On April 24, 1993 at 3:30 am, la chorette d’or (the golden owl), was buried about 80 inches deep into the ground somewhere in France. To this day, no one has uncovered the cache that’s protecting the gold statue: The longest running armchair treasure hunt still has no winner!


Regis Hauser, better known as Max Valentin, is a French writer and puzzle designer who published a book called Sur la trace de la chouette d’or (On The Trail Of The Golden Owl), which contained 11 clues for locating the golden owl. Each clue includes a title, text and an illustration drawn by Michel Becker. Supposedly, Valentin spent around 450 hours on designing the clues alone.

Valentin predicted the hunt would last between eight to fourteen months. However, as of the time of this writing, the mystery remains unresolved even with the additional clues Valentin left behind. He noted that only once was the ground disturbed near the statue’s burial, but no one has come as close since.

In 2009, Valentin passed away from a car crash, yet the hunt for the elusive golden owl continues, because in exchange for the statue the winner will be rewarded with the original prize of 1 million francs.

The original golden owl designed by Becker is 20 in wide and 10 in tall and weighs around 33 lbs. It’s made of gold and silver with a head studded with diamonds. A bronze replica is what’s actually buried, but the winner may exchange it for the original.

You can check out the original website here. If you’re in France, try your luck!

Looking for a hunt a little closer to home? In our latest escape game at Black Creek Pioneer Village, you’ll need to explore throughout the historic village if you want to break the evil curse which has beset the villagers. Saving them might need to be reward in itself though – we can’t promise any actual treasure at the end…!

Image courtesy of Wikipedia