There are many elements of the Golden Owl treasure hunt that are understood and accepted by the ‘chouetteur’ community, but several sticking points that prevent progress from being made.
Taking the clues in order I will try to highlight the major sticking points.
Clue B – Gives the game order, its solved.
Clue 530 – Reveals the city Bourges.
Clue 780 – Reveals the game measure (likely 33cm) and probably more, perhaps a direction, but the ‘coach and bad horse’ concept of this clue is little understood.
Clue 470 – Reveals Ronceveaux, but also through the Opening you will see the light.
Clue 580 – Reveals 10 towns, used to solve the next puzzle. It’s not clear if the towns have some other purpose.
Clue 600 – Big sticking point, the mysterious phrase, ‘The key is on the black perched ship.’
Clue 500 – Reveals Carignan, but what is the spiral with four centers at 560.606 measures?
Clue 420 – Reveals Golfe Juan, but from there we need to plot the fall of an arrow flying at 1969,697 measures towards the zenith.
Clue 560 – Reveals Cherbourg, but we don’t understand the opening that reveals heavenly light or how Neptune helps twice, or the meaning of seeing the ‘Nave becalmed’, through the Opening.
Clue 650 – Describes how to process the clues that have come before, there are Sentinels at 8000 measures from ‘here’ and we need to decode the number 71721075 that is drawn in the image.
Clue 520 – Suggests the final place to dig for the owl, at this stage you need to understand the remnant clues that give the super solution.
So, to solve this puzzle you will need to:
- Understand the meaning of the coachman and bad horse in the 780
- Understand the meaning of the ‘light’ seen through the opening and also described in clue 560 and 600.
- Decide whether the 10 towns of clue 580 have some extra function.
- Discover the meaning of ‘The key is on the black perched ship.’
- Know what the spiral with four centers means.
- Know where Apollo’s arrow lands when it’s fired from Golfe Juan.
- Plot a route from Cherbourg as described in 560, understanding the meaning of Neptune’s help and the meaning of the ‘becalmed nave.’
- Know how to use the places discovered through the 11 clues with the number 71721075 and some ‘sentinels’ that have been revealed.
- Know which game phrases and concepts have not been used before and are clue ‘remnants’ that reveal the super solution of exactly where to dig.
General pointers :
There is almost certainly some simple game ‘trick’ that makes sense of the towns and cities that have been revealed.
The clue order probably matters, there is an important progression from one to the next.
Insights and personal theories into the meaning of repeating game concepts such as ‘light,’ sentinels, ‘the Opening’ will give ideas for progressing the game.
There are many small mysteries alongside the big ones listed here! It’s quite possible that someone exploring a small game mystery will stumble upon something that solves this 25-year long game.
The additional clues and ‘mandits‘ have been explored as much as the original 11 enigmas, yet they don’t seem to have progressed the game an awful lot. Max said the owl could be found by studying the book alone. In my opinion he spent years carefully avoiding giving any meaningful answers in those mandit Q&A! However the mandits can be very useful to check theories.
The topics that Max refused to be drawn on in his ‘mandits’ are almost certainly key to solving this puzzle. Max refused to answer questions on the light, the methods for linking each enigma, the spiral with four centers, the becalmed nave, and (understandably) any clear description of the final location.
The game images, drawn by Becker, were added after the basic concept and clues were devised by Max. It’s worth bearing in mind the fact this was originally devised as a text only treasure hunt! The images were drawn based on Max’s descriptions with Becker having no understanding of the game solution. It’s hard to be sure of the role the pictures play, clearly when Max knew the book would have visual elements he incorporated them. Clues such as the 650 and 500 have important visual elements.
It’s expensive and almost certainly unnecessary to buy a copy of the out of print original book ($220 on Amazon) however I found it useful to print a bound copy using a downloaded PDF of the clues. This cost me about £10 including shipping, I used Dox Direct. but any online printer will do!