The Great Seattle Wumpus Hunt 2002 web site is finally up, with all the clues, answers, and photos. Many thanks to everyone who came, and to the venues that hosted us (wittingly or otherwise).
I first heard about adult scavenger hunts when I was a teenager, and believed that there was probably an entire subculture of clever gaming enthusiasts that assembled clue hunts for their adult friends. There's a story about Stephen Sondheim's affinity for puzzles and puzzle hunts, such as one he threw where players had to visit this house hosted by an old lady (Stephen's mother). The lady would serve you cake, and if you ate it, you lost: there was a clue in the frosting.*
Alas, I'm having a hard time locating any web sites dedicated to the craft of adult puzzle hunts, though perhaps there are a few buried under hundreds of "Internet scavenger hunts" put together by teachers to introduce kids to the Internet, as well as other pages on scavenger hunts for kids. A few sites on this kind of hunt for adults stick out, but they're mostly small companies that offer hunts for hire. This sounds like an excellent excuse for a community web site, but I've got other sites on my project list at the moment.
I found one, and only one, book on the subject, a short, yellow, self-published tome: Treasure and scavenger hunts: how to plan, create, and give them, 2nd edition, by Gordon Burgett. This, and other books by Burgett, are available for purchase in hardcover from Amazon.com, and as MS Word documents sent via email from his web site. It's a pretty good book, saying most of what I would say in such a book, and includes some starter ideas for people who don't know where to begin. A third edition with additional chapters packed with anecdotes of real games would make this a great book. (Burgett shares his own experiences throughout, which greatly adds to the value of the book.) Based on the Wumpus hunt alone, I can tell you that experience with throwing this kind of thing really helps. Maybe I'll get around to setting up a web site after all, just to see who shows up.
Also: Anita posts about a Seattle clue hunt she attended, put on by the Seattle Cacophony Society.
Also: The Annual MIT Mystery Hunt is good for an extremely elaborate laugh.
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* I read this story in either an introduction to or an article about Anthony Shaffer's play Sleuth. Shaffer supposedly partly based the puzzle-loving main character on Sondheim. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a source for either of these anecdotes. (The edition of the play sitting on my shelf lacks an introduction.)
I did find this discussion between Anthony Shaffer and Stephen Sondheim on the art of murder (NYTimes archive, March 1996). See also more old NYTimes articles on Sondheim.