When I was a kid, I used to love "Spy Tech,"an early-90's line of children's spy toys. No amateur clubhousedetective was fully equipped unless he counted at least two or threeSpy Tech gadgets in his investigation gear, examples of which includeda periscope hidden in a Cracker Jack box, rearview sunglasses, a fingerprint kit, a sound magnifier, and a camera hidden in a box of Good'N'Plenty (a great cover, until people notice that you're holding a box of Good'N'Plenty up to your eye).
One of theless exciting entries in the line was the "Secret Message Finder Set" -essentially, a realistic-looking plastic rock with a hiddencompartment, in which you could store top secret messages:
The plasticrock came with a whistle, which was allegedly tuned to a specialfrequency and would trigger an alarm in the rock, alerting you to wherea fellow agent had hidden it. While interesting in theory, there werethree major problems with this: 1) the box only came with one whistle,so you had to give it to your spy friend ahead of time, and why notjust give him the top secret note then in person?, 2) the whistle alarmnever worked (not once), and 3) no decent spy would ever think of goingaround blowing a whistle and alerting everyone to their presence.
I was reminded of the Spy Tech Secret Message Finder Set today while scouting around Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Columbus Park stretches out south of Borough Hall, and features a pretty fenced-off garden.
As I was admiring it, I suddenly noticed this hidden in the foliage:
A hollowplastic rock ... the latest entry in the Spy Tech catalog? Is it forpassing along top secret notes, or is there a more insidious purpose?Could there be an audio recording device inside? After all, the park isright in front of Supreme Court, and I could see plenty of reasons forjustifying this. Perhaps a microphone is on the other side of these twoholes:
I was goingto open it, but then I started thinking that it might actually be somesort of rat poison device (there were rat poison warnings posted allaround the area) and didn't want to touch it. I did notice that it wasbeing held in place by a wire, so someone apparently cares.
Any guesses?I was also thinking it could be a Geocaching "treasure." Anyway, goodto know fake rocks are still being used, in New York City of all places(though incredibly, this looks way more fake than the Spy Techversion). Maybe I should dig out my old whistle and see if I can findany more.
More articles: www.scoutingny.com
Update! Not a mystery any longer! If this site
is to be believed (see the last image), it most certainly is a rat
poison rock. Really really glad I didn't pick it up and try to open it,
which I came very close to doing.