Ramon Humeres is no stranger to puzzles or adventures. The 60-year-old Toronto dentist has been tackling thorny enigmas for years. And, his favourite photo is of him skydiving. Humeres discovered the six sets of journal pages for The Strange Copper Cylinders of Thaddeus Barnes treasure hunt late in the game. He cut it about as close as one could, by discovering the sixth and final clue first. Humeres is a self-described political progressive. He was browsing rabble.ca, our media partner for the contest and a leading online progressive news site in Canada. He saw mention of the contest, followed the link and discovered the journal pages waiting for someone to decode them and find the location of Thaddeus Barnes safe of secrets.
With only a few days before the contest closed, the semi-retired Humeres toiled away for 12 hours, a couple hours a day over six days. "I liked the cryptograms the best," he said. "And the number puzzles." Like many participants, Humeres was at first stumped by the order of the final key pieces that made up the safe key. "At first I thought they should be in the order of the pieces on the journal pages," he said. "But then I realized they should be in the order of the whole key on the final journal pages."
And where did Barnes hide his safe? On a tiny island at the south end of Hudson Bay. Participants could confirm they had the correct location because the outline of that island was embedded on the last page of the last journal entry. Humeres takes home the $500 prize and owns the bragging rights of being the first explorer to discover the safe in the far North.
Oh, and what is contained Barnes' safe of secrets? Ah, that my friends, is the stuff of another tale.