A Virtual Isle Of Wight Revealed Hidden Treasure | Almarow

A Virtual Isle Of Wight Revealed Hidden Treasure | Almarow

Jewellery is one of the most unique conduits for storytelling, and one of the best examples is perhaps how a man buried 40 enchanted charms across the Isle of Wight, with the clues of how to find them hidden in a book and a computer game.

In the late 1970s, the successful armchair treasure hunt book Masquerade had created a nation of adventurous puzzle solvers looking for the next mystery that would lead them to buried treasure much like Kit Williams’ book led readers to a beautiful golden hare.

Between the book’s release in 1979 to its somewhat ignominious end, many other creative designers, writers and craftspeople worked on similar armchair puzzles such as The Key To The Kingdom and the infamous Pimania.

One of the most unique of these, however, was the story of the Spirit of the Stones, a book and computer game released in 1984 for the Commodore 64 inspired by the natural beauty and history of the Isle of Wight.

The twist however was that alongside the 40 collectable diamonds in the game, there were 41 diamond talismans hidden on the real Isle of Wight, some of which are still on the island to this day.


The Great Wight Eye

In October of 1983, John Worsley, a writer, artist and self-described “Riddle Raveller” hid 40 diamonds and a talisman at specific points of the Isle of Wight.

The background to the tale as described in both the book and the game was that a cabin boy on a smuggler’s vessel landed on the Isle of Wight in 1763 with 40 diamonds and a large talisman known as The Great Wight Eye was killed whilst trying to escape the Revenue Service with the loot.

His ghost scattered the diamonds to ensure their evil did not fall into the wrong hands, but both in real life and in the game, avid treasure hunters have come to look for the diamonds.

Mr Worsley wrote Spirit of the Stones as a series of stories with clues embedded within them alongside a map and a runic alphabet. This book was published in 1983, but in 1984 a companion computer game was created by Ian Gray and Lee Braine for Commodore UK.

Sold together, the book and the game had puzzles that would help lead people to the lost diamonds, which would, alongside their innate value, would also entitle winners to a share of the game’s royalties so long as they found it within a decade of the game’s release.

John Worsley was insistent that all the hidden locations required no digging, trespassing nor breaches of the countryside code, although because of this, several of the talismans ended up quite some distance away from their initial location, leading Mr Worsley to believe that as many as 19 will never be found.

People could claim the royalties by finding one of the diamonds, or by sending in a clue form included with a copy of the game, which entitled the person who submitted the clue to a share of the royalties as well as the person who physically found the talisman if it had moved.

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