Dead Prankster: 1 Treasure Hunter: 0

Patty Henken thought she'd found more than a bargain when she tore the seat off an old chair she'd recently bought.  Taped to the back was a key, and a note titled "Finders Keepers."  The note, typed but signed by a Chauncey Wolcott, described a vacant lot in Springfield, IL where a chest containing $250 worth of gold coins could be found.

Henken's story attracted the attention of another woman, Betty Atkison Ryan, who knew a practical joker (long deceased) named John Slaven, who often used the fake name, Chauncey Wolcott.
Atkinson Ryan told the newspaper that Slaven was her boss in the Journal-Register's classified advertising department decades ago. She said Slaven often used a typewriter to compose some of his jokes and signed them "Chauncey Wolcott."

Ms. Henken has admitted to being had, but still thinks there must be something buried there.  She luckily still has use of a donated backhoe; unfortunately the property owners have pulled the plug on her efforts. Photo: Associated Press

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