We all know that treasure hunting isn’t the easiest way to make a living and it can be a very frustrating, yet rewarding hobby. Some of those frustrations come from the tricks or deceptions used by the people who hid what we are trying to find.

One of the more common deceptions used was to make a clue that needs to be looked at in reverse. These clues can be anything from a carved symbol to a pointing marker to even a number or set of numbers. The reverse can be just that, reversing the direction of travel or it can be something like using a mirror image of a carved symbol to get the actual “picture” of what the symbol is meant to depict.

You can also have reverses in numbers by having to look at the numbers from back to front instead of from front to back, in other words, a 27 becomes a 72. Another form of reversing a number is when it is used as a compass heading. If you have a number that is meant to give you a heading, lets use the 27 again, it could be that you need to go 72 degrees instead of 27 degrees or it may be that you need to take a heading that is the reverse or opposite of 27 degrees which would be 207 degrees. This is simply determined by adding or subtracting 180 from the number you have to get the exact opposite compass heading. Depending on how tired you are and how late in the day it is this can be confusing sometimes!

When you are dealing with numbers you can be given the numbers in several different ways. They can be actual numbers such as 27 or they can be Roman numerals, or a series of lines or drill holes or they can be given in some type of code (several different kinds). I have found that when numbers are to be used as a compass heading in the reverse the numbers have special aspects to them that keep you from getting confused. These would include being a number greater than 360 because you can’t have a compass heading greater than that. So if the number reading front to back is greater than 360, you might look at it in reverse to see if it could be a compass heading. A number such as 521 can become 125 but 125 can’t become 521 because there aren’t that many degrees in a compass. I have also found the repeated numbers may need to be looked at as a compass heading or it’s reverse. I should qualify this and say that a repeated number arrived at by adding numbers together will be looked at differently than a “normal” repeated number.

In the case of the photo I posted at the top of this article, you have the Roman numerals LV carved into a bluff. This is the numerical equivalent of 55. If you reverse the order of this number and read it from back to front you still get 55. The reverse or opposite compass heading of 55 is 235 degrees (adding 180 to 55). The carved LV in the photo was on a very large bluff. Going 55 degrees from it’s location would mean you had to go through the bluff, a clue to a reverse in itself, however if you went the opposite direction it took you to where the hole was just across the gully. That is the second photo.

Whenever I look at any carving, especially if an outlaw made it, the first thing I do is looked to see what the symbols resemble when they are reversed. I also look at any numbers in several different ways. I add them together for a total and I do this in both directions, I check to see if they can have a reverse compass-heading equivalent and I look to see if they are actually numbers. Some numbers, as with letters and other symbols, can be drawn to look like something they are not if you aren’t paying close attention. In other words, a number may not be a number but one or more symbols arranged next to each other to look like a number if you aren’t paying attention.

This is one reason why I stopped chalking the carvings that I find; it can hide separations in lines that you may need to see.

There is not set rule for when to look at something in reverse. Sometimes there will be something with a carving or marker that tells you to look at the object in reverse. Other times there is nothing and you just have to figure it out yourself.

This is one reason why there is still so much stuff in the ground. It just ain’t easy!

One of the more common deceptions used was to make a clue that needs to be looked at in reverse. These clues can be anything from a carved symbol to a pointing marker to even a number or set of numbers. The reverse can be just that, reversing the direction of travel or it can be something like using a mirror image of a carved symbol to get the actual “picture” of what the symbol is meant to depict.

You can also have reverses in numbers by having to look at the numbers from back to front instead of from front to back, in other words, a 27 becomes a 72. Another form of reversing a number is when it is used as a compass heading. If you have a number that is meant to give you a heading, lets use the 27 again, it could be that you need to go 72 degrees instead of 27 degrees or it may be that you need to take a heading that is the reverse or opposite of 27 degrees which would be 207 degrees. This is simply determined by adding or subtracting 180 from the number you have to get the exact opposite compass heading. Depending on how tired you are and how late in the day it is this can be confusing sometimes!

When you are dealing with numbers you can be given the numbers in several different ways. They can be actual numbers such as 27 or they can be Roman numerals, or a series of lines or drill holes or they can be given in some type of code (several different kinds). I have found that when numbers are to be used as a compass heading in the reverse the numbers have special aspects to them that keep you from getting confused. These would include being a number greater than 360 because you can’t have a compass heading greater than that. So if the number reading front to back is greater than 360, you might look at it in reverse to see if it could be a compass heading. A number such as 521 can become 125 but 125 can’t become 521 because there aren’t that many degrees in a compass. I have also found the repeated numbers may need to be looked at as a compass heading or it’s reverse. I should qualify this and say that a repeated number arrived at by adding numbers together will be looked at differently than a “normal” repeated number.

In the case of the photo I posted at the top of this article, you have the Roman numerals LV carved into a bluff. This is the numerical equivalent of 55. If you reverse the order of this number and read it from back to front you still get 55. The reverse or opposite compass heading of 55 is 235 degrees (adding 180 to 55). The carved LV in the photo was on a very large bluff. Going 55 degrees from it’s location would mean you had to go through the bluff, a clue to a reverse in itself, however if you went the opposite direction it took you to where the hole was just across the gully. That is the second photo.

Whenever I look at any carving, especially if an outlaw made it, the first thing I do is looked to see what the symbols resemble when they are reversed. I also look at any numbers in several different ways. I add them together for a total and I do this in both directions, I check to see if they can have a reverse compass-heading equivalent and I look to see if they are actually numbers. Some numbers, as with letters and other symbols, can be drawn to look like something they are not if you aren’t paying close attention. In other words, a number may not be a number but one or more symbols arranged next to each other to look like a number if you aren’t paying attention.

This is one reason why I stopped chalking the carvings that I find; it can hide separations in lines that you may need to see.

There is not set rule for when to look at something in reverse. Sometimes there will be something with a carving or marker that tells you to look at the object in reverse. Other times there is nothing and you just have to figure it out yourself.

This is one reason why there is still so much stuff in the ground. It just ain’t easy!

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