2. Thomas Beale’s Bedford County Fortune
Around 1816, Thomas Beale and a group of miners with whom he was traveling stumbled upon almost $2 million in gold and silver (that’s about $63 million in today’s money). In order to ensure that the cash made it to the right people (namely the miners or their next of kin), Beale created three ciphers that — when decoded — would reveal the location, contents, and proper owners of the treasure. Beale entrusted these three ciphers to an innkeeper who was supposed to wait a decade to receive the key. But the key never arrived, none of Beale’s men came to claim the loot, and the inkeeper was never able to crack the cipher that would reveal the location of the treasure.