|I think I read (but, correct me if I am mistaken), that although you would love the treasure to be found, the discovery of the chest would end the exciting mystery and adventure for those actively seeking, and this would be missed by you.Ā Ā Would you rather the treasure stay hidden for many more years, or are you in hopes that the chest will be found soon?||I am ambivalent about the treasure being found. When it is discovered I hope it is by some deserving person who is emotionally involved and has been rewarded by the other mountain thrills that come with the chase. If it is not found for several hundred years that would be fine with me. One thing is certain, when a person discovers that beautiful bronze chest and opens it for the first time and sees the bracelet with hundreds of rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds, and the 265 gold coins and hundreds of placer nuggets, he will be in awe. It is easy for me to predict the expression on his their face.|
|The hidden treasure includes Ceylon sapphires and Alaskan gold nuggets the size of chicken eggs?||Yes, two nuggets weigh more than a troy pound each, and hundreds of smaller ones. There are two Ceylon sapphires, hundreds of rubles, 8 emeralds and lots of diamonds.|
|N/A - Consolidated quotes appearing throughout the article.||mostly American eagles and double eagles, hundreds of gold nuggets, some as large as chicken eggs, ancient Chinese carved jade figures, Pre-Columbian gold animal artifacts, lots of rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds and other things...no need to dig up old outhouses, the treasure is not associated with any structure....Somebody could find it tomorrow and it may not be found for a thousand years. Iām looking at the big picture. A lot of people who are searching for the treasure donāt see it the same way I do. I would love if someone found it tomorrow but if nobody found it for a hundred years, thatās okay with me too.|
|N/A - Consolidated quotes appearing throughout the article.||Itās such a visual site. Emeralds and rubies and diamonds and sapphires and gold and antiques and jade.|
|N/A - Consolidated quotes appearing throughout the article.||Mostly American eagles and double eagles, hundreds of gold nuggets, some as large as chicken eggs, ancient Chinese carved jade figures, Pre-Columbian gold animal artifacts, lots of rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds and other things... I wanted the monetary value to be a consideration for those who are looking for it, but mostly my motive was to get kids off the couch and away from their texting machines out in the mountains...I think it's out of control... Somebody could find it tomorrow and it may not be found for a thousand years. I'm looking at the big picture. A lot of people who are searching for the treasure don't see it the same way I do. I would love if someone found it tomorrow but if nobody found it for a hundred years, that's okay with me too.|
|N/A - Consolidated quotes appearing throughout the article.||No need to dig up the old outhouses, the treasure is not associated with any structure. The treasure is not in a graveyard. I know the treasure chest is wet. (265 gold coins) mostly American eagles and double eagles, hundreds of gold nuggets, some as large as chicken eggs, ancient Chinese carved jade figures, Pre-Columbian gold animal artifacts, lots of rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds and other things.|
|8991||7/6/2016||Great Big Story|
|Link: Click Here
Interviewer: In 2010 this man, Forrest Fenn, hid a chest hid with gold and rare artifacts somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The search for this million dollar treasure has obsessed thousands of seekers worldwide. And the trail starts with this poem which Fenn wrote. It contains nine clues that point to the treasure's location.
(0:25) Fenn: It's here someplace. Are we rolling? 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.
Interviewer: Fenn's motivation for hiding the treasure was to give hope to those knocked down by the recession and to inspire them to explore the wild.
(0:55) Fenn: I found a beautiful little Romanesque treasure chest and I started filling up with, with gold coins and gold nuggets and about 280 rubies. There are two Ceylon sapphires. There are eight emeralds, a bunch of diamonds but mostly gold. I don't know what it's worth and I don't even want to think about that. You're not going to be disappointed if you find that treasure chest.
Cynthia: I'm Cynthia Meachum and I am a full-time treasure hunter. I have been looking for Fenn's treasure now for a little over three and a half years.
(1:35) Fenn: I hid the treasure chest more than 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe in the Rocky Mountains some place. Nobody knows but me.
Cynthia Meachum: The poem that you have to solve Forrest always said you have to find where warm waters halt and to me this is where our warm waters halt and that's where I think that we need to find the treasure chest.
Interviewer: The thrill of this chase for Fenn's treasure has led many to leave the safety of known trails and well-beaten paths.
Marc Howard: The mountains are very unforgiving. It's extremely important that you know what you're doing and you know where you're going. You can end up in big trouble really quickly. There's even one hiker that's been lost looking for the treasure and he hasn't been found yet.
Interviewer: To Fenn's knowledge the treasure remains a hidden mystery but the real reward should come from the hunt.
Cynthia: I was positive this was our warm waters halt and unfortunately I just, I don't think that this is going to be the spot. It doesn't matter what state you treasure hunt in you're going to have beautiful scenery like this and it doesn't matter if you find the treasure chest or not this is finding the treasure right here.
(3:09) Fenn: 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.
|Link: Click Here
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST: Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, there's a bronze chest filled with gold and precious gems. The search for this hidden treasure has become a hobby for some, an obsession for others and, for one recent searcher, a fatal pursuit. Meanwhile, the man who hid the treasure marvels at the great chase that he set off. NPR's John Burnett has our story.
JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: Forrest Fenn is an 85-year-old millionaire in Santa Fe, N.M. A former Vietnam fighter pilot, a self-taught archaeologist and a super successful art dealer, he's now best known for his treasure.
FORREST FENN: No one knows where that treasure chest is but me. They can go get it, but I'm not going to tell them where it is. If I die tomorrow, the knowledge of that location goes to - in the coffin with me.
BURNETT: The ornate, Romanesque box is 10 inches by 10 inches and weighs about 40 pounds loaded. Fenn has said only that it's hidden in the Rocky Mountains somewhere between Santa Fe and the Canadian border at an elevation above 5,000 feet. It's not in a mine, a graveyard or near a structure. For further clues, you have to read the poem in his self-published book, "The Thrill Of The Chase."
(Reading) 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.
SACHA JOHNSTON: Where warm waters halt. No one agrees on what that means. Does that mean where two rivers converge? Does that mean where a hot spring pours into a river? Does that mean at the Continental Divide?
BURNETT: Sacha Johnston is an avid searcher in Albuquerque. She runs a website that sells Fenn treasure tchotchkes. Now, six years after publication of the poem, tens of thousands of people have reportedly gone looking for Forrest Fenn's treasure, thought to be worth well over a million dollars. The treasure's creator sits at his laptop in the study of his Santa Fe manse, his blue eyes twinkling mischievously. He reads emails all day from treasure hunters imploring him for just one more clue.
FENN: That's the kind of email that I don't respond to because if you want me to give you a clue, I'm not going to answer your email.
BURNETT: Surrounding him is his extraordinary collection of Native American artifacts - Apache dolls, moccasin boots, buffalo skulls.
FENN: I love antiques, particularly American Indian.
BURNETT: In the '90s, he earned the opprobrium of Southwestern archaeologists over his excavation of a Pueblo Indian site that he owned. They consider him a plunderer. Fenn thinks they're clubby fussbudgets. The war over Indian relics has largely subsided. Today, Fenn is all about the treasure. He says he hid the box in the midst of the Great Recession to cheer folks up and to get them off their couches and into the great outdoors. And yes, he admits to being a little off-kilter.
FENN: Sure, I'm eccentric. I pride myself in being eccentric. I don't want to go down that center line like a lot of people do.
BURNETT: The hunt for the treasure can become an obsession. Randy Bilyeu was a 54-year-old retired mechanic who had moved from Florida to Colorado to look for the bronze box full time. He was last seen alive on January 5. His car, a raft and his little dog were found near the Rio Grande south of Santa Fe. Fenn is delighted the quest has motivated so many people to discover the Rocky Mountains. But he cautions ā
FENN: You know, we don't want to get anybody else lost. Be prepared. Take a GPS, take at least one other person with you and wait 'til the snow melts and the ice melts.
BURNETT: Is the treasure really worth risking your life over? Doug Preston is a best-selling author and a longtime friend of Forrest Fenn. He says he saw the chest before Fenn hid it and it was filled with gold nuggets, gold coins, pre-Colombian gold figures, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds.
Is there any documentary evidence that Forrest Fenn actually hid this treasure chest?
DOUG PRESTON: Well, as far as proof goes, I - there's no proof. It's hard to prove a negative, and the negative is that the chest is gone. And also, knowing Forrest for as long as I have, I can absolutely say with 100 percent confidence that he would never pull off a hoax. I'm absolutely sure that he hid that treasure chest.
BURNETT: A noted New Mexico archaeologist contacted for this story says he, too, saw the treasure with his own eyes, and he also believes that Forrest Fenn is not a trickster.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Reading) 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.
BURNETT: The searchers read and re-read the cryptic poem and pore over topographic maps, waiting for the aha moment. Then they trek through aspen forests, explore canyons and belay down cliff sides looking for the treasure. Cynthia Meachum, a retired high-tech worker, says she's left her home in Albuquerque to look for the treasure at least 60 times.
CYNTHIA MEACHUM: You know, you go out, you look, you don't find it, you come back home, you go through your clues again, your solves again and you think, you know, where did I go wrong? And you go out and you do it again. And I have actually seen some of the most spectacular scenery because of this that I ever would've seen.
BURNETT: And for that, Forrest Fenn would be pleased. John Burnett, NPR News, Santa Fe.
|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. Iām 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 thatās pretty good.
Well, uh, in 1988 I had cancer and they told me I was going to die. Thatās 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 didnāt 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 donāt want to sell it. He said you have so many of those things and you canāt take it with you. I said, well then Iām not going. And we laughed and changed the subject.
That night I started thinking about that. Who says I canāt take it with me? Why do I have to live by everybody elseās rules? If Iām going to die of cancer, Iām 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. Thereās some Middle Eastern gold coins that date from the 13th century. Thereās 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 henās egg. They weigh more than a pound apiece.
And there are, in this chestā¦ I put hundreds of rubies. There are two beautiful Ceylon sapphires. There are eight emeralds. Lots of little diamonds. Pre-Columbian Wakāas. 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, Iāve shown the chest to a number of people in Santa Fe and thatās 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, doesnāt mean I could not hide the treasure chest anyway. And I did that and there'sā¦ In my book, The Thrill of The Chase, thereās 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. Itās small, but itās...gold is heavy. And when I hid it and was walking back to my car, I started laughing out loud, and I said, āForrest Fenn did you really do that?ā
But I had a hole card, I told myself if I decide later I didnāt 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 canāt 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, āMr. Fenn, who is your audience for this strange book?ā I said, āMy audience is every redneck in Texas with a pickup truck, a wife and twelve kids and he lost his job.ā I said, āThrow 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, āMr. 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.ā So, uh, you know I would go on and on but I donāt 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, Iām 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. Weāre looking, weāre looking for someone toā¦ that we can feel proud about helping. Uh, if I had my way, weād find some little minority kid that canāt afford what it takes to get well and spend our money that way. And, uh, I don'tā know if thatāll happen or not, but thatās 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 galās dangerous, you know! (pause) Would I find myself switching backā¦ 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. Youāre 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 donāt think they knew it, because they walked right on past the treasure chest. And Iām not gonna tell those people who they are because one of them particularly would faint, I know. And sheād tear the countryside up trying to figure out where theyād been. But, uh, itās an opportunity toā¦ hasā¦ doesnāt 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 donāt feel, I donāt feel that Iāve given it away. Whoever finds it is gonna earn it. And once they find it, and have it in their possession Iām out of the picture. They can do whatever they want to with it. You canātā¦ I donāt want to make rules for people after the fact. Yes sir?
How would you know that it hasnāt already been found?
Iāve been asked that question a lotā¦ I really donāt want to answer the question because that would be an answer that I donāt 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 itās a ten year? A hundred year? When do you think it will actually be discovered?
You know, uhā¦ Why donāt you ask me how deep is a hole? (Laughter) Itās not predictable. But I know, I think, this last summer, there were, Iām 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? Orā¦
Thereās all kinds of case scenarios. If a, if a person finds it, and he doesnāt want the IRS to know it, then maybe the spot will never be revealed. (Laughter) In my opinion, the type of person thatās gonna find the treasure chest is the type of person that canāt keep it quiet. Uh, but, Iām not worried about that really. Yes maāam?
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 thoseā¦ of the treasure chest.
From the car to the spot?
(Forrest nods). Very special spot.
Could you tell us more about whatās in your book? Like, itās not just a poem, but itās a memoir right?
Itās a memoir. You know, uh, I never did go to college. I prayed for Dās 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 wonderā¦ Why does everyoneā¦ I mean, you may think those are wonderful books, but Iām a little bit weird I have to admit that.
But then Pierre, err, J.D. Salinger died. And Diane Sawyerās 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 bookās pretty good and heās 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 wasnāt 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) Itās 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 donāt 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 donāt 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 weāve done, and where weāve been. Kind of a peek back into our lives, and so thatāsā¦ 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. Andā¦ 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 thingā¦ I felt like an architect drawing that poem. And the original version of that poem said, āTake the treasure chest, but leave my bones and go in peace.ā Or, something like that. But then I got well, and it ruined that story.
But, uh, I believe very strongly in that uhā¦ 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 Iāve 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; Iāve hidden them so well. Who says I canāt influence the future? Who says I canāt take it with me? I donāt 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? Thatās my philosophy. But Iāll admit, Iām 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 oāclock at night, he said call me on the phone. I was in Santa Fe and he was in Temple, Texas. He said, āForrest, I just want you to know that Iām getting ready to take 50 sleeping pills.ā And I said, āDad, Iāll be there first thing in the morning.ā I had an airplane. He said, āThatās too late.ā And it was too late. But I respected him, because he wanted to do things on his own terms. Whatās 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. Thatās 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 Iām crazy if you want to, and a lot of people have said that but, itās 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, Iām going to throw myself on top of that treasure chest. And Iām 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 Neitzelās always getting me in trouble. (Laughter)
Iām just the messenger.
He thinks he's safe ācause he lives on a little island, Lummi Island, out of Seattle. Iāve 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 itās no place for the meek
The end is ever drawing nigh.
Thereāll be no paddle up your creek
Just heavy loads and water high.
If youāve 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
Iāve done it tired, and now Iām 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 donāt need to tell you that. So, I think we need toā¦ My father used to tell me, āGrab every banana.ā And, he told me that a hundred times. Finally, he and I collected arrowheads together. And we were thinking about going out to a friendās farm that was newly plowed to look for arrowheads, but it was drizzling rain. I didnāt much want to go, but my father did. So, we were discussing and he said, āGrab every banana.ā I said, āFather, youāve been telling me that for years.ā I said, āI donāt know what you mean.ā You know what he said to me? He said, āNow that you asked the question, maybe youāre old enough to know.ā Pretty profound, huh? He said, āThe banana tree doesnāt go byā¦ The bananaā¦ The train doesnāt go by that banana tree but one time.ā He said, āYou should reach out and grab every banana on the way back.ā I thought that was pretty good. And let me tell you Iāve 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
Youād 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. Iāll 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 youāre...
Jay - you got that?
So, heās 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 Iām gonna take it with me, I donāt 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. Thatās how I got that bracelet. So I have an association withā¦ Itās 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 Iāll 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, āMr. Fenn, if I find the treasure chest, do I have to share it with my brother?ā (Laughter). So I get all kinds of emails. This one lady said, āMy 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?ā
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. Donāt expect me to explain that, but sure. Their eyes are better. Theyāre more agile, they have more energy, why should a kid take a back seat in the treasure hunt?
Is that your daughter there?
Sheās 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
Iām enjoying it, yeah. I didnāt expect it...You know, I always figured the treasure chest was a bomb, but I didnāt 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 itās out... And no matter what happens now, it belongs to the ages, I think. And sure thereās aā¦ people talk about, āMr. Fenn is that your legacy?ā I donāt, I donāt like that. I donāt like the philosophy of that. I donāt like the wordā¦ 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 Iām alive, donāt wait till I die. And letās donāt 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 thereās a higher hand, someplace. I donāt know what it is, but, uh, I think that Iāve lived a charmed life. Uh, hereās a little kid from a small town in Texas making Dās and Fās in high school. Joined the Air Force as a pilot, err private, became a fighter pilot, uhā¦ In 19ā¦ 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 didnāt 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 thatās in my memoir thatās called My War for Me. If you donāt do anything else, read that story. I think itās 7500 words, but Iām very proud of that story. It tells, uhā¦ And in my new book, Too Far To Walk, (aside) do we have a copy of that? I tell another story thatās an aberration to my Too Far, Too War, uh, My War for Me story. And, uh, Iāll 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, Iām laying there trying to decide what to do. I had a radio. If I called the rescue people, theyād come to get me and Iād go home. But Laos in those days, in 1968, was pretty wild country. What if the helicopter comes in to get me and itās shot down and those 2 or 3 guys are killed? Now where am I? I havenāt 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 youāre 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 wasnāt 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 Iāve been, not gifted of course, I hate to use the word luck, I believe thereās a higher hand. Yet tomorrow Iāll get run over by a train, but I believe in karma and some of those things. Iām not a religious person, but Iām probably the most spiritual person around. Thatās 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 pressā¦ I own my own little publishing company, itās called One Horse Land and Cattle Company, two days or three days before we went to the printer, I didnāt have a dust jacket. So I sent Dal Neitzel an email, and I said go to the Madison River in Yellowstone Park. Thereās a very special place that Iām 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 theyāre 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 canāt 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 Iām in trouble now.
Was the car, you walked back to after hiding the treasure, rented?
Was it rented?
Was it rented.
You know thatās the first time Iāve been asked that question. But, I canāt tell you how many times Iāve thought about that. Thatās why Iāve told people that I buried the treasure, that I hid the treasure chest when I was either 79 or 80 years old because I donāt want the exact date to be known because Iām 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 donāt 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, maāam?
You say thereās 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. Youāve been out looking for the treasure.
Iām trying to help everybody else.
She already knows what the clues are. No, I donāt want to do that. Sheās scary too!
I donāt have a question, but I just want to mention since youāre so interested in information that the gentleman that emailed you from Lummi Islandā¦ Dalā¦ Lummi Island is on the far side of a reservation thatās 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 didnāt 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 didnāt know the guy, so I didnāt 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 Nelsonās flagship and brought a cannon up. He has a website that has wonderful pictures - I donāt 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 heās a really neat guy too. He runs a blog. I think he controls that whole blog. Itās very interesting. I read his blog so I can learn a lot about myself. (Laughter). Your friend isnāt laughing.
Coming from the online site again, Iāve been asked to ask you how many people have told you that theyāve discovered the unintended clue in Too Far to Walk and how many were right?
Well Iāve not had anybody tell me the answer to that clue. If you read my preface, it doesnāt 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 hereās a really obscure one. Is it possible to locate the treasure chest without ever leaving your computer and Google Earth?
No. It isnāt. 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 doesnāt go down far enough.
Tell us about the childrenās book that you have planned.
The childrenās book that I have planned? Well thereās a lady that contacted me. Sheās written several childrenās books and she read both of my books and she said I want you to write a childrenās 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 weāre thinking about that. I mean, I would like to do that. Sometimes, uh, Iām 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 Iām really proud of. I would like to finish one. The main one is called Closet Stories of Taos. Itās about the artists and the characters but it isnāt an art book itās a gossip book. Itās about Long John Dunne, but that wasnāt his name at all. His name was Wilhelm. He killed two people in Texas, both of them justifiable, but the court didnāt 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 itās a wonderful story about John Dunn. But itās about Horace McHorace (sp?) who owned the first car dealership in Taos, and Tarasita Ferguson and thereās a great storyā¦ I donāt 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 didnāt want to do it. Iām 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 OāKeefe. 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 thereās a major clue in the book, but I donāt think it will help you find the treasure chest. Iāll tell you what the clue is. In the back of my book, thereās a map. And Iāve said that the treasure chest is hidden in the Rocky Mountains. Hereās a treasure chest (I think he meant āmapā) 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 Rockyās keep going up there, but I said itās in the Rocky Mountains, which would include Canada. When this book was printed, I didnāt realize that Benchmark Maps, who made this map, stopped at the Canadian border, so thatās a clue, but I donāt think - itās not going to help you much.
But thatās not THE clue.
What did she say?
She said, āThatās not THE clue.ā
There are no clues in this book, but there are some hints. What I tell people to do, if youāre 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 donāt think thatāll help you much, butā¦
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 donāt think so. I mean, Iāve had my run. A lot of things you canāt 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 didnāt 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 didnāt even care. I had six or seven hundred miles before I had to think about that. But I had GPS and I had maps. Iād 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, Iād 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?
Iāve been to Lander a few times. Itās a typical little town, I mean you have to love Lander. Thatās 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 thatās 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?
Theyāre 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 thatās what I did. But I changed it over - I donāt know how many times. I looked up the meaning of words. You know we really donāt know what some of our words mean. For instance, what does the word āseveralā mean? S-E-V-E-R-A-L what does that mean?
It means more than two, but not many more than two. Isnāt 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 wouldnāt know it except Iām a writer and sometimes I look things up. There are lots of words in the English language that we canāt 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 Iām glad you asked that question. Her name is, uh, M-A-C-I. Well, anyway, Iāve had about 35 men, or people, send me an email that says, āI found your treasure.ā Iām looking at it, of course I donāt believe it. But I write them back and say, āCongratulations. Will you sell me my bracelet back?ā and they say, āWhat bracelet?ā And this one guy said that to me - that he had my treasure chest. I said, well, āIām interested sir, did the hot water affect the patina on the treasure chest?ā He said, āThank you!ā and hung up. He thought I had given him a clue and heās gonna go look in all the hot water up and down the Rocky Mountains. Peopleā¦ Everybody has their own gig. I keep saying that. I believe it. Yes, maāam?
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 Iām 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. Itās the thrill of the chase. Itās the thrill in doing it yourself. I bought all my grandkids cars when they got their driverās license. Iām paying for all their education. And then, they are on their own. First of all, Iām really not that wealthy. I mean, I can live on the interest, and thatās the definition of a wealthy person I guess, I mean.... Lots of things, uh, uh, I have everything I want but I donāt want very much.
How did you come up with the title? Too Far to Walk?
Youāll have to read my preface. I explained it in my preface. Well, let me read it to you. Iāll read a dedication. This book is dedicated to all that have pushed me against my will, and made me a better person. Hereās my preface. I put a small rubber dinghy in the Madison River a few miles from West Yellowstone, Montana and fished downstream to Bakerās 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 wasnāt 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, itās just too far to walk. And thatās where I got the title. Yes, sir?
Forrest, may I suggest that you tell the audience for those of us who arenāt searchers, tell the audience, who is not searching why the phrase ātoo far to walkā is so important?
I didnāt say it was too far...err. Important! That part of the preface is a metaphor for my entire life. Looking back, Iāve done some things that Iām not gonna brag about, but Iāve also not done some things that Iād 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. Iād been a fighter pilot all my life. So when I opened my business, I didnāt have a painting. Knew nothing about business, knew nothing about art. Thatās why I had to start from scratch. My first two shows, I didnāt sell so much as a book. And I finally told myself, I had a little bit of money left, that Iād saved 20 years in the Air Force. I said Iām going to spend this money advertising, and if that doesnāt work Iām 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. Thereās so much to learn. I learned that when I needed somebody to work in my accounts receivable and accounts payable office, thatās 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 oāclock 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 thereās stuff laying all over the floor, sheās 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, Iāve always said that salesmen, like school teachers, have shelf lives. And itās about six years. Dorothy will say thatās not true. If you own your own business itās 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 donāt want to be critical, but I know so many writers that are so much better than I am. Theyā¦ 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. Itās no fun to read. Everythingās there, but itās no fun. I said - when are you gonna walk out to theā¦ How do you know where the edge is if you donāt go out there and look? I never wanted to go down the center line. I wanted to bounce off the curbs and I think Iāve done that. I got caught a few times, butā¦ I think ifā¦ 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, Iād 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, āWhat would you change in your life?ā
āI wouldnāt change anything, everythingās been perfect.ā I think thatās such a, a, an idiot thing to say, I think. Why do the same thing over again when you canā¦ 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 thatās a good place to stop, donāt you?
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DEAN STALEY: Gold and jewels stashed somewhere in New Mexico, well no one has found the hidden treasure yet, but now the state tourism board is getting in on the action releasing a video about it which includes a new clue. Hereās channel 13ās Kayla Ayres.
KAYLA AYRES: Well, Dean, the idea of Forrest Fennās treasure has captured the imagination of people from around the country. Now tourism officials are hoping this video will lure even more treasure hunters to New Mexico.
FORREST FENN (voice over): Itās such a visual sight. Emeralds and rubies and diamonds and sapphires and goldā¦
KAYLA AYRES: The lure of this treasure, with an estimated worth of more than $2 million has drawn many seekers to New Mexico. Santa Fe art collector and author, Forrest Fenn, alludes to the treasure in his self-published memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, with a poem thatās said to hold several clues. In another book, Fenn published a map of the treasure area - four possible states. Now heās released a new nugget of information in a āNew Mexico True Storyā produced by the state tourism department.
FORREST: If I was standing where the treasure chest is, Iād see trees, Iād see mountains and I know the treasure chest is wet.
KAYLA AYRES: This new clue, that the treasure is wet, could be a jackpot for tourism.
REBECCA LATHAM: Itās bringing huge exposure to New Mexico, and itās kind of the gift that keeps on giving. Every time a new clue is released, it surfaces all over again bringing exposure to our beautiful state.
KAYLA AYRES: If Fennās treasure chest actually exists, has been hotly debated. One woman claims she solved Fennās poem saying itās about a spiritual journey not material riches. The tourism department doesnāt know if itās real either.
REBECCA LATHAM: Ultimately, only Forrest knows, but we love the idea of people out there searching for treasure in New Mexicoā¦
KAYLA AYRES: Well this video is already racking up views. Since its release this morning on the Visit New Mexico Facebook page, itās already got more than 12,500 views and more than 350 shares. Back to you.
(Note: Forrest Fenn has not confirmed the treasure location is in New Mexico. This is transcript from the video.)
|9103||2/4/2015||The Searchers - True New Mexico Stories|
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FEMALE 1: This man, in New Mexico is being called the real life Indiana Jones
FEMALE 2: Forrest Fenn - the Santa Fe collector who hid the secret stash
FEMALE 3: With gold nuggets, rare coins, and jewels
FEMALE 4: Priceless artifacts
MALE 1: Worth around $2 million just waiting to be found somewhere north of Santa Fe
FORREST FENN: I canāt tell you how many thousands of miles that Iāve walked through the deserts and through the mountains along the streams and around the lakes just looking for things. In my younger years, I was always out in the woods someplace. I cleared trails for the Forest Service. I was a professional fishing guide at age 13. The first treasure I ever found was a 17 year old girl in Temple, Texas going to high school. Her name was Peggy Proctor. I think about seven or eight years later, we married. I joined the Air Force in 1950 when I was one month past 20 years old. I had a bad tour in Vietnam. I was shot down twice. When I retired from the Air Force I had a wife and two kids, and Santa Fe was the only place that I knew where I could recover. In 1988, I was diagnosed with what they call terminal cancer. I had a big tumor in my body, and thatās when I got the idea to hide the treasure chest. Itās such a visual site: emeralds and rubies and diamonds and sapphires and gold and antiques and jade. If I was standing where the treasure chest is, Iād see trees. Iād see mountains. Iād see animals. Iād smell wonderful smells of pine needles or pinon nuts and sage brush, and I know the treasure chest is wet. Well youāve asked me a lot of questions and some of them, most of them Iāve answered, a few I havenāt, but I gotta tell you thereās one thing that I told you that I wished I had not. Well I think there are a lot of people out looking for the treasure. When they get home they find out they enjoyed something better than finding the treasure. Do I want the chest found in my lifetime? Part of me says yes, but a part of me says no. So, you know, itās out of my hands now.
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LAURA THOREN: What are we in year six or year five with this search?
FORREST FENN: Weāre in year five plus.
THOREN: Howās it going?
FENN: (Laughing) Itās out of control. I think 30,000 people looked for the treasure last summer (2014), and I expect maybe 50,000 this summer. A lot of people are going to Montana and Wyoming. Yellowstone National Park had more people come through their park last summer than in their entire history.
THOREN: And, have people gotten close, do you know?
FENN: Define the word, āclose.ā
THOREN: Within a mile?
THOREN: Within half a mile?
FENN: People have been within 200 feet. And I know that because people send me emails and they tell me exactly where they are. The people that were two hundred feet from the treasure didnāt know that they were there.
THOREN: They werenāt searching.
FENN: They were searching but they didnāt know they were within 200 feet.
THOREN: Of course not, otherwise they would have kept walking. Right? Do you ever go back to the location where you hid it?
FENN: (pause) You know, when I hid that treasure, I was walking back to my car. I started laughing at myself out loud. I said, āForrest, did you really do that?ā You know, and in the back of my mind I told myself if I regret doing this, I can go back and get it. But I told myself, āNo, Iām not going to do that.ā I just made the decision then that Iāll never go back.
THOREN: Do you ever get impatient wanting people to find it?
FENN: No. You know, this is not something I designed over spring break or on summer vacation. Iām looking at someone may find it tomorrow and it may not be found for a thousand years. Iām looking at the big picture. A lot of people who are searching for the treasure donāt see it the same way I do. I would love if somebody found it tomorrow, but if nobody found it for a hundred years, thatās okay with me too.
THOREN: When you were younger, do you wish that someone had done this so you could go search for treasure?
FENN: Oh sure. Sure. I would have been a great pirate.
THOREN: Do you feel like itās, these people are, like maybe this, whoās the pirate here? The people? You?
FENN: If you donāt have any adventure in you, I really feel sorry for you. We all have some adventure. We all want to get out. Thereās something about finding - something. It doesnāt have to be valuable, but to find an arrowheadā¦ When I found my first arrowhead, it was one of the biggest things that ever happened to me. I still remember that feeling. It was wonderful. Put me on the long chase for, in the search.
THOREN: How did you decide what to put in the chest? Why not, I mean, you obviously have many valuable things, why the gold and the gems?
FENN: Well, the treasure chest is 10 inches by 10 inches by 5 inches. And that doesnāt sound like a very big space, but for that reason I wanted to put valuable things in there. So that when the person found the chest, I wanted it to be desirable, I wanted the monetary value to be a consideration, for those who were looking for it. But, mostly my motive was to get kids off the couch and away from their texting machines and out in the mountains. But, I knew that I had to put small things in there, and valuable things. So there are 265 gold coins, most of them American Eagles and Double Eagles, but there are hundreds of gold nuggets, hundreds of gold nuggets. Two of them are larger than a chicken egg. They weighed 1.2 ounce, uh, 1.2 Troy pounds each. Thereās 20.2 Troy pounds of gold in that treasure chest.
THOREN: Is there, are there also gems?
FENN: Yeah, there are a number of rubies. There are two Ceylon sapphires. There are eight emeralds. There are lots of little diamonds. But there are pre-Columbian gold figures and little carved, ancient carved jade faces that are absolutely wonderful. I mean, the person that finds that treasure chest is going to be pleased.
THOREN: Are they never going to have to work again? How much is it worth?
FENN: Well, Iāve never said what it was worth because I donāt know. The price of gold changes every minute, and so I just didnāt want to speculate. Iāve never estimated what it was worth.
THOREN: But itās worth a pretty penny.
FENN: If you find it, it would be worth the gas money that you spent to get out there, yeah.
THOREN: Does anyone know where it is besides yourself?
FENN: Only me.
THOREN: And why is that? Why not your kids?
FENN: I said in my book, The Thrill of the Chase, āTwo people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.ā My wife doesnāt know within six weeks of when I hid the treasure chest.
THOREN: So you did it under the cloak of darkness. You did it without anyone knowing where you were going, or knowing what you were up to.
FENN: Nobody was around. Nobody knew what I was doing. Nobody knew where I was. And thatās the way it had to be.
THOREN: Has anyone tried to get it out of you?
FENN: Oh sure. Everybody tries to get me to tell them clues or hints or something but I donāt do that.
THOREN: You ever worried that after a few glasses of wine you might spill the beans?
FENN: Say that again?
THOREN: Are you ever worried that maybe after a few glasses of wine that you might spill the beans?
FENN: No, I donāt drink for one thing (laughing). You donāt know me very well, or you wouldnāt ask that question.
THOREN: (Laughing) Okay. So youāre good at keeping a secret.
FENN: When I die, theyāre gonna throw that secret in the coffin with me.
THOREN: Have you ever written it down?
FENN: (shakes his head no). No. I would never write it down.
THOREN: Itās all in your head.
FENN: Itās all in my head.
THOREN: How did you get the inspiration?
FENN: Well, in 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney, and I thought I was going to die. My anesthesiologist and my surgeon both told me that I was going to die. They gave me a 20 percent chance of living 3 years. It takes a while for that to soak in, but once it did I told myself, you know if Iāve got to go Iām just gonna takeā¦ Who says I canāt take it with me? I am gonna take it with me. So I found this treasure chest. I gave a bunch of money for that beautiful little treasure chest, and I started putting things in it. Coins and gold nuggets and valuable gold antiques and and different things. It took me about 15 years to put the whole thing together. Who says I canāt affect the future after Iām gone? Sure I can. The Rosetta Stone was buried for 2,000 years before somebody found it and I said in my book, āDonāt you know that guy is proud?ā The guy that carved that Rosetta Stone. Thatās the way I feel about it. Ten thousand years from now, if somebody finds that treasure chest, Iām going to be a hero to that guy.
|9152||3/17/2013||KOB Eye on New Mexico|
|Link: Click Here
CHRIS RODRIGUEZ: Good morning New Mexico. Youāre watching Eye on New Mexico. Iām Chris Rodriguez.
NICOLE BRADY: And Iām 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 hereās something you probably donāt know about Gadi. Heās obsessed. Obsessed with a capital āOā about finding this hidden treasure buried by Santa Fe art gallery owner, Forrest Fenn.
BRADY: Gadi, when did this whole thing start? Weāve 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: Itās 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 thatās kind of what Iāve done. Um, so, I donāt 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 weāll 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. Youāve gotten close we think?
SCHWARTZ: A family vacationā¦
RODRIGUEZ: The rest of us go to Disneyland, Gadi is at some park.
SCHWARTZ: Bear Cave.
RODRIGUEZ: Thatās a bear cave right there.
SCHWARTZ: Actually you canāt see it in the video, but in that bear cave thereās 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 werenāt any bears in there. And then the plan was, if things went wrong, Iām 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, thatās in Yellowstone. Yellowstone is beautiful, and itās no secret that I think itās in Yellowstone. Forrest has talked - thatās very important video right there. If you can find that on video, youāll find me around there this summer. Thatās kind of the area I think itās in. Iām 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 Iām wrong, the very first reporter anywhere to find Forrest Fenn and talk to him, so letās air the first story that you did. And that was back in 2010?
RODRIGUEZ: Letās 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 Iām 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: Thereās one.
SCHWARTZ: Emails from people out looking for his treasure.
FENN: Itās a thrill for me to see whatās happening. People are getting interested in the thrill of the chase themselves.
SCHWARTZ: The thrill of the chase is more than a phrase, itās the title to the story of Fennās 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 donāt 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 Iāve had over the years.
SCHWARTZ: The nine clues to finding Fennās 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 doesnāt diminish his excitement of bait.
FENN: If someone finds that thing in a thousand years from now, or ten thousand years from now, thatās gonna be an interesting discovery.
RODRIGUEZ: It will be an interesting discovery!
BRADY: Whatās 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 thereās all kinds of different stuff, actually, Iāve got my trusty book here. This thing has seen better days, but Iāll just read straight from it. Itās uh, thereās 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 thatās in this box isnāt just the weight of the jewelry, itās also very, very valuable because itās 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 heās - actually, interestingly enough, his nephew, Crayton Fenn, is a treasure hunter. Thatās literally what he does. I mean, heās a deep sea diver treasure hunter. So heās 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 Forrestās treasure, itās Dal. This guy - since this story that youāre about to see - heās put even more work into it. I mean, heās been pretty close. I think heās probably the closest out there. Heās also got a fantastic blog, weāll plug that right after the story.
RODRIGUEZ: Letās watch.
BRADY: Letās 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 theā¦ Iād be holding it up and jumping up and down like this.
SCHWARTZ: I joined Neitzel a day after he got to Northern New Mexico. Heād been scouting the area, re-visiting Forrest Fennās poem for clues.
NEITZEL: Iām 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: Whatād 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 isnāt 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: Itās 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: Weāre not really walking, itās more like slogging.
FENN: From there itās no place for the meek.
NEITZEL: The end is ever drawing nigh
FENN: Thereāll 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 doesnāt scare this treasure hunter, and he plunges right in, but the water is moving too fast to see if thereās a treasure below. Thereās no way to get a really clean look at whatās under that waterfall, so weāre gonna take this (gestures to a camera). This is going to act like our sonar. Armed with an underwater camera and Neitzelās ice axe, I give it a try. Within seconds, I hit something that doesnāt 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 itās just a rock. Walking out of the forest in squeaky sneakers Neitzel says this is just another place Iāll rule out and if he doesnāt find the treasure, he wonāt be disappointed because just being on a quest gives meaning to his life.
NEITZEL: What drags me out here is the beauty. Iām 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, itās a rock.
BRADY: So this isnāt just a peaceful nature experience?
SCHWARTZ: No, itās not. Itās 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 Iām a nerd like that - and I had this metal detector. I was searching around. It hits something so I start pulling something out. Itās in this kind of little cave. I pull it out, and as Iām uncovering the dirt I see āNNā on this old can, and Iām like āF-E-N-Nā and Iām trying to get it, trying to get it and reach my arm in and pull it out. Itās P-E-N-N and itās an old oil can.
RODRIGUEZ: And then your heart drops a little bit.
SCHWARTZ: It did.
RODRIGUEZ: Hereās something a lot of people donāt know. Gadi and I have been friends for a really long time. We went to college together and weāve 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 heās going to go next to find this treasure.
BRADY: Thatās like all your vacations now. Thatās all you do - go look for the treasure when you take time off work here right?
SCHWARTZ: Exactly. Iāve got two trips planned this year.
BRADY: And if KOB can pay for those
SCHWARTZ: And they should! Theyāre using my video you know! And if I find the treasure, Iāll hook KOB up with something you know. Some little trinket.
RODRIGUEZ: You can have a jewel. You can have a necklace.
BRADY: Thanks. Iāll wear it on the air every night. We donāt know exactly how much this is worth. Itād be hard to say right?
SCHWARTZ: Yeah, itās gone from $1 million to $2 million to as much as $4 million. Even Forrest wonāt put an actual estimate on it because it fluctuates and itās all dependent on how much people are going to be able to get from each one of these things if theyāre able to find the treasure and put them out on the market.
RODRIGUEZ: Periodically, youāll 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 youāre supposed to be able to find the treasure right? Start us off, start us off.
BRADY: You have it memorized, right?
RODRIGUEZ: Not if youāre going to look at the prompter.
SCHWARTZ: (recites Forrestās poem).
BRADY: Very, very close.
SCHWARTZ: That last part I donāt think is a clue, so I donāt
BRADY: And heās a great poet too!
SCHWARTZ: He says that poem actually took him quite a bit of time to put together. I mean, weāre talking years, so itās not just a poem. Itās 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 havenāt 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 oneās got my secrets in it. Iāve taken a bunch of notes and stuff. Yeah, itās $35 up at Collected Books up in Santa Fe. Itās the only place that they sell it.
BRADY: And it has Forrest Fennās whole story kind of in it too, which obviously as weāve just seen, as you can tell through the poem is a very interesting guy.
SCHWARTZ: If this isnāt 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 itās in Yellowstone and you get to see some of the things he talked about as a kid so thatās very interesting.
RODRIGUEZ: One question that I know a lot of people have had is - heās 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 heās uh, to be honest, uh, his family is probably going to be just fine. You know, I think heās probably got, I donāt 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 heās 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 heās collected and putting it in a box and letting his legacy go on.
BRADY: Yeah, youāre absolutely right about the legacy. I mean, imagine if this didnāt 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 donāt want this search to end.
RODRIGUEZ: Weāre going to take a quick break. When we come back, weāre 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 Fennās treasure.
RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, NBC really picked it up. Their correspondent, Janet Chamblin, filed a story not too long ago. Do you want to watch Janetās story and weāll 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 youāre getting close?
MARK HOWARD: I always think Iām 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 othersā¦
NEITZEL: A pool like that would be the perfect place.
CHAMBLIN: ... to strike it rich. Theyāre 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: Itās home. Hereās where Iām 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 Iāve 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: Itās 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, ā...the real treasure might just be bringing family together.ā Do you want someone to find this?
FENN: Iām 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 āout thereā as this great place. Weāve got beautiful outdoors, and weāve got a lot of places to hide treasure and it kind of adds to our lore, so, um too bad. I donāt think itās in New Mexico. But, thereās a lot of people who do, and, again, I donāt 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 itās in Santa Fe. Youāre talking take it in the canyon down? Thatās Canyon Road. He made his fortune along Canyon Road - at the end of Canyon Road on Paseo del Peralta. Warm waters halt - thereās 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, thatās 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 isnāt some 44 pounds he couldnāt 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, heās corrected me so many times, āGadi - itās not buried. Itās not buried. Donāt say itās buried.ā So itās not buried. Itās stashed. I donāt know if that means underwater, or in a little cubby or something but he does say that.
BRADY: Okay thatās 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 weāve 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 heās got two dogs. One is named Tesuque and the other dogās name is Cody. Obviously, those are two important places to him. Theyāre 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, thatās right. His book is selling, I think itās on backorder right now. Four thousand copies are on backorder so theyāre 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 Fennās 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 theyāre coordinates. Just put it in a computer to figure out thatās going to lead them to where this treasure chest is because itās coordinates on the ground. They go to Google Earth. Itās home. Hereās 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 itās sold.
FENN: I'm not making one penny from this book. Iāve given these books to the Collected Works bookstore in Santa Fe, and I donāt even get a return on my publishing costs. Because I didnāt 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, Iām happy with that. I mean, I could go either way. Iāve said that 100 times. But Iām 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 thatās fine. But theyāre not going to happen on it. Theyāre gonna have to figure out the clues in the poem thatāll take them right straight to it.
SCHWARTZ: Did you see the kind of poker face weāre working with? He didnāt even - heās nervous! Heās nervous!
BRADY: Youāre seeing things weāre not seeing Gadi. Youāre 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 Iām worried about. Iām just hoping that I have better outdoor skills. And they wouldnāt 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 itās not in a grizzly bear cave.
BRADY: I hope. RODRIGUEZ: Or maybe itās some safety advice that you shouldnāt 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 havenāt bought dynamite I hope?
SCHWARTZ: Iāve got some - KOB has all kinds of stuff. āFour on your Sideā dynamite. So one of the interesting things thatās happening to this book. Thereās about, thereās 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 weāre starting to see this book pop up on Amazon, and EBay. I saw it earlier this week selling for $500. Itās a $35 book, and someoneās trying to sell it for $500, and people are paying for it because they canāt 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: Iāve got some good clues in here, but again, it might be, actually thereās one thing that Iāve been, letās see if I can find it. You guys talk while I try to find this. Iām 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: Hereās a package that Iāve 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 Gardinerās island looking for the treasure. It scared me so badly, it jarred me awake and I donāt remember if I found it or not. Gardiner. Thatās kind of an interesting name.
BRADY: Gardiner Island?
SCHWARTZ: Yeah. Itās kind of an interesting reference. Gardiner is also the northern entrance to Yellowstone as well. Thereās a Gardiner, Montana. And so itās that, umm. Have you guys ever seen Yellowstone - those big pillars and it looks like youāre entering Jurassic Park? Thatās Gardiner. I donāt 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 Gadiās family and all go to Yellowstone, or Santa Fe, or, or Taos and weāll 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 didnāt hear that part?
BRADY: Well if one of us ends up dead, weāll know why.
RODRIGUEZ: Plus with grizzly bear attacks from going into grizzly bear caves.
BRADY: Gadi thanks for - you didnāt 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: Weāll 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. Iāve done it tired and now Iām 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. Heās 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. Fennās 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. Thereās a total weight in gold of 2.2 troy pounds of gold in the treasure chest. Thereās 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: Thatās 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 Iāve got to go, Iām just going to take it with me, or take some of it with me. Iāve 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 Iāve 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 youād leave behind for others to find, but this was in 1988 you had the idea. If I might point out, youāre 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. Itās in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
OFF: You have left clues in the form of a poem.
FENN: Yes maāam.
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 wonāt 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 seemā¦ Some of the clues maybe are things that people locally would know. You say, āBegin 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: Thatās right.
FENN: And you have to know where warm waters halt.
OFF: Ah-ha. But it says thereāll 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, Iām not leading. Iām not tempting you to disclose anything here then?
FENN: No, Iām not going to give any more clues.
OFF: How many people have taken up your challenge?
FENN: Well I donāt know. I know of hundreds but I probably donāt know but five or ten percent. They donāt always tell me theyāre going out. As of this morning, Iāve 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 Iām going to give them another clue, but Iām 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 whatās going on with nature. Thatās my real goal.
OFF: Do you think that anyone thatās gone out looking for the treasure has done that? Found themselves in the forest and the mountains and enjoying that in a way they wouldnāt 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 youāll eventually meet the person that finds this treasure?
FENN: Well, Iāll tell you what, Carole, I think that the person thatās gonna figure out the clues and go on to find the treasure is the kind of person thatās not going to be able to keep it quiet. I think I will know. As a matter of fact, in the treasure chest thereās my autobiography. 20,000 words in a little olive jar thatās protected from the elements. You know, if somebody finds the treasure chest 10,000 years from now, theyāll 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, Iāve told people that itās in the Rocky Mountains.
OFF: Well the Rocky Mountains go into Canada. So thereās a chance itās here?
FENN: You know your geography pretty good donāt you?
OFF: Thatās not difficult.
FENN: Iām not going to narrow it down
OFF: Letās go look for Brownās place. Mr. Fenn, itās 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.
|9271||7/17/2016||Rudy Maxa Travel Show|
|Link: Click Here
RUDY MAXA: My next guest is a retired Air Force fighter pilot. Heās also a successful antique dealer. But, he has written a poem, a rather long poem. And in that poem, he buried clues to the whereabouts of, well, buried treasure. Thereās no other phrase for it. In this treasure box, Iām told that there are 265 gold coins, hundreds of gold nuggets, hundreds of rubies, eight emeralds, two Ceylon sapphires, diamonds, two ancient Chinese jade carvings, pre-Columbian gold bracelets and more. Thatās what our next guest tells us, thatās what he said he did. Iām delighted to welcome Major Forrest Fenn to the show. Major Fenn, nice to have you here.
FORREST FENN: (unintelligible).
MAXA: Nice to have you here Mr. Fenn. Are you with us?
FENN: Iām with you.
MAXA: Okay. So now, tell us the history of this poem and why you did this.
FENN: Well, in 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney, and my surgeon told me I had a 20 percent chance of living three years. So I told myself If Iāve got to go, Iāve had so much fun collecting these things over the years why not let somebody else have the same opportunity that Iāve had? So I bought this beautiful little treasure chest - cast bronze treasure chest. I gave $25,000 for it and I started filling it up with wonderful things. All gold and some jewels and gems. I invite everybody to read my poem and go out and find the treasure chest.
MAXA: Alright, we will tell them how to read the poem in a minute. But first, in what - I know you live in New Mexico. Is the treasure buried in New Mexico? Or could it be anywhere in the Rocky Mountains?
FENN: Well, itās buried more than eight and a half miles north of Santa Fe in the Rocky Mountains but below the Canadian border.
MAXA: Okay, that gives us a hint of where it is. Now, Major Fennās book is called, āThe Thrill of the Chase.ā
FENN: Thatās the name of my book, yes.
MAXA: And on page 132 of that book, is a poem with 24 verses that contain nine clues that pertain to where this treasure is.
FENN: Thatās right.
MAXA: Major Fenn, I told you this when I talked to you yesterday, I received an email from someone I donāt know saying, āI understand youāre having Fenn on your radio show this weekend. Iām about to - this weekend - Iām going to dig up the treasure. I know right where it is. You might want to have me on the radio show too. So, youāve heard this before havenāt you?
FENN: Well, about 1500 times.
MAXA: These are people that write you and say, āI know where it is.ā
FENN: Oh yeah, they always do that. Theyāre looking for clues.
MAXA: What do you say to them?
FENN: Well, I tell them if you know where it is, why donāt you go get it and send me a picture and then weāll discuss it.
MAXA: Well thatās what I said to this gentleman who wrote me. I said, āListen, if you really think youāve found it, send me a photograph of it. If Major Fenn validates it, weāll have you on the show next week.ā So youāll have to tune in next week to see if this guy really did find it.
FENN: Well youāll never hear from him again.
MAXA: Well, Forrest, do some people not - do some people think this is a hoax and not real?
FENN: There are four or five people over the last six years that have said the treasure was a hoax. What happens is, they think they know exactly where the treasure is, so they go there and the treasureās not there then one of two things is happening. EIther somebodyās already found it, or the whole thing is a hoax. They like to make some noise on the blogs. The fact is that all of them are still out there searching for the treasure.
MAXA: Do you know if anyone has even come close?
FENN: I know that several people have been within 200 feet of the treasure because they told me exactly where they were.
MAXA: Oh my goodness. Thatās incredible.
FENN: But they donāt know who they are. They donāt know that they were the ones that were close.
MAXA: Right, you didnāt say, oh my goodness you were 200 feet away right?
FENN: Never would I say that.
MAXA: Okay, now, you mentioned your brush with cancer in 1988. You were also shot down by enemy fire in Laos and Vietnam when you were a fighter pilot during the Vietnam war. You seem to be the cat with nine lives, but if you, God forbid, passed away tomorrow, who would know where that treasure is?
FENN: Me and God are the only 2 people.
FENN: No one knows on this planet but me, and Iām not gonna tell anybody.
MAXA: Not even your wife knows?
FENN: No, no. She doesnāt know within 18 months of when I hid the treasure
MAXA: Really. Unbelievable. We are talking with a gentleman, who has hidden in the Rocky Mountains somewhere near Santa Fe, a treasure chest filled with rare jewels. Anything unusual in there that we should know about?
FENN: Well I didnāt say near Santa Fe, I said in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, and that could be 800 or 900 miles north of Santa Fe.
MAXA: I see, so if you drew a circle around Santa Fe, it would be, it would be a big circle.
FENN: A lot of people think - it has to be north of Santa Fe. A lot of people think itās in New Mexico. Thatās where most of the searchers are, but a lot of people go to Montana, Wyoming, Yellowstone, Yosemite looking for the treasure also. One of my motives was to get the kids off of the couch and out of the game room and out into the mountains. That was one of my deciding factors to hide this treasure chest.
MAXA: I love it. Forrest Fenn is my guest if youāve just tuned in, as Iāve said. And so, how do you find this treasure chest? Well, you look at the poem that Major Fenn has written in his book, āThe Thrill of the Chaseā on page 132 is this 24 verse poem and he says there are nine clues in that, and will lead you to this incredible treasure. And if you dig it up and find it, itās yours to keep and youāll be a couple million dollars richer at least in the value of the jewels and the other items that are in there. How did you accumulate all these valuable jewels?
FENN: Well, itās not that easy. Two of the nuggets weigh more than a troy pound each and are larger than a henās egg but there are hundreds of gold nuggets in there and some of the coins have numismatic value. Itās just wonderful. If you find that treasure chest and put it on your lap and open that lid itāll be a culture shock for you.
MAXA: And how long ago did you bury this?
FENN: about six years ago. Iāve never told anybody exactly when.
MAXA: Alright, but folks have been looking for at least six years for this right?
FENN: Thatās right, yes.
MAXA: Do you have any sense of how many people have searched already?
FENN: Well I think before this summer started, I think there were about 65,000 people that have been out looking and I spent a lot of time estimating that. Iāve received several hundred thousand emails. Iām still getting over a hundred a day.
MAXA: You get a hund-
FENN: I get over a hundred emails a day from searchers, yes.
MAXA: And theyāre looking for clues.
FENN: Well a lot of them. But many of them say, āMr. Fenn we know weāre not going to find your treasure, but I want to thank you for getting me and my kids off the couch and out into the sunshine. Thatās very rewarding to me.
MAXA: Excellent. You have gotten more people out to travel than, well I donāt know if itās more than this radio show, but I applaud your efforts. I think itās very creative and weāll stay in touch with you. Please let us know when itās found so we can have you and the finder on the show, wonāt you?
FENN: Iāll do that for sure, thank you, sir.
MAXA: You are welcome. The website is where you can find more about this. It is, let me spell it for you: dalneitzel.com. Now, I know that doesnāt make sense to you, so Iām sure Janet will post that on my fanpage on Facebook and rudymaxa.com and weāll try to get it up on rmtravelworld.com as well on Facebook. At any rate, Forrest Fenn. What a major guy. I just love this.
|9292||5/29/2015||Richard Eeds Show|
|Link: Click Here
RICHARD EEDS: Really happy to have in studio with us now a man whoās a legend in Santa Fe. Never met him until he did come in today. I had my doubts whether heād show up or not. I think he likes to mess with people a little bit. Forrest Fenn. Good morning. Can you hear me okay? Sounds good?
FENN: I can hear you just fine. And I can say that Iām your biggest fan. You know, 101.5 on your FM radio dial. We listened to you on the way over here today.
EEDS: Really. So now youāre the biggest fan? You say we. You brought your granddaughter Mika?
FENN: Yeah, granddaughter Mika. Sheās just out of college. Sheās trying to find out what sheās going to do.
EEDS: Texas Tech International Business graduate.
FENN: Thatās right.
EEDS: Red Raider. Alright, Forrest Fenn. Best known probably for, I donāt know how long this has been going on. Five years maybe? The treasure hunt.
FENN: Going on about five years.
EEDS: Five years. And so now youāre internationally famous, but youāve been a well-known business man, collector, youāve been into all kinds of different things. Youāve been around Santa Fe for a long, long time.
FENN: Well, I moved to Santa Fe in 1972. Yeah, thatās a long time.
EEDS: It is a long time. Especially, uh, I mean, thereās been people here for four or five hundred years but, a lot of other people have just moved here in the past 10 or 15 years. What did you do? When you moved here in ā72, what was the reason?
FENN: Well I was a fighter pilot in Vietnam and I had a hard tour. I was shot down twice. I took battle damage. I lost some roommates. I lost 22 pounds and didnāt even know it. I came home mentally tired, and physically tired. Santa Fe was the only place I knew where the world would stop and let me out. That was my image of Santa Fe at that time. I knew I wasnāt going to wear a watch or a coat and tie. So, Santa Fe was the place for me.
EEDS: How much injuries sustained in the crashes? In the plane crashes when you were shot down? Did you sustain physical injuries?
FENN: I was damaged a little bit when the helicopter pulled me up through the trees out of the jungle in Laos. Hurt my head some, and beat me up a little bit. But the first time I was shot down, I crash landed on a little helicopter strip in South Vietnam. I walked away from it. Iāve always said any landing you can walk away from is a good one. But in that case, any landing you could crawl away from was a good one.
EEDS: What were you flying jets or propellers?
FENN: I was flying an F-100C and D. It was jet. It held the world speed record when I first started flying that airplane.
EEDS: But only land-based. No carrier-based?
FENN: Thatās right. Iām too smart for that.
EEDS: Yeah. So that kind of prompted you to move here. Where did you grow up? Where did you spend most of your childhood?
FENN: I was born and raised in Temple, Texas a little town between Waco and Austin.
EEDS: Okay. Probably under floodwaters today. Theyāre having tough times down there.
FENN: Thatās a little bit south of there, but you know, I was a farm kid. We had cows and chickens and things. We had a good life. I was born in 1930. People were still riding horses in those days.
EEDS: True, yeah. Cars were too unreliable on the dirt roads.
FENN: Thatās right.
EEDS: Horses were reliable. Went to town with a wagon.
FENN: Thatās right. The livery stable was just a half mile from my house. I was always watching cowboys ride back and forth.
EEDS: Alright, Forrest Fenn is our guest. Forrest, you moved here in the ā70s, as you said intending to recover, get over the war in Vietnam, and you knew you were going to have whatever kind of life you wanted. A slower life because of Santa Fe. What did you come here intending to do, or did you just come here looking for something?
FENN: Well I came here wanting to deal in luxuries. I didnāt know anything about art. I made terrible grades in high school and I never did go to college so, you know, I started at the bottom. I had a bunch of rules that Iād made for myself over the years. And one of my rules was that I donāt want to do anything where my best customer gives me $100. I want my best customer to give me a lot more than that and I didnāt know how to do that. I found my niche though in Santa Fe eventually. I built a gallery over on 1075 Paseo de Peralta just two blocks east of the capitol building and we started slow. My wife and I slept on the floor while we plastered the walls. It took a while. I had two, what I call major, shows and didnāt sell anything. Didnāt even sell a book. And I told myself I may have to go flip burgers or something. But I had a little money left, I said Iām going to spend this money advertising and if that doesnāt work, Iām going to slam the door and walk away. But it started working. Things started happening. I started playing Monopoly. Buying
EEDS: So you sold one painting, re-invest it. Grow
FENN: I sell one painting, take the money and buy a better painting. Sell that one, and then buy a better one.
EEDS: Mika, are you listening?
MIKA: I listen every day.
EEDS: Yeah. Sounds like a good business plan in general. Donāt... But for you, you donāt want to take anything less than $10,000 from your first customer right? But itās a good plan. And it worked out right?
FENN: It worked out eventually. There are businesses where you
EEDS: What were you trying to show in the gallery anyway? Were you trying to show native art? Western art?
FENN: I wanted to sell old art because I didnāt want to argue with artists. I wanted to deal with dead ones. That was a wise move on my part.
EEDS: No negotiation necessary.
FENN: Thatās right.
EEDS: Except with the buyer. And eventually, how big did the gallery become?
FENN: How big did the gallery becomeā¦ Well Iā¦
EEDS: Artists come to you? Or art came to you?
FENN: Art came to me. Yeah. The secret to having a successful art gallery is having something that everybody wants to buy from you. Anybody can sell a great painting, but not everybody can find a great painting to sell. So my job was to find great art to sell.
EEDS: But you were not great at school. How did you learn what was great art?
FENN: Well eventually the price had something to do with it.
EEDS: Yeah, ok. If it was expensive, it was good art.
FENN: But I was looking for names too and Iā¦ All that work started working for me after a while. One of the measurements, the way I measure my success was I never had to borrow money to make payroll. That was one of my rules. I donāt want to do that. And after two or three years, we were living off of accounts receivable, and, so I told myself, as long as I can do that. I never did want to borrow money because I figured the only way I could lose my business is if I owed money.
EEDS: If the bank took it from you.
EEDS: Sounds like a very interesting beginning. It was hard there for a while, right? Before you got the ball rolling?
FENN: I started at the bottom and you know, Iād go around to different galleries in town. Actually I was one of the first art galleries in town 1972 there was Market Jameson gallery and that was just about it. But Iād go around to some of the shops and see what they were doing. What could I learn? I remember I went into the Kachina Gallery up on Canyon Road. They sold kachina dolls and there were just 10 million kachina dolls they were everywhere. They had little signs there on the wall and it said, āIf you touch it you bought it.ā You were responsible for your kid. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I feared for my life. So I learned from that. I went back to my gallery and I made a number of little signs that said, āPlease touch, we are responsible.ā So thatās how I learned the business. I never had a customer break anything. I had employees break some things. But how are you gonna buy a great piece of art if youāre not allowed to touch it? I donāt understand some of theseā¦ I think I had an advantage over some people because I never learned the rules of what made businesses fail.
EEDS: And you didnāt learn the bad habits, the bad rules of the galleries or the artists around town. You figured it out with what you believed in. Your own business philosophy.
FENN: Thatās right. And another rule I had was that Iāll take your check for any amount of money. This guy bought an expensive painting from me. I think it was $275,000. He said, āHow can I pay you for this?ā I said, āIāll take your check.ā He said, āYouāll take my check?ā I said, āSure Iāll take your check.ā So he pulled out his ID card to show me. I told him I donāt want to see that. I said, āI can look in your face.ā And I was never sorry. I had two bad checks. One of them was for $25 for a book and I forgot what the other one was.
EEDS: Right. The $275,000 cashed. It cleared the bank?
FENN: It cleared the bank. And I owed most of it and I was hoping it would clear the bank.
EEDS: Our guest is Forrest Fenn. Weāll continue our conversation and get into how he started collecting and what he started collecting and weāll talk about the treasure hunt. Is it real, or is it just, I donāt know, a metaphor? Seventeen minutes after ten oāclock this is KVSF 101.5 the Voice of Santa Fe. We stream worldwide from santafe.com. Podcasts are available by about noon, one oāclock. Whenever Gino gets around to it. Also santafe.com/richardeeds. Weāve made it a lot easier. Also, pictures of Forrest and little videos of Forrest also on our Facebook page or KVSF 101.5. Be back right after this. Seventeen minutes after ten oāclock.
EEDS: Twenty minutes after ten oāclock it is Friday - means blues. We play the blues on Friday. Beautiful day in Santa Fe so far. Wind is picking up, and clouds are moving in a little bit, but itās going to be about 80 today. Already in the mid-60ās. Should be a nice weekend as well. Guests in the studio is Forrest Fenn and his granddaughter Mika and we just learned that Forrest is looking for stuff. He not only likes stuff, but heās looking for stuff. If anybody knows where he can buy a 1935 Plymouth. Now is it the two door or four door?
FENN: Well the one I had was a two-door. Very interestingly, the difference between a deluxe 1935 Plymouth and the second rate car is on the deluxe it has windshield wipers on both sides and it has a sun visor not just on the driverās side but on both sides.
EEDS: Made it deluxe.
FENN: Thatās right.
EEDS: Had two of each. But you would like to buy one if you can find the right one. Is this because this was the first car you had and when you went into the Air Force you came back and it was gone?
FENN: In 1946 I was 16 years old. I moved to Atlanta to spend the summer with a friend and I saved $250 to buy a car and thatās what I gave for that 1935 Plymouth. I didnāt have a driver license but I, and I was so short I really couldnāt see over the dashboard. But I piled a book and a couple of pillows, and I drove my car from Atlanta, Georgia to Temple, TX at night.
EEDS: Without a driver license?
FENN: Because I didn't want the police to see that I was too young to be driving. So I slept during the day and drove all night.
EEDS: Have all your kids and grandkids known these stories? Youāre not a very good example for a lot of them.
FENN: Well, if I donāt know a good story, Iāll just make up one. So they know all of them.
EEDS: Youāre still looking for it. If somebody out there knows where thereās a two door or deluxe ā35 Plymouth?
FENN: No, no. mine was not Deluxe.
EEDS: Alright. But youād take either? You would take either if anybody has one?
FENN: Oh sure.
EEDS: But you want something thatās decent right?
FENN: I want to be able to drive it. Itāll be a culture shock for downtown Santa Fe if I drive around in that ā35 Plymouth.
EEDS: Thatād be great. So people could find you on the website?
FENN: oldsantafetradingco.com is my website.
EEDS: So they can find an email if they have a Plymouth.
EEDS: Yeah, get in touch with you. Send you some pictures maybe.
FENN: Thatās right. Iād love that.
EEDS: Thatād be cool. Alright, so what do you collect now? Pictures show that your house is pretty much floor to ceiling, wall to wall stuff. Started collecting when you were, eight?
FENN: I was nine years old when I found my first arrowhead and thatās what started me. My philosophy is, that if I donāt have that object, then I canāt have all of them.
FENN: So, and Iāll always paid too much. I never bought anything for a fair price, but my philosophy was, if I give you too much for something, you spend the money and donāt have anything but I have the object. So I always had an advantage when I was buying something.
EEDS: Whatās the most you ever spent on something you still have?
FENN: Couple hundred thousand dollars on a painting.
EEDS: You still have it? What is it of?
FENN: Itās a Nicolai Fechin painting of a little girl painted in Taos. But I own Sitting Bullās pipe and you know, itās worth a bunch of money. And people laugh at me when I say Sitting Bull owned this pipe. But we took pictures of it, and we blew it up and we matched grain in the wood of Sitting Bull holding the pipe with grain in the wood of the photograph we took, so thereās no question that Sitting Bull was holding that pipe. And thatās one of my prized possessions.
EEDS: Along with the arrowhead.
FENN: It had a lot of history, sure.
EEDS: You still have the arrowhead.
FENN: Still have the arrowhead.
EEDS: And what kind of Indians lived in Temple, Texas? What was the tribe?
FENN: Well, we were on the southern edge of the Kiowa, Comanche, Southern Cheyenne, Osage. Mostly Comanche. I remember my grandmother telling me when she was a kid in Fort Worth, Texas, the Comanches running through her barnyard trying to catch chickens and her father said leave those guys alone.
EEDS: Yeah, let them have the chickens.
FENN: Yeah. Let them have the chicken, yeah.
EEDS: Interesting. I was born, I wasnāt raised there, but I was born in a little town called Beeville if you know where that is.
FENN: Oh sure, thatās south Texas.
EEDS: Between San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Pretty flat down there. We still have a ranch down there that just went on the market. Cousins decided itās been sitting long enough, but they sent pictures. They have pictures posted on the internet. Itās exactly the same from when I was a little kid. So over all these years, Forrest, since you were nine years old, now youāre seventy-five-
FENN: Iām eighty-four.
EEDS: Eighty-four years old, I was trying to be nice. It looks like mostly historic memorabilia is what you like? American historical?
FENN: Well, not necessarily American. I have some Egyptian things. Ancient Egyptian. And, you know, Roman and Greek. If itās old and good I like it.
FENN: Especially if it has some history.
EEDS: What about, what about, if there is anything, if there is a treasure chest, if thereās anything in it, if there are coins, gold, and jewels in it, if there is one, when did you start amassing those? How old were you?
FENN: Now why would you say if there is one?
EEDS: I donāt know. There are some people that think that you are trying to enlighten people to the fact that there are other kinds of treasures in life other than gold and jewels.
FENN: Well, you said if there is one. I was afraid that people would say I wrote my memoir as a gimmick to sell the book, the treasure chest is a gimmick to sell the book. So, I donāt know whether you know this or not, but I gave the all the books to the Collected Works bookstore in Santa Fe. I didnāt even get my publishing costs back. Just so guys like you couldnāt say āif there is a treasure chest.ā
EEDS: So youāre stating emphatically, right now, there is a treasure chest.
FENN: Thereās a treasure chest and itās out there and youāre the kind of guy that can go out there and find it.
EEDS: I probably could. Alright, Iām going to try and get a clue out of you. So how big has it gotten? How big has the entire phenomenon gotten?ā¦ There have beenā¦ I know there have been hotels in Laredoā¦ I think that when one of the clues came out, they ran a treasure hunters special and filled the hotel. I mean, youāre doing a lot for business in Santa Fe.
FENN: Well thatās right. The mayor presented me with a beautiful little thing yesterday at the bookstore thanking me forā¦ Santa Fe - the occupancy rate in the hotels was up 10% last summer. Nobody knows why. But I think the treasure searchers came, 30,000 of them came to Santa Fe last summer.
EEDS: thirty thousand.
FENN: Yellowstone park had more visitors last summer than any other year in their history.
EEDS: Why Yellowstone?
FENN: Because thatās where I grew up and a lot of people think that the treasure is buried - is hidden someplace there. Iāve said that -
EEDS: Yellowstone National Park?
EEDS: Jellystone. Yogi Bear.
FENN: Iāve said itās in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, and Yellowstone is -
EEDS: Thatās true.
FENN: Fits that description, sure. The treasure is out there, I guarantee it.
EEDS: Youāve also said itās under 14,000 feet.
FENN: No, I said itās below 12,200 feet and above 5,000 feet.
EEDS: Okay. But everywhere is about 5,000 feet.
FENN: Thatās a lot of places in the Rocky Mountains.
EEDS: Youāre not helping people - thatās a lot of places.
FENN: Well, this lady called me on the phone and she said, Mr. Fenn Iāve studied your poem and Iāve looked at your clues. I need some, I just, I cannot figure it out. Youāve got to help me. I need something else. I said, Lady, Iāll give you a clue. The treasure is more than 300 miles west of Toledo. And she said, well thank you Mr. Fenn, I really appreciate it. And she hung up the phone just happy as a bumblebee.
EEDS: Now the people are convinced, people have done this, ruthlessly gone through your clues and sense they know the spot. I was reading this story. One man said, āIāll send you an email. You just wait, Iāll send pictures. Iāll have it by, what, this weekendā or something. You never heard back?
FENN: I get 50 emails a day that say that.
FENN: Sure. They know exactly where it is. There are five people that have said the whole story is a hoax. But all five of them were avid searchers. And they knew where the treasure was, but when they went to where it should be, and it wasnāt there one of two things happened. Either somebodyās already found it and left with it, or the whole story is a hoax. But interestingly, all five of those people are still out searching.
EEDS: Of course. Can you stick around a little while longer?
EEDS: Alright. Thirty minutes after ten oāclock. Our guest is Forrest Fenn. Iām glad he came in. I had my doubts. Forrest is a bit of a prankster. Weāll find out from Mika. Weāll find out the truth here in a second. Twenty-nine minutes after ten oāclock. Weāll be right back. It is Friday, thank God itās Friday. We stream live at santafe dot com, KVSF 101.5 The Voice of Santa Fe
EEDS: Thirty-three minutes past ten oāclock. Our guest is Forrest Fenn. Treasure collector. Treasure hider. Book writer. Author. Has a new book coming out, weāll get to that in a minute. Alright, so, do you want to tell us, Forrest, the treasure definitely exists. And doubters like me can just, you know, whatever. And, you know I donāt want to say it on the radio. But, can you tell us what might be in it?
FENN: Whatās in the treasure chest?
EEDS: Whatās in the treasure chest.
FENN: I can tell you exactly whatās in it. There are 265 gold coins.
EEDS: From what period?
FENN: American Eagles and Double Eagles, and thereās some Middle Eastern gold coins that date to the 14th century. There are hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets. Two gold nuggets are larger than a henās egg. They weigh 1.2 Troy pounds each, but hundreds of other gold nuggets. Two beautiful little ancient Chinese jade carvings, and pre-Columbian gold figures and necklaces and hundreds of
EEDS: Precious gems?
FENN: Hundreds of rubies. There are eight - two Ceylon sapphires, thereās about eight nice emeralds, and lots of diamonds. Itās aā¦ If you find the treasure chest and put it on your lap and raise the lid, itāll be a culture shock for you, Mr. Eeds.
EEDS: Alright, Iām gonna start to believe here. What is the chest itself?
FENN: The chest is a beautiful cast bronze thing. Ten inches by ten inches and five inches high, and itās absolutely full of gold.
EEDS: Is it old? The chest itself?
FENN: We think itās 12th century, sure. Romanesque. I donāt know what to say. If you find it, youāll either start laughing, or youāll faint. One of the two.
EEDS: Iād pass out.
FENN: I gave $25,000 for the chest.
EEDS: How long had you had it?
FENN: Well, I started collecting things in 1982 when I had cancer and I thought I was going to die. Thatās when I got this idea to hide this treasure chest. Why not let everybody else have as much fun as Iāve had over the many years. And that was my motivation.
EEDS: So you bought the chest right around that period?
EEDS: Okay. Um, how much does it weigh?
FENN: The gold in the treasure chest weighs 20.2 Troy pounds. And the chest weighs forty, uh, twenty-two pounds. So the whole thing, I think, is around 42 pounds. It was heavy enough that I made two trips to hide it. I took the gold in one time, and then I took the treasure chest in the second time.
EEDS: What kind of shoes? What kind of footprints did you leave? What kind of boots did you have on?
FENN: Well if I told you that, youād go out and find it.
EEDS: Is there, Forrest, is there any chance that somebody has found it?
FENN: Iām 99.99% sure that no one has found the treasure chest yet. You can never be 100% sure, but sure, itās still out there. I would bet my kingdom that itās still out there.
EEDS: And you have a substantial kingdom? When, how do you decide when to add clues? And youāve done them how and so on?
FENN: Well, there are nine clues in my poem and one is in my book. And Iām not going to give any more clues. Iāmā¦ There are hints in my book that will help you with the clues, but.. A clue will point you toward the treasure chest, and a hint will just help you with the clues, if you can understand that.
EEDS: No, that makes sense.
FENN: But I donāt give any more clues. Iāve given, Iāve said some things that people think are clues
EEDS: Two hundred miles west of Toledo.
FENN: And itās not buried in an outhouse. Iāve given that as a clue.
EEDS: Thatās good.
FENN: Yeah, some people were very happy to get that answer.
EEDS: Yeah. You said the, kinda the motivation was, you got sick. Did you think this was it? You were going to be checking out?
FENN: Well, my doctor gave me a 20% chance of living three years. I mean look at the odds. One in five is not very good. But I told myself, that has to sink, it takes a couple of weeks for that to soak in. But then I told myself if Iām going who says I canāt take it with me? Sure I can take it with me, and thatās when I got the treasure chest. Thatās when I started filling it up with wonderful things, you know if Iām going to go, Iām just going to take it with me and to heck with what everybody else thinks. The trouble is, I got well and ruined the story.
EEDS: Yeah. You ruined the whole thing. Um, but, that was kind of the motivation, uh, for wanting to do that, and then how long agoā¦ The latest book that youāve published is three years old? Two years old? Three years old.
FENN: Something like that, yes. Itās called Too Far to Walk.
FENN: Itās kind of a continuation of my Thrill of the Chase book.
EEDS: What was the thrill of the chase?
FENN: Why would you ask me what is the thrill of the chase? You know that more than anybody in the world.
EEDS: Iām just sitting here. Iām hoping people are listening in their cars at work or at home. They want to hear it from you.
FENN: Well, if you havenāt been consumed by something in your life, I think you deserve another term, and the thrill of the chase personifies that to me.
EEDS: Keep living. Always be chasing.
FENN: Sure. Everybody needs to collect something. I might be the worldās greatest collector. I collected bottle tops. I collected string.
EEDS: Tin foil?
FENN: You know, I could have done that, but I donāt think I ever collected tin foil. Thatās something that could have been on my agenda if Iād thought about it.
EEDS: One of the things that seems to surprise you when you have talked to the press, or done little videos about this entire treasure chest and about your life, and itās been a you know, a life worthy of books and lots being written about it, you seemed a little bit surprised at the people that have invaded your privacy. Were you not expecting that? I mean, hereās a man, a Santa Fe New Mexican who lives out, you know, you live out in the open. You're not behind a giant wall or a compound, you live out in the open. Youāre just a man who goes around and does his own business. Were you a little bit surprised that people would be so brash?
FENN: No, I worked on this project a long time. I really think I thought about most things. Certainly the thought occurred to me that my life could be in danger by somebody kidnapping me. Iāve called 911 three times in my home. This one guy started wrestling with police officers and they handcuffed him and took him off to jail. But thatās a very small group of people, and the great preponderance of people looking for the treasure are good Americans. Theyāll say Mr. Fenn, we know weāre not going to find the treasure but I just want to thank you for getting me and the kids off the couch and away from the game room and out to smell the sunshine. Thatās important to me. This lady from, a writer from Austin called me on the phone, she said Mr. Fenn I read your book. Thatās really a strange book she said. Whoās your audience for a book like that? I said, lady, my audience is every redneck in Texas that lost his job, has 12 kids, and a pickup truck. I said, thatās my audience. Thatās who I hope finds my treasure. But, you know, Mr. Eeds, we have a problem in this country with our youth today, and I think none of us are doing enough to solve that problem. The teenagers of today are going to be our congressmen and senators twenty, twenty-five years from now - president of the United States, and I blame the churches and the schools, and I blame you, and I blame me, and I blame Mika, because weāre not doing enough to combat the problem. The greatest asset we have in this country is our youth.
EEDS: You think the problem is lack of activity or are you talking about lack of education? What is the problem, Forrest?
FENN: Well, I think itās all of those things, but itās something I feel is incumbent upon all of us to try to solve. In my small way, Iām doing a part. If everybody in this country, all the grown ups in this country, would do a little bit, it would make a big difference.
EEDS: How many people are now actively part of your plan. Your master plan, your effort. You know, if all of this is to improve our country and to improve all of us, the lot of us, how many people do you think are involved now? Buy your books or are looking for your treasure?
FENN: Well, I think, my guess is that 50,000 will come to Santa Fe this summer.
EEDS: This summer?
FENN: And just as many into Colorado and Wyoming and Montana. A lot of people think the treasure chest is in Montana around Hebgen Lake and the Gallatin National Forest that was very important to me when I was a kid. And Iāve said that in my books, and they see that as a hint to where the treasure is.
EEDS: So 50,000 people you think this summer, but youāre not going to release any more clues?
FENN: Iām not going to release any more clues.
EEDS: What will you do to stoke the fires?
FENN: What would I do to what?
EEDS: What will you do to create more buzz, create more activity to keep people interested or get more people into it?
FENN: Well you know, itās out of my hands now really. When I hid that treasure chest, there was nobody around. And I was walking back to my car and I looked around and I started laughing. And I said out loud, Forrest Fenn did you really do that? And I started laughing. I thought it was the most atrocious thing that Iād ever done. But, in the back of my mind, I told myself that if Iām sorry tomorrow, I can go back and get the treasure chest. But the more I thought about it, I said, no Iām not going to do it. And I told myself itās out of my hands now. Iām an interested bystander at this point. But I get between 100 and 120 emails every day from people that, most of them know where the treasure chest is. They just want me to confirm it. This one lady says, you know Mr. Fenn, Iām coming out there in my pickup truck but itās not a very good truck anymore. If my truck breaks, will you pick me up and take me the rest of the way to the treasure?
EEDS: No problem, right?
FENN: No problem.
EEDS: What, of course the value has got to fluctuate as the price of gold goes up and down. Average day, whatās the treasure worth inside the treasure chest?
FENN: You know, Iāve thought of that donāt really know. A lot of the coins have numismatic value, beyond the price of gold and
EEDS: Sure, historic value
FENN: and that fluctuates every day. There are so many little things that I really donāt know what theyāre worth. Those two little ancient Chinese jade figures, I think I gave $12,000 each for those things and the Sinu and Tairona necklace that has fetishes made out of quartz crystal and carnelian and semi-precious stones, uh, itās 2,000 years old and the last thing I put in that bracelet was a little bracelet that has 22 little turquoise disc beads in it that Richard Weatherall found the first time he went into Mesa - the day he discovered Mesa Verde. Climbed down the cliffs, and walked into Mesa Verde and picked up these 22 little beads.
EEDS: Was he one of the guys that was on the cattle drive that foundā¦ You say discovered, discovered for White Men, was he one of the guys on the cattle drive who discovered by accident?
FENN: Well, Richard Weatherall discovered Mesa Verde. If my story is correct, he was sitting up on the bluff there in the trees, took a nap, and when he woke up, the sun, the shadows had changed and he looked across there was Mesa Verde. He was flabbergasted because he had never seen it before. He worked around that part of the country.
EEDS: One of my favorite places.
FENN: Well I won that little bracelet in a pool game with Byron Harvey, who was one of the heirs of Fred Harvey. And it has a good story, and it fit me perfectly, and I wanted something dear to me to be in that treas - I wanted part of me to be in that treasure chest. When I closed the lid for the last time, I told myself that some of me is in that treasure chest.
EEDS: Can you turn on Mikaās microphone? Mika what have you seen, youāre nodding. Have you seen - do you remember seeing some of the stuff thatās in the treasure chest?
MIKA: I remember when he was puttingā¦ I was quite young at the time, but I remember when he was putting it together. I remember the bracelet, and I have lots of friends that have gone out looking for it. Iāve always told them that if you find it, the only thing I want is that turquoise bracelet. You can keep the gold, and you can keep the jade.
EEDS: The bracelet weāre talking about from Mesa Verde.
MIKA: Yes. But Iād love to have that bracelet because of the sentimentality behind it for my grandfather.
EEDS: Right. Anything else in there? The jade figures - anything else in there you remember?
MIKA: Uh, thereās a bracelet that I remember vividly because itās so unique. Itās a dragon bracelet right grandpa?
MIKA: Itās made out of gold and it has its eyes are rubies I believe and itās wrapped in diamonds. Itās just this extraordinary piece of jewelry that I remember quite vividly because it is so amazing.
EEDS: So if you werenāt here, I would still think heās putting me on but -
MIKA: Heās not. I give you my personal word that he is entirely honest. He likes to embellish, but heās an honest man.
EEDS: I love the idea that you won that in a pool tournament with Fred Harveyāsā¦ FENN: Grandnephew. It was in a pool game in his house in Scottsdale.
EEDS: Have you been by to see the Harvey Girls exhibit at the History Museum? About the entireā¦ You know, what an agā¦ what a monumental marketing discovery the size of southwest. People donāt know this story - Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls. It was huge.
FENN: I have not seen that exhibit but I plan to. I knew one of the famous Harvey Girls. She lived up on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. She had called me on the phone and said, Forrest come on up here letās celebrate with some libations. That was the word she liked to use. Iād go up there. Sheād drink vodka and Iād drink coffeeā¦ Iām sticking to that story.
EEDS: Yeah. I bet you are. Can we talk about your book? Weāll take another time out here. Another quick break. Come back, talk about the new book - a Russianā¦
FENN: Leon Gaspard
EEDS: Announcement going to come out very, very soon and you say youāve got some kind of ground-breaking publishing technology that youāre going to use.
FENN: Thatās right. Everybody better sit down when I start talking about it.
EEDS: This is cool. Forrest Fenn is not only a collector and treasure hider, but heās also cutting edge publisher. Who knew? Forty-seven minutes after ten. Weāll be right back. KVSF 101.5 the Voice of Santa Fe.
EEDS: Fifty-one minutes after ten oāclock. Our guest in the studio is Forrest Fenn and his granddaughter Mika. So, Forrest, uh, new book coming out. You said within the next 30 days the topic is:
FENN: Well we hope to print within the next 30 days.
EEDS: Whatās it about?
FENN: Itās a biography of Leon Gaspard - the great Russian-American painter. He was born in 1862 and died in 1964. One of the famous uhh
EEDS: Wow! 102 years old!
FENN: Did I say that?
EEDS: 1862 to 1964
FENN: Well, you know, I may have stretched that a little bit one way or the other.
EEDS: Alright, so itās fiction?
FENN: He was a painter. He joined the French Army in World War 1. He was a pil - he was sitting in an airplane and he was shot down, and he jumped out of the airplane and he went into a mud puddle and itās a wonderful story. Took him a long time to recover. But when he got married, he married an American woman, and his uncle gave him three horses. So Leon Gaspard got on his horse with his wife Evelyn, and for two years, they rode across Mongolia and Afghanistan and those countries on their honeymoon. Thatāll clean out your sinuses a little bit. Thatās the kind of person he was. In my book, we think we are breaking new ground and, you can tell me if Iām wrong, but on two places in my book thereās a link that you type the link into Google and you get a video of Leon Gaspard riding on his horse in Taos. Weāre talking about 1920. Another link you can click on, you hear Leon Gaspardās actual voice telling a story. We have nine paintings illustrated in the book that are 20 inches wide. Whenās the last time you saw a 20ā inch wide spread in a book?
MIKA: I donāt think I ever have. Until 30 days from now
EEDS: Alright, so Leon became, he lived in Taos. Was he part, I mean, was he well-known, established painter, part of the Taos arts scene?
FENN: Well, he didnāt belong to the Taos society of artists, but he and Nicolai Fechin are both Russian-American. They were arguably among the two best artists that ever lived in Taos. But, yeah, they spoke Russian together. They played chess. Leon Gaspard made really great borscht and invited Russian friends over for dinner. There was high society in those days in the teens and 1920s.
EEDS: Okay, but this was, you didnāt know either of them?
FENN: No. I didnāt come on the scene then.
EEDS: Until ā72?
FENN: But I wrote a book about Nicolai Fechin and he was born within a year of Leon Gaspard, and they were very close friends. Gaspard paintings that I was selling in my gallery in Santa Fe in 1976 and 1977 for $7,500 are $1.5 million today. I mean the appreciation on those things - and the same thing is true for Niocolai Fechin. If you have any money sticking in a tin can buried in your backyard, youād better go buy a Nicolai Fechin painting or a Leon Gaspard.
EEDS: Art is still a good investment?
FENN: Art is a great investment.
EEDS: Who are, uh, that school, the famous Taos artists society, who are some of the your famous uhā¦
FENN: My favorites?
EEDS: Yeah. A painter - if you saw one up on Canyon Road today, you would go man, I gotta figure out how to go get that.
FENN: Well, Victor Higgins of course is one of my favorites, but Gaspard, and Fechin, and Earnest Bloomenschein. I wrote two books about Joseph Henry Sharp, I bought his estate. He was a good painter. He wasnāt one of the best, but he was probably fourth or fifth on that list. Itās extraordinary that so many great painters would move to a little town like Taos. You know, Bloomenschein and Burt Phillips were in Taos for the first time in September 1888.
EEDS: Some kind of accident. The wagon broke down.
FENN: Excuse, 1898. And Burt Phillips stayed. He was the first one to really stay in Taos. They became fixtures up there and they had trouble selling their paintings and Victor Higgins used to meet the bus with paintings. When somebody stepped off the bus, heād try to sell them a painting. You know, $200 would buy the best thing he had. That painting today is $1,000,000.
EEDS: You talk about how we need to help our children. Children in the United States are under a lot of pressure and probably, like you said, theyāre the future. Um, efforts in Santa Fe, really wonderful programs like art week, that try to take the art into schools. You believe in those and the value of them?
FENN: I certainly do. The more we
EEDS: Have you done it with your children, grandchildren?
FENN: Sure, letās get our kids involved in something. Weāre sitting on the couch too much. Weāre playing with our little hand machines too much.
EEDS: Video games.
FENN: Mikaās guilty of that, arenāt you Mika?
MIKA: I am, unfortunately. I put it away when I come to your house though.
FENN: Well if you get out in the sunshine it serves a lot of things. First of all, you can lose some weight if you need to do that, you can observe nature, you canā¦ the smells are good and the hikes are good and we need to get out of the house more.
EEDS: Alright this new book, you hope to come out in 30 days, how will it come out? Will it come out online, will it be in print, will it be in bookstores? Collected Works? What are you going to do?
FENN: All of that.
EEDS: Do you do e-books?
FENN: No, I donāt do e-books. Primarily, my books are picture books, so itās hard for e-books to come out, but, the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe handles all my books. Theyāll have it and weāll sell it online and ship it
EEDS: Let us know when itās done and weāll put it on Santa Fe dot com and however we can help spread the word.
FENN: Do you have any money? Can you afford to buy one?
EEDS: I donāt have thirty cents on me. Dinaās got money though. Dinaās got all the money in this studio.
EEDS: Hey I really - itās been a blast. I hope that, you know, you didnāt mind that hour went really fast. Youāre a pleasure to talk to.
FENN: Well, thank you, sir. Thatās nice Mr. Eeds, I appreciate that.
EEDS: Have a great weekend, and um, come back any time you want. Bring him back Mika, will you?
MIKA: Iāll do my best.
EEDS: When the book comes out
MIKA: Iām the driver, so Iāll get him here.
EEDS: Yeah, I bet. And youāre still looking for anybody that has a 1935 Plymouth
FENN: Two door Plymouth, sure.
EEDS: Doesnāt have to be the deluxe. Just has to be the standard.
FENN: It has to be drivable.
EEDS: Has to be - has to run.
FENN: I have to show it off around Santa Fe.
EEDS: You know, it doesnāt have to run right now, but a little battery, a little air in the tires, you know, fixable. Email Forrest. Go to his website. Which is, once again old santa fe...
FENN: trading co
EEDS: trading co dot com. Right. They can find you through that. If you can find a ā35 Plymouth, send him some good pictures, and make a good deal, right?
FENN: Thatās right.
EEDS: Like you said, you never haggled for anything, you always overpaid.
FENN: If somebody can find me a 1935 Plymouth, Iāll buy them a hot dog. They can have mustard, relish, whatever they want.
EEDS: Thanks for coming by, Forrest. Mika, thanks for driving.
MIKA: Thank you.
EEDS: Alright, have a great weekend. Coming up next Julie Goldberg show. It is coming up on eleven oāclock. Weāll see you Monday morning, bright and early seven oāclock. By the way, great show on Monday. Weāll have the owner of the Violet Crown theater, also Al Dusare, you know Al? The guy who used to own Mariaās?
EEDS: Heāll be here.
FENN: I know Al.
EEDS: Heās a pain in the butt, that guy. As well as Ray Sandoval. Will make a big announcement on Monday as well. Be back Monday. Have a great weekend everybody. KVSF 101.5 the Voice of Santa Fe.
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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 ā 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 ā
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.
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JULIUS BRIGHTON: Treasure can come to obsessors. The thrill of the hunt becomes all consuming. And thereās no better place to experience that than here. Iām in America where a man named Forrest Fenn has deliberately hidden a multi-million dollar treasure chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The treasure is meant to be worth anywhere between a million to three million dollars, and contains diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. But if I were to find it, I would have to decipher nine clues that are hidden within a poem. Iāll be searching in an area that is home to some pretty feisty wildlife, so I need to be prepared.
WOMAN: Youāll want to have a backpack, bear spray -
BRIGHTON: See that - ok, letās just pause with the bear spray. You have a sign outside that says bear spray. I mean, what is - insect spray, mosquito spray, Iām familiar with, butā¦ bear spray?
WOMAN: Iāve got it right over here if youād like to look at it. This is the most common size, and as you can see, it works on all bear species.
BRIGHTON: This is my most favorite thing - works on all bear species.
WOMAN: Works on all bears - black, grizz, which is what we have here in Yellowstone
BRIGHTON: Iāve got sun, mosquito, and bear.
BRIGHTON: Weāve got it all. To improve my chances of finding Forrest Fennās hidden treasure, Iām teaming up with Dal Neitzel. Heās crossed America 40 times in the past three years to hunt for it. So how long did it take you to get here today?
DAL NEITZEL: Iām about nine hundred miles from here, so it takes me a day and a half to drive.
BRIGHTON: Thatās more than just a passing interest. How much time are you spending on this?
NEITZEL: Every bloody minute that Iām not working.
BRIGHTON: Is it the adventure? Is it the puzzle solving? Is it the sense of anticipation? Expectation?
NEITZEL: Who doesnāt like a good treasure story? I mean, this is wonderful stuff, and to get involved in it itselfā¦
BRIGHTON: There is no treasure map for this secret stash. Instead, the clues are hidden in a poem written by Forrest Fenn. Begin where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down. Not far, but too far to walk. So what is it about this area to you thatās ticking this box - begin it where warm waters halt?
NEITZEL: Forrest spent all of his childhood in Yellow - some of it in Yellowstone National Park. He was brought up here. His favorite bathing place was on the Firehole River. A river that runs so warm, because of the hot springs and geysers that are around it.
BRIGHTON: So we should start at the beginning. Letās go.
NEITZEL: Letās go.
BRIGHTON: Each clue is a riddle that must be solved to work out where to go next.
NEITZEL: I think right here, weāre at no place for the meek. Because this is grizzly bear territory.
BRIGHTON: Iāve got my spray, so weāll be okay.
NEITZEL: Thereās a 40 percent chance of stopping a grizzly bear with spray. Iāve got a sixty percent chance over here (gestures toward holster).
BRIGHTON: Okay. You win. I like those odds. There is only one man who knows for sure where the treasure is, and thatās the man who hid it, Forrest Fenn.
FORREST FENN: I was nine years old when I found this with my father in Texas. It started me on a long venture of discovery. Itās my very first arrowhead. It had been laying on the ground for 600 years waiting for me to come along and pick it up. The thrill of seeing it, wondering about its history - the thrill of the chase!
BRIGHTON: As Forrestās obsession with treasure grew, he became a collector. In 2010, having been told he had cancer, he decided to hide a treasure chest.
FENN: Well youāre looking for a beautiful little cast bronze box, ten inches by ten inches by five inches deep. It weighs 42 pounds. And itās full of 265 big gold coins, hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets and emeralds and rubies and diamonds and sapphires. When you open that chest and look at it, you just - your heartās going to stop. Itās going to be so beautiful.
BRIGHTON: Four years on, and there are now thousands of people hunting for it. So far, no oneās been able to solve the clues and find the chest. But Iām hoping today, Dal can help me do it.
NEITZEL: Weāre looking for the blaze right now.
BRIGHTON: If youāve been wise and found the blazeā¦ What does he mean by blaze? Blazing a trail?
NEITZEL: Blazing a trail.
BRIGHTON: Weāre on a trail, this is a trail. Conjures up images of fire? Something burnt perhaps?
NEITZEL: They call horses that have white spots on their forehead, they call them blazes. They name them blaze. So I think a white spot, a white mark, like a waterfall for instance.
BRIGHTON: Blaze, blaze, blaze, blaze. After wrestling with the clues for several hours, it suddenly feels like weāre onto something. Could this be a blaze?
NEITZEL: I donāt see why not. That works for me.
BRIGHTON: The end is ever drawing nigh. Thereāll be no paddle up your creek. Well, here we are. Hereās a creek. Certainly couldnāt paddle up it.
NEITZEL: No, I couldnāt.
BRIGHTON: Be careful.
NEITZEL: Julius! Hey, look at this man!
NEITZEL: This is good. Thereās caves in here. I think we need to look in there.
BRIGHTON: (inaudible)... Thereās a whole bunch of stones.
NEITZEL: What about in here, look at how deep this one is.
BRIGHTON: I canāt see it behind the water. There is a big opening in there.
NEITZEL: Have to get this one out.
BRIGHTON: There you go. Try the (inaudible). Let me pull it out. Iāve got it! Can you reach down and see if you can put your hand in there? See if you can feel anything?
NEITZEL: I can feel to the back. Empty. Itās not here.
BRIGHTON: This is the problem. Youāre right. Every time you donāt find it, youāve got to keep looking.
NEITZEL: Youāve gotta go a little further.
FENN: There have been a few people within 500 hundred feet. I think there have been people within a couple hundred feet. They figure the first two clues, but they donāt get the third and the fourth and they go right past the treasure chest.
NEITZEL: But you donāt know. Thatās the whole thing, you know? You make the trek. You get to the spot and you say, āOkay, itās not here. Where else could it be?ā This is my 40th time. I know 40 places where it isnāt.
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A Beautiful World
HEATHER MCELHATTON: Iām Heather McElhatton and this is A Beautiful World bringing you inspirational stories from around the globe.
FORREST FENN: You know, when I thought I was going to die of cancer, I told myself, you know, Iāve had it - Iāve had such a good life, Iām 83 years old now. And I said why donāt I give someone else the same opportunities that Iāve had.
MCELHATTON: Thatās Forrest Fenn. Heās an 83 year old millionaire living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Heās a lifelong treasure hunter, sort of a modern day Indiana Jones. Heās the kind of guy that goes all over the world searching for treasures which he then sells. So, when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he decided that before he left, he wanted to leave something behind for other people. So that they could experience, what heās been experiencing his whole life: adventure, mystery, and intrigue. So he says that he bought a treasure chest, and heās filled it with some of his favorite artifacts from his own collection, and heās hidden it somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Itās out there right now waiting for someone to find it, and I asked him what exactly heād put inside.
FENN: Thereās hundreds of gold nuggets. Two of them are larger than a chicken egg, and there are 265 gold coins, mostly eagles and American Double Eagles. But there are hundreds of rubies, and diamonds, and emeralds, and sapphires, and jade carv - ancient jade carved figures. I think when they lift that lid and look at that, their hand is going to go to their mouth and theyāre going to say āOh my God,ā and I know theyāre going to start laughing if they donāt faint.
MCELHATTON: And how is somebody supposed to find this hidden treasure? Well, Fenn says that he has left us a clue. In fact, heās left us nine clues, which he put into a poem that he wrote. A poem that, he says, if you follow the clues, youāll find the treasure. Hereās the poem now, read to you by MPR reporter Dan Olsen:
OLSEN: Where the Treasure Lies, by Forrest Fenn (Recites Poem)
MCELHATTON: Fenn admits itās possible that no one will ever find the treasure. But thatās okay with him because, in this lifetime, no matter what treasure you find on Earth, you canāt take it with you.
FENN: As I get older, I keep reminding myself that the most important thing in life, really, when you boil everything down, is contentment. If youāre contented, and everything else is full and in life and you have to have a beautiful world if youāre contented. If you can eventually end up being contented, then I donāt know whatās better than that.
MCELHATTON: That was Forrest Fenn. You can find out more about his hidden treasure by going to mpr.org/abeautifulworld, or by picking up a copy of his book called, The Thrill of The Chase, which details the remarkable story of Forrest Fennās life and gives even more clues about where the hidden treasure might be. Iām Heather McElhatton and this is A Beautiful World from American Public Media.
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A Beautiful World - Extended Interview
HEATHER MCELHATTON: Iām Heather McElhatton and this is A Beautiful World, bringing you inspirational stories from around the globe.
FORREST FENN: A reporter asked me, āMr. Fenn, who is your audience?ā And I said, āMy audience is every redneck that is married, has 12 kids, lost his job, has a pickup truck, and has a sleeping bag. Thatās my audience.ā And I hope thatās the guy that finds my treasure chest.
MCELHATTON: Adventure, exploration, and intrigue. The thrill of the hunt. Those are the reasons that millionaire Forrest Fenn gave for why he buried a treasure chest in the Sierra Madres filled with gold and treasure valued in the millions. It all started when Forrest was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was told his condition was terminal.
FENN: My doctor gave me a 20% chance of living three years.
MCELHATTON: He realized that even though he had spent his entire life hunting for treasure, he wouldnāt be able to take a single coin with him when he died.
FENN: You know, when I thought I was going to die of cancer, I told myself Iāve had it - Iāve had such a good life. Iām 83 years old now, and itās been so much fun for me chasing antiques and looking in trunks in an old antique shop. And I told myself, why donāt I give somebody else the same opportunity that Iāve had.
MCELHATTON: Forrest Fenn is a treasure hunter by trade - a real life Indiana Jones.
FENN: It just so happened that about that time, Ralph Lauren, who is also a collector, was in my library with me and he wanted something that he would like to buy from me and I said, well I really donāt want to sell that. He said, āWell Forrest, youāve got so many of these things, you canāt take them with you.ā I said, āRalph, if I canāt take it with me, then Iām not going to go.ā And that night I started thinking about it. I said, āWho says I canāt take it with me. Why do I have to play by everybody elseās rules?ā
MCELHATTON: Fenn says, he thought about it for a while, and then he went out and he bought a $25,000 treasure chest. Because if he was going out, he was going out his way.
FENN: I started over the years, I started filling it up with gold nuggets and gold coins and pre-Columbian gold. Thereās ancient Chinese jade figures and some pre-Columbian gold Waākas from Central America. I ruined the story by getting well, Heather. But I told myself it was a good idea anyway, Iām just going to take this treasure chest out and hide it. And I wrote a book called The Thrill of the Chase, and in that book thereās a poem that has nine clues in it. If you can follow the clues in the poem, they will take you to the treasure chest. And if you can find the treasure chest, you can have it.
MCELHATTON: Fenn said it was an experience he had with his father, early on, that got him hooked on treasure hunting for life.
FENN: Well, you know, I made Dās and Fās in school. I think I graduated from high school because my father was one of the principals. I donāt think my father had many expectations from me, but the first artifact I found, I was looking in a plowed field with my father in Central Texas and Iā¦ We were arrowhead collectors. He was an arrowhead collector, and I wanted to be, but Iād never found one so, we were walking down through this, a friendās plowed field and I found my first beautiful little arrowhead. A little orange thing, it dates probably 800 years old, and it was the thrill of my life. You know, when I saw that little arrowhead, I told myself, that that beautiful little thing, little beautiful thing had been laying there on that field for 800 years waiting for me to come along and pick it up. It started on me a lifetime of adventure and inspiration.
MCELHATTON: And during that lifetime, Fenn has done things his way - a policy he plans to continue.
FENN: I want to go out - Iād like to go out on my own terms. Thatās what my father did. He had terminal cancer. They gave him six months to live, and 18 years later, uh, 18 months later, he was in great pain. He wouldnāt take any kind of pain pills, and he took his own life and I so respected him for doing that. I talked about that in my book, you know. Why do you have to do those kind of things under everybody elseās terms? I mean, I respected my father for doing that.
MCELHATTON: It was searching for treasure that brought Forrest Fenn and his father together. Which is something he also hopes to pass on to others.
FENN: We have trouble with our children today. Weāre obese. Weāre sitting on the couch watching TV or weāre down in the game room and one of my reasons was to do something to try to get these kids excited. Get them out in the mountains and in the fresh air and interested in nature. I think thatās so important today. Weāve gotten away from that. A fortunate byproduct of what this chase has done is I got an email from a man who had told me had not spoken to his brother for seventeen years. But when he read about the treasure, he called his brother on the phone and theyāve hooked up again and now theyāre out looking for the treasure chest together.
MCELHATTON: So it gets people out of the house and it brings people together.
FENN: The treasure chase brought them together, and there are lots of families can hardly wait till schoolās out so that mom and pop can get the three kids in the car and head out to the Rocky Mountains. You know, weāre reuniting families, weāre getting them off the couches, and away from our texting machines and weāre getting people out in the mountains to smell the sunshine. Itās very rewarding to me.
MCELHATTON: Fenn has received over 36,000 letters and emails from people hunting for his treasure, all unsuccessfully.
FENN: I donāt know whether anybody will ever find it or not. You know, the Rosetta Stone was buried for 2,000 years before it was found and I keep telling myself, āDonāt you know that guy is proud that made that Rosetta Stone?ā Thereās a thrill in discovery. Thereās no doubt about that. I know exactly how gold miners feel, you know? They think the next shovel is going to be the mother lode.
MCELHATTON: I asked Fenn to describe what exactly he put inside the treasure chest. The one thatās waiting out there for someone to find it.
FENN: Heather, when somebody finds my treasure chest, and theyāre sitting down with that thing on their lap, it weighs 42 pounds, and they open that lid, theyāre just going to take a deep breath and start laughing. It is such an amazing site to see. And, uh, thatās what Iām hoping for. I donāt know when somebodyās going to find that thing. It could be this summer, it could be a thousand years from now. But I know theyāre going to have an amazing feeling and their pulse rate is going to increase, I can guarantee that. When they open that lid and they look at whatās in that - you know thereās hundreds of gold nuggets. Two of them are larger than a chicken egg. There are 265 gold coins. Mostly Eagles - American Double Eagles, but there are hundreds of rubies and diamonds, and emeralds, and sapphires, and jade carved - ancient carved Chinese carved jade figures. And I think when they lift that lid and look at their hand is going to go to their mouth and theyāre going to say, āOh my God.ā And I know that theyāre going to start laughing if they donāt faint.
MCELHATTON: If you want to try looking for Fennās treasure yourself, your best bet is to start with his poem. Which Fenn says contains nine clues that will lead you to the treasure. Hereās the poem that Fenn wrote, read to you by MPR reporter Dan Olson.
DAN OLSON: (Reads poem)
MCELHATTON: Fenn has collected millions of dollars of treasure over his lifetime, and I asked him what some of his favorite treasure hunts were.
FENN: I was excavating with a friend out at our pueblo, and we were using trowels going down in this room that was occupied about 1325 and we got down near the floor, and we started finding medicines. I say medicines because they were concretions and arrowheads and painted rocks and crystals and several pieces of painted pottery. And then all of the sudden, with my trowel, I uncovered a prehistoric kachina dance mask, and there was another one beside it. But, you know, history said that the kachina culture didnāt exist in prehistoric times, but we had these things carbon-14 dated at the age of - they were made about 1325 A.D. So that was a thrill, and I got so excited that I decided this was too important for me to do by myself, so I called the state archeologist and they came out and excavated these two masks for me while I stood there and made notes. I was smiling from ear to ear the entire time. It was a real thrill for me.
MCELHATTON: Over his long career searching for treasure, Forrest Fenn says that he has picked up much more than just artifacts. Heās picked up lessons for life.
FENN: Well, you know, in Libya, thatās the Sahara desert. The north end of the Sahara desert on the Mediterranean. I would get a jeep on the weekends and drive out into the desert where the great tank battles were fought in World War II. I could drive along past them, a burned out tank and thereās a German helmet lying on the ground there and, bullets and hand grenades laying around. And when you walk through that battlefield and look closely, you can find arrowheads that were, I donāt know how old they were, 2,000 - 2,500 years old. What we were looking at was wars on top of wars. It really brings history into context. And solidifies my belief that we need to learn to leave people alone. Why are we fighting all of the time? Some of those experiences are very graphic to me and made a lasting impression.
MCELHATTON: And all these lessons, led to some advice heād like to give everybody.
FENN: My advice to everybody today is this: If youāre not happy in your marriage, and youāre not happy in your job, slam the door and walk away. Itās so much fun to start over again. You know, Iāve never been divorced, but Iāve done a lot of things. One of my rules when I was a kid was that I didnāt want to do anything for more than 15 years. And my reason is that there is so many good things to do, and not very many 15ās. I had to go to school for - high school, I had to graduate. I was in the air force for 20 years, so Iāve violated some of my rules, but I think itās good advice. I donāt care how good you are in your job, and how much you enjoy it, after 15 years, you should go do something else. I see doctors and lawyers that are 85 years old and still going to the office every day with a coat and tie on and it just makes me shake my head. As I get older, I keep reminding myself that the most important thing in life, really, when you boil everything down, is contentment. If youāre contented, then everything else is full and in life, and you have to have a beautiful world if youāre contented. And I think that everybody alive today should use that word as their goal. If you can eventually end up being contented, then I donāt know whatās better than that.
MCELHATTON: If you want to find out more about Forrest Fenn and his treasure, you can go to MPR.org/abeautifulworld. Or pick up a copy of his book Too Far to Walk, which details his amazing life, and gives more clues as to where the treasure might be. Iām Heather McElhatton and this is A Beautiful World from American Public Media. I canāt thank you enough for talking with us. Is there anything else you want to add before I let you go?
FENN: Well, you know, I love your voice on the radio, is there, are you sure youāre spoken for, Heather? (laughter) I thank you for the call, and itās been a pleasure to speak with you. Youāre a sweetheart.
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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, āOh thatās broken. Thatās terrible.ā 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 doesnāt have. I think itās 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, āDonāt you know that guy is proud? The guy that carved that thing.ā
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. Iāve never said that I buried it, but I never said that I didnāt bury it. I just donāt 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, itās going to be the most wonderful thing that you ever saw.
I crafted a poem thatās in my book. It has nine clues in it, and I changed that poem over a 15 year period. People read that poem and itās there, āHe sat down and wrote that poem in 15 minutes.ā It took me 15 years. The poem is not so much written as it is an architectural plan. Itās 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. Weāre in my home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Iāve 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. Iām very happy where I am. Santa Fe is a wonderful place to live. Iāll be 83 in two weeks. Iām 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 donāt know what it is, but if you have an old photograph of your mother, what makes you like that photograph? Antiques - thereās 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.
Itās 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: Thereās 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, Iām a goldsmith and having 20 pounds of gold to work with, thatās my palette. Thatās what I enjoy and thatās 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. Weāre here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or outside thereof, and this is my house, and as far as the treasure goes, Iām going to probably look again although the past two times, because itās whipped me, I said to my wife, āYou know, maybe I shouldnāt go again.ā And it only takes me a couple of weeks to say, āNo, I think I gotta go again.ā I like the treasure hunt. Itās like when we were kids. Like Treasure Island and all those stories you read when you were a kid, and you thought, āGod, Iād just love to go out and do something like that.ā And this kind of fed into that, and I said, okay. I was, what, 57? Iām going to be 60. If Iām going to do this kind of thing, Iād better do it now. Thereās 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 Iāve been told was 11th or 12th century. Itās 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. Thereās a wonderful necklace in there made by Sinu and Tairona cultures with carved jade figures and carnelian and quartz crystals carved figures. Itās wonderful - 2000 years old. Itāsā¦ Itās worth looking for. I put a little bracelet in there that I won in a pool game with a guy. Itās the cheapest thing in there. Itās probably worth, well with all the notoriety itās had now, itās probably worth $750. It was worth $250 when I put it in the treasure chest. You canāt just go out and buy a bunch of gold nuggets. There are hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets in that treasure chest. Thereās a little jar of gold dust from Alaska. I couldnāt put a Porsche in the box, or Iād 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, thatās just fine by him. Itās not fine by me, but thatās okay. I think Iāve 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 Iām 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 Weatherellās bracelet on, and walk up to his house, you know, and knock on the door, and heād know immediately. I wouldnāt have to say a thing; he wouldnāt have to say a thing. That way, heād never have to say anything to anybody else either. Thatās, uh, you know, thatās a daydream.
FENN: Thereās something that I donāt know whether itās in the treasure chest or not. It was a crazy idea. But, going about the question you asked earlier, āDid I want to know if someone had found the treasure chest?ā So I said, āYeah, I do.ā One reason is so people wonāt be spending all their money looking for something that isnāt there any more. So I put an IOU - I wrote out an IOU. āTake this IOU to my bank in Santa Fe, and collect $100,000.ā 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 wonāt be there, and there wonāt be any money in the account even if they did, so, I think I took that IOU out. But I donāt remember whether I did or not. Itās 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 theyāre so heavy. Iād go on the Today show, you know, Iāve been on five times...
JANET SHAMLIAN: ...Talk you into, somehow, giving us another clue this morning....
FENN: Well Iām not going to put an X on the map for you.
And I think weāll do it maybe anotherā¦ and I give clues. The last clue I gave them was that itās not in Utah or Idaho. But thatās 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 itās in New Mexico. Now, the issue was: was it buried? We finally got Forrest to admit that no, itās hidden. So, itās quite possible itās not buried, just simply hidden. My nameās Michael McGarrity, Iām a novelist. Weāre 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 thereās some special event to get folks together. This is the stuff that myths are made of, that legends are made of. And weāve got our share of old mine treasures being hidden on the White Sands missile range. Vittorio Peak, or down in the Gila, now weāve got the Forrest Fenn treasure.
FENN: Thereāve 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 itās there - I havenāt checked on it, but Iām 99.9% sure itās 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 thatās 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 itās found, and I asked him this question, if itās found, how are you going to know its found? Now heās convinced that he will be contacted, right? If I found a multi-million dollar treasure, I wouldnāt want the IRS to know about it, would you? No! Iād take it home and Iād sell one gold nugget at a time. Heās a character. What else can I say? Heās 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, thereās another thing that I put in the chest that Iāve not told anybody about, and Iām 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. Iām 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 thatās the philosophy that permeates that book. You know, thereās a lady writer from Austin asked me, āMr. Fenn, whoās your audience for this book?ā I said, āMy audience is every redneck in Texas with a pickup truck and 12 kids. Heās lost his job and has the thrill to go out and look for things.ā I said, āThatās my audience.ā Throw a bedroll in the back of your truck, get a six pack, and hit the road looking for a fortune! I mean, itās the thrill of the chase. Thatās what weāre 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 didnāt want anyone to say he was making any money from this store, which he hasnāt. Weāve paid for the last printing, and weāll pay for the future printings. And we are already in the 5th printing coming up, so weāre 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 itās beautiful. I think itās 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. Iām 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 wasnāt a very good picture. And then, a couple of years later, color TV came along and boy, thatāll 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 forā¦ 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 Feās a place that attracts unusual people. Forrest certainly qualifies in that regard. Heās 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 didnāt 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 didnāt know what I was doing. I had a mean sergeant that didnāt like me and I didnāt like him so I went down to personnel and I said, āHow can I get out of this place?ā 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, āIāll take the first one you can get for me,ā 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 Iād ever been in. And I said, āIf thatās all there is to it, Iāll take it!ā 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 doesnāt have to worry about it. But when you get in that airplane all by yourself, itās a whole different ballgame really. Thereās nobody there but you. Itāll 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 didnāt 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 wasnāt 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 weāre dropping bombs and strafing, you donāt see the bodies laying there, but itās 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 itās on a dolly. But the dolly couldnāt 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. Itās 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 canāt tell you how many times I would see a hand grenade laying on the ground there, with a flint projectile laying next to it thatās 1500, 2000, 3000 years old. Youād 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 didnāt 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. Theyāre labor intensive. Primary employee doesnāt show up - heās 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: Iād known about him forever. Heās 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. Iām JD Noble. Iām part owner of the Hatsmith of Santa Fe. I was looking for some photos of some old Indians that I knewā¦ I knew Forrest had some photos of these old Indians from Taos. And so, I called him up one day and said, āHey, I would like to have lunch with you and talk about these old Taos Indians.ā So he says, āYeah, yeah, I want to show you something.ā We had lunch and he says, āWell, I donāt really have any photos that I can help you with, but I do have thisā¦ā 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. Iāll go in and camp out. If I canāt find it in two days, I come back, then I go out again.
FENN: When youāre dealing with luxuries, normally youāre dealing with better people. Youāre dealing with people that can write a check that wonāt bounce. I broke all the rules of custom. I would take anybodyās check for any amount of money. And normally, I wasnāt interested in looking at a Driverās License. You know I go to New York today, and they wonāt take my travelerās check. Well, I took a check for $375,000 from a man one time and told him I didnāt want to see his driverās license. He couldnāt believe it. He couldnāt believe Iād 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. Didnāt say anything to him. I didnāt call him, I didnāt write him a letter. But 30 days later I sued him for $600, attorneyās 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 attorneyās fees $75, Interest on the note was $1.75 or so, and I said come into my gallery again, and Iāll take your check for any amount of money, but next time, itās $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, āThis is Napoleonās skull.ā He said, āI want $1,000 for it.ā I said, āThat canāt be Napoleon's skull, itās too small.ā He said, āOh, it was his skull when he was a kid.ā So, you know, thatās what you have to put up with when youāre 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 didnāt sell anything. Not even a book. And I finally decided, I had a little bit of money left, Iām going to spend my money on advertising. When that moneyās gone, Iām 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 thatās 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 heās a historian and ethnographer and archaeologist, anthropologistā¦ I think part of it is, one of many parts of it is, like, looking to match wits with Forrest. Heās very intelligent. Heās very logical. Heās very creative. And heās 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, itās from your perspective that you look at whatever clues are there, and then try to find this treasure. But, you canāt 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 hadnāt read in years, like Catch-22 and The Great Gatsby. I looked at each one of them trying to say, āOkay, is there a clue in each one of these books as well?ā
WOLF: If you know Forrest, then you know that, primarily, heās 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. Itās about pursuing the āhard to reachā, going places other people donāt go. Obtaining things that other people arenāt 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 youāre dead, a legacy is not worth much to you when youāre dead. So that was never a consideration of mine, really. I donāt care if anybody remembers me after Iām gone. You donāt have to acknowledge me while Iām alive as far as Iām concerned.
MCGARRITY: I used that word with him - legacy. He kind of gave me this strange look like, you know itās not about legacy, Iām just having fun. I said, āOh now wait a minute, Forrest, come on, thereās a little bit of the legacy thing. Leaving something behind. This is of legendary proportion. Thatās what legacy means. Letās 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 thatās not about legacy, tell me what it is.ā
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, āWell, you ought to go over and check it out.ā 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, āHey girls, come over here and look at this.ā And I had a dead kidney and my doctor said, āWell, just because your kidney is not working is not reason enough to take it out, but since you have a pain, letās take it out.ā And I said, āWhat are the chances of it being cancer?ā He said, āfive percent.ā 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 didnāt want to sell it. He said, āYouāve got so many of them. You canāt take them with you.ā And without thinking about it, I said to him, āWell, if I canāt take it with me, then Iām not going.ā And that night I started thinking about it and I, you know, I had a 20% chance to live, thatās 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, āThatās too late.ā And it was. And I respected him because he did it on his own terms. Why do you have to do it on somebody elseās 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 youāre miserable the whole time. The poem originally said, āTake the chest and leave my bones alone.ā 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 Iāve had all these years? For 70 years. 75 years. The gold in the treasure chest weighs 20.2 Troy pounds. Itās 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, āForrest did you really do that?ā And I started laughing at myself out loud. There was nobody around, but in the back of my mind I told myself if Iām 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 youāre really proud of. It hasnāt happened to me too many times. But I was really glad that I hid that treasure chest.
My wife doesnāt know within 18 months of when I hid that treasure chest. But the clues are there. Theyāre not easy to follow, but certainly not impossible.
WOLF: I have no doubt that itās out there. I know that some people think that thereās no way that he could have done this or would have done this, and I think that people who believe that donāt 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 theyāre 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. Weāre 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 Iāve got to blame the churches. I blame school teachers. I certainly blame archeologists who have a wonderful thing to offer, but theyāre so full of jargon and everybody has their thing going and weāre mostly oblivious of the problems that somebody else sees but itās not my problem. Thatās the attitude today, and I think thatās 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 whatās going on out in the countryside.
MCGARRITY: I think thatās Forrestās whole intention. Get their kids. Take them out, and show them the outdoors and have an adventure. It doesnāt matter if you find it. Iāve had some amazing times out in the mountains just looking for it.
WOLF: We have heard numerous times, āThis 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.ā And we hear that from the kids too. Like, āThis is the first time weāve ever gone anywhere with mom and dad and done what mom and dad are doing.ā And thatās really powerful. Forrest loves to hear those stories. Frankly, thereās 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 Iām not thinking of something āLetās go do it this afternoon.ā Iām thinking about a thousand years from now. Nothing has happened that was not predictable. Iāve called 911 three times. They arrested a guy at my gate and put him in handcuffs last week. Took him off to jail. Iāve had death threats. You know, when you look at politicians they get death threats every day.
HOWARD: And you know you canāt guess what these people are going to do. And people get in their head, āItās my treasure. I deserve it. Iām going to go get it.ā That can be a little scary.
FENN: So Iāll 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 youāre in trouble. Iāve been down the road a few miles you know? I donāt want to leave my wife with all of these things. The vultures would circle this house and so Iām selling some things now. Iām not tearing down my walls, but things that are laying down. Iām 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, itās 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, āCan you tell me how to find Forrest Fenn? Iām looking for Forrest Fenn. Iām here to look for that treasure.ā
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: Iāve run into people whoāve 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, āWell, when I find Forrestās treasure,ā sheās 40 pounds overweight, five years old than me and sheās rich and I say, āOkay, you go!ā you know? āYou go girl!ā What the hell.
FENN: Iām right at 22,000 emails from people related to the treasure chest. They tell me where they are and where theyāre going and want to know if theyāre 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, āMy brother - I had not spoken to my brother in 12 years. He called me on the phone and said letās go look for the treasure chestā, and so theyāre connected again. I see a lot of that - that kind of thing. Itās very rewarding, you know, itās a by-product of something that I did. Iām 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 heād been looking for it for six months and he kind of wanted to find it, but he kind of didnāt 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, āWill you go get this for me and split the treasure with me?ā I said, āLook, thatās not my thing. I know where I want to go.ā 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, āIt is not here.ā I think itās a diversion because I still want to go back because thereās many many, uh, I canāt tell you where itās at. People - somebody else already figured it out too, so whoever it was, we were both thinking and putting the clues, and thatās just interpreting the clues, which are so vague.
FENN: Iāve given clues to everybody. Iāve never given a clue to an individual. The first clue that I gave that wasnāt in my poem was because I made this guy mad and he demanded another clue. And I said, āThe treasure chest is hidden more than 300 miles west of Toledo.ā I donāt 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 Fennās box of gold and jewels.
FENN: Please tell me whatās going on here. Nine inches wide and eighteen inches deep and they arrested - all over the paper, theyāre quoting the police officer that theyāre going to prosecute this guy.
MCGARRITY: There are people saying, āOh wait, wait, wait. Heās sending these people off to trample our wilderness.ā What wilderness? Come on. About the only real wilderness we have, most people canāt get to. And thatās up in the Pecos which recently burned. You know, most of what we have in terms of national forest is not wilderness. But, āoh no, itās going to send people out and theyāre going to dig up, uh, plants and disturb the ground and be where they shouldnāt be.ā
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 āstole that from the government.ā So I guess the government is going to come and get them and arrest them. Too many PhDās 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 wasnāt 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 Iām going to do with all this character.
MCGARRITY: And heās very bright. Thereās nothing at all about this man that doesnāt speak to how smart he is. Heās 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: Iām not there to try to pry information out of him. Thatās not to say I donāt look carefully at everything he has said to me, because, heās that way. There could be something there. But I donāt ask him any specific questions, and he doesnāt volunteer any specific information. It wouldnāt be fair. Heās really interested in this being something that, where the playing field is pretty level for people. But itās going to take somebody thatās intelligent, who looks at all these in different aspects, I think, to find it. I donāt think anybodyās going to stumble upon it.
MCGARRITY: This last spot that Iāve been in, I really feel like itās there. Iāve 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 thatās a diversion, I know.
FENN: I still have about uh, something like, 4,000 arrowheads. And I tell people Iām saving those, because after the next war, Iāll make a fortune selling my arrowheads to different armies around the world. Einstein had said, āI donāt know what weāll fight World War III with, but World War IV is going to be fought with sticks.ā And the technology is changing so fast. I mean, if your computer is two years old, itās 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: Itās been a lot of fun and Iāve been a lot of places. Iāve been on top of some mountains and Iāve been in a lot of hot springs and when nobodyās there, thatās great I just take it all off and throw myself in and wait awhile. Iāve had Bighorn Sheep right near me. Bald Eagles fly right over my head. Iāve 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 donāt know where the edge is unless you go out there and look for it.
HOWARD: I always bring something back. Generally speaking, itās 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. Thatās 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. Donāt get into trouble. Donāt go into places that a 79 year old man couldnāt get to carrying a 42 pound box. But, then again, you havenāt seen Forrest. He might not be your average 79 year old man.
HOWARD: One thing I need to tell people who think theyāre 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 havenāt found the blaze. And thatās going to be the toughest part.
WOLF: Iāve seen a lot of stuff I wouldnāt have seen if I hadnāt been out there looking. And, while, a couple of times I thought, āOh yeah, I got it. I know exactly where it is.ā When I came back empty handed, I didnāt 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 Kinkoās. I have to use a magnifying glass if I want to read it. The olive jar had a metal lid. And metal will rust. Itās 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. Thereās an old saying, āYou can never go home.ā How many encores can a person take? I mean, Iāve played my hand.
I donāt feel like I gave you anything.
INTERVIEWER: Oh I think we got plenty.
FENN: (reads poem)
|Link: Click Here
Forrest Fenn Pens New Book
SHELLY RIBANDO: The man who inspire tens of thousands of people to search for a hidden treasure is now coming out with another book. Itās been a fascinating journey for Santa Fe author Forrest Fenn. He sat down today with KOAT Action 7 News reporter Alana Grimstad.
ALANA GRIMSTAD: Good evening. Forrest Fenn is an Air Force Veteran and former art gallery owner here in Santa Fe, but when doctors diagnosed him with terminal cancer, Fenn decided to leave a little something special behind - a hidden treasure chest. Well, turns out the 83 year old survived. His sense of adventure is just as alive, and contagious.
Somewhere out there, thereās a hidden 10 inch treasure chest. Donāt let itās size fool you, itās full of gold coins.
FORREST FENN: Rubies, and emeralds, and diamonds
GRIMSTAD: And hereās the man sending you on a thrilling chase to find it.
FENN: I smile at myself every day because I did that.
GRIMSTAD: Four years ago Forrest Fenn, an avid collector, hid the treasure and wrote a book about it.
FENN: My parents are dead, so I didnāt know who was going to buy my book.
GRIMSTAD: Twenty thousand people from all around the world...
FENN: Hungary, China, Germany, France, Italy, Spain,
GRIMSTAD: ...Have surprised Fenn and bought his book. He inspired them to get off the couch and into the outdoors following clues embedded in a poemā¦
FENN: Put in below the Home of Brown.
GRIMSTAD: ...Getting families together out on a quest and invoking something intangible within the human spirit.
FENN: The power of imagination
GRIMSTAD: If adventure is Fennās second love, his wife of 60 years is his first.
FENN: She is the best person that I ever met.
GRIMSTAD: But Fenn says even she doesnāt know where the treasure is.
FENN: Nobody knows but me.
GRIMSTAD: As far as Fenn knows, the game is still on.
FENN: As far as I know, the treasure is there.
GRIMSTAD: He doesnāt know if someone will find it tomorrow, or in a thousand years. Either way, he says it will be worth it when they do.
FENN: And when theyāre sitting there, with the treasure chest on their lap, and they raise that lid, itās going to be something amazing to them. They may faint. Itās such a beautiful sight.
GRIMSTAD: And so you think you get a lot of emails? Well Fenn says heās gotten more than 22,000 emails - most people thanking him for inspiring such fun, but then there are those bad eggs too he says are threatening him to cough up some more clues. Let me tell you, itās not going to work. Threats are not going to make Fenn give you any more clues. Reporting live in Santa Fe tonight, Alana Grimstad KOAT Action 7 News.
RIBALDO: Fennās new book is being printed and bound today. It will be available for sale very soon. Itās called, āToo Far To Walkā and talks more about Fennās life and his adventures.
|9621||2/1/2016||CBC - As It Happens # 2|
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JEFF DOUGLAS: It began as a good old fashioned treasure hunt. Several years ago, a wealthy antiques dealer by the name of Forrest Fenn stashed a 40 pound box of gold and jewelry somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. It is said to be worth $2,000,000. But now Mr. Fennās fun may have turned fatal. A Colorado man who was one of many who went into the wild to find that treasure has not been heard from for more than three weeks. We reached Forrest Fenn in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
CAROL OFF: Mr. Fenn can you tell us about this search that has been launched for this man Randy Bilyeu?
FORREST FENN: Well, itās not a good story. Heās been lost in the Rio Grande River canyon west of Santa Fe. Today is the 25th day. And weāve had as many as 50 people walking up and down those canyons and Iāve been in helicopters three days. Itās a pretty sad story. Weāre still looking for the man, but we have three inches of snow on the ground here today and itās still snowing.
OFF: When did you learn that he was missing?
FENN: Evidently, he went into the canyon on the 5th of January and I didnāt know he was lost until about the 11th. So we started late on our rescue efforts. State Police and the state search and rescue people did their searching and then they decided they didnāt have any more leads so they quit. And that's when we picked up the search. Our search people are people that have been looking for my treasure chest. But they all came together while this guy was lost. We had people come in as far away as Vermont to New Mexico to look for this guy.
OFF: Letās talk about your treasure chest because thatās whatās really at the heart of this isnāt it? What was Randy Bilyeu doing out there?
FENN: Randy was in that canyon looking for that treasure chest that I hid in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe.
OFF: And weāve talked to you about that before. Remind people about that treasure and why you hid it there.
FENN: Well thatās a long story. You really need to read my book, āThe Thrill of The Chaseā in order to get - but Iāll tell you the quick answer. In 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney and my doctor told me I had a 20% chance of living three years. Thatās when I decided I would start gathering up some valuable things and putting them in a beautiful little treasure chest and hide them someplace. Iāve had so much fun over the years looking and collecting things that I thought why not let somebody else have same thrills that Iāve had all these years?
OFF: Uh-huh, and so this - we talked to you about this - this is a hidden treasure you hid in the Rocky Mountains worth about $2,000,000. All kinds of people have been out looking for it, right?
FENN: Thatās right, but Iāve never said what it was worth. Iāve never had it appraised. But it has 265 American Eagles and Double Eagle coins, and it has hundreds of gold nuggets. Some of them as large as chicken eggs. And it has two hundred sixty some rubies and thereās diamonds and eight emeralds and two Ceylon sapphires and pre-Columbian gold and jade figures. Itās a wonderful treasure chest full of good things.
OFF: Your understanding is that Randy was out searching for the treasure when he went missing?
FENN: Thatās my understanding, yes. There are a lot of mysteries involved in this so I canāt speak with any authority on exactly what he was doing or where he was.
OFF: Do you feel any guilt for encouraging people to venture out into remote, dangerous areas looking for your treasure, like Randy?
FENN: No. Nobody is responsible for what this man did but himself.
OFF: Uh-huh, but he went out looking for the treasure you put there, so how are you feeling about that?
FENN: Well Iām - anytime somebody gets their kids off the couch and game room and away from the texting machines and going into the Rocky Mountains looking for my treasure Iām tickled to death with that. Itās sad when somebody gets lost. But Iāve said over and over you should not look for my treasure in the winter time. You know the winter mountains are not your friend when thereās snow and ice on the ground. I donāt know what else I can say.
OFF: Well Iām sure youāve heard that since you put that treasure there, there have been other people with not enough experience perhaps were out. A woman got caught in the dark in, when she was out looking for it. There have been others who have had to be rescued by rangers and and some people damaged some sensitive archeological sites looking for your treasure. Does any of that give you pause?
FENN: What you say is true, but how many people have been lost in the mountains hunting for deer and elk over the years? I mean if somebody gets lost in the mountains looking for - while theyāre hunting, does that mean we should stop hunting?
OFF: So you - are you going to call off the treasure hunt?
FENN: No, I will not call off the treasure hunt. 65,000 people have had wonderful experiences in the mountains looking for my treasure and I get 120 emails a day from people that thank me for hiding that treasure and I got an email from one man who said he had not spoken with his brother for 17 years but they called - he called his brother and now theyāre out looking for the treasure. I mean thatās very rewarding to me. Occasionally, someone gets lost and Iām very sad about that. Itās unfortunate. But you should not be looking for my treasure in the wintertime.
OFF: Well now the treasure hunters are out looking for Randy is that right?
OFF: And so what chances are do you think theyāll find him alive?
FENN: You know, I canāt predict the future and I donāt know what the odds are. Weāre not going to give up looking for him.
OFF: But if it does turn out that Randy did not survive this, it wonāt change anything for you.
FENN: Iām not going to speculate on that and I donāt even want to think about it.
OFF: Alright Mr. Fenn thanks for speaking with us.
|9628||3/5/2016||Huff Post Live|
|Link: Click Here
HOST: Forrest, you published a memoir in 2010, āThe Thrill of The Chaseā in which you revealed that you hid a treasure chest āSomewhere north of Santa Fe.ā Youāve also put out a map and a poem for prospective hunters. I want to read the last four lines of that poem, āSo 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.ā What exactly have you hidden and why did you hide it?
FORREST FENN: Well I hid a treasure chest that is 10 inches by 10 inches and 5 inches deep and it has 20.2 Troy pounds of gold in the chest, 265 gold coins, most of them Eagles and Double Eagles American, but there are ancient middle eastern coins also, but thereās also 260 some rubies, thereās diamonds and emeralds and sapphires and also pre-Columbian gold and ancient Chinese carved jade. So the treasure chest is worth looking for, and we think that last summer we had as many as 30,000 people out looking.
HOST: You had 30,000 people out looking for it, and no one has found it yet, right?
FENN: Not yet, no.
HOST: So do you want someone to find it before youāre gone?
FENN: You know, Iām ambivalent about that. I could go either way, but weāll just have to wait and see what happens. Iām not encouraging anybody by giving any more clues. Everybodyās on their own. Iām pretty much in the background as far as the treasure is now.
HOST: Are you giving clues at all outside of the poem and the map?
FENN: No Iām not.
HOST: What would it take to get you to give a clue? Maybe not live right now, but maybe on the phone with me after?
FENN: A hundred million! A hundred million dollars would do it Iām pretty sure.
HOST: I donāt think Iām going to work that one out Forrest! Sorry!
FENN: Well call me later, okay?
HOST: Dal, youāre actually searching for Forrestās treasure right?
DAL NEITZEL: Absolutely, Iām having a ball looking for it.
HOST: What does that entail if thereās a map and thereās a poem, that seems to me that would lead right to it. But what is missing that makes it difficult to find?
NEITZEL: Well your input for one. You and I need to get together especially since you figure this is so easy! The map limits the area to four states. So Forrest has not narrowed down to an area on a map to any more than that. So you can see with that map, weāre talking about Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Northern New Mexico. So the treasure chest is hidden there somewhere, and if you read through the poem, you see that, uh, there are just a lot of ways to interpret words. Forrest says thereās nine clues in there and, you know weāre not even sure what the nine clues are. So, where do you begin, and where do you stop and whatās in between is the problem. Interpretation is everything.
HOST: How closely do you track the search for your treasure? We asked if you cared whether or not it was found while youāre still alive, do you track it very closely?
FENN: No, I donāt track it at all. The only way I have knowledge about where people are looking is what they tell me by email. And I know that several people have been within 200 feet, personally 200 feet of the treasure. They didnāt know that they were there though. But I know because they told me exactly where they were.
|Link: Click Here
DEAN STALEY: His family says he lost his life for a hoax. Santa Fe art collector and author Forrest Fenn is being publicly called out after a Colorado man died searching for Fennās treasure. News 13ās Haley Rush has more on the familyās outrage.
HALEY RUSH: In a few open letters to Forrest Fenn, his legendary treasure is called a scam.
LINDA BILYEU: Was he actually searching for the treasure, or for a possible illusion?
RUSH: This is one of the letters posted online from 54 year old Randy Bilyeuās ex-wife Linda saying in quotes, āDo you care that treasure hunters risk their lives for your hoax?
BILYEU: I truly feel that he has manipulated to believe that it was there.
RUSH: In January, Randy set out to find Fennās hidden treasure in Northern New Mexico said to be hidden in the Rockies, containing $2,000,000 in emeralds, diamonds, rubies, and gold. He never returned home, his body identified last week.
BILYEU: Randy was an adventurous person. He was a very determined person.
RUSH: In Lindaās letter, she says her ex-husband was caught, and sheās writing to keep other treasure hunters safe.
BILYEU: I donāt want anybody to get hurt.
RUSH: We reached out to Fenn. In a written statement, he said, āIt is terrible that Randy Bilyeu was lost while looking for the treasure. So many of us searched in the air and on the ground with no positive results.ā He went on to say his prayers are with Randyās family. Asked if the treasure is real, Fenn told us, āThe treasure is not a hoax, and it is still resting where I hid it about six years ago.ā Haley Rush, KRQE News 13
|9656||5/13/2011||Report From Santa Fe with Lorene Mills - 1st Appearance|
|Link: Click Here
LORENE MILLS: Hello, Iām Lorene Mills and welcome to The Report from Santa Fe. Our guest today is Forrest Fenn. Thank you for joining us.
FORREST FENN: My pleasure
MILLS: Many know you of course as the owner of one of Santa Feās finest art galleries for years and years, but youāve also written a wonderful book - wonderful in many ways that weāll explore. But I just want to hold it up now. Itās called āThe Thrill of The Chase - A Memoirā and itās dedicated to anyone who loves the thrill of the chase. So welcome to the show.
FENN: Thank you, Iām pleased to be here.
MILLS: Well, I want to talk a little about your background, because you bring some really unusual experiences to you work. You were 20 years a fighter pilot with the US Air Force you fought - you flew 328 combat missions in Vietnam?
FENN: Yes maāam.
MILLS: And you lived to tell the tale. Thank you! And then you came to Santa Fe after you retired from the military, and you started an art gallery. And you said, at that time, youād never studied art, you didnāt own an art painting, uh, a painting, and you didnāt know anybody who did. So what made you chooseā¦?
FENN: Well, uh, I had a bad tour in Vietnam. I was shot down twice and I lost 22 pounds and didnāt even know it. And I worked almost every hour of every day, it seemed like. And when I came home, I was just worn out. And Santa Fe was the only place that I knew where I could wear hush puppies and a short sleeve shirt and maybe make a living. And Santa Fe is an artsy town, so thatās what I had to do. And I came to the right place at the right time with the right product and the art business was good to me, and Santa Feās been good to me.
MILLS: Well your gallery was so special, it was The Fenn Gallery right on Paseo de Peralta, it was first of all a beautiful building with beautiful gardens and a pond in the back and you had the finest caliber of art. You had the great masters, but you also had something that was very different from any other gallery because you had signs that said, āPlease Touchā and why did you do that when everyone else is guarding you and standing in between you and the art so you canāt even experience it?
FENN: I told this story in my book. I went into the Kachina Gallery when I first came to Santa Fe. They sold nothing but Kachinas and they were just stacked everywhere and the little signs around said, āIf you touch it, you bought itā, āYou are responsible for your kidsā, āDo not touchā and it scared me so bad that I put my hands in my pockets and tried to get out. But I started thinking, you know, I need to learn something from that. So I went back to my gallery and made about 15 little signs that said, āPlease touch, I am responsible.ā The theory is: how can someone buy a great item if theyāre not allowed to touch it?
MILLS: Yeah, yeah. You also tell the story in your book about you had one of the most famous portraits of George Washington, and a school group came in.
FENN: Thatās right.
MILLS: And you actually had each child come up and touch one of Americaās greatest portraits of our first president.
FENN: We had each child wash their hands real good, and I told them not to push, not to scrape, not to use your fingernails, but just gently touch George Washington and close your eyes and think. Because when that portrait was painted, Gilbert Stewart painted it sitting as close as you and I are together with George Washington. So if you can touch that painting in some small way, you may make a connection with those two people. Itās worked for me. People collect autographs for the same reason. Itās the connection that they like. And I feel sorry for people that donāt have that depth of imagination.
MILLS: Yeah. Yes. Because one of our favorite mutual quotes is that Albert Einstein quote, āImagination is more important than knowledge.ā
FENN: Thatās Einstein.
FENN: And I believe it.
MILLS: I do too. I do too. But I want to mention one other thing that was unique about your gallery and about autographs, because you have these exquisite guest houses sited on the property around the pond. Tell us some of the guests that have stayed there.
FENN: Oh gee. You know when I built that big guesthouse, my accountants in LA told me it was the dumbest thing that I ever did. And about two years later, he called me on the phone and said you paid for that thing four times a year. Itās the smartest thing you ever did. But we had Jackie Kennedy and President Ford and endless movie stars: Robert Redford and John Connelly was a frequent guest. And I have a guest register. You know, I had them sign the guest register and make a doodle. And itās wonderful. Iāve saved all those things.
MILLS: You said that Cher in particular had this wonderful -
FENN: Cher had a flair, and we were sitting by the fireplace in the guest house and one of her boyfriends was with her and he was, I think, her manager. And she was in town to be on a live award show in Albuquerque and the rest of the show walked in and well whatās Chere supposed to do with - at the show tonight? Cher said, āIāll wing it.ā She didnāt want to know what he wanted, sheāll just do it here way. And, you know, thatās the way she was and she signed her name the same way.
MILLS: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
FENN: And I think thatās her personality. Thatās a metaphor for who Cher is. She can do anything.
MILLS: Yeah, um, youāve always been a collector which manifested itself in the art collection at the gallery, but in your book you talk about how your father - you used to collect soda pop caps.
FENN: Soda pop caps.
MILLS: And you had, because each one was from a bottle that had drunk, but tell us what your father did to change your attitude toward that collection.
FENN: Well, you know I learned a lot from him. And he was subtle in some of the things he did. I had probably a hundred cap, bottle caps, and you know how kids are. Theyāre on the floor, theyāre on the radio, theyāre on his desk, and he decided to cure me one day. So we were in all the gas stations that sold pop and collected all their caps in a huge box. It came home at night and had me - must have been several thousand bottle caps. Absolutely ruined me. I mean how can you continue to collect bottle caps if it looks like you have all of them that were made already? Within an hour I had lost interest in all those.
MILLS: But you never lost interest in collecting, and the thrill of the chase.
FENN: Yes, the thrill of the chase.
MILLS: And so, I want to talk about your book, āThe Thrill of the Chaseā and what - itās a memoir so you have wonderful stories about your life. I think really itās a fabulous read. But you also have a treasure hunt, and one of the reasons I wanted to do the show is to talk - have you talk about the treasure hunt that youāve set out and why you are doing it.
FENN: You know thereās a good quote in the new Duveen book and it says, āThey never knew it was the chase they sought, and not the quarry.ā Isnāt that interesting?
MILLS: Ahhhh, yes.
FENN: In the art business I loved to find a great painting. But there was a let down after I found it because the chase was over. Anybody can sell a great painting, but not everybody can find one. So the thrill was in the chase, and I loved that. Still do.
MILLS: So, at this time, as we speak, you have buried - is it buried? You have placed a treasure somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe
FENN: Thatās right.
MILLS: And it is in an 11th century box, at least describe the treasure chest.
FENN: Itās in an 11th century Romanesque bible box, or a box of letters, and itās a beautiful box. I gave a fortune for that thing, but I loved it so much. And then, when I got sick in 1988, they took a kidney out and they found a big cancerous tumor under the kidney. They gave me a 20% chance of living three years. And, you know, thatāll open your eyes, and makes you start thinking about mortality. And finally after a couple of weeks, after that soaked in, one night, about three oāclock, I told myself if Iāve got to go, Iām just going to take it with me. And thatās when I got the box and started filling it up with what I call were precious things. There are 20.2 Troy pounds of gold in that chest and lots of jewelry, bracelets, necklaces, diamonds, emeralds, rubies.
MILLS: And, to be a little more specific, thereās a bracelet that has 246 rubies and emeralds and diamonds. And a Spanish 17th century gold ring with a big emerald in it?
FENN: I bought that bracelet from Eric Sloane. He had given it to his wife, and she didnāt like it. So I bought it from him.
MILLS: And gold coins and gold nuggets, some of which weigh a pound?
FENN: There are two gold nuggets in there that weigh more than a pound apiece. Placer nuggets from Alaska. And 225 gold coins.
MILLS: And gold frogs from Costa Rica? Panama? Pre-Columbian?
FENN: Pre-Columbian things that date from the 7th to 12th century.
MILLS: These are truly treasures. You put them all in this beautiful treasure chest.
FENN: What I told myself was, that when I was building this thing was, you know, Iām 80 years old so, you know, the handwriting is on the wall. But I told myself Iāve had so much fun over the decades - six decades - collecting these thingsā¦ Now if Iāve got to go, why not let somebody else have the same kind of fun that I have had. And thatās why I wrote the poem thatās in my book. There are nine clues in that poem. If you can follow the clues to the chest, you can have it, and the poem says that.
MILLS: And all we know is that we canāt even geographically make it any - narrow it down any more?
FENN: People are always asking me that question. The other day I saidā¦
MILLS: Just a hundred square miles?
FENN: Iāll give you a clue for your readers. The chest is more than 300 miles west of Toledo.
MILLS: Okay (laughing).
FENN: And itās not in Nevada, so. Those are big clues.
MILLS: Okay then. Well, and we want people to have the thrill of the chase.
FENN: Iāve got a friend here in town thatās been out looking for it nine different days. He owns a shop here. He only gets off on Sunday but he heads out.
FENN: I donāt think heās found it yet. He hasnāt told me.
MILLS: Thatās what I want to know. How will we know if somebody finds it? Will you let - make an announcement?
FENN: Depends on the person. The person that finds it may not want the IRS to know it.
MILLS: Oh thatās true.
FENN: In which case, Iāll never know it probably.
MILLS: Finders keepers. Yeah, yeah.
FENN: But the kind of person that would go out and find it is the same kind of person that canāt keep it quiet.
MILLS: Yeah. Yeah.
FENN: Heās like me. You know, heās got to broadcast it.
MILLS: Now does anybody else, besides you, know where this is?
MILLS: Because you had said, in one of your lines from the book is that, āTwo people can keep a secret as long as one of them is dead.ā
FENN: Thatās an old mafia saying.
MILLS: Yeah, well, um, I think itās wonderful. Iāve read the poem. I could only determine one clue, so I doubt Iām going to be the person that finds the treasure chest.
FENN: Well donāt give up. Itās the thrill of the chase.
MILLS: It is the thrill of the chase. But another thing that youāve done that I find so moving is that you have had these bronze bells created. Beautiful bells, and the clanger, the clapper is a 17th century Spanish nail. Tell us about those beautiful bells.
FENN: I make bells out of wax. And around the edges I write different things. And then, Iām burying them with my name and the date. I really donāt want anyone to find them for 1,000 or 10,000 years. The Rosetta Stone was buried for 2,000 years before it was found. Donāt you know that guy is proud today?
MILLS: Yeah, and you say on one of the bells, you say, um, āIf you find this a thousand years after my death, ring this bellā¦ā
FENN: āSo I will know.ā
MILLS: āSo I will know.ā
FENN: I think thatās pretty good.
MILLS: And youāre burying them deep so
FENN: Well Iām burying them deep enough so that normally a metal detector wonāt find them - three to three and a half feet deep. Most metal detectors only - although the bells, you know, they weigh, three, four, five, six pounds apiece. So, you know, technology being what it is - somebody will find those bells. But if somebody finds them in 200 years, thatās okay.
MILLS: Yeah, yeah. I love that you have looked at this issue of permanence and impermanence and what do we have of our life. In your book, you describe this jungle clearing you had flown over with a waterfall. You always wanted to go, so as you were leaving, I think it was in Laos, right?
MILLS: You, you stopped in there. You came in a helicopter to look around.
FENN: Well I felt like I owed it to that gravemarker. The gravemarker said, āIf you should ever think of me when I have passed this vell, and wish to please my ghost, forgive a sinner and smile at a homely girl.ā But I didnāt know that. I didnāt find that till after I went down there. I was shot down the day before. Picked up, taken to Nakhon Phanom, Thailand in a helicopter and flew back to Tuy Hoa, Vietnam where I was stationed. Then I talked an Army buddy into, who had a helicopter, take me out there. It was very moving. It changed my life, and I talk about that at some length in my book.
MILLS: And thatās what I really love the issues that you bring up because what do we have that - what do we leave behind? As long as they say someone remembers us and says a prayer for us we live that long but thatās just a couple of generations.
FENN: Your listeners will say, some of them will say, well you know I donāt have anything to leave behind. But they do. They need to write their memoirs. Even if they write it out in pencil and paper. Send it to the Library of Congress. Date it and sign your name. And put everything you know about yourself in that. Because in a hundred or 500 years from now, thatās going to be an important document.
MILLS: Yeah, well look at the stuff from medieval times. What they had for breakfast.
FENN: Thatās right. We all have so much to offer.
MILLS: Um, you say, can you repeat what youāve chosen to be your epitaph? Um, āI wish I could have lived to do the things I was attributed to.ā
FENN: Well, Iāve been accused of some pretty serious things in my lifetime. Sometimes thereās a little smoke, sometimes thereās not. I wish I could have done all the things that people accused me of doing. I would have lived a much better -
MILLS: Many more lives.
FENN: Yeah, much more fun.
MILLS: Yeah. Um, I want to come back to the gallery for a minute because youāve raised some very interesting issues. I have been a follower of a man named Elmyr De Hory who was the best art forger in the world. And he even forged the, um, Howard Hughes manuscript that - itās a very big case in history and his work
FENN: Clifford Irving.
MILLS: Clifford Irving. Yeah. And so, uh, you would sell, you and former Governor John Connelly of Texas, bought a bunch of Elmyr De Horyās and you would sell them. And, he never signed his work. And he did, not copies of masters but pastiches.
FENN: In the style of
MILLS: In the style of.
FENN: If he copied one, then he would be found out. His were actually forgeries. And he said that all the great American museums have his paintings and donāt know it.
MILLS: Well, you, theyāre called āmasterfleecesā and from the 80ās on this has been a big thing in the art world. But you had said some really interesting things. āIf theyāre as good as real, if they look as good as real, then what are we talking about? What is art?ā And I had read that you had said that people would see one of these paintings and fall in love with it. And then when they found out it wasnāt the real thing, they would just be, you know, they wouldnāt want it. And youād say, āYou loved it when you saw it. You stopped loving it as soon as you knew there was no signature. Whoās the fake here? The painting on the wall, or you?ā
FENN: Thatās right. So, when I was a kid, I started making rules. When something significant would happen to me, Iād make a rule. And always the first rule, when I sold my gallery I had a 109 rules. Number one on the list was this: It doesnāt matter who you are. It only matters who they think you are. Thatās how Andy Warhol got there. Thatās how Nieman-Marcus got there and I could go on and on.
MILLS: Well Iām going to finish that quote for you because then you say, āItās true in Hollywood, itās true in politics, and itās true with the painting. It doesnāt matter who you are, itās who they think you are.ā Thatās a good first rule.
FENN: Well, a salesman - it doesnāt matter how good that aluminum pan is. It only matters how good he can make you think it is. If he can make you think itās really great, he can sell it to you. I said also in my book that no sales person has ever been accused of understating. And I believe that.
FENN: Weāre all charlatans to some degree, you know, about ourselves. You know, I thought that one time that women are fakes themselves. They wear lipstick, and mascara. Theyāre misrepresenting the product.
MILLS: Well thereās an art to that, Forrest.
FENN: (laughing) Thatās right.
MILLS: There is an art to that.
FENN: Propagates the thrill of the chase.
MILLS: Yes, exactly. Exactly. But, um, the whole thing about what is real art, and what is fake art, and forgeries, one of my favorite aspects of your other line of business, which is Native American artifacts is the coyote trickster who lies to bring you the truth. So if you ultimately arrive at the truth, does it matter how you got there?
FENN: Which, all societies have had āfetishes.ā You know theyāre called different things, but with American Indians, there are a lot of different fetishes. And, the fetish is not worth anything unless you believe in it. But if you believe in it, it can be awesome.
MILLS: Yeah, yeah.
FENN: The most primitive tribes, even in New Guinea and the Amazon jungle, they all have fetishes of one kind or another. Very important. And all religions today have fetishes. They donāt call them that, but thatās what they are. Itās important that we believe.
MILLS: And my academic work was in shamanism, so if youāre in the Amazon, and the sorcerer, the medicine man comes around, plays his rattle and chants and then pulls a feather out of your ear, saying the enemy sorcerer put it there, and you are well, does it matter whether it is objectively true or not if you are well?
FENN: It doesnāt matter what it is, it only matters what you think it is. And what it can do for you. And what you can offer with it. Very important.
MILLS: So you had a, quite a Native American collection? In the gallery?
FENN: I collected things, yes.
MILLS: Yeah. Tell us what your favorites were. I know that thereās a couple of items of world class that you have.
FENN: Well, I started collecting arrowheads because I didnāt have any money and my father would take me out and weād walk the river bottoms and across plowed fields and pick up arrowheads and scrapers and different things and uh, wonderful experience. That was my first love and still is. And I still have my collection of arrowheads. The first arrowhead I ever found is probably my most cherished object. Because I picked it up, and my father saw me do it, and he saw the expression on my face when I decided that was an arrowhead and I was nine years old. And he told me every year until he died it was one of his thrills to look at me and see that I had such a satisfied look on my face. Contentment is the key word. If you can go through this life being contented, then thereās nothing better than that.
MILLS: Well, and how luck you were that you had a dad that was that perceptive to you.
FENN: We have a problem in this country today with our youth and part of the problem is that fathers are not taking their sons and daughters out to not only collect arrowheads but fishing and hunting and hiking and picking up rocks or - and explaining geology and biology and those things. Itās very important and weāre - everyone is remiss today because of that. And our future could look better if weād shape up some.
MILLS: Iād like to go down the Native American path a little bit more. Tell me, one of your books is called, āThe Secret of San Lazaro Pueblo.ā
FENN: āThe Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo.ā
FENN: Itās a book I wrote about things that I excavated at a pueblo that I own called San Lazaro. It was first inhabited about 1150 A.D. and everybody left at the revolt in 1680. But thereās about 5,000 rooms out there. And Iāve dug right at 1% of the rooms and this book illustrates all the great things that weāve excavated out there.
MILLS: Well there are archeologists who say that youāve really done an impeccable job of cataloging everything
FENN: There are archeologists that donāt like me because I donāt have a PhD, and I donāt work exactly like they do.
MILLS: And you donāt give them what you find. Thatās one of the reasons they donāt like you. They would like to have those treasures.
FENN: What would they do with it? Put it in a basement in a box and nobody would ever see it again.
MILLS: Well, you know, thatās uh, Craig Childs, who wrote āFinders Keepersā has this question, āWho owns the past?ā
FENN: Thatās an interesting question. You want me to answer it?
FENN: The guy that has the title.
FENN: Heās the one that owns the past.
MILLS: But you know, he describes himself - he spent so much time in the wilderness. And he found this one place where every burial tomb of these people was looted and he went, and he talks about this, and he went and stole a little broken pot back so that he could bury it with the spirits of those people. At some risk to himself, because he felt that was the right thing to do. And then said, wait a minute, Iām doing what I accuse everybody else of doing. Everyone else is doing what they think is right about these things. Itās a very interesting area.
FENN: Itās called finders remorse.
MILLS: Ahhh. Yeah, um, one of the objects that you own, if you could speak about it is Sitting Bullās pipe. The very one in all the photographs. The very one. And you often say that itās not always so much the object but story of the object.
FENN: Well, this man offered me, what he called was Sitting Bullās pipe. Itās a beautiful pipe, but not special really. And it came with a picture of Sitting Bull holding a pipe that looked like the one that he was offering me. So I said, leave the pipe with me overnight so I can do some forensics on it and Iāll show you that itās not the same pipe. So my daughter and I got on the computer and took pictures and blew them up. I saw grain in the wood and the stem on this pipe and we looked around at the picture. By golly, we start turning that thing around and made the picture transparent, put it on the one of Sitting Bull holding the pipe, and it was exactly. I mean, it had to be the same pipe. I mean, I was startled. You know, Iāve been offered so many things. I was offered a knife that killed Caesar. It came with a notarized letter.
MILLS: Well whoās - (laughing) And was it?
FENN: Youāre easy!
MILLS: I know! And you researched it and of course, it was not?
FENN: I didnāt even research it.
MILLS: Another story you tell in yoru book is where you got the nails that you put in these bells that it was in Wyoming. Someone was - had the complete - theyād found the ruins of a conquistador protruding from an arroyo. They had the horse, the bones, all the accoutrements.
FENN: These were brass tacks, and this guy drove into the little town of Meeteetse, Wyoming. It was 35, 40ā¦ I hate to tell you how old I am, but it was a long time ago and I was getting some gas and this pickup truck pulled in there. A couple of guys got out, really excited. And in a minute there was 5 or 6 people standing around really excited and I walked over there and there was a horse skeleton, and a human skeleton in the back of this pickup truck and an old bridle. And I forget now what it was, but chainmail and this thing was a 16th or 17th century Spanish - I hate to say conquistador, but certainly an explorer. And this rancher had found it eroding out of an arroyo on his land.
MILLS: And you took the tacks
FENN: Well, they took the thing inside the building there, an old abandoned house. And I looked in the pickup truck and there were a bunch of brass tacks out of the horse gear that had fallen out and were laying in the pickup truck and I asked the guy that owned it if - I said, āIf I jump in there and pick those things up, can I have them?ā He said, āYes, we have enough.ā And I still have those things.
MILLS: Well, to me, again, itās the story almost as value as much as the actual tacks. And so because weāre almost out of time, I want to ask you what is the thrill of the chase for you now? You do wonderful writing, you have a blog, you - I enjoy your reading and want you to keep on writing, but what else gives you the thrill of the chase?
FENN: You know, if you sit down, you start to decompose. And I donāt want to do that. I mean there are so many things that I want to do. So many things that I donāt want to be laying on my deathbed and say, sheesh I wish I had winked at that little girl in Peoria, you know 67 years ago and thereās so many good things to do. We spend too much time resting.
MILLS: Yeah, you rest you rest. Yes. Um, one more thing. Can you tell our people about the treasure hunt? And where to find the clues and
FENN: Well in my book thereās a poem, like I said. And there are nine clues in the poem. And the clues are in consecutive order. If you can read that - if you want to find the treasure chest, you have my book there, Iāll tell you how to do it. Read the book just normally. The poem, and the rest of the book. And then go back and read the poem 6, 8, 10 times. Study every line. Every word. Then after you do that, read the book again slowly with the idea of looking for clues or hints that are in the book that will help you follow the clues. You can find the chest with just the clues, but there are hints in the book that will help you with the clues.
MILLS: Again, the book is, āThe Thrill of The Chaseā and letās just say a word about the proceeds from for this. You are not doing the treasure hunt to sell books. You actually have a very kind and charitable arrangement.
FENN: I didnāt want people to say that I did it - that the treasure chest was a gimmick to sell the book. So Iāve given all the books to the Collected Works Bookstore here in town.
MILLS: In Santa Fe.
FENN: All that they can sell, they can have for free. And theyāve - theyāre putting in a fund, 10% of the gross from the sale of these books and when we get enough money weāre gonna, weāre gonna buy a cancer operation for some little kid that canāt afford it. Thatās one of our goals. And we have people donating money to us just for that fund.
MILLS: Well it has been a thrill, thrill of the chase, to actually sit down and interview you.
FENN: Well thank you. Youāve done your homework on this thing. I didnāt - finally I found somebody that read my book.
MILLS: I read every bit of it and I loved it, so.
FENN: Well youāre a sweetheart. Thank you.
MILLS: Our guest today is Forrest Fenn. Thank you for joining us.
FENN: My pleasure.
MILLS: And Iām Lorene Mills. I wish you all the thrill of the chase. This is Report from Santa Fe and weāll see you next week.