The Irish Crown Jewels, stolen from Dublin Castle over a century ago, are still out there for treasure-seekers to find today. The theft included the removal of a diamond star, pendant, and the collars of five knights of the Order.
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And while four people have died trying to find the mysterious treasure, Fenn insists that treasure-hunters have gotten within feet of its location. Originally created during the s in Prussia, the Amber Room—a room bedecked with amber, gold, and mirrors—was originally installed in the Berlin City Palace. According to Pargo, he left behind a chest holding jewelry, precious stones, pearls, silver, gold, paintings, fabric, and Chinese porcelain, among other items. Many have searched for his treasure, but its location remains a mystery to this day. The Flor do Mar, a 16th century Portuguese sailing ship, was loaded with treasure following a Malaysian conquest when it disappeared.
In one of the more recent—and shocking—heists in current years, the Ivory Coast was robbed of its crown jewels in Ten people have been arrested or jailed for their role in the robbery, but the jewels have never been found. While visitors can visit the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam, the actual burial location of the Nguyen leader has never been discovered. When the Emperor died in , he and his treasure were buried in a location so secret that everyone involved in its creation was beheaded afterward.
The most unique of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Copper Scroll, also has one of the most curious messages. According to historians, the scroll bears information on 63 hidden treasures, though what exactly those treasures contain is hotly debated. Victorio Peak in the San Andres Mountains is reportedly home to a wealth of gold. The Heirloom Seal of the Realm, a year-old Chinese seal, has been missing for over years.
The jade seal was carved from the He Shi Bi, a famous jade disc, and was passed down from dynasty to dynasty, until it went missing between and C. However, after being turned over to the police during World War II, the sword went missing and still remains unrecovered. The Just Judges is a missing panel from the polyptych Ghent Altarpiece, a century altarpiece housed in St.
The rest of the Altarpiece remains intact, but the Just Judges panel was removed on April 10th, , with a note left in its place claiming it had stolen by Germans. When Japanese ocean liner Awa Maru was torpedoed in , many people believed that a vast load of treasure went down with her. In February , one of the largest diamond heists of all time took place in Antwerp, Belgium. Though there are many theories about who took the jewels and for what purpose, the bounty is still at large. Walk up the stairs L. Note the window N and the locked door O. Walk down 5 times to the dungeon.
Return to the front of the fishing hut. Walk down and enter the Rose Tower. Walk up the stairs. Walk down twice and select the barrels for a HOS. Use the corkscrew on the barrel to find the gunpowder W. Return to Westminster Abbey, go inside and look at the floor for a mini-game. Swap and rotate tiles to light the colored paths A. Select 2 tiles to swap positions; outer tiles can only swap with outer tiles and inner tiles can only swap with inner tiles. Enter the underground chamber that opens. Exit the chamber, walk forward and look at the altar.
Return to the Rose Tower, enter and walk up the stairs twice. Walk down 4 times and select the wagon for a HOS. Use the knife on the apple to find the worm H. Return to the square in front of the stables. Enter the stables K. Exit the stables and walk to the left. Chapter 3: Whitehall and the Globe Note the gate to the dovecote M. Note the horses in the fountain N. Note the cabinet is missing a handle P. Walk forward to the garden R. Note the fountain T. Look at the freshly disturbed ground U and the roses V. Walk down 3 times to the square outside the stables.
Walk forward and talk to the ghost X.
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Note the place for the missing poster Y. Return to and enter the fishing hut by the Rose Tower. Select the buckets for a HOS C. Return to the courtyard outside the stables and walk to the left. Return to the front of the Globe Theater. Restore the torn poster by placing the pieces jigsaw-style I. Adjacent pieces will snap together. Walk forward into the theater and look at the curtain for a mini-game.
Raise the curtain exactly the right amount using the ropes and bags J. If you raise it too high, the curtain will come back down.
Pull the bags K-L-M to open the curtain. Enter the trapdoor. Select the bookcase for a HOS R. Walk down 3 times, then go left to Whitehall Palace. Walk forward twice to the garden.
Enter the bedchamber. Note the padding in the bed C. Return to the garden. Return to the Globe Theater and enter the trapdoor on the stage. Select the bookcase for a HOS. Walk down 5 times and look to the left at the door to the White Tower for a mini-game.
Select matching pairs of tiles until all are chosen. Correct pairs will connect with an energy beam. Enter the White Tower. Note the skeleton on the throne C. Walk down twice to exit the White Tower. Look forward to the entrance of the Bloody Tower for a mini-game. You must pull back all the spikes; selecting a spike will move the spikes on either side as well.
Enter the Bloody Tower. After talking to the twin ghosts, walk up the stairs. Look through the telescope at the White Tower J. Return to the square outside the stables, then walk to the left. Enter the secret passageway N.
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Walk forward to the wine cellar. Select the wine rack for a HOS Q. Walk down twice and enter the stables. Select the far stall for a HOS U. Return to the wine cellar under the Whitehall Palace fountain. Select the wine rack for a HOS. Walk down twice, then enter Whitehall palace and walk up the stair to the bedroom. Return to the White Tower and go inside. The observers passed through the sanctum sanctorum and visited an adjacent storage area, where they came to the six vaults, including A and B, which had metal-grille doors that looked as if they had not been opened in a very long time.
On a stone wall above Vault A was an embossed image of a cobra. In the days to come, the image of the cobra would widely be seen as an omen. The observers used the keys to open the metal-grille door to Vault B, and discovered a sturdy wooden door just behind it. They opened this door as well, and encountered a third door, made of iron, which was jammed shut.
So they turned their attention to Vault A. Once again, they unlocked two outer doors, one of metal and the other of wood. They entered a small room with a huge rectangular slab on the floor, like a toppled tombstone. It took five men more than thirty minutes to move the slab. Beneath it they found a narrow, pitch-black passage, barely wide enough for an adult to get through, leading down a short flight of steps. Before the observers descended, a team of firemen arrived and used special equipment to pump oxygen into the enclosure.
At the bottom of the stairs was the vault. One of the observers was a fifty-nine-year-old attorney named M. As I looked into the darkened vault, what I saw looked like stars glittering in a night sky when there is no moon. Diamonds and gems were sparkling, reflecting what little light there was. Much of the wealth had originally been stored in wooden boxes, but, with time, the boxes had cracked and turned to dust. And so the gems and gold were just sitting in piles on the dusty floor.
It was amazing. According to Rajan, the observers instructed temple employees to haul everything from Vault A upstairs, for inspection. It took fifteen men all day. And there were gold chains, each studded with jewels and eighteen feet long—the length of the main idol. Rajan told me that coin experts estimated that the vault held approximately a hundred thousand gold coins, spanning centuries of trade: Roman, Napoleonic, Mughal, Dutch.
He also described seeing a set of solid-gold body armor, known as an angi , built to adorn the main idol. The vault also contained loose diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones. The archeologists and gemologists estimated that a small solid-gold idol of Vishnu, encrusted with hundreds of gems, was worth thirty million dollars. Though Balagovindan marvelled at what he saw, his client, Sundararajan, appeared indifferent. Sundararajan was a true ascetic, Balagovindan said.
So far, no one has formally calculated the value of the treasure found in Vault A. Ananda Bose, the former director of the National Museum, in New Delhi, briefly led a team that has been charged with documenting the treasure. Bose told me that a proper assessment would likely take a year. It may always remain a mystery whether Vault A has ever been robbed. Harikumar initially assured me that nobody had entered it for more than a century, but then admitted that there were no records.
Padmanabhan and his uncle, Sundararajan, became targets of anger.
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Padmanabhan received death threats; his office was attacked, and his car was vandalized. Policemen were assigned to protect him. Sundararajan was deeply shaken. His cousin N. Roughly two weeks later, on July 16th, Sundararajan went to bed with a fever. Initially, no one worried.
But later that night his mother told him that his uncle was severely ill. Rajan told me that the innermost door to Vault B had three latches, and that one of them was jammed, preventing the team of observers from opening the vault. The observers considered forcing their way in, but deemed this improper; they decided to hire a locksmith. Then, in mid-July, before the locksmith came, the royal family sent an affidavit to the Supreme Court asking it not to open Vault B, at least for the time being, as doing so might compromise the spiritual integrity of the temple.
Lakshmi Bayi, the princess who wrote a history of the temple, was among those in the royal family who felt that the vault should be left undisturbed. One afternoon, I met her at Kowdiar Palace, her residence in Trivandrum. The palace, a grand, dilapidated structure with a hundred and six rooms, is furnished with old teak furniture, dusty rugs, and stunning oil paintings depicting scenes from Hindu epics.
The Princess, who is petite and middle-aged, was dressed in a simple cotton sari. So we prefer that. I asked what would happen if the energy was disturbed. She worried that tampering with Vault B might cause a similar disaster. A few days later, I met the head of the royal family, Marthanda Varma, at Pattom Palace—a vast wooden structure, painted white and crowned with a steep red tile roof.
Next to the palace was an open-air garage containing vintage cars, including a perfectly preserved blue Mercedes D. Several minutes later, a very thin elderly man, dressed in plain cotton and leaning heavily on a cane, made his way down the long hallway leading to the sitting room. Did this mean that he would never sell Pattom Palace? Our conversation turned to Vault B. I have a hundred pounds in the bank. That man has no pounds in the bank. Did he make it? Did he work for it? Did he sweat for it?
As the citizens of Trivandrum debated what to do about Vault B, the royal family and officials from the temple invited a group of astrologers to hold a four-day ceremony, known as a Devaprasnam, in order to ascertain the will of the deity. In this case, the child was a boy who was praying at the temple when the astrologers arrived. Sharma and the other astrologers made sure that the boy was clean and shirtless, and then they seated him in front of eight objects: a lamp, a mirror, a piece of cloth, some grains of rice, betel leaves, a betel nut, an ancient gold coin, and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita.
The boy was presented with a hundred and eight conch shells, and told to place them on the chart. As the boy arranged the shells, everyone chanted prayers. Every aspect of the ceremony, he said, revealed a different message about what the deity was thinking. Sharma concluded that the deity was not happy. These are not just valuables but also divine, and displacing this will invite the wrath of the Lord. Around this time, I met with V. Achuthanandan was among the few politicians who had publicly accused the royal family of mismanaging the temple. I asked him if he expected treasure to be found in Vault B.
When I met with Balagovindan, he told me a story about Sundararajan. According to Balagovindan, Sundararajan and the previous maharaja, Sri Chithira Thirunal, had shared secrets about the temple—including the fact that in its treasuries were solid-gold bars. Last summer, after Vault A was opened—and no gold bars were found—Sundararajan told Balagovindan that they were probably in Vault B, as this tightly locked vault would be an excellent place to hide hefty amounts of gold.
Even if Vault B is empty, the treasure in Vault A could radically transform the city of Trivandrum and, indeed, the state of Kerala. On the street, old women sorted through mounds of trash, young women sold fish covered with flies, and a child in her underpants hopped on a series of boards, to avoid falling into a deep, viscous mud puddle. I met the owner of a chicken stall, a sixty-year-old man named K. His shop contained a cage of clucking chickens, a picture of the Virgin Mary, a tree stump for poultry butchering, and little else. Babu told me that, poor as the neighborhood was, it had been much worse before Indira Gandhi launched anti-poverty programs, in the nineteen-eighties.