Our friends over at the Museum of Hoaxes recently shared the story of a woman who found "a small envelope in a rocking chair she bought at auction. In the envelope [were] 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.'"
Turns out she might be the victim of a now-deceased practical joker.
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.
There's more to this story, too.