October 5, 2009

Man pulls practical joke from the grave

A man who died in 1976 is the likely culprit behind a mysterious note suggesting a chest of gold coins is buried in Springfield, Ill., an Illinois woman says.

Betty Atkinson Ryan of Mason City, Ill., claims the individual who likely left the recently-discovered note about the hidden treasure was former Journal-Register classified advertisement manager John Jay Slaven, the newspaper said Monday.

Ryan said Slaven was a practical joker who liked to sign his jokes with the pseudonym Chauncey Wolcott, the same name featured on the typewritten note found by Patty Henken of Mount Sterling, Ill.

Henken found the note in the stuffing of an antique chair and followed its details to a vacant Springfield lot.

The lot's owners helped in the search for the chest of gold coins Sunday by digging into the property with a back hoe. Unfortunately for all involved, no hidden treasure was found.

I am one of the worst practical jokers, Henken, who is still holding onto the possibility of finding treasure at the lot, told the Journal-Register. I deserve to get this letter. He's got one on me. And I'll have to wait until I die to get him back.