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13 November 2014

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You are in: Beds Herts and Bucks > Places > Places Features > Join the Masquerade?!

Masquerade: The Golden Hare

The Golden Hare

Join the Masquerade?!

It’s three decades since a golden hare was buried at Ampthill Park in Bedfordshire, sparking a national craze for treasure hunting!

In August 1979, a jewel-encrusted Golden Hare was buried at Ampthill Park by the artist Kit Williams, but he was the only person who knew its whereabouts.

The location of the hare could be solved in a picture puzzle book written by Williams called Masquerade. And the first person to find it - could keep it!

Author Kit Williams explained how he found the exact location to hide it without being spotted...

The famous book

The famous book

"I had gone to the spot on the exact day, on Equinox, to sit and wait for the shadow to come so that I would know exactly where it was.

"I had taken with me a little magnet, and so I sat and waited for the sun to come round at midday, and at that moment I just pushed the magnet into the ground so that I knew at night time I could find it again."

Understandably, the book then sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide.

Thousands of obsessive readers spent three years digging up the English countryside, before it was eventually discovered by a man called 'Ken Thomas'

Katherine's Cross - the location of the hare

Katherine's Cross - the location of the hare

A few years later Kit Williams grudgingly agreed that 'Ken Thomas" had probably cheated, after it came to light that Ken’s real name was Dugald Thompson, and had links with Williams’ former girlfriend.

It's believed they worked out Kit had buried the hare in Ampthill because at one stage he lived in nearby Millbrook.

For the first time in three decades and speaking exclusively to BBC Three Counties, the man who found the golden hare says he disputes the widely accepted version of how the hare was discovered.

He has quashed one theory that he sent a crude map of the hare’s location to author Kit Williams, who was relieved that someone had solved the puzzle, and they dug the hare up together.

Dugald Thompson maintained that he found the pendant on his own. However he also said that because of legal reasons, he still can't reveal the full story about how he discovered its location.

He claims that after the discovery, Kit Williams came to his house, and it was the publisher’s idea for him to appear in disguise and not his.

In 1988, the hare was auctioned off at Sothebys for £31,900 - and has never been seen since.

last updated: 02/09/2009 at 10:10
created: 05/08/2009

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