Murder at the Black House was held last weekend. Who did it and why?
“I’ve had people ask me about the solution to the murder mystery,” said Black House board member Steve Grayson, who wrote the scenario that was used. “Well, here it is.”
Spike killed Walter Victor in the study with a candlestick. Spike broke into Walter’s house to steal a pouch of gold coins he kept in a wooden box. Victor surprised Spike and died in the struggle.
Victor, working as a photographer, discovered the coins when a road crew unearthed them. He shared the information about his good fortune with his boss, Luke Lea, who was a newspaper editor and publisher.
What Victor found were coins that had remained undisturbed since 1567. He had found the lost treasure of the Juan Pardo deserters.
In 1567, Pardo led an expedition into the Tennessee Valley. He later established Fort San Juan near present day Morganton, N.C.
A group of renegade soldiers stole a cache of gold from the fort which was stored there for trading purposes. The soldiers returned to the path of their previous expedition into the Tennessee Valley, hoping to find the land route to the silver mines of Zacateas in present day Mexico.
The soldiers became hopelessly lost. Fearing attack by natives of the area, they buried the coins in a leather bag and prepared a defense. Later, unable to find the gold or establish a route toward Mexico, the party turned back. All except one of them died. The sole survivor drew a map to where he thought the treasure was buried.
The map was later found. However, it was so full of inaccuracies that it was useless to anyone who hoped to find the lost treasure. The map was perceived to be nothing more than an interesting relic and was stored in a museum.
Lea told Spike of the coins found by Victor, and Spike connected the coins to the Juan Pardo Legend that he had heard while serving during World War I. His plan to steal the coins was complete when the niece of Victor, Penelope Haviland, provided him with Victor’s home address.
The allure of the gold coins took one more life when Spike broke into what he thought was an empty house and discovered Victor at home.
Keeping in the spirit of the Murder Mystery event, Grayson says Spike’s crime went unsolved until observant guests pieced together clues to the killer’s identity.
The Black House offered the chance to win prizes. Guests who were able to correctly identify the killer had their names included in a drawing.
• Mike Denning won a $25 gift card from Chabelitas
• Alden Lawrence won gold earrings
• Tyler Hillis won a Christmas wreath
• Annette Watson won a 20-inch bicycle
• Anna Whitehead won a 75-piece socket set