HARRISON, Ohio — Nobody tell Long John Silver.
Divrsion Arcade, a virtual reality and board game shop, hid two palm-sized treasure chests Jan. 9 within city limits and posted clues to their locations on Facebook.
Each chest contains $100 in 24-karat gold bars.
By Wednesday night, neither had been found.
“We like video games and board games and stuff like that, but we also like the outdoors,” Divrsion co-owner Matt Murtaugh said. “We thought this would be a neat way to get people outside.”
It’s working. The treasure hunt’s official Facebook group has over 5,000 members, many of whom have posted about their days-long search for the two chests. Although none had struck gold by Wednesday, they used the group to pool tips and share other discoveries made along the way.
One user posted a picture of a bald eagle she’d spotted while searching. Another wrote a shout-out to a pair of fellow treasure-hunters who ventured out Wednesday with their dog. A third, a longtime geocacher, posted about their excitement at seeing so many other people out exploring the city.
Anna Abdin, who works at Divrsion, said she’d heard many similar stories in person.
“With the hunt, they’re saying they get to disconnect,” she said. “I see everybody out walking and seeing friends and making new friends and families being families again, and it’s the perfect winter for it.”
To help the community even more, she and her coworkers have been handing out trash bags and gloves for searchers who spot litter while they’re out on the hunt.
“Plot twist,” one hunter wrote on Facebook. “What if there's no treasure? Just a ploy to bring families together and reintroduce them to outdoor activities?”
Another responded: “Then they would be...non-evil geniuses?”
Abdin and Murtaugh assured WCPO the treasure really is out there, and searchers have been spotted within yards of at least one of the chests. Both are hidden in the city, and neither requires climbing or digging to find. If neither is located after 60 days, the shop will double the amount of gold inside.
Anyone interested in participating can find clues and daily updates on Divrsion’s Facebook page.