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Renovating Couple Finds Safe Code, Safe, Cash and Book

***UPDATE: Nevermind. Apparently, the world is full of terrible, untrustworthy people, bent on getting our collective hopes up, and the story was actually a hoax. You people at thechive need better things to do. HOWEVER, the book referenced below is still a very real and very interesting book. So there.***


God knows I love a good intriguing mystery.

A Phoenix, Arizona couple intent on remodeling their kitchen have found themselves at the heart of a possible mystery, as reported on thechive.com. The young couple moved into their home two years ago, knowing it was a diamond in the rough needing some work. When they first moved in, a look in the medicine cabinet revealed the code to a safe. And when they began tearing up their kitchen floor two years later, they found the safe.

The safe contained just over $50,000 in cash, an exceedingly rare bottle of bourbon, a black and white photograph, and a book – A Guide for the Perplexed, by E.F. Schumacher. More intriguing still – the book itself contains a “Bingo” card with three numbers circled, and many meaningful-seeming underlined passages. And on the back of the photograph, the subject of which is a head-and-shoulders portrait of an unassuming, bespectacled man in a suit, is written:


I have a book you must read. I’ve underlined a few key passages.

Your friend,


Inside the book there is also a cardboard fact sheet of Arizona, with an area highlighted green.

Who is/was Alan? Who is/was Vincent? Is the Bingo card telling us the code to another safe? Is the fact card of Arizona showing us the location of that safe? Is it Vincent in the photograph? Where did he get those great glasses? Can I try the bourbon??

Ok, no answers to any of that, but I can at least shed some light on the book. A Guide for the Perplexed is a short book by Ernst Friedrich (E.F.) Schumacher, published in 1977 (meaning this safe had to be interred and hidden since then). Schumacher was a German-Swiss ecologist, economist and statistician, and also a booklover. His personal archival collection of books are available for viewing at the library of the Schumacher Center for New Economics in Great Barrington, Massachussetts.

Schumacher believed A Guide to the Perplexed to be his finest work and life’s most important achievement. He reportedly handed it over to his daughter days before his death, and impressed upon her the importance of the work.

The book itself is a theoretical discussion, and in some cases, a critique, of the ways in which humans live in the world and interact with it. It focuses particularly on terms of our role here – what are our obligations here on Earth? What are we here for, and how do we provide and derive meaning in our lives? Mostly, it asks how do we find our place here on Earth, and encourages us to become our own “mapmakers” – Schumacher claims we need maps for life, such as a map of living and a map of knowledge, and it’s up to us to make those maps.

AbeBooks has 111 copies of the book for sale as of the writing of this post, ranging in price from just over $1.00 to just under $500.

A fairly intriguing treatise to find in a safe, chock full of clues, and cash, and booze, if you ask me.

I hope to hear more about this.

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