up the numbers at the bottom and saw it was a code for a periodic element with an atomic number of 120, so I assume that means room 120. My friend, Kamu, helps by Google-image searching the man in the image and discovers his name is Renzo Piano. I assume Piano is clue for Crowell Music Hall where –– naturally –– there are a lot of pianos. So I hop on a scooter and zoom over to Crowell Music Hall, room 120, to look around the piano.
(At this point in the story, I would like to chime in and remind you all that I’m just an average 19 year-old boy. I know this story makes it sound like I’m Nancy Drew or a Hardy Boy, but explaining it more complicated than it actually was. It was just a lot of common sense that helped to work things out. Back to your normally scheduled blog reading.)
Getting inside of the Crowell Hall Music Conservatory is a different story. I love Biola’s security and how safe it is around the campus, but I am very frustrated when I realized that I need special permission on my key card to enter the building. However, after waiting around outside the building for a bit, I stumble into one of my music major friends who has just finished practicing for the day. Explaining the situation, he doesn’t believe the treasure hunt is real, but agrees to let me in anyways. I find room 120 pretty quickly, put down my scooter (which helped me get to the music conservatory in record time), and start to search the room. At this time, I realize that I don’t really know what I’m looking for, and, under the present circumstances, everything seems like it could be the next clue. There is, however, one sticker under the hood of the piano that seems too ominous to belong on a piano. I poke my head out into the hallway, see a music major walking by, and have him identify if this sticker is normal or strange. The verdict: strange.
The second clue is found. I have no idea what “Between a River and Parapsychology” means, but in my excitement I decide to give Kamu a call and let him know that the hunt is still alive. After sending him a picture of the second clue, he immediately comes up with the idea to check and see if those are two books in the library. So I hop on my scooter and in lightning speed head over to the library.
I reach the library where Kamu happens to be working. We both search the library’s catalog to see if the clue really is book titles. As it turns out, there are two books titled There is a River: The Story of Edgar Cayce and Parapsychology: A Scientific Approach which happen to be right next to each other on the upper level. We rush up the stairs and manage to find that right in between the two books is a book with a clue taped on the inside cover. Our faces lit up with smiles so big that we must look like the Joker.
Clue 3 says to email someone called “The Benefactor” and request the next clue. We email the person and ask to be given the next clue. About a minute later, he responded with the next clue.
“Sit and reflect on these words” is the caption to the weird picture code that he sends me. I immediately notice that it’s backwards, so I reverse it but it’s still gibberish. On a complete and utter whim, I decide to put it into a cryptogram solver that I used once when I played a mystery game. Immediately, I got an answer –– the bible verse John 15:5. I think of the reflection pool in front of Talbot Hall, where there happens to be a window with that verse written directly on it. Kamu and I go and look around, but to no avail. The room with the window with the verse is closed until 7:30 a.m., but we are so confident that the next clue has to be in there that we decide to wait until morning.
I’m not a morning person, but money talks and it told me to wake up. Kamu and I reach the building and find the much anticipated room. Under a bench in front of the window is a box taped to the bottom. I open the box and BOOM…. $50 tucked away.
To this day, I still don’t know who “The Benefactor” is or why he set this up, but I’m grateful that there are people at Biola who are interested in creating new and fun experiences like this. I feel like this will always be one of those stories that I’ll be able to tell over and over again. So remember, readers, sometimes it’s worth taking the risk!