Well, it looks like someone took my advice.
On June 6th, Forrest Fenn announced on his blog that his treasure has been found.
In such quiet fashion ends a ten-year search undertaken by an estimated 350,000 people, one that sadly cost five of those people their lives.
In 2010, Forrest Fenn hid a treasure chest full of gold and diamonds, purported to be worth millions, somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The only clues offered — nine, to be specific — were hidden in his poem, “The Thrill of the Chase.”
[Image courtesy of Westword.]
After eight years — and several of the deaths mentioned above — Fenn offered a few new clues in the hopes of preventing any further tragedies:
The treasure chest is not under water, nor is it near the Rio Grande River. It is not necessary to move large rocks or climb up or down a steep precipice.
Please remember that I was about 80 when I made two trips from my vehicle to where I hid the treasure.
In the two years since those clues were released, many more attempts have been made to find the treasure.
And now, with this brief announcement, it appears to be over:
It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago. I do not know the person who found it, but the poem in my book led him to the precise spot.
I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries.
So the search is over. Look for more information and photos in the coming days.
Fenn claimed in a local interview that the chest had been found “a few days” before he broke the story. Additionally, he told the Santa Fe New Mexican:
“The guy who found it does not want his name mentioned. He’s from back East,” he said, adding that it was confirmed from a photograph the man sent him.
The paper then reported that Fenn “declined to produce the photograph Sunday.”
[Image courtesy of the Santa Fe New Mexican.]
But, as you might expect when there are millions of dollars at stake, this news is not without controversy.
A real estate attorney in Chicago alleges that she solved the puzzle but was hacked and had the solution stolen from her. Supposedly, the thief had been taunting her through text messages for months. She is suing not only to prevent the unnamed treasure hunter from selling any of the treasure, but also to have the court award the chest to her as well.
This seems like a peculiar scenario. Unless she was unwisely braggadocious about her solve, how would someone she doesn’t know “hack” her, steal her solution, and then beat her to the treasure?
(Having traveled between Chicago and Santa Fe over twenty times as part of her search, she claims she’s spent between $10,000 and $30,000 trying to locate the treasure, only to have it stolen out from under her.)
This isn’t the only lawsuit tied to Fenn’s treasure hunt. He was previously sued for $1.5 million by a Colorado man who claimed Fenn cheated him out the treasure through misleading clues and fraudulent statements. (This case was thrown out by a judge in late February, but the claimant is petitioning to have it reopened.)
A third case is pending, and the plaintiff believes Fenn is fraudulently announcing the treasure has been found in order to undermine his case.
Of course, there are folks who believe the treasure was found years ago, but Fenn never told anyone, using the mystery to feed fame and book sales.
And then, there are those who claim the treasure never existed at all.
[Image courtesy of Wikipedia.]
I must admit, I can understand the doubters’ skepticism. It’s a little too perfect, isn’t it? Exactly ten years after he first hid it, despite no new clues for two years, suddenly the treasure is found.
And yet, we have no photograph, no identity for who found it, and court cases already claiming theft and chicanery. All we’re left with is a brief announcement, a small flurry of press, and more questions.
Who found Forrest Fenn’s treasure?
Was the solution stolen?
Did the treasure ever exist in the first place?
Perhaps we’ve waited ten years only to end up with a new mystery.
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