|Many people wonder about the autobiography sealed in the chest. Although tiny in size, it is sure to be an immense pleasure to read. Will there be any surprises for the reader?||About 1990 or so, I learned that my daughters (now ages 56 and 57) didn’t know who Clark Gable was. I was shocked and that’s when I decided to record my family history (my autobiography). I wanted them to know as much as I could remember about my life and the events that largely shaped who I am today, and them, and theirs, in turn. I didn’t have a computer so for several years I jotted remembrances in pencil on a yellow pad, starting with an incident that happened when I was about one. Yes, I remember it vividly. I don’t think my story would be interesting to the average reader.|
|Mr. Fenn, Instinct tells me that you have something more in the jars you’ve hidden than just your autobiography, like maybe a gold coin or two. Do you think it is harder to find your jars or the chest? ~RPeternell||Each bronze jar I buried contains only my autobiography that is encased in a moisture proof glass container. Today I would be unable locate any of my buried jars or bells. My hope is that some romantic historian will happen upon one of them in the year 12,016, and think that Forrest Fenn was not just a passer-by to life. f|
|Are there any objects placed in the Bronze Chest that are connected, or have meaning to the place the chest is hidden? ~ Mike||No Mike, everything in the chest is straight forward and visual, except my autobiography, which some might find dull. Oops, I forgot, there is one thing in the chest that I have not talked about except to say I don’t want to talk about it. It is something saved especially for the person who solves the clues. I think that person will be pleased when she sees it. f|
|N/A - Consolidated quotes appearing throughout the article.||Recently, I had a dream in which I inventoried the contents of the treasure chest. I got so excited it woke me up and I couldn’t go back to sleep….The map shows the area in which the treasure is hidden, But there’s not X on it….Some of the photos and drawings are a peep-back into my early life and the way things used to be when gas was 11 cents a gallon. Others depict a colorful life lived out on the edge where the cautious and faint of heart fear to go...I don’t want to narrow the search area anymore. The treasure is not easy to find, but it certainly isn’t impossible. All someone has to do is solve the clues in the poem and the chest can be theirs...Included on the chest is my autobiography. If someone finds the treasure far into the future, I want them to know who did such an outrageous thing. So I pulled a couple of white hairs from my head and put them in the jar that contains my autobiography. Future scientists will be able to make DNA, Carbon-12 and other tests to learn about me and the times in which I lived...I’ve never said what I thought the treasure is worth because I don’t know, but writers keep upping its worth. When the value gets to $10 million I’m going back to get it.|
|N/A - Consolidated quotes appearing throughout the article.||There are three animals in the forest that don’t play fair and all others try to avoid: the skunk, the rattlesnake, and the porcupine. I made this gallon bronze jar with a screw-on lid after witnessing an unfortunate event near Hebgen Lake. I plan to fill it with things that will be fun to see in the year 5,450 when someone might unearth it. I want to bury it this year. Can anyone suggest what I should put in it, besides my autobiography?|
|N/A - Consolidated quotes appearing throughout the article.||Here’s a long forgotten photo that I discovered in an old laptop. It shows the treasure chest at a time when I was still deciding what it should contain. The two round objects in the center are 300 year-old gold and silver hunting case minute repeater watches. They came out, as did the large gems. The gold coins and nuggets were removed from their plastic containers and are now residing in the chest beside the little jar that contains my autobiography. Months later, when the chest was almost full, I added two 5-inch round Pre-Columbian gold mirrors, the Tairona fetish necklace, and my revered turquoise row bracelet. Then I closed the lid, and that was that. Now the treasure is hidden in the mountains, patiently waiting…f|
|Will the finder of your chest have permission to publish your 20,000 word official autobiography?||I don’t want my autobiography published because it has not been edited and I want to change some things in it.|
|You have mentioned sealing a bottle that is included in the chest with wax. What was your reason for doing this? Were you concerned merely for damp conditions or is the Chest hidden in water? ~ Izcajun||Thanks for the questions Izcajun.
When I was ready to put the olive jar that contained my autobiography and two of my hairs in the treasure chest I studied the lid. It was made of tin coated steel, which is not easily oxidized in air or water. Over time those characteristics can break down.
Although I am not ready to say the treasure is not in water, I certainly didn’t want moisture to enter the jar. So I melted a chunk of microcrystalline wax to the point that it started smoking, which meant it was at its thinnest viscosity. Then I dipped the jar in the molten wax deep enough to cover the lid and part of the jar, and held it there for several seconds. I wanted the wax to seal the threads on both the lid and the jar, but I didn’t want the heat to break the glass. After it cooled for a minute or so and the wax hardened, I repeated the process two times, increasing the wax thickness on the lid. The wax was petroleum based and won’t evaporate or deteriorate. When cold, it becomes brittle. That’s why I wanted the threads on the lid and jar clogged.
All I know are the facts, if you want the truth go next door to the psychology department. f
|9054||11/2/2013||Moby Dickens Bookshop, Taos, NM|
|Link: Click Here
The following is a transcription of the video referenced above. Questions and comments from the audience are presented in italics. Time stamps are offered when Forrest takes a question, and at other useful places during the video.
Well I always thought I deserved a throne. I’m very glad to be here. I want to thank Jay and Carolyn and Dorothy for bringing me up here. Jay asked me to say a few things about my treasure story. Is there anyone here that knows about the story? Who in this room has not heard about my treasure story? Oh that’s pretty good.
Well, uh, in 1988 I had cancer and they told me I was going to die. That’s a good way to start off a talk. They gave me a one in five chance of living three years. And, a lot of things were happening about that time. I was selling my gallery in Santa Fe, and I had a lot of clients that were coming to see me to do different things, and it just so happened that Ralph Lauren came to my house. He collects antique Indian things like I did. He didn’t know that I had cancer. But we were standing in my library and I had something that he wanted. It was a beautiful Sioux Indian bonnet with white ermines skins hanging on it, and split antelope horns, and it was a wonderful thing and he wanted to buy it. And I said I don’t want to sell it. He said you have so many of those things and you can’t take it with you. I said, well then I’m not going. And we laughed and changed the subject.
That night I started thinking about that. Who says I can’t take it with me? Why do I have to live by everybody else’s rules? If I’m going to die of cancer, I’m going to take some stuff with me, and I made up my mind. So I bought this beautiful little treasure chest: 10 inches by 10 inches and 6 inches high. Wonderful Romanesque thing. An antique scholar told me that it was probably Romanesque, 11th or 12th Century. Maybe it held a bible or a Book of Days. But it was wonderful; had a great patina on it. And I started filling it up with things that I thought would be attractive. There are 265 gold coins - American, mostly eagles and double eagles. There’s some Middle Eastern gold coins that date from the 13th century. There’s a little bottle of gold dust in there. And there are hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets, mostly from Alaska - placer nuggets. Two of them are so large that they are the same size as a hen’s egg. They weigh more than a pound apiece.
And there are, in this chest… I put hundreds of rubies. There are two beautiful Ceylon sapphires. There are eight emeralds. Lots of little diamonds. Pre-Columbian Wak’as. Uhh, 2,000 year old bracelets, and a Tayrona (Tyrona) and Sinu necklace that dates probably 2,500 years old. The fetishes on the necklace are made of quartz crystal and carnelian and semi-precious stones. I told myself that I wanted it to be visual enough so that when a person found the treasure chest, and opened it for the first time, they would just lean back and start laughing.
And, I’ve shown the chest to a number of people in Santa Fe and that’s what they all did. So I invite you to go look for the treasure chest. And, my plan was to, uhh...If I was going to die of cancer, uh, they said I had a one in five chance of living three years, so that told me I had a year probably, anyway. So, uhh, I decided I knew where I was going to hide the treasure chest. And I told myself that with my last gasping breath, I was going to fling myself on top of that treasure chest and let my bones go back to the dirt. It was a great plan. The trouble with it was, I got well. And it ruined the story. But I told myself, just because I got well, doesn’t mean I could not hide the treasure chest anyway. And I did that and there's… In my book, The Thrill of The Chase, there’s a poem in there that has nine clues in it. If you can follow the clues to the treasure chest, you can have the treasure chest. (Pause). And, uh, I thought about that a lot. And when I took, when I hid the treasure chest, I had to make two trips because it weighs 42 pounds. It’s small, but it’s...gold is heavy. And when I hid it and was walking back to my car, I started laughing out loud, and I said, “Forrest Fenn did you really do that?”
But I had a hole card, I told myself if I decide later I didn’t want to do it, I could go back and get it. But the more I thought about it, the more I said, yeah, this is perfect. Why can’t I influence somebody a thousand years from now? A hundred years from now? Okay, next weekend. If you can find it, I think it will be worth your while. A lady reporter from Texas called me on the phone and she said, “Mr. Fenn, who is your audience for this strange book?” I said, “My audience is every redneck in Texas with a pickup truck, a wife and twelve kids and he lost his job.” I said, “Throw a bedroll in the back of your truck and go look for the treasure chest - take the kids. Get the kids out of the game room. Away from their little playing machines and let them breathe the sunshine and the things the forest has to offer - a wonderful opportunity.
Just this past week, I passed 25,000 emails from people, and probably 15,000 of them have told me, “Mr. Fenn, we are not going to find that chest - we know that. But I want to thank you for getting me and my kids off the couch and out into the trees.” So, uh, you know I would go on and on but I don’t want to talk too much I would entertain some questions if anyone has one. (Pause). Yes sir.
(off-microphone question about proceeds of book)
You know, I’m having trouble hearing him. Can somebody help? What?
Did I understand that the proceeds of your book are going to the cancer, uh, foundation?
Let me explain that to you. Uh, Dorothy Massey at the Collected Works bookstore in Santa Fe owns these books. Jay bought them from Dorothy. The deal I made with Dorothy was that she can have the books, but she has to put 10% of the gross sales aside for a cancer fund. I think we have about $50,000 or something in that fund now. We’re looking, we’re looking for someone to… that we can feel proud about helping. Uh, if I had my way, we’d find some little minority kid that can’t afford what it takes to get well and spend our money that way. And, uh, I don't’ know if that’ll happen or not, but that’s the plan anyway. Is there another question?
I have one about the poem. If you follow the poem precisely, will you find yourself switching back?
If I follow the clues in the poem precisely, would I what?
Will you find yourself switching back? Making a loop.
This gal’s dangerous, you know! (pause) Would I find myself switching back… I think I can say no to that without giving away too much of the clues. Uh, nobody is gonna happen on that treasure chest. You’re gonna have to figure out the clues in the poem, and go to it. There are several people that have deciphered the first two clues. I don’t think they knew it, because they walked right on past the treasure chest. And I’m not gonna tell those people who they are because one of them particularly would faint, I know. And she’d tear the countryside up trying to figure out where they’d been. But, uh, it’s an opportunity to… has… doesn’t have any downsides I think. Everybody wins if you go out looking for it. Another question?
Given that you simply gave, gave it away, you, you gave this treasure away to the cosmos, to whomever, uh, did you have any heart wish of how treasure might be used for good?
Bless you. (laughter)
I don’t feel, I don’t feel that I’ve given it away. Whoever finds it is gonna earn it. And once they find it, and have it in their possession I’m out of the picture. They can do whatever they want to with it. You can’t… I don’t want to make rules for people after the fact. Yes sir?
How would you know that it hasn’t already been found?
I’ve been asked that question a lot… I really don’t want to answer the question because that would be an answer that I don’t really want to reveal. But I can tell you that no one has found the treasure. Yes sir?
When do you think the treasure would be found? Do you think it’s a ten year? A hundred year? When do you think it will actually be discovered?
You know, uh… Why don’t you ask me how deep is a hole? (Laughter) It’s not predictable. But I know, I think, this last summer, there were, I’m guessing, but I think there were 35,000 people out looking for the treasure chest.
Are you concerned that once it is discovered that your private spot will be exposed to so many people, that it will no longer become special? Or…
There’s all kinds of case scenarios. If a, if a person finds it, and he doesn’t want the IRS to know it, then maybe the spot will never be revealed. (Laughter) In my opinion, the type of person that’s gonna find the treasure chest is the type of person that can’t keep it quiet. Uh, but, I’m not worried about that really. Yes ma’am?
You said that it took you two trips to hide the treasure? Did you hide it two times, or did you carry it the second time?
I hid the whole thing in one spot. But it took me two trips to get to that spot with the weight of those… of the treasure chest.
From the car to the spot?
(Forrest nods). Very special spot.
Could you tell us more about what’s in your book? Like, it’s not just a poem, but it’s a memoir right?
It’s a memoir. You know, uh, I never did go to college. I prayed for D’s in high school and nobody ever listened. I graduated because my father was the principal. (Laughter). And so, I never did read the great books. And I talk in my book about Hemingway and, and other writers that are very internationally celebrated and so I went down to a bookstore and got a couple of those books and I started to read them and I told myself these things are no good. For Whom The Bell Tolls - I read about a third of that thing and threw it in the trash. And I started to wonder… Why does everyone… I mean, you may think those are wonderful books, but I’m a little bit weird I have to admit that.
But then Pierre, err, J.D. Salinger died. And Diane Sawyer’s talking about how wonderful he was that he wrote books and put them in a vault so nobody could see them. And I told myself - this is my kind of guy. So, so I went down and I bought Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Uh. And I thought I was gonna like that book because I had never heard of the guy. And I said, everybody thinks the book’s pretty good and he’s nobody so, it must be a pretty good book. So I started reading it and, and I read a little bit and I put it down. And I started thinking about it, and I read some more. It took me about a day and a half to finish that book, and I wasn’t ready for it to end when it was over. I started to tell myself, uh, you know if this is a good book, if Catcher in the Rye is a good book, I can do that. (pause) It’s nothing but a guy talking to himself really is what it is. And I said, I can do that. And so, I started writing my memoir. I started remembering, and I would encourage all of you to write your memoir. You don’t have to edit it. Send it to the Library of Congress - they love those things. Start with your earliest recollections like I did. I remember when my grandmother told me about when she was a kid in Fort Worth watching the Comanche and Kaweah Indians run through their barnyard trying to catch chickens.
I have two daughters that are in their fifties who don’t know who Clark Gable was. So I wanted my kids, my family, my grandkids, to know something about my family. Something about me, and my wife, and what we’ve done, and where we’ve been. Kind of a peek back into our lives, and so that’s… And at the same time, I was thinking about my treasure chest. How do I bring all of these things together?
So it was 15 years from the time that I got cancer until the time that I hid the treasure chest. 15 years. And… The poem in my book, is something that I changed over and over again. When you read the poem, it looks like just simple words there. But I guarantee you I worked on that thing… I felt like an architect drawing that poem. And the original version of that poem said, “Take the treasure chest, but leave my bones and go in peace.” Or, something like that. But then I got well, and it ruined that story.
But, uh, I believe very strongly in that uh… I started making bells out of bronze and little jars. In the jars I put my autobiography in the jars and seal them up tight. And I’ve buried eight of those things way out in the desert, and in the mountains. Nobody knows where. I couldn't even go back to them; I’ve hidden them so well. Who says I can’t influence the future? Who says I can’t take it with me? I don’t believe in those things. Which is, which is best, uh, laying on the ground, on a treasure chest, your bones rotting in the sun? Or laying in a hospital room with tubes down your throat and your nose and machines everywhere, people watching you all the time. Which would you rather have? That’s my philosophy. But I’ll admit, I’m a maverick in that area.
My father had pancreas cancer. They gave him six months to live. Eighteen months later he was still fishing up in Yellowstone in those lakes and fast streams. But one night, at about ten o’clock at night, he said call me on the phone. I was in Santa Fe and he was in Temple, Texas. He said, “Forrest, I just want you to know that I’m getting ready to take 50 sleeping pills.” And I said, “Dad, I’ll be there first thing in the morning.” I had an airplane. He said, “That’s too late.” And it was too late. But I respected him, because he wanted to do things on his own terms. What’s wrong with making your own rules about things? He could have gone into the hospital and withered away for another three weeks or a month. That’s no way to live. And all of these thoughts manifest themselves in my treasure chest. The thrill of the chase - I keep going back to the thrill of the chase. And you can think I’m crazy if you want to, and a lot of people have said that but, it’s something that I believe in. And that treasure chest, I have said, is in a very special place to me. If I get another disease, on my last dying gasp, I’m going to throw myself on top of that treasure chest. And I’m going to dare you to come find me.
Bella, do you have a question?
Uh, Mr. Fenn, we actually have one that was sent to us. And since you were speaking about the poem, uh, Dal Neitzel has asked if you would kindly read the poem? Of which, I happen to have a copy of said poem.
Damn Dal Neitzel’s always getting me in trouble. (Laughter)
I’m just the messenger.
He thinks he's safe ‘cause he lives on a little island, Lummi Island, out of Seattle. I’ve got his number though.
(address crowd from memory)
As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold
I can keep my secret where
And hint of riches new and old
Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.
From there it’s no place for the meek
The end is ever drawing nigh.
There’ll be no paddle up your creek
Just heavy loads and water high.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze
Look quickly down your quest to cease
But tarry scant with marvel gaze
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
So hear me all and listen good.
(Pause, reaches for glasses) I might have to read this thing
So hear me all and listen good.
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.
And I view that as a challenge. There are so many things in life that are wonderful. And so many things that are not wonderful. And this world is in trouble; I don’t need to tell you that. So, I think we need to… My father used to tell me, “Grab every banana.” And, he told me that a hundred times. Finally, he and I collected arrowheads together. And we were thinking about going out to a friend’s farm that was newly plowed to look for arrowheads, but it was drizzling rain. I didn’t much want to go, but my father did. So, we were discussing and he said, “Grab every banana.” I said, “Father, you’ve been telling me that for years.” I said, “I don’t know what you mean.” You know what he said to me? He said, “Now that you asked the question, maybe you’re old enough to know.” Pretty profound, huh? He said, “The banana tree doesn’t go by… The banana… The train doesn’t go by that banana tree but one time.” He said, “You should reach out and grab every banana on the way back.” I thought that was pretty good. And let me tell you I’ve grabbed a few bananas in my time. Grabbed a few lemons, too. Yes, sir?
Are you familiar with the Poet, Robert Service?
The Poet, Robert Service
You’d give him a run for his money.
Well, thank you. Thank you. Well, I like poetry, and I can walk down the street and see something and I quote poetry to myself. I did that coming up here today in the car with Dorothy Massey. I’ll read you a poem from Alice in Wonderland.
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shiny tail
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every shiny scale
How cheerfully he seems to grin
How neatly spread his claws
And welcome little fishies in
With gently smiling jaws
(Laughter). I like that. You may not know who Senator Al Simpson is. Senator from Wyoming, retired. He can quote the entire book from Alice in Wonderland. Yes, sir?
Would you want to say anything about the accumulation of that treasure and why you’re...
Jay - you got that?
So, he’s wanting to know on the accumulation of what you put in the chest, were they personal type items? How hard was it for you to put some of those items in there? How did you determine what you placed in the chest?
Thank you for asking that question, Sir. I wanted that treasure chest to be part of me. If I’m gonna take it with me, I don’t want it to be a bunch of abstract items. I put things in that treasure chest that are very dear to me. One of them, probably the cheapest thing in that treasure chest, is a wonderful little bracelet. It has 22 prehistoric turquoise beads in it. The beads were found by Richard Weatherall. The first day that he discovered Mesa Verde and climbed down into the ruin from the canyon top, he picked up those 22 little turquoise beads. In 1901, when Richard Weatherall was excavating Mesa Verde, there was an Indian working for him that made a bracelet out of those 22 little turquoise, disc beads, they call it a row bracelet. It was made about 1902 or so. And, Richard Weatherall sold it to Fred Harvey of the Harvey Houses. And years later, that whole Harvey collection was given to the Hurt Museum in Phoenix. But I won that bracelet in a pool game with Byron Harvey, who was the nephew of Fred Harvey. That’s how I got that bracelet. So I have an association with… It’s the only bracelet, Indian bracelet, that I ever had that fit me. I used, I used to walk down the street showing off that bracelet worth about $350. But, you know, it was special to me.
Have your grandkids ever tried looking for the treasure?
No, but I’ll tell you an interesting story. Some of the emails I get from people - I got one last week from a lady about your age. You must be 11? Nine. Nine. She said, “Mr. Fenn, if I find the treasure chest, do I have to share it with my brother?” (Laughter). So I get all kinds of emails. This one lady said, “My truck is not very reliable. If I go up in the mountains, on the way to get your treasure chest, and my truck breaks down, will you come and pick me up and take me the rest of the way to the treasure?”
Do you think kids will ever find the treasure?
Do I think kids will find the treasure? You worry me a little bit. (Laughter). Uh, yeah, I think kids may have an advantage. Don’t expect me to explain that, but sure. Their eyes are better. They’re more agile, they have more energy, why should a kid take a back seat in the treasure hunt?
Is that your daughter there?
She’s dangerous. Ok - more questions. Yes, Sir.
You put a lot of people on a very bold, exciting adventure. And at the same time, you have put yourself on an adventure of watching all of these people, and how are you enjoying that?
Oh tell me not, in mournful numbers Life is but an empty dream For the soul is dead that slumbers And things are never what they seem
I’m enjoying it, yeah. I didn’t expect it...You know, I always figured the treasure chest was a bomb, but I didn’t know that it had a fuse until Dorothy came along. And a couple of other people that started giving publicity to the book. And now it’s out... And no matter what happens now, it belongs to the ages, I think. And sure there’s a… people talk about, “Mr. Fenn is that your legacy?” I don’t, I don’t like that. I don’t like the philosophy of that. I don’t like the word… Once a person dies, that should be the end of it. If you want to say something kind about me, say it to me while I’m alive, don’t wait till I die. And let’s don’t talk about legacies. Yes, sir?
So, when you had cancer, uh, and you got well, and you decided to hide the treasure, do you think that maybe fate, maybe you got well so you would hide the treasure?
Uh, I believe that there’s a higher hand, someplace. I don’t know what it is, but, uh, I think that I’ve lived a charmed life. Uh, here’s a little kid from a small town in Texas making D’s and F’s in high school. Joined the Air Force as a pilot, err private, became a fighter pilot, uh… In 19… When I was 27 years old and a fighter pilot in Germany, I went down to Supply and checked out an atomic bomb. I signed a form. I owned that atomic bomb - 61 kiloton bomb. The bomb at Hiroshima was 17,000 tons. This was 61,000 tons. And, I thought that, you know, if I can do that, uh, from my background, then look at what other people can do from their background. I had a hard tour in Vietnam. I flew 328 combat missions in about 348 days. I was shot down twice. I took battle damage a few times. I lost some roommates. I lost 22 pounds and didn’t even know it. And when I came home I was, I was tired. I was tired mentally. I was tired physically. And, I wrote a story that’s in my memoir that’s called My War for Me. If you don’t do anything else, read that story. I think it’s 7500 words, but I’m very proud of that story. It tells, uh… And in my new book, Too Far To Walk, (aside) do we have a copy of that? I tell another story that’s an aberration to my Too Far, Too War, uh, My War for Me story. And, uh, I’ll tell you briefly about that. I was laying on the, in the wet jungle in Laos. I had just jumped out. My wife got a telegram saying that I had been shot down and no parachutes had been seen. And so, I’m laying there trying to decide what to do. I had a radio. If I called the rescue people, they’d come to get me and I’d go home. But Laos in those days, in 1968, was pretty wild country. What if the helicopter comes in to get me and it’s shot down and those 2 or 3 guys are killed? Now where am I? I haven’t been rescued and 4 guys have been killed. Those things were preying on my mind. But I was 38 years old. I was a perfect human physical specimen. I had graduated from the jungle survival school in the Philippines. The jungle - it was never hot, it was never cold. Fast running water, drinkable water, was everywhere. I had two guns. I had a knife. And, under every log in the jungle is nourishing food if you’re willing to eat it - And I was. I figured I could walk to the South China Sea in a month or six weeks. So the question is, am I going to take the challenge that will never again in a million years be offered to me, or do I remember my wife and two kids at home? So what do you do? I decided it wasn’t fair to my family so I used my radio the next morning and they came and got me and nobody was killed taking me out and.. One of the things that in my life that I think that I’ve been, not gifted of course, I hate to use the word luck, I believe there’s a higher hand. Yet tomorrow I’ll get run over by a train, but I believe in karma and some of those things. I’m not a religious person, but I’m probably the most spiritual person around. That’s the way I define it. I hate to get on my soapbox. Yes, Sir?
I would like to know more about your new book.
My new book, Too Far to Walk, in my preface I explain where I got the word, the title to the book. And Dal Neitzel, who put me on the spot a while ago, uh, three days before it went to press… I own my own little publishing company, it’s called One Horse Land and Cattle Company, two days or three days before we went to the printer, I didn’t have a dust jacket. So I sent Dal Neitzel an email, and I said go to the Madison River in Yellowstone Park. There’s a very special place that I’m going to tell you about, and take a photograph of the water. Stand on the bank; put the flowers in the photograph. And send me the photograph. He did that, he sent me the photograph. My designer here in Santa Fe put the shadow across it. And two days before we went to the printer, I was still writing this book. When a writer sends a manuscript to a publisher, two years later they’re thinking about going to the printer. We did this in two days. Byproduct of having your own people working for you and the people that helped me design this book are wonderful. Same people that did that book for me (gestures to The Thrill of the Chase). You can’t thank, some people, you can never thank enough.
Forrest, we got a question from your online fan base that we gotta address too.
Who is it?
This one is anonymous.
Ok. Boy I’m in trouble now.
Was the car, you walked back to after hiding the treasure, rented?
Was it rented?
Was it rented.
You know that’s the first time I’ve been asked that question. But, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about that. That’s why I’ve told people that I buried the treasure, that I hid the treasure chest when I was either 79 or 80 years old because I don’t want the exact date to be known because I’m afraid someone will go check the rental car records and how many miles did Mr. Fenn put on the truck or the car, and so I don’t answer those kind of questions, but shoot that person that sent that email.
I have a question. Back to The Thrill of the Chase, outside of the poem, how many clues or hints are in the book? Would you say 10 to 20? 20 to 30?
How many clues?
How many hints?
There are nine clues in the poem but if you read the book, uh, there are a couple. There are a couple of good hints, and then there are a couple of aberrations that live out on the edge. Yes, ma’am?
You say there’s nine clues in the poem, the poem has more than nine lines. Can you share with us which exactly are the lines are the clues?
Which of the 24 lines are clues?
Uh, little girl I already know you. You’ve been out looking for the treasure.
I’m trying to help everybody else.
She already knows what the clues are. No, I don’t want to do that. She’s scary too!
I don’t have a question, but I just want to mention since you’re so interested in information that the gentleman that emailed you from Lummi Island… Dal… Lummi Island is on the far side of a reservation that’s called Lummi Reservation, so he has to go through the reservation every time he goes home to catch the ferry to go out to his island. Just an interesting fact I thought you might be interested in.
Uh, you know Dal, I didn’t know Dal until I after I had written my book. He came to Santa Fe because he wanted to talk to me about the book and the poem. And, I didn’t know the guy, so I didn’t want to meet him at my home, but I met him at the Collected Works bookstore in Santa Fe. And he introduced himself to me with a fictitious name. And he had some ulterior motives related to that. But after a few minutes to conversation, I learned that his name was Dal Neitzel and that he had worked with my nephew, Creighton Fenn, who is a professional deep sea diver. He found the Agamemnon, Lord Nelson’s flagship and brought a cannon up. He has a website that has wonderful pictures - I don’t know what the website is. But Dal Neitzel was working with my nephew when they found, I think, 79 17th century sunken Spanish galleons off the coast of Uruguay. I mean, Dal Neitzel, his water runs deep, and he’s a really neat guy too. He runs a blog. I think he controls that whole blog. It’s very interesting. I read his blog so I can learn a lot about myself. (Laughter). Your friend isn’t laughing.
Coming from the online site again, I’ve been asked to ask you how many people have told you that they’ve discovered the unintended clue in Too Far to Walk and how many were right?
Well I’ve not had anybody tell me the answer to that clue. If you read my preface, it doesn’t take a genius to know what they are talking about. But there are clues in my new book that can help a person. Did I answer that question?
Yeah, that was it. Now here’s a really obscure one. Is it possible to locate the treasure chest without ever leaving your computer and Google Earth?
No. It isn’t. Did I really say that? There is not a picture of the treasure chest on Google Earth. Was that your question?
Yeah. I think that will suffice.
Because Google Earth doesn’t go down far enough.
Tell us about the children’s book that you have planned.
The children’s book that I have planned? Well there’s a lady that contacted me. She’s written several children’s books and she read both of my books and she said I want you to write a children’s book with me. For some reason, she thought I was a child, I guess, the way I write my books. But I said okay and we’re thinking about that. I mean, I would like to do that. Sometimes, uh, I’m not a natural writer, I struggle when I write. I think my prose looks easy but I, sometimes I sit, uh, just today sometimes when I get to the end of a sentence, trying to write the end of the sentence, I forgot what the front part of the sentence was. So, I may be running out of words. I have three books in my computer that I’m really proud of. I would like to finish one. The main one is called Closet Stories of Taos. It’s about the artists and the characters but it isn’t an art book it’s a gossip book. It’s about Long John Dunne, but that wasn’t his name at all. His name was Wilhelm. He killed two people in Texas, both of them justifiable, but the court didn’t think so. They convicted him of first degree murder and gave him life in prison. And the Sabine River in south Texas overflowed and they let all the prisoners out to stack sandbags to protect the house and John Dunn jumped in the river and floated on a log and far from the reach of Texas Rangers he said. And it’s a wonderful story about John Dunn. But it’s about Horace McHorace (sp?) who owned the first car dealership in Taos, and Tarasita Ferguson and there’s a great story… I don’t know if I can tell this story in this mixed company, but I will. There were two guys down on the plaza, walking around one Sunday afternoon. And, they were accosted by two women who wore hoods over their faces. They wanted these two men to go over to La Vonda hotel with them because they had a room over there. These two guys didn’t want to do it. I’m not gonna mention their names, but in my book I do. The two women turned to walk away, and one of the men lifted the hoods of one of these two women and one of them was Tarasita Ferguson and the other one was Georgia O’Keefe. So my book is really a gossip book. Stories about Doc Martin and the artists. Great stories about Gaspard and Fechin and Sharp, and Kaus and Victor Higgins and some of the others.
Question? Ok then, I will ask another from the online world.
Will you quit going back to the computer?
Ok, this will be the last one. Other than the one you mentioned, are there any other hints in Too Far To Walk that would help solve the nine clues?
Well there’s a major clue in the book, but I don’t think it will help you find the treasure chest. I’ll tell you what the clue is. In the back of my book, there’s a map. And I’ve said that the treasure chest is hidden in the Rocky Mountains. Here’s a treasure chest (I think he meant “map”) of the Rocky Mountains. If you knew where the treasure chest is hidden, you could find it on this map. But the map stops at Canada. The Rocky’s keep going up there, but I said it’s in the Rocky Mountains, which would include Canada. When this book was printed, I didn’t realize that Benchmark Maps, who made this map, stopped at the Canadian border, so that’s a clue, but I don’t think - it’s not going to help you much.
But that’s not THE clue.
What did she say?
She said, “That’s not THE clue.”
There are no clues in this book, but there are some hints. What I tell people to do, if you’re really serious about looking for the treasure, get the Thrill of The Chase and read it. And then go back and read the poem over and over and over again. And then go back and read the book again, but slowly looking at every little abstract thing that might catch up in your brain. That might be a hint to help you with the clues. Any part of some, is better than no part of any. I don’t think that’ll help you much, but…
If somebody finds the treasure, and they reveal themselves that they have found it
If somebody finds the treasure, what?
If somebody does find the treasure, and ruins your plans to throw/cast your bones upon the chest, will you find a new location and do it again?
How do you answer a guy who asks a question like that? I don’t think so. I mean, I’ve had my run. A lot of things you can’t plan. You know, making plans is antagonistic to freedom. I used to tell a story in my Too Far To Walk book about in Santa Fe I had a Piper Malibu Barrage. Carried lots of fuel. It had a 43 foot wingspan. And I could go out there all by myself, push the hangar doors open, because I didn’t want anyone to help me, crank that airplane up, get permission from the tower to take off, and head north, and then turn my radios off. I had no idea where I was going to land, what I was going to see, I didn’t even care. I had six or seven hundred miles before I had to think about that. But I had GPS and I had maps. I’d find a little town up in Wyoming or Idaho or someplace in Montana, and look on my map and see if they had a rental car or an airport. And if they did, I’d land and rent a car and go out and sit by the lake, or the river. I did that, I think it was in Lander, Wyoming. The little Popo Agie River runs through Lander. How can you not stop where the little Popo Agie River runs through the town?
My best friend who passed away a couple of months ago lived in Lander.
She lived in Lander?
I’ve been to Lander a few times. It’s a typical little town, I mean you have to love Lander. That’s grass roots America.
As a matter of fact, I have a granddaughter that is in pre-med at Texas Tech University. I told her that I would pay for all of her college to get a medical degree if she would promise me that when she graduated and got her license, that she would go to a little town like Lander, set up a shingle and make house calls. And she has to do that for two years. She promised me that she would do that, so that’s where I am with this whole thing. Yes, sir?
Forrest, did you have nine clues before you wrote the poem? Or, did nine clues appear after the poem?
They’re contiguous. I knew where I wanted to hide the treasure chest, so it was easy for me to put one foot down and then step on it to get to the next foot. So that’s what I did. But I changed it over - I don’t know how many times. I looked up the meaning of words. You know we really don’t know what some of our words mean. For instance, what does the word “several” mean? S-E-V-E-R-A-L what does that mean?
It means more than two, but not many more than two. Isn’t that a way to define a word. More than two, but not many. So, I doubt that anybody in this room knows that. I mean, I wouldn’t know it except I’m a writer and sometimes I look things up. There are lots of words in the English language that we can’t define and consequently we use them erroneously. How in the hell did I get on that subject?
Is there anything in the chest you would like back?
Is there anything in the chest I want back. Yeah, I want my little bracelet back. And I’m glad you asked that question. Her name is, uh, M-A-C-I. Well, anyway, I’ve had about 35 men, or people, send me an email that says, “I found your treasure.” I’m looking at it, of course I don’t believe it. But I write them back and say, “Congratulations. Will you sell me my bracelet back?” and they say, “What bracelet?” And this one guy said that to me - that he had my treasure chest. I said, well, “I’m interested sir, did the hot water affect the patina on the treasure chest?” He said, “Thank you!” and hung up. He thought I had given him a clue and he’s gonna go look in all the hot water up and down the Rocky Mountains. People… Everybody has their own gig. I keep saying that. I believe it. Yes, ma’am?
50:02 Have you given comparable treasure to your grandchildren, sir?
Do I have comparable treasure for my grandchildren?
My family is taken care of. But I’m another maverick in that area. The last thing I want to do is make my kids or grandkids wealthy. I was in the art business for so many years, and I saw what inherited money can do. It’s the thrill of the chase. It’s the thrill in doing it yourself. I bought all my grandkids cars when they got their driver’s license. I’m paying for all their education. And then, they are on their own. First of all, I’m really not that wealthy. I mean, I can live on the interest, and that’s the definition of a wealthy person I guess, I mean.... Lots of things, uh, uh, I have everything I want but I don’t want very much.
How did you come up with the title? Too Far to Walk?
You’ll have to read my preface. I explained it in my preface. Well, let me read it to you. I’ll read a dedication. This book is dedicated to all that have pushed me against my will, and made me a better person. Here’s my preface. I put a small rubber dinghy in the Madison River a few miles from West Yellowstone, Montana and fished downstream to Baker’s Hole. That part of the river was in the quietly forgotten western edge of Yellowstone National Park. There were no roads, no trails, and no Rangers to tell me I wasn’t supposed to do that. The river distance was about 10 miles and the best fishing was in the bends where the water turned greenish deep and beautiful. The small boat containing my camping gear was tethered to my belt and as I leisurely walked in the quiet river, I spent three days there casually casting my fly and enjoying the solitude. The river experience cemented my connection to that special country, and I promised myself that someday I would make that trip again. That day never came for me, and my disappointment still casts a lonesome shadow across the Madison River. For me now, it’s just too far to walk. And that’s where I got the title. Yes, sir?
Forrest, may I suggest that you tell the audience for those of us who aren’t searchers, tell the audience, who is not searching why the phrase “too far to walk” is so important?
I didn’t say it was too far...err. Important! That part of the preface is a metaphor for my entire life. Looking back, I’ve done some things that I’m not gonna brag about, but I’ve also not done some things that I’d wish I had. As a matter of fact, in the Thrill of the Chase, I talk about writing my obituary. My, uh, what do you call it, (epitaph?) Yeah.
I wish I could have lived to do The things I was attributed to (Laughter)
See there? She feels the same way about that. Well, I had my gallery for 17 years in Santa Fe. And, I had no education. I’d been a fighter pilot all my life. So when I opened my business, I didn’t have a painting. Knew nothing about business, knew nothing about art. That’s why I had to start from scratch. My first two shows, I didn’t sell so much as a book. And I finally told myself, I had a little bit of money left, that I’d saved 20 years in the Air Force. I said I’m going to spend this money advertising, and if that doesn’t work I’m gonna slam the door and go do something else.
And it started working for me. I learned to play Monopoly at my art gallery. And every time I sold a painting, I took the profit and bought two paintings. Then I took the profit and bought four paintings. Over a period of time, it took me two years before I could finance my gallery out of accounts receivable. But I learned a lot along the way. There’s so much to learn. I learned that when I needed somebody to work in my accounts receivable and accounts payable office, that’s a very important job. In the business, everything depends on cash flow. So this lady came to see me. She wanted to work for me. I needed somebody in accounts receivable and accounts payable. So, I said let me think about it overnight. So about eight o’clock that night, I went to her house and knocked on her door. She let me in. I wanted to see what kind of housekeeper she was. If there’s stuff laying all over the floor, she’s not going to work in my accounts receivable. But I want her working as a salesman out front. Different personalities have different things. You know, I’ve always said that salesmen, like school teachers, have shelf lives. And it’s about six years. Dorothy will say that’s not true. If you own your own business it’s a little bit different, but I learned a lot in the art business. I learned a lot about people, I learned a lot about business, and I learned a lot about life.
So many writers, I don’t want to be critical, but I know so many writers that are so much better than I am. They… Everything is researched perfectly. Everything is correct. The commas are in the right spot, and you go right down the center line. And I told this writer today she should be writing Encyclopedia Britannicas. It’s no fun to read. Everything’s there, but it’s no fun. I said - when are you gonna walk out to the… How do you know where the edge is if you don’t go out there and look? I never wanted to go down the center line. I wanted to bounce off the curbs and I think I’ve done that. I got caught a few times, but… I think if… If I had my life to do over, I said in my, one of these books that, if I had my life to do over, I’d change nearly everything. Why do the same thing over and over again? You know? You read in these different magazines, they ask a different question, “What would you change in your life?”
“I wouldn’t change anything, everything’s been perfect.” I think that’s such a, a, an idiot thing to say, I think. Why do the same thing over again when you can… Nothing wrong with slamming a door and starting out new again.
Out of the night that covers me Dark is the pit from pole to pole I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul
I think that’s a good place to stop, don’t you?
|9124||6/24/2014||SBS Dateline Part 1|
|Link: Click Here
ANJALI RAO: Now to the United States where a real live treasure hunt is underway, after an eccentric millionaire claimed to have buried a chest filled with gold somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. He’s invited anyone who finds the treasure to keep it for themselves. But first, they must decipher a cryptic poem that supposedly reveals the location. As many as 6,000 people are now reported to be searching for the loot, but is the buried treasure real, or just a hoax? Dateline’s Nick Lazaredes joins the quest to find out.
NICK LAZAREDES: Spring is late in coming to Yellowstone National Park, but the Bison are out and the hunt is already underway.
CARISSA KREIS: You cross that river and you get on the other side - it’s like being in Jurassic Park. You’re so worried the whole time that there’s a grizzly bear right behind you.
LAZAREDES: Carissa Kreis and her sisters have driven across five states to Montana’s Rocky Mountains, and they believe they’re well equipped for the dangers they may face.
XXXXX KREIS: Bear bells supposed to make a lot of noise because bears - you don’t want to sneak up on them.
LAZAREDES: But these sisters aren’t stalking bears, they’re hunting for gold.
XXXX KREIS: There you go!
YYYYY KREIS: No Indian Marks.
MARTY KREIS: Man that’s a good spot right there. If’ he’s carrying 20 pounds of gold, 22 pounds of gold, and then he has to walk back to his car to get 22 more pounds and was carrying a digging shovel.
LAZAREDES: What’s brought these sisters here are clues to the location of a treasure chest hidden by an eccentric multi-millionaire named Forrest Fenn.
FORREST FENN: There are hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets in that treasure chest. Two of them are as big as a chicken egg. I wanted it to be visual enough to strike somebody’s fancy for someone to tell them, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna go look for that.’
LAZAREDES: Forrest Fenn’s autobiography, ‘The Thrill of the Chase,’ provides the only clues to the hidden gold. The treasure map is a riddle, spelled out in the lines of this poem.
FENN: Begin it where warm waters halt / and take it in the canyon down / not far but too far to walk / put in below the home of Brown / from there it’s no place for the meek / the end is ever drawing nigh / there’ll be no paddle up your creek / just heavy loads and water high.
MARTY KREIS: Hey, I wanna take the last one. No I have one of those.
ZZZZ KREIS: This is a good one (flashlight).
LAZAREDES: For almost a year, the Kreis sisters have been trying to make sense of Fenn’s enigmatic verses.
MARTY KREIS: If you’ve been wise and found the blaze / look quickly down your quest to cease / but tarry scant with marvel gaze / just take the chest and go in peace.
LAZAREDES: Forrest Fenn’s poem has captured a nation’s imagination. Sparking a treasure hunting craze that spread from coast to coast. For those caught in the grip of gold fever, it’s a race against time to crack the code.
DAL NEITZEL: Oh man, what a view. You need this. Come on, show me where it’s at!
LAZAREDES: In New Mexico, a thousand kilometers to the south of the Kreis sisters, Dal Neitzman (sic) is on his 37th expedition to find the treasure.
NEITZEL: So, what I’d settle for up here is a nice petroglyph. Some kind of Indian rock carving that says, ‘The treasure is here.’
LAZAREDES: For Dal, cracking Fenn’s cryptic code has become an obsession.
NEITZEL: Look at this stuff, how broken up it is. Now if there were a blaze, you know, like that igneous rock coming down, an intrusion coming down coming right to that cave, man you’d find me in that hole in a second.
LAZAREDES: After researching Fenn’s poem, Dal believes the clues relate to the Aztec Indian tribe that once lived here.
NEITZEL: Forrest is tricky, and he knows a lot about Indian methods. I think, I think, uh, I think if you find the place, if you find the blaze, you're gonna spend a lot of time finding his hidey place.
LAZAREDES: While Dal’s interpretation has led him here to the southern Rockies, for the Kreis sisters, all the clues point to the north.
CARISSA KREIS: Just till we get to that ledge right there.
LAZAREDES: The sisters believe the poem relates to Forrest Fenn’s childhood, leading them here to Yellowstone.
MARTY KREIS: When we found out about Forrest Fenn and read about him, it was like our dad, so we clicked. And, um, yeah when we read the book and um, you know, put the pieces together and we saw this, it was like - this is it. This had to be his favorite spot.
FENN: People have been pretty close. But the people that have been closest, don’t know that they were close. There’s 10 percent of me that wants to help them, but the 90 percent supersedes the 10 percent.
LAZAREDES: But while Dal and the sisters are certain of their progress, skeptics say they’re being duped.
RON MALDONADO: The Templar Knights, the Holy Grail, all of these lost treasures they don’t exist. They haven’t been found.
LAZAREDES: Archaeologist Ron Maldonado has spent decades unearthing America’s history, and he reckons the tale of Fenn’s gold is just another myth.
MALDONADO: We have, you know, this Forrest Fenn treasure that no one will ever find. Not in my lifetime, not in the next lifetime, not in three lifetimes because it doesn’t exist.
KREIS: Oh my God. Just think of the poor Mormons crossing the Donner pass.
LAZAREDES: Real or not, solving Fenn’s puzzle is a gargantuan task. With just a few clues, the search area extends to the Canadian border.
KREIS: Is this the trail? How can you find the trail?
LAZAREDES: But in the wilds of the Rockies, hunting for treasure is a risky business. So it’s late afternoon, and I’m driving through the middle of Yellowstone National Park. It’s snowing – really, really harsh conditions, and it’s into this environment that more and more people are coming to look for Forrest Fenn’s treasure. In fact, so many treasure hunters that emergency resources have been stretched to the limit.
TIM REID: We’ve had probably five major incidents of people looking for this purported treasure.
LAZAREDES: In Yellowstone National Park, Chief Ranger Tim Reid is now dealing with the fallout of Forrest Fenn’s treasure hunt. I understand you’ve just had an incident today in relation to this treasure hunt?
REID: We had an incident today where we arrested two people who had, approximately a week ago, caused a search and rescue that when they were swept away down a river while looking for the treasure. And they came back and committed another violation, a criminal act, and we arrested them and took them to jail.
LAZAREDES: It’s now four years since the hunt began, and growing devotion is pushing searchers to extremes. For those on the trail, bad news travels fast with word that a treasure hunter now lost in the wilderness.
NEITZEL: This is the first year that I have known of any of this to happen. So, in the past, we’ve never had anything like this to discuss and now one party is missing.
LAZAREDES: Since the hunt began, Dal has forged a close friendship with Forrest Fenn, and from inside his Santa Fe mansion, we find him embroiled in the rescue effort for the missing searcher.
FENN: Let me know as soon as you find out anything, and I’m not gonna tell his wife yet. Thanks, pal. Well he didn’t sleep in his room last night, although some of his things were still in the room.
LAZAREDES: It’s clear this latest twist is weighing heavily on Forrest’s mind.
FENN: I don’t feel like I’m to blame, but I feel somewhat responsible for it and I’m - I will help them any way I can.
FENN: There’s something over there I want to show you.
LAZAREDES: Despite years of planning, Forrest Fenn wasn’t sure how the treasure hunt would evolve. But Fenn was determined to leave his mark on history.
FENN: Isn’t this a great wagon? This wagon was made in 1880.
LAZAREDES: Having spent his lifetime collecting precious objects from the past, Fenn devised his treasure hunt as a tangible way of giving back to society.
FENN: When I hid that treasure chest, and walked back to the car, it was totally out of my hands. And in a loud voice I said, ‘Forrest Fenn, did you really do that?’ and I started laughing.
LAZAREDES: This series of photos was commissioned by Forrest before the chest was hidden. It’s the only visual evidence that the treasure exists, but it’s far from definitive proof. What about the people that say the treasure doesn’t exist?
FENN: What makes you think it’s not out there hidden someplace? Give me the facts. Present your evidence. The only way I could prove to you I hid it is to take you out there and show it to you. Then I’d have to kill you (laughing).
LAZAREDES: A tour of the millionaire’s Santa Fe mansion lends some credence to his story. His walls are a wonderland of ancient artifacts.
FENN: A trader brought this pipe to me. It came out of a little mom and pop museum.
LAZAREDES: Fenn made much of his multi-million dollar fortune trading in Native American relics.
FENN: And here is the pipe with Sitting Bull holding it in his mouth. It’s the same exact pipe.
LAZAREDES: In New Mexico, Fenn is regarded as a modern day Indiana Jones. He even bought the ruins of an Aztec village and dug up its ancient riches for himself. Are they incredibly expensive, these collector’s items?
FENN: Thirty-five thousand bucks.
LAZAREDES: Right. Forrest’s workshop contains one of the most impressive private collections of Native American antiquities in the world.
FENN: This is the typical size of an arrow point.
LAZAREDES: But some archaeologists regard the stockpile as private plunder. Some people have called you a looter. How do you respond to those sorts of claims?
FENN: Well, I don’t respond, but the definition of a looter and an archaeologist is that one has a permit and the other one doesn’t. Archaeologists don’t like anybody that has an Indian ruin on their land and excavates it unless they have a PhD. in Archaeology. But the law is on my side. The law says I can do what I want to on my own land.
LAZAREDES: But Forrest Fenn’s zeal to dig up the past has appalled Native Americans.
MALDONADO: I think he’s done, not only Native America, but American’s in general an injustice by doing this. By kind of sending this message of there’s a treasure out there, go get it.
LAZAREDES: Archaeologist Ron Maldonado works for the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the U.S. He’s brought me to the Chaco Canyon, a world heritage site containing the remnants of an Aztec civilization thousands of years old.
MALDONADO: There’s just a, pot shards. Just look at it. It’s nice, it’s pretty, and we’re gonna leave it alone and walk away from it because, you know, if you don’t know how to use it, you shouldn’t take it.
LAZAREDES: Let alone dig up buried treasure.
MALDONADO: Exactly. Let alone dig up buried treasure.
LAZAREDES: Chaco is one of several cultural landmarks targeted by reckless treasure hunters, trespassing on Indian land digging for Fenn’s gold.
MALDONADO: If you get caught doing this, and you have your brand new 2014 all-wheel drive vehicle, guess who gets to keep it? You know? Law enforcement, or in the case of Navajo, me.
FENN: I’ve said in my book that the treasure is hidden in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe. And I’m not going to tell the Indians that it’s not on Indian land, I’m not going to tell the Forest Service that it’s not on Forest Service land. I’m not going to tell some rancher out there that it’s not on his land. It’s in the Rocky Mountains. I’m not going to narrow the search down.
LAZAREDES: As Fenn’s legend grows, so too does the potential fallout. And as this wily 83 year old has discovered, it can sometimes get personal.
FENN: I’ve had about four or five threats. This one guy said, ‘Tell me where the treasure is right this second, or I’m going to kill you.’ I’ve called 911 three times - arrested people at my front gate.
NEWS REPORTER: Police say Kevin Fulgham was parked at Fenn’s house yesterday and refused to leave. Fulgham allegedly confronted one cop and then he was arrested for aggravated assault on a police officer.
LAZAREDES: Although he anticipated a lunatic fringe, Forrest has been shocked at the extent of their deranged behavior.
FENN: I’ve had people tell me they were going to go to Temple, Texas and dig in my father’s grave because of my treasure chest, and I remind them, you know, the treasure chest is north of Santa Fe. I’ve had ten people tell me they’re going to dig in my father’s grave.
LAZAREDES: In New Mexico’s back country, I’ve been invited to attend a special event called Fennboree.
UNKNOWN MAN: It’ll attract a lot of searchers, a lot of whom will be very obsessed with the treasure hunt.
LAZAREDES: After hours of traversing remote desert canyons, I soon discover that the dividing line between curiosity and obsession is as elusive as Forrest Fenn’s gold.
NEITZEL: Everybody say, ‘Treasure.’
DESERTPHILE: You remain convinced it’s in New Mexico?
WOMAN: It’s in New Mexico.
DESERTPHILE: Taos has been taken by space aliens!
WOMAN: My husband, he’s right over there, he knows where it is.
LAZAREDES: Who’s your buddy who helps you while you’re treasure hunting?
MAN: This is it right here.
DESERTPHILE: Why doesn’t he just go and get the chest?
MAN: If we ever find the treasure, I know he’s not going to stab me in the back.
LAZAREDES: In the middle of the camp, a shrine has been devoted to the man they call the master puppeteer. But even among his most devoted fans, nagging doubts persist.
DESERTPHILE: Mr. Fenn may have just put the chest away, and not hidden anything for all we know, but I don’t think Mr. Fenn would do that, but he could have.
LAZAREDES: Up north, the Kreis sisters have no room for such doubts.
MARTY KREIS: Well this is where I’d have put it.
CLARISSA KREIS: Forrest, you should have put it here.
LAZAREDES: As they move deeper into the mountains, the women constantly scan the landscape for physical matches to the clues from the poem.
CLARISSA KREIS: Heavy loads and water high. After that you see the blaze.
MARTY KREIS: Look around Libby, let me know if you see a blaze.
LAZAREDES: And what makes you think that maybe it’s on this side?
MARTY KREIS: (laughing) Because we didn’t find it on that side. There’s a pretty good walking trail through here in the spring.
LAZAREDES: Everything fits so much here, you pretty much have to go over every rock until you find it, don’t you?
MARTY KREIS: Just gotta find the blaze.
LAZAREDES: The sisters are reluctant to leave any stone unturned. Despite the constant disappointments, it only seems to strengthen their resolve.
SISTERS: I am more anxious to find it. Yeah. I mean, come on, we’ve been out here so many times, we gotta find it. Every time we come out, we find something that ties into the poem just a little bit more. The more exploring you do, the closer you feel to it.
NEITZEL: None of us have found the treasure, but we found little treasures on the way. We found places that we never would have bothered to go to that are pretty interesting and fascinating and beautiful, that we would have never seen if it hadn’t been for Forrest’s, uh, treasure hunt.
LAZAREDES: But perhaps the biggest reward of all is reserved for the only man who isn’t looking.
FENN: I love the fact that I’m the only one who knows where it is and that I’ve started a fire under the imagination of hope of a lot of people. I’m 83 years old, and have a few months left to live and if nobody finds the treasure, I promise you a thousand years from now people will still be looking.
ANJALI RAO: Nick Lazeredes on the treasure trail there. And if you fancy joining the hunt for the Fenn fortune, you can read his poem online plus watch an exclusive interview where he reveals, for the first time, new clues to the hidden millions.
|9138||4/2/2013||HDNET World Report|
|Link: Click Here
VOICEOVER: Now reporting from Santa Fe, New Mexico here’s correspondent Jennifer London with a story of hidden treasure.
MARK HOWARD: Right in this area here.
JENNIFER LONDON: Over the river, and through the woods to the house of Brown we go. We’re getting close.
HOWARD: We’re getting really close. Where we’re headed is, well there’s a campground. There’s a trailhead. It’s somewhere there, that that’s where the falls is. About right here.
LONDON: And you think the treasure is somewhere in here (gesturing to a map).
HOWARD: I think the treasure is somewhere in here.
LONDON: The so-called house of Brown is just one of nine clues that Mark Howard is following on a real-life, 21st century treasure hunt.
HOWARD: My take on it is that it’s the home of Brown Trout.
LONDON: Do brown trout…
HOWARD: Yeah, they live in the East Fork of the Hamas River, yeah. They’re big in there. Okay, guess it’s this way.
LONDON: Somewhere in this vast wilderness, there is a fortune waiting to be discovered. A chest full of gold worth millions. It was hidden in the mountains north of Santa Fe, New Mexico by an 80 year old eccentric writer named Forrest Fenn, and now dozens of people like Mark Howard are searching high and low for it. All right, that was not so bad. Could it be that we’re only 20 minutes into our hike and we’re already lost?
HOWARD: (laughing) No, not really.
LONDON: Okay. I’m putting all my faith in you, Mark.
HOWARD: Here’s the deal. If you’re lost in the woods, follow the stream down.
LONDON: But see, here’s my concern. If we’re lost in the woods, and we’re here to find some hidden treasure, and we can’t find our own location in the woods, what chance do we have at finding this hidden chest? Fenn hid the chest but didn’t bury it to entice treasure hunters like Mark Howard to get out there and search for it. And with an estimated value of two million, yes two million, a little thing like getting lost won’t dampen Mark’s enthusiasm. He’s been on the trail, so to speak, for months with only this as his guide - a cryptic poem written by Forrest Fenn that contains the nine clues, which Mark has committed to memory.
HOWARD: As I have gone in there alone with my treasures bold I can keep my secrets and hint of riches new and old.
FORREST FENN: Begin it where warm waters halt, and take it in the canyon down. Not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown.
LONDON: The entire poem appears in Fenn’s memoir aptly titled, “The Thrill of the Chase.”
FENN: Shakespeare said it, you know, you have your entrances. You have your exits. You play your part, and you go.
LONDON: And Fenn’s played plenty of parts. He’s a decorated war hero who flew more than 300 combat missions as a fighter pilot in Vietnam. After leaving the Air Force, Fenn moved his family to Santa Fe in the early 70’s with a new mission to reinvent himself. With little more than $20,000 in savings, Fenn set up a business he knew little about: collecting and selling art. Did you have the gallery built custom, or did you buy an existing building?
FENN: This is an old house. I just re-modeled it and added on.
LONDON: Soon, Fenn’s art gallery became one of the most successful and celebrated in Santa Fe with clients like the Kennedy’s and the Rockefeller’s. He sold the gallery after 17 years.
FENN: Isn’t that a beautiful little pot?
LONDON: But continues to add to his world-class collection of ancient Native American art and artifacts.
FENN: The only big one that I have that’s whole is this beautiful thing. It doesn’t even have a rim neck on it.
LONDON: And when Fenn isn’t tinkering in his artifacts lab at home, he spends most of his time here, at the San Lazaro ruins, just outside of Santa Fe.
FENN: Look here what I just found. I started to pick it up, but I thought you might want to get a shot at it.
LONDON: It’s an arrowhead?
FENN: See the wind has uncovered that. It’s an arrowhead.
LONDON: Wow, look at that. Fenn bought the land in the early 80’s and has been excavating the pueblo ever since. Unearthing treasures isn’t simply a pastime for Fenn, it’s a passion.
FENN: You know, there are millions of treasures out here, and you know, it’s part of my demeanor, I think. I mean, I live for things like this: a good fishing hole, an Indian ruin. When I found my first arrowhead when I was nine years old, I told myself, “that thing has been right there in that very spot for thousands of years waiting for me to come along.” That - that’s a thrill to me.
LONDON: Which leads us back to Fenn’s book, The Thrill of the Chase, and the hidden treasure. You see, everything with Fenn is an intricately laced story. So, let’s start at the beginning. What was the genesis for writing the book?
FENN: In 1988 I was diagnosed with cancer. A two-hour operation turned into five, and when it was over, my doctor told me that I had a 20% chance of living three years.
LONDON: That’s when Fenn decided to write his memoir. He’d already written seven other books, but none so personal. But Fenn ended up beating the odds and surviving cancer. Still, he wanted to leave behind a legacy. Not only telling his story of exploration and discovery, but challenging others to do the same. How? By searching for that chest of gold.
FENN: Just because I got well from cancer doesn’t mean I’m not going to die. You know, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you. If I’ve got to go, I’m going to slam the door. I’m going to make an issue of it. I’m not going to let nature get by with this without me kicking all the way. And then I said, how can I do that? I can do that by giving someone else the same thrills that I’ve had all of these years to look for that chest. I think that idea is a stroke of genius. I just love the philosophy of that. I found a beautiful little treasure chest - cast bronze treasure chest. And I started filling it up with wonderful things: jewelry, gold nuggets - two gold nuggets weigh over a pound apiece, and have 265 gold coins: double eagles and eagles, and just wonderful things from my collection. I put them all in this chest, and I took it out and I, I put it in that very secret, and very dear place - private. I walked back to my car... smiling. I tell myself, “yeah, it really felt good” because I had done something that I had dreamed about for a long time.
LONDON: How did you pick that particular spot to bury the chest?
FENN: Well, I don’t want to give too many more clues, but it’s a very special place to me. Otherwise, I would not have done it. I mean I just couldn’t take it out and bury it in the ground someplace where I didn’t know where I was. I think that was a crucial part of it.
LONDON: Fenn didn’t tell a soul about his plan, not even Peggy, his wife of 57 years or his two grown children or seven grandchildren. Why not tell somebody?
FENN: Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. First of all, it’s very personal, very personal. And secondly, I didn’t want to be talked out of something. The main reason was this is going to be something I’m going to do for myself. Nobody else has a part in it. I don’t want them to know where I’m going, or even what’s in the chest.
LONDON: When you told people after the fact, how did they react? Did they say, “You’re crazy, go dig it up, or go unearth it,” what happened?
FENN: The first reaction is disbelief. Who would do a stupid thing like that? And I can answer the question. No one would do a stupid thing like that except a person that was in my skin.
LONDON: In many ways, everything that has happened in Fenn’s life has been leading up to this. As a self-made man with no formal education, he’s found success through hard work, ingenuity, imagination, and a little inspiration from the land he loves. Forrest, can you tell me how this land that we’re sitting on, how it relates to your treasure hunt, and how it maybe influenced the idea and the thrill of the chase?
FENN: Well that’s the idea - the thrill of the chase. And you know, I think all of us are always looking for something new, something different, something better: a better life, a different place. I love the thrill of the chase.
LONDON: And, so does Mark Howard, who we first met treasure hunting up in the mountains. Turns out, he’s a friend of Forrest Fenn, but even so, doesn’t press Fenn for additional clues because he too loves the thrill of the chase.
FENN: Hey Mark, how’s your pulse?
HOWARD: (laughing) Alright.
FENN: Did you find that treasure chest?
HOWARD: I won’t even put a sentence forward with him that would be interpreted as me asking for a clue, because one, I’m a friend of his and I can’t expect to get, and I don’t expect to get special treatment on this. It’s kind of me matching wits with Forrest.
FENN: If a person will think, they can find the chest, but the secret is to think and analyze. They can find the chest. Just can’t get out of your car and walk over in the woods and walk to it.
LONDON: In the poem, which you say has these nine clues, there are references to water, there is a reference to Brown’s house. Who’s Brown?
FENN: There’s references to wood.
LONDON: But you didn’t answer my question, who is Brown?
FENN: Well, that’s for you to find. If I told you that, you’d go right to the chest.
LONDON: How do we know it’s really out there? How do we know this isn’t a hoax?
FENN: I was waiting for you to ask me that question. You know what the answer is? The only way... What could I say to you that would convince you?
LONDON: That it’s out there?
LONDON: You could tell me where it is.
FENN: That wouldn’t convince you.
LONDON: Sure it would.
FENN: The thrill of the chase is gone after that.
LONDON: So, in other words, what I’m hearing you say is there’s no way for you to validate that it’s out there. It’s a leap of faith.
FENN: You just have to believe me.
NOBLE: If you bought it, I would actually put your head shape to where it fits you.
LONDON: Local hatmaker JD Noble does indeed believe Fenn’s story. And just like Mark Howard, and a handful of other intrepid souls, he’s been spending his free time in search of the hidden treasure.
NOBLE: Well, today is kind of a recon mission to check out two sites that have very, very strong possibilities.
LONDON: But unlike Mark Howard, JD has a completely different take on what the clue “the house of Brown” means. Over breakfast at a diner in Taos, New Mexico, JD explained his strategy.
NOBLE: I found out that there is a famous Brown who lived and maybe is still alive here in Taos.
LONDON: And so you think Brown is an actual person or a family and it’s a name?
NOBLE: Yes. Yes.
LONDON: And you think it’s somewhere in this area?
NOBLE: Yes, and that’s what we’re going to go check when we leave here. We’re gonna go find the home of Brown.
LONDON: Is it near water? Because the poem says “put in below the home of Brown.”
LONDON: And, it earlier references “where warm waters halt.”
NOBLE: The Don Fernando River, or the Rio Fernando, actually runs right by.
LONDON: Let me ask you, JD, a really simple, and incredibly obvious question, but it’s worth asking. Why? Why do this? Are you doing it for the money? Are you doing it for the thrill of the chase?
NOBLE: You know, the thrill. For one thing, it’s an excuse. When I was younger, and lived here, I was exploring all the time. This gives me an excuse to go out here. If I didn’t have this, I probably wouldn’t.
LONDON: Once again, off we go, searching for the elusive house of Brown.
NOBLE: I am going to check out the residents of Brown here in Arroyo Seco.
LONDON: Call it luck, or perhaps JD’s good sleuthing skills.
NOBLE: I found out where the Brown home is out here on the north side of Taos.
LONDON: We actually did find a Brown family, who actually knows Forrest Fenn.
BROWN: My mom lived up there at that point and she was friends with him.
NOBLE: Do you know of any waterfalls?
BROWN: Again, well, this is all waterfalls up here.
NOBLE: That’s a clue.
LONDON: That’s a clue.
NOBLE: That’s amazing! I had no idea. I had no idea that today we would find this kind of information. I mean, it’s always like a crapshoot, but I knew we would come away today either eliminating something or getting a clue that would just make me come back again, but I had no idea that we would find a major... I mean this is all
LONDON: Do you think this is THE clue?
NOBLE: This is THE clue. This is where my attention is focused from here on out, and it may take several trips up there. Days. You know, two to three day trips. It’s not one you can do in a day and poke around and come back. You have to stay up there.
LONDON: One step closer - maybe. So, the search continues for JD Noble.
NOBLE: We’re all somewhere inside us, like Forrest says, we have an Indiana Jones hidden inside of us that we want. It’s an adventure. It’s very, um, fun, and it’s exciting. And, once again, I think that’s Forrest’s hope and whole purpose. It’s not about making somebody rich with material gold, but some just an adventure.
HOWARD: Here we are on our way out.
LONDON: And the search continues for Mark Howard.
HOWARD: I won’t give up until I either find out it’s been found or I found where it was, or is.
LONDON: The search even continues for Forrest Fenn himself.
FENN: I said in my book that part of me is in that chest and I’m not talking about the autobiography, I’m talking about part of my soul is in there. There are things in there that are very dear to me. In two thousand years I hope someone finds that chest and gives it to the Smithsonian and they put it on display and raise the lid, and let everybody look at what - and tell the story, the entire story that happened two thousand years ago. Didn’t that, doesn’t that not get you excited?
|9152||3/17/2013||KOB Eye on New Mexico|
|Link: Click Here
CHRIS RODRIGUEZ: Good morning New Mexico. You’re watching Eye on New Mexico. I’m Chris Rodriguez.
NICOLE BRADY: And I’m Nicole Brady. Today we are going to talk about a fever now sweeping the entire nation.
RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, all thanks to Gadi Schwartz. It is the treasure hunting fever. Gadi Schwartz is joining us this morning, and here’s something you probably don’t know about Gadi. He’s obsessed. Obsessed with a capital ‘O’ about finding this hidden treasure buried by Santa Fe art gallery owner, Forrest Fenn.
BRADY: Gadi, when did this whole thing start? We’ve been telling people about Forrest Fenn for a few years now, and he hid this treasure somewhere. And the Today Show picked this up so everybody knows about this now, but you really were the first person to tell us about it.
GADI SCHWARTZ: It’s kind of difficult. Sometimes you just cover a story and then you decide to just throw your reporter hat off and you jump into the fray and that’s kind of what I’ve done. Um, so, I don’t know how I feel about coming on TV now telling all my secrets. My hard earned secrets. You might get a few of them out, but not all of them.
BRADY: And that's the thing, Forrest Fenn has released many clues, which we’ll be talking about this morning, about where this treasure is hidden. You have spent years now trying to decipher these clues, and you got a few places. You’ve gotten close we think?
SCHWARTZ: A family vacation…
RODRIGUEZ: The rest of us go to Disneyland, Gadi is at some park.
SCHWARTZ: Bear Cave.
RODRIGUEZ: That’s a bear cave right there.
SCHWARTZ: Actually you can’t see it in the video, but in that bear cave there’s like, an elk carcass. So a grizzly bear dragged an elk carcass into its cave.
BRADY: Could have been a Gadi carcass.
SCHWARTZ: I was armed with little pebbles. I would throw them into the caves first to make sure there weren’t any bears in there. And then the plan was, if things went wrong, I’m wearing a life jacket underneath that jacket right there and I was just gonna jump into the river and float down if a bear took a swipe at me.
BRADY: Where are you in this video, let me ask.
SCHWARTZ: Somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe.
BRADY: Which is all Forrest Fenn has said.
SCHWARTZ: Way north of Santa Fe. Actually, that’s in Yellowstone. Yellowstone is beautiful, and it’s no secret that I think it’s in Yellowstone. Forrest has talked - that’s very important video right there. If you can find that on video, you’ll find me around there this summer. That’s kind of the area I think it’s in. I’m not going to tell you exactly which waterfall that is.
RODRIGUEZ: Well, let set the story up because I think you were, correct me if I’m wrong, the very first reporter anywhere to find Forrest Fenn and talk to him, so let’s air the first story that you did. And that was back in 2010?
RODRIGUEZ: Let’s show that package, that story.
SCHWARTZ: On any given day, in downtown Santa Fe, people walk by the only place where the key to a two million treasure sits on a bookshelf. The author, Forrest Fenn, is a legend in the Santa Fe art world
FORREST FENN: I might be nearly interested in everything and I’m easily occupied.
SCHWARTZ: Now just north of 81 years old, Fenn, who says there is an Indiana Jones in all of us, is collecting something new.
FENN: There’s one.
SCHWARTZ: Emails from people out looking for his treasure.
FENN: It’s a thrill for me to see what’s happening. People are getting interested in the thrill of the chase themselves.
SCHWARTZ: The thrill of the chase is more than a phrase, it’s the title to the story of Fenn’s life. He recounts falling in love with collect-sploring and fishing at an early age.
FENN: I remember there were times up in Yellowstone where I could hardly wait to get out on the river to fish.
SCHWARTZ: And the chapters of his life read like an adventure novel. He joins the Air Force, flying fighter jets, getting shot down twice over Vietnam. After retiring, he sets up one of the best known art galleries in Santa Fe and makes his fortune. And then a doctor tells him
FENN: He told me I had a 20 percent chance of living three years.
SCHWARTZ: He has cancer.
FENN: So, you know, my life changed dramatically there over a short period of time.
SCHWARTZ: But the predicted end never came. He beat the cancer and the thrill of the chase took on a whole new meaning.
FENN: I decided that I had had so much fun for 60 years collecting things, why don’t I find a little treasure chest, and fill it up with neat little things and go hide it someplace. And the people behind me, let them have the same thrill I’ve had over the years.
SCHWARTZ: The nine clues to finding Fenn’s treasure
FENN: Begin it where warm waters halt
SCHWARTZ: Can be found in a poem.
FENN: And take it in the canyon down
SCHWARTZ: In the back of his book,
FENN: Not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown.
SCHWARTZ: But if someone wise enough to find the blaze, the person who takes the chest and goes in peace inside the ancient box, they will discover 20 pounds of gold and jewelry containing diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and jade. Even though Fenn knows he might not be around for the discovery, that doesn’t diminish his excitement of bait.
FENN: If someone finds that thing in a thousand years from now, or ten thousand years from now, that’s gonna be an interesting discovery.
RODRIGUEZ: It will be an interesting discovery!
BRADY: What’s in the treasure box, Gadi?
SCHWARTZ: Well, starting with the treasure box, the treasure box is, I think an 11th or 12th century Romanesque lock box. So the treasure chest alone is worth about $25,000. Um, and then there’s all kinds of different stuff, actually, I’ve got my trusty book here. This thing has seen better days, but I’ll just read straight from it. It’s uh, there’s a gold bracelet, 254 rubies, six emeralds, two sapphires, a bunch of small diamonds, a Spanish 17th century ring. So a lot of the gold and jewelry that’s in this box isn’t just the weight of the jewelry, it’s also very, very valuable because it’s actual treasure like from Spanish galleons.
BRADY: We showed the story there and obviously Forrest Fenn has been a collector for decades. How did he amass some of this stuff? Has he told you a little bit about some of these particular pieces?
SCHWARTZ: Well he’s - actually, interestingly enough, his nephew, Crayton Fenn, is a treasure hunter. That’s literally what he does. I mean, he’s a deep sea diver treasure hunter. So he’s revolutionized some side scanning SONAR. And now what he does is he goes and he looks for old sunken trips, err, ships, he looks for Nazi submarines, those kind of things. So, it kind of runs in the family. I think that he got the gene probably from Forrest and kinda took it and ran with it.
RODRIGUEZ: Well since your story, and even before your story aired, there have been people coming to Santa Fe to meet Forrest Fenn and hanging out in Northern New Mexico looking for the treasure. Your next story is about a guy trying to find the treasure.
SCHWARTZ: Dal Neitzel. He is my frenemy. He is my nemesis. If anybody is close to finding Forrest’s treasure, it’s Dal. This guy - since this story that you’re about to see - he’s put even more work into it. I mean, he’s been pretty close. I think he’s probably the closest out there. He’s also got a fantastic blog, we’ll plug that right after the story.
RODRIGUEZ: Let’s watch.
BRADY: Let’s meet Dal.
DAL NEITZEL: 230,548 miles. 1600 of that is getting down here.
SCHWARTZ: Dal Neitzel has driven more than a thousand miles to Red River to claim the prize he thinks is his. He said I can document the discovery, and if he finds the $2 million treasure.
NEITZEL: I would be so excited. I would be doing little dances on the… I’d be holding it up and jumping up and down like this.
SCHWARTZ: I joined Neitzel a day after he got to Northern New Mexico. He’d been scouting the area, re-visiting Forrest Fenn’s poem for clues.
NEITZEL: I’m having it working a puzzle.
FENN: Below the home of Brown.
SCHWARTZ: But is that a color, a kind of trout, or a last name?
NEITZEL: This big old place, brand new says - Brown.
SCHWARTZ: What’d you think when you saw it?
NEITZEL: I thought here on the Red River, where I believe it is, and you know, the home of Brown right here.
SCHWARTZ: Neitzel isn’t exactly conspicuous walking around carrying an ice axe in the middle of this summer with me trailing behind him with a camera, but this stretch of the Red River is deserted.
NEITZEL: A few people come here, but how many people are going to know about this spot? Forrest maybe.
SCHWARTZ: We walk for miles about how the clues in the poem could fit a prime fishing area we have stumbled upon.
FENN: Begin it where warm waters halt
SCHWARTZ: It’s all a stretch, but Neitzel says this is where there are no more Red River jacuzzis
NEITZEL: The last of these vacation hot tubs
SCHWARTZ: So check
FENN: And take it in the canyon down.
SCHWARTZ: Looks like a canyon to us.
FENN: Not far, but too far to walk.
SCHWARTZ: We’re not really walking, it’s more like slogging.
FENN: From there it’s no place for the meek.
NEITZEL: The end is ever drawing nigh
FENN: There’ll be no paddle up your creek
NEITZEL: Just heavy loads
SCHWARTZ: We get to the spot Neitzel thinks the treasure is hidden.
NEITZEL: If I were going to put a 35 pound box somewhere, a pool like that would be a perfect place.
SCHWARTZ: Icy river water doesn’t scare this treasure hunter, and he plunges right in, but the water is moving too fast to see if there’s a treasure below. There’s no way to get a really clean look at what’s under that waterfall, so we’re gonna take this (gestures to a camera). This is going to act like our sonar. Armed with an underwater camera and Neitzel’s ice axe, I give it a try. Within seconds, I hit something that doesn’t seem right. Tap it right there and see what you think. Moments later we are both poking around freezing water trying to grasp at whatever is making that hollow sound. Finally, we get it out of the whitewater and realize it’s just a rock. Walking out of the forest in squeaky sneakers Neitzel says this is just another place I’ll rule out and if he doesn’t find the treasure, he won’t be disappointed because just being on a quest gives meaning to his life.
NEITZEL: What drags me out here is the beauty. I’m seeing places I never would have seen.
BRADY: Gadi, talking to Forrest Fenn, I know he has talked to you about that how part of this whole thing is getting people outside to enjoy the beauty.
SCHWARTZ: Do you know what kind of an emotional roller coaster that is? I have found this treasure like, five times. And then I start digging and then I pull it up, and then, it’s a rock.
BRADY: So this isn’t just a peaceful nature experience?
SCHWARTZ: No, it’s not. It’s not like a moment in nature where you have enlightenment, this is like you going over the poem over and over again. One time, I actually, I found a can - I had a metal detector, because I’m a nerd like that - and I had this metal detector. I was searching around. It hits something so I start pulling something out. It’s in this kind of little cave. I pull it out, and as I’m uncovering the dirt I see “NN” on this old can, and I’m like “F-E-N-N” and I’m trying to get it, trying to get it and reach my arm in and pull it out. It’s P-E-N-N and it’s an old oil can.
RODRIGUEZ: And then your heart drops a little bit.
SCHWARTZ: It did.
RODRIGUEZ: Here’s something a lot of people don’t know. Gadi and I have been friends for a really long time. We went to college together and we’ve been really good friends. Sometimes we go to dinner and we chat about stuff. I think the last one we went to, we spent like an hour and a half together. An hour and 20 minutes of which we spend talking about Forrest Fenn, and his treasure hunts, and where he’s going to go next to find this treasure.
BRADY: That’s like all your vacations now. That’s all you do - go look for the treasure when you take time off work here right?
SCHWARTZ: Exactly. I’ve got two trips planned this year.
BRADY: And if KOB can pay for those
SCHWARTZ: And they should! They’re using my video you know! And if I find the treasure, I’ll hook KOB up with something you know. Some little trinket.
RODRIGUEZ: You can have a jewel. You can have a necklace.
BRADY: Thanks. I’ll wear it on the air every night. We don’t know exactly how much this is worth. It’d be hard to say right?
SCHWARTZ: Yeah, it’s gone from $1 million to $2 million to as much as $4 million. Even Forrest won’t put an actual estimate on it because it fluctuates and it’s all dependent on how much people are going to be able to get from each one of these things if they’re able to find the treasure and put them out on the market.
RODRIGUEZ: Periodically, you’ll hear Gadi in the newsroom reciting the poem, and we put the poem on some graphics so you guys can see it. Gadi, this is a poem that contains nine clues and if you follow these clues precisely you’re supposed to be able to find the treasure right? Start us off, start us off.
BRADY: You have it memorized, right?
RODRIGUEZ: Not if you’re going to look at the prompter.
SCHWARTZ: (recites Forrest’s poem).
BRADY: Very, very close.
SCHWARTZ: That last part I don’t think is a clue, so I don’t
BRADY: And he’s a great poet too!
SCHWARTZ: He says that poem actually took him quite a bit of time to put together. I mean, we’re talking years, so it’s not just a poem. It’s not just geographical areas, he might have actually put some type of cryptogram or like some type of riddle that you have to unlock with math I haven’t gotten that far yet.
BRADY: Oh my gosh. Well, the book, Gadi. Anyone can buy the book at the Collected Works bookshop?
SCHWARTZ: Not this one. This one’s got my secrets in it. I’ve taken a bunch of notes and stuff. Yeah, it’s $35 up at Collected Books up in Santa Fe. It’s the only place that they sell it.
BRADY: And it has Forrest Fenn’s whole story kind of in it too, which obviously as we’ve just seen, as you can tell through the poem is a very interesting guy.
SCHWARTZ: If this isn’t exciting enough for you, he writes about getting shot down twice over Vietnam, ejecting. He talks about quite a few adventures so, and he talks a lot about Yellowstone. Which is nice when you go to Yellowstone, if you think it’s in Yellowstone and you get to see some of the things he talked about as a kid so that’s very interesting.
RODRIGUEZ: One question that I know a lot of people have had is - he’s leaving this treasure out, but why? Why not give it to family? Any children, any nieces or nephews. Why is he doing this?
SCHWARTZ: I think he’s uh, to be honest, uh, his family is probably going to be just fine. You know, I think he’s probably got, I don’t know some people put a lot of money into their legacy. And this is as Forrest Fenn as it gets. I mean, talk about a story that keeps going and going, and gets passed on to different people. And talk about the love of collecting. I mean this is something that he loves to do and he’s being able to inspire other people to do it and get out into the great outdoors. So I think this is his way of, you know, taking a lot of stuff that he’s collected and putting it in a box and letting his legacy go on.
BRADY: Yeah, you’re absolutely right about the legacy. I mean, imagine if this didn’t get discovered for 500 years. What people would be saying about it then?
SCHWARTZ: I hope whoever finds it, re-buries another treasure, because I don’t want this search to end.
RODRIGUEZ: We’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, we’re going to talk about the national exposure that Forrest Fenn has gotten in the last few weeks.
BRADY: Welcome back to Eye on New Mexico. This morning we have been talking to our Gadi Schwartz about the treasure that is now known worldwide. Gadi was the first to bring the stories to us a couple of years ago, but recently the Today Show started airing stories on Forrest Fenn’s treasure.
RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, NBC really picked it up. Their correspondent, Janet Chamblin, filed a story not too long ago. Do you want to watch Janet’s story and we’ll come back and compare it to yours?
JANET CHAMBLIN: The New Mexico mountains have always attracted nature lovers, but the pristine wilderness has never seen so many explorers. Do you think you’re getting close?
MARK HOWARD: I always think I’m getting close, but, you know, attrition alone will get me somewhere.
CHAMBLIN: Mark Howard has made at least 20 trips here - a modern day treasure hunt. Hoping like thousands of others…
NEITZEL: A pool like that would be the perfect place.
CHAMBLIN: ... to strike it rich. They’re all looking for this. A 42 pound bronze chest, filled with a multi-million dollar bounty. Hundreds of gold nuggets and rare coins as well as jewels: emeralds, diamonds and rubies. They were hidden by a man who knows treasure when he sees it.
FENN: It’s home. Here’s where I’m most comfortable.
CHAMBLIN: For decades, Forrest Fenn has hunted down, collected, and sold art and artifacts to the rich and a few famous.
FENN: This is a brandy bottle Jackie Kennedy left in my guesthouse.
CHAMBLIN: It brought him his own fortune and a good life. After 328 combat missions in Vietnam, he felt bulletproof right up to the day of his terminal cancer diagnosis. So you started filling this chest, but what was the goal?
FENN: If I’ve got to go, why not let someone else have just as much fun with this as I have?
CHAMBLIN: Fenn wanted others to experience the same thrill of the chase. So, he hid the chest and wrote a memoir, with a poem offering nine clues.
FENN: Begin it where warm waters halt.
CHAMBLIN: It’s been almost three years since Forrest says he stashed the gold and the jewels. Thousands have trekked out here to the mountains based on his clues, and yet that treasure remains as elusive as the day it was hidden. Hundreds have emailed Fenn about finding not the gold, but something more valuable. A son planning a trip with his dad writes, “...the real treasure might just be bringing family together.” Do you want someone to find this?
FENN: I’m ambivalent about that. You know I could go either way.
CHAMBLIN: Fenn says with the treasure unclaimed, the adventure continues. It may be a gift worth more than the gold itself.
RODRIGUEZ: Since we were saying that piece ran on the Today Show. I think it ran again on Nightly News and so the whole world now knows about Forrest Fenn and for a little gallery owner in Santa Fe, it was pretty good for business.
SCHWARTZ: This is a really, really big way to get New Mexico “out there” as this great place. We’ve got beautiful outdoors, and we’ve got a lot of places to hide treasure and it kind of adds to our lore, so, um too bad. I don’t think it’s in New Mexico. But, there’s a lot of people who do, and, again, I don’t have the treasure, so I could be completely wrong. I've actually looked at this poem, and there are things in that poem where, somebody could be looking at that poem, and think that it’s in Santa Fe. You’re talking take it in the canyon down? That’s Canyon Road. He made his fortune along Canyon Road - at the end of Canyon Road on Paseo del Peralta. Warm waters halt - there’s 10,000 waves just up the way. Obviously the Santa Fe mountains are gorgeous. So, he talks about Santa Fe, he talks a little bit about Taos, and then he talks a lot about Yellowstone. So it could be in any of those places.
BRADY: Yeah, and it has to be somewhere where an 80 year old man could get to.
SCHWARTZ: Yeah, that’s one of the clues, one of the additional clues that he said. He said he put it there when he was about 79 - 80. And so imagine, and he also says that he took it down in two parts. So this isn’t some 44 pounds he couldn’t lug it in there and put it in wherever he put it in. He had to take it in two parts and then stash it in. And again, he’s corrected me so many times, “Gadi - it’s not buried. It’s not buried. Don’t say it’s buried.” So it’s not buried. It’s stashed. I don’t know if that means underwater, or in a little cubby or something but he does say that.
BRADY: Okay that’s a good clue, but now you have so much competition Gadi, from these stories that ran on the Today Show and am I right that he is going to be giving a regular clue on the Today Show?
SCHWARTZ: Yeah, yeah. Not too happy about that. And we’ve been giving clues here at KOB. And we do stories you know. I know quite a bit about Forrest so the clue we gave last week, which I think is very important, may or may not be a clue, but he’s got two dogs. One is named Tesuque and the other dog’s name is Cody. Obviously, those are two important places to him. They’re talking about places so, those might be able to point people in the right direction.
RODRIGUEZ: And speaking of the last clues that he gave this week on KOB, we have another story for you right?
SCHWARTZ: Yeah, that’s right. His book is selling, I think it’s on backorder right now. Four thousand copies are on backorder so they’re printing them like a storm. And this is the story where we went with Forrest Fenn to the printing press. Somewhere near the mountains south of Santa Fe, a printing press is putting ink on pages that could lead to millions of dollars worth of treasure.
FENN: We need to get the kids off the couch, away from the game room, and out into the mountains.
SCHWARTZ: This is art collector Forrest Fenn’s autobiography. And in the book is a poem with nine clues that will tell you where he has hidden a treasure for the person smart enough to solve his riddle.
NEITZEL: But how many people are gonna know about this spot?
SCHWARTZ: And readers have been scouring every inch of this book looking for hints.
FENN: A lot of people are getting numbers off the postmarks. They think they’re coordinates. Just put it in a computer to figure out that’s going to lead them to where this treasure chest is because it’s coordinates on the ground. They go to Google Earth. It’s home. Here’s where I feel most comfortable.
SCHWARTZ: This month, the Today Show picked up the story and the book quickly sold out at Collected Works - the only bookstore where it’s sold.
FENN: I'm not making one penny from this book. I’ve given these books to the Collected Works bookstore in Santa Fe, and I don’t even get a return on my publishing costs. Because I didn’t want people to say that the treasure chest was a fraud just to sell a book.
SCHWARTZ: So far, there are about 5,000 books in circulation. In the next few weeks, there will be 15,000 more. Do you ever get nervous that people are getting too close?
FENN: No. If they find it, I’m happy with that. I mean, I could go either way. I’ve said that 100 times. But I’m not looking at this weekend or spring break. I'm looking at a hundred years, maybe a thousand years from now. If somebody finds it tomorrow that’s fine. But they’re not going to happen on it. They’re gonna have to figure out the clues in the poem that’ll take them right straight to it.
SCHWARTZ: Did you see the kind of poker face we’re working with? He didn’t even - he’s nervous! He’s nervous!
BRADY: You’re seeing things we’re not seeing Gadi. You’re seeing every bead of sweat.
SCHWARTZ: Age 39 - is that a coordinate?
BRADY: Well that brings up an interesting point. I was thinking about with millions of people that could be looking for this, so many people are into this kind of thing, there are a lot of smart people out there. There are a lot of people that could write computer programs to help them with this.
SCHWARTZ: Those are the guys I’m worried about. I’m just hoping that I have better outdoor skills. And they wouldn’t go into grizzly bear caves. By the way, Forrest has said stop looking in grizzly bear caves. So I take that as a clue that it’s not in a grizzly bear cave.
BRADY: I hope. RODRIGUEZ: Or maybe it’s some safety advice that you shouldn’t go into grizzly bear caves.
SCHWARTZ: And if you do go into some grizzly bear caves, throw in some dynamite or something to get the bears out first.
BRADY: You haven’t bought dynamite I hope?
SCHWARTZ: I’ve got some - KOB has all kinds of stuff. “Four on your Side” dynamite. So one of the interesting things that’s happening to this book. There’s about, there’s going to be about 15,000 or 20,000 of these books in circulation. Which, if you think about it, is not that many for as many people that know about this story now. But we’re starting to see this book pop up on Amazon, and EBay. I saw it earlier this week selling for $500. It’s a $35 book, and someone’s trying to sell it for $500, and people are paying for it because they can’t get it.
RODRIGUEZ: I wonder how much yours is worth with all your clues.
SCHWARTZ: hmmm $2.3 million.
BRADY: You can retire now Gadi, just give up your clues.
SCHWARTZ: I’ve got some good clues in here, but again, it might be, actually there’s one thing that I’ve been, let’s see if I can find it. You guys talk while I try to find this. I’m going to share something that I thought was very interesting.
RODRIGUEZ: What are some of the clues that you found that are not in the book?
SCHWARTZ: Well, he says that the, uh, that the poem has nine clues, and the book is helpful in deciphering what those clues mean.
BRADY: So you could do it with just the poem?
SCHWARTZ: Just the poem. Right, you could do it with just the poem, but the book is kind of helpful.
BRADY: Kind of a guide.
SCHWARTZ: Here’s a package that I’ve kind of kicked around. Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. I dreamed the other night that I had been reincarnated as Captain Kidd, and went to Gardiner’s island looking for the treasure. It scared me so badly, it jarred me awake and I don’t remember if I found it or not. Gardiner. That’s kind of an interesting name.
BRADY: Gardiner Island?
SCHWARTZ: Yeah. It’s kind of an interesting reference. Gardiner is also the northern entrance to Yellowstone as well. There’s a Gardiner, Montana. And so it’s that, umm. Have you guys ever seen Yellowstone - those big pillars and it looks like you’re entering Jurassic Park? That’s Gardiner. I don’t know. That might be something to lead people in a certain direction that the treasure may be in.
RODRIGUEZ: Well, next summer, I think your family and my family should join up with Gadi’s family and all go to Yellowstone, or Santa Fe, or, or Taos and we’ll find the treasure.
BRADY: Safety in numbers. If we put enough of us everywhere, we can share it?
SCHWARTZ: Yeah right. Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead. You didn’t hear that part?
BRADY: Well if one of us ends up dead, we’ll know why.
RODRIGUEZ: Plus with grizzly bear attacks from going into grizzly bear caves.
BRADY: Gadi thanks for - you didn’t share much with us today, but thanks for coming on and talking about it. It was very fun. And thanks for watching this morning.
RODRIGUEZ: We’ll see you next week. Happy treasure hunting.
|9264||3/05/2013||CBC As It Happens|
|Link: Click Here
JEFF DOUGLAS: So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek? The answers I already know. I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak. So hear me all, and listen good. Your effort will be worth the cold. If you are brave and in the wood, I give you title to the gold. That is the work of a poet named Forrest Fenn. The complete poem is estimated to be worth millions of dollars. See, Mr. Fenn is not a full time poet. He’s an 82 year old antiquities collector who has come up with a complex and novel way to give away a fortune. Mr. Fenn has filled a chest with treasure. Yes. A treasure chest filled with gold coins and the like. He has hidden the treasure somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. To find it, treasure hunters will have to figure out the clues hidden in Mr. Fenn’s poem. We reached Forrest Fenn in Santa Fe.
CAROL OFF: Mr. Fenn what exactly is in this treasure chest?
FORREST FENN: To answer your question briefly, there are 265 gold coins most of them are American Eagles and Double Eagles. There’s a total weight in gold of 2.2 troy pounds of gold in the treasure chest. There’s lots of, hundreds of gold nuggets, two gold nuggets weigh more than a troy pound each, but there are hundreds of them. There are pre-Columbian figures that are 1500 years old, a wonderful 2,000 year old necklace with fetishes carved out of quartz crystal and other semi-precious stones. You know, it just goes on and on. The treasure chest weighs 42 pounds and is just 10 by 10 inches square.
OFF: And this is - anyone who finds it, can keep it?
FENN: That’s right, but they have to go get it.
OFF: Ok good. Therein lies the rub. So, just tell us first of all why you decided to do this.
FENN: In 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney, and my doctors gave me a 20 percent chance of living three years. It took a couple of weeks for that to soak in. Then, I finally decided that if I’ve got to go, I’m just going to take it with me, or take some of it with me. I’ve had so much fun collecting things over the last 75 years, that I thought it would be kind of neat for other people to have as much fun as I’ve had. That prompted me to buy a wonderful early old antique treasure chest. I gave $25,000 for the treasure chest. Over the months and years, after 1988, I started filling the treasure chest up with precious things. There are hundreds of rubies and diamonds and emeralds. Two Ceylon sapphires, and you know, just goes on and on.
OFF: So this is being put together because this would be something that you’d leave behind for others to find, but this was in 1988 you had the idea. If I might point out, you’re still alive and kicking so, things changed for you then healthwise, I guess?
FENN: Well, uh, I thought I was gonna die in 1988 and 1989 and, you know, I had an elaborate plan to hide this treasure chest and take it with me, and the story was ruined when I got well. So I had to change all my plans, but I did hide the treasure chest. It’s in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
OFF: You have left clues in the form of a poem.
FENN: Yes ma’am.
OFF: The clues are buried there.
FENN: The clues are in the poem and my book has hints that will help a person with the clues. The book won’t take you to the treasure chest, but the book will help you with the clues that are in the poem.
OFF: So maybe a little key to the clues and the poem then?
FENN: There are nine clues in the poem, and if you can figure out those clues, they will take you to the treasure chest, and you can have it if you can find it.
OFF: Well some of them seem… Some of the clues maybe are things that people locally would know. You say, “Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down. Not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown. That seems like a couple of clues to me.
FENN: That sounds like three or four to me.
OFF: I guess you have to know where the home of Brown is.
FENN: That’s right.
FENN: And you have to know where warm waters halt.
OFF: Ah-ha. But it says there’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high. Mmm, couple more clues there.
FENN: Sounds like it to me.
OFF: So, I’m not leading. I’m not tempting you to disclose anything here then?
FENN: No, I’m not going to give any more clues.
OFF: How many people have taken up your challenge?
FENN: Well I don’t know. I know of hundreds but I probably don’t know but five or ten percent. They don’t always tell me they’re going out. As of this morning, I’ve receive a little over 9,200 emails. All of them are telling me where they want to go, or asking questions or something. You know, they think I’m going to give them another clue, but I’m not going to. I usually respond to an email when I get the first one from someone.
OFF: Why do you want people to do this? To go out looking for this treasure?
FENN: We have a problem in this world today, Carole, with our youth. And I blame parents for a lot of that, those problems. I think they should get their kids out of the game room and off the couch and away from their little texting machines and get them out in the countryside and let them smell the sunshine and walk through the forest and scare up some squirrels and find out what’s going on with nature. That’s my real goal.
OFF: Do you think that anyone that’s gone out looking for the treasure has done that? Found themselves in the forest and the mountains and enjoying that in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise?
FENN: I have hundreds and hundreds of emails from people that thank me for giving them the opportunity to do that. Yes, your answer is very positively yes.
OFF: Do you think you’ll eventually meet the person that finds this treasure?
FENN: Well, I’ll tell you what, Carole, I think that the person that’s gonna figure out the clues and go on to find the treasure is the kind of person that’s not going to be able to keep it quiet. I think I will know. As a matter of fact, in the treasure chest there’s my autobiography. 20,000 words in a little olive jar that’s protected from the elements. You know, if somebody finds the treasure chest 10,000 years from now, they’ll be able to read that autobiography and know something about me and why I did these things.
OFF: Any chance that this treasure is in Canada?
FENN: Well, I’ve told people that it’s in the Rocky Mountains.
OFF: Well the Rocky Mountains go into Canada. So there’s a chance it’s here?
FENN: You know your geography pretty good don’t you?
OFF: That’s not difficult.
FENN: I’m not going to narrow it down
OFF: Let’s go look for Brown’s place. Mr. Fenn, it’s great to talk to you. Thank you.
FENN: Thank you.
DOUGLAS: That was Santa Fe antiquities dealer, Forrest Fenn. If you want to read his poem, you can go to our website at cbc.ca/aih.
|9299||4/3/2013||New Zealand Radio|
|Link: Click Here
HOST: Hear me all and listen good. Your effort will be worth the cold. If you are brave and in the wood I give you title to the gold. And that is the last part of a poem and we've got a link to it all on our Facebook page, by a man being described by media as a modern day Indiana Jones who's sparked a massive treasure hunt in the mountains near his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Forrest Fenn, an antiquities dealer, an adventurer, claims to have buried a bronze chest full of rare gold coins and nuggets and thrilling artifacts somewhere in the hills. And the poem from his autobiography The Thrill of the Chase contains clues to the treasure. And hundreds of modern day treasure hunters are traveling to New Mexico in search of gold as we speak. Forrest Fenn is on the line with us from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hello Forrest.
FENN: Well how are you sir? I'm doing very fine thank you.
HOST: Very nice to have you on. Before I ask about the treasure let's talk about you because you are a very interesting man. You were a prominent art dealer for many years. What is your background please?
FENN: Well I'm a high school graduate although I just barely graduated. I didn't go to college and I spent 20 years a fighter pilot in the Air Force and I was shot down twice in Vietnam and I came home to build an art gallery and I just put one leg in front of the other and, and here I am.
HOST: You built a very celebrated art gallery with famous clients like a US President, Jackie Kennedy, Cher, John Wayne. They were all, you knew them all didn't you?
FENN: Well they, you know, you know, the secret to being, to getting well known in this business is advertise full page color and I did that so I attracted, I had some pretty good paintings so I, I attracted the collectors.
HOST: I know; Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin. So the treasure and the chest, now can you tell us please why you've done this Forrest?
FENN: Well first of all I'm gonna correct what you said earlier. I've never said that I've buried the treasure chest. What I've said is that I hid it. That, that's not to say that it isn't buried I don't want to give that clue.
HOST: Okay, fair enough.
FENN: Okay. In 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney. My doctor gave me a 20 percent chance of living. And after that soaked in a few days I just decided you know what I've had so much fun collecting these things over the last 70 years that if I've got to go I'm just gonna take some of it with me. And why not let have other people have the same thrill of the chase I've had all of these years.
HOST: The thrill of the chase 'cause you started I think collecting Forrest when you were a boy and you discovered fascinating relics from all around the world I think haven't you?
FENN: Well that's right. I've always been a collector. I found my first arrowhead in Texas when I was nine. And it was such a thrill it, it launched me on a, on a wonderful trip of discovery for all these years.
HOST: And to very exotic places like the Libyan desert at one stage I believe.
FENN: Yes that's true. There are treasure every place you look. You know part of my motive in writing my book The Thrill of the Chase was to get kids off the couch and away from their texting machines and out of the game room and out into the mountains. You know I spent some time in Australia. I love that country.
HOST: Before we talk about what's in the chest you still have a lot in your possession, a lot of rare and valuable artifacts still don't you?
FENN: Well I'm still a collector. I can't say, I can say they're rare. I can't say all of them are valuable. You know they don't have to be valuable for me to like them. If they're old and pretty good I like it. It doesn't have to be expensive.
HOST: Including I believe a jade mask older than Jesus, a mummified falcon from King Tut's tomb?
FENN: Well that may be stretching it a little bit. I do have some ancient Egyptian things: a mummified falcon and I love that stuff. Particularly ancient Egyptian things, that's fascinating to me.
HOST: Is it true you have Sitting Bull's peace pipe?
FENN: I have Sitting Bull's peace pipe, yes, and people have questioned whether it was really Sitting Bull's or not but, but we have a picture of Sitting Bull holding it and we blew the picture up and we proved that it was the same pipe that I have by comparing grain in the wood.
HOST: Fantastic. Forrest Fenn is with us. All right so you want to get people away from their screens and into the great outdoors and this is the primary idea behind hiding the chest?
FENN: That was the primary, well I had three ideas really. One of them was that I wanted to give other people the same thrill of looking for things like I've had all these years. But you know a lady asked me one time Mr. Fenn who is your audience for this book? And I said my audience is every red neck in Texas that has a pickup job, he lost his job, has a wife and eight kids and needs, has an adventurous spirit. I said that's the guy I want to fill the pickup truck up with gas and head out looking for the treasure.
HOST: Wow. The Thrill of the Chase is Forrest's book. So the treasure – can you tell us if you wouldn't mind what is in the treasure chest?
FENN: Well you know there are 20.2 Troy pounds of gold. There are 265 gold coins. Most of them are American eagles and double eagles. And geez there's pre-Columbian gold pieces that date to 2,500 years old. There's some ancient necklaces. There are hundreds of rubies, diamonds, emeralds, two beautiful Ceylon sapphires and I also have my autobiography. I printed it, I printed it so small that I have to use a magnifying glass to read it but I put it in a little olive jar and tightened down and it's in my treasure chest also. I thought somebody that might find my chest whenever that is would want to know something about the crazy guy that did this thing.
HOST: The crazy guy that did this thing. Everybody who knows about you and your reputation says you're genuine and there's a chest and we fully believe that. But, um, how much, what's the value of what's inside it? Do you know?
FENN: Well you know I've never said because I don't know. I've never had the jewelry appraised and the price of gold goes up every day. And some of the coins in the treasure chest have numismatic value that exceeds their value in gold. So you know have estimated, a number of people saw the chest before I took it out and hid it and they've estimated anywhere from a million to three million dollars. But I don't know but I guarantee you the person that finds that treasure chest and raises that lid for the first time he is just gonna take a big gulp.
HOST: I'll bet. So it's fascinating, you wrote the book I think a couple of years ago now and no one really picked up on it and, but then you were interviewed I think for this may be wrong but for American TV I think and then it came to the public notice. And you've had, I believe you've had to give out a couple of extra clues have you?
FENN: Well you know I made a deal with NBC news. They want me to give a clue a month for 9 months and I told them I would do that. But I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna give any clues that are significant that would help somebody significantly in the chase. You know I'm not thinking about spring break or a Sunday afternoon picnic out looking for the treasure chest. I'm thinking 100 years from now, maybe 1,000 years from now. This is not something that I've taken very lightly.
HOST: Okay. So it's obviously not easy to find but it is findable in 2013. That's why they're all out looking. Would that be fair? You can find it?
FENN: Yes. In my book The Thrill of the Chase I wrote a poem and the poem has nine clues in it. If you can follow the clues to the poem they will take you to the treasure chest. And in my book there are several hints that won't take you to the treasure chest but they will help with the clues that are in the poem. It's not gonna be easy to find and nobody is gonna accidentally trip over this thing. They're gonna have to figure out the clues, decipher what they say and go right straight to the treasure chest.
HOST: I'm assuming, I'm not trying to pry information out of you but I'm assuming that if a guy, an unemployed guy in a pickup truck is driving across from Texas to have a look you don't necessarily need local knowledge, local geography knowledge?
FENN: No. The first clue in the poem is begin it where warm waters halt. That's the first clue. If you don't, if you can't figure that clue out you don't have anything.
HOST: All right. Begin it where –
FENN: I think you're gonna go out looking for that treasure chest. I think you have that in your voice.
HOST: I'm getting mightily interested actually considering my hourly rate. Well that's my next question. Do you mind if someone up sticks from New Zealand and comes across and starts looking? Is that the kind of person that would please you?
FENN: I love New Zealand. I wish all of those people would come over here. I've been to both New Zealand and Australia. I love that part of the country and I invite them to come.
HOST: Good on you Forrest. What are you getting out of it? I can see you're, you've described why you're doing it. What satisfaction is it giving you do you think?
FENN: Well you know in August I'll be 83 years old and I've collected all of these things and I've had so much fun doing it I just want somebody else to. Well let me go back to your question. I don't want anybody to say that the treasure story is not true and it's a gimmick for me to make money on my book. So to prevent that from happening I have given all of the books to the Collected Works Bookstore here in Santa Fe. That's the only place you can buy the book and they get all of them for free. And when they sell a book they put 10 percent of the gross aside to put in a cancer fund and we're gonna spend that money when we can find the right place to spend it. Some, hopefully some minority person that needs a cancer operation or something. We're gonna do some really good things with that money.
HOST: Bless you and I know you don't need the money anyway because of who you are. Forrest Fenn is with us. So what, there must be a problem with this though. You must be being contacted by hundreds or even thousands of people are you?
FENN: Well I've received over 14,000 emails. I'm getting between three and four hundred a day.
HOST: Wow. Any proposals of marriage Forrest?
FENN: I've had eight women want to marry me and my wife asked me today what do you tell these 18 women when they call you and want to marry you? I said well the first thing I ask them if they have an airplane.
HOST: That's very funny.
FENN: You thought that was pretty funny didn't you?
HOST: I did.
FENN: My wife didn't think it was that funny.
HOST: You're a great man. Well what, look at what you've started. It's a fantastic quest. In your bones do you think that somebody's going to find it soon or do you think it's going to elude discovery?
FENN: Well you know it's impossible to predict it. There have been two different parties that have figured out the first two clues but the, they went right past the treasure chest and didn't find it.
FENN: But there were seven more clues and they didn't figure them out but they got pretty close.
HOST: It's a marvelous, a marvelous idea Forrest. You've got them all excited and I hope the right person finds it. I'm sure you do too.
FENN: Well I hope the person that finds it is a person that needs it. You know I 've thought all along, I've been rich and I've been poor and I've thought that, you know, having a enough money is a lot better than having a lot of money.
HOST: Yeah, that's nicely put. Good on you. Thank you. I'm glad we got hold of you and I'm glad you could come on and talk with us. All the best with the chase Forrest.
FENN: Well thank you sir and tell New Zealand hello for me.
HOST: Yes, well you're telling them now which is great. Forrest Fenn on the line with us from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Originally that poem in his book The Thrill of the Chase. And we've cheated slightly, we've got a link to it on our Facebook page in case you are interested in joining the treasure hunt.
|Link: Click Here
Everything is Stories - 003 As I Have Gone Alone in There
FORREST FENN: Well, when I was nine years old, I found my first arrowhead with my father. He was an arrowhead collector, and so was my football coach in high school. So we did all that together. Most of the arrowheads you find out in the countryside are broken in half in two. And people say, “Oh that’s broken. That’s terrible.” But to me, that means a lot to me. That means that the projector was on the end of an arrow. It penetrated the body of a deer maybe. Hit a bone and broke right in front of where it was hafted. So to me, that thing has a history that a whole arrowhead doesn’t have. I think it’s the wonderment of being out there, of seeing nature, and visualizing what used to be. The Rosetta Stone was buried for 2,000 years before somebody found it, and I said in my book, “Don’t you know that guy is proud? The guy that carved that thing.”
Well it was 1988 when I acquired the treasure chest and started filling it up with thing. I paid $25,000 for the treasure chest, and I started filling it up with 265 gold coins. Most of them are American Eagles and some Double Eagles, mostly Double Eagles. My goal never changed. My goal was to take that treasure chest out in a very special place and put it there. I’ve never said that I buried it, but I never said that I didn’t bury it. I just don’t want to give that as a clue. And, let people go looking for it. If you can find the treasure chest, and open that lid for the first time, it’s going to be the most wonderful thing that you ever saw.
I crafted a poem that’s in my book. It has nine clues in it, and I changed that poem over a 15 year period. People read that poem and it’s there, “He sat down and wrote that poem in 15 minutes.” It took me 15 years. The poem is not so much written as it is an architectural plan. It’s been crafted. It reads very simple. Here, hand me that book.
I dare you to go get it. If you can find it, you can have it. And nobody knows where it is but me. If a train runs over me this afternoon, it will go to my grave with me.
My name is Forrest Fenn. We’re in my home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’ve lived in it since 1988 and I think it will be my last abode. The Santa Fe trail runs about 50 feet from my library window and I have an old 1880 Army ammunition wagon sitting right in the middle of the Santa Fe trail. It goes right through my pond. I’m very happy where I am. Santa Fe is a wonderful place to live. I’ll be 83 in two weeks. I’m going out at the top of my game. Some people are collectors and some people are not. My wife is not a collector, but I collected everything. I used to collect match folders and beer steins. I don’t know what it is, but if you have an old photograph of your mother, what makes you like that photograph? Antiques - there’s the mystery of it. The unknown that plays on your mind. The mystery of who they were and who made it and what they did. You can conjure back anything you want to about that.
It’s the thrill of discovery - the thrill of the chase. On we go / the virtue lies / in the journey / not the prize. And I believe that.
MARK HOWARD: There’s a lot of people that really enjoy the idea of a treasure, you know? Just like I enjoy the idea of it. From my perspective, of course, I’m a goldsmith and having 20 pounds of gold to work with, that’s my palette. That’s what I enjoy and that’s what I do, so that would be extreme freedom for me from $1300 an ounce gold, you know, which is what I have to pay today. My name is Mark Howard. We’re here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or outside thereof, and this is my house, and as far as the treasure goes, I’m going to probably look again although the past two times, because it’s whipped me, I said to my wife, “You know, maybe I shouldn’t go again.” And it only takes me a couple of weeks to say, “No, I think I gotta go again.” I like the treasure hunt. It’s like when we were kids. Like Treasure Island and all those stories you read when you were a kid, and you thought, “God, I’d just love to go out and do something like that.” And this kind of fed into that, and I said, okay. I was, what, 57? I’m going to be 60. If I’m going to do this kind of thing, I’d better do it now. There’s some historical points in there, historical artifacts in there. All those interest me too. I really love the antique stuff. One of the things I really want is that damn box. I really want that box, because this is from like 1150 A.D.
FENN: The box is a beautiful cast bronze box that I’ve been told was 11th or 12th century. It’s 10 inches by 10 inches and 5 inches deep, and weighs 42 pounds. The gold is what makes it heavy. 265 gold coins, some pre-Columbian gold figures that are 1500 to 1800 years old. There’s a wonderful necklace in there made by Sinu and Tairona cultures with carved jade figures and carnelian and quartz crystals carved figures. It’s wonderful - 2000 years old. It’s… It’s worth looking for. I put a little bracelet in there that I won in a pool game with a guy. It’s the cheapest thing in there. It’s probably worth, well with all the notoriety it’s had now, it’s probably worth $750. It was worth $250 when I put it in the treasure chest. You can’t just go out and buy a bunch of gold nuggets. There are hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets in that treasure chest. There’s a little jar of gold dust from Alaska. I couldn’t put a Porsche in the box, or I’d have done that. I was limited by so many cubic inches in that treasure chest.
HOWARD: He often says if it takes 2,000 years for someone to find it, that’s just fine by him. It’s not fine by me, but that’s okay. I think I’ve been out only maybe 20 times. Started here in Northern New Mexico, and at one point I went as far as Yellowstone. Then I went into Colorado, and I’m still kind of bouncing around looking for the treasure. Almost anybody that found it, with the exception of the people that are crazy, would probably let it go. I certainly would. My idea is to put Jim Weatherell’s bracelet on, and walk up to his house, you know, and knock on the door, and he’d know immediately. I wouldn’t have to say a thing; he wouldn’t have to say a thing. That way, he’d never have to say anything to anybody else either. That’s, uh, you know, that’s a daydream.
FENN: There’s something that I don’t know whether it’s in the treasure chest or not. It was a crazy idea. But, going about the question you asked earlier, “Did I want to know if someone had found the treasure chest?” So I said, “Yeah, I do.” One reason is so people won’t be spending all their money looking for something that isn’t there any more. So I put an IOU - I wrote out an IOU. “Take this IOU to my bank in Santa Fe, and collect $100,000.” I figured for $100,000, the guy that found the treasure chest would not want to keep it secret anymore. So now the IRS is getting in the act and everybody knows. But if someone finds it 1,000 years from now, my bank won’t be there, and there won’t be any money in the account even if they did, so, I think I took that IOU out. But I don’t remember whether I did or not. It’s in there in spirit.
There are two gold nuggets in that treasure chest that weigh more than a Troy pound apiece. I used to take them out and hand them to people that would almost drop them because they’re so heavy. I’d go on the Today show, you know, I’ve been on five times...
JANET SHAMLIAN: ...Talk you into, somehow, giving us another clue this morning....
FENN: Well I’m not going to put an X on the map for you.
And I think we’ll do it maybe another… and I give clues. The last clue I gave them was that it’s not in Utah or Idaho. But that’s not going to lead you to the treasure chest.
...The clue is that the treasure is higher than seven, uh, five thousand feet above sea level....
SHAMLIAN: ...The treasure is higher than 5,000 feet above sea level....
MICHAEL MCGARRITY: I think it’s in New Mexico. Now, the issue was: was it buried? We finally got Forrest to admit that no, it’s hidden. So, it’s quite possible it’s not buried, just simply hidden. My name’s Michael McGarrity, I’m a novelist. We’re in Cathedral Park, which is next to the Basilica a block from the famous Santa Fe Plaza. We like to get together once in awhile and have lunch and tell stories. Socializing is something that usually happens when someone throws a party, or there’s some special event to get folks together. This is the stuff that myths are made of, that legends are made of. And we’ve got our share of old mine treasures being hidden on the White Sands missile range. Vittorio Peak, or down in the Gila, now we’ve got the Forrest Fenn treasure.
FENN: There’ve been some people very close to the treasure chest. There have been people that have figured out the first couple of clues and walked right past the treasure chest. I think it’s there - I haven’t checked on it, but I’m 99.9% sure it’s there.
MCGARRITY: He has said publicly, that people have come within 500 feet of the treasure. Now, the question is: is that true? I mean that’s a great teaser, and I would have used it myself even if the person that got closest to it was five miles away. I still would have said that. If it’s found, and I asked him this question, if it’s found, how are you going to know its found? Now he’s convinced that he will be contacted, right? If I found a multi-million dollar treasure, I wouldn’t want the IRS to know about it, would you? No! I’d take it home and I’d sell one gold nugget at a time. He’s a character. What else can I say? He’s an interesting guy. He has a certain flamboyancey to him.
FENN: But I put other things in there too. I pulled a couple of hairs out of my head. Because somebody can do a DNA, they can do a carbon-14 test. You know, there’s another thing that I put in the chest that I’ve not told anybody about, and I’m saving it for the person that finds the treasure chest. In other words, this is not something that I put together in an afternoon. I spent a lot of time thinking about it.
MARY WOLF: My name is Mary Wolf. I’m the co-owner of the Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. Forrest Fenn has been a loyal and constant customer of the bookstore since the bookstore opened in 1978. I got to know him best, probably, in 2010 when he came to the store to talk to Dorothy and myself about The Thrill of the Chase, the book that he was about to release and publish.
FENN: I wrote a book called The Thrill of the Chase and that’s the philosophy that permeates that book. You know, there’s a lady writer from Austin asked me, “Mr. Fenn, who’s your audience for this book?” I said, “My audience is every redneck in Texas with a pickup truck and 12 kids. He’s lost his job and has the thrill to go out and look for things.” I said, “That’s my audience.” Throw a bedroll in the back of your truck, get a six pack, and hit the road looking for a fortune! I mean, it’s the thrill of the chase. That’s what we’re talking about. Take your wife. Put all the kids in the back of the truck and head out!
WOLF: The Thrill of the Chase has had a huge impact, obviously, on our business. Forrest is not tied to the bookstore in any way contractually; however, he gave us this book to sell. He paid for the first printing, and then gave us the book because he didn’t want anyone to say he was making any money from this store, which he hasn’t. We’ve paid for the last printing, and we’ll pay for the future printings. And we are already in the 5th printing coming up, so we’re going through the books. First of all he can well-afford to hide a treasure of that value, and what really drives him is to leave a lasting mark on a whole generation of people and recreate a love for adventure and a passion for discovery that he has in his own life. And I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s a beautiful story. He has an amazing story.
FENN: Well, I was born in Temple, Texas in the heart of Texas 60 miles north of Austin. My father was a school teacher. When I started first grade, he started in the school that I started first grade in. He was a math teacher, and the next year, they promoted him to be the principal. And then I went to a Junior High School, and he moved over there and he was my principal again. So I passed all those courses because my father was principal. I’m not sure for any other reason!
I remember the first time I saw TV in Temple, Texas there was a big truck out behind, on the city square behind the city hall. And they invited people to come into city hall and look at the television set that was being transmitted from a hundred feet away. It wasn’t a very good picture. And then, a couple of years later, color TV came along and boy, that’ll never work! And I remember riding back from Yellowstone to Temple, Texas with my football coach in 1946 when they dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
HISTORIC VOICEOVER: When can we tell when the atomic bomb will explode?
FENN: And boy, that was the end. The beginning of the end. President Eisenhower told everybody to go out in their backyard and dig a bomb shelter and stock it with food for… and everybody did.
HISTORIC VOICEOVER: Always remember, the flash of an atomic bomb can come at any time no matter where you may be.
FENN: Every generation thinks that theirs will be the last. When the bow and arrow was invented, everybody said boy, the end is coming! And then when the Chinese invented gunpowder, that WAS the end.
MCGARRITY: Santa Fe’s a place that attracts unusual people. Forrest certainly qualifies in that regard. He’s a very unique guy. His record in the military is just an incredible one. You could call him a war hero. I mean he enlisted in the Air Force, I mean he can tell his own story.
FENN: I joined the military on the 6th of September 1950. The Korean War was brand new, and I was going to win the war! I started out as a private and I retired 20 years later as a major. The military in all their wisdom said that I had an aptitude for electronics, and I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was doing. But I went to an Advanced Radar Maintenance school for nine months in Biloxi, Mississippi, and I graduated but I still didn’t know what I was doing. I had a mean sergeant that didn’t like me and I didn’t like him so I went down to personnel and I said, “How can I get out of this place?” They gave me a bunch of forms to fill out and I could go to jump school, I could volunteer for submarine or I could go to pilot training. I said, “I’ll take the first one you can get for me,” and it was pilot training. So they put me in this little machine - it looked like a phone booth turned on its side. And it had a stick in it like an airplane has. It was on springs. If you turned the thing loose, it falls over and you crash. So the secret is to hold the airplane steady. And this guy said I was the best he ever saw doing that, I mean it was the simplest thing I’d ever been in. And I said, “If that’s all there is to it, I’ll take it!” So they accepted me into pilot training.
When you fly in fighter airplanes, the old saying is if the fighter pilot makes a mistake, he doesn’t have to worry about it. But when you get in that airplane all by yourself, it’s a whole different ballgame really. There’s nobody there but you. It’ll sober you up. I was in Vietnam for a year. I flew 328 combat missions. I was shot down twice, and took battle damage a few times. I lost some roommates. Getting shot down was routine. I didn’t get killed, but I had an airplane full of bullet holes, and it was totally destroyed. I did land the thing. I landed at a little airport that was used mostly for forward air controllers, little putt-putt airplanes and helicopters. I put the tail up on this F-100 I was flying and I engaged the barrier because I knew I wasn’t going to stop otherwise. But I pulled that thing the wrong way and I touched down at about 150 knots I guess and I stopped in less than 200 feet. I came away with the idea that we need to learn to leave other people alone. And I think we killed 10 civilians for every military person we killed because we’re dropping bombs and strafing, you don’t see the bodies laying there, but it’s a terrible thing. We need to stop doing that.
When I was 27 years old, no college, I was in a fighter squadron in Bitburg, Germany. They took me down to supply, and I checked out an atomic bomb. 61 megaton atomic bomb. I think the bomb at Hiroshima was something like 17,000 tons? Well this was 61 kilotons. I owned that thing. It had a crew chief like an airplane has a crew chief and it’s on a dolly. But the dolly couldn’t move one inch unless I was standing there supervising. I was all over Europe and South America and all over this country, and we had a gunner school outside of Tripoli, Libya - about 35 or 40 miles. On the weekends, I would get a jeep and go down to the Sahara Desert where the big tank battles were fought during World War Two. It’s just like they left that country, you know? You can see skeletons laying there and a German helmet and a burned out tank and bullets laying around. I can’t tell you how many times I would see a hand grenade laying on the ground there, with a flint projectile laying next to it that’s 1500, 2000, 3000 years old. You’d see wars laying on top of wars.
They grew me up in the Air Force. You get a haircut once a week, whether you like it or not, and I could see myself growing in the Air Force. They gave me so much authority, you know, I retired - you have to serve 20 years to get retired pay, but you have to retire at the end of the month so it cost me 24 extra days. I served 20 years and 24 days. And I got out the first minute I was eligible.
I had a wife and two daughters, two young daughters, and my retired pay was $800 a month. I could get by with that in 1970. We did alright but I wanted to do better than that, and I just wanted to go someplace where the world would stop and let me out. Santa Fe was the only place I knew where I could wear blue jeans, a short-sleeved shirt, and Hush Puppies, and make a living. One of my rules was that I didn’t want to do anything, where my best customer gave me $100 - talking about restaurant business, one hour Martinizing, I mean you go on and on and on. They’re labor intensive. Primary employee doesn’t show up - he’s drunk or something. I was a collector of Indian things and antiques and that sort of thing. So I wanted to deal in luxuries.
JD NOBLE: I’d known about him forever. He’s a local legend. He had an amazing gallery here in town and really brought it to the ultimate Santa Fe gallery. If you had to choose one of the major galleries, his gallery would have been the one. I’m JD Noble. I’m part owner of the Hatsmith of Santa Fe. I was looking for some photos of some old Indians that I knew… I knew Forrest had some photos of these old Indians from Taos. And so, I called him up one day and said, “Hey, I would like to have lunch with you and talk about these old Taos Indians.” So he says, “Yeah, yeah, I want to show you something.” We had lunch and he says, “Well, I don’t really have any photos that I can help you with, but I do have this…” And he unrolls this flyer for the new book on the treasure. And so man, I am hooked right away. So my trips are usually no more than two days. I’ll go in and camp out. If I can’t find it in two days, I come back, then I go out again.
FENN: When you’re dealing with luxuries, normally you’re dealing with better people. You’re dealing with people that can write a check that won’t bounce. I broke all the rules of custom. I would take anybody’s check for any amount of money. And normally, I wasn’t interested in looking at a Driver’s License. You know I go to New York today, and they won’t take my traveler’s check. Well, I took a check for $375,000 from a man one time and told him I didn’t want to see his driver’s license. He couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe I’d take his check. Seventeen years in the business, I had two bad checks. The big one was for $600. And the guy that wrote me the check for $600 he did it deliberately thinking he was going to get by with it. Didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t call him, I didn’t write him a letter. But 30 days later I sued him for $600, attorney’s fees, interest on the note, and $25,000 punitive damages. He was calling my wife trying to get her to talk me into dropping my lawsuit. I finally settled with him. I think I got attorney’s fees $75, Interest on the note was $1.75 or so, and I said come into my gallery again, and I’ll take your check for any amount of money, but next time, it’s $1,000,000 punitive damage because you have a track record.
A guy came into my gallery years ago. He had a little tiny human skull, about the size of a big orange. He said, “This is Napoleon’s skull.” He said, “I want $1,000 for it.” I said, “That can’t be Napoleon's skull, it’s too small.” He said, “Oh, it was his skull when he was a kid.” So, you know, that’s what you have to put up with when you’re a trader. You know, I almost bought the skull! The story was too good to turn down! I ran my gallery for 17 years. My first two shows, I didn’t sell anything. Not even a book. And I finally decided, I had a little bit of money left, I’m going to spend my money on advertising. When that money’s gone, I’m going to slam the door, leave this town and go do something else. Probably flipping hamburgers someplace. I tell people to - if you have a daydream, then that’s where your aptitude is. Go do that.
HOWARD: I think what people need to know is, if they know Forrest Fenn, then they know that he’s a historian and ethnographer and archaeologist, anthropologist… I think part of it is, one of many parts of it is, like, looking to match wits with Forrest. He’s very intelligent. He’s very logical. He’s very creative. And he’s very crafty. I had many of the misconceptions that everybody else starts out with. Misconceptions by - you have a certain perspective, and when you read this book, it’s from your perspective that you look at whatever clues are there, and then try to find this treasure. But, you can’t look at it from your perspective. You have to divorce yourself from that and look at it from the perspective of Forrest Fenn. So first you have to know the man. You have to read the book, and then I read every book that he mentioned in the book. Including things I hadn’t read in years, like Catch-22 and The Great Gatsby. I looked at each one of them trying to say, “Okay, is there a clue in each one of these books as well?”
WOLF: If you know Forrest, then you know that, primarily, he’s an adventurer, and a great explorer of life, and a great collector of things. The thrill of the chase really sums up what his whole life has been about. It’s about pursuing the ‘hard to reach’, going places other people don’t go. Obtaining things that other people aren’t able to obtain. And doing it in a really loving and careful way. I think that the treasure is just indicative of how Forrest thinks, and he has one of the most amazing art collections in the United States. So he was going to leave a legacy behind anyway, but this speaks to his larger desire to leave a legacy for the world.
FENN: People think I did this for my legacy. When you’re dead, a legacy is not worth much to you when you’re dead. So that was never a consideration of mine, really. I don’t care if anybody remembers me after I’m gone. You don’t have to acknowledge me while I’m alive as far as I’m concerned.
MCGARRITY: I used that word with him - legacy. He kind of gave me this strange look like, you know it’s not about legacy, I’m just having fun. I said, “Oh now wait a minute, Forrest, come on, there’s a little bit of the legacy thing. Leaving something behind. This is of legendary proportion. That’s what legacy means. Let’s talk about it from that standpoint. Taking a beautiful antique bronze box and filling it with jewels and coins and gold and nuggets, and burying it, and writing a poem so people can go and find it. If that’s not about legacy, tell me what it is.”
FENN: I learned I had cancer in 1988. I had a small pain in my left groin, and it persisted for a number of months. So I was talking to a doctor at a party one day, and he says, “Well, you ought to go over and check it out.” The first time I knew I was in trouble, the nurse, they gave me some stuff to drink, and they were looking at my kidneys on this machine, and the nurse said, “Hey girls, come over here and look at this.” And I had a dead kidney and my doctor said, “Well, just because your kidney is not working is not reason enough to take it out, but since you have a pain, let’s take it out.” And I said, “What are the chances of it being cancer?” He said, “five percent.” A one hour operation turned into five and he gave me a 20% chance of living three years.
I was standing right here in my office with Ralph Lauren one time. He was a friend, and a client. And I had something that he wanted. I told him I didn’t want to sell it. He said, “You’ve got so many of them. You can’t take them with you.” And without thinking about it, I said to him, “Well, if I can’t take it with me, then I’m not going.” And that night I started thinking about it and I, you know, I had a 20% chance to live, that’s not too good. My father called me on the phone one night. He had pancreas cancer. They gave him six months to live. Eighteen months later, he called me on the phone and said that he was going to take 50 sleeping pills that night. I had an airplane. I said I would be there first thing in the morning. He said, “That’s too late.” And it was. And I respected him because he did it on his own terms. Why do you have to do it on somebody else’s terms all the time? So I decided that if I was going to die, and the odds certainly said that I was going to, then I appreciated what my father did and the last thing I want to do is die in a hospital bed. I said in my book, a hospital bed gives you temporary postponement, and you’re miserable the whole time. The poem originally said, “Take the chest and leave my bones alone.” I ruined my original story because I got well. Why not hide a treasure chest full of wonderful things and let somebody else have the same thrill that I’ve had all these years? For 70 years. 75 years. The gold in the treasure chest weighs 20.2 Troy pounds. It’s full of emeralds and diamonds and sapphires and 200 something rubies. When I hid my treasure chest, walking back to my car, I had this strange sensation. I asked myself out loud, I said, “Forrest did you really do that?” And I started laughing at myself out loud. There was nobody around, but in the back of my mind I told myself if I’m sorry later, I can go back and get it. But then the more I thought about it, it started evolving in my mind, I became really proud of myself. You know, once in awhile you do something that you’re really proud of. It hasn’t happened to me too many times. But I was really glad that I hid that treasure chest.
My wife doesn’t know within 18 months of when I hid that treasure chest. But the clues are there. They’re not easy to follow, but certainly not impossible.
WOLF: I have no doubt that it’s out there. I know that some people think that there’s no way that he could have done this or would have done this, and I think that people who believe that don’t understand, uh, what drives Forrest. He really, really is driven by wanting kids having the same sort of experiences today that he had growing up even though they’re growing up in a very different world. And so, he really wants kids to get out and bond with their families and go out and explore nature and get out there and experience the thrill of the chase.
FENN: We have a problem in this country with our youth today. We’re obese. Graffiti. Drive by shootings. Disrespect. The teenagers today are going to be our senators and presidents in the future, so what are we doing to prepare those people? And I’ve got to blame the churches. I blame school teachers. I certainly blame archeologists who have a wonderful thing to offer, but they’re so full of jargon and everybody has their thing going and we’re mostly oblivious of the problems that somebody else sees but it’s not my problem. That’s the attitude today, and I think that’s a terrible attitude. In a very small way, I was hoping to get kids off the couch, out of the game rooms, and away from their texting machines and out to smell the sunshine and see what’s going on out in the countryside.
MCGARRITY: I think that’s Forrest’s whole intention. Get their kids. Take them out, and show them the outdoors and have an adventure. It doesn’t matter if you find it. I’ve had some amazing times out in the mountains just looking for it.
WOLF: We have heard numerous times, “This is the first time we have taken a family vacation. All of us. This is the first time that we have all gone somewhere and spent this much time together.” And we hear that from the kids too. Like, “This is the first time we’ve ever gone anywhere with mom and dad and done what mom and dad are doing.” And that’s really powerful. Forrest loves to hear those stories. Frankly, there’s just as much chance of a six year old from Kansas finding it as there is somebody in Santa Fe who has been dedicating their months to figuring out the puzzle. And if they wander across it, they will find it.
FENN: Again let me say that I’m not thinking of something “Let’s go do it this afternoon.” I’m thinking about a thousand years from now. Nothing has happened that was not predictable. I’ve called 911 three times. They arrested a guy at my gate and put him in handcuffs last week. Took him off to jail. I’ve had death threats. You know, when you look at politicians they get death threats every day.
HOWARD: And you know you can’t guess what these people are going to do. And people get in their head, “It’s my treasure. I deserve it. I’m going to go get it.” That can be a little scary.
FENN: So I’ll be 83 years old on the 22nd of this month and I told a guy the other day if torture and death are the only two things that you can threaten me with you’re in trouble. I’ve been down the road a few miles you know? I don’t want to leave my wife with all of these things. The vultures would circle this house and so I’m selling some things now. I’m not tearing down my walls, but things that are laying down. I’m just trying to ease the pain for my heirs. I think over spring break in Santa Fe there were about 6,500 people in Santa Fe related to the treasure chest. And, this summer, before the summer is over I spent some time estimating. I think there will be 43,000 people looking for the treasure chest in New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.
MCGARRITY: On the one hand, it’s given an award for increasing tourism in the community right? I was walking in a shopping center just after the book came out and there was this huge 4x4 extended cab Dodge 350 Ram Charger. And in the back there was a 4 wheel drive all terrain vehicle. And this big Texan gets out. I know he was Texan because he had license plates from Texas. And he says, “Can you tell me how to find Forrest Fenn? I’m looking for Forrest Fenn. I’m here to look for that treasure.”
WOLF: We have met people from, probably, four continents and ten countries, who have come here. We have families, older people, young people, college kids who have come together. People who have started teams working on the puzzle. Crowdsourcing. Solutions to the puzzle, and then sending delegates out here to look.
HOWARD: I’ve run into people who’ve told me they spent their life savings coming out here. Literally coming from Florida one guy came. Spent at least $12,000 on airfare. That was his life savings. A lady come in from Mississippi. She was an old client and she said, “Well, when I find Forrest’s treasure,” she’s 40 pounds overweight, five years old than me and she’s rich and I say, “Okay, you go!” you know? “You go girl!” What the hell.
FENN: I’m right at 22,000 emails from people related to the treasure chest. They tell me where they are and where they’re going and want to know if they’re hot or cold. Thousands of emails from people that have said thanks to me for getting them out of the house. I had a man send me an email who said, “My brother - I had not spoken to my brother in 12 years. He called me on the phone and said let’s go look for the treasure chest”, and so they’re connected again. I see a lot of that - that kind of thing. It’s very rewarding, you know, it’s a by-product of something that I did. I’m the big winner in this thing, because I feel a sense of satisfaction.
WOLF: About the best one that I heard was a gentleman who said that if he found the treasure, he would give the bracelet back to Forrest and then he was going to re-hide the treasure somewhere else, and write his own book. And just kind of keep it going because he was having so much fun looking for it. And he’d been looking for it for six months and he kind of wanted to find it, but he kind of didn’t want that to end.
HOWARD: ...come to my shop, I had the guy from Florida that I mentioned came to my shop, and he brought me a detailed map. Layed out on a piece of cardboard. Told me what he was thinking. And said, “Will you go get this for me and split the treasure with me?” I said, “Look, that’s not my thing. I know where I want to go.” And he got offended and left.
MCGARRITY: You know, I really kind of wonder if some people have found it. My last adventure out, somebody had beaten me to it. To the spot. I had been there once before, but I was unprepared. And I came back, and waited for the weather to get warm, and went back. Somebody had left a message that they had been there already. Done in pink chalk. With a big X on a rock and said, “It is not here.” I think it’s a diversion because I still want to go back because there’s many many, uh, I can’t tell you where it’s at. People - somebody else already figured it out too, so whoever it was, we were both thinking and putting the clues, and that’s just interpreting the clues, which are so vague.
FENN: I’ve given clues to everybody. I’ve never given a clue to an individual. The first clue that I gave that wasn’t in my poem was because I made this guy mad and he demanded another clue. And I said, “The treasure chest is hidden more than 300 miles west of Toledo.” I don’t think he knew that I was pulling his leg. There was a guy out here someplace, dug a hole 18 inches deep and 9 inches wide and they arrested him.
FEMALE VOICEOVER: ...charges for digging near a descanso looking for Forrest Fenn’s box of gold and jewels.
FENN: Please tell me what’s going on here. Nine inches wide and eighteen inches deep and they arrested - all over the paper, they’re quoting the police officer that they’re going to prosecute this guy.
MCGARRITY: There are people saying, “Oh wait, wait, wait. He’s sending these people off to trample our wilderness.” What wilderness? Come on. About the only real wilderness we have, most people can’t get to. And that’s up in the Pecos which recently burned. You know, most of what we have in terms of national forest is not wilderness. But, “oh no, it’s going to send people out and they’re going to dig up, uh, plants and disturb the ground and be where they shouldn’t be.”
FENN: No matter what you do, somebody is not going to like it. There are always just disgruntled people. Somebody picks up an arrowhead worth $8.00. And they “stole that from the government.” So I guess the government is going to come and get them and arrest them. Too many PhD’s in government. Bureau of Land Management came in and searched my house four years ago. Somebody told them I had taken something out of a cave in Arizona that was on government land. Well it wasn’t on government land, it was private property. But, even if everything they said was true, the statute of limitations had run out 47 years ago. So four years passed, and I got a letter from them that absolved me of everything. That was the end of it. It builds character. I just wonder what I’m going to do with all this character.
MCGARRITY: And he’s very bright. There’s nothing at all about this man that doesn’t speak to how smart he is. He’s a curious guy. That curiosity has led him to a point in his life where he is extremely well off. Lives a beautiful lifestyle. He likes to tell stories. He likes to confound people. He likes to put little things out there that has folks guessing.
HOWARD: I’m not there to try to pry information out of him. That’s not to say I don’t look carefully at everything he has said to me, because, he’s that way. There could be something there. But I don’t ask him any specific questions, and he doesn’t volunteer any specific information. It wouldn’t be fair. He’s really interested in this being something that, where the playing field is pretty level for people. But it’s going to take somebody that’s intelligent, who looks at all these in different aspects, I think, to find it. I don’t think anybody’s going to stumble upon it.
MCGARRITY: This last spot that I’ve been in, I really feel like it’s there. I’ve already hit Forrest up; he denies it. But uh, you know, he tries to get me to go back to one of my first spots, and that’s a diversion, I know.
FENN: I still have about uh, something like, 4,000 arrowheads. And I tell people I’m saving those, because after the next war, I’ll make a fortune selling my arrowheads to different armies around the world. Einstein had said, “I don’t know what we’ll fight World War III with, but World War IV is going to be fought with sticks.” And the technology is changing so fast. I mean, if your computer is two years old, it’s archaic today. Technology is not going to help you find that treasure. But your mind and your body and your attitude changes as things change.
HOWARD: It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve been a lot of places. I’ve been on top of some mountains and I’ve been in a lot of hot springs and when nobody’s there, that’s great I just take it all off and throw myself in and wait awhile. I’ve had Bighorn Sheep right near me. Bald Eagles fly right over my head. I’ve been up in the mountains for the first snowfall of the year, which at that point, in that place, was September 30.
FENN: The greatest thrill is going by yourself. You don’t know where the edge is unless you go out there and look for it.
HOWARD: I always bring something back. Generally speaking, it’s something I found along the way that interests me a feather, a mineral specimen, you know, an artifact that somebody lost long ago.
FENN: Yeah, I have some advice. Read the book. And then study the poem. Over and over. Read it over and over. Maybe even memorize it. And then go back and read the book again looking for hints that are in the book that are going to help you with the clues that are in the poem. That’s the best advice that I can give. You have to find out - you have to learn where the first clue is. They get progressively easier after you discover where the first clue is.
WOLF: Forrest has given some good advice. I mean, Forrest has told people to enjoy themselves, but not get into danger. Don’t get into trouble. Don’t go into places that a 79 year old man couldn’t get to carrying a 42 pound box. But, then again, you haven’t seen Forrest. He might not be your average 79 year old man.
HOWARD: One thing I need to tell people who think they’re going to go do this, you better be in shape. If you think that this guy at 79 was a pushover, you got another think coming.
MCGARRITY: You were asking me earlier about the reason, I was at a point in my life where I was ready for some adventure. And this was just perfect.
HOWARD: I mean I believe I know where it is. I just haven’t found the blaze. And that’s going to be the toughest part.
WOLF: I’ve seen a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t been out there looking. And, while, a couple of times I thought, “Oh yeah, I got it. I know exactly where it is.” When I came back empty handed, I didn’t feel disappointed somehow. I came away with just more excitement about going out again.
MCGARRITY: Well Forrest contends that his real mission in life, when he wrote this book, was to get people up and off the couch and out doing something in the wild. Right? And I just roll my eyes. I said, come on. But he sticks to it. He sticks to his story.
WOLF: He is, um, passionate about adventure and he is passionate about sharing that love of adventure, and treasure seeking with other people. An American archetype if you will.
FENN: I think the thing that, as much as anything, is that first little arrowhead that I found when I was nine years old. I still have it, yeah, sure. My autobiography is in the treasure chest. I put it in a little olive jar. I rolled it up. Printed at Kinko’s. I have to use a magnifying glass if I want to read it. The olive jar had a metal lid. And metal will rust. It’s tin. And so I dipped it in hot wax to make it airtight and watertight. 10,000 years from now, that autobiography is going to be just like it is when I put it in there. There’s an old saying, “You can never go home.” How many encores can a person take? I mean, I’ve played my hand.
I don’t feel like I gave you anything.
INTERVIEWER: Oh I think we got plenty.
FENN: (reads poem)