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Total Search Results of : 752

Date Site Name Link
21-06-2017 NY Times Click Here
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Quotes from NY Times article It is always tragic when someone dies, and this latest loss hit me very hard. Life is too short to wear both a belt and suspenders,” he said. “If someone drowns in the swimming pool we shouldn’t drain the pool, we should teach people to swim. I am thinking of ways to make the search for my treasure safer, and expect to make an announcement in the next few days. Even the most sedate among us has some sense of adventure lurking in the back of their mind.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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What is your favorite place to be? or river? In my home in Santa Fe.

Date Site Name Link
06-05-2015 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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I will find your treasure or die trying. Where would you like me to send flowers?

Date Site Name Link
16-08-2015 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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You’ve said repeatedly that the treasure isn’t in a dangerous place, and searchers shouldn’t look anywhere you couldn’t have gone. That is true. There is no percentage in searching where a 79, or 80 year old man could not carry the treasure.

Date Site Name Link
16-08-2015 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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How old were you and what year did you join the Air Force? I was 20 and I joined the AF on 6 Sept. 1950.

Date Site Name Link
02-11-2015 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Or they might have found it without realizing it? Yes

Date Site Name Link
02-11-2015 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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You have told people to stay at home unless they have solved the first clue. If you don’t know where you are going any trail will take you there.

Date Site Name Link
07-05-2016 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Is it dangerous for a hiker to set out looking for the treasure alone? A hiker should never go into the mountains or the wilderness alone. It is not in a treacherous place.

Date Site Name Link
04-03-2013 Tribune Content Agency Click Here
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Quotes from Tribune Content Agency article - Interview with Forrest Fenn If I have a motive in this it’s … to get kids off the couch and away from their game machines and to smell the sun and have a little fun out in the trees… After that, I thought, I’ve had so much fun in the last 75 years finding things, if I’ve got to go, let me leave a heritage for other people to do as I did...They didn’t find the Rosetta Stone for 2,000 years

Date Site Name Link
02-06-2017 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Periodic words from Forrest Fenn Let’s coin a new phrase. You can’t have a “correct solve” unless you can knowingly go to within several steps of the treasure chest. Otherwise you have a “general solve.” What do you think? F

Date Site Name Link
29-06-2014 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Finally: thank you for the chase!! You are welcome. F

Date Site Name Link
29-06-2014 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Mr. Hall asks: Are there any false clues/red herrings intentionally laid within the poem? No sir Mr. Hall.

Date Site Name Link
11-08-2016 Westword Click Here
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Are there any other comments you'd like to share on any of these topics? Many of our young people today are sedentary. They spend too many hours sitting on the couch playing video games. I would like to see fathers load the family into the car and head for the Rocky Mountains and experience the rewards that come with spending the night in a tent and hearing the rustle of small animals just a few feet away. Our kids need to see a skunk or a porcupine in the wild. They need to turn over a rotten log and see what is under it.

Date Site Name Link
11-08-2016 Westword Click Here
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If more time passes, will you provide additional clues? I will give no more clues.

Date Site Name Link
11-08-2016 Westword Click Here
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Or will the search continue until the treasure is found? It is out of my hands now, and the search will continue until it is found.

Date Site Name Link
11-08-2016 Westword Click Here
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Will there come a point if no one finds the treasure that you'll call off the search? At this point, I don’t have any inclination to call off the search. Thousands of people are having positive experiences, and the rewards that come with hiking in the mountains are many.

Date Site Name Link
11-08-2016 Westword Click Here
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Are there times of the year when you'd discourage them from searching? I recommend that no one look for the treasure when snow or low temperatures are present in their search areas.

Date Site Name Link
27-04-2015 KOAT 7 News Click Here
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Who knows where the treasure is? Forrest Fenn, only me.

Date Site Name Link
11-08-2015 Outside Online Click Here
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Quotes from Outside Online article - about The Thrill of the Chase There’s an old saying: ‘I never knew it was the chase I sought and not the quarry. Isn’t that a nice little phrase?...It’s a monster that I created with my story

Date Site Name Link
20-08-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Response to an email: Don’t force the poem to fit your spot. Thank you Mark. F

Date Site Name Link
17-07-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Mr Fenn, A blog is making a big deal about you liking to be alone. Your poem says, “As I have gone alone in there.” The final chapters in several books say something like “…alone with only my thoughts…” I recently read that you frequently sit in the shade alone for hours and water your trees. Is being alone some kind of weird thing with you Mr fenn, or what? Sally McIntosh That practice does not suffer a sinister side Sally, It’s just that I enjoy the solitude and the company. F

Date Site Name Link
23-09-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words for September 23rd, 2016 are as follows: If you find the treasure many of your worries will doze off into the sunset. F

Date Site Name Link
30-12-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn If you wear a smile to the right spot you will wear a grin going home.

Date Site Name Link
16-12-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn If you find the treasure please keep it in a vault for thirty days while you think.

Date Site Name Link
09-12-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Hopefully, finding the treasure will offset many days of disappointment.

Date Site Name Link
25-11-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Don’t ever let desire for the treasure lure you into a dangerous situation.

Date Site Name Link
18-11-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn You will find no mildew in the treasure chest.

Date Site Name Link
11-11-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Success is an omniscient guru.

Date Site Name Link
28-10-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Tempting nature is a losing percentage.

Date Site Name Link
21-10-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Victory will always justify the effort.

Date Site Name Link
11-10-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn If you don’t find it, then who?

Date Site Name Link
30-09-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn You will like the top two treasures in the chest.

Date Site Name Link
22-04-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Snowy days are a searcher’s enemy

Date Site Name Link
08-04-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Urgency is not a good plan to fallow

Date Site Name Link
18-03-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Minding common sense in the mountains is good savvy

Date Site Name Link
04-03-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn After reading HOD I am prompted to ask, have you considered the “what ifs?

Date Site Name Link
26-02-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Sage says don’t try and carry it home in one trip

Date Site Name Link
12-02-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Don’t let logic distract you from the poem

Date Site Name Link
15-01-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn A good solve is frequently lost in a poor execution

Date Site Name Link
25-12-2015 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Plan a warm place into which you can retreat. Merry Christmas

Date Site Name Link
18-12-2015 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Complacency is the misuse of imagination

Date Site Name Link
04-12-2015 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn Shut your engine off until spring

Date Site Name Link
27-11-2015 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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Weekly words with Forrest Fenn You will ignore the poem at your own peril

Date Site Name Link
02-11-2016 Dal Neitzel - Scrapbook Click Here
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Your dad was the principal of the elementary school you attended? Yes

Date Site Name Link
02-11-2016 Dal Neitzel - Scrapbook Click Here
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So you were 80 then? I was 79 or 80. I have a reason for not wanting to give an exact date.

Date Site Name Link
02-11-2016 Dal Neitzel - Scrapbook Click Here
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You hid it in 2010? I have never pinned it down that close. I just say I was 79 or 80 when I hid it.

Date Site Name Link
02-11-2016 Dal Neitzel - Scrapbook Click Here
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However, you still liked the idea of hiding a treasure, so you stuck with that part of the plan? Yes

Date Site Name Link
02-11-2016 Dal Neitzel - Scrapbook Click Here
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And he took a handful of pills after he was diagnosed? My father was given 6 months to live and 18 months later he took 50 sleeping pills

Date Site Name Link
02-11-2016 Dal Neitzel - Scrapbook Click Here
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You’ve searched for artifacts in deserted canyons? Deserted canyons is not a good phrase. I have looked for artifacts in the mountains and deserts of New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana.

Date Site Name Link
02-11-2016 Dal Neitzel - Scrapbook Click Here
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Your cancer was removed in 1988? My kidney was removed in 1988 and also the cancer.

Date Site Name Link
17-04-2013 Dal Neitzel - Scrapbook Click Here
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Are there nine clues in the poem? Yes

Date Site Name Link
17-04-2013 Dal Neitzel - Scrapbook Click Here
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Will the poem lead you to the treasure? Yes if you know where to start.

Date Site Name Link
26-07-2016 Mysterious Writings Click Here
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If so, are he/she any nearer at all after two years time? Don’t know. Sorry. f

Date Site Name Link
05-07-2015 The California Sunday Magazine Click Here
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Do you feel like you want the mystery to outlive you? Yeah. I think I would.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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How hard was it to write the poem and not give the location away? It was not hard at all. I just had to stay focused.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Where did you catch the Fish that you still have a memory. In Alaska.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Who were your partners in the Air Force? I had no partners sir.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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What time of year did you hid the treasure? Summer

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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How did the Vietnam War affect you? It made me more forgiving, more considerate, and more aware that we need to leave other people alone.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Have you ever revisited the place you hid it? No

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Where did you mostly go during your lifetime? Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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What is the emphasis of “where warm waters halt”? I don’t understand the question.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Were you close to your father? I think I was closer in my memory of him than in practice.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Did you name the poem The Thrill of the Chase? No. I forgot to name it.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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When was the last time you went to the place with the treasure was hidden? A few years ago.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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What is your favorite outside activity? Fishing

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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When was the first time you went to the place where you hid the treasure? I don’t want to answer that question. It is more of a clue than I want to give.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Could you also tell was time of year you hid the treasure? Yes, it was summer.

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Does the 4 line in each stanza have a significance to when you hid the treasure. No

Date Site Name Link
08-02-2017 Dal Neitzel - Forrest Gets Mail Click Here
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Also you said gold. In the canyon we are guessing the sunset make the rock look like gold is this significant to the place where you hid the treasure. I am sure the rock would think so.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-1970 Dal Neitzel Click Here
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Will the poem lead you to the treasure? Yes if you know where to start.

Date Site Name Link
21-06-2015 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Air Force Interview Part One Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: I was born and raised in Temple, Texas born in 1930. Japs bombed Pearl Harbor 11 years later just as I was getting to know what an airplane was. I remember during the war, we didn’t have television, but we had radio. And we’d get reports about what was going on in the war, and they kept talking about this guy, Robin Olds. Who was an Air Force, Air Force pilot flew top cover in Normandy. Shot down nine airplanes, Nazi airplanes, during the war and shot down four more in the Vietnam War. But he was, I think, eight years older, I mean I was a little kid and this guy’s eight years older than I am and all the news is talking about Robin Olds. Well later on I got to know Robin very well. I flew with him in our gunner school in Tripoli Libya when I was flying F-100’s and I flew a mission with Robin Olds as my wingman and I tell people that’s a religious experience for me.

I used to have a gallery here in Santa Fe and he would come into my gallery and we’d go to lunch, and I was so thrilled to to know that guy. They tell me there’s a sign in the Pentagon in Fighter Ops that says they wanted to put Robin Olds’ body in the glass case there and put a sign there that says, “In case of war, break glass.” That’s what they thought about Robin Olds. And I loved the guy. Really good friend. But, uh the kids in junior high in those days in the early 40’s when the war was really going good, the army asked us to make model airplanes. And they would give us pictures of them. All the kids now, we’d get a pocket knife out and we’d start carving these models and we took great pride in it. It was a big deal to us. Our school got a, I remember we got a commendation from the Army because we were helping the war effort, so. But I was interested in that.

The three airplanes that I really liked in those days - one was the P-39, P-38, and the P-51. Of course, the P-39 didn’t have much of a mission during the war. The P-38 and the P-51 did the heavy work. And I sat in class, instead of listening to what the teacher was saying, I’d draw pictures of P-38 and P- I bet I drew a million pictures of those airplanes. I’d look out the window and see the sky out there and I’d wonder why I wasn’t out there instead of sitting in the class.

I graduated from high school in 1947. I made terrible grades in high school. And my father was the principal of a junior high school there in Temple, Texas and I was a great embarrassment. But I’m sure I graduated from high school because my father was very prominent there in town. I didn’t have anything to do. You know, I didn’t want to go to college, but all my buddies were going to Texas A&M. So the Sunday that they were going down there in the car, I called one of them on the phone and said, “Come on and pick me up. I want to go to Texas A&M with you guys.” So they picked me up. I got in the car and we went down there. I signed in. They gave me a uniform and a bed. And this is really great, you know! All my buddies were there. I even went to a class as I recall. And one afternoon, we were playing football out on the field there, and I heard over the loudspeaker, “Cadet Fenn report to Finance.” I knew my college education was over. I lasted four days at Texas A&M. But I still tell people that I went to Texas A&M. True story. So that was in September 1950. The Korean War had been going on for a little while, not very long, and they were going to draft me because I was perfect for the draft. And so, I knew I wasn’t going to go in the Army if I could help anything, so I joined the Air Force. And they gave me all kinds of tests, you know, and whatever. And they decided that I had an aptitude for electronics. One of the world’s great misnomers. The fact that I had an aptitude in electronics. I went to Biloxi, Mississippi the Keesler Air Force Base. And I was on the night shift, and I did that for nine months, and I graduated without the slightest idea of what I was doing.

So they sent me to Greenville South Carolina. And so I started flying a little bit in C-47s as a radio operator. And C-82 and C-119s. Those are models you may not even remember.

OFF CAMERA: Flying Boxcars

FENN: I didn’t like what I was doing. I was working for a sergeant who didn’t like me and I didn’t like him. So I went down to personnel and I said, “What can I do to get out of here?” I said, “I’ll do anything to get out of this Greenville, South Carolina.” So I signed a bunch of forms. About six weeks pass and they call me to “You want to go pilot training?” I mean I volunteered for jump school and everything else. I said, “Sure, I mean I don’t have any education but I…” and they said, “Well come on over here in this machine and we’ll see if you have any pull motor skills.” That was the phrase they liked to use, and I didn’t have any idea what that meant. And they put me in this thing. Looked like a little simulator. It was on springs. And the secret is that they have a stick here like in an airplane. And if you turn the stick, the airplane will fall forward or backwards or left or right. The secret was to hold the stick so that the airplane was perfectly still. And I got in that thing and I did it perfectly. I didn’t know what I was doing. But the guy told me I was as good as he ever saw! I said, “Well, okay, tell me where to go, and I’ll go do it.” So they sent me to Bainbridge, Georgia. Class 53 George. 1953. And I start flying a T-6. The world’s worst airplane was a T-6. My instructor was a guy by the name of Carl Smith. One of the greatest human beings that ever lived. And I was in the front seat, and he was in the back seat and he’s flying the airplane. We’re doing chandelles and lazy eights and m-1’s and those kind of things and lining up with section lines. After a couple of days he said, “Pull over to headquarters there.” And I said, “Okay.” And I pull over there, and he started getting out of the airplane. He said, “Cadet, I want you to make three patterns and three landings.” I said, “WHAT?” I said, “I haven’t flown this airplane yet.” I didn’t feel like I was doing it. I could always feel him on the stick in the back seat and, “Yeah, you can do it.” He got out. And I didn’t know what to do. I told myself, “If I shut this airplane down, run and jump over the fence, they’re gonna court martial me.” And that’d be bad. I said, “I”m gonna try to do this. I don’t think I can do it.” But I took off. I made the landing. Touch and go. Came around and did the same again. I mean. Three landings and they were pretty good. And all my buddies - soloing was a big deal. They cut my shirt off or whatever it was in those days. And I told myself, you know if that’s all there is to this, I can do that!

Everybody said this is the hardest airplane in the Air Force to fly. Said if you can fly this thing, you can fly anything. So I did, and I graduated, and I went to Laredo, Texas to fly the T-28. As a matter of fact, in about 20 years I bought a T-28. T-28 Charlie with a tailhook. I bought it out at mothballs down in Tucson and had it restored and I flew that thing around here, but what I learned was I could afford to fly it, but I couldn’t afford to break it. And every time you flew it, you broke it, so the least little thing was $8500. I did that for three or four months and I sold that airplane to get out from under it. But I liked that airplane. Then they put me in a T-33 and that was an easy airplane to fly. The airplanes that I flew after, the T-6, they all got easier, but I always liked the North American airplanes. T-6 was one. F-86 was another one. I always liked North America. So I graduated in 1953 and they sent me to Scott Field, Illinois. Scott Air Force Base Illinois. Were you there too (gestures off-camera)?


FENN: Flying F-86D’s. It had an afterburner and a dragshoot and that was big time for me. I remember one time there was a lot of esprit de corps in our fighter squadron. You had to fly - a third of your total flight time had to be at night. 'Cause we were in our night - all weather interceptors so I remember one time we were going to gunnery school in Yuma, Arizona from Scott Field and they had, uh, forgot what they called it, sections where you had to go down the airways, you couldn’t cut across Albuquerque because

OFF CAMERA: The restricted area?

FENN: Restricted areas. But, we were all ferrying the airplane down to Yuma and there was a little competition going, you know, about who’s gonna get down there first. The F-86D had eyelids, but you could close the eyelids and get a little more thrust but your tailpipe temperature started going up and when you reach a thousand degrees you change the engine. We didn’t want to go to a thousand degrees, but I remember I was tweaking that. I was going to go up to 999 degrees but anyway...Those were fun times for me and the airplane was pretty new in those days and I should have been killed 3 or 4 times I don’t know why I didn’t. Those were good times for me, and then I started playing golf with this guy that was in Air Training Command. That was headquarters Air Training Command at Scott Field. I started playing with this guy who was a Lieutenant Colonel. He was a good guy, and we had a lot of fun. And he was working for a Brigadier General in the Air Training Command headquarters there. This Brigadier General got promoted to Major General and this Lieutenant Colonel asked me if I’d like to be aide de camp to this Major General. And I said, “Well, who is he?” And they told me and he had just gotten a command at Randolph Field Crew Training Air Force on nine bases. All the crew training - he commanded it. Nellis and Williams and … gunnery school. And I said sure, I’d like to do that. And he introduced me to the General and we got along pretty good and I… General had a wife, and I kind of looked at her sideways because I had heard about General’s wives before and I told the General, “I’d love to be your Ace but I’m not a bootblack.” I said, “I’ll do what you tell me to do but, I’m gonna hide behind a tree when your wife comes around.” He said, “I understand what you mean Lieutenant. What I want you to do is fly as many of my airplanes as you can so that you can tell me what’s going on with my airplanes.” So Good Lord, I started flying the F-86, F-86D, the T-33, the F-89 and I flew the F-84G and I went to the helicopter school and gee, that was a pretty good job for me. But the good thing about being a General’s aid was that I met so many Generals that… And let me tell you, every time I met a General, I didn’t have to wonder why he was a General. 'Cause those people just. You see, when you put on a star, you think everything changes. And these guys were so bright and I met so many of them that I really did like and they helped me later on in my career, you know. And I remember one time, this was 1954 I think it was. The F-100 was a brand new airplane. It was top secret. Nobody knew anything about it. And so the General and I, he was giving this airplane and he owned Nellis Air Force Base and they were getting the F-100. So we went out to look at it at Palmdale in California. And they had guards around this hangar. They opened the door and the General and I walked in there, and there was that big airplane. I thought the F-86D was a big airplane and here’s the F-100. Good Lord I was so impressed with that thing. Speed breaks were about this wide (gesturing). And so, fast forward a few months and I told the General I’d like to fly the F-100. He said, “Call Colonel McGee and tell him you want to fly the F-100.” And Colonel McGee was the commander at Nellis. So I called him on the phone and said, “Colonel I want to come out and fly the F-100.” Colonel McGee says, “Fenn you’re not going to fly the F-100 till all my people, all my instructions are checked out. Then you can come out and fly the F-100.” I said, “Okay.” So this went on. Two or three phone calls later - he kept telling me I wasn’t going to fly the F-100. So the General called me into his office one day and he said, “Lieutenant, you still want to fly the F-100?” I said, “Yes, sir.” He said, “Call Colonel McGee on the phone.” He handed me a piece of paper. So I called Colonel McGee. I said, “Colonel McGee I want to come out and fly the F-100.” Colonel says, “Dammit Fenn, I’ll tell you a million times you’re not going to fly the F-100 till all my people are checked out.” I said, “Okay then, I’m not going to tell you.” He said, “You’re not going to tell me what?” I said, “I’m not going to tell you made Brigadier General.” He said, “Fenn, when can you come out and fly the F-100?” So about two weeks later, I went out there. His people weren’t checked out, but they were in the check out program, and here’s this hotshot First Lieutenant “World’s Greatest Pilot” coming out there to fly this huge airplane. But, I’d had afterburner time in the F-86D and dragshoot, and I said it’s just another airplane. So, they pulled an airplane out there and the crew chief - I didn’t know how to start it - but the crew chief got up on the ladder there, and he showed me how to start it and he told me what to do and I said, “Okay, all these instructions” - a lot of them Captains and Majors were there watching me killing myself. And I was pretty cocky then. And I was confident. I think that helped me a lot. But, when I started taxiing out, that F-100 had knee action on that nose - you know that go up and down like that (gesturing). And boy let me tell you the controls were a lot stiffer than what I was accustomed to. I started taxiing out and I said, “Good Lord, I got a little bit carried away this time.” But, you know, what can you do? Now, I got to go fly the airplane. It was heavy, but it was good. I took off and I flew around for about 45 minutes. I came in, pitched out, and the tower sent me around. You know, looking back on it now, it was inevitable they were gonna send me out because they wasn’t gonna let me get by with - anyway. So I went around and I flew a big pattern and I landed. Made a good landing. Taxied in and fortunately all the guys down there applauded me. And, and General McGee told me later, he said, he said, “I didn’t like what you were doing, but you were my boss’s aide and I felt responsi - I’ll tell you this: when those Captains and Majors saw this brash First Lieutenant who didn’t know anything jump in that airplane while they were going to ground school and fly it around and land it - it was the best thing that ever happened to those guys. If this guy didn’t kill himself, how - (laughs).” Anyway, that worked out pretty good.

When the General was in ah, I went to the, uh, the Army Helicopter School down in Texas. I think it was about a six month course. And I went through it, I think, in nine days. And I graduated. And I went back to Randolph Field about 40 or 50 miles away, and I walked into the General’s office, and I said, “General, you’re looking at the Air Force’s brand newest helicopter pilot.” He said, “You didn’t get a diploma in nine days.” I said, “Here it is. Look at this.” He said, “Well, I’ll tell you what. Randolph Field has an H-13 they need to take it to Williams Air Force Base in Phoenix. Go down there and tell General Persons at Randolph that you’ll fly - you’ll ferry that airplane out. We’ll find out if you’re a helicopter pilot.” Boy let me tell you when you’re - when you fly west in an H-13 with balsa wood wings, uh, rotor blades, uh when it starts raining, you land. I could fly the airplane, but I found myself following the highway. The wind, you got a westerly wind, top speed is 60 knots, and you got a 55 knot headwind, and you didn’t have any radio. You have a low frequency radio but tach-an wasn’t around yet. Didn’t have a VOR. And if you want to fly it solo, you have to take the battery out of the back and put it in the front, I mean, because that battery was big enough to make a difference in weight and balance. So now I’m looking for truck stops along the highway, route 66, to get out to Phoenix, and I’d land that airplane, and push the rotor blade around, and I could pick it up and push it all by myself. And push it up to tank, and put some gas in it. Get it, pulled it back, and get on to start again. I nearly starved to death I think. Took me about two and a half days or something to get out there. But, I did that and in those days you could get by with something like that. Today, in a million years, you couldn’t do anything like that.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-2017 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Lubbock - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: <
When I decided I was gonna move to Santa Fe I wanted to start over. So I decided that I was gonna sell what I had in Lubbock. For one thing it would have been a heck of a job to transport that stuff. But I had a friend over there, I forget his name now, a big tall guy, had a lot of money and he made his money because he owned big billboards along the highway – and he had a bunch of money. I think a lot of money in those days was a couple hundred thousand dollars but he was a rich man. So he wanted to buy my foundry. He said, figure out what you'll take. He said, sharpen your pencil. I said, okay, and I started figuring – I spent all one night figuring what – he says, give me your very lowest price. I said, okay, and I figured it out and it came to something like $20,000. It was worth a lot more than that but I think I told him something like $20,000. He thought it for a minute and he came back and he said, I'll give you $15,000. It made me so mad because I told him my very bottom price is 20 and now you're gonna offer me 15. I said, it's not for sale. It made him mad and he left. So I gave it all to Jerry House. And that was, the fruit from that tree that Jerry House started his foundry. And Jerry was a good guy. I remember him very well.

We started the Lubbock Corral of the Westerners Club in Lubbock. Jerry House and I did that. We met once a month and all these guys loved history and it was a good bunch of people. But Jerry had a thing going – he loved Paul Harvey, the radio commentator. And Paul came on at 12 o'clock noon and he had a 15 minute program and you didn't say anything to Jerry House during that 15 minutes. And he introduced me to Paul Harvey and later on I read some place that Joe Grandee the artist from Texas traded Paul Harvey a painting for some advertising on his radio program and Paul Harvey had a huge following. And so I wrote Paul Harvey a letter one time and I said, Mr. Harvey I'm struggling, I said, but I'm casting bronzes. I said, I'll give you some bronzes for advertising on your program. And I got a really nice letter back from Paul Harvey handwritten and it said, Mr. Fenn I'm sorry I can't trade. My corporation won't let me trade any. He said, I did trade with Joe Grandee but he said I can't do it. And I thought that was so nice that Paul Harvey – and years later I met Paul Harvey at a house, at a party, at Erma Bombeck's house in Scottsdale, Arizona. Erma Bombeck was the big thing and she wrote a column for all the papers. And at that same party was a guy by the name of Joe Garagiola who had been a catcher in the big leagues. And I met Paul Harvey and Joe Garagiola at that party and gee I thought I was in heaven with those guys.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-2017 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
The Gun Trader - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: I didn't have any money but I would go to trade shows, arrowhead shows and gun shows and I had a little display where I would put 25 or 30 bronzes on a table hoping somebody would come and by one of my bronzes. They never did that. But I remember one time this old gun trader, those gun traders can be somebody else. They're a bunch of old souls a lot of those guys. So I had a little bronze that he liked and he picked the thing up and he said, god, this is not cast very well is it? You know, this is a terrible a bronze. Who made this ugly looking thing and words like that and he put it down and wandered on off. And the show was like a three day show so the next day he did the same thing, came back, told me what a terrible bronze that was. But I mean I figured out this guy wants that bronze pretty bad. So Sunday everybody's packing up to go home including me. I saw this guy make the turn and come down toward me so I took that bronze away quick and I put it under my table. Mr. Fenn where is that ugly old bronze of that horse that I was looking at yesterday? I said, sir, you told me what a terrible bronze that was and you finally talked me into it so I sold it to some guy for ten bucks. And it nearly killed him because the price on it was 150 bucks and the thought that I had sold that thing out from under him for 10 bucks. You know, once in a while I do something right. I got a lot of reward by not selling that guy that bronze. I still remember how wonderful I felt because he was trying to beat me to death on that price.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-2017 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Foundry - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: First of all the foundry business is dangerous. And I was pioneering the field because there were almost no art casting bronze foundries in the country. And so I had to pioneer my way through the thing. And because I didn't have any money my equipment was homemade which means it didn't always work very well. But also the lost wax process means that you have to burn waxes out in a burn out oven and so it makes a lot of smoke. So here I am in downtown Santa Fe burning out waxes and everybody thinks the house is burning down and they call the fire department. And I knew that I wasn't gonna last very long and the foundry vent is in downtown Santa Fe by burning out waxes coupled with the fact that it was dangerous and my two guys quit their job.

And this was two weeks before Indian Market which was the big time in Santa Fe. Thousands of people, like 150,000 people would come to Santa Fe for this Indian Market. I decided I was gonna get out of the foundry business and I decided that overnight two weeks before Indian Market. Two days later I had sold everything in my foundry for practically nothing but I had to remodel my foundry – four rooms into gallery space. I had to borrow money from the bank to do that and I hate to borrow money. I don't hate to borrow money, I hate to pay it back. But anyway I borrowed money from the bank and we started remodeling it into a gallery. But Indian Market starts tomorrow but tonight they're still pouring cement on the floor in my new gallery space. So I knew that people weren't gonna come in my gallery and buy bronze and walk through wet cement. So what we did was buy plywood and we laid plywood on top of the wet cement so the people could come in my gallery and let me tell you – but I made enough money, I made enough profit that weekend by selling art and Indian artifacts to pay for all the remodeling. And I told myself, yeah, I can do this, you know, you have to have to stay ahead and staying ahead to me meant about two inches ahead because I felt like I was always trying to catch up and I didn't look back for fear somebody would be gaining on me. But that worked and I knew that I was gonna be successful when one month I was able to make payroll out of my accounts receivable – and that was one of the goals that I had. And I talked to my wife about that and we drank a glass of wine because that was the first time that I told myself that we were gonna make it in the art business.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-2017 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Slough Creek - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: My father and I and my football coach Concy Woods we fished together a lot in Yellowstone. They were both school teachers and they the summers off so we had three months to go to Yellowstone; and I always had jobs but I fished a lot too. And Slough Creek is a very famous place to fish today. In those days it was not. Nobody knew about Slough Creek and there were different meadows, a first meadow, a second meadow but they were three or four miles apart. And the further you walked up Slough Creek the better the fishing was we thought. So we went up there a couple of times and I remember we had to hook up our fly rods, put a fly on the end and throw it out there and catch bullfrogs. They'd catch it on their tongue and it's just like catching a fish. They'd jump in the water. We'd reel them in just like it was a fish 'cause frog legs is some of the best food in the world. And so we're up there on Slough Creek trying to catch fish but we're eating frog legs.

Well one time my mother had made a coonskin cap for me and I loved that thing partially because my mother made it for me. But I was walking up Slough Creek and my father and Concy Woods were somewhere. They weren't in sight. They were someplace up there fishing. And this big bull moose comes out of the trees and it's coming right straight for me. He must've been mad at something because… there was one big tree there that had big limbs on it and I climbed up that tree and the moose was under that tree. He had huge antlers. It must've been a world record moose. I'm sure it was. And he kept looking at me and I kept looking at him and I was scared. I knew he wasn't gonna climb that tree so as long as I was in that tree it was okay. So the moose laid down and went to sleep. Well what do you do when you're up a tree and a moose is under the tree sound asleep? So I broke off some limbs and I threw them at him hoping I'd wake him up and he would trot off. Finally that happened. I think he got hungry and he wandered off. So it was getting dark and we had to go back to the car which was about eight miles away. And there were places walking down Slough Creek where you had to get in the water in order to get past certain areas. So here I am walking out in the water, I was wearing loafers. Terrible! You don't ever wear loafers in the mountains. But I was wearing loafers and I got caught in quicksand and I dropped down about two feet. And struggling to get out and I finally worked myself out but I lost my right shoe. Well I had a sock on but I walked about four miles from where that quicksand was down to the car with a shoe on my left foot and a sock on my right foot and it was a – the only other time I experienced anything like that was a time when we roped that buffalo in, up out of West Yellowstone. I had to walk home barefooted. I don't know why I get myself in terrible situations I don't have any shoes on.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-2017 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
The Deal - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: After the first six or eight months the art business was very good to me in Santa Fe and I've often said that I came to the right place at the right time with the right product. Western art was in its infancy. But my secretary talked me into buying one of these little, black callers where a buzzer rings and it says, the thing says call your secretary. So I did that. I was over in Romona Scholder's office talking about something and this thing buzzed and I looked at it – Forrest call your office right this second. Geez, right this second. I said, okay, here's Forrest. What's going on? She said, my secretary says, Forrest, I've got this lady on the telephone in Simi Valley, California. She said, she's standing there with two Arabs. She's scared to death but she said eight years ago you offered her something like $100,000 for her paintings and the lady wants to know if the offer is still good. Well I didn't know who the lady was and $100,000 was a lot of money to me but I told her, I said if I made the offer to you the offer is still good. I said, yeah, tell her I'll buy them. So she dismissed these two Arabs and later on I talked to her a couple of times on the telephone. So she was liquidating her mother's estate. Her mother owned a golf course in Simi Valley or outside of Simi Valley some place. So she closed the 18th fairway on her golf course and I landed uphill on her 18th fairway at her golf course and taxied up to her back yard. I figured that I had 15 minutes before the sheriff could get there and tell me I wasn't supposed to do that and I told this lady that I had 15 minutes. Well in that 15 minutes I bought like seven or eight paintings and this big rug that's on my floor that was part of the deal. And I figured if I landed uphill I could make it in my airplane but I had to take off downhill because I was sweating. I can land in a shorter distance than I could take off, particularly with all this stuff loaded in my airplane. So I took off downhill fortunately into the wind and I lifted off just before I got to the end of that fairway and a bunch of big trees. And it was things like that I acquired my – but I always had a positive attitude. Yeah, I'll do it. Tell me what you have and let's go do something and I love the way those things work.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-2017 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Collected Works Bookstore - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: I had written eight books before. Nobody wanted any of my books. My parents were dead. Who's gonna buy my books? I had a few friends. they didn't have any money. Nobody wanted my books. So when I, I self-published my books I owned what was called the One Horse Landing Cattle Company. It was nothing but a name. I mean I didn't own any horses or any cattle but it was a name. And I published that, I printed that book in a thousand copies because I figured nobody was gonna want that book. And then about a week later a lady in Manhattan by the name of Margie Goldsmith wrote a story in Hemispheres magazine. It sits behind the seat in United airplanes, every airplane has it hidden behind it. So here's these people captured for two and a half hours with nothing to do. The next day I got 1,200 emails. Good lord. And so I told myself what people are going to say is that Forrest Fenn wrote that book about the treasure chest to promote his book so he could make a bunch of money selling his book. I didn't want them to say that so I gave all the books to the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe as a gift and I've never sold one of the books and I've never even made my costs back.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-2017 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Being Positive Video Transcript: I didn't know much about what I was doing and I've told a story about this guy coming in my gallery and he had a big basket he wanted to sell me. He wanted $1,000 for that basket and I didn't know, I knew it was a basket but I didn't know that it was an Apache basket and a pretty good Apache basket. But he told me that he wanted $1,000 for it and my mind was oscillating back and forth and I figured out later that I could have thought of one of two things. The first thing I could have thought of was, Forrest look what this idiot thinks you're gonna give him $1,000 for. Or I could have thought, quick Forrest, grab your checkbook. Look what you're gonna steal for just $1,000. Since I didn't know what it was and I didn't know what it was worth the question is, can I buy it and sell it and make a profit? So I bought the thing and I sold it a few days later and I think I made a third. I think I made four, five hundred bucks and so I spent a lot of time thinking about that and I decided that, you know, if you don't know what you're doing try to be positive. I tell myself I was spring loaded and safety wired to the yes position and I made some mistakes but I never made a mistake that really hurt me.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-2017 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Two Dollar Pistol Video Transcript: I was driving to Santa Fe in a big rental truck. Everything I owned was in that truck plus a wife and two kids. I was moving from Lubbock, Texas to Santa Fe. And I stopped in a little old town down here in New Mexico, Yeso or Vaughn or one of those little towns. It had a little tiny post office, it had a gas station and two or three houses and that was it. But I needed gas so I stopped in the gas station and in those days they came out and they pumped the gas in my car. So the guy's pumping gas in my car and I'm talking to him and he made a living on the side by catching rabbits at night and selling them to the government. The government had some kind of project going on with live rabbits. So I liked the guy and we were talking about history and he goes, come here, I want to show you something. So we walked in this gas station, above the door there was a little pistol, a little Smith & Wesson pistol, a two dollar pistol. And I said, well I didn't have any money but I said, what'll you take for that old pistol? He said, I want $10,000 for it. I said, what? $10,000? It's a two dollar pistol. He said, well read the sign. There's a little sign there under the pistol. So I got in a chair and I read the sign. It says, very rare Smith & Wesson pistol, serial number such and such, $10,000. It says, this is the only gun in New Mexico that was not owned by Billy the Kid, and that's what made it so rare. He got a lot of miles out of that two dollar pistol.

Date Site Name Link
01-01-2017 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
The Persian Video Transcript: The first couple of shows I had I didn't sell anything, not a book or anything. But then I had a friend over in Texas that wanted to sell a small Persian rug. It had been owned by the Shah of Iran. The wefts in this rug were made out of 18 carat gold threads. The thing was heavy. It was about 8 by 10 feet but it was so heavy with gold that four or five guys could barely carry that into my gallery. Laid it out on the floor and it was so valuable that I had to hire three guards and I think they sat there in that chair in 8-hour shifts around the clock. Well of course I didn't sell the thing but I got some mileage out of it. People came, quick let's go over to the Fenn Gallery and look at that. So you know word of mouth traffic is better than anything else. But I was struggling and working hard. I was working 6 1/2 day weeks and vacation was not a word in my vocabulary during those days.

Date Site Name Link
15-02-2018 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
The Blaze Link: Click HereFORREST FENN: The Blaze is a physical thing. It’s not theoretical. Boy did I give you a big clue. That’s not a clue, I mean, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that the blaze is something you can look at.

NICK LAZAREDES: But what is it, exactly? Blaze is a collection of something?

FENN: A horse has a blaze on his forehead here. I mean, there are rocks that have a white face could be a blaze. I mean, there’s a fire that’s blazing. I mean, I could give you a thousand different scenarios there. And all of them come to me in - by email. Everybody finds a different one. The fact is, the important one is out there.

Date Site Name Link
27-05-2016 Click Here
Question Quote
Radio transcript from Richard Eeds Show podcast on interview with Forrest Fenn (Video begins at the 1:57 mark) RICHARD EEDS: Always a good day when we get to see our buddy, Forrest Fenn. Forrest is here. We’re going to talk about a few things. Ummm, and including something called FennFest. Mr. Fenn, how have you been?

FORREST FENN: I’m fine but, people haven’t called me Mr. Fenn in a long time.

EEDS: Well you are Mr. Fenn.

FENN: Thank you, sir.

EEDS: You’re a good man. How are you?

FENN: Well I’m hanging on.

EEDS: Yeah? Hanging on to what?

FENN: Anything I can grab!

EEDS: A root?

FENN: I’m 85 years old. Everytime I wake up, I’m thankful.

EEDS: Yeah, but you look good. You look healthy.

FENN: Well, thank you. I hope - I am healthy, I think.

EEDS: You came down here by yourself today, or did someone drop you off?

FENN: No, I drove my own car.

EEDS: So, uh, that’s a warning. (laughing) I’ll let you know when Forrest is headed out. You a good driver?

FENN: I’m a good driver. I haven’t had a speeding ticket in 50 years.

EEDS: Really. What other kinds of tickets did you get?

FENN: Don’t talk to me about parking through.

EEDS: Yeah. (laughter) Got a few of those out there? What are you driving these days? You got a modern car or your old classic car?

FENN: My old Jeep?

EEDS: Yeah? How old? Is it a Willy’s?

FENN: It’s about 5 or 6 years old.

EEDS: Oh, okay.

FENN: I lose track of time.

EEDS: You still have the first car you had?

FENN: I have a 1935 Plymouth. It’s the brother of the car that I bought when I was 16 years old.

EEDS: That's great. In Georgia, right?

FENN: In Atlanta, Georgia.

EEDS: Alright. Ummm, FennFest. Tell us about FennFest. What is FennFest?

FENN: You mean Fennborree?

EEDS: Fenborree! I’m sorry. I’ve been calling it FennFest.

FENN: Fennboree is a thing that -

EEDS: I renamed it!

FENN: - a couple of gals in Albuquerque are putting on. Stephanie Meachamum, Sasha Johnson, and it’s gonna be on the 3rd and 4th of June. I guess next weekend.

EEDS: That’s next weekend.

FENN: And I think they are expecting something like 200 people there. Up Hyde Park Road in the Forest Service Recreation Area.

EEDS: So next weekend. Here in Santa Fe. Up in Hyde Park.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Alright. Is it, uh, are the details anywhere online? On your website - on the uh…

FENN: Well the uh,

EEDS: The Trading Post website?

FENN: If you go to there’s a place up at the top that tells you all about it. D-a-l-n-e-i-t-z-e-l dot com.

EEDS: He does all your websites -

FENN: It’s dedicated to my treasure chest.

EEDS: Right, right. He was on the show last time you were here.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Yeah. Um, alright. I got an email a little while ago from Tomas Leach. Remember him?

FENN: Oh yeah. From London.

EEDS: Yeah.

FENN: He’s a good guy. Tomas.

EEDS: Yeah. Very nice. Very pleasant fellow. He was here making a documentary about it. So I emailed him this morning. You know, what’s going on? What’s the status? Do you have anything new? So, he just emailed me back a little while ago, Forrest. He said the film is called, “The Lure.” And now it’s the the final sound and music mix. Will be premiering the film in the fall at film festivals before releasing it in theaters. I can’t make it on - I actually invited him to call in and chat with us, uh, this morning. He said, “I’d love to come back when the film is out, especially when we bring it to Santa Fe. Send the best and my best to Forrest and you also.” He also adds a little a P.S. down here - that Ivan cut out of the film All of this stuff I did ended up on the cutting room floor.

FENN: Well he wanted to upgrade

EEDS: Exactly. Thank you, Forrest. Um, aright. Before we get into, and I said I was going to bend your fingers back, or I was going to torture you or somehow to make you tell me, and only me where the treasure chest is. Um, the story is, and I know - this you probably took personally, a man who was searching for the treasure was in New Mexico, who vanished. As far as I know, no trace. I mean there have been traces but he has not been found, correct?

FENN: He’s not been found since - not been heard of since the 5th of January.

EEDS: Right. And the last I heard, Forrest, maybe you have newer information, is that a backpack, a blue backpack was found up near Bandelier. And it didn’t make any sense to me because it was found up on a cliff and in a scree field… It’s like - Forrest is not going to climb up something like that even a few years ago, I don’t think, to hide the treasure chest. Uh, was the backpack ever identified as being his, was it confirmed?

FENN: I don’t think so. The Police are holding that information pretty close to their chest, but I really don’t know what’s going on. It seems to be - everybody seems to have a different opinion, but something very mysterious has happened to him.

EEDS: Really?

FENN: I think so.

EEDS: Think so?

FENN: I mean, they’re not putting out any information, which makes me suspicious already.

EEDS: Is the, um, is the search continuing? I know his ex-wife, right? His ex-wife was continuing the search. Asking people to volunteer.

FENN: You know, I really don’t know. I don’t know why anybody would continue to search in there. I spent nine hours flying up and down in a helicopter flying up and down that - 18 miles and

EEDS: Of the canyon?

FENN: Of the canyon, yeah. From Buckman road all the way down to Cochiti Lake and we couldn’t find anything. But there are guys out there with drones and nothing turned up. Then all of the sudden this backpack shows up where -

EEDS: Up near Bandelier.

FENN: Up near Bandelier, yeah.

EEDS: Right. Is there any chance this is another, I don’t know - you know, just another mystery or another uh, effort, uh, I don’t know… I’ll just leave it at that. I know you don’t want to go there because I don’t know, but it is a sad story if the family never gets any closure.

FENN: Well, everybody has a different idea, you know. The guy could be in Tijuana sipping tequila with his girlfriend for all I -

EEDS: That’s where I was going. I don’t know so I didn’t want to… Alright how many people? How many people do you expect? How many people around Santa Fe? Now that the weather’s good will people come out of the forest or come to New Mexico, or come to Yellowstone, or come to wherever searching for your treasure?

FENN: Well, I spent some time thinking about that. And up until this coming summer there have been about 65,000 people out looking for the treasure and thankfully that’s parents taking their kids out of the game room and away from their texting machines and experiencing the national forests and the mountains. It’s a good thing.

EEDS: Which some people say is, was your intent. That’s the real treasure that your hinting at.

FENN: That’s correct.

EEDS: Your granddaughter, who was here the first time you came into the show, and I questioned it. I don’t know if this is actually a real treasure or an imaginary treasure or a metaphorical treasure, but when your granddaughter was here, when she came, you know, she convinced me. Just the look on her face. Recounting. You know, she knows a lot of these pieces that you say are inside of the chest.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: It’s not just, you know, it’s not just bullion or coins, there’s a lot of cool stuff you put in there.

FENN: Well there’s pre-Columbian gold artifacts and 2,000 year old necklaces and bracelets and ancient Chinese carved jade figures. It’s wonderful.

EEDS: Alright before we get into some of the “what’s in the treasure chest” - For people listening that don’t know the story, how did this - I don’t want to go all the way back, because in the past we’ve gone all the way back: Vietnam and prior to that when you met your wife, and Georgia and Texas and all of that, and why you came to Santa Fe. Um, but let’s go back to the poem. Where can people find the poem?

FENN: The poem is printed in my book, “The Thrill Of The Chase.” And they can buy it at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe. As a matter of fact, that’s the only place they can buy it.

EEDS: Not online?

FENN: Online they can get it from Amazon, but Amazon gets it from the bookstore.

EEDS: Okay. So Collected Works is the best -

FENN: Collected Works Bookstore.

EEDS: Uhh, what is the poem?

FENN: Well, there are nine clues in the poem. And if you can follow the clues, one right after the other, it will take you to the treasure chest.

EEDS: If you can follow the clues.

FENN: There’s a big “if” there. It’s not easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible. People have been within 200 feet that I know for sure because they tell me where they are.

EEDS: Well that’s a clue right there. Who?

FENN: Well you better get out in the mountains then, Richard.

EEDS: Alright, now, Forrest I’ve read this poem. You know, and, it seems to me, to my mind Forrest, how long did it take you to write it? It is very complex. It is very well put together, it is, you know, in terms of just being a poem, in terms of being a kind of literature it’s very impressive. But in terms of being part of a treasure hunt it’s even more impressive. How long did it take you?

FENN: I worked on it on and off for fifteen years, Richard.

EEDS: Okay

FENN: And I looked up words, definitions of words, and changed them, and went back and rebooted. I’m very pleased. It turned out exactly like I wanted it to turn out.

EEDS: As difficult as it as you wanted it to be right?

FENN: The results are what I wanted out of that poem.

EEDS: Is it fair? Do you think somebody will try hard enough, search hard enough, search long enough that they can find the chest?

FENN: It’s not a matter of trying. It’s a matter of thinking. Read the poem. Read the book, because there are some hints in the book that will help you with clues in the poem. But sure, people have figured the first couple of clues and unfortunately walked right past the treasure chest.

EEDS: So people have - and people contact you probably on a daily basis -

FENN: I get a hundred emails a day.

EEDS: Through your email. People show up at your house unfortunately. People contact Dal and through the website. Actually the last time, the two of you were here, I got a bunch of emails from overseas and I probably goofed a little bit and told - sent some people some links to things that were maybe not 100% fair. I was just trying to get them off my back and back onto you. So, people who have contacted you, there have been people who have been very, very close.

FENN: Very little close. They

EEDS: Ooooh. Do you tell them?

FENN: No, I don’t tell them that they’re close. I couldn’t afford to do that, but some of the emails I get are wonderful. I got one from this little girl in Philadelphia I think, she said, “Mr. Fenn if I find the treasure, do I have to share it with my brother?” So, you know, I tell myself that, the treasure chest story is doing what I want it to do. Getting kids out and thinking and planning and there are clubs in schools all over this country called The Thrill Of The Chase Club and kids are getting organized and trying to find out where the treasure is, and this summer they’re going to get on the bus and go look for it.

EEDS: Alright be back with Forrest after this timeout. It’s 19 minutes after nine. He will tell me where the chest is - or else. Nineteen minutes after nine o’clock. Our guest is the great Forrest Fenn. Treasure writer-er-er-er and the keeper of the clues. Twenty minutes after nine. Be right back. KVSF the voice of Santa Fe. We podcast. If you think there might be clues in this interview, find the podcast at I’m not going to tell you any more than that.

EEDS: (note: 15:06 mark) Forrest Fenn is our guest. Talking about his treasure chest and the treasure hunt, and uh, his poem which - I don’t know. I think it may be impossible to solve this darn thing, but I guess I just gotta get out in the mountains or somewhere and start looking for this darn thing. Could be anywhere… What do you say, from Santa Fe to, to…

FENN: Canadian Border

EEDS: Canadian Border, yeah.

FENN: In the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe.

EEDS: And a lot of people like, like looking around Yellowstone because you have a history with Yellowstone. You’ve been there many times as a younger man and so a lot of people are like, “Oohhh that’s where he put it.”

FENN: Well I spent the first 18 uhh, first 20 summers up in Yellowstone Park for three months each summer. My father was a schoolteacher. We had the summers off.

EEDS: Why Yellowstone? Why was he drawn to Yellowstone?

FENN: Well my father was a fisherman and his father-in-law was up there and everything just tied up and we fell in love with that place and I’m the only one left in my family but I’m carrying on my love for Yellowstone.

EEDS: A lot of fond memories of uh

FENN: Oh yeah

EEDS: As a youngster up there?

FENN: Oh yeah.

EEDS: Those stick with you.

FENN: They stay forever, yeah. I was a fishing guide at age 13 up in Yellowstone.

EEDS: Giving other people the -

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: So they experience the magic of Yellowstone.

FENN: I used to know every fish in that whole country.

EEDS: Uhhhh, caught your first fish where? First fish, ever.

FENN: My first fish ever was down in Temple, Texas. A little creek - fishing with worms and a bobber. A little catfish about six inches long.

EEDS: Proud though weren’t you?

FENN: Oh yeah. Sure.

EEDS: makes you happy.

FENN: I tried to have it mounted, but my father wouldn’t go for that.

EEDS: Dad, can we stuff it? Well, when you get a bigger one (laughter). Or when you get bigger. I remember catching - as I recall, it was a German Brown Trout up at Eagle’s Nest. And it was a big deal!

FENN: It is a big deal.

EEDS: Alright, uh, what’s in the chest? Give us an idea. You know, I tried to put a value on it and you said there’s no point.

FENN: There are 20.2 Troy pounds of gold in that chest. 265 gold coins. Most of them double eagle american coins.

EEDS: Are they more valuable to melt down or as a coin?

FENN: No, you don’t melt those things down. They have numismatic value. But there is 265 rubies and emeralds and diamonds and sapphires and there’s hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets. Two of the gold nuggets are larger than a chicken egg. They weigh over one Troy pound each. And that’s a pretty big nugget.

EEDS: That’s a big nugget. Where’d you get them? Where’d you find the nuggets? I mean - most of these things, you acquired over a lifetime right? I mean, you had a trading post, you know your art - art dealer...

FENN: When I decided I was going to hide this chest, I went out looking for things you know. I wanted - it had to be small because the chest is not really big.

EEDS: Yeah. It’s not. Yeah.

FENN: But you find gold nuggets at gun shows and arrowhead shows and you know

EEDS: As big as a chicken egg?

FENN: Well that’s unusual, yeah sure.

EEDS: You stole them out of some museum didn’t you?

FENN: Well I would have to have!

EEDS: Are you a wanted man? Have you ever seen the gold nugget up at the uhh… Natural History Museum in Denver?

FENN: Oh yeah. They have a great collection of gold nuggets.

EEDS: Big as a football!

FENN: Well sure. Larger than that.

EEDS: Alright so there’s raw gold. There’s gold coins. There’s precious stones. Did you acquire the stones over years?

FENN: That’s right. And every wonderful thing that I had that was small enough to fit in that chest, that’s where I put it.

EEDS: And there are some - i mean there are kind of some heirlooms in there as well, right?

FENN: Well it’s a personal thing with me. When I had the chest almost full, I told myself, you know, I want to put something in there that’s personal. I want to put some of me into this chest. And I had this wonderful little bracelet that Richard Weatherall - made of prehistoric beads. Richard Weatherall found at Mesa Verde the first time he ever climbed down into that ruin. It was made into -

EEDS: He’s not the cowboy that - I mean the guys on the cattle drive that crossed the plateau?

FENN: He’s the one that discovered Mesa Verde.

EEDS: Wow. I think there might be some Indians that might differ with that opinion, but… So he’s the first white man? Cowboy right?

FENN: Well, well, I wasn’t there at the time, but you’re in the ballpark.

EEDS: So he found this?

FENN: He found 22 little turquoise disc beads the first time he ever climbed down into Mesa Verde.

EEDS: Right.

FENN: And a couple years later, an Indian working for him made a bracelet out of those 22 beads and then many many years later I won it a pool game with a nephew of Byron Harvey.

EEDS: Really?

FENN: Yeah.

EEDS: So you’re a pool shark? Fats Domino. Minnesota Slim.

FENN: You just have to be good enough to win, that’s all.

EEDS: Where was this? Where was this pool game?

FENN: It was in Scottsdale, Arizona.

EEDS: And you won this - bracelet or necklace?

FENN: In a pool game with Byron Harvey. Yeah.

EEDS: Wow. That's pretty cool!

FENN: I was surprised it fit me perfect and I hated to put it - I’ve said over and over whoever finds that treasure chest, bring that bracelet back to me and I’ll buy it. I’ll give a good price for that bracelet.

EEDS: Right. Your, uh, granddaughter, when she was here with you, Forrest, she brought up something. It was a piece of jewelry. An heirloom of some kind that was really stuck in her mind. It was for some reason special to her. I don’t remember what it was though.

FENN: Maybe it was that bracelet. Probably was.

EEDS: Could have been that bracelet. There was something in there that was - and it was the look in her eye that her remembering that piece that I THINK convinced me that this whole thing is on the up and up.

FENN: She has appreciation for fine things.

EEDS: Well she’s your granddaughter.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: How is she?

FENN: She’s fine.

EEDS: She went off to Lubbock for awhile right?

FENN: She graduated from Texas Tech University.

EEDS: God forbid go to Lubbock, Texas. All the family’s good?

FENN: Yeah. They’re all good. Everybody’s working and making a few bucks. That’s what it’s all about. The thrill of the chase, right?

EEDS: It is the thrill of the chase, whatever you're looking for. Any - Stick around a little while longer? I don’t know what your schedule is today. I know you’re a busy man.

FENN: I’ll hang around. I got some hot tea I’m sipping on.

EEDS: Alright. Forrest Fenn is our guest. Always a pleasure to talk to Forrest. Guy is mysterious. He’s always got stories. But you gotta kinda dig them out of him. He ain’t gonna give them up easy. Kinda like the treasure chest. We’ll see what we can do. See if I can get a clue out of him. Thirty-one minutes after nine o’clock. Sandy Brice will be here. Sandy knows Forrest. Actually has stories about Forrest Fenn. As does Kate Collins who was here the other day. She used to type up stuff for you. She was telling me about you Forrest. A lot of women in town have stories about Forrest Fenn. We’ll be right back.

EEDS: (23:00 mark) Thirty-five minutes past nine o’clock. Forrest, did you ever own a mule? You ever had a mule?

FENN: Say that again?

EEDS: Have you ever had a mule?

FENN: I’ve had donkeys. Never had a mule.

EEDS: Yeah?

FENN: Well, I gotta say Richard you got good taste in music.

EEDS: Thank you. Well Taj Mahal played here in Santa Fe last night at the Railyard Farmers Market Pavillion as a benefit for KSFR Radio. I am sure it was a fantastic show. I hope a lot of people attended and they raised a lot of money. Taj Mahal. Great, great musician, and um, big fan of Taj. Met him a few times. Alright. Forrest you told me - I was going to go in a different direction, but you told me that when we came back, you would reveal, if I asked you where the treasure chest is, you’ll tell us.

FENN: So are you gonna ask me?

EEDS: Where is the treasure chest, Forrest Fenn?

FENN: It’s - I’ll tell you exactly where it is Richard. It’s in the Rocky Mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe.

EEDS: And?

FENN: No and. That’s where it is.

EEDS: Now I made the mistake, several times, first two times I think you were here, saying it was buried. And you said, don’t assume it.

FENN: I like you because you’re so easy, Richard.

EEDS: I know. I’m gullible as can be. “Ask me where it is, I’ll tell you Richard.” But, uh, people should not assume that you buried it right?

FENN: Should not assume that I buried it, but you should not assume that I didn’t bury it. I don’t want to give that as a clue.

EEDS: Right. Uh, it could be in a tree trunk. It could be in a cave, with a

FENN: No. I’ve said that it’s not in a cave or a mine. I don’t want people getting killed in the mines.

EEDS: That’s a good point. Yeah, there’s too many unstable mines between here and the Canadian border.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Uhh, um, alright, you’re not a nice man, I’ve decided. Uh, um, the Fennborree

FENN: Fennborree.

EEDS: Fennborree next week up at Fort, uh Hyde Park Road. Details on the Fennborree - on the - on Dal’s website. Once again, what’s the -

FENN: D-A-L-N-E-I-T-Z-E-L dot com.

EEDS: Alright. And he does all the stuff related to the treasure chest.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: And, you know, Forrest, so you can find it if you want. How many people are going to show up for that?

FENN: Well, we don’t know. We don’t have a registration, and I’m not putting it on.

EEDS: Right.

FENN: But I’m guessing, from what emails I’m getting, there should be 200 people or so.

EEDS: Probably all treasure hunters.

FENN: Well I think nearly all of them are, yes.

EEDS: It’s the Fennborree. I’ve been calling it the FennFest, but you should maybe take FennFest and put it in your pocket and use it somewhere down the road. It’s kind of a good name.

FENN: Well

EEDS: Gotta good ring to it.

FENN: Thank you for that clue. Maybe I’ll do that.

EEDS: Yeah, you can have that. Alright, you mentioned, Forrest, that you had an email from a little girl, saying if she found your treasure, does she have to share it with her little brother. Um, first of all what’d you tell her?

FENN: Well, I told her to consult her father on that subject.

EEDS: Okay.

FENN: As I recall -

EEDS: Probably good advice

FENN: I don’t want to cause any disruption in the family.

EEDS: Okay, umm. You get hundreds of emails a day.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: You get them from all over the world.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Has the poem been translated at all?

FENN: Well yes. There have been documents made in four or five different countries, and they read the poem in those languages.

EEDS: Okay

FENN: Two in Japan, I think. Germany and France, sure.

EEDS: And the hunt, and the poem, and you’re extremely popular in the UK. What do you think it is? I mean there’s people in Scotland and England that pestered me after you were on.

FENN: I don’t know but four documentaries have been made by London documentary makers.

EEDS: Including Tomas Leach

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Called “The Lure” which will be out this summer. Final stages. He’s just gotta cut me out of it.

FENN: Well he came from London to Santa Fe four times and interviewed me. He wanted to interview me in all four seasons. I don’t know what that had to do with it, but he must have a plan of some kind.

EEDS: He came by here, and we did a little thing about what this kind of tourism means to Santa Fe and how important you were. If you were a nice man or not. At the time I thought you were. All of these emails - how many do you answer?

FENN: If a person sends me a short email, signs his name and doesn’t ask me questions, usually I’ll respond. But if it’s a long email, I just can’t read them. I just get too many.

EEDS: I agree. You know, why? Keep them short. But you’ve got a soft spot if kids send you emails right?

FENN: Yeah. I love to get emails from kids, and there are a lot of, as I said before, the thrill of the chase clubs in school systems throughout this country, and one in England. They’re trying to figure out where the treasure is, and they’re going to get on a bus this summer and come to the Rocky Mountains and look for the treasure.

EEDS: And you attend some of these? You participate in some of these? Do you also do, uh, like video conferencing with some of the classrooms, something like that? Skype with them?

FENN: That’s right. That’s right.

EEDS: There was a documentary made. You sent me a link I think it was on Discovery Channel maybe? A guy on a motorcycle maybe? Cruising all around Northern New Mexico.

FENN: It was the Travel Channel.

EEDS: Travel Channel. Yeah. It was well done!

FENN: Expedition Unknown.

EEDS: Yeah.

FENN: They did 47 minutes on the treasure story.

EEDS: Plus commercials, came out to an hour.

FENN: That’s right. They spent a lot of money on that. They got in helicopters and hot air balloons in Albuquerque and

EEDS: But it was pretty good, and they went up and down the river. Climbed up and down the rocks like south of Taos Gorge. South of the box or something like that. But one of the things that they did and they showed was the family that was going around. A family traveling around in like a minivan with like a metal detector. It was like four teenage girls and - young teenagers and going around all over the place. Man, a couple of times they said, “This is the campground. This is the site where we’re going to find it.”

FENN: “This is exactly where it is!”

EEDS: And they are convinced

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: A lot of people like that.

FENN: And they have a lot of fun, and that’s what it’s all about.

EEDS: And that was the cool thing about that.

FENN: But the treasure chest is out there and its waiting for whoever can figure out the clues.

EEDS: Now you get messages all the time I would imagine from people saying we know and we are 100% certain and it will be revealed very soon. We know where this darn thing is.

FENN: There was a thing - an item on eBay this last week. These two little old ladies found the treasure chest with a metal detector. The ground was frozen so they couldn’t dig it, but they’ll sell the clue to you on eBay starting price of $50,000.

EEDS: Two little old ladies.

FENN: But you could buy it right now for $100,000 to find the spot.

EEDS: Or you have to wait and bid.

FENN: Ebay took it off.

EEDS: Or you can buy the book for how much at Collected Works from Dorothy?

FENN: I think it’s $35.

EEDS: Yeah.

FENN: We wanted to price it so that everybody could afford it.

EEDS: So $35 or $100,000. That’s great. Two little old - probably isn’t two little old ladies either. Probably some shady kind of guy somewhere, but you know the story of two little old ladies would touch somebody. Right?

FENN: Some Mafioso someplace.

EEDS: Russian Mafioso somewhere. Um, you uh, you’ve told this story. You told this story many many times. Why you came to Santa Fe, and the story of being shot down twice as a fighter pilot in Vietnam and injured, and you came to Santa Fe and became a well-known and well-off art dealer written all these wonderful art books. The latest one is just absolutely, absolutely gorgeous. Uh, Gaspard, Leon?

FENN: Leon. Biography of Leon Gaspard.

EEDS: Yeah, it is a beautiful book. What is that history - your service, Vietnam, being a fighter pilot, what does that all mean to you when we come to a weekend like Memorial Day and all those, all those brave soldiers who paid the ultimate price up on the National Cemetery?

FENN: It’s hard for me in my mind to realize what’s taken place over the last 85 years, you know? I never did - I don’t feel like I planned anything, things just happened to me and each item passes pretty fast. You know, my military career was 20 years, but I look back at it now and it seems like just yesterday. I don’t know. At age 85 I think your mind starts evolving and looking back and I’m proud of some of the things that I’ve done.

EEDS: Oh I’m sure. I’m sure. I mean you’ve got to be proud of that. You’ve got to be proud that you’ve been married to the same woman for 62 years.

FENN: But you know I think everybody, uh, has those same feelings.

EEDS: Sure. Sure.

FENN: I’m not unique in that sense.

EEDS: But your military service,

FENN: Well I’m proud - I was a fighter pilot for 18 of my 20 years. I was shot down twice in Vietnam, but I -

EEDS: And you survived that!

FENN: And I took battle damage a few times. I lost some roommates and you know I’ve said over and over, we’ve got to start leaving people alone, Richard. I can’t say that often enough.

EEDS: Your thoughts on the President of the United States visiting Vietnam the last few days, and today at Hiroshima.

FENN: Yeah.

EEDS: Pretty historic visits. He’s not the first President to go to Vietnam since the peace. I guess if you can call it that, but he says, you know, we’re going to lift all embargos against Vietnam and, you know, we need to make things right. Not apologizing, but we need to understand the significance of all of these acts of war.

FENN: Well, you know I talked about that some in my book. You’ve got to ask yourself why are we doing those things?

EEDS: Did you ask when you were, early 20’s I assume?

FENN: No. I did what I was told. I was a Major in the Air Force. The President of the United States telling me to go to Vietnam and fight in a war, and I did that. After I came back I realized, why was I over there? Why was anybody in Vietnam? Or Korea? I mean we gotta learn to leave - to stay out of those things.

EEDS: Right. Your, um, your life here in Santa Fe is a good life. Do you love Santa Fe?

FENN: I love Santa Fe. Santa Fe has absolutely everything that I want.

EEDS: And days like this - weekends coming up like this, there’s a lot of people in town, and we get to share it with a lot of people who would give up a lot to live in a town like Santa Fe.

FENN: That’s right. And we got Folk Art Market coming up, and that’s a wonderful thing too.

EEDS: You like that?

FENN: Oh I love it.

EEDS: That’s a great weekend isn’t it? I was out of town. I was in France with my brother summer, but, that is a really good weekend.

FENN: Yeah. It really is.

EEDS: Um, your dabblings in dealing art is books in itself. Why, and you’ve told this story, why, I find it fascinating, why the Russians? Why did you - how did that kind of come about that you became this expert dealer in very fine Russian art?

FENN: Well there’s the famous Taos Society of Artists. There were ten members in that, but the two greatest artists that lived in Taos during those same days were Russian immigrants. Leon Gaspard and Nikolai Fechin. I wrote books about both of them. When you compare the art that they made compared with, uh, the Taos Society of Artists, they’re very favorable. In my opinion, they were better than any of those other artists. A lot of people disagree with me on that, but it was very unlikely that 12 very important international artists would live in a little town in Taos right after the turn of the last century. We’re talking about 19-

EEDS: What are the odds?

FENN: Incalculable.

EEDS: Yeah. Well when was Gaspard in town?

FENN: He moved into Taos - he was shot down in the first world war and he was very seriously hurt, but when he recovered he moved to Taos somewhere like 1919? The war was still winding down. 1919 somewhere around there -

EEDS: First world war.

FENN: Yeah first world war.

EEDS: So he was a fighter pilot as well?

FENN: He was an observer flying in the backseat of this little airplane and it got shot down and they didn’t have parachutes so the pilot is going to crash this airplane into a haystack and Leon Gaspard jumped out at the last minute without a parachute and landed in a mud puddle and was very seri - the pilot was killed and…

EEDS: Wow. So shot down in a Sopwith Camel somewhere.

FENN: There are exciting things out there for you to do, Richard.

EEDS: Yeah, well I don’t want to do that at any point. But so much, Forrest, is coming out. Especially right now. New books, new film Awakening in Taos. All this revival of those years of the Taos artists of the Taos School, uh, Mabel Dodge Luhan, and Georgia O’Keefe and all stories, all those kind of overlapping overlaying stories of Georgia and Mabel and and Taos Pueblo and, you know, Ansel Adams, and all these great stories.

FENN: Well you know, I got three more books in my computer and I don’t think I’m going to finish them, but

EEDS: Do you? You told me the Leon the Gaspard one was the last one. You’re unpredictable.

FENN: Well you can’t write your next one till you finish your last one.

EEDS: That’s true. You’re a crafty man. Alright you wanna, I’m going to let you go. You wanna leave us a clue before you leave?

FENN: The clue is enrich your life and get the kids out of the basement and go out and spend a couple of weeks in the Rocky Mountains and Santa Fe and Yellowstone and every place in between.

EEDS: Could be up in the, uh, what’s that, Rocky Mountain National Monument up in Estes Park.

FENN: I wish you’d not said that.

EEDS: Somewhere up there with those giant bull Elk.

FENN: Animals are wonderful.

EEDS: Forrest, thanks for coming by.

FENN: My pleasure always.

EEDS: Try and stay out of trouble, alright?

FENN: Thank you and invite me back please.

EEDS: Alright. I will! We will be real clear on the day and time. We’ll be back. 10 minutes before nine o’clock. Forrest Fenn. Fennjam - Fennboree. Uhh, next weekend up in Hyde Park. 10 minutes before ten, we’ll be right back.

Date Site Name Link
12-01-2018 ABC News Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript on ABC News interview with Forrest Fenn Clayton Sandell: Somewhere in the vast Rocky Mountain west near a stream in a forest or at the edge of a meadow people are hunting –

Cynthia Meachum: Wait. He could've stashed it under this end.

Sandell: – for a legendary supposedly hidden treasure worth millions to whoever finds it first.

Meachum: Let's go this way. Oh my god, I see bronze.

Sandell: Dal Neitzel and Cynthia Meachum are among perhaps thousands looking for this bronze chest said to be filled with a bounty of gold and rare artifacts. But only one man says he knows where it is.

Forrest Fenn: Here's a wonderful artifact. This is a lantern –

Sandell: Yeah.

Fenn: See the wick.

Sandell: Yep. Forrest Fenn is an 87 year old former military pilot turned wealthy antiques dealer. He claims in 2010 he hid the treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Why would you do this?

Fenn: Well in 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. But besides that we were going into a recession and I just wanted to give some people hope.

Sandell: Fenn's health recovered. Going inside the vault here. But the idea of creating a modern day treasure hunt stuck with him.

Fenn: There's 265 American gold eagles and double eagles. There's ancient Middle Eastern gold coins. There's hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets. Two of 'em as big as a hen's egg.

Sandell: He says even he doesn't know what it's all worth.

Fenn: Writers have appraised it between one million and five million.

Sandell: Fenn estimates around 350,000 people have taken up the search. He says to find the treasure –

Fenn: Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down.

Sandell: All you have to do is solve nine clues in his cryptic poem.

Fenn: Not far but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown.

Sandell: The treasure could be hidden anywhere in literally tens of thousands of square miles of territory anywhere from New Mexico to here in Montana. That of course assumes it exists at all. Some say it's a hoax.

Fenn: The story is real. The treasure is real. The, the treasure is hidden where I put it.

Sandell: Can you take me out there and show it?

Fenn: No.

Man from The Lure: It might not even be here in, in New Mexico.

Sandell: Today thousands of online forums, videos and documentaries like The Lure fuel speculation as endless as the landscape obsessing over Fenn's every word for the tiniest clue.

Man from The Lure: They'll be no paddle up your creek.

Fenn: I get between 100 and 120 emails a day.

Sandell: There's even the occasional death threat.

Fenn: This one guy called me. He said, he said, tell me where the treasure is right now or I'm gonna kill you.

Sandell: So far nobody has found it including Dal who runs a popular web site dedicated to finding the treasure. How many trips have both of you made trying to crack this one?

Neitzel: It's somewhere in excess of 65 different trips.

Meachum: I've made over 100 trips.

Sandell: But this time Dal and Cynthia are convinced the first clue –

Meachum: Begin it where waters halt.

Sandell: – leads to the Yellowstone National Park area known for steaming hot geysers and pools.

Neitzel: We're going to start where warm waters halt. And for us that's Madison Junction.

Sandell: It's also a place Forrest says he spent many summers as a kid.

Meachum: And I really believe it's at a place that has sentimental value to him.

Sandell: In September Dal and Cynthia each drove hundreds of miles to check out their latest hunch inviting Nightline along. So when you find the treasure how are you going to divide up? Are we talking thirdsies here?

Meachum: Well how about your crew?

Sandell: Well yeah.

Meachum: Exclude them. Never mind. Sorry.

Sandell: Okay. Fifths. Whatever.

Meachum: Okay.

Sandell: All right. Where have you brought us this morning?

Neitzel: This is Grayling Creek.

Sandell: So into the wilderness we go looking for something the poem calls a blaze.

Neitzel: If you've been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down your quest to cease.

Sandell: I don't know what a blaze is.

Neitzel: Neither do we. So I think it has to be something –

Sandell: Something in the terrain. Yeah.

Meachum: More permanent.

Sandell: Yeah.

Neitzel: A big white rock or a big white stone or a cliff or maybe even a mound of rocks.

Sandell: But just a few minutes later –

Meachum: To me that's the blaze.

Sandell: – they say they've found it.

Neitzel: Look quickly down –

Meachum: Your quest to cease. But tarry scant with marvel gaze just take the chest and go in peace. So –

Sandell: What does that mean?

Meachum: It means get your butt over there and start looking quickly down off that rock blaze and, uh, find the hidey spot.

Sandell: All right. As we venture deeper into the wild we're not alone.

Meachum: Oh my god there's a dead animal. It's a dead deer.

Sandell: So that tells you there's a bear in the neighborhood.

Neitzel: Who, who brought the bear spray?

Sandell: I do have some bear spray. The potential for danger, bears included, is real. And recently people have been literally dying to find Fenn's treasure. In June Paris Wallace, a Colorado pastor, was found dead in New Mexico. His wife says they liked to search together but the last time he went alone.

Mitzi Wallace: It was a great way for us to get out in nature, to have some quality time together.

Sandell: In 2016 Randy Bilyeu's body was found along the Rio Grande River. He'd vanished six months earlier. His family says while treasure hunting. And most recently 31 year-old Eric Ashby went missing in Colorado. His friends say he was searching for Fenn's treasure too. Fenn was in his eighties when he hid the treasure somewhere out here in the wilderness but he says he didn't put it anywhere dangerous. Still there may be those who are taking too many risks to try and find it. That's why New Mexico's top cop has asked for Fenn to call the treasure hunt off.

Pete Kassetas: You had talked about giving more clues, uh, and again I call for you to, to pull it.

Fenn: I'm not gonna give a clue to help people find the treasure. I'm gonna give a clue to try to keep them out of trouble. I didn't anticipate that people would, would die searching for my treasure but in the back of my mind it had to be logical that that could happen. Grizzly bears alone are something to think about.

Sandell: It weighs on you.

Fenn: A little bit. You know, I, I don't feel responsible. I don't, I don't feel like I'm to blame for any, any of those things that happened.

Sandell: Back with Dal and Cynthia –

Meachum: You see the big boulders over there in the ground?

Dal: Yeah.

Meachum: Let's go see if there's any kind of a place he could have shoved that chest in underneath that.

Sandell: No rock is left unexplored.

Meachum: This is even better but it's not there.

Sandell: There is no gold. But just as Fenn says he intended the quest comes with other rewards.

Neitzel: It's an adventure to go looking.

Meachum: And even if I was searching the same area maybe a dozen times every day was a new start.

Neitzel: It's definitely going to be found. Somebody's gonna, somebody's gonna figure it out.

Sandell: Fenn says some treasure hunters have gotten tantalizingly close.

Fenn: 200 feet. I know exactly where they were because they told me.

Sandell: That's close.

Fenn: Not close enough.

Sandell: Fenn says this may be his last TV interview.

Fenn: I just don't feel like I have anything to say anymore.

Sandell: So we had to ask – Is there any tiny little hint, any tiny little clue you'd like to leave us with? He's thinking about it.

Fenn: No.

Sandell: Okay.

Fenn: Well I will give you a clue – try to simplify if you can. That's good advice.

Sandell: Have you secretly given us clues in this interview that we should go back and parse your words?

Fenn: I've said more than I should've said.

Sandell: For Nightline I'm Clayton Sandell in Albuquerque.

Date Site Name Link
25-05-2016 KSFR RADIO Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from radio interview with Forrest Fenn - The last word, conversations with writers ABIGAIL ADLER: Welcome to The Last Word: Conversations with Writers. I’m Producer and Host Abigail Adler. We’re broadcasting from the studios of KSFR Radio in Santa Fe. We’re here every Wednesday at four o’clock and I’m glad that you are here too. My guest today is Forrest Fenn - a well-known gallery owner and author. He is the author of ten books: a memoir, art and archeology. A lot of people may not know that before he opened his gallery in Santa Fe in 1972 he had a whole different career of twenty years as a fighter pilot in the Air Force and we’ll find out about all kinds of things we didn’t know about Forrest. One of the most interviewed man - men in town and we’ll see if I can come up with something a little different for his books his memoir, Forrest mined the depths of his adventurous life. Most of us think of our lives as not particularly extraordinary, but Fenn shows us that there is drama and passion and surprise in our lives if we look and just write down some details and follow the narrative. Here is some of his raw material. He is from a real Texas upbringing with family steeped in Texas and family life. He bypassed college and signed up for the Air Force during the Korean War. During that 20 year career he was shot down twice over Vietnam. After retiring from the Air Force, Fenn and his wife Peg, and two daughters looked around Lubbock. It was flat. It was windy. It was dusty. And apparently it was Peg who said it was time to get out and move to the mountains in New Mexico. And that’s when they started the now famous Fenn Gallery. Welcome Forrest.

FORREST FENN: Why thank you.

ADLER: I think you said to me once that you wrote your memoirs actually for your children. For your two daughters.

FENN: Well, that’s true. I was shocked about maybe 15 years ago. My daughters are now 55 and 54, and I learned that they didn’t know who Clark Gable was. And it shocked me, and I told myself, you know, I want them to know who their family was. So I started - I decided I was going to - I wasn’t thinking about a memoir, just the history of my family. So I got a yellow pad and pencil and I started writing and I did this for a few years. I didn’t have a computer but, I talked about my grandmother telling me when I was a little kid about the Indians running through her barnyard in Fort Worth trying to catch chickens - Kiowas and Comanches and you know, I talked about my parents making soap out in the backyard. My father made his own lye. Most people don’t know how you make lye, but my father made his own lye. He killed his own pigs and we made soap, and we poured it out in a big flat container. All the neighbors came over with a knife and cut up a couple of bars of soap. That’s the way we were doing things in the 1930’s and the early 1940’s before World War 2.

ADLER: And in your book, which is called The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir, is really quite colorful in the layout and the wonderful old photographs and they are family photographs and we do get to see Forrest Fenn as a very young man. But it really gives a sense of place and a sense of the time.

FENN: Well I remember what I wanted to teach my daughters was everything that I could remember that I’m sure that they didn’t know about. And I remember my first recollection. I think was when I must have been about 2 years old. I couldn’t get up on a little stool that was about six or eight inches high, my father lifted me up. Put me on that stool. And I think that is my earliest recollection, but I wanted - I wanted… It took me, uh, I think my memoir has 28,000 words in it, and every one of them is something I wanted my kids and grandkids to know about my side of their family.

ADLER: Well, and some of it is pretty adventurous. I mean I love the chapter you have about when you were 16 and you went on a big adventure with your friend, Donny. You went on two horses and took off.

FENN: We were in Gallatin National Forest out in West Yellowstone, Montana. We were - our excuse was we were gonna go look for Lewis and Clark, because we were going up the mountains almost exactly where they were. And we got up there, and we got lost. We spent, I don’t know, 4, 5, 6 days up in there. It was a wonderful adventure. When we decided to go out, to go home, we didn’t know where home was. It took us a couple of days to solve that problem. But it was a great adventure.

ADLER: And in your book, actually in that chapter, has some advice for would-be adventurers. You learned on that trip, and just a couple of things here, “hunger is not a good thing”, that was one thing, “you can’t hide from thunderstorms”, “porcupine meat tastes like kerosene”, “coffee made by boiling pine needles can bring on cardiac arrest” there’s a whole list here of amusing things you learned at the tender age of 16.

FENN: Experience is the best teacher.

ADLER: Yeah. How did you, how did you get from writing on a yellow pad to actually deciding to do a book and accomplishing that?

FENN: I started writing on a yellow pad with a pencil and I’d make a mistake, I would erase it. And try to fill in a didn’t know enough about writing to just mark it out and keep going. And I wrote my first book “The Beat of the Drum and the Hoop of the Dance” I drafted 85,000 words and I think 10 or 12 re-writes later I had 65,000 words and it was a hard book for me. But after that I got a computer and, you know, things got a lot easier.

ADLER: Well what was that book you just mentioned?

FENN: It was the biography of Joseph Henry Sharp. It was one of the first artists to live in Taos.

ADLER: And you wrote quite a few books about art in the southwest. Why did you decide to write art books and art history books?

FENN: Well I had an art gallery and, uh, called Fenn Gallery in Santa Fe just a couple of blocks east of the state capitol. I learned early on that if you write a book about something, people think you’re an expert on that subject. And I needed to be an expert because I wasn’t making any money in the art business, and I wanted people to come buy some paintings from me. That’s why I wrote my first couple of books. I wrote a little book about William R. Leigh and the drawings that he had made for the dioramas in the Natural History Museum in New York.

ADLER: Really?

FENN: Yeah, and that was really my first book.

ADLER: Why did you think to do that? The dioramas are amazing I grew up going to them.

FENN: Well, I’m sorry you asked me that question, but I’ll answer it. I wrote the book because I had all the drawings. The originals. And so, you know, you could almost call it a catalogue. But it was to promote those drawings and I sold all of them and I sold some of them to the Natural History Museum in New York. That told me that, you know, I didn’t have any education. I made terrible grades in high school, but I was successful with my first book and I said you know, if that’s all there is to it, I can do that!

ADLER: So you do a lot of research? You write a book, and you become an expert.

FENN: Well, there are people that say I’m not an expert, but I like that persona (laughing).

ADLER: And you have a second memoir also. So…

FENN: I wrote a second memoir that’s called “Too Far To Walk.” It’s kind of a sequel to “The Thrill of The Chase.”

ADLER: And where does that pick up in your life?

FENN: It’s more of - It’s a series of short stories. I talk about, uh, some of my, you know I’ve always said that I’ve always thought that I’m the world’s greatest shmoozer. When people came in my gallery, I wanted to take them to lunch. I wanted to learn everything. How did they get where they are? And I met wonderful people from Michael Douglas to Jackie Kennedy to Robin Olds to lots of politicians, President Ford and, you know it’s fun to sit down with people that really made a mark with their lives. When I was stationed in Germany, I went - I was on my way from Bitburg, Germany to Munich and I looked on a map and I recognized a little town just off the autobahn. The town where Field Marshal Rommel lived. You know, he was the Desert Fox that fought with Patton in the tank battles in North Africa. And so I stopped my car and knocked on her door and she invited me in.

ADLER: Who invited you in?

FENN: Mrs. Rommel.


FENN: And her son Winfred was there. He spoke a little English and we drank tea and I stayed there for an hour and she was afraid that her husband would be forgotten. You know he’s the one that tried to kill Hitler. Hitler made a deal with him, “If you’ll commit suicide, we’ll take care of your family. But if you don’t we’re going to kill you and your family.” So Field Marshal Rommel killed himself to save his family. I don’t think he was a Nazi. He was a soldier.

ADLER: He was in North Africa.

FENN: Yeah.

ADLER: Yeah. So it sounds like when opening your gallery, going from, I think, um, I can’t remember if you told me this…. You go from when you first came to Santa Fe, you got your little - your gallery, and you were sleeping on mattresses on the floor. It was a pretty rudimentary operation. How do you - and then you went from that to being the biggest gallery in town for quite a while - your gallery is where the Nedra Matteucci Gallery is right now.

FENN: I sold to Nedra. She was a good client of mine and a good friend. She had a little gallery on Canyon Road. I made a deal with her to - one of my old rules that I started when I was fairly young was that I don’t want to do anything for more than 15 years. My reason was there’s too many great things to do and there are not very many 15’s. And I’ll use an example. I walk down the street and I see attorneys, lawyers, walking to work - 90 year old attorneys. I mean they’re going to die at their desk. And they love that and, you know, but I’ve always said if you don’t like your job or your marriage, you should slam the door and go someplace else. But that’s my philosophy about that.

ADLER: But you kept at it with the gallery. And what happened? How did you get from sleeping on the floor to quite a lovely establishment?

FENN: Well because I had no education. And I had no experience in art. I didn’t own a painting when I opened my gallery, but I learned that if I’m going to compete with the big guys, then I’ve got to have an appearance. And I told myself if I advertise full page color in the prominent magazines of the day, they’ll think that I’m an expert. And they did. And then because I wasn’t an expert, because they thought I was, then I had to go to school and research and bring myself up to speed and so after 17 years, why I became knowledgeable - I don’t think I’m an expert or anything, but I’m knowledgeable about a few things.

ADLER: I want to take a moment here, um, a little break to tell our listeners, that you’re listening to The Last Word: Conversations With Writers. I am the host and produce, Abigail Adler and today we are speaking with gallery owner, and um, writer, Forrest Fenn. Um, Forrest, what kind of people walked into your gallery?

FENN: You know, that was a very fortunate byproduct of owning a gallery that I did not anticipate when I got in the business, but we had all kinds of politicians: John Connelly, three times governor of Texas and Secretary of the Navy. He and I were partners in a bunch of paintings. And of course, Jackie Kennedy stayed in my guest house for a week. President Ford stayed in my guest house. All kinds of movie stars from Robert Redford to Chere and everybody in between. It was a wonderful experience. Like I said, I’m a great schmoozer and I - if you’ve done something, then I want to talk to you. I’d like to take you to lunch and find out what you’re doing. I’d like to spend an hour with Charles Manson. You know - try to find out what’s ticking with that guy, if anything.

ADLER: Did any of the celebrities buy some artwork? At least a book?

FENN: Jonathan Winters bought an expensive painting from me. Steve Martin bought paintings from me. Suzanne Somers bought a number of paintings from me. Robert Redford bought excellent paintings. Sure a lot of them did.

ADLER: And I do remember, uh, years ago that your gallery was the scene of a couple of movies that were shot in town.

FENN: There was one movie, it was called, uh, “And God Created Woman.” Yeah. They shot that in my guest house.

ADLER: And Roger Vadim was in town I remember for that.

FENN: That’s right.

ADLER: You had quite a collection - they had a tent right there on Paseo de Peralta for all the actors.

FENN: That’s right.

ADLER: So why, um, I think all of your books are self-published. Why self publish?

FENN: Well I hate to say that I couldn’t find a real publisher, because I never did try but, I had some experience with publishers. A publisher wants to save money. And they can rearrange your book. They like to put all the color photographs in one signature. And I just wanted my books to be the way I wanted them to be. If I’m talking about a painting I want to talk about it on the same page where I pictured the painting. So you don’t get that when you go to a commercial publisher.

ADLER: So you, it was important to you to have control over how the book looked.

FENN: Yeah, and you know, when I write a book, uh, I’m not but 20% there because I hire a designer, a layout artist, and we fight back and forth about the design, and the layout. Then I take the book to a printer, and I approve the signatures before they start the press runs and when the book is printed, then I go to the binder in Phoenix, Roswell Bookbinding, and I get in line and help glue the covers on. I mean, I’m part of the entire process.

ADLER: So now you’re an expert on something else. An expert on putting a book together.

FENN: I’m knowledgeable about it, yes.

ADLER: You know, I’m not sure where I got this, but, um, someone wrote that the urge for you - that you told them the urge to collect started at the age of nine. When you found an arrowhead in a plowed field in central Texas? And you still claim it’s your most treasured object. You said it was a thrill and that started me on a long journey of adventure.

FENN: It’s true. I was nine years old. I wrote a book about that called, “The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo.” I talk about finding that first arrowhead. I was with my father and when I picked it up, I told myself, “This little projectile has been laying on the ground for 2,000 years waiting for me to come along.” Is that not exciting? And I picked it up and I looked at my father and the expression on his face when he saw the expression on my face was something that’s burned into my memory. It’ll stay there forever, I mean, I wish more fathers would take their sons and daughters out into the countryside. Not necessarily looking for arrowheads, but looking for - I mean, roll a log over and see what’s under it? You’re gonna find ants and worms and grubs and beetles and make notes. There’s so much to be learned in the mountains and in the desert. We are too sedentary today.

ADLER: Yes, you walk outside and there is adventure waiting.

FENN: That’s right.

ADLER: Pretty much in any direction you go. And, I think you said to me, and I don’t know if it’s a famous quote by you, but you did say to me when I was talking to you earlier, “I don’t do anything, I just make things happen.” Things just happen in your presence it seems.

FENN: You know, I don’t know what that is. It’s an idiosyncrasy of my biology I think. But in Vietnam I flew 328 combat missions and a lot of them - most missions in Vietnam were not very exciting, but it seemed like every time I pulled my gear up, things started happening. And, sure, there’s exciting things happening everywhere in the mountains and in the desert and I love to… I’m an avid fly fisherman. I was a professional fishing guide when I was 13 years old in Yellowstone. But you know there’s a famous quote in a new book on Duveen. It says, “They never knew that it was the chase that they sought, and not the quarry.” I can’t tell you how many times I could hardly wait to get out on the river to fish and when I get out there, I’d go sit under a tree and watch the Osprey catch fish - you know it’s not catching the fish that counted, it’s being there was hat was important to me. And I would urge parents to take their kids out, particularly in the mountains. Summer’s here now, the snow’s pretty much gone. It’s a good time to experience some of those things. It’s memories that your kids will never forget.

ADLER: That comes through in your books. The experience of growing up in the west, and growing up outside. But we only have about 5 minutes and I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up your treasure hunt.

FENN: Okay.

ADLER: I think most people know that, um, Forrest has buried a treasure somewhere out here.

FENN: Now I never said I buried it. I hid it.

ADLER: Hid it. Okay, hidden the treasure. Maybe there’s a clue. Maybe not. That’s worth at least a million dollars and what, what’s in there?

FENN: Well there are 268 gold coins, there are hundreds of gold nuggets. Two of them are the size of hen’s eggs. And there’s lots of pre-Columbian gold jewelry and Tairona necklace and wonderful quartz fetishes and two little carved - ancient Chinese carved jade figures. I mean it’s wonderful.

ADLER: When did you actually hide this treasure.

FENN: Well I’m 85 years old now, I hid it when I was either 79 or 80. My wife didn’t know within 18 months of when I hid that thing. She knew I had it. But she didn’t know that I had gone out and hidden it.

ADLER: So it was a secret that you had hidden it. The time that you hid it.

FENN: Yeah, nobody knows that I hid it, or where I hid it. I’m the only one in the world that will know that.

ADLER: So far. And you invite anyone who wants to to find it.

FENN: Sure. I invite parents to - I’ve said that it’s hidden in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, and below the Canadian border. So I’m inviting people to get the kids and go out looking for it. If you can find it, I guarantee it’s worth your while.

ADLER: So, a million dollars. Why did you decide to do that?

FENN: Well, I talked about that in my “Thrill of the Chase” book. In 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody said was terminal cancer. You know it takes a while for that to soak in, but after a couple of weeks I said, you know, “If I’m gonna go, who says I can’t take it with me? Who says I can’t impact the future?” And so I decided, you know, I’ve had so much fun doing this over the last seventy some years, why not let somebody else have the same opportunity and the same thrill of the chase that I’ve had. And so I started - I bought this wonderful little metal cast bronze box, paid $25,000 for this beautiful little chest that’s - I don’t know how old it is. It’s romanesque. I started buying things just to put in it. Gold nuggets and gold coins and gold jewelry. There’s, I think, 270 rubies in there. There’s diamonds, there’s two Ceylon sapphires. There’s eight emeralds, and there’s all kinds of gold bracelets and wa’kas and pre-Columbian gold figures.

ADLER: We have a few more minutes, but, um, do you have any advice or hints for people that might want to look for the treasure?

FENN: Sure. In my book, there’s a poem. And there are nine clues in that poem. I would suggest if you want to find my treasure, read that poem over and over. And then try to find out - try to follow the clues to the treasure.

ADLER: And where is that poem? Is that the one on the first page here?

FENN: No it’s toward the back of the book.

ADLER: Toward the back. Okay, so, you have to get your hands on a copy of “The Thrill of The Chase” and look for the clues in that poem. I’m sorry, we only have one minute, but I’d like to say that, um, well, maybe tell us how people can find out more about the treasure. Is there a website?

FENN: There’s a blog called d-a-l-n-e-i-t-z-e-l dot com. And he gets about 40,000 hits a day on that blog. The blog is dedicated to the treasure story and my books.

ADLER: And you can buy your book in town here?

FENN: Yes, Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe.

ADLER: And, very quick, I do want to mention that you are hard at work at some other books and one particularly about Taos.

FENN: Well, I’ve got a book in my computer called, “Closet Stories of Taos.” It’s not an art book, but it’s about the artists and the characters like Long John Dunne and Dovelli Price and Mace McHorst and Mabel and Frieda Lawrence and it’s a gossip book, but it’s very interesting. I bought the estate of Leon Gaspard, and the home, and everything that was in the home and there were wonderful diaries and ledgers and… Anyway, this book is coming out of that purchase.

ADLER: So, when this comes out, we’ll have a different look at that whole Taos community.

FENN: That’s right.

ADLER: Well, Forrest, thank you so much for being with us today. It’s lovely to see you.

FENN: It’s my pleasure Abigail, thank you.

ADLER: And thank you for tuning into The Last Word - Weekly Conversations With Writers about writing and life. We broadcast from the studios of KSFR radio in Santa Fe streaming live on the web at We thank Nick Appalucci for engineering this show. We thank you for being with us. I’m Abigail Adler.

Date Site Name Link
27-04-2013 Report From Santa Fe Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript on Report From Santa Fe with Lorene Mills with Forrest Fenn - 3rd Appearance LORENE MILLS: Hello, I’m Lorene Mills and welcome to Report from Santa Fe. Our guest today is quite a celebrity in Santa Fe, and worldwide, Mr. Forrest Fenn. Thank you for joining us.

FORREST FENN: Oh it’s always a pleasure, Lorene. Thank you.

MILLS: Well, you’re well-known in the art circles and in Santa Fe, you had one of the finest art galleries that Santa Fe has ever known. You were quite a sophisticated art dealer and collector, but then you wrote a memoir, and I want to show it here, called “The Thrill of The Chase.” And your life has changed dramatically since then. Tell us how you came to write this and why people are obsessed with it.

FENN: Well, you know, The Thrill of The Chase is my eighth book, but I never thought I was a writer, really. I wanted to - I wrote my autobiography but I never did publish it. So, I read Salinger’s book Catcher in The Rye. A very celebrated book by a wonderf - everybody thought was a wonderful author. And I said, after I read that book, I said, if this is a good book, I can do that. And so I sat down, and some of the stories I had in my mind like the story, “My war for me.” I wrote that a couple of years ago. But, I sat down and a six weeks later I had written that book. And I’m very proud of it. It’s kind of personal. I didn’t think anybody would want it though. And my first issue was a thousand copies because I didn’t know what I was going to do with all of these books. But it turned out that people liked it and two weeks later I published another 3200 copies.

MILLS: Well not only is it, um, a gripping autobiography, a memoir as you say, but it does turn out the title comes from what you say has been your kind of guiding principle in your life - the thrill of the chase. And you had, you had a crisis, an illness crisis, and a conversation with Ralph Lauren. Tell me how these two things led to the important part of this book.

FENN: Well it seems that all the lines crossed at the same time. In 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney. My doctors told me I had a 20% chance of living three years. And about that same time, Ralph Lauren, who had been an old client of mine, and friend for many years, was in my house and looking at some of the things that I had. And he said, “I want to buy that.” And I said, “Ralph, I don’t want to sell it.” He said, “Well, you can’t take it with you.” And I said, “Well, Ralph, if I can’t take it with me, I’m not going to go.” And we laughed about that, but I started thinking about that afterwards. And I got sick, and if you got to go, I decided I was going to take some of it with me. That’s when I decided to buy that beautiful treasure chest. I gave $25,000 for that treasure chest. And I started filling it up with wonderful things: gold coins and gold nuggets and pre-columbian gold and necklaces and lots of rubies and emeralds and diamonds and two Ceylon sapphires. I just said if I’ve got to go, I’m going to take this with me. I thought I was going to die. And I had an elaborate plan that I’m not ready to talk about but I really ruined the story when I got well.

MILLS: I’m very grateful that that did not have the anticipated ending. So, now, you have influenced other writers. I just want to show your friend, Douglas Preston, a wonderful writer - New York Times top of the best selling list, wrote this book, “The Codex” rough basely, uh, roughly based on a possible scenario that you had sketched out in your own life.

FENN: I gave that idea to Doug many, many years ago. I thought it was a good idea. I wanted Doug to write The Thrill of the Chase for me. It was my story. And he took the story, and changed it around some, and took it to the Amazon jungle and he wrote The Codex. It was a best-selling book. Doug is one of the great writers, I think.

MILLS: I think he is too. But not only Doug has been influenced by you, as since - in the last time that we have done our interview, you have been in the United Airlines magazine, Huffington Post, The Associated Press, Newsweek, The Daily Beast calls you “A real-life Indiana Jones.” I mean, everywhere I go, because people know we’ve spoken on air many times, they say, “What’s the latest with Forrest?” So, what is the latest? Give us an update.

FENN: Well, you know, I look around and I wonder who they’re talking about, because I don’t see myself in all these things. I think that’s the way I am. I mean, one thing led to another. People liked my book and last week I passed 15,000 emails in my inbox. It’s hard to keep up with the stuff that’s happened. Every writer think their book is the world’s greatest. But rarely does somebody light the fuse that really makes it be that way.

MILLS: Well you have lit the fuse, and in some way there have been unintended consequences because in the last six months, there’s been a Texas woman on the treasure hunt who got lost in Bandelier, had to be rescued, there was a gentleman, uh, over in Pecos who dug up under an iron cross, a descanso, and then it turned out that it’s illegal to dig on… One major thing, it’s not even a hidden clue, you never said it was buried!

FENN: I said that I hid the treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe. That’s not to say that it isn’t buried. It’s just that I didn’t want to say that it was.

MILLS: Yes, exactly. Well, so it turned out the Forest Service and other government agencies that have had to step up and say, “If it’s on Federal, State, County, or City land, it’s ours.” So, I don’t know that you can say if it’s on private land or not…

FENN: I think they overcooked that story a little bit.

MILLS: Yeah.

FENN: There’s a man who dug a hole 18 inches deep and nine inches wide and it made the New York Times? It made NBC News. It made the headlines in the paper. Please, tell me what’s going on here. I can’t believe that they would prosecute somebody that dug a hole 18 inches deep.

MILLS: It’s because you’ve tapped into this passion for mystery and for treasure hunts and pirate booty - all these things. People - you have just happened to have tapped into a vein not of gold, but of magic and mystery that people are really hungry for.

FENN: And I’m one of them. I’ve lived my life like that, and it’s the thrill of the chase. You know, I’ve had so much fun for the last 70 years collecting things. One of my reasons for hiding that treasure chest was to give someone else the same opportunity that I’ve had all these years.

MILLS: Well there have been some unintended consequences. You’ve had stalkers. You’ve had people digging in your neighbor’s yard. Is that true? (Forrest nods). You’ve had threats, enticements, intimidation, and you just put out this magical, wonderful thing to share the thrill of the chase.

FENN: But, you’ve named three or four instances out of the 30,000 people that are out there looking. There are always exceptions. I applaud these people that are in the chase. They get their kids off the couch, out of the game rooms and away from their little texting machines. They are out in the mountains smelling the sunshine. I think that’s a wonderful product - uh, byproduct of this book.

MILLS: I’ve read some of those emails, and they say - one of them said, uh, “My dad and I weren’t very close so we decided we would drive to New Mexico and spent a weekend looking for the treasure” and it was the bonding experience of their life. They were away from -

FENN: I did not anticipate that, but I probably have five or six thousand emails where people have said, “You know Mr. Fenn, we know we’re not going to find your treasure, but I want to thank you for getting me and my kids together as a family out into the woods.” And it’s very rewarding to me.

MILLS: Well, um we’ll come back - tell me about some of the emails, too (Mills stares intently).

FENN: Well, of all the emails I’ve received, there are some people that are mad at me. The clues are not explicit enough. This one man says, “I want to know where the treasure chest is, and I want to know right now.” In big bold letters! I mean, MILLS: Well that defeats the thrill of the chase. And now, I will tell our readers they can go online and find this. They can buy this book, this beautiful “The Thrill of the Chase” at Collected Works in Santa Fe. And you have a very beautiful poem in which the clues are hidden. I have advanced degrees in literature and I knew after reading that poem, that I was not going to find the treasure from that poem. But you’ve had cryptographers, you’ve had code specialists, you’ve had psychics, you’ve had all kinds of people trying to decipher the clues.

FENN: You just described the American people. We’re a diverse group, and everybody has a different opinion, and it’s wonderful to see what these people are doing.

MILLS: Um, so, you are also leaving other vestiges of your life in these bells. So I want you to tell me a little bit about these bells. We have one here.

FENN: Well, I talked about that at some length in my book. Why is it that we study history, we study a lot about the past, but we don’t know anything about the future? And seemingly, we have no influence on the future. Well, I found that, in my opinion to be unsatisfactory. So I started making bells, and I have quotes around the edge of my bell. I sign all of them and put the date on them. And I’ve taken eight of these things out in different places in New Mexico and I’ve buried them. Three to four feet deep so that a metal detector cannot find these bells. Maybe in a thousand years a machine can find these bells. But I have another, I think, 28 bells that I’m burying. Not only bells, but I have bronze jars that have screw on lids. So I’ve written a 20,000 word autobiography, and I put my autobiography in those jars and screwed it tight - screwed the lid on real tight and I bury those. My philosophy is that I am influencing the future. A thousand years from now when someone is building a footing for a house and they turn up one of those bells, and read that autobiography, they’re going to think, “God, here’s a guy who wrote that thing a thousand years ago. Isn’t this interesting?”

MILLS: Now, most municipalities and schools, they will bury a time capsule with everything that’s happening then. You’re sort of putting a time capsule, but with a touch of the infinite because some of the things that you have inscribed on the bells are things like, “Ring the bell loudly for he who dies with over fifty dollars is a failure.”

FENN: That was an Errol Flynn quote.

MILLS: Ahhh! And an Albert Einstein quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” I think that’s what you have on there (Mills gestures toward the bell Fenn is holding).

FENN: But I altered it a little bit.

MILLS: Better.

FENN: “Imagination is better than knowledge” and I misspelled knowledge.

MILLS: Another one that I just love, “If you should ever think of me a thousand years from now…”

FENN: “...please ring my bell so I will know.”

MILLS: mmmm.

FENN: And a thousand years from now, Lorene, when somebody digs that bell up and rings it, I’m going know.

MILLS: You’re gonna know. You’re gonna know. But we’ll do, insert a couple of closeups of the bell. It’s beautiful, the sound is beautiful, and I think the sound almost has a magical quality to it.

FENN: (ringing the bell) I made these things out of wax. And I take them to Sedona Foundry in Tesuci and they cast them for me. I probably made - I want to think - 40 of these things, and I have another 28 that I’m gonna bury. I’ve buried 8 so far. If I can live long enough, I’m going to bury all of them.

MILLS: You don’t actually dig the four foot hole yourself do you?

FENN: Sure I do.

MILLS: Well, you’re very fit Forrest.

FENN: I don’t want anybody to know where they are.

MILLS: Oh that’s right. Well now that’s the other question that people are always asking about the treasure. Who else knows where it is, and what’s your mafia quote?

FENN: “Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.”

MILLS: Yeah, ok.

FENN: The fact is, there are no secrets. There are just some stories that haven’t been told yet.

MILLS: Yeah. Yeah. And how will you know - the other question people always ask is, “How will you know if it’s been found?”

FENN: The type of guy that’s gonna find that treasure chest is the type of guy that can’t keep it quiet. That’s my theory. And I think that theory will hold, but who knows? I mean, we’re a very diverse population. Everybody has a different idea. Whoever finds that treasure chest, the IRS is gonna want their part of it.

MILLS: Well, we’re speaking today with the treasure hider and definitely a guru to many, many treasure seekers, Mr. Forrest Fenn. Now, at one point you said, and it’s written on one of your bells, “It doesn’t matter who you are, it only matters who they think you are.” So, Forrest, who are you and who do people think you are?

FENN: I hope nobody ever finds out.

MILLS: Ahhh! The real Forrest Fenn.

FENN: I think, uh, you know I don’t know that I’m different from anybody else, but I can look at myself and look at what I’ve done and tell myself I’m a number of different people. And I think that’s good. You know, I was a fighter pilot, I was an art dealer. I don’t know that I’ve done more things than other people have done, but I know that I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done, and it’s all part of the human makeup. I think if you haven’t been consumed by something in your life, then I think you deserve another turn.

MILLS: Ah, ah. Well, in your biography, your memoir, you talk about you fought - you flew how many fighter missions in Vietnam.

FENN: I flew 328 combat missions in Vietnam.

MILLS: And once or twice, you were shot down.

FENN: Shot down twice.

MILLS: And you had, you described this extraordinary experience that you had being shot down in this little valley with a waterfall and tripping over something.

FENN: I tripped over a grave marker. It was a stone grave marker about 14, 15 inches wide. It was face down. And I didn’t know what it was really, except there were a lot of little aluminum grave markers around in the tall grass where I tripped. And I turned it over and it was an inscription on a French soldier’s name and then in English it said, “If you should ever think of me when I have passed this veil, and wish to please my ghost, forgive a sinner and smile at a homely girl.” And one thing led to another. I came home two days later, and I didn’t think much about it because the homecoming and being missing in action, and those things took some of my time, but the secret of that thing crept back into my mind. It changed my life over a period - over the next couple of years.

MILLS: And I can certainly see that the bells are a direct result of that experience, except you haven’t urged anyone to forgive a sinner or smile at a homely girl. But we will take that to heart. Now, you say that you’re writing a sequel.

FENN: I’m writing a book called, “Too Far To Walk.”

MILLS: Isn’t that a line from the poem?

FENN: No. But it’s the theory - it is a line from the poem, as a matter of fact, yeah. And I’m tying - this is kind of a sequel to my memoir, but I’m picturing a lot of vintage photographs and I’m writing lengthy captions. One caption is a page and a half long, so it’s kind of a homespun human-interest thing like my memoir I think.

MILLS: So you’ll write a little story almost about a photograph.

FENN: Sure.

MILLS: Yeah. Well I’m looking forward to it. When will it come out?

FENN: I hope to be in - we’re designing it now. I haven’t really finished writing it, but my designer’s already working on it. I hope to be in print this summer.

MILLS: Well, I hope you print enough because the history of the film “The Thrill of The Chase” was it in January, they were back ordered by 4,000 books?

FENN: Collected Works bookstore sold 20,000 copies of my memoir.

MILLS: And then you recently re-printed 15,000?

FENN: No, I think 8,200, but three weeks before that we printed 7,700.

MILLS: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s just - you know - so many people give each other as a gift. It does light that passion for, for mystery and for the thrill of the chase in all types of people.

FENN: Well, a lady asked me, she said, “Mr. Fenn, who is your audience for this book?” And I said, “My audience is every redneck in Texas that’s lost his job, but has a pickup truck, a wife, and 12 kids and has an adventurous spirit.” That’s who I wrote it for. Put some gas in your pickup truck, grab your sleeping bag, and strike the trail. And I think 40,000 people have done that. And I asked, we had 6,000 people in Santa Fe as a result of the book and this summer I expect, who knows, 30,000 or 40,000 people probably.

MILLS: And you’ve been on Good Morning America and the Today Show. Big national morning shows with a huge audience, and you’ve been revealing some clues. Some of these clues, Forrest, you’re not giving a lot away in these clues. What do you say, “If you’re looking in a grizzly bear, make sure the grizzly bear is not in there?” Now that’s not quite a clue.

FENN: If you’re looking in a cave, be sure the bear is gone.

MILLS: Yeah.

FENN: Well that’s a real good clue! You should observe that!

MILLS: That’s true, that’s true. But, so, in Santa Fe, we actually run into people that say they’re here for the treasure. And surprisingly on email and on Facebook, there have been people that have announced, “Don’t worry, I’ve already find it - found it, but if you give me X amount of money, I’ll split it with you.” Or they say, “Forrest, you better go see if it’s still there,” and I’m sure they’re waiting to go follow you to go.

FENN: Well I’ve had 31 people tell me that they have found it, and it’s in their possession. And I asked them, well, will you sell that one bracelet back to me that was in the treasure chest? And they say, “What bracelet?” This one lady, she says she knows exactly where the treasure chest is, but her truck is broken. She wants to know if I will drive her out to where the treasure chest is…

MILLS: Now that’s chutzpah.

FENN: But that’s thinking, you know?

MILLS: But she doesn’t know what they’re, what she’s up against. I think you once said that you’re - you wanted your epitaph to be, and this could have changed, “I wish I could have lived to do the things I was attributed to.”

FENN: One thing that I’ve enjoyed in my life is that I’ve been accused of a lot of things. Some of them I’ve done, most of them I haven’t. But those that I haven’t done, I still aspire to.

MILLS: Well, um, you recently had a book signing at Collected Works, and you had, to assist you in the question and answers, you had two of our finest writers: Doug Preston and Michael McGarrity. And they have each seen the treasure. That’s something that people are always asking, “Well, how do we know there’s even a treasure?” And you have insulated yourself from accusations that you only made up the treasure thing to sell books because you give a percentage of the profits to a children’s cancer organization or some cancer benevolent fund…

FENN: That’s right, but I gave all the books to the Collected Works Bookstore. I don’t make a penny on the book. I don’t even get my publication costs back. Because I didn’t want this - anybody to say that the treasure story is a hoax to sell books. They’ve sold 20,000 books at $35 a book. Amazon buys books from the Collected Works for $35 and sells them for $45 and they were $4000 backed up when the book went out of print.

MILLS: As a fan of independent bookstores I am very happy to hear that and Collected Works is one of the finest bookstores in Santa Fe.

FENN: It’s a great organization.

MILLS: Yes, um, so people all - they’re tuning in right now and they’re wondering well are we going to get any more clues or advice? At this point I think that people who come to New Mexico who don’t know the terrain can be tricky, and there are temperature gradients that you can come out in shorts in a summer day and by night it could dip down to freezing. So, can you in the interest of human kindness give some warning to people who are coming here, you know, hopefully just going to trip over the treasure they think. But give some common sense advice. I’m not even asking for clues.

FENN: Well you know New Mexico is no different from Colorado and Montana and Wyoming and Utah and Idaho. It’s the Rocky Mountains. There are certain rules that you need to observe when you go into the forests. There are mountain lions, there are bears and you know there are porcupines. There are skunks, and it gets cold at night. And you can fall over a rock. But you know the American people should not have to be told those things. When you walk into a forest you can take one look and - I remember the first time I went to Alaska fishing. I got off the plane and I looked around and I said, “The human being is not supposed to be here.”

MILLS: Especially with the mosquitos this size.

FENN: Water Angels. Mosquitos carry you away in the water every place. To me it was a foreboding - I love to fish up there. But people should use, uh…. I think you need to use more caution in the summertime than you do the wintertime. Santa Fe is 2,000 above Denver. I mean, this is a high desert. It gets hot in the summertime particularly if you’re in the desert you need a lot of water. It gets cold at night. It may be 90 degrees in the summertime, but you need a jacket at night. But I think most people know that. There are always some that don’t and they learn the hard way.

MILLS: Um, that’s our practical physical level advice, but there is such a metaphysical level, such a spiritual level to this, and one of them is is that even though everyone wants the treasure it can be the journey can be the goal itself. Not only the treasure but the journey itself could be the treasure. Could you -

FENN: There’s a quote in a new book on Joe Devine. “They never knew it was the chase they sought, and not the quarry.”

MILLS: Well there it is.

FENN: The fun is in doing it. I can’t remember how many times that I could hardly wait in Yellowstone to go trout fishing on the Madison River, the Gallatin, the Firehole, the Gibbon, the Yellowstone and I’d rush out there and it was so beautiful. I’d just sit under a tree for an hour just watching the Osprey catch fish and it’s so wonderful to be out in the mountains and I would urge parents - we have a problem in this country with our youth. We’re obese, we sit on the couch too much, we’re in the game room. Our youth today, our teenagers today are going to be the President one of these days, our Congressmen, our Senators and we’re not doing enough to groom those people.

MILLS: Well there’s a movement actually called The Last Child Left Outside because kids are now they’re frightened because they’ve seen so many scary movies that take place in the deserted cabin that they can’t experience the peace and the glory that is nature without seeing the human footprint everywhere - actually we respond with fear.

FENN: There’s so much to be learned. I was talking to a man the other day by email because his kids said they know everything there was to know because they lived outside so much so I asked him, I said, “Which direction do ants circle when climbing a tree in the southern hemisphere and why?” They didn’t have a clue.

MILLS: Well I must demand the answer.

FENN: It’s Coriolis Force. Coriolis Force is the force that is equal and opposite to the rotation of the earth. That’s why it’s easier for you to turn left at the corner in your car than it is to turn right. That’s why people in London drive on the left side of the street in New York they drive on the right side of the street.

MILLS: Well, you are a veritable font of wisdom and mystery and a life really well-lived. I want to show our audience again this book, it’s called “The Thrill of the Chase a Memoir” by Forrest Fenn. I also want - you have so many other books, I couldn’t bring them all, but this is one of your masterpieces, “The Secrets of San Lazaro.”

FENN: This is the record of my archeological excavations at San Lazaro pueblo.

MILLS: And it’s - look at that mask. That incredible mask -

FENN: Those are the only two pre-historic Kachina dance masks ever found.

MILLS: Well we have a lot to learn from you and we’ve run out of time. So I want to thank our guest today, Forrest Fenn. Thank you joining us.

FENN: Well it’s my pleasure. It’s always good to see you.

MILLS: It’s always wonderful.

FENN: Thank you.

MILLS: And it’s a pleasure to see you, our audience today on this special edition of Report From Santa Fe. We’ll see you next week.

Date Site Name Link
07-01-2016 QFM 96 Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from QFM 96 radio interview with Forrest Fenn TORG: Q FM 96 Ohio's best rock. It's Torg and Eliot and we've been talking about Forrest Fenn a lot on the show. Art dealer, author, and, what would you call him Jerry –

JERRY: Archaeologist.

TORG: Yes. Burier of treasure.

JERRY: Entrepreneur. Forrest are you there? Good morning, sir.

FORREST FENN: Good morning to you sir.

JERRY: How are you?

FENN: I'm okay but today's not over yet.

JERRY: Hey I want to begin with this for those not familiar we kind of set up your entire story before we got you on the telephone here, but does somebody need to read your books to find the treasure or do all of the clues exist within the poem?

FENN: They don't need to read my book but they need to read the poem.

JERRY: So every –

FENN: But the book will help them but they can find the treasure if they can decipher the clues that are in the poem.

TORG: Well I know throughout the years you've done different interviews and given out new clues. Do you feel right now there's enough information out there where someone should get it or maybe you could give us a new one right now.

FENN: Well I'm not gonna give you a new clue but there are clues in the poem that will lead you to the treasure. But you want to be careful in the mountains in the winter time.

JERRY: Yeah.

FENN: A lot of the mountains are under snow now. It's not a good time to search.

JERRY: Yeah, right. Now we were online in preparation for this interview and a lot of people claimed to have found it or that they're close. As of today no one has found the treasure, correct?

FENN: No one has found the treasure. A lot of people claim it but they can't provide a photograph or any information about it.

JERRY: Have people gotten close, at least that you're aware of, I mean?

FENN: I'm aware that people have been within 200 feet but closer than that I don't know.

JERRY: Whoa.

TORG: Wow.

JERRY: That's exciting.

TORG: Forrest Fenn is with us and folks you really should read the books and check up on this story. He buried a chest full of rubies and rare material and you buried it somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe. We do know that. When was the last time you saw the treasure yourself?

FENN: Well the last time I've seen it is when I took it out and hid it but please don't say that I buried it because my comment is that I hid. That doesn't mean it isn't buried but I don't want to give that as a clue.

TORG: Okay. Did you put a lock on it?

FENN: No. It has a lock on it but the treasure, the chest is not locked because I didn't want anybody to pry the thing open when they found it. The key is inside the chest.

TORG: Okay. So it's –

JERRY: Okay.

TORG: - let me ask you this. Is it available where like if I pick it up do I have to move anything? I mean is it, you know, anything blocking it?

JERRY: Is it in the open?

TORG: Yeah, in the open.

FENN: Do you have to move anything?

TORG: Yeah like a rock.

FENN: Well you have to move your carcass out there I guess. But if you can find the treasure chest it won't be a big job for you to get it.

JERRY: Okay. And if somebody out there is listening and you want to see what Forrest is all about – the web site kind of chronicles your story and what you have collected over the years. What was the first thing you collected as a young collector? Do you remember what you found? The first thing you ever found?

FENN: Well what really started me was when I was 9 years old I found my first arrowhead with my father and that started me on a life of adventure really.

JERRY: Now when you're out in these Indian reservations and what not do you ever worry about the Indian spirit or removing some of this stuff that it might bring a bad juju on you?

FENN: Well I'm not worried about that but you should not take things off Indian reservations.

JERRY: Yeah.

FENN: The things that I have, the arrowheads that I've found came off of private property?

TORG: Did you get shot down as a pilot?

FENN: I was shot down twice in Vietnam.

TORG: Wow.

JERRY: Yeah, you're such a, your story is so incredible. It's just a great story. And congratulations for beating the cancer and good thing that that's in remission. Good for you.

FENN: Well thank you sir.

JERRY: Yeah.

TORG: Hey take us back when you got shot down were you in hostile territory? Did you parachute out? Tell us those events of what happened to you in Vietnam.

FENN: Well the first time I crash landed in the south of Vietnam at Binh Thuy and the second time I was shot down in Laos I ejected from my F100 and spent the night in the Laotian jungle and the helicopter picked me up the next morning.

TORG: Wow. That's amazing. And were you fearful of your life at that point?

FENN: Well I don't remember feeling that but the possibility was there.

JERRY: Yeah. Certainly yeah. You're in a helicopter – chances are. So after the war Forrest, you returned to New Mexico. You were raised in Texas so you're kind of a cowboy at heart. And then you really got after this treasure hunting and collecting, correct?

FENN: That's right. I acquired a pretty big ranch that had a big Indian ruin on it and I've spent 20 years excavating in that pueblo.

TORG: Forrest Fenn is with us for the listeners out there and he has a treasure chest, one to three million dollars' worth of everything you could imagine in there and we're talking to him right now with Torg and Elliot on Q FM 96. Now there's shows with professional treasure hunters. Has a professional treasure hunter contacted you to look for this?

FENN: Yeah, well sure. There have been a few professional treasure hunters contact me but they haven't found the treasure.

JERRY: Aha, see there Torg. Is it bigger than a bread box? See I would look Forrest but I can't even find the remote.

FENN: You sound like my wife talking to me now. The treasure is out there and that little treasure chest is full – it has 20.2 Troy pounds of gold in it and there's 265 gold coins, lots of emeralds and rubies and sapphires and diamonds and pre-Columbian jewelry and little jade, ancient jade Chinese carvings. It's a wonderful site if you can find it and raise that lid you're either going to start laughing or you're going to faint. One of the two.

JERRY: Gosh, and you know what I find kind of cool Forrest is you have had such a storied wonderful life and this all began just as recently as 2010. Are you enjoying the celebrity at this stage of your life or is there some irony involved? How do you feel about all this attention you're getting?

FENN: Well the celebrity is beginning to wear a thick on me.

JERRY: Yeah, yeah.

FENN: But at age 85 you know I'm kind of sitting back and watching what's going on.

JERRY: Yeah.

TORG: Are you worried that you may pass and no one will find it? Is it a situation where –

JERRY: Well that makes it even more you know mysterious.

TORG: – yeah.

FENN: I'm not worried about that. No. Somebody could find it tomorrow or it could be a thousand years before they find it but it's not something I'm going to worry about.

TORG: Does your wife know where it's at or are you the only one who knows where it's at?

FENN: I'm the only one that knows where the treasure is hidden and my wife doesn't even know within 18 months of when I hid it.

TORG: Wow.

JERRY: Ahh. And all the clues are located in the poem. It's all over online. Forrest Fenn – archaeologist, American hero. Thank you so much. You're an interesting gentleman and we appreciate it.

FENN: Well it was my pleasure sir. Thank you.

JERRY: All right. Bye, bye.

TORG: All right, Forrest Fenn joining us. Maybe we can take vacation at the same time and go look. I'm intrigued about this.

JERRY: And go look. Yeah.

TORG: You just go in the Rocky Mountains. Read the poem now. The thing is it's north of Santa Fe and the map if you've seen it, it's what, over like three to five states.

JERRY: It encompasses three to five states, something like that.

TORG: Yeah. Get a good vacation hiking.

JERRY: But the clues, the clues and then there, it's even like one word people say there's a double meaning to it and so it doesn't mean what you think but it's where the split and the water falls. And then he's given subsequent clues in the year since – there's an additional four or five clues.

TORG: Yeah, I think you and I have better odds playing the lottery I'm thinking. I think that's the –

JERRY: Well it will be – of you and I finding it –

TORG: Yes.

JERRY: – but when somebody does it will be a big story no doubt.

TORG: Well it's awesome. Be sure to check it out.

JERRY: Exciting.

TORG: Be sure to check it out man. It's a fascinating story. [Continues for a few more seconds]

Date Site Name Link
03-11-2012 Report From Santa Fe Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript on Report From Santa Fe with Lorene Mills with Forrest Fenn - 2nd Appearance LORENE MILLS: Hello. I’m Lorene Mills and welcome to the Report from Santa Fe. Our guest today is (gesturing) Forrest Fenn. Thank you for joining us.

FORREST FENN: Why do you say (gesturing) Forrest Fenn?

MILLS: Because I want you to take it (gesturing) Forrest! We are celebrating the fact that, just this month, you were at the Governor’s Mansion and The New Mexico Department of Agriculture, awarded you the Rounders Award. You and another wonderful writer, Slim Randles, got the 2012 Rounders Award. The Rounders Award was based on Max Evans’ book, now it’s over 50 years since he wrote this wonderful book which became an iconic movie. And so they named the Rounders Award after Max’s book, and he got the first Rounders Award. Tell me about what this means to you. What does being a Rounder mean to you?

FENN: They say on their website that the Rounders Award goes to someone who promotes and articulates the Western Way. But let me back up just a minute. I read Max Evans’ biography of Long John Dunne of Taos. And I was fascinated by the guy. The way that he could write; put words together in a sentence that I had not seen before. And so I was down at Collected Works bookstore and I said I would have really liked to have known this Max Evans because he sounds like my kind of guy. Dorothy Massey says, “Well, call him on the phone.” I said, “Is that guy still alive? He must be 500 years old.” She said, “No, he’s like 86 or something.” So I call Max on the phone. I said, “Max, I want to come down and interview you.” And he knew who I was because of my gallery. He said, “Well, come on down here.” And so I read Slim Randles biography of Max Evans.

MILLS: And it’s called “Old Max Evans, The First Thousand Years.”

FENN: Well I knocked on Max’s door and he opened it and I said, “Max Evans, I’m scared to death of you after reading what Slim Randles said about you: smuggling, and fist fights in bars and deals and things and boy. He put his arm around me and said, “Come on in we’re going to get along just fine.” I interviewed him, taped interviews, four hours, two different times. I have eight hours of him on tape. As a matter of fact, he told me who murdered Arthur Rochford Manby in Taos. It’s an unsolved murder. I’m writing a book called “Closet Stories of Taos.” It’s about the characters in Taos and the artists, but it isn’t an art book. But I’m going to solve that murder.

MILLS: Well, excellent. Excellent. Now, Max himself says being called a Rounder is not necessarily a compliment. He defines a Rounder as someone who is working the ranch, out in the countryside way too long. Finally comes to town and has more fun than he should. So, have you been having more fun than you should?

FENN: You know, I’m reminded of the word “rake.” You know what a rake is? A rake is somebody who is halfway between a scoundrel and a good guy. Errol Flynn was a rake.

MILLS: Uh-huh.

FENN: So I think Max and I fit in that category somewhere.

MILLS: I think the two of you do, and you’re two of my favorite people. Max is my favorite New Mexican writer. And when he celebrated the 50th anniversary of “The Rounders”, he had a novel out called “War and Music”. And he’s still writing. He’s got two new books to come out, but I’m not going to mention them, they’re a surprise. But, when I asked about the - you wrote him a letter and you said - well, tell us what you said when you asked whether you deserved the Rounders Award or not.

FENN: Well I know that Max’s fingerprints were all over that award for me. And I wrote him a letter thanking him, and I said, “I’m not sure I deserve this award, but I had cancer and I know I didn’t deserve that.” Max is not gold-plated, he is solid gold. I mean if there was anybody that articulated the way the west should be, and that’s Max Evans. To me, the West has always been good. But Max personifies the best of it, I think.

MILLS: I think so too. But you, I want to just look at some of your western works. Because that is why you got this award. This is a beautiful book you wrote about San Lazaro Pueblo. “The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo.”

FENN: Can I say something about that?

MILLS: Yes, please.

FENN: When I wrote that book, I was in a mood. I was mad at writers and publishers because they - you know why you put a dust jacket on a book? In the old days, you didn’t have a dust jacket. You put a dust jacket on a book to hide an ugly cover. Why don’t you have a great cover? The original purpose was to buy a book with a dust jacket on it. Take it home. Take the dust jacket off and throw it away and put the book on the shelf. That was the original thinking. So you wouldn’t damage your book before you get it home. But, when I wrote that book, I decided that - I have a number of books that great old covers. Polychrome colors. And I said, I’m not going to have a dust jacket on this book. The guy that was going to print my book said, “Well you can’t sell it if you don’t have a dust jacket.” And I said, “Well then I’ll just give it away.” But I went to a printer in Phoenix and I said, “I want this book printed on linen - the cover on linen.” He said, “We can’t print on linen.” I said, “Well then I’m out of here.” He said, “Wait just a minute, let us try it.” They had never tried it, but they had some linen. They ran it through and - hold that book up again. The cover of that book - there’s a painting of two prehistoric kachina dance masks that I excavated in San Lazaro Pueblo and the watercolor drawing on the front of that is by Jim Asher who lives here in Santa Fe. Great artist. He painted that for me.

MILLS: Well, um, thank you for that. I didn’t that. I’m going to quickly -

FENN: I told you more than you wanted to know about that

MILLS: No, no. I’m delighted to know that. I just wanted to show some of the other books that are part of your western, uh, oeuvre, because it’s one of the reasons why you got the Rounders Award. This is “Historic American Indian Dolls.” You have quite an incredible collection of them, and you write all about them. And then, in your position as a gallery owner, we’ll get to that in a minute, you have written about some of your favorite western artists. This one I love. Tell me about this book. Tell me about the title - it’s about Eric Sloane, the artist.

FENN: Eric Sloane was probably my best friend. You say Western Art, he painted New Mexico a lot, but he - a lot of his paintings are New England barns and covered bridges like on the cover. Eric was the most talented man that I ever knew. He could paint a major painting in a day. Like in four or five hours. Go to lunch with me, go to dinner with his wife that night and in 50 years, write 50 books. He knew everybody: Neil Armstrong, he sold a painting to Amelia Earhart. He knew Jimmy Doolittle. He had letters that came from James Cagney to him. I mean, it’s endless. The guy had so much talent.

MILS: And one other book, and then we’ll get back to your gallery. This is “The Beat of The Drum and the Whoop of The Dance” and it’s about…

FENN: Joseph Henry Sharp. I bought his estate nineteen years ago. I wrote that book in 1982. It was really the first book I ever wrote and I didn’t know how to write a book so I got a bunch of yellow pads and pencils and I’m writing about Joseph Sharp. I had 35 three by five inch cards that I had made notes on for a few years. But I was so new to writing, I started writing this biography, and when I made a mistake, I would erase that word instead of marking through it and keep going. I was determined not to have a computer. I later learned the folly of that decision. But the book went out of print, after, uh, too long of time. And I revised it, changed all the color plates, and had Clark Hewlings write the Foreword for me. And the new edition of that is the “Tipi Smoke.:

MILLS: Yes, yes, yes. Well, um, I want to talk a little bit about your background because you were 20 years, you were an Air Force fighter pilot. You flew 328 combat missions in Vietnam? And then, when you left the Air Force, you came to Santa Fe and opened a gallery but you said you had never studied art, never owned a painting, or new anybody who did.

FENN: Lorene, I had a bad tour in Vietnam. I was shot down twice. I was missing in action in Laos, wondering what my future was, and I sat there wondering all night long. I told myself, “You know, there has to be something better than this.”

MILLS: Yeah, really.

FENN: I had already been shot down once, this was the second time. I had been to Santa Fe before, and I told myself, when I retired from the Air Force after 20 years, I had to drive about eight miles to get to my home in Lubbock, TX. I got about halfway home and a weird feeling came over me. I stopped my little Volkswagon Bug along the road there, climbed through a barbed wire fence out into a cotton field. Couple of hundred yards out there. I took my watch off and I threw it just as far as I could throw it. And I had a little calendar in my wallet. I took that out and I shredded it and I spread it to the four winds. I said, “Forrest Fenn, you’ll never get up before daylight again, and you’ll never go to bed before dark.” And I haven’t done that. Those are two promises I made to myself.

MILLS: Wonderful!

FENN: In the Air Force, you know, you’re always going on alert, sometimes four o’clock. Working 15-16 hour days. But Santa Fe was the only place that I knew where the bus would stop and let me out. I could wear Hush Puppies and blue jeans. I had a gallery here for 17 years, and this is how I dressed. Blue jeans and Hush Puppies.

MILLS: Your gallery was really unique. You specialized not only in Indian art, uh Western art and artifacts, but Impressionists. The caliber of your art, now this was the famous Fenn Gallery, and you sold it, but for years, seventeen years you had the most unique and best gallery in Santa Fe.

FENN: You know how a gallery gets to be famous?


FENN: Advertise full page color.


FENN: Galleries that advertise half page black and white or quarter page black and white in big letters across the front it says to me, “Don’t Come In Here.” If you advertise full page color, they think you’re an expert. And it doesn't’ matter who you are, Lorene, it only matters who they think you are.

MILLS: Well, that’s true. As a matter of fact, you had said at one point that your, uh, epitaph might be, “I wish I could have lived to do, all the things I was attributed to.”

FENN: I’ve been attributed to a few things.

MILLS: You certainly have. You certainly have. You had a pond, a beautiful pond, at the gallery. You had an inhabitant named after a famous Anglo-Saxon: Beowulf.

FENN: Beowulf. I like to have water around me. I built the pond down at my gallery out behind. And when I sold my gallery and moved out to the Old Santa Fe Trail, I built another pond. I get over a thousand gallons of water a minute over my waterfall and it’s 11 feet deep. But at the gallery I had an alligator called Beowulf. Can I tell you a story about Gary Carruthers? He was running for Governor. Staying in one of my guest houses there, and we were having a fundraiser out there, and he was standing on a rock with his back to my pond. My pond is one foot behind him. And a hundred or so people out there, telling everybody how good he is, and what a great Governor he’s going to make. And Beowulf thought it was me talking and calling him to dinner.

MILLS: Ohhhh.

FENN: So clear across the pond, 60 to 70 feet, here comes Beowulf. The crowd can see Beowulf, the Governor can’t. So Beowulf came right up the the rear end of Gary Carruthers and opened his mouth like that and the crowd went wild. And Governor Carruthers thought he was making a good impression on these people. But then he saw what happened and he laughed, and he was good about that. You have to like Gary Carruthers.

MILLS: Well, I’m very fond of Gary Carruthers. And they always say New Mexico politics is full of alligators. So I’m glad the alligators did not get Governor Carruthers. He was staying in the guest house, but you have a tradition of many famous people: Jackie O, Cher, a lot of people have stayed in your guest houses

FENN: You know, the best thing about having, in my opinion, about having a gallery was the great people that came in. It was so much fun. I remember - you’re not old enough to know who Lillian Gish was.

MILLS: I am too.

FENN: The great silent movie star?

MILLS: Yes. Beautiful.

FENN: She came in one time, and I was standing by the front door. Such an elegant lady. I said I’m Forrest Fenn. I had recognized her, but I didn’t know who she was. You know how you do those things? She had a gloved hand. She put it on my hand and she said, “Lillian Gish.” An hour later, we’re still talking. Because I had written a book about Nikolai Fechin the great Russian-American painter. Lillian Gish posed for him, I think, in 1925 in her costume from Romola. I asked her what she knew about Nikolai Fechin and she said, “I don’t know anything about Nikolai Fechin, who is he?” I said, “Miss Gish, you posed for him for that great painting that’s in the Chicago Art Institute now.” She didn’t remember it. So I took her to my library and I pulled a newspaper clipping out of her standing beside Nikolai Fechin and that great painting between them in 1925. And she reads the very fine print. She’s 85 years old. I said, “You know, since about 45, I’ve been wearing glasses, how can you read that fine print without wearing glasses?” She said, “You know, when I was a little girl, my mother told me that your eyes are going to dry out and you’ll lose part of your vision.” She said, “If you put liquid in your eyes two or three times a day, you’ll never lose your eyesight, and I’ve done that all my life.” She could read without those glasses.

MILLS: Oh my goodness. Well, I want to remind our audience that we are joined today by Forrest Fenn. And we’re going to go into the reason that wherever I go people ask me about you and the treasure hunt. So, his most recent book is a wonderful memoir called, “The Thrill of The Chase.” And you really started something with this. You told me that you had been ill and you were looking back at your life and you realized that what mattered the most to you, as in all of you adventures was the thrill of the chase. And please, remind our audience what you did about this treasure, this hidden treasure, and then let’s talk about all the emails you get and all the people. People always come up to me and say, “Has anyone found the treasure yet?”

FENN: Well, this morning, I received my 5,057th email. And I’ve kept all of them. You know, I never did go to college, I never studied business and my whole life was Air Force. I joined as a private. I made Buck Sergeant, went to pilot training, got a commission, became a fighter pilot and, when I retired at age 40, over half of my life had been spent in the Air Force with no education and no experience other than that. So I decided that Santa Fe was the place I wanted to go, but I had to make some money. My retired pay was $800 a month with a wife and two kids, and I could get by on that, you know, if we didn’t go to movies, or didn’t drink Dr Pepper and that kind of thing. I just told myself - you know - and then, when I got, when I reached age 58, I got cancer. I lost a kidney. And I asked the surgeon before we went in for the operation, “What are the chances of this being cancer?” He said, “Five percent.” I said, “Okay. Let’s go with it.” Well a one hour operation turned into five. And afterward, he gave me a 20% chance of living three years. So I went through all of the emotion, you know, shock, disbelief, uh

MILLS: Denial, anger, yes.

FENN: I went through all of them. But after about - I’m a pragmatic person, and when I looked back at the career that I had, in the art business and the Air Force, I said, you know, I’ve had my share, so maybe I’m being called out. And I accepted that, but I said, I’ve had so much fun, particularly in Santa Fe, buying all these Indian things, and ancient Egyptian, and you name it, I had all of them in my gallery, I said, I’ve had so much fun collecting these things, if I’ve got to go, I’m just going to take it with me. And as a matter of fact, Ralph Lauren came into my house one day. He was a good collector. And he saw a bonnet that I had hanging on my wall. It was a Crow medicine bonnet and had ermine skins on it and antelope horns and he said, “I want to buy that thing.” I said, “I don’t want to sell it.” He said, “You have so many of them, you can’t take it with you.” You know what I said to him? “Then I’m not going.” And you know, I started thinking about that later and I said well, you know, If I got to go, why don’t I just take this stuff with me? And I got the idea that I’m going to buy - I gave $25,000 for a beautiful Flemish chest that they think dates to like 150 A.D. And I started going to gun shows and Indian shows and buying gold nuggets and gold coins. And about six months later I had 20.2 Troy pounds of gold in that chest. And jewelry that had emeralds and Ceylon sapphires and diamonds and…

MILLS: There’s a bracelet with 240 something rubies in it?

FENN: Um rubies, yeah.

MILLS: And a Spanish emerald ring. A beautiful big emerald.

FENN: We found that in the Galisteo basin with a metal detector. And two beautiful little jade ancient Chinese jade carvings of faces. I mean, the best things I had, you know, I was going to take them with me. I was 80 - I was 79 years old. So, you know, what do you have to look forward to?

MILLS: Well, so, tell us what you did with this chest.

FENN: Well, I took the chest out and I hid it. And in my book…

MILLS: “The Thrill of The Chase”

FENN: “The Thrill of The Chase” I say that it’s in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe. But there’s a lady, a neighbor over there. I didn’t know her, but she said she was a neighbor. She called me on the phone and she was really mad at me. I said, “Why are you mad at me?” She says, “There’s two guys out there digging up my front yard.” I said, “I”m sorry. Tell the guys to leave. The treasure chest is north of Santa Fe.” But you should read some of the emails I’ve read. Let me tell you what’s been fun about this. About 2500 emails have said, “Mr. Fenn, we know we’re not going to find the treasure chest, but I just want to thank you for getting me and the kids off the couch and out into the wind.

MILLS: Yes. I’ve read a lot of those emails. I just want to say that in your book, your memoir, “The Thrill of The Chase” you have a poem in which you’ve hidden the clues and I will tell you after I read that poem and I thought this girl is not finding any treasure from these clues. But they’re in there and you have hundreds of people that come to Santa Fe and points north looking for this hidden treasure.

FENN: I don’t know how many people have looked, but I’m sure throughout this last summer there were over a thousand.

MILLS: Yeah.

FENN: A lot of them go out looking and I don’t know about it till later.


FENN: Then they’ll send me an email and tell me they didn’t find it.

MILLS: Well, I’ve read some of those emails and one of them said, “I give up. I couldn’t find it, but I had a great summer with my son looking for it.”

FENN: Well, I write them back and I tell them don’t give up, it’s still out there.

MILLS: Yeah, yeah. Will you ever know when someone finds it?

FENN: The kind of person that will find it, is the kind of person that can’t keep it quiet. So I expect I’ll know about it. If I found something like that, I could keep it quiet for about 3 minutes. Then I’d tell everybody, you know?

MILLS: Well, you got even more national publicity. Newsweek did a piece on you and unfortunately you weren’t able to correct a lot of the inaccuracies in that, and they went ahead and published it, but that brought you more fame. So how has - and people have written saying thank you for giving me this dream. I work two jobs, I’m a single parent, but I think just knowing that I might be the one to find that treasure…

FENN: Well you know, I… I had the bomb, but Newsweek magazine lit the fuse. And I was inundated with - the Today show wanted me to come on their show and I’ve had eleven reality shows want me. I just tell all of them, um, you know, I’m not that kind of… I’d rather be out fishing on the creek.

MILLS: Yeah. Yes, and then some people said, “I’ve got to abandon the search because my wife says it’s either me or the - it’s either the treasure, or you stay here with me.

FENN: We got about 30 divorces over this. No, that one guy that said that talked his wife into going with him. And beautiful Gadi Schwartz, you know Gadi Schwartz?

MILLS: I do from Channel 4. KOB.

FENN: He went to Yellowstone looking for it, and he read in my book the story about looking for Lewis and Clark where Donny Jo and I had three Baby Ruth candy bars. That’s all the food we took for a week. Up in the mountains we were going to catch fish, and shoot rabbits and things, and he thought that was a fetish. So when he was up there in Yellowstone looking for the treasure chest, he saw a sign that said Red Canyon, which is the canyon that we went up on horseback for a week. He went back to town, and bought three Baby Ruth candy bars and went out there and nailed them on that fence. And later, he’s out looking for the treasure and he said he found two Baby Ruth candy bars - wrappers - laying on the ground there.

MILLS: Oh my goodness. Well, I want to encourage everyone to get your book, and to go out and make - decipher what they can out of this enigma hidden in a riddle. It’s very cleverly written. But, so “The Thrill of The Chase” - I want to know what you’re chasing now.

FENN: You know when I was in business, it’s going to sound very crass, but in the back of my mind, I told myself there’s never enough. Nothing is too good. That was the way I thought because I churning in my business, you know? I was trying to make a living. It wasn’t easy because I didn’t have any experience and, first two major shows I had, I didn’t sell anything. Not even a book. Because I didn’t know what I was doing, I decided if I was going to compete, I was going to have to hustle. And I decided I was going to be a hustler. Be friendly, talk to people, invite them in. And famous people would come in. I loved that when that would happen. I would always meet them at the door and shake their hand and take them to lunch if they’d go, because I’m always inspired by people who have done something significant with their life. I’m in awe of those people.

MILLS: Well, um, I just want to mention one more time this book, “The Thrill of The Chase.” You can buy it at Collected Works.

FENN: It’s the only place you can get that. I gave them all the copies they can sell.

MILLS: And it’s very important that they’re donating the proceeds from this book. People said, “Oh, he’s just doing this to make money.” No, the proceeds go through Collected Works and then go…

FENN: Well I’m not making any money. I’m not even getting my costs back on that book. But the Collected Works is putting 10% aside, and when the time comes we’re going to buy a cancer operation for somebody because that, that’s important to me.

MILLS: Yes. You are working on, I think, “The Closet Stories of Taos”?

FENN: “The Closet Stories of Taos.” You know, Taos was such a great place in the turn of the last century. 1900, 1905, there were so many great artists up there but, there was Long John Dunne, there was Doughbelly Price, there was Mace McHorse - is that not a great name?

MILLS: That’s a great name!

FENN: Mace McHorse owned the first car dealership up there. And Mabel Dodge Luhan got the first car and Long John Dunne got the second. And Dorothy Brett told me a story about Mabel Dodge Luhan getting the first bathtub in town. And, you know, Mabel was long dead when I came out this country but I knew Dorothy Brett and she was still mad. She said, “She would never let me use her bathtub.”

MILLS: Oh! You’re also doing an event at the Spanish Museum with Bill Fields and Jack Lefler. You’re doing the Stories of Santa Fe coming up in December.

FENN: I think they cornered Billy Fields and I because we’re so old we know everything that happened in Santa Fe in the old days.

MILLS: Where all the bodies are buried.

FENN: I think I had either the second or the third art gallery in Santa Fe. It hadn’t been that long - you know, we’re talking about 1972 really.

MILLS: Yes, well thank you for spending the time with us today. Our guest today is Forrest Fenn who is the winner, the co-winner with Slim Randles of the Rounders Award for 2012. And you’re also, although you’ve hidden treasure and entice people with the thrill of the chase, you yourself are a treasure.

FENN: Thank you. Max Evans is a treasure.

MILLS: It’s absolutely true so thank you for taking -

FENN: You’re a sweetheart for inviting me back. Thank you.

MILLS: Well, everyone asks me, “Where’s the treasure? Get a clue if you can!” So, our treasure today is Forrest Fenn and thank you.

FENN: Thank you.

MILLS: And I’m Lorene Mills. I’d like to thank you, our audience, for being with us today. This is Report From Santa Fe, we’ll see you next week.

Date Site Name Link
13-05-2011 Report From Santa Fe Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript on Report From Santa Fe with Lorene Mills with Forrest Fenn - 1st Appearance LORENE MILLS: Hello, I’m 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 Fe’s finest art galleries for years and years, but you’ve also written a wonderful book - wonderful in many ways that we’ll explore. But I just want to hold it up now. It’s called “The Thrill of The Chase - A Memoir” and it’s dedicated to anyone who loves the thrill of the chase. So welcome to the show.

FENN: Thank you, I’m 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 ma’am.

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, you’d never studied art, you didn’t own an art painting, uh, a painting, and you didn’t know anybody who did. So what made you choose…?

FENN: Well, uh, I had a bad tour in Vietnam. I was shot down twice and I lost 22 pounds and didn’t 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 that’s 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 Fe’s 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, “Please Touch” and why did you do that when everyone else is guarding you and standing in between you and the art so you can’t 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, “If you touch it, you bought it”, “You are responsible for your kids”, “Do not touch” 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, “Please touch, I am responsible.” The theory is: how can someone buy a great item if they’re 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: That’s right.

MILLS: And you actually had each child come up and touch one of America’s 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. It’s worked for me. People collect autographs for the same reason. It’s the connection that they like. And I feel sorry for people that don’t have that depth of imagination.

MILLS: Yeah. Yes. Because one of our favorite mutual quotes is that Albert Einstein quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

FENN: That’s 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. It’s 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 it’s wonderful. I’ve 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 what’s Chere supposed to do with - at the show tonight? Cher said, “I’ll wing it.” She didn’t want to know what he wanted, she’ll just do it here way. And, you know, that’s the way she was and she signed her name the same way.

MILLS: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

FENN: And I think that’s her personality. That’s a metaphor for who Cher is. She can do anything.

MILLS: Yeah, um, you’ve 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. They’re on the floor, they’re on the radio, they’re 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, “The Thrill of the Chase” and what - it’s a memoir so you have wonderful stories about your life. I think really it’s 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 you’ve set out and why you are doing it.

FENN: You know there’s a good quote in the new Duveen book and it says, “They never knew it was the chase they sought, and not the quarry.” Isn’t 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: That’s right.

MILLS: And it is in an 11th century box, at least describe the treasure chest.

FENN: It’s in an 11th century Romanesque bible box, or a box of letters, and it’s 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, that’ll 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 o’clock, I told myself if I’ve got to go, I’m just going to take it with me. And that’s 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, there’s 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 didn’t 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, I’m 80 years old so, you know, the handwriting is on the wall. But I told myself I’ve had so much fun over the decades - six decades - collecting these things… Now if I’ve got to go, why not let somebody else have the same kind of fun that I have had. And that’s why I wrote the poem that’s 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 can’t even geographically make it any - narrow it down any more?

FENN: People are always asking me that question. The other day I said…

MILLS: Just a hundred square miles?

FENN: I’ll give you a clue for your readers. The chest is more than 300 miles west of Toledo.

MILLS: Okay (laughing).

FENN: And it’s not in Nevada, so. Those are big clues.

MILLS: Okay then. Well, and we want people to have the thrill of the chase.

FENN: I’ve got a friend here in town that’s been out looking for it nine different days. He owns a shop here. He only gets off on Sunday but he heads out.

MILLS: Uh-huh.

FENN: I don’t think he’s found it yet. He hasn’t told me.

MILLS: That’s 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 that’s true.

FENN: In which case, I’ll 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 can’t keep it quiet.

MILLS: Yeah. Yeah.

FENN: He’s like me. You know, he’s got to broadcast it.

MILLS: Now does anybody else, besides you, know where this is?

FENN: Nobody.

MILLS: Because you had said, in one of your lines from the book is that, “Two people can keep a secret as long as one of them is dead.”

FENN: That’s an old mafia saying.

MILLS: Yeah, well, um, I think it’s wonderful. I’ve read the poem. I could only determine one clue, so I doubt I’m going to be the person that finds the treasure chest.

FENN: Well don’t give up. It’s the thrill of the chase.

MILLS: It is the thrill of the chase. But another thing that you’ve 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, I’m burying them with my name and the date. I really don’t 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. Don’t you know that guy is proud today?

MILLS: Yeah, and you say on one of the bells, you say, um, “If you find this a thousand years after my death, ring this bell…”

FENN: “So I will know.”

MILLS: “So I will know.”

FENN: I think that’s pretty good.

MILLS: And you’re burying them deep so

FENN: Well I’m burying them deep enough so that normally a metal detector won’t 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, that’s 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?

FENN: Mm-hmm.

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, “If 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.” But I didn’t know that. I didn’t 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 that’s 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 that’s just a couple of generations.

FENN: Your listeners will say, some of them will say, well you know I don’t 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, that’s going to be an important document.

MILLS: Yeah, well look at the stuff from medieval times. What they had for breakfast.

FENN: That’s right. We all have so much to offer.

MILLS: Um, you say, can you repeat what you’ve chosen to be your epitaph? Um, “I wish I could have lived to do the things I was attributed to.”

FENN: Well, I’ve been accused of some pretty serious things in my lifetime. Sometimes there’s a little smoke, sometimes there’s 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 you’ve 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 - it’s 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 Hory’s 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 don’t know it.

MILLS: Well, you, they’re called “masterfleeces” and from the 80’s on this has been a big thing in the art world. But you had said some really interesting things. “If they’re as good as real, if they look as good as real, then what are we talking about? What is art?” 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 wasn’t the real thing, they would just be, you know, they wouldn’t want it. And you’d say, “You loved it when you saw it. You stopped loving it as soon as you knew there was no signature. Who’s the fake here? The painting on the wall, or you?”

FENN: That’s right. So, when I was a kid, I started making rules. When something significant would happen to me, I’d 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 doesn’t matter who you are. It only matters who they think you are. That’s how Andy Warhol got there. That’s how Nieman-Marcus got there and I could go on and on.

MILLS: Well I’m going to finish that quote for you because then you say, “It’s true in Hollywood, it’s true in politics, and it’s true with the painting. It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s who they think you are.” That’s a good first rule.

FENN: Well, a salesman - it doesn’t 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 it’s 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: We’re 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. They’re misrepresenting the product.

MILLS: Well there’s an art to that, Forrest.

FENN: (laughing) That’s 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 “fetishes.” You know they’re 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 don’t call them that, but that’s what they are. It’s important that we believe.

MILLS: And my academic work was in shamanism, so if you’re 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 doesn’t 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 there’s a couple of items of world class that you have.

FENN: Well, I started collecting arrowheads because I didn’t have any money and my father would take me out and we’d 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 there’s 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. It’s very important and we’re - everyone is remiss today because of that. And our future could look better if we’d shape up some.

MILLS: I’d like to go down the Native American path a little bit more. Tell me, one of your books is called, “The Secret of San Lazaro Pueblo.”

FENN: “The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo.”


FENN: It’s 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 there’s about 5,000 rooms out there. And I’ve dug right at 1% of the rooms and this book illustrates all the great things that we’ve excavated out there.

MILLS: Well there are archeologists who say that you’ve really done an impeccable job of cataloging everything

FENN: There are archeologists that don’t like me because I don’t have a PhD, and I don’t work exactly like they do.

MILLS: And you don’t give them what you find. That’s one of the reasons they don’t 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, that’s uh, Craig Childs, who wrote “Finders Keepers” has this question, “Who owns the past?”

FENN: That’s an interesting question. You want me to answer it?


FENN: The guy that has the title.


FENN: He’s 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, I’m doing what I accuse everybody else of doing. Everyone else is doing what they think is right about these things. It’s a very interesting area.

FENN: It’s called finders remorse.

MILLS: Ahhh. Yeah, um, one of the objects that you own, if you could speak about it is Sitting Bull’s pipe. The very one in all the photographs. The very one. And you often say that it’s not always so much the object but story of the object.

FENN: Well, this man offered me, what he called was Sitting Bull’s pipe. It’s 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 I’ll show you that it’s 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, I’ve been offered so many things. I was offered a knife that killed Caesar. It came with a notarized letter.

MILLS: Well who’s - (laughing) And was it?

FENN: You’re easy!

MILLS: I know! And you researched it and of course, it was not?

FENN: I didn’t 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 - they’d 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, 40… 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, “If I jump in there and pick those things up, can I have them?” He said, “Yes, we have enough.” And I still have those things.

MILLS: Well, to me, again, it’s the story almost as value as much as the actual tacks. And so because we’re 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 don’t want to do that. I mean there are so many things that I want to do. So many things that I don’t 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 there’s 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 there’s 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, I’ll 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, “The Thrill of The Chase” and let’s 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 didn’t want people to say that I did it - that the treasure chest was a gimmick to sell the book. So I’ve 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 they’ve - they’re putting in a fund, 10% of the gross from the sale of these books and when we get enough money we’re gonna, we’re gonna buy a cancer operation for some little kid that can’t afford it. That’s 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. You’ve done your homework on this thing. I didn’t - finally I found somebody that read my book.

MILLS: I read every bit of it and I loved it, so.

FENN: Well you’re a sweetheart. Thank you.

MILLS: Our guest today is Forrest Fenn. Thank you for joining us.

FENN: My pleasure.

MILLS: And I’m Lorene Mills. I wish you all the thrill of the chase. This is Report from Santa Fe and we’ll see you next week.

Date Site Name Link
26-02-2011 Collected Works Bookstore Video Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript from interview with Forrest Fenn at the Collected Works bookstore 02/26/2011 MICHAEL MCGARRITY: This book, in my estimation is right up there in terms of personal memoirs. You’re a good writer, you have clarity, humor, you write sometimes tongue in cheek. And there’s so much more to this treasure story than this crazy thing that you’ve done with $1,000,000 worth of gold that you could have just given to me (laughter) as your friend, you know, your buddy. Mark Howards out there (inaudible) he’s looking for this treasure. And so, you know, you really messed up a lot of people in a lot of ways with this treasure. Peggy’s not happy either. But, that aside, Forrest, you wrote a really really good book. Just the other day, it talks a lot about things that you don’t normally talk about. It talks about the fact that you are a true American hero. I’ve seen the medals that you earned, and they were all genuinely earned. It’s not like the generals that fly over a combat zone and give themelves a medal. (inaudible) And it talks about all of the things that you’ve done in your life that are all really, really special and remarkable. So, talk about that a little bit, Forrest. Talk a little bit about yourself. Let these people know who you really are.

FORREST FENN: My father was a school teacher and a principal and he was my principal through the 7th grade. And he was an arrowhead collector, so he and I used to walk through the plowed fields and look for things. I would remember very vividly the first little arrowhead I ever found. It was in a plowed up field, and I’ll tell you it had been resting in the earth there for 1200 years waiting for me to come by and pick it up. It was such a thrill to me.

OFF CAMERA VOICE: Where was that?

FORREST FENN: And I’ve always been a collector. I collected bottle tops. I collected string. I collected match boxes. In Germany, I collected wine glasses in a little town that has their own wine and their own glasses, so I collected all those things and when I came back from the Air Force over there, they were all broken… But anyway, I’ve always been a collector, and I loved that kind of thing. When I got sick in 1988, nobody thought I was going to live and, about that time one of my clients was over. Ralph Lauren. He came in - was in my house and I had some things. One of which he wanted. And I said, “I just really don’t want to sell that.” And he said, “Well, you have so many, you can’t take it with you.” And I said, “Then I’m not going.” And I said that without even thinking, but I did start thinking about it and that lead to different ideas and I said, “You know, if I’ve got to go, why don’t I take it with me.” That’s what this treasure chest is all about. It’s not as much fun having it, as it is collecting it. If you have something in your house that - when you were 15 years old that you really treasured, you look at it today, you may not treasure it as much today as you did then.

MCGARRITY: (inaudible)

FENN: (nodding) I talk about that in my book. But I’ve been the type of person that always, fortunately, has been been consumed by things. If you’ve never been consumed, you should order yourself to do that.

MCGARRITY: That’s real serious stuff. You believe that wholeheartedly don’t you?

FENN: Absolutely.

MCGARRITY: You’ve got to have such a laser focus that you can’t let go. And this guy is dogged. He is one of the most persistent people I’ve ever met in my life right? The man does not know what the word know means.

FENN: That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.

DOUG PRESTON: I wanted to go back to your book because the thing that you just - one of the most profound truths I think that I’ve learned in my life is communicated so clearly in your book. And you were just talking about it, but it’s that there’s nothing worse in life than arriving then having everything you want. And you see how people out there, who have everything they want, they arrive, they often ruin their lives. Drugs or alcohol or just self-indulgence. It’s the thing that never quite getting there that’s what makes life worth living. And when I read your book, it never really struck me so strongly that truth is something you’ve figured out with so many people. And also communicated so beautifully. It’s a wonderful book. And even if there weren’t a million dollar treasure behind it, it’s still worth - the real treasure is the book.

FENN: This guy robbed a casino in Las Vegas was the son of a police officer that (inaudible) caught recently because he was bragging about robbing the casino in Las Vegas.

PRESTON: I’ve actually seen this treasure. I’ve handled these nuggets with my own hands. And it is…

MCGARRITY: The chest itself is an amazing, amazing artifact. But he has buried more than that treasure. He’s buried these - he went out and fabricated these bells and he’s written little things on them for people. So those are just spread out all around aren’t they?

FENN: I created eight of those things, and I buried them deep enough so a metal detector can’t find them because I don’t want anyone to find them for 10,000 years. In 10,000 years from now, they’re going to think a lot of me. The Rosetta Stone went undiscovered for 2,000 years and don’t you know that guy is proud?

MCGARRITY: One thing you can say about Forrest is that he doesn’t suffer from ego deficit. Question back there?

OFF CAMERA: In the course of writing “The Thrill of The Chase” there was to add more. Now there’s a blog spot where he’s expanding and telling more of the story.


FENN: What’s the question?

MCGARRITY: You have a blog spot where you’re telling more of your story. You’ve got somebody back there talking for you on this issue. Why don’t you tell us about this?

FENN: He earns a commission. Well I started writing a blog about a month ago, and I have a niece-in-law that’s a computer genius. She set this up on my computer, so I just sit there and I write these things. I have the best time. But she also put on my blog a place where you click to see the stats to see how many people read my blog. I don’t have but one a day. And I think that’s me. But anyway, I’m having a lot of fun with it. If you want to read my blogs, I’ve written 14 of them and I’m very proud of them.

PRESTON: It’s good to read the blogs because he drops hints to where the treasure is. For example tonight, he just said it’s not in Nevada. That’s a pretty good hint. Also on the blog, this was back in January, he said something like “Well it’s probably under the snow now.”

FENN: I gave a really good clue to a friend the other day and I’ll give it to you because it’s very important. That treasure chest is more than 400 miles west of Toledo.

PRESTON: Then he gave me another clue. I was talking about “where are you burying the treasure, where are you burying the treasure” and Forrest said, “Doug, I just want to point out something. Have you ever heard me use the word bury?”

MCGARRITY: The other thing is that, uh, Toledo is in Ohio and there’s Cleveland and we got a Cleveland, New Mexico.

FENN: Is that a clue?

OFF CAMERA: Are there any good photographs?

MCGARRITY: Of the treasure?


MCGARRITY: It’s in the book. There’s a great one in the book, yeah.

FENN: (gesturing) Yeah, in the back of my book. She’s holding it up.

PRESTON: I also posted that on our Facebook page too. But there’s nuggets in there that are the size of your fist.

Date Site Name Link
22-06-2017 Inside Edition Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript of Inside Edition interview with Forrest Fenn HOST: The eccentric millionaire who said he hid $2,000,000 in gold is under mounting pressure to bring the treasure hunt to an end. Two men have died in remote areas of New Mexico searching for a chest of gold Forrest Fenn claims he hid in the mountains. The latest victim is 52 year old Paris Wallace, a pastor from Colorado

PETER KASETAS: Mr. Fenn should re-evaluate his treasure hunt

HOST: New Mexico police chief, Peter Kasetas, confronted Fenn by phone on Good Morning America and asked him to stop the treasure hunt.

KASETAS: You had talked about giving more clues, proving more clues to help people better find your treasure, and again, I call for you to pull it.

FENN: I’m not going to give a clue to help people find the treasure. I’m going to give a clue to try to keep them out of trouble.

KASETAS: Yeah, yeah.

FENN: To make them safer.

HOST: Forrest Fenn is an 86 year old art and antiques dealer who made millions in the 1980’s selling Indian artifacts. An amazing 65,000 people have participated in the search for the buried treasure in a vast region stretching from Montana to New Mexico working from tantalizing clues contained in Fenn’s book.

FENN: Begin it where warm waters halt / and take it in the canyon down / not far, but too far to walk. / Put in below the home of Brown.

HOST: Fenn told Inside Edition it’s not his fault people are risking their lives.

FENN: In the summertime, we jump in a swimming pool. If somebody drowns in the swimming pool, should we drown the pool or should we teach people to swim? That’s the way I feel about it.

HOST: But Linda Bilyeu, whose ex-husband Randy died last year searching for the gold, says she doesn’t believe there is any treasure.

LINDA BILYEU: I think this whole thing is a hoax. There’s been no proof whatsoever that the treasure actually exists.

HOST: What do you think Forrest Fenn should do now?

BILYEU: I think he should end the search. Produce the chest, or say it’s a hoax. Do what he has to do to say it’s over.

HOST: Forrest Fenn says the treasure is no hoax.

FENN: There’s some people that think it’s a hoax, but the interesting thing is that all those people that think it’s a hoax are still out there looking.

Date Site Name Link
04-08-2016 KQRE Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript on KQRE interview with Forrest Fenn Bilyeu Family

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 Fenn’s treasure. News 13’s Haley Rush has more on the family’s 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 Bilyeu’s ex-wife Linda saying in quotes, “Do 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 Fenn’s 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 Linda’s letter, she says her ex-husband was caught, and she’s writing to keep other treasure hunters safe.

BILYEU: I don’t want anybody to get hurt.

RUSH: We reached out to Fenn. In a written statement, he said, “It 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.” He went on to say his prayers are with Randy’s family. Asked if the treasure is real, Fenn told us, “The treasure is not a hoax, and it is still resting where I hid it about six years ago.” Haley Rush, KRQE News 13

Date Site Name Link
05-03-2016 Huff Post Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript from Huff Post interview with Forrest Fenn HOST: Forrest, you published a memoir in 2010, “The Thrill of The Chase” in which you revealed that you hid a treasure chest “Somewhere north of Santa Fe.” You’ve also put out a map and a poem for prospective hunters. I want to read the last four lines of that poem, “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.” 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 there’s also 260 some rubies, there’s 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 you’re gone?

FENN: You know, I’m ambivalent about that. I could go either way, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I’m not encouraging anybody by giving any more clues. Everybody’s on their own. I’m 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 I’m 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 I’m pretty sure.

HOST: I don’t think I’m going to work that one out Forrest! Sorry!

FENN: Well call me later, okay?

HOST: Dal, you’re actually searching for Forrest’s treasure right?

DAL NEITZEL: Absolutely, I’m having a ball looking for it.

HOST: What does that entail if there’s a map and there’s 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, we’re 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 there’s nine clues in there and, you know we’re not even sure what the nine clues are. So, where do you begin, and where do you stop and what’s 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 you’re still alive, do you track it very closely?

FENN: No, I don’t 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 didn’t know that they were there though. But I know because they told me exactly where they were.

Date Site Name Link
01-02-2016 CBC Radio - As it happens Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from CBC Radio interview with Forrest Fenn 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. Fenn’s 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, it’s not a good story. He’s been lost in the Rio Grande River canyon west of Santa Fe. Today is the 25th day. And we’ve had as many as 50 people walking up and down those canyons and I’ve been in helicopters three days. It’s a pretty sad story. We’re still looking for the man, but we have three inches of snow on the ground here today and it’s 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 didn’t 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 didn’t 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: Let’s talk about your treasure chest because that’s what’s really at the heart of this isn’t 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 we’ve talked to you about that before. Remind people about that treasure and why you hid it there.

FENN: Well that’s a long story. You really need to read my book, “The Thrill of The Chase” in order to get - but I’ll 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. That’s when I decided I would start gathering up some valuable things and putting them in a beautiful little treasure chest and hide them someplace. I’ve had so much fun over the years looking and collecting things that I thought why not let somebody else have same thrills that I’ve 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: That’s right, but I’ve never said what it was worth. I’ve 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 there’s diamonds and eight emeralds and two Ceylon sapphires and pre-Columbian gold and jade figures. It’s 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: That’s my understanding, yes. There are a lot of mysteries involved in this so I can’t 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 I’m - 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 I’m tickled to death with that. It’s sad when somebody gets lost. But I’ve 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 there’s snow and ice on the ground. I don’t know what else I can say.

OFF: Well I’m sure you’ve 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 they’re 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 they’re out looking for the treasure. I mean that’s very rewarding to me. Occasionally, someone gets lost and I’m very sad about that. It’s 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?

FENN: Yes.

OFF: And so what chances are do you think they’ll find him alive?

FENN: You know, I can’t predict the future and I don’t know what the odds are. We’re not going to give up looking for him.

OFF: But if it does turn out that Randy did not survive this, it won’t change anything for you.

FENN: I’m not going to speculate on that and I don’t even want to think about it.

OFF: Alright Mr. Fenn thanks for speaking with us.

Date Site Name Link
11-09-2013 KOAT 7 News Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript from KOAT 7 News interview with Forrest Fenn 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. It’s 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, there’s a hidden 10 inch treasure chest. Don’t let it’s size fool you, it’s full of gold coins.

FORREST FENN: Rubies, and emeralds, and diamonds

GRIMSTAD: And here’s 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 didn’t 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 poem…

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 Fenn’s 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 doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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 they’re sitting there, with the treasure chest on their lap, and they raise that lid, it’s going to be something amazing to them. They may faint. It’s such a beautiful sight.

GRIMSTAD: And so you think you get a lot of emails? Well Fenn says he’s 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, it’s 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: Fenn’s new book is being printed and bound today. It will be available for sale very soon. It’s called, “Too Far To Walk” and talks more about Fenn’s life and his adventures.

Date Site Name Link
27-02-2013 NBC Today Show Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript from NBC Today Show interview with Forrest Fenn JANET SHAMLIAN: How is it that you hatched this plan to hide this treasure somewhere?

FORREST FENN: 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. You go through all the emotions first: disbelief, shock. After all I went through in Vietnam, and flying fighters for all these years, finally they’re going to catch up with me.

SHAMLIAN: You decided to put gold in a chest and hide it. Why?

FENN: Because I wanted everybody to go look for it. I wanted a man and his wife and their three or five kids to get off of the couch and out of the game room and go look for it. It’s the thrill of the chase. I said, if I’ve got to go, why don’t I just let somebody else have as much fun with this as I’ve had. So I wrote a poem that’s in my book. It has nine clues in it. If you can read the poem and decipher the clues, the clues will take you to where I hid that chest. When I closed that lid to that beautiful chest for the last time, something, part of me was in that chest also and I believe that.

MARK HOWARD: We’re basically in the heart of the Jemez Mountain Range. We’re below the Valles Caldera west of Los Alamos.

SHAMLIAN: You’ve made close to something like two dozen treks to look for the treasure. There’s got to be something more than the monetary value that’s brought you out here so many times.

HOWARD: Absolutely, the beauty of New Mexico is one of the reasons I’m out here, you know? Then there’s the fact that I’m a goldsmith and it’s gold. I mean, what would a goldsmith want but free reign with gold.

SHAMLIAN: It’s not all about the solo pursuit of gold.

HOWARD: No. That’s right, it’s not. It’s - there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s, it’s seeing America in a different light. It’s traveling places you haven’t been before. It’s the hot springs that I’ve taken my clothes off and thrown myself into. It’s bald eagles flying overhead and bighorn sheep on the side of a mountain. There’s all those things.

Date Site Name Link
23-10-2013 Collected Works Bookstore Video Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript of interview with Forrest Fenn at the Collected Works bookstore 10/23/2013 ORREST FENN: Al Simpson wrote a book called “Right in The Old Gazoo.” You remind me of that. Ask him what a gazoo is, and he’ll say it’s a Wyoming end of a mule that’s looking at you.

MICHAEL MCGARRITY: Yes, I know what a gazoo is! (laughter)

FENN: But I gotta tell you, this guy (gesturing to Preston) has had two or three books number one on the New York Times bestseller list. That’s not too bad. This guy (gesturing to McGarrity) was voted New Mexico’s favorite writer. I can’t imagine why, but...

DOUG PRESTON: Forrest has sold more books than all of us together.

MCGARRITY: And cut out the middleman too. Pure profit for this guy.

PRESTON: Amazing, isn’t it? You know he’s made more profit on this book than it cost him to bury the treasure? (laughter) I don’t know. That’s not true, because the profits are going to charity.

MCGARRITY: Well, I think, Forrest, I know you said you wanted us to talk about ourselves, and we can do that a little bit, but really I think you ought to talk about your new book.

PRESTON: Yeah, I’d love to hear about it.

MCGARRITY: I understand it was ghost written. (laughter)

FENN: Well, if you read the preface to my book, you’ll understand why I titled it “Too Far To Walk.” But when I wrote “The Thrill of the Chase,” uh, I never - I’ve written nine books but I never did consider myself a writer really. I was kind of a hacker. I told a story in my book, “The Thrill of The Chase” that I read JD Salinger’s book “Catcher in the Rye.” It was very much celebrated. Everybody was talking about “Catcher in the Rye” and I read that book, and I said, “If this is a good book, I can do that!” I grew up with Mickey Spillane.

MCGARRITY: “My Gun Is Quick”

FENN: “I, The Jury” and you remind me of him a little.

MCGARRITY: I remind you? Thank you. Thank you.

FENN: Except he was a lot more fun. Anyway, I started writing “Too Far To Walk” I think in April. I had written some of the stories before that because they’re on my blog. But I just decided, all of the sudden, when I wrote “The Thrill of The Chase” I’d sit at my desk at night and read the book and I’d tell myself, “You know, I really like this book.” I hadn’t heard a writer say that about his own book before. But I said, “Maybe I’ll do this again.” So I took some things off my blog and added a few stories to it, and did a little bit of research on the computer and four or five months later I’ve got “Too Far To Walk.” It’s more of a peek back into the scrapbook of my life. Things that I’ve done. Things that have happened to me. Places I’ve been. And I credit my wife for pushing me through my life some. Hold your hand up, Peggy. You deserve it.

MCGARRITY: You know, Forrest, I have to say that, when a writer writes from his heart, when a writer is compelled to write a story, when there’s no avoiding it, that’s usually when the best kind of writing occurs. Because, it’s got a life of its own. It’s got a purpose of its own. So, the fact that you weren’t finished after “The Thrill of The Chase” that you had more of the story to tell, and you are a good storyteller is a testament to the fact that this is something that you were compelled to do. And you did it with that kind of motivation is really where the best writers come from.

FENN: Well you two guys write murder mysteries which means you have to know what you’re going to say before you get started.

MCGARRITY: Oh no, that’s not true.

FENN: Well that’s what you’re supposed to do. (laughter) Well anyway, about 60% through the book, you’re supposed to have a climax for everything. It comes to a boil there.

MCGARRITY: Have you been taking writer’s courses somewhere? Like going to writers’ groups, or studying? Because that’s wrong, Forrest.

FENN: I just turned my hearing aid off. (laughter) And these guys have to know where they’re going because they have to have an ending. When I write, I can just turn myself loose and and say anything I want to because I don’t have any rules. You guys have rules - you have editors. You said earlier that you turned your book in, and your editor sent it back and wants you to change a bunch of stuff.

PRESTON: You know that’s one of the things I love about “Too Far To Walk” is the directness of it. And thank God you didn’t have an editor. You know? I mean, I think there is a simplicity to your stories. It’s almost like you’re sitting around the campfire and you’re just telling the stories, and there’s no sort of artificial - thing. I have a question for you. The design of that book is really unique. I’ve never seen a book quite like that. Which, you know, involves writing, and there’s beautiful drawings in the book, which I hope you’ll talk about, and there are these old photographs. The way it’s all put together, it’s an absolutely gorgeous book. So, how did you get the idea for that? Tell us about the drawings and the artist, and how you managed to come up with this really original way of presenting your life.

FENN: Well, I hate to read anything where the next sentence is predictable. I’ve written nine books and in each of my books I’ve made up words. And I look in the dictionary to make sure it isn’t there. My argument is if I use a word, and the reader knows exactly what I’m talking about, then who cares what the word is? I’ve done that in all my books. I’ve said some things in my book, I’ve made some deliberate errors just to see if anybody would find them and they don’t.

MCGARRITY: Or they’re just being polite. But you know Forrest, I think Doug’s point is really well made. I mean, you have this natural storyteller ability and it shines through not only in the words that you put on the page, but the way the whole book is put together, and the way it presents itself to the reader. And I think that’s what really important about your writing. You tell a great story and it’s like you’re sitting in a room with an old friend and you’re listening to a grand tale that has a lot of truth to it.

FENN: Well in “The Thrill of The Chase” I talk about Hemingway’s book “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” And I talked about the mud and the dead horse and whatever. I talked about it being World War One and all the terrible things that happened. But it wasn’t World War One at all. It was the Spanish Revolution. Not one person called my attention to the fact that I had named the wrong war in my book.

MCGARRITY: Again, it’s being polite.

PRESTON: That’s because people are afraid of you.

MCGARRITY: We know that you could put a hit out on either one of us at a moment’s notice.

FENN: Well you were talking about my book, I see Lou Bruno there. Lou, stand up. Lou is not bashful, he’ll wave to you. Lou has been my, I don’t know, what do you call yourself Lou?

BRUNO: Creative Director.

FENN: Creative Director, yeah, that’s jargon for making things happen. But Lou is the one that hired the designer for my book, Susan Caldwell. Is Susan here? No. But anyway, We have meetings once a week, and we go over - they propose things to me and we discuss them and I approve them and they go back and forth. When the whole thing’s finished, Lou gets bids for the printing and he talks to the binder and he makes them. So I’m laughing at all -

MCGARRITY: These guys do all the work. You’re saying it’s a collaborative effort?

FENN: Yes.

MCGARRITY: Well I think any book, whether it’s done with Lou or done through my publisher, or done through Doug’s publisher, combines a big collaboration because all of those things have to happen regardless. Fortunately, you’re in a position where you can control a lot more of that than we can. But still, it’s got your name on it, and you’re the one that bears the total responsibility for it from beginning to end and from cover to cover.

FENN: Yeah, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t blame them.

MCGARRITY: No. Blame Lou! Lou, you’re blamed.

FENN: But I had a pretty good illustrator, Danny Bodelson. I’ve known that family for - there’s ten kids in Doc Bodelson’s family and eight of them have worked for me over the years.

MCGARRITY: Really, all eight of them?

FENN: Yeah, and uh these guys write mysteries but they don’t illustrate their book. I can’t understand why you don’t have an illustrator.

MCGARRITY: Wait a minute. There was artwork in “Hard Country.” I take umbrage at this. In “Hard Country” there’s artwork. There’s a map.

FENN: It’s not an illustration.

MCGARRITY: It is too! There’s a map, and then in the various different sections, there’s a photograph.

FENN: Let’s talk about Doug’s books. (laughter)

PRESTON: I tried to convince, you know Forrest had this idea, why don’t you illustrate one of your thrillers? And I thought, the more I thought about it, the more I thought, you know that’s a really good idea. I mean, books used to be illustrated. All the Sherlock Holmes books and stories, you know, when they were published were illustrated. That was a very common thing to do in the nineteenth century. Dickens’ books were illustrated, so I went to my publisher and it was just, “Absolutely not! No, no! People will think it’s a children’s book!” I said, you know this is a way to distinguish something, to elevate this above the crowd. There’s so many thrillers published, so many murder mysteries. This will be something different. They wouldn’t even think about it.

FENN: When you look at the great books, “Last of the Mohicans”, “Blackbeard”, I could go all down the - books that were illustrated by the Brandywine School painters: N.C. Wyeth, Harvey Dunn, Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parrish, W.H.D. Koener - they’re wonderful. Those books would not be 20% of what they are without those illustrations.

MCGARRITY: You know, I totally agree with you. In a way, I tried to do something like that with my first four novels. The first four books that I wrote, two of them were published by W.W. Norton, two by Scribner. I got the grandson of Peter Hurd and Henriette Wyeth to do the illustrations for the hardbacks. Peter de la Fuente, who owns the Wyeth Hurd Gallery here in Santa Fe did the illustrations for the cover art for those four novels of mine and they took off and became collectible partially because of who the artist was and the relationship to NC Wyeth and Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth, and Andy Wyeth. People were collecting those books on the basis of the cover art for the first four novels.

PRESTON: That’s very interesting. Really interesting.

FENN: But you guys are big shot writers. You should not let your editor tell you how to make a book. Why don’t you tell him how you want to do it?

MCGARRITY: Doug and I are leaving tomorrow. We’re going to New York City

FENN: Good. Good.

MCGARRITY: We’re going to kick some butt.

FENN: Next flight leaves at eight o’clock.

PRESTON: Anyway, but this book, I’ve really enjoyed reading the stories. It’s the kind of thing you can dip into it and read a story, and then… But, as I was reading this book, and I know this is a subject that some of you are very interested in. I was realizing boy, you could get out a map, and in fact there is a map in the book, and you could trace where Forrest has gone from reading this book. And you know what? That’s a pretty big, you know, there’s a big hint right there to where his treasure might be buried. Honestly. And I was thinking maybe I should do that. But, no, no, no. I can’t be looking for this treasure.

MCGARRITY: Didn’t you send me an email, Forrest? Some guy that wrote you and said that he’d been to the event in April for the “Thrill of The Chase” and he picked up “Thrill of The Chase” and one of Doug’s books, and one of my books, and he said that he read them both, and that they both had clues to the treasure in them? Yeah, so there are people that are reading our books, though, thinking they’re going to find - you know, that’s why I want you to read “Backlands” when it comes out next May!

FENN: I taught these guys everything they know. But not everything I know.

PRESTON: My last book, “Two Graves” was dedicated to Forrest Fenn. I’ll just end right there.

FENN: I’m very honored you gave me a very special edition, leather bound and boxed and so forth. You’re ok for a writer.

PRESTON: But anyway, so tell us… Let’s get to the… How many people here have looked for the treasure? How many people here are here to see if there are going to be any clues accidentally? That’s why we have to start talking about these treasure because honestly are there in this new book that are not in the other one? There it is. “Too Far To Walk” that are not in “The Thrill of The Chase”? Are there clues in this book?

FENN: There is one clue in this book that’s not in “The Thrill of The Chase.” And I didn’t know the clue was in this book until it was printed.

PRESTON: Did you freak out when you realized?

FENN: Where’s Charmay Allred? Charmay hold your hand up. We can’t see you, Charmay. Charmay and I own the little One Horse Land and Cattle Company. It has nothing to do with cows or horses or land, but it’s a publishing company and so on. Charmay’s been with - Charmay I’ve known her for, I think 41 years. I talk about it in the new book. But we have more fun, and if I don’t have an answer to a question, I just make up one. Because the person that asked the question needs an answer.

MCGARRITY: I agree with that. What’s your point?

FENN: I forgot. (laughter)

PRESTON: Don’t freak out, he’s just teasing everyone.

MCGARRITY: The clue that you didn’t realize was in the book until after the book was finished.

FENN: That’s right.

MCGARRITY: The accidental clue. That’s a good title.

FENN: I like that. You should write a book about that. Let me talk a minute about the cover. Those that have been on the blogs know who Dal Neitzel is. He lives on a little island up in Washington state. But about four or five days before we were going to the printer, we didn’t have a cover. So I called Dal on the phone and I said, “Dal, go to the Madison River where I put a little rubber life raft in the water and fished for three days down to Baker’s hole and take a picture of your shadow in exactly that spot where I put the rubber life raft in the water. He did that. The shadow wasn’t on there. We had to fake that later. But I think that’s interesting that this is the very spot on the Madison River. It’s about ten miles from Baker’s Hole.

MCGARRITY: That’s where the treasure is?

FENN: Are you impressed with that?

PRESTON: That’s a great story, I love that story.

MCGARRITY: That’s where the treasure is!

FENN: And I tell the story about river bathing is best in this book. It’s green around the edges. Dal Neitzel took that photograph exactly in that spot where I used to bathe when I was a kid in the Firehole River in Wyoming. So that adds a little intrinsic value.

PRESTON: That’s good! Do I see a little gleam of gold in that picture? Is that a coin right there?

MCGARRITY: Is that a clue?

FENN: You wouldn’t know it if it was.

MCGARRITY: I wouldn't know it.

PRESTON: But Forrest, you were telling me about how many emails you got and how you’re answering them. Talk about that. That was astonishing.

FENN: I passed 24,000 emails a couple of days ago. I’m still getting about 80 to 100 a day. But if a person writes me a real nice email, signs their name, doesn’t ask me any questions, then I respond to it. I have probably 15,000 that say, “Mr. Fenn, we know we’re not going to find the treasure, but I want to thank you for getting me and my kids off the couch and into the mountains.” That’s very rewarding to me.

MCGARRITY: Is there going to be a third book?

FENN: What?

MCGARRITY: Will there be a third book? Dorothy has asked for a third book, and she asked me to see whether or not you’d be willing to write a third book.

FENN: Are you asking me to say something about Texas? I don’t understand what you’re saying. Texas?

MCGARRITY: Taxes? No. Will this be a trilogy where you continue the story? Will we have more to read?

FENN: Well, I started writing a children’s book, and I found it came so natural to me that I didn’t want to embarrass myself by finishing the book. So I don’t want any suspenses anymore. I don’t want deadlines. I don’t want Lou Bruno to tell me I can’t do this, I can’t do that. So I decided I’m just not going to write any more books, I don’t think.

MCGARRITY: The “I don’t think” at the end of that sentence does leave a lot to be desired in terms of whether you will or won’t write another book.

FENN: Who invited this guy?

MCGARRITY: Would you like me to restate the question?

FENN: No, I don’t understand you.

MCGARRITY: Are you going to write another book, Forrest?

FENN: I don’t think so, but I’ve written five books since I first made that statement.

MCGARRITY: Alright, the answer is clear, folks.

FENN: The problem is, that I don’t consider myself a good writer. I work 10 times harder on a sentence than you guys do.

MCGARRITY: I don’t believe you.

FENN: It takes a lot more out of me than

PRESTON: Your sentences seem so natural. You know, the best writing advice I ever got came from someone who said, “Look if you’re writing something and you’re just all hung up and can’t say, it’s just complicated. You’re trying to say something and it isn’t working, just think of the simplest way to say it, the cleanest way. Just say it. Forget the metaphors, forget the fancy, you know the language, forget the big vocabulary. Just say what you want to say. Now that’s probably the best way.

FENN: Doug, sometimes when I get to an end of a sentence, I forgot why I started it in the first place.

MCGARRITY: But Forrest, you have to listen to what Doug is saying, because it's very important. What happened in the early part of the 20th century is that good storytelling got hijacked by English professors who decided that they were going to be the ones that were going to tell the reading public what constituted literature and what didn’t. Okay? And for the last 120 years, or so, people have been falling for this idea that writers have to write in sort of a painterly way with lots of big words, and lots of allusions and lots of metaphors and lots of this and lots of that and 80% of the people that write those books are college professors who can’t make a dime as writers. But they can teach other people how to write literature. Right? Good storytelling was what the novel was always based on right from the get-go. Right from the beginning. It’s always been adventure. It’s always been exploration. It’s always been the story of people. Of men and women doing remarkable things.

PRESTON: People pushed to the limit.

MCGARRITY: That’s what you do. You’re a storyteller. Don’t sell yourself short.

PRESTON: Hear, hear!

FENN: You read in “The Thrill of The Chase” I wrote my obituary many years ago and it says, “I wish I could have lived to do the things I was attributed to.”

MCGARRITY: Well, right, in your case there’s been a hell of a lot attributed to you over the years. Right? Right? Peggy’s nodding.

PRESTON: I often hear Forrest referred to as the controversial Forrest Fenn. Which is quite an honor, I think.

FENN: Well, I’ve been called eccentric and I’m flattered by that because the difference between an eccentric and a kook is an eccentric has money.

MCGARRITY: Yeah. One of the things that allows you to become even more eccentric Forrest, is to be a writer. Because writers, by definition, are eccentric.

FENN: Five years ago, I couldn’t spell arthur, now I are one.

PRESTON: So getting back to the treasure hunt, and the 23,000 emails you got. We had lunch the other day and you told me some really interesting stories about some people that are looking for the treasure and that you had met. And some of the strategums and ruses some of these crazy people try to use on you to get you to reveal where the treasure was and some of the experiences you had. Tell the audience about some of those. I thought that was very interesting.

FENN: Stephanie, hold you hand up. That’s Stephanie Thirtyacre. This is the 45th time that she’s gone looking for the treasure from Chicago. We better give her an A for tenacity. But she enjoys it. There was lady, a writer from Texas who called me on the phone and she said, “Mr. Fenn who is your audience for this book?” I’ve told this story before, and I said, “My audience is every redneck with a pickup truck and lost his job and has a wife and 12 kids and has nothing to do. Throw your bedroll in the back of the truck and go look for the treasure and take your kids with you.” I’ve had so many emails from people that tell me that’s exactly what they’re doing.

MCGARRITY: Well you’ve helped grow the New Mexico economy actually. You really have. I mean, has the Chamber of Commerce given you an award for bringing thousands of people to Northern New Mexico to search for treasure?

FENN: No but I got a Pulitzer for this book. They lost it in the mail, though.

MCGARRITY: That happened to me one year too.

PRESTON: Well set your alarm for 3 am because the Nobel committee might be calling soon.

MCGARRITY: Well, listen, I’m looking at the time here, and do you have any more that you want to say, or shall we go drink?

FENN: I’m sitting here taking notes on what you’re saying. Just keep talking.

PRESTON: I was interested, Forrest, when you told me that there have been - how many people have called you up and said, “I found the treasure.”

FENN: The last time I counted, I had 35 different men have called me and said that they have the treasure and that it’s in their possession. So about half of them I say, “Will you sell me the little bracelet back?” And they say, “What bracelet?” One time I asked this guy… he said, I found it, I’m looking at it right now. I said, “Can you tell me if the hot water ruined the patina on that beautiful bronze box?” He said, “Thank you!” and he hung up. He thought that was a clue. He was going to start going to all the places where there is hot water.

FROM AUDIENCE: Ojo Caliente, here we come!

PRESTON: What about the guy with the broken down pickup truck that needed your help?

FENN: There was a guy, he said, “My truck is beat up, but I know where the treasure chest is.” He said, “If my truck stops running in the mountains, will you pick me up and take me the rest of the way to the treasure?” And another thing, I think this guy’s pretty original, a man called me on the phone and told me that he had found my treasure. And he wasn’t going to sell me the bracelet back because he wanted to keep it. He said, “I just want you to know that I have your treasure chest.” I said, “I don’t believe you.” He said, “Well, it’s certainly true.” And I said, “In 30 minutes I’m going to go out and see if the treasure is still there and find out whether you’re telling the truth or not.” So, I waited 30 minutes, I drove out of my driveway, there was a black limo that started up and followed me. I should have driven to Montana or someplace.

MCGARRITY: You gotta answer this question truthfully. Forrest, has this just been a hell of a lot of fun for you? I mean, are you having a good time with this? Because you sure act like you are. Is this one of the most humorous things you’ve ever done in your life?

FENN: It’s the most outrageous thing I’ve ever done. But yeah, it’s fun. It’s fun to see what people are doing. Everybody sends me an email and tells me exactly where they’ve been and there’s a certain percentage of searchers that will not accept the fact that they’re wrong. So they’ll send me an email, “I went there to where the treasure chest was but it’s gone. One of two things happened: either the whole thing’s a hoax or somebody’s already taken it and you should let everybody else know the treasure’s been found.

MCGARRITY: A number of people get angry at you don’t they?

FENN: Yeah. Yeah.

PRESCOT: Weren’t they threatening to sue you?

FENN: To sue me? There was one guy who said he was going to go talk to his lawyer. Yeah, well, you know, people… There are a small group of people that are obsessed by the treasure hunt and a lot of them look at it as real adventure, something to do. Particularly with the kids. This last summer, you know, I don’t know how many people were looking but I wouldn’t be surprised at 30 or 35 or 40,000 people were out looking. The emails I get, and I get emails from little kids, you know, eight or nine year old kids will shoot me an email and say “My dad won’t let me - won’t take me out again this weekend, would you call him please?”

MCGARRITY: The converse of that, Forrest, I’d like to ask the audience how many people here have never looked for the treasure?

PRESTON: Peggy’s got her hand raised!

MCGARRITY: Peggy, you raised your hand?

PRESTON: Peggy, what do you think of all this treasure hunting business?

PEGGY FENN: You don’t want to know. (laughter)

MCGARRITY: But I know what you really think, Peggy. We all know.

MAN OFF CAMERA: I know it’s got some of my gold in it.

MCGARRITY: Some of your gold?

MAN OFF CAMERA: He bought it from me. I sold him some Krugerrands for $220 an ounce. Boy, what a chump I am.

PRESTON: Wow, there’s proof right there.

MCGARRITY: I’ve seen, well Doug and I have both seen the treasure.

PRESTON: Oh I’ve seen it, yes.

MCGARRITY: We’ve seen the chest. We’ve seen the contents. You know, it was, mind-boggling and jaw-dropping when I first saw it the first time.

PRESTON: That was a really heavy chest.

MCGARRITY: It was a heavy chest.

PRESTON: I mean, did you really, did you manage to do that on your own?

MCGARRITY: Or did Shiloh help you carry it to the - Shiloh? Did Shiloh help carry it?

FENN: Well, I’ve said before that the treasure chest is heavy and it, I made two trips to hide it where I wanted it to be. But I’ve told people, don’t look for the treasure chest in a place where a 79 or 80 year old guy can’t take it. I mean people tell me they’re climbing up on top of a mountain. These guys are making a mistake, I don’t want to interrupt them.

MCGARRITY: But you have narrowed the field of exploration down to the Rockies north of Santa Fe. So there’s only several hundred million square miles out there that really needs to be paid attention to at a reduced elevation. Right? So, can we say, no higher than…

FENN: I’ll give you another clue, just because you’re such a nice guy. The treasure is hidden below 20,000 feet. (laughter)

MCGARRITY: Great. That really helps.

PRESTON: I’m gone man!

FENN: You guys are impossible.

MCGARRITY: It’s your party. You invited us

FENN: I’ve gotten some really interesting emails. This one kid sent me an email and he said, “Mr. Fenn, if I find the treasure chest, do I have to share it with my sister?”

MCGARRITY: And you said yes you do.

FENN: I wrote him back and I said, “Ask your father.” He wrote back and said, “No, I don’t want to ask my father.”

MCGARRITY: Do we want to take some questions, Forrest? Are you up for a few questions from the audience?

FENN: Sure.

PRESTON: We’ll repeat them so everyone can hear.

MCGARRITY: The fellow in the back, there. (inaudible). Speak up a little bit.

MAN OFF CAMERA: Yeah, hi Forrest, I was here for your last review, when Dal was here, Cynthia wasn’t though. I read your blog though. I know that you’ve been giving clues on the Today show, and the last one that I heard was that it’s not in Utah and not in Idaho. Has there been another clue given out since then?

PRESTON: Okay, the question was, you’ve been giving clues on the Today Show and he heard the last clue was that it’s not in Idaho, and not in Utah. Have you given out any other clues since then?

FENN: Not deliberately.

MCGARRITY: Just the accidental one in the book.

FENN: But you know, those clues are not really viable. Because if you look at a map of the Rocky Mountains, there’s this much of it that’s in Idaho, and this much is in Utah. I haven’t given a clue, I think, that was going to help anybody substantially.

MCGARRITY: You know he really doesn’t want anybody to find this treasure.

FENN: Well, you know, let me put this in perspective. So many people have decided they’re going to take a picnic lunch out on Sunday and go look for the treasure. Or something to do over Spring Break. I’m looking at a hundred years down the road, a thousand years, maybe 10,000 years down the road. It took me 15 years the poem. I changed it so many times and I’ve said before that I didn’t write that poem, it was written by an architect. Each word is deliberate.

MCGARRITY: The chances are not good for the searchers. Stephanie? I’m sorry. But keep looking. Keep coming to New Mexico. Bring your charge card.

FENN: She’s been to Idaho, Montana, Wyoming,


MCGARRITY: Another question please?

THIRTYACRE: I’ve got one. Who’s been closer, me or Dal?

MCGARRITY: Who’s been closer? Stephanie or Dal?

FENN: If I told you that, you’d faint.

THIRTYACRE: I’d leave right now!

MCGARRITY: Haven’t you said, though, that people have come within like 500 feet of the treasure?

FENN: People tell me where they are. They’re very precise in their descriptions of where they are and where they’ve been. And I can tell that some of them have been pretty close.

MCGARRITY: Another question? Senor?

MAN OFF CAMERA: Will a metal detector help?

MCGARRITY: Will a metal detector help?

FENN: A metal detector will help you if you’re in exactly the right spot.

MCGARRITY: Okay, that’s a lot of help. (points to audience) Yeah?

WOMAN OFF CAMERA: Did you say a minute ago that it’s not on the top of the mountain?

PRESTON: Did you say just a minute ago that it’s not on the top of a mountain?

FENN: I hope I didn’t say that. I’ll tell you that, uh, that it’s not on the top of any mountain. That’s a big clue because there’s lots of mountains out there. It may be close to the top.

PRESTON: Yes? David.

DAVID: Why do you think that people are telling you that they found the treasure? I don’t see the psychology of why the would do that.

FENN: I think they want their 15 minutes. I know for a fact that most of these guys that told me they found the the treasure chest, they’ve searched for it extensively and have not been able to find it. So rather than just give up, they just claim they found it.

PRESTON: Or they might think that you're going to say, “Well if, you know, if it isn’t in that cave five miles on New Mexico 23 then you didn’t find it.” I think they’re hoping you’re going to drop some clue.

MCGARRITY: I think you’re right. I think that’s part of the psychology of those kind of emails and phone calls is to try to see if they can cajole him.

FENN: If the person reads the poem over and over and are able to decipher the first few clues in the poem, they can find the treasure chest. It may not be easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible. I could go right straight to it. (laughter)

MCGARRITY: Amazing. The man has incredible powers.

FENN: You’re so easy.

WOMAN OFF CAMERA: Would you take a partner along?

PRESTON: Would you take a partner along? When you go to it?

FENN: Do you have an airplane?

WOMAN OFF CAMERA: I’ve got my Bushwacker.

FENN: I don’t know. Maybe.

PRESTON: I’m curious, is there anybody here who thinks that they are pretty close and really know where it is? Wow! That’s great! How come you haven’t gone to get it yet?

MAN OFF CAMERA: Because there hasn’t been a blend of mind and moment yet.

PRESTON: There hasn’t been a blend of mind and moment yet?

MAN OFF CAMERA: It wasn’t there.

PRESTON: It wasn’t there. Oh you’re the one! Oh he moved it! He saw you were coming and he moved it! Yes?

WOMAN OFF CAMERA: First of all, what’s your phone number? I’m just kidding.

PRESTON: She wanted to know your phone number, now she says she’s kidding.

WOMAN OFF CAMERA: And your credit card number.

OFF CAMERA: Okay, do we look at the poem more as a physical location or a metaphysical location?

PRESTON: Do we look at the poem more as a physical location, or metaphysical location?

FENN: What does metaphysical mean?

PRESTON: Must be a physical location.

FENN: Well when I wrote that poem, I wasn’t playing any games. It’s straightforward.

MCGARRITY: Any more questions?

WOMAN OFF CAMERA: I don’t have a question, I have a comment. Thank you, as many others, because we’ve had fun looking and it has been the thrill of the chase rather than the finding of anything.

PRESTON: She says thank you, on behalf of herself and many others it really has been the thrill of the chase.

FENN: Well thank you ma’am. The mountain man over there wants to say something.

DESERTPHILE: How do I get the bracelet back to you once I find the treasure chest?

FENN: Uh, UPS. (laughter).


MAN OFF CAMERA: I have a question about a photograph. I’m not sure if it’s in “Too Far To Walk” in the blog under happy birthday there’s a photo of you and your brother sitting in a pushcar and there’s a porch swing and a fence. Are you familiar with that photograph? No?

FENN: (shakes his head)

WOMAN OFF CAMERA: If it’s found within our lifetime, can we have a celebration?

PRESTON: If it’s found within our lifetime, can we have a celebration?

FENN: Sure. You can have a celebration even if it isn’t found.

MCGARRITY: Let’s take one more question. This gentleman here.

MAN OFF CAMERA: How many clues has someone cracked?

PRESTON: How many clues has someone cracked? That you know of?

FENN: I know they’ve cracked the first two, and went right past the treasure chest. Several people have done that.

PRESTON: Wow that is so tantalizing! That’s incredible.

MAN OFF CAMERA: Because of all this, I have read all of your books, and I got to tell you that the illustration idea, I think both of you ought to look into that. I think you ought to tell your publishers that you’re in charge. I think that would be good for the industry.

PRESTON: He thinks that the idea of illustrating our books for both of us is a great idea. We ought to go in there and tell our publishers that we’re in charge. We want to do that.

FENN: Okay good.

MCGARRITY: I want to see what Pendergast looks like.

FENN: When I was thinking about writing my children’s book, I asked Dal on his blog to ask cartoonists or illustrators to send samples of their illustrations and let’s publish them on the blog, and let me see what I have to work with. I was startled with the number of people that really have talent to illustrate.

WOMAN OFF CAMERA: And the other authors can do that. Ask people to contribute illustrations. That’ll be fun.

PRESTON: We can do that. We can ask people to contribute illustrations. And in fact, on my website, there are a lot of people who have done illustrations of Pendergast and other characters in my books that we post. Fans. We’ve got fan art that we post on our website, too. Some of them are pretty good! Really close as to what I see.

FENN: Illustrations can say so much so much more than words can say in some instances.

PRESTON: I think the fellow that illustrated your book, Dan Bodelson, is really talented. I really like those illustrations.

FENN: This is the only book that he’s illustrated. He didn’t think that he could do it. He’s a Fine Arts painter, and I said, “Well let’s give it a shot.” So he did. We argued about a few things, and I sent some back to him, but finally I told him, I said, “Show me the second drawing first.” And I got his attention, and he turned out to be a wonderful illustrator. I think he’s found a new calling.

MCGARRITY: Thank you all very much. It’s been a pleasure to be here with you tonight.

Date Site Name Link
11-04-2013 KVSF Radio Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from KVSF 101.5 podcast radio interview with Forrest Fenn (wayback machine link to original source.) TODD LOVATO: Thanks Eric. Earlier today, videographer Vince Rose and I had the pleasure to visit the house of Mister Forrest Fenn to talk more about a particular chest of hidden treasure which has become a nationwide sensation. Here’s my recording from today’s interview.

LOVATO: Somewhere in the wilderness, um, somewhere north of Santa Fe, um, lies a hidden box containing a wealth of treasure. This treasure that has sparked somewhat of a modern day gold rush, I mean you, you've drawn national headlines. You've attracted treasure hunters from all walks of life far and wide and for the listeners I just want to, and viewers I just want people to know that, um, and introduce them to Forrest Fenn who is a, a Santa Fe staple and also the author of The Thrill of the Chase, a memoir, that kind of set this whole treasure hunt into, into motion. Forrest thanks so much for talking to me and, um.

FORREST FENN: A, a Santa Fe staple. I, I've been called lots of things but I don't know if I've been called a staple before.

LOVATO: Mainstay. Art Collector. You released this book, your memoir, in 2010 is that where this all started?

FENN: No. It started in 1988 when I had what everybody thought was terminal cancer. The doctor gave me a 20% chance of living three years. It takes a couple of days for that to soak in. My radiologist just told me that I had an uphill battle. Sooner or later you decide, I decided that if I’m going to go, I’m just going to take it with me. I’ve had so much fun over the last 70 years collecting things, why not let have someone else have the same amount of fun - give them clues. Tell them that if they can solve the clues, they can go to the treasure chest they can have it. But at the same time, I had a motive to get the kids off the couch, out of the game room out into the trees and the mountains and; we have a problem in this country with our youth. We're obese and we, we use our little hand machines too much I think. You know a lot of the kids are not going to agree with me. The kids that are young teenagers today, young people are going to be the president and legislators tomorrow. So I hope all of your listeners understand that, let’s start looking ahead. Let’s start training these people and they can’t be trained while they’re sitting on the couch watching TV in my opinion.

LOVATO: So part of your, a big, huge part of your motivation for this was to, to get kids off their portable devices, get them out into nature, get them exploring. What is it with buried treasure that is so fantastical people -

FENN: Now I never did say the treasure was buried.

LOVATO: Oh okay. Thank you.

FENN: I said, I said that I hid the treasure. That doesn't mean it isn't buried. It’s just that I didn’t want to give that clue.


FENN: Everybody has a little adventure in them. You know, I had a friend in the Air Force that was born and raised in Manhattan. He had never seen a cow. So, you know, it’s hard for me to understand that kind of thing, but I do understand that it’s my problem and not his. I think it’s sad that a lot of people in big cities don’t know that there’s a sky because they don’t ever look up and if they tried to look up, they may not see it.

LOVATO: Tell us more about the poem that you put together surrounding this, this treasure hunt.

FENN: When it looked like I was going to die, I found this beautiful treasure chest. And I decided to start filling it up with wonderful things. It’s a small chest. It’s 10 inches by 10 inches, so I couldn’t put a lot of large things in there. Gold is small and it’s heavy and it’s valuable, and people love it, so I just decided that I was going to fill it up mostly with gold and jewels and precious things. And so I wrote the poem - I didn't want to give it away. I didn't want it to be a door prize or win a lotto. I wanted people to go out and have some adventure, uh, some imagination, some - use their common senses to try to solve the clues in the poem and if you can, if you can do that and go to the treasure chest you can have it.

LOVATO: And if Santa Fe'ans who, who may want to get a leg up on starting somewhere, they might be learning about this for the first time, if they’ve been under a rock, I guess, but, would they start with your memoir? Is that, that's a place –

FENN: I've been asked that question a number of times. What I recommend is that you read my book normally. Then you read the poem over and over and over again and, and just think about, think about every line. Read it four or five, ten times. And then go back and read the book again slowly looking for hints in the book that will help you with clues in the poem.

LOVATO: A few days ago, I received some emails from people saying to the media saying, “I have discovered the location of Fenn’s Treasure, and I want you to come meet me, and I’ll reveal it” in more of kind of a press event style. Obviously, you get a little skeptical when you get things like that. That was just one email to me. Now tell me about some of the response you’ve received from the public.

FENN: I have, well first of all, I’ve received, as of yesterday, I think, 15,040 emails. But I have 31 emails from people that tell me that they have found the treasure and that it’s in their possession.

LOVATO: But they won’t tell you where they’ve found it typically?

FENN: No, they can’t. Of course. But I know for a fact that the treasure’s not been found. But these people, you know, they’re showing their first amendment rights. They need a little glory. I don’t - it’s okay with me. They can say that if they want to, but people that are still looking for the treasure chest should not be deterred just because somebody else thinks they have it.

LOVATO: And as kind of an aside from these really forward people claiming to have found the treasure, which they obviously have not, what are some of the other interactions that you’ve had just from people that are looking, you know, looking for the treasure that kind of are enjoyable?

FENN: I tell you what. It’s so rewarding to me to read these emails, and I’m still getting about 300 a day. I don’t have - I’m trying to finish a couple of books, and so I don’t have time anymore to respond to all these emails, but about half of the emails say, “Mr. Fenn we know we’re not going to find the treasure chest, but thank you for giving us this adventure.” Two different men from London have flown over here, one two times, and one three times looking for the treasure. They look here for 3-4 days then they fly home again. People are interested in it, and I would be to, I mean, this is right down my line. I love things like this.

LOVATO: Yeah, that’s a good, that’s a good way to frame it. If, you know, you were somebody else and you were observing this, would you be one of those treasure hunters?

FENN: I would give anything in the world, when I was 10 years old if somebody told me they hid a treasure chest someplace because that - I’d look under every bush in North America looking for that.

LOVATO: Yeah, I kind of root for the kids in this. Have you got some good feedback from younger people?

FENN: Yeah, uh, I got an email yesterday from an eight year old girl. She and her parents are coming out here and they, and she says she knows exactly where it is. She wants to know if, after she finds it, if she could come by my house and have me sign her book for her. And I said sure!

LOVATO: Sounds like a deal. That could be a good idea for your next book if that actually comes to fruition.

FENN: And if she found the treasure chest too!

LOVATO: Where can people go to find your book Mr. Fenn?

FENN: The only place in the world, the two places in the world you can find my book: one is and the other one is the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’ve given all the books to the Collected Works Bookstore. Uh, they set ten percent of the gross money aside for a cancer fund that, that we'll spend hopefully sometime this year. But I didn't want anyone to say that Forrest Fenn, that, uh, the treasure chest is a hoax to make money on the book.

LOVATO: Mm hmm.

FENN: That's why I don't make one penny on it. I don't even get my publishing costs back.

LOVATO: This is not a publicity stunt in other words.

FENN: It's not a pub-, and by that same token, uh, a lot of searchers are urgent. They want to know it right now. I just got an email five minutes ago that says tell me where the, the treasure chest is and the guy was mad. But he’s looking, you know, at this afternoon and this weekend. I’m looking at next year, a hundred years, a thousand years, ten thousand years from now. This is not a spring break thing for me.

LOVATO: We’re talking with Forrest Fenn. He’s a longtime Santa Fe mainstay. Is that better than staple?

FENN: That’s great. I love titles like that. I’ve been called so many other…

LOVATO: Art collector, many other things, and among them, he is the author of “The Thrill of the Chase, A Memoir.” We’ve been talking about the HIDDEN treasure somewhere in this region.

FENN: Now wait just a minute. The treasure chest is hidden somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe.


FENN: There’s mountains in Alaska.

LOVATO: Right.

FENN: But I’ve also said, that the treasure is hidden someplace in the Rocky Mountains.

LOVATO: Yeah, it’s hard when we’re discussing this because you’re - the language you’ve given is very ambiguous and so, um

FENN: Well, I hope it’s not ambiguous. People misquote me.

LOVATO: Right.

FENN: It seems ambiguous, but I’ve never said that it was near Santa Fe. I’ve never said that it was any place and I’m not going to say that.


FENN: But it is in the mountains north of Santa Fe.

LOVATO: Yeah, well, so, there’s probably a lot of common misinterpretations, and just recently, you released a couple additional hints. Is that correct? On your blog?

FENN: I like the way you put that. The Today Show had asked me to come on one time a month for two minutes on the Today Show and give additional clues. And I agreed to do that. But those clues are not going to take anybody to the treasure chest. The first clue that I gave was that it’s above 5,000 feet above sea level. The entire Rocky Mountains is higher than that, so, and another clue I gave is that it’s more than 300 miles west of Toledo. But that leaves a lot of places to search there also. And for the next eight or nine months, I will continue to give clues like that. But don’t expect them to take you to the treasure chest.

LOVATO: Mr. Fenn, first thanks for stimulating the imagination of, you know, a whole country it seems like at this point.

FENN: Mm hmm.

LOVATO: Thank you very much.

FENN: My pleasure.

LOVATO: Eric, and if you’re still in the studio, and you’re not running out into the parking lot with a spade in your hand, headed up somewhere into Northern New Mexico, and beyond, uh, back in the studio KVSF 101.5 The Voice, back to you Eric.

Date Site Name Link
25-02-2011 Santa Fe Radio Cafe Click Here
Question Quote
Audio from Santa Fe Radio Cafe interview with Forrest Fenn MARY-CHARLOTTE DOMANDI: I’m delighted now to welcome author Michael McGarrity, and former art gallery owner Forrest Fenn. They are here to let us know about the event that’s going on this coming Saturday. Doug Preston and Michael McGarrity and Forrest Fenn will be in conversation at Collected Works Bookstore at six in the evening. Welcome to the Radio Cafe.

MICHAEL MCGARRITY: It’s always good to see you Mary-Charlotte how’ve you been?

DOMANDI: Good, how are you?

MCGARRITY: I’m good, thanks.

DOMANDI: So, Michael, I think this was your idea. What’s going on?

MCGARRITY: No, don’t blame this on me! No, no!

FORREST FENN: Mike has a lot of good ideas.

MCGARRITY: I’m just following along.

DOMANDI: Oh, okay. Forrest, this is your idea?

FENN: Well, I get blamed for everything, so I guess I can absorb this. Saturday night, at six o’clock, the three of us: Michael McGarrity, Doug Preston, and myself, will be onstage at the Collected Works Bookstore talking about our books and the theme of the evening will be “treasures.” Michael McGarrity has written about treasures and Doug has too and so have I so that’ll be the theme of the program.

MCGARRITY: Well, you gotta go a little bit deeper into this Mary-Charlotte, because the book that Forrest wrote is called, “The Thrill of The Chase.”

DOMANDI: Right, we talked about that with him not too long ago.

MCGARRITY: And, as you know, since you have talked to Forrest about it, it involves an actual treasure. Whereas in my case and Doug’s case, the treasures that we write about are more or less imaginary. But the theme that we decided to bring together, would be to talk about the LURE of treasure. Because it is a fascination for people, and since all of us in different ways have written about it, we felt it might be interesting to have sort of a round robin discussion about the stories we write, and the impetus behind them, and why we find the whole issue of treasure so fascinating. And also it’s to celebrate Doug’s new book, “Gideon’s Sword” which is just being released. So it’s going to be more than a book signing, wouldn’t you agree Forrest?

FENN: I agree 100%.

MCGARRITY: It’s going to be kind of an interesting event insofar as we’ll be questioning one another. The three of us are going to do sort of a rob - round robin conversation. There will be music. A fellow has even written a song that celebrates Forrest’s book and his treasure. And so there’ll be music, and I think it will be a very unusual and unique event for Santa Fe.

DOMANDI: Now, Michael McGarrity, what does the word, what does the idea, the concept of “treasure” mean to you? Both as a writer, and as a person.

MCGARRITY: Well you know, if you’re asking the question that I’d really wait to answer it until Saturday night.

DOMANDI: Give us a hint.

MCGARRITY: I think that treasure in a way goes way beyond riches. And I think the hunt for treasure can be mining an idea or exploring an emotion or looking for something lost in a person’s life or trying to connect with a past that difficult to remember or recreate. And also, looking for gold, looking for jewels, and the history of a place, or a people or the magic of a lost culture or a lost civilization. I think all of those things can really be called treasure in a way. I bet you Forrest agrees with me on this too.

FENN: Well, I agree. Not everybody goes out digging for treasure, but I think everyone has a secret little place in their house maybe in their underwear drawer where they keep a little box special little things. You know, secrets that mean something to them that they either found over the years or somebody has given a memento of them. So treasure can be defined in many different ways. And I think that’s very interesting. The word treasure evokes memories, I think, in everybody.

DOMANDI: And what’s, what you treasure most is not always what’s most valuable on the open market.

FENN: Oh no. One of the things I treasure most of all is that little arrowhead that I found when I was nine years old. That’s going to be the last thing they throw in my coffin.

DOMANDI: Goodness (laughter). Good to know. So, “treasure” is the subject, Michael McGarrity, Forrest Fenn, and author Doug Preston. Doug Preston is talking about his new book, “Gideon’s Sword” which I haven’t read yet. Have any of you read it? Is it treasure themed?

FENN: The publishing date was two days ago so it’ll be brand new at Collected Works Bookstore.

DOMANDI: Ah, okay.

MCGARRITY: It’s going to be new for all of us, Mary-Charlotte. I hope you can make it out there because it’ll be fun.

DOMANDI: Alright, Collected Works Bookstore. Six O’clock on Saturday night. Forrest Fenn and Michael McGarrity, thanks so much for being with us.

MCGARRITY: It’s always good to be with you Mary-Charlotte.

Date Site Name Link
25-10-2010 Santa Fe Radio Cafe Click Here
Question Quote
Audio from Santa Fe Radio Cafe interview with Forrest Fenn (Starts at 30:00 minute mark) MARY-CHARLOTTE DOMANDI: I’m delighted now to welcome to the program, Forrest Fenn. He is an art collector, long time art gallery owner here in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he’s lived for nearly four decades. His new book is called The Thrill of The Chase, A Memoir, and he will be here at the Collected Works Bookstore here in Santa Fe at six o’clock. Welcome to the Radio Cafe.

FORREST FENN: Thank you very much. Happy to be here.

DOMANDI: One thing that I find fascinating about art collectors is that many of them have been collecting since they were very small. You talk about, in your book, your collection of bottle caps, your collections of string that you had when you were very small. Does that, for you, is it the same kind of collecting no matter what the object is?

FENN: There are some people that don’t collect anything and I think you have to be born with it. My father was a collector. My grandfather was a collector.

DOMANDI: What did they collect?

FENN: Arrowheads mostly. Ancient things. You know, we loved to walk along the creek bottoms and look for signs of ancient man. My father had a huge arrowhead collection that I inherited from him.

DOMANDI: Where did you grow up?

FENN: Central Texas - Temple.

DOMANDI: And those things were just scattered along the ground?

FENN: Well they weren’t just scattered along, you had to look for them because plowed fields - farmers plowed them. You know that was - I grew up in Comanche and Kiowa country and I remember my grandmother, when I was a little boy, telling me about the Kiowas and the Comanche running through her barnyard trying to catch chickens in Fort Worth. Her father told her to just lock the door and leave the Indians alone. If they can catch the chickens, they can have them. So, you know, that’s rich in Indian lore - Central Texas, as is New Mexico, of course.

DOMANDI: And so you collected as a child, and then you were in the Air Force for 20 years.

FENN: 20 years.

DOMANDI: There’s a passage in your, there’s a section in your memoir about finding the headstone of a French soldier.

FENN: Yes.

DOMANDI: Can you - Do you want to tell that story?

FENN: Well, uh, it’s a rather long story. In my book, it’s rather lengthy. I went to this clearing in Vietnam, a friend and I, and we tripped over some headstones that were left over, we think, from the French Indochina war. But I tripped over one that was made of stone. And when I turned it over, it had a very poignant inscription on it, “If you should ever think of me when I have passed this vale, and wish to please my ghost, forgive a sinner and smile at a homely girl.” We were rushed, because we had to get out of there. This was in enemy country and it preyed on my mind for a number of years and I built the story around that. It had a lasting effect on me.

DOMANDI: It’s striking that your - at least it seems to me that reading this memoir, that your sense of mortality and the kind of odd nature of time is present throughout your life. In other words, there’s a moment, I think there’s a moment in here where you talk about the future, and you say, “What’s the future? Give me a date.” That we’re always somehow looking forward and looking back in this way that’s not really so linear.

FENN: In the future, there may not be a past like we’ve known. And, because we, uh, acknowledge the population explosion, we’re moving so fast in this planet we really can’t predict… We got into this recession all of the sudden. We didn’t see it coming. I think that idiosyncrasy of what we’re doing on this planet is indicative to what we have to look forward to in the future.

DOMANDI: How did you actually get into the business of collecting art, and having an art gallery?

FENN: Well when I was in Vietnam, I had a hard tour in Vietnam. Shot down twice. I lost 22 pounds and didn’t even know it, because we didn’t have any scales. When I came back to the States after a year, I was kind of beat up so to speak. I wanted to find a place where maybe the world would stop and let me off for a little while. And I knew about Santa Fe and I love Santa Fe. It’s the only place I knew of where maybe I could get a job. I knew I wasn’t going to wear a watch or a coat and tie. So Santa Fe looked good to me. I figured if I had to make a living, so I figured I could make a living in art, and that’s what prompted me. It was not the love of art, it was a necessity to make a living.

DOMANDI: And so how did you start?

FENN: I traded for some property here in town, and gave some money, and started at the very bottom of the art gallery business. The first two shows I had, I didn’t sell a piece of art. I didn’t even sell a book. But I had a little bit of money left, and I said I’m going to spend this money advertising, and if that doesn’t work, I said I’m going to slam the door and go do something else. But it started working. Advertising pays.

DOMANDI: What kind of art were you selling?

FENN: Anything I could scrounge from friends or other art galleries. I didn’t have any money to buy art, but we were hustlers and, you know, we slept on the floor on a mattress and we painted the building ourselves, my wife and I. Slowly, things started to work. Santa Fe is a wonderful place. The good thing, the one good thing about Santa Fe from a business standpoint is that people like it as a destination.

DOMANDI: And so, basically, people will come here, they will discover you even without knowing you were there.

FENN: If you have something that they want, and the word gets around, they’ll find you.

DOMANDI: So what ended up being the specialities, or the areas that you worked with at your gallery?

FENN: Well, since I didn’t know what I was doing to start off with, I figured - One thing I learned right away was that some of the art galleries in town that were not doing too well were handling the type of art that they, themselves, loved. And I thought that was a mistake. And I decided to handle the kind of art that somebody else loves. Because I wasn’t going to buy it for myself. And I saw a lot of galleries in Santa Fe go out of business because they loved what they were selling, or they were selling art by local people that were unknown and there’s a real market for that. And I’ve got a lot of respect for those people. I just decided that I wanted to handle more expensive things. It was hard starting out.

DOMANDI: And so, what was the kind of art that you identified that other people loved that you could sell?

FENN: The old Taos painters. There were about 14 or 15 really good painters in Taos. The Taos Society, which was ten, and there were painters like Nikolai Fechin and Leon Gaspard and some of the others. And we started building those names. They were relatively unknown in 1972. But over a period, a short period, two or three years, why their fame mounted, and today it’s really big time.

DOMANDI: What was the kind of art that you loved that decided not to sell?

FENN: That I loved that I decided not to sell?

DOMANDI: Yeah, because you say, “Okay, I’m not going to sell the art that I love.” Were there things that you collected just for yourself?

FENN: Well, you know, I didn’t have any money for a lot of years, and the things I collected, I couldn’t afford to keep. So, I tried to keep some things, but you know, when it comes to making payroll, you have to make decisions. I like Indian things. Plains Indians particularly. Southwestern. I like pots and baskets and I like the lore of the West and fond of reading about the west.

DOMANDI: You ended up doing very well with this gallery. And I thought it was interesting because you have, if I understand correctly, amassing a very large and significant collection yourself. Was there a turning point where you really started to do well both for yourself and in selling the work in your gallery?

FENN: Well, one thing that I can say for myself is that I never had to borrow money to make payroll. And that was the way I measured myself. If you have to borrow money to pay your employees, then something’s wrong. My motivation was to find a great object. Anybody can sell a great painting, but not everybody can find one. And I told my clients, I said, “If you’re in town at midnight or two o’clock in the morning, and you want to come see me, give me a phone number and I’ll open for you.”

DOMANDI: Did that ever happen?

FENN: It happened. Waylon Jennings called me one time. It was about two o’clock in the morning. He had some friends in town and they’d been drinking and he wanted to open the gallery. And I did.

DOMANDI: There is the process of selling objects, and then also, there’s the stories. I have a close friend that worked at an art gallery for a while and she said to me, “I’m not even selling art. I’m selling stories. I’m telling people stories, and that’s what makes them buy.”

FENN: Very interesting that you should mention that, because when I was a kid, I started making rules for myself. And one of the rules I made later on was this: It doesn’t matter who you are. It only matters who they think you are. That’s how Nieman-Marcus got there, and that’s how Andy Warhol got there. It goes right into what your friend was saying - it’s the story that sells. Of course, you want to be as honest as you can, but everybody embellishes just a little bit.

DOMANDI: Now, I was reading somewhere that you bought some land that had a ruin of an Indian pueblo on it.

FENN: Yeah. San Lazaro Pueblo.

DOMANDI: And, did you start excavating that yourself?

FENN: Yes. Archeology has been a hobby of mine since I found my first arrowhead when I was nine years old in Texas with my father. Since my father was a collector, and my football coach, we went out together on the weekends. It’s a wonderful thing for parents to take their kids out into the countryside. Whether it’s collecting arrowheads, or fishing, or whatever. And I grew up in that kind of an environment. And I loved it.

DOMANDI: And so you bought this, essentially, pueblo, and began to excavate it. Did you work with archeologists? Were you pretty much going solo?

FENN: Both. I have a good friend in Wyoming by the name of George Lehman, who has a Masters Degree in Archeology. And each summer he brings underprivileged kids from Wyoming. We called them under-appraised kids from Wyoming down and they’d camp out at the pueblo. And they excavate, and each one of them has a tent, and they stay a couple of weeks and it’s very rewarding for them and for us. We fund, we pay them a salary. They couldn’t afford to come down. And we give each one of them two pairs of hiking shoes and it’s really a good set up.

DOMANDI: It’s the kind - that’s the kind of story that I would imagine would, uh, people working within the institutions of archeology, who are writing books about archeology, would say that this should be done by professionals.

FENN: You know, Mary, there’s some argument there, but you know there are things more important than archeology. If we’re going to save this plane today, we’re going to do it with our youth. And we need to get them involved with something. We need to get them off the streets. We need to get the graffiti people out doing something that’s productive, and I don’t think any longer that we can say that these scientists - like archeology - they can’t be an island unto themselves. They have to participate, and they have to give something back. And archeology, it’s something that’s easy to love, and I don’t think archeologists give nearly enough to help the situation. We’re in trouble in this country, particularly with our youth.

DOMANDI: Very interesting. So have you seen young people’s lives be affected and turned around by this process of excavating?

FENN: Sure. Some of these kids that come down in the summertime, we have to have parole officer’s permission to get them out of the state. One boy, had a $25 car and it ran for 25 miles and so we bought him a car. I’ve got some friends in the car business here, and we bought him a really good used car. I got a telephone call from his mother, and said, “Don’t bring him back. I don’t want him back again,” and his father was gone. So he didn’t have any place to go. We put him in a junior college in Wyoming. I have a good friend here in town, Jim Taylor, who’s chairman of the United World College in Las Vegas, we’ve got some of our kids scholarships through there. And we see these kids grow up, and I get emails from kids that were here 10 years ago and it’s very rewarding to me to see what’s happening.

DOMANDI: The book is called, “The Thrill of The Chase.” Talk more about that title, and the things in life that have been thrilling for you that you’ve chased.

FENN: There’s a great quote in the new Joe Duveen book. It says, “They never knew that it was the chase they sought, and not the quarry.” Isn’t that interesting? Like I mentioned a while ago, the great thrill for me in the art business was to find a great painting. The thrill of the chase. It’s easy to sell it. But to find it - to walk into somebody’s house and see a great painting, it’s just like finding a great arrowhead lying on the ground, or catching a nice fish. And with women, every - and men too, go into antique shops and we go into garage sales for the same reason. It’s the thrill of the chase. And I think that title fit my book perfectly.

DOMANDI: Now, is it true that you found Sitting Bull’s pipe?

FENN: No, I didn’t find it, but I own it.

DOMANDI: Yeah, I mean you found it somewhere.

FENN: It came out of a little museum in Minnesota where a lot of Sitting Bull’s relatives retired. I’ve had it for a few years. It’s a very important piece.

DOMANDI: What happens to that piece eventually? Are you going to give it to a museum? Do you know?

FENN: Well I haven’t decided. You know, it could go a lot of different places. What I would like to do is sell it to a museum, and use the money for some of the things that I think are important like improving education for our youth. I’ve always thought that these museums are not doing enough to solve the problem. If I were a museum director, I would take a gang leader to the museum, show him around, and try to get him interested in something. Give him some responsibility, some authority. Maybe he can bring his buddies in. I think we are desperate to do something. And that’s what I like doing. I’m 80 years old, so I’m starting a little bit late. When I was a kid, in the 1930’s and 40’s drugs meant aspirin. And the really, really, really bad kids were smoking cigarettes. I remember a bunch of kids and myself got into a friend’s pickup truck one night about midnight and we had a garbage can full of garbage and drove down Main Street in Temple, Texas and threw that garbage can out on the street. And garbage just flew everywhere. Let me tell you, it was headlines in the paper the next day, and the next day, and the next day. Worst thing that had happened in that town in a long time. And that’s how I grew up, and I see things happening today and I just shake my head. I think every generation decides that theirs is going to be the last, because we can’t survive the way we’re going.

DOMANDI: Well, I mean, apparently on, in ancient Mesopotamian artifacts and hieroglyphics that survive somebody somewhere has written, “These kids today…”

FENN: That’s true. That’s why I’m saving a lot of my arrowheads. We may need them on the next - in the next war.

DOMANDI: Now you have done something quite unusual. I think, fascinating to many, which is that you buried a treasure chest somewhere in the hills or mountains north of Santa Fe, and have left clues in your memoir. Whereby people can find it.

FENN: That’s true. I’ve taken this treasure chest to a very secret, and very special place and I’ve hidden it there. And there are nine clues in my book. You have to read the book. But if you have an imagination, and you have a pretty good mind, and you have a little bit of resolve, you can find that treasure chest. First one to it can have it.

MARY: You’ve also made some bronze bells with inscriptions on them.

FENN: That’s right. I like that part in my book where I talk about the future. I’ve made - I’ve buried eight bells and jars, and all of them have sayings that I elevated around the... I cast them in bronze out at Shidoni Foundry Tesuque. And one of them says, “Ring the bell loudly for he who dies with over $50 is a failure.” Another one says, “If you should ever think of me a thousand years from now, please ring my bell so I will know.” And I’m burying these bells deep just indiscriminately out in the desert. And I don’t want anybody to find them for a thousand years or 10,000 years. But when someone does find one, accidentally, and reads that inscription, and sees my name and the date 2007 or 2008, they’re going to say, “Good lord, look who this…” The man that carved the Rosetta Stone - that thing was hidden for 2,000 years before it was found. And that’s the kind of thing that my imagination runs wild when we start talking about these things. And I said in my book, all of New Mexico is going to be covered in houses and asphalt. To the point where we can’t go outside and look across the desert for the thrill of seeing nothing at all. We don’t know where we are going. Things are happening too fast.

DOMANDI: Forrest Fenn is a long time art gallery owner, art collector, his new memoir is called, “The Thrill of The Chase” and he will be at Collected Works Bookstore tonight at six o’ clock. It’s really great to meet you and to have you on the Radio Cafe.

Date Site Name Link
08-08-2013 EIS Radio Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from EIS radio interview with Forrest Fenn. Everything is Stories - 003 As I Have Gone Alone in There FORREST FENN: Well, when I was nine years old, I found my first arrowhead with my father. He was an arrowhead collector, and so was my football coach in high school. So we did all that together. Most of the arrowheads you find out in the countryside are broken in half in two. And people say, “Oh that’s broken. That’s terrible.” But to me, that means a lot to me. That means that the projector was on the end of an arrow. It penetrated the body of a deer maybe. Hit a bone and broke right in front of where it was hafted. So to me, that thing has a history that a whole arrowhead doesn’t have. I think it’s the wonderment of being out there, of seeing nature, and visualizing what used to be. The Rosetta Stone was buried for 2,000 years before somebody found it, and I said in my book, “Don’t you know that guy is proud? The guy that carved that thing.”

Well it was 1988 when I acquired the treasure chest and started filling it up with thing. I paid $25,000 for the treasure chest, and I started filling it up with 265 gold coins. Most of them are American Eagles and some Double Eagles, mostly Double Eagles. My goal never changed. My goal was to take that treasure chest out in a very special place and put it there. I’ve never said that I buried it, but I never said that I didn’t bury it. I just don’t want to give that as a clue. And, let people go looking for it. If you can find the treasure chest, and open that lid for the first time, it’s going to be the most wonderful thing that you ever saw.

I crafted a poem that’s in my book. It has nine clues in it, and I changed that poem over a 15 year period. People read that poem and it’s there, “He sat down and wrote that poem in 15 minutes.” It took me 15 years. The poem is not so much written as it is an architectural plan. It’s been crafted. It reads very simple. Here, hand me that book.

(recites poem)

I dare you to go get it. If you can find it, you can have it. And nobody knows where it is but me. If a train runs over me this afternoon, it will go to my grave with me.

My name is Forrest Fenn. We’re in my home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I’ve lived in it since 1988 and I think it will be my last abode. The Santa Fe trail runs about 50 feet from my library window and I have an old 1880 Army ammunition wagon sitting right in the middle of the Santa Fe trail. It goes right through my pond. I’m very happy where I am. Santa Fe is a wonderful place to live. I’ll be 83 in two weeks. I’m going out at the top of my game. Some people are collectors and some people are not. My wife is not a collector, but I collected everything. I used to collect match folders and beer steins. I don’t know what it is, but if you have an old photograph of your mother, what makes you like that photograph? Antiques - there’s the mystery of it. The unknown that plays on your mind. The mystery of who they were and who made it and what they did. You can conjure back anything you want to about that.

It’s the thrill of discovery - the thrill of the chase. On we go / the virtue lies / in the journey / not the prize. And I believe that.

MARK HOWARD: There’s a lot of people that really enjoy the idea of a treasure, you know? Just like I enjoy the idea of it. From my perspective, of course, I’m a goldsmith and having 20 pounds of gold to work with, that’s my palette. That’s what I enjoy and that’s what I do, so that would be extreme freedom for me from $1300 an ounce gold, you know, which is what I have to pay today. My name is Mark Howard. We’re here in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or outside thereof, and this is my house, and as far as the treasure goes, I’m going to probably look again although the past two times, because it’s whipped me, I said to my wife, “You know, maybe I shouldn’t go again.” And it only takes me a couple of weeks to say, “No, I think I gotta go again.” I like the treasure hunt. It’s like when we were kids. Like Treasure Island and all those stories you read when you were a kid, and you thought, “God, I’d just love to go out and do something like that.” And this kind of fed into that, and I said, okay. I was, what, 57? I’m going to be 60. If I’m going to do this kind of thing, I’d better do it now. There’s some historical points in there, historical artifacts in there. All those interest me too. I really love the antique stuff. One of the things I really want is that damn box. I really want that box, because this is from like 1150 A.D.

FENN: The box is a beautiful cast bronze box that I’ve been told was 11th or 12th century. It’s 10 inches by 10 inches and 5 inches deep, and weighs 42 pounds. The gold is what makes it heavy. 265 gold coins, some pre-Columbian gold figures that are 1500 to 1800 years old. There’s a wonderful necklace in there made by Sinu and Tairona cultures with carved jade figures and carnelian and quartz crystals carved figures. It’s wonderful - 2000 years old. It’s… It’s worth looking for. I put a little bracelet in there that I won in a pool game with a guy. It’s the cheapest thing in there. It’s probably worth, well with all the notoriety it’s had now, it’s probably worth $750. It was worth $250 when I put it in the treasure chest. You can’t just go out and buy a bunch of gold nuggets. There are hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets in that treasure chest. There’s a little jar of gold dust from Alaska. I couldn’t put a Porsche in the box, or I’d have done that. I was limited by so many cubic inches in that treasure chest.

HOWARD: He often says if it takes 2,000 years for someone to find it, that’s just fine by him. It’s not fine by me, but that’s okay. I think I’ve been out only maybe 20 times. Started here in Northern New Mexico, and at one point I went as far as Yellowstone. Then I went into Colorado, and I’m still kind of bouncing around looking for the treasure. Almost anybody that found it, with the exception of the people that are crazy, would probably let it go. I certainly would. My idea is to put Jim Weatherell’s bracelet on, and walk up to his house, you know, and knock on the door, and he’d know immediately. I wouldn’t have to say a thing; he wouldn’t have to say a thing. That way, he’d never have to say anything to anybody else either. That’s, uh, you know, that’s a daydream.

FENN: There’s something that I don’t know whether it’s in the treasure chest or not. It was a crazy idea. But, going about the question you asked earlier, “Did I want to know if someone had found the treasure chest?” So I said, “Yeah, I do.” One reason is so people won’t be spending all their money looking for something that isn’t there any more. So I put an IOU - I wrote out an IOU. “Take this IOU to my bank in Santa Fe, and collect $100,000.” I figured for $100,000, the guy that found the treasure chest would not want to keep it secret anymore. So now the IRS is getting in the act and everybody knows. But if someone finds it 1,000 years from now, my bank won’t be there, and there won’t be any money in the account even if they did, so, I think I took that IOU out. But I don’t remember whether I did or not. It’s in there in spirit.

There are two gold nuggets in that treasure chest that weigh more than a Troy pound apiece. I used to take them out and hand them to people that would almost drop them because they’re so heavy. I’d go on the Today show, you know, I’ve been on five times...

JANET SHAMLIAN: ...Talk you into, somehow, giving us another clue this morning....

FENN: Well I’m not going to put an X on the map for you.

And I think we’ll do it maybe another… and I give clues. The last clue I gave them was that it’s not in Utah or Idaho. But that’s not going to lead you to the treasure chest.

...The clue is that the treasure is higher than seven, uh, five thousand feet above sea level....

SHAMLIAN: ...The treasure is higher than 5,000 feet above sea level....

MICHAEL MCGARRITY: I think it’s in New Mexico. Now, the issue was: was it buried? We finally got Forrest to admit that no, it’s hidden. So, it’s quite possible it’s not buried, just simply hidden. My name’s Michael McGarrity, I’m a novelist. We’re in Cathedral Park, which is next to the Basilica a block from the famous Santa Fe Plaza. We like to get together once in awhile and have lunch and tell stories. Socializing is something that usually happens when someone throws a party, or there’s some special event to get folks together. This is the stuff that myths are made of, that legends are made of. And we’ve got our share of old mine treasures being hidden on the White Sands missile range. Vittorio Peak, or down in the Gila, now we’ve got the Forrest Fenn treasure.

FENN: There’ve been some people very close to the treasure chest. There have been people that have figured out the first couple of clues and walked right past the treasure chest. I think it’s there - I haven’t checked on it, but I’m 99.9% sure it’s there.

MCGARRITY: He has said publicly, that people have come within 500 feet of the treasure. Now, the question is: is that true? I mean that’s a great teaser, and I would have used it myself even if the person that got closest to it was five miles away. I still would have said that. If it’s found, and I asked him this question, if it’s found, how are you going to know its found? Now he’s convinced that he will be contacted, right? If I found a multi-million dollar treasure, I wouldn’t want the IRS to know about it, would you? No! I’d take it home and I’d sell one gold nugget at a time. He’s a character. What else can I say? He’s an interesting guy. He has a certain flamboyancey to him.

FENN: But I put other things in there too. I pulled a couple of hairs out of my head. Because somebody can do a DNA, they can do a carbon-14 test. You know, there’s another thing that I put in the chest that I’ve not told anybody about, and I’m saving it for the person that finds the treasure chest. In other words, this is not something that I put together in an afternoon. I spent a lot of time thinking about it.

MARY WOLF: My name is Mary Wolf. I’m the co-owner of the Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. Forrest Fenn has been a loyal and constant customer of the bookstore since the bookstore opened in 1978. I got to know him best, probably, in 2010 when he came to the store to talk to Dorothy and myself about The Thrill of the Chase, the book that he was about to release and publish.

FENN: I wrote a book called The Thrill of the Chase and that’s the philosophy that permeates that book. You know, there’s a lady writer from Austin asked me, “Mr. Fenn, who’s your audience for this book?” I said, “My audience is every redneck in Texas with a pickup truck and 12 kids. He’s lost his job and has the thrill to go out and look for things.” I said, “That’s my audience.” Throw a bedroll in the back of your truck, get a six pack, and hit the road looking for a fortune! I mean, it’s the thrill of the chase. That’s what we’re talking about. Take your wife. Put all the kids in the back of the truck and head out!

WOLF: The Thrill of the Chase has had a huge impact, obviously, on our business. Forrest is not tied to the bookstore in any way contractually; however, he gave us this book to sell. He paid for the first printing, and then gave us the book because he didn’t want anyone to say he was making any money from this store, which he hasn’t. We’ve paid for the last printing, and we’ll pay for the future printings. And we are already in the 5th printing coming up, so we’re going through the books. First of all he can well-afford to hide a treasure of that value, and what really drives him is to leave a lasting mark on a whole generation of people and recreate a love for adventure and a passion for discovery that he has in his own life. And I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s a beautiful story. He has an amazing story.

FENN: Well, I was born in Temple, Texas in the heart of Texas 60 miles north of Austin. My father was a school teacher. When I started first grade, he started in the school that I started first grade in. He was a math teacher, and the next year, they promoted him to be the principal. And then I went to a Junior High School, and he moved over there and he was my principal again. So I passed all those courses because my father was principal. I’m not sure for any other reason!

I remember the first time I saw TV in Temple, Texas there was a big truck out behind, on the city square behind the city hall. And they invited people to come into city hall and look at the television set that was being transmitted from a hundred feet away. It wasn’t a very good picture. And then, a couple of years later, color TV came along and boy, that’ll never work! And I remember riding back from Yellowstone to Temple, Texas with my football coach in 1946 when they dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

HISTORIC VOICEOVER: When can we tell when the atomic bomb will explode?

FENN: And boy, that was the end. The beginning of the end. President Eisenhower told everybody to go out in their backyard and dig a bomb shelter and stock it with food for… and everybody did.

HISTORIC VOICEOVER: Always remember, the flash of an atomic bomb can come at any time no matter where you may be.

FENN: Every generation thinks that theirs will be the last. When the bow and arrow was invented, everybody said boy, the end is coming! And then when the Chinese invented gunpowder, that WAS the end.

MCGARRITY: Santa Fe’s a place that attracts unusual people. Forrest certainly qualifies in that regard. He’s a very unique guy. His record in the military is just an incredible one. You could call him a war hero. I mean he enlisted in the Air Force, I mean he can tell his own story.

FENN: I joined the military on the 6th of September 1950. The Korean War was brand new, and I was going to win the war! I started out as a private and I retired 20 years later as a major. The military in all their wisdom said that I had an aptitude for electronics, and I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was doing. But I went to an Advanced Radar Maintenance school for nine months in Biloxi, Mississippi, and I graduated but I still didn’t know what I was doing. I had a mean sergeant that didn’t like me and I didn’t like him so I went down to personnel and I said, “How can I get out of this place?” They gave me a bunch of forms to fill out and I could go to jump school, I could volunteer for submarine or I could go to pilot training. I said, “I’ll take the first one you can get for me,” and it was pilot training. So they put me in this little machine - it looked like a phone booth turned on its side. And it had a stick in it like an airplane has. It was on springs. If you turned the thing loose, it falls over and you crash. So the secret is to hold the airplane steady. And this guy said I was the best he ever saw doing that, I mean it was the simplest thing I’d ever been in. And I said, “If that’s all there is to it, I’ll take it!” So they accepted me into pilot training.

When you fly in fighter airplanes, the old saying is if the fighter pilot makes a mistake, he doesn’t have to worry about it. But when you get in that airplane all by yourself, it’s a whole different ballgame really. There’s nobody there but you. It’ll sober you up. I was in Vietnam for a year. I flew 328 combat missions. I was shot down twice, and took battle damage a few times. I lost some roommates. Getting shot down was routine. I didn’t get killed, but I had an airplane full of bullet holes, and it was totally destroyed. I did land the thing. I landed at a little airport that was used mostly for forward air controllers, little putt-putt airplanes and helicopters. I put the tail up on this F-100 I was flying and I engaged the barrier because I knew I wasn’t going to stop otherwise. But I pulled that thing the wrong way and I touched down at about 150 knots I guess and I stopped in less than 200 feet. I came away with the idea that we need to learn to leave other people alone. And I think we killed 10 civilians for every military person we killed because we’re dropping bombs and strafing, you don’t see the bodies laying there, but it’s a terrible thing. We need to stop doing that.

When I was 27 years old, no college, I was in a fighter squadron in Bitburg, Germany. They took me down to supply, and I checked out an atomic bomb. 61 megaton atomic bomb. I think the bomb at Hiroshima was something like 17,000 tons? Well this was 61 kilotons. I owned that thing. It had a crew chief like an airplane has a crew chief and it’s on a dolly. But the dolly couldn’t move one inch unless I was standing there supervising. I was all over Europe and South America and all over this country, and we had a gunner school outside of Tripoli, Libya - about 35 or 40 miles. On the weekends, I would get a jeep and go down to the Sahara Desert where the big tank battles were fought during World War Two. It’s just like they left that country, you know? You can see skeletons laying there and a German helmet and a burned out tank and bullets laying around. I can’t tell you how many times I would see a hand grenade laying on the ground there, with a flint projectile laying next to it that’s 1500, 2000, 3000 years old. You’d see wars laying on top of wars.

They grew me up in the Air Force. You get a haircut once a week, whether you like it or not, and I could see myself growing in the Air Force. They gave me so much authority, you know, I retired - you have to serve 20 years to get retired pay, but you have to retire at the end of the month so it cost me 24 extra days. I served 20 years and 24 days. And I got out the first minute I was eligible.

I had a wife and two daughters, two young daughters, and my retired pay was $800 a month. I could get by with that in 1970. We did alright but I wanted to do better than that, and I just wanted to go someplace where the world would stop and let me out. Santa Fe was the only place I knew where I could wear blue jeans, a short-sleeved shirt, and Hush Puppies, and make a living. One of my rules was that I didn’t want to do anything, where my best customer gave me $100 - talking about restaurant business, one hour Martinizing, I mean you go on and on and on. They’re labor intensive. Primary employee doesn’t show up - he’s drunk or something. I was a collector of Indian things and antiques and that sort of thing. So I wanted to deal in luxuries.

JD NOBLE: I’d known about him forever. He’s a local legend. He had an amazing gallery here in town and really brought it to the ultimate Santa Fe gallery. If you had to choose one of the major galleries, his gallery would have been the one. I’m JD Noble. I’m part owner of the Hatsmith of Santa Fe. I was looking for some photos of some old Indians that I knew… I knew Forrest had some photos of these old Indians from Taos. And so, I called him up one day and said, “Hey, I would like to have lunch with you and talk about these old Taos Indians.” So he says, “Yeah, yeah, I want to show you something.” We had lunch and he says, “Well, I don’t really have any photos that I can help you with, but I do have this…” And he unrolls this flyer for the new book on the treasure. And so man, I am hooked right away. So my trips are usually no more than two days. I’ll go in and camp out. If I can’t find it in two days, I come back, then I go out again.

FENN: When you’re dealing with luxuries, normally you’re dealing with better people. You’re dealing with people that can write a check that won’t bounce. I broke all the rules of custom. I would take anybody’s check for any amount of money. And normally, I wasn’t interested in looking at a Driver’s License. You know I go to New York today, and they won’t take my traveler’s check. Well, I took a check for $375,000 from a man one time and told him I didn’t want to see his driver’s license. He couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t believe I’d take his check. Seventeen years in the business, I had two bad checks. The big one was for $600. And the guy that wrote me the check for $600 he did it deliberately thinking he was going to get by with it. Didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t call him, I didn’t write him a letter. But 30 days later I sued him for $600, attorney’s fees, interest on the note, and $25,000 punitive damages. He was calling my wife trying to get her to talk me into dropping my lawsuit. I finally settled with him. I think I got attorney’s fees $75, Interest on the note was $1.75 or so, and I said come into my gallery again, and I’ll take your check for any amount of money, but next time, it’s $1,000,000 punitive damage because you have a track record.

A guy came into my gallery years ago. He had a little tiny human skull, about the size of a big orange. He said, “This is Napoleon’s skull.” He said, “I want $1,000 for it.” I said, “That can’t be Napoleon's skull, it’s too small.” He said, “Oh, it was his skull when he was a kid.” So, you know, that’s what you have to put up with when you’re a trader. You know, I almost bought the skull! The story was too good to turn down! I ran my gallery for 17 years. My first two shows, I didn’t sell anything. Not even a book. And I finally decided, I had a little bit of money left, I’m going to spend my money on advertising. When that money’s gone, I’m going to slam the door, leave this town and go do something else. Probably flipping hamburgers someplace. I tell people to - if you have a daydream, then that’s where your aptitude is. Go do that.

HOWARD: I think what people need to know is, if they know Forrest Fenn, then they know that he’s a historian and ethnographer and archaeologist, anthropologist… I think part of it is, one of many parts of it is, like, looking to match wits with Forrest. He’s very intelligent. He’s very logical. He’s very creative. And he’s very crafty. I had many of the misconceptions that everybody else starts out with. Misconceptions by - you have a certain perspective, and when you read this book, it’s from your perspective that you look at whatever clues are there, and then try to find this treasure. But, you can’t look at it from your perspective. You have to divorce yourself from that and look at it from the perspective of Forrest Fenn. So first you have to know the man. You have to read the book, and then I read every book that he mentioned in the book. Including things I hadn’t read in years, like Catch-22 and The Great Gatsby. I looked at each one of them trying to say, “Okay, is there a clue in each one of these books as well?”

WOLF: If you know Forrest, then you know that, primarily, he’s an adventurer, and a great explorer of life, and a great collector of things. The thrill of the chase really sums up what his whole life has been about. It’s about pursuing the ‘hard to reach’, going places other people don’t go. Obtaining things that other people aren’t able to obtain. And doing it in a really loving and careful way. I think that the treasure is just indicative of how Forrest thinks, and he has one of the most amazing art collections in the United States. So he was going to leave a legacy behind anyway, but this speaks to his larger desire to leave a legacy for the world.

FENN: People think I did this for my legacy. When you’re dead, a legacy is not worth much to you when you’re dead. So that was never a consideration of mine, really. I don’t care if anybody remembers me after I’m gone. You don’t have to acknowledge me while I’m alive as far as I’m concerned.

MCGARRITY: I used that word with him - legacy. He kind of gave me this strange look like, you know it’s not about legacy, I’m just having fun. I said, “Oh now wait a minute, Forrest, come on, there’s a little bit of the legacy thing. Leaving something behind. This is of legendary proportion. That’s what legacy means. Let’s talk about it from that standpoint. Taking a beautiful antique bronze box and filling it with jewels and coins and gold and nuggets, and burying it, and writing a poem so people can go and find it. If that’s not about legacy, tell me what it is.”

FENN: I learned I had cancer in 1988. I had a small pain in my left groin, and it persisted for a number of months. So I was talking to a doctor at a party one day, and he says, “Well, you ought to go over and check it out.” The first time I knew I was in trouble, the nurse, they gave me some stuff to drink, and they were looking at my kidneys on this machine, and the nurse said, “Hey girls, come over here and look at this.” And I had a dead kidney and my doctor said, “Well, just because your kidney is not working is not reason enough to take it out, but since you have a pain, let’s take it out.” And I said, “What are the chances of it being cancer?” He said, “five percent.” A one hour operation turned into five and he gave me a 20% chance of living three years.

I was standing right here in my office with Ralph Lauren one time. He was a friend, and a client. And I had something that he wanted. I told him I didn’t want to sell it. He said, “You’ve got so many of them. You can’t take them with you.” And without thinking about it, I said to him, “Well, if I can’t take it with me, then I’m not going.” And that night I started thinking about it and I, you know, I had a 20% chance to live, that’s not too good. My father called me on the phone one night. He had pancreas cancer. They gave him six months to live. Eighteen months later, he called me on the phone and said that he was going to take 50 sleeping pills that night. I had an airplane. I said I would be there first thing in the morning. He said, “That’s too late.” And it was. And I respected him because he did it on his own terms. Why do you have to do it on somebody else’s terms all the time? So I decided that if I was going to die, and the odds certainly said that I was going to, then I appreciated what my father did and the last thing I want to do is die in a hospital bed. I said in my book, a hospital bed gives you temporary postponement, and you’re miserable the whole time. The poem originally said, “Take the chest and leave my bones alone.” I ruined my original story because I got well. Why not hide a treasure chest full of wonderful things and let somebody else have the same thrill that I’ve had all these years? For 70 years. 75 years. The gold in the treasure chest weighs 20.2 Troy pounds. It’s full of emeralds and diamonds and sapphires and 200 something rubies. When I hid my treasure chest, walking back to my car, I had this strange sensation. I asked myself out loud, I said, “Forrest did you really do that?” And I started laughing at myself out loud. There was nobody around, but in the back of my mind I told myself if I’m sorry later, I can go back and get it. But then the more I thought about it, it started evolving in my mind, I became really proud of myself. You know, once in awhile you do something that you’re really proud of. It hasn’t happened to me too many times. But I was really glad that I hid that treasure chest.

My wife doesn’t know within 18 months of when I hid that treasure chest. But the clues are there. They’re not easy to follow, but certainly not impossible.

WOLF: I have no doubt that it’s out there. I know that some people think that there’s no way that he could have done this or would have done this, and I think that people who believe that don’t understand, uh, what drives Forrest. He really, really is driven by wanting kids having the same sort of experiences today that he had growing up even though they’re growing up in a very different world. And so, he really wants kids to get out and bond with their families and go out and explore nature and get out there and experience the thrill of the chase.

FENN: We have a problem in this country with our youth today. We’re obese. Graffiti. Drive by shootings. Disrespect. The teenagers today are going to be our senators and presidents in the future, so what are we doing to prepare those people? And I’ve got to blame the churches. I blame school teachers. I certainly blame archeologists who have a wonderful thing to offer, but they’re so full of jargon and everybody has their thing going and we’re mostly oblivious of the problems that somebody else sees but it’s not my problem. That’s the attitude today, and I think that’s a terrible attitude. In a very small way, I was hoping to get kids off the couch, out of the game rooms, and away from their texting machines and out to smell the sunshine and see what’s going on out in the countryside.

MCGARRITY: I think that’s Forrest’s whole intention. Get their kids. Take them out, and show them the outdoors and have an adventure. It doesn’t matter if you find it. I’ve had some amazing times out in the mountains just looking for it.

WOLF: We have heard numerous times, “This is the first time we have taken a family vacation. All of us. This is the first time that we have all gone somewhere and spent this much time together.” And we hear that from the kids too. Like, “This is the first time we’ve ever gone anywhere with mom and dad and done what mom and dad are doing.” And that’s really powerful. Forrest loves to hear those stories. Frankly, there’s just as much chance of a six year old from Kansas finding it as there is somebody in Santa Fe who has been dedicating their months to figuring out the puzzle. And if they wander across it, they will find it.

FENN: Again let me say that I’m not thinking of something “Let’s go do it this afternoon.” I’m thinking about a thousand years from now. Nothing has happened that was not predictable. I’ve called 911 three times. They arrested a guy at my gate and put him in handcuffs last week. Took him off to jail. I’ve had death threats. You know, when you look at politicians they get death threats every day.

HOWARD: And you know you can’t guess what these people are going to do. And people get in their head, “It’s my treasure. I deserve it. I’m going to go get it.” That can be a little scary.

FENN: So I’ll be 83 years old on the 22nd of this month and I told a guy the other day if torture and death are the only two things that you can threaten me with you’re in trouble. I’ve been down the road a few miles you know? I don’t want to leave my wife with all of these things. The vultures would circle this house and so I’m selling some things now. I’m not tearing down my walls, but things that are laying down. I’m just trying to ease the pain for my heirs. I think over spring break in Santa Fe there were about 6,500 people in Santa Fe related to the treasure chest. And, this summer, before the summer is over I spent some time estimating. I think there will be 43,000 people looking for the treasure chest in New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming.

MCGARRITY: On the one hand, it’s given an award for increasing tourism in the community right? I was walking in a shopping center just after the book came out and there was this huge 4x4 extended cab Dodge 350 Ram Charger. And in the back there was a 4 wheel drive all terrain vehicle. And this big Texan gets out. I know he was Texan because he had license plates from Texas. And he says, “Can you tell me how to find Forrest Fenn? I’m looking for Forrest Fenn. I’m here to look for that treasure.”

WOLF: We have met people from, probably, four continents and ten countries, who have come here. We have families, older people, young people, college kids who have come together. People who have started teams working on the puzzle. Crowdsourcing. Solutions to the puzzle, and then sending delegates out here to look.

HOWARD: I’ve run into people who’ve told me they spent their life savings coming out here. Literally coming from Florida one guy came. Spent at least $12,000 on airfare. That was his life savings. A lady come in from Mississippi. She was an old client and she said, “Well, when I find Forrest’s treasure,” she’s 40 pounds overweight, five years old than me and she’s rich and I say, “Okay, you go!” you know? “You go girl!” What the hell.

FENN: I’m right at 22,000 emails from people related to the treasure chest. They tell me where they are and where they’re going and want to know if they’re hot or cold. Thousands of emails from people that have said thanks to me for getting them out of the house. I had a man send me an email who said, “My brother - I had not spoken to my brother in 12 years. He called me on the phone and said let’s go look for the treasure chest”, and so they’re connected again. I see a lot of that - that kind of thing. It’s very rewarding, you know, it’s a by-product of something that I did. I’m the big winner in this thing, because I feel a sense of satisfaction.

WOLF: About the best one that I heard was a gentleman who said that if he found the treasure, he would give the bracelet back to Forrest and then he was going to re-hide the treasure somewhere else, and write his own book. And just kind of keep it going because he was having so much fun looking for it. And he’d been looking for it for six months and he kind of wanted to find it, but he kind of didn’t want that to end.

HOWARD: ...come to my shop, I had the guy from Florida that I mentioned came to my shop, and he brought me a detailed map. Layed out on a piece of cardboard. Told me what he was thinking. And said, “Will you go get this for me and split the treasure with me?” I said, “Look, that’s not my thing. I know where I want to go.” And he got offended and left.

MCGARRITY: You know, I really kind of wonder if some people have found it. My last adventure out, somebody had beaten me to it. To the spot. I had been there once before, but I was unprepared. And I came back, and waited for the weather to get warm, and went back. Somebody had left a message that they had been there already. Done in pink chalk. With a big X on a rock and said, “It is not here.” I think it’s a diversion because I still want to go back because there’s many many, uh, I can’t tell you where it’s at. People - somebody else already figured it out too, so whoever it was, we were both thinking and putting the clues, and that’s just interpreting the clues, which are so vague.

FENN: I’ve given clues to everybody. I’ve never given a clue to an individual. The first clue that I gave that wasn’t in my poem was because I made this guy mad and he demanded another clue. And I said, “The treasure chest is hidden more than 300 miles west of Toledo.” I don’t think he knew that I was pulling his leg. There was a guy out here someplace, dug a hole 18 inches deep and 9 inches wide and they arrested him.

FEMALE VOICEOVER: ...charges for digging near a descanso looking for Forrest Fenn’s box of gold and jewels.

FENN: Please tell me what’s going on here. Nine inches wide and eighteen inches deep and they arrested - all over the paper, they’re quoting the police officer that they’re going to prosecute this guy.

MCGARRITY: There are people saying, “Oh wait, wait, wait. He’s sending these people off to trample our wilderness.” What wilderness? Come on. About the only real wilderness we have, most people can’t get to. And that’s up in the Pecos which recently burned. You know, most of what we have in terms of national forest is not wilderness. But, “oh no, it’s going to send people out and they’re going to dig up, uh, plants and disturb the ground and be where they shouldn’t be.”

FENN: No matter what you do, somebody is not going to like it. There are always just disgruntled people. Somebody picks up an arrowhead worth $8.00. And they “stole that from the government.” So I guess the government is going to come and get them and arrest them. Too many PhD’s in government. Bureau of Land Management came in and searched my house four years ago. Somebody told them I had taken something out of a cave in Arizona that was on government land. Well it wasn’t on government land, it was private property. But, even if everything they said was true, the statute of limitations had run out 47 years ago. So four years passed, and I got a letter from them that absolved me of everything. That was the end of it. It builds character. I just wonder what I’m going to do with all this character.

MCGARRITY: And he’s very bright. There’s nothing at all about this man that doesn’t speak to how smart he is. He’s a curious guy. That curiosity has led him to a point in his life where he is extremely well off. Lives a beautiful lifestyle. He likes to tell stories. He likes to confound people. He likes to put little things out there that has folks guessing.

HOWARD: I’m not there to try to pry information out of him. That’s not to say I don’t look carefully at everything he has said to me, because, he’s that way. There could be something there. But I don’t ask him any specific questions, and he doesn’t volunteer any specific information. It wouldn’t be fair. He’s really interested in this being something that, where the playing field is pretty level for people. But it’s going to take somebody that’s intelligent, who looks at all these in different aspects, I think, to find it. I don’t think anybody’s going to stumble upon it.

MCGARRITY: This last spot that I’ve been in, I really feel like it’s there. I’ve already hit Forrest up; he denies it. But uh, you know, he tries to get me to go back to one of my first spots, and that’s a diversion, I know.

FENN: I still have about uh, something like, 4,000 arrowheads. And I tell people I’m saving those, because after the next war, I’ll make a fortune selling my arrowheads to different armies around the world. Einstein had said, “I don’t know what we’ll fight World War III with, but World War IV is going to be fought with sticks.” And the technology is changing so fast. I mean, if your computer is two years old, it’s archaic today. Technology is not going to help you find that treasure. But your mind and your body and your attitude changes as things change.

HOWARD: It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve been a lot of places. I’ve been on top of some mountains and I’ve been in a lot of hot springs and when nobody’s there, that’s great I just take it all off and throw myself in and wait awhile. I’ve had Bighorn Sheep right near me. Bald Eagles fly right over my head. I’ve been up in the mountains for the first snowfall of the year, which at that point, in that place, was September 30.

FENN: The greatest thrill is going by yourself. You don’t know where the edge is unless you go out there and look for it.

HOWARD: I always bring something back. Generally speaking, it’s something I found along the way that interests me a feather, a mineral specimen, you know, an artifact that somebody lost long ago.

FENN: Yeah, I have some advice. Read the book. And then study the poem. Over and over. Read it over and over. Maybe even memorize it. And then go back and read the book again looking for hints that are in the book that are going to help you with the clues that are in the poem. That’s the best advice that I can give. You have to find out - you have to learn where the first clue is. They get progressively easier after you discover where the first clue is.

WOLF: Forrest has given some good advice. I mean, Forrest has told people to enjoy themselves, but not get into danger. Don’t get into trouble. Don’t go into places that a 79 year old man couldn’t get to carrying a 42 pound box. But, then again, you haven’t seen Forrest. He might not be your average 79 year old man.

HOWARD: One thing I need to tell people who think they’re going to go do this, you better be in shape. If you think that this guy at 79 was a pushover, you got another think coming.

MCGARRITY: You were asking me earlier about the reason, I was at a point in my life where I was ready for some adventure. And this was just perfect.

HOWARD: I mean I believe I know where it is. I just haven’t found the blaze. And that’s going to be the toughest part.

WOLF: I’ve seen a lot of stuff I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t been out there looking. And, while, a couple of times I thought, “Oh yeah, I got it. I know exactly where it is.” When I came back empty handed, I didn’t feel disappointed somehow. I came away with just more excitement about going out again.

MCGARRITY: Well Forrest contends that his real mission in life, when he wrote this book, was to get people up and off the couch and out doing something in the wild. Right? And I just roll my eyes. I said, come on. But he sticks to it. He sticks to his story.

WOLF: He is, um, passionate about adventure and he is passionate about sharing that love of adventure, and treasure seeking with other people. An American archetype if you will.

FENN: I think the thing that, as much as anything, is that first little arrowhead that I found when I was nine years old. I still have it, yeah, sure. My autobiography is in the treasure chest. I put it in a little olive jar. I rolled it up. Printed at Kinko’s. I have to use a magnifying glass if I want to read it. The olive jar had a metal lid. And metal will rust. It’s tin. And so I dipped it in hot wax to make it airtight and watertight. 10,000 years from now, that autobiography is going to be just like it is when I put it in there. There’s an old saying, “You can never go home.” How many encores can a person take? I mean, I’ve played my hand.

I don’t feel like I gave you anything.

INTERVIEWER: Oh I think we got plenty.

FENN: (reads poem)

Date Site Name Link
22-12-2014 MPR News Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from MPR News interview with Forrest Fenn A Beautiful World - Extended Interview

HEATHER MCELHATTON: I’m Heather McElhatton and this is A Beautiful World, bringing you inspirational stories from around the globe.

FORREST FENN: A reporter asked me, “Mr. Fenn, who is your audience?” And I said, “My audience is every redneck that is married, has 12 kids, lost his job, has a pickup truck, and has a sleeping bag. That’s my audience.” And I hope that’s 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 wouldn’t 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 I’ve had it - I’ve had such a good life. I’m 83 years old now, and it’s been so much fun for me chasing antiques and looking in trunks in an old antique shop. And I told myself, why don’t I give somebody else the same opportunity that I’ve 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 don’t want to sell that. He said, “Well Forrest, you’ve got so many of these things, you can’t take them with you.” I said, “Ralph, if I can’t take it with me, then I’m not going to go.” And that night I started thinking about it. I said, “Who says I can’t take it with me. Why do I have to play by everybody else’s rules?”

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. There’s ancient Chinese jade figures and some pre-Columbian gold Wa’kas from Central America. I ruined the story by getting well, Heather. But I told myself it was a good idea anyway, I’m 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 there’s 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 D’s and F’s in school. I think I graduated from high school because my father was one of the principals. I don’t 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 I… We were arrowhead collectors. He was an arrowhead collector, and I wanted to be, but I’d never found one so, we were walking down through this, a friend’s 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 - I’d like to go out on my own terms. That’s 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 wouldn’t 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 else’s 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. We’re obese. We’re sitting on the couch watching TV or we’re 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 that’s so important today. We’ve 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 they’ve hooked up again and now they’re 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 school’s out so that mom and pop can get the three kids in the car and head out to the Rocky Mountains. You know, we’re reuniting families, we’re getting them off the couches, and away from our texting machines and we’re getting people out in the mountains to smell the sunshine. It’s very rewarding to me.

MCELHATTON: Fenn has received over 36,000 letters and emails from people hunting for his treasure, all unsuccessfully.

FENN: I don’t 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, “Don’t you know that guy is proud that made that Rosetta Stone?” There’s a thrill in discovery. There’s 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 that’s waiting out there for someone to find it.

FENN: Heather, when somebody finds my treasure chest, and they’re sitting down with that thing on their lap, it weighs 42 pounds, and they open that lid, they’re just going to take a deep breath and start laughing. It is such an amazing site to see. And, uh, that’s what I’m hoping for. I don’t know when somebody’s going to find that thing. It could be this summer, it could be a thousand years from now. But I know they’re 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 what’s in that - you know there’s 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 they’re going to say, “Oh my God.” And I know that they’re going to start laughing if they don’t faint.

MCELHATTON: If you want to try looking for Fenn’s treasure yourself, your best bet is to start with his poem. Which Fenn says contains nine clues that will lead you to the treasure. Here’s 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 didn’t 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. He’s picked up lessons for life.

FENN: Well, you know, in Libya, that’s 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 there’s 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 don’t 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 he’d like to give everybody.

FENN: My advice to everybody today is this: If you’re not happy in your marriage, and you’re not happy in your job, slam the door and walk away. It’s so much fun to start over again. You know, I’ve never been divorced, but I’ve done a lot of things. One of my rules when I was a kid was that I didn’t 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 15’s. I had to go to school for - high school, I had to graduate. I was in the air force for 20 years, so I’ve violated some of my rules, but I think it’s good advice. I don’t 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 you’re contented, then everything else is full and in life, and you have to have a beautiful world if you’re 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 don’t know what’s better than that.

MCELHATTON: If you want to find out more about Forrest Fenn and his treasure, you can go to 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. I’m Heather McElhatton and this is A Beautiful World from American Public Media. I can’t 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 you’re spoken for, Heather? (laughter) I thank you for the call, and it’s been a pleasure to speak with you. You’re a sweetheart.

Date Site Name Link
22-12-2014 MPR News Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from MPR News interview with Forrest Fenn A Beautiful World

HEATHER MCELHATTON: I’m 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, I’ve had it - I’ve had such a good life, I’m 83 years old now. And I said why don’t I give someone else the same opportunities that I’ve had.

MCELHATTON: That’s Forrest Fenn. He’s an 83 year old millionaire living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He’s a lifelong treasure hunter, sort of a modern day Indiana Jones. He’s 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 he’s been experiencing his whole life: adventure, mystery, and intrigue. So he says that he bought a treasure chest, and he’s filled it with some of his favorite artifacts from his own collection, and he’s hidden it somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. It’s out there right now waiting for someone to find it, and I asked him what exactly he’d put inside.

FENN: There’s 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 they’re going to say “Oh my God,” and I know they’re going to start laughing if they don’t faint.

MCELHATTON: And how is somebody supposed to find this hidden treasure? Well, Fenn says that he has left us a clue. In fact, he’s left us nine clues, which he put into a poem that he wrote. A poem that, he says, if you follow the clues, you’ll find the treasure. Here’s the poem now, read to you by MPR reporter Dan Olsen:

OLSEN: Where the Treasure Lies, by Forrest Fenn (Recites Poem)

MCELHATTON: Fenn admits it’s possible that no one will ever find the treasure. But that’s okay with him because, in this lifetime, no matter what treasure you find on Earth, you can’t 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 you’re contented, and everything else is full and in life and you have to have a beautiful world if you’re contented. If you can eventually end up being contented, then I don’t know what’s better than that.

MCELHATTON: That was Forrest Fenn. You can find out more about his hidden treasure by going to, or by picking up a copy of his book called, The Thrill of The Chase, which details the remarkable story of Forrest Fenn’s life and gives even more clues about where the hidden treasure might be. I’m Heather McElhatton and this is A Beautiful World from American Public Media.

Date Site Name Link
14-09-2015 Click Here
Question Quote
Radio transcript from Richard Eeds Radio Show podcast on interview with Forrest Fenn - 2nd Appearance RICHARD EEDS: Alright seven minutes after ten o’clock here on this gorgeous Monday. Partly cloudy skies now all the way up to 73 degrees. 20 percent chance of rain later today. High today of about 85 degrees. We stream live worldwide at Santa Fe dot com, podcast from Santa Fe dot com if you want to go back and listen to the interview we’re about to do with Forrest Fenn or Forrest’s previous time he was here - any interview. Santa Fe dot com slash Richard Eeds. Forrest Fenn, Santa Fe author, legend, former gallery owner, expert on artists and a man who went out and buried a treasure chest, and making faces at me right now. Very immature for his age. He’s in studio with us along with Dal Neitzel. Dal is down from the state of Washington. He runs a website about the treasure hunt. So it should be an interesting conversation talking about where the treasure is, we’ll talk about if they want to reveal some new clues today, and all the people around the world that especially Dal hears from on the website who are looking for the treasure. Mr. Fenn, good morning, good to see you.

FORREST FENN: Good morning to you, Richard, it’s always good to be on 101.5. I listen to you all the time.

EEDS: You are such a kind man. You brought me a copy of your book which I can’t believe you did that. I want to talk about this book, Forrest, too because I went down to Collected Works on Saturday because I knew it’d be there because you have this great relationship with Dorothy and the people at Collected Works. And it’s this giant coffee table gorgeous book. I did not know you had it in you.

FENN: Well it was in me. You can get some of your friends to help you with the big words I think you’ll like my book.

EEDS: It’s beautiful though. It’s about Leon Gaspard. The call of distant places along with Carleen Milburn.

FENN: Carleen Milburn from the state of Washington.

EEDS: So you have uh

FENN: Oh excuse me, Montana. She lived just outside of Cascade. She’s a wheat farmer. She and her husband.

EEDS: Alright. Now, as soon as I saw this book, all I remembered the last time you were here, Forrest, we spent quite a while talking about your past. Which is this great past about, you know, why you were in Santa Fe, how you started a gallery, and kind of what your specialty was, and I remembered when I saw this book, about you telling me about your special fondness for these Russian artists.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: So, I want to talk about this though. Dal, welcome to the show, welcome to Santa Fe.

DAL NEITZEL: Well thank you.

EEDS: Make sure you get right up on the microphone talking loud because Forrest is so loud he’ll drown us out.

NEITZEL: (Laughing) He is.

EEDS: Tell us about where you’re from.

NEITZEL: I live out on Lummi Island, Washington.

EEDS: Puget Sound?

NEITZEL: Yep. It’s pretty close. It’s up in the northern part, just below Canada.

EEDS: Okay. Fires? Forest Fires?

NEITZEL: No. They’re over on the other side of the state, thank goodness for us.

EEDS: Yeah, boy oh boy. Tough summer up in the Northwest.

NEITZEL: We drove through there. It was a big mess.

EEDS: Tough summer you guys have had. Alright what’s the website if people want to look it up here while they’re listening. What is your website that deals with the treasure, uh, the treasure hunt?

NEITZEL: It’s over at Dal Neitzel dot com. D-A-L-N-E-I-T-Z-E-L dot com.

EEDS: Dal Neitzel.


EEDS: No “e” on your name?


EEDS: You lost it?

NEITZEL: I downsized.

EEDS: You downsized? Yeah. Lopped off a vowel? Didn’t have the five bucks to buy a vowel?

NEITZEL: I was trying to sound a little bit like I was from Middle Europe.

EEDS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It sounds very continental. What is the website?

NEITZEL: Well, the website is called The Thrill of the Chase and it’s all about Forrest. It’s a place where folks come into the site and they - it’s a good place for newcomers who are just finding out about the chase and want to find something out about, uh, what are these clues mean? What do people - what does Forrest possibly mean by “begin it where warm waters halt?” What could that possibly mean?

EEDS: So if you’re a beginner, you can go back, learn about all the past history, the clues

NEITZEL: Exactly.

EEDS: And all of that. What - and, and, Forrest, the original, uh, book that you wrote, with all of the clues was “The Thrill of The Chase” right?

FENN: The Thrill of the Chase. It’s about a treasure chest that I hid in the Rocky Mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe.

EEDS: Somewhere north of Santa Fe and that’s about as finite and about a close as you get. I mean, there’s lots and lots of clues in the Thrill of the Chase.

FENN: I said “north of Santa Fe” because I didn’t want people digging up my yard.

EEDS: Right.

FENN: But there’s a poem in the book called The Thrill of the Chase and there are nine clues in the poem. If you can figure out the clues, they will take you to where the treasure chest is.

EEDS: Now last time Forrest was here, he came with his daughter Mika. By the way, the fact that - errr his granddaughter Mika.

FENN: Granddaughter Mika

EEDS: Your daughter is here.

FENN: And that’s her mother, that’s Mika’s daughter Zoe Old.

EEDS: And she is married to David Old. And we’ve had him on the show for Old Wood, and she is Shiloh’s mother. Shiloh and Mika are brother and sister.

FENN: It’s like a whole town around this place.

EEDS: I know, it’s amazing. How does she put up with David?

FENN: Well, I have hearing aids that have volume control.

EEDS: That’s how you put up with it. He’s a character.

FENN: I know he is.

EEDS: But I mean, it’s a cool company. Old Wood is really a cool company. I like them both. Had them on several times. Alright, so nine clues in The Thrill Of The Chase will lead people, if they’re really smart, to the treasure. Now, I got this email a couple weeks ago that I forwarded to you from a gentleman by the name of Andy Briggs out of the United Kingdom who is very well known. Is an author, does science fiction, and comic books, and creates all these characters. Well known. He’s not, I don’t think, your average crackpot that comes over to your house knocking on your door in the middle of the night asking you, you know, for a 10th clue. He’s well known and he sent me this email saying he had come up with THE code word that if you overlay it, I guess on all your poems and everything, he said could lead somebody, but he couldn’t come up with that final piece so he wanted to open source it, make it available to everybody. You’re familiar with this guy right?

FENN: Yes I am, and his name should be added to the list of people who presume to know the clues in the poem.

EEDS: So he’s one of many?

FENN: He’s one of many, yes.

EEDS: Right. So I sent you this email -

FENN: But he’s a pretty bright guy. He’s got a lot of it figured out, maybe.

EEDS: Okay. So he’s not completely cuckoo. Did… From what you can tell, has, has he found, well, I’m not going to ask you because you won’t tell me. If there’s some kind of code word that can unravel this whole thing. You won’t tell me.

FENN: Well, there’s so many people out there that know a little bit about it, but not a lot. There are a few getting close.

EEDS: Really? From what you guys can tell. Dal - you get, I mentioned you get 11,000 hits a day. That’s an average right?


EEDS: During the height of the summer, the spring, summer, fall the good treasure hunting season it goes up right?

NEITZEL: Right. There’s, you know, 14,000 or 15,000 when Forrest appears on CBS or something like that, that number will go up to 20,000 or 21,000 hits a day.

EEDS: Hmmm. And then once the snow hits the ground

NEITZEL: Yeah, then we’re back down to about 5,000 or 6,000 hits a day. People are interested all year round, it’s just that this is the busy season to be out looking for it.

EEDS: Right. Now people… People come to, uh, the website in search for more information, or can they post on the website, uh, their thoughts on where it might be, their thoughts or claim that they’ve found it?

NEITZEL: Yeah, sure. We try not to let people claim that they found it, because there’s never been any evidence that anybody has found it. So when someone, and there are people out there that, for whatever reason, want to make themselves big, and want to inflate themselves, they’ll say, “I found it! I found it! I found it!” We don’t let them on the blog. But we do let people talk about what their solutions are. We let people talk about what they think might be a possible, potential solution for the poem.

EEDS: Right. But, to your knowledge, nobody’s found it. Now, Forrest, I don’t know if you’ll answer this question or not truthfully, is there some way for you to know remotely if somebody has uncovered the treasure chest.

FENN: I’ve said that on two or three blogs that if someone finds the treasure that I will announce it on the blogs. On Dal’s blog, and on a couple of other blogs that are prominent -

EEDS: But could somebody find it and you not know?

FENN: Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen, but it’s certainly conceivable that it could happen. Yes.

EEDS: The last time you were here, I questioned, because of some things I’d read, whether there was actually a real treasure chest, or if you were just talking in a metaphorical sense about finding treasure in one’s life, but by what Mika had told me, you know, about seeing all of these specific pieces, I believe her over you.

FENN: You can forget the metaphors. There is a real treasure chest, and it’s full of gold, and precious gems, and it’s out there waiting for someone to figure out the clues and go get the treasure chest. It’s a physical thing that’s out there.

EEDS: I believe you now. I wasn’t so sure when we first met, but I definitely believe you. Alright, coming up on 17 minutes after ten o’clock. We’ll continue our conversation with Forrest Fenn and Dal Neitzel. Talk about the treasure, we’ll also get around to Forrest’s new book, which is a gem. You love art, you love Northern New Mexico, you’ll want to go pick it up. Talk about it as well. 17 minutes past ten. 101.5 The Voice of Santa Fe streaming live worldwide at Santa Fe dot com

EEDS: 21 minutes after ten o’clock here. Partly cloudy Monday, high today of, eventually, about 85. Twenty percent chance of rain later today and a little bit of wind this afternoon. Pretty much like yesterday afternoon. In studio with us now is the Santa Fe legend, Forrest Fenn: author, gallery owner, fighter pilot, treasure burier, polem rider -

FENN: Oh no, I never said I buried the treasure. I said that I hid it.

EEDS: Oooh. Good point! That’s right. Could be in a cave.

FENN: That doesn’t mean it isn’t buried, I just didn’t want to give that as a clue.

EEDS: Right. So we’re talking about and, well, with him here is also Dal Neitzel. Is it “NEAT-zul” or “NITE-zul”?

NEITZEL: It’s “NITE-zul.”

EEDS: I’m sorry. I’m going to fix that. You have a very strange spelling to your name, anyway, Dal Neitzel down from Washington state who runs the website if you want to go… If you want to go look for the treasure, the best thing to do might be to go to Dal’s website because it will get you caught up on where people have looked and maybe eliminate where the treasure might possibly be. D-A-L-N-E-I-T-Z-E-L dot com. That’s the website, it’s a blog. People submit what they’ve deciphered from the nine clues in Forrest’s original book called The Thrill Of The Chase. Forrest, when people who aren’t familiar with you, maybe new to Santa Fe, didn’t hear the last time you were here, you came to Santa Fe when?

FENN: In 1972.

EEDS: You were a fighter pilot? You got shot down a couple of times?

FENN: I got shot down twice in Vietnam. I -

EEDS: Couldn’t fly worth a dang apparently.

FENN: Well, it’s not that

EEDS: They were just good gunners.

FENN: It’s not enough that you’re pretty good, you have to be lucky.

EEDS: You have to be lucky.

FENN: That’s what’s most important.

EEDS: And why did that precipitate, why did that bring you to Santa Fe?

FENN: Well, I had a hard tour in Vietnam. I was shot down twice like I said, and I flew 328 combat missions in 325 days. I lost 28, uh, 22 pounds and didn’t even know it. But I knew a little bit about Santa Fe. I knew that I could get out of the world if I’d come to Santa Fe. I knew I wasn’t going to wear a watch or have a calendar. I knew I was beat up mentally and physically. Santa Fe was where I wanted to get off and relax for a while.

EEDS: Come rest and recuperate.

FENN: Yes. Santa Fe was the place for me.

EEDS: How did you get involved in the gallery and the art business in Santa Fe?

FENN: Well, while I was still in the Air Force in Lubbock, I was teaching pilot training over there, and I started a little art foundry in my garage. I learned how to - I had never seen molten metal, but I ran a gas out of my living room through my kitchen and patched it into my garage and I learned how to melt bronze. I started melting art bronzes and I found out I couldn’t sell these things, but I could trade them for artifacts, for Indian things and that’s how I got started.

EEDS: They had value. Wasn’t necessarily dollars and cents, but they had some value.

FENN: That’s right. Just need to find the right person.

EEDS: Now you came to Santa Fe. You opened the gallery. You slept on the floor. You struggled for a long time.

FENN: Well, my wife and I plastered the walls while I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and my two young daughters, they were doing the same thing, helping us build what is now Nedra Matteucci Gallery. It was Fenn Galleries, Limited at that time. We opened in 1972 and I had two shows and didn’t sell anything. I didn’t even sell a book, and I decided, “Boy, I don’t know about this.”

EEDS: Tough going.

FENN: I had no education in art, so I had a little bit of money and I said I’m going to spend this money on advertising and if that doesn’t work, I’m going to slam the door and go work for McDonald’s or Whataburger or someplace.

EEDS: The advertising worked?

FENN: The advertising started to work, yeah. I got lucky. And finally, I decided after about six or eight months - I was always able to make payroll. And that was the key for me. You know, if you have to borrow to make payroll, you know you’re in trouble. After six or eight months, things started working for me and I could make payroll out of accounts receivable and that was very important to me.

EEDS: Now people are familiar with Nedra’s gallery, Nedra Matteucci Gallery, right next to Carole Peters’s on Paseo de Peralta. Big lawn - it’s a huge piece of property, was the building as big as that when -

FENN: It was a home when I acquired it.

EEDS: From how old?

FENN: How old was the home?

EEDS: Yeah.

FENN: Golly, who knows. It goes back to the 1700’s.

EEDS: Wow.

FENN: But it’s a very special place and when I used to go out and plant flowers in my garden, I was always digging up pottery and that sort of thing. It’s a historic place.

EEDS: So you started advertising. You started making a little bit of money. You could make payroll. Artists come to you, or did you still go out and search for good artists you wanted to represent?

FENN: Well I learned pretty fast that I’d rather deal with old art, the old masters, rather than the contemporaries. I figured I didn’t have time to build a market for these people, so you know, I was dealing with Bill Masters, Charlie Russell, and particularly the Taos artists. I’ve written three books about the old Taos painters. That’s what I fell in love with. It was very important to me, and I started acquiring archival material. And it was from that archival material that I’ve been able to write these books.

EEDS: How long did you have that gallery?

FENN: Seventeen years. I started it in 1972 and I sold it in 1988. I’m not very good with geography, how many years is that? (laughter)

EEDS: And after that, how did the Old Santa Fe Trading Company come alive? What’s that all about?

FENN: Well, I wanted a website because I wanted to write a blog. I wanted to participate. I’ve got a nephew named Crayton Fenn who’s a professional deep sea diver, and he had a blog. His wife runs that blog, and I asked her to set up a blog for me, and she did that. If you like deep sea diving, you need to go to his blog - his website. I’m not a natural writer. I strain. I work harder than anybody else to get where I want to go. But it’s been a fun ride. I like writing. I’ve written like 140 stories on Dal’s blog. Stories run from 600-800 words apiece and it’s been a good ride.

EEDS: And the point of all this is you started to make money through the gallery. You became successful, and the part about your nephew, I didn’t know about at all until Dal told me during the break about his connection. So you’re making money. You're successful. You’re growing fairly well off, you know, at some point you get sick. You almost die. You think you’re going to die. Somehow you have this epiphany, or this realization, that maybe you should be giving back as well, and helping other people back as well, so, the fact that not only is your nephew a deep sea diver, but a professional deep sea treasure hunter as well right? He goes around the world looking for treasure. So now you combine the two, right?

FENN: That’s right, and he stays busy. Right now he’s working for the government bringing up lobster nets that are lost by these lobster fisherman. But yeah, I sold my gallery to Nedra in 1988, Nedra Matteucci, and at the time she was one of my best clients. I had a rule: I didn’t want to do anything for 15 years. You don’t have too many 15 years, and there are a lot of good things to do, so after 14 years I started selling my gallery and Nedra bought it, and she’s doing very well in that gallery.

EEDS: Oh yeah. It’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful. Alright, we’ll come back. I want to talk about your brush with death possibly and how that kind of led you to wanting to put together this treasure chest and then go hide it. I made the mistake of saying he buried it. He’s not saying he buried it. He isn’t saying one way or the other. Come back with Forrest Fenn and Dal Neitzel right after this. Thirty minutes after ten o’clock. KVSF 101.5 The Voice of Santa Fe.

EEDS: Overcast skies. High today of about 85. Twenty percent chance of rain today, now they’re saying thirty percent chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. Big clearing up and cooling off later in the week. Thirty-five minutes after ten o’clock. Forrest Fenn is our guest in the studio with us along with Dal Neitzel. Dal runs the website, the blog, of Forrest’s treasure hunt, and it is a really nice website. If you want to take up the pursuit, the looking for, $2 million in treasure, this website is probably the best place to start. It’s D-A-L-N-E-I-T-Z-E-L dot com. Alright Forrest, go back just a little bit. You’re in Santa Fe now. You’re selling some art. You’re doing okay. You’ve got your hand in a lot of different pies around town. Um, and you get sick. Tell us about that part of your life and your feeling that you’re going to die and after that, maybe making some changes.

FENN: Well in 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney and a one hour operation turned into five. My doctor told me I had a 20% chance of living three years. How’s that for an eye-opening prognosis?

EEDS: Eighty percent chance you won’t make it.

FENN: Eight percent chance that I won’t make it.

EEDS: Yeah.

FENN: And so after that soaked in after a couple of weeks, I decided that if I’ve got to go, I’m just going to take it with me. Who says I can’t take it with me? So I found this beautiful little Byzantine cast bronze treasure chest and I started filling it up with gold coins and hundreds of gold nuggets and precious gems and diamonds and rubies and sapphires. That’s how I got… One thing led to another and when the smoke cleared I had hidden this treasure chest. Giving everybody the opportunity to have the same amount of fun that I’ve had over all these years.

EEDS: If people are wondering about where it is, how much are you willing to say more than it’s in a forest north, I mean what kinda sorta the clues for people that are just listening kind of the general clues of where this treasure chest might be hidden.

FENN: Well, it’s in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe. It’s interesting that you mention that because this lady from Minnesota called me on the phone and she said, “Forrest, you have to help me a little bit.” And I said “Okay, I’ll give you another clue.” I said, “The treasure is more than 300 miles west of Toledo.” And she thought for a minute, “Oh, thank you Forrest!” She thought I was really helping her. She was satisfied.

EEDS: She was on the trail then.

FENN: I get a lot of emails every day and some phone calls.

EEDS: Now, last time you were here you related the story of people coming to your house, scaring the heck out of you. You do have security around your house now. You do pay attention because you have grandkids. And everybody - I mean, it’s a lot of money, and a lot of crazies out there. You brought in our mutual friend Mike McGarrity to help you, give you some advice. He’s a writer and he’s a former police officer. Anybody visit you that wasn’t welcome this summer?

FENN: Well everybody that visits me unannounced is not welcome. I had two incidents in the last 30 days. I’ve called 911 three times. On one occasion, this one guy started wrestling with a police officer at my front gate and they put him in handcuffs and took him to jail.

EEDS: This summer?

FENN: Yes. But, the treasure is more than eight miles north of Santa Fe in the Rocky Mountains, and south of Canada, and I’ve excluded Idaho and Utah.

EEDS: Not buried in your yard.

FENN: It’s not hidden or buried in my yard.

EEDS: Yeah, hidden or buried. I keep saying it’s buried. You’re not going to go that far.

FENN: No, I’m not going to go that far.

EEDS: Alright how many people do you estimate, you or Dal, how many do you guys estimate, how many people 1) are looking at any given time or kind of part time, but seriously looking, and then last time you were here was in May, you thought there would be over, be maybe 10,000 people visit Santa Fe this summer as part of the treasure hunt.

FENN: Well last summer the occupancy rate was up six percent, and nobody could explain why. I’d like to take credit for part of that, but I think this last summer there were 50,000 people that came to Santa Fe.

EEDS: Fifty thousand.

FENN: Ostensibly to look for the treasure. They love to get out into the mountains, and I get a hundred emails a day from them. A lot of them are saying we didn’t find the treasure but we sure had a great time in the mountains. And thank you for getting us off the couch and off our texting machines and into the mountains.

EEDS: Right. Um, so, 50,000 people you think may have come to Santa Fe. How many worldwide do you think are somewhat tuned into this hunt?

FENN: Well Dal can kind of tell you more than that because he knows where these hits are coming from. Lots of people from the United Kingdom and Germany and France.

NEITZEL: And Australia. We see lots of hits from Australia, uh, France, Iceland. We get hits from Iceland if you can believe that. You know, this is worldwide. We get Japan, couple stories from Japan.

FENN: There are two guys in London. They don’t know each other but, they fly over here. Look for the treasure for two days, then fly back to London. They’ve done that three or four times, both of them.

EEDS: They’ve got money and time on their hands, huh?

FENN: They love America and they love the Rocky Mountains. It’s the thrill of the chase. I keep going back to that. If you don’t, if you don’t find the treasure, that doesn’t mean you’re not going to be entertained and life enhanced by getting in the search.

EEDS: Sure. This is, I mean, this is an old story. You get all these mines in the mountains of the Western United States and people going around prospecting. Looking for that elusive, you know, one in a bazillion chance. You’re gonna get lucky.

FENN: Well I’ll give you a clue. The treasure is not in a mine or in a tunnel. Please stay out of those things, they’re dangerous.

EEDS: Dangerous as hell. Dangerous as a rattlesnake. Or worse.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Alright, so Dal, the website gets hit from all over the world. Um, do you think it’s just people passing the time? Do you think people are curious?

NEITZEL: No I think people real - I think a lot of these people who come to our blog are people that are expecting to go out and go look for it. We see an uptick in hits in the spring. People are planning. They’re looking for ideas about what some of these clues mean. They’re reading the blog. They’re finding out what other people folks have been looking for in the past.

EEDS: Right. Checking off a place, or are people checking off places they have looked and then come up dry. So now you don’t have to look there.

NEITZEL: Right. You can actually read other people’s stories. Where they’ve been and why they didn’t find - why they think they didn’t find it there. Why the clues seemed to lead to that place, but in the end, it wasn’t the right place.

EEDS: Have you been one of those people?

NEITZEL: Oh, I’ve never looked for the treasure (laughing).

EEDS: This treasure.


EEDS: But you understand the lure right? Because you have looked for treasure.

NEITZEL: I’ve been up looking for this treasure - my last trip - I just came back from my last trip. I was up in Yellowstone.

EEDS: Looking for Forrest’s treasure?

NEITZEL: Looking for Forrest’s treasure.

EEDS: Oh you have?

NEITZEL: Absolutely. I’ve been out 66 times looking for Forrest’s treasure. And I have not even come close, I’m pretty sure.

EEDS: So do you weave, do you weave, uh, your thoughts into this website as well?

NEITZEL: Oh absolutely. I write stories about where I’ve been, and why I’ve looked in certain places. What I think the clues are.

EEDS: I’m surprised you don’t hate this guy.

NEITZEL: I love this guy! This is the most fun I’ve had! You now, I’ve - it’s just a lot of fun going out and looking.

EEDS: What do you do for a living?

NEITZEL: I run a small TV station in Bellingham, Washington.

EEDS: Still?


EEDS: Really?

NEITZEL: Yeah. I know. It’s impossible.

EEDS: Public?

NEITZEL: It’s a community station.

EEDS: Community station.

NEITZEL: Yeah, a little government and education community station.

EEDS: But you can get away when you want to.

NEITZEL: I can, and that’s what makes this worth it. That’s what makes this possible.

EEDS: Absolutely.

NEITZEL: Yeah, I’m one of those guys who can sort of, walk away from things for, you know, a couple of weeks.

EEDS: Now it is cool, and we were looking during the break, as Forrest has mentioned, he’s written like a hundred forty-five little stories that he posted on the website. Not about the treasure. THis one is about - and I’m - I don’t want to get you in trouble here, Forrest, but this nineteen thirty-five… Buick?

FENN: Plymouth.

EEDS: Plymouth. I’m sorry. I touch a nerve there? Do you love this car more than you love peggy?

FENN: Well my - you are gonna get me in trouble now. The first car I ever bought was in 1946; I was sixteen years old, didn’t have a driver license. I bought it in Atlanta, Georgia. I worked all summer to get $250 and I gave that money for this 1935 Plymouth. I drove it from Atlanta, Georgia to Temple, Texas and I drove at night because I didn’t want the cops to see how young I was

EEDS: Yeah you were a kid.

FENN: My wife and I were courting each other in 1946 in a Plymouth that’s identical twin brothers to the one I recently purchased. I looked for a year for that 1935 Plymouth. Put a picture of it on Dal’s blog.

EEDS: Yeah - oh it’s gorgeous.

FENN: It’s a beautiful car.

EEDS: I mean now, it’s totally restored right?

FENN: Totally restored. New paint job. Sixty horsepower. It’s not the deluxe model. That means it doesn’t have the windshield wiper on the right hand side, or a sun visor. It’s six cylinder. Top speed is 55 miles an hour. I’m getting ready to replace the tires because they’re 48 years old. They still have a lot of tread, but the rubber’s getting hard and I’m afraid they’re just going to collapse one of these days.

EEDS: Are those kinds of tires hard to find?

FENN: We’re having them custom built on the same forms that they were built in 1935.

EEDS: Wow. By whom?

FENN: By Plymouth.

EEDS: Plymouth was making their own tires back in those days?

FENN: They sold the forms to another company. That company is making new tires for us.

EEDS: So to get rubber on a car like this, you have to have it custom made?

FENN: You have to have them custom made.

EEDS: Right. You didn’t answer my question. Do you love this car more than you love Peggy?

FENN: No. No I don’t.

EEDS: Okay.

FENN: My wife and I have been married for 62 years and we go back eight years before the 62 years so we’re talking about 70 years.

EEDS: Last month you turned 85.

FENN: Eighty-five. I tell people I’m 40 with 45 years experience.

EEDS: Right. Well happy birthday young man.

FENN: Thank you.

EEDS: You asked Dal and I to sing you “Happy Birthday” but we’re going to pass on that.

FENN: I’ll give you $5 if you won’t.

EEDS: Be back with Forrest Fenn and Dal. Dal runs the website. It’s about 13 minutes before 11 o’clock. Coming up at 11 you’ll have the branding guys. Haydek and Glover will be here. Glover may be down in his cups a little bit. His Oregon Ducks lost to Michigan State. It was a great game on Saturday. But he’s probably happy with the performance yesterday of the rookie Marcus Mariotta. Kid came out flinging. He was awesome. Forty-seven minutes after ten, we’ll be right back.

EEDS: It’s ten minutes before eleven o’clock. Guest in studio is Forrest Fenn. Forrest I played this for you. You said you and Peggy met in Georgia?

FENN: No. We met in Temple, Texas. We went to high school together.

EEDS: Okay. What were you doing in Georgia?

FENN: Well, I had my namesake, an uncle, up there who said if I come and spend the summer with him, he’ll get me a job and I can make $250 and buy a car. That’s what put me on a train to Atlanta.

EEDS: WIll you, I mean, you know, you can change your mind, there’s no rules here like you said. There’s no rule you can’t take it with you. But, do you think you’ll come up with any more clues if you think this goes on too long or you get bored with the progress or...

FENN: Well I hope not.

EEDS: There’s enough information there.

FENN: There’s enough information.

EEDS: To lead somebody to it.

FENN: That’s right. But, you know, when I decided to do this, my goal was long range really. I had so much fun over 17 years collecting antiques and things. When I thought I was going to die, I said, why not just let somebody else do that. Hiding a treasure chest is not something somebody’s going to do on Spring Break, or a Sunday afternoon picnic.

EEDS: It takes some long, concerted research and effort.

FENN: Well it doesn’t take - You just have to think the right things. The clues are in the poem, and if you can figure the clues out, they will take you to the treasure chest. You need a little imagination maybe.

EEDS: For example? (silence… awkward laughter) Alright, Andy Briggs. The guy from United Kingdom. The author who’s said he found a code word. You overlay the code word; it solves the entire riddle with the exception of one small thing he couldn’t quite get.

FENN: Well, I’ll tell you, I could not find the treasure after reading his email about his solve. I just couldn’t do it. But the treasure is there waiting for the right person. And Dal’s said he’s been hunting for it for 60 years. I don’t…

EEDS: Sixty-six times. Sixty-six trips. Is that right?

NEITZEL: SIxty-six.

FENN: He never tells me where he’s going, but he brags about where he’s been.

EEDS: Why should he tell you?

NEITZEL: He knows where it’s at.

FENN: I have to be real careful when I’m around him.

EEDS: I bet you do! Now, we made it clear last time you were here, that he doesn’t know, Mika doesn’t know, you don’t want anybody in your family to know so people leave them alone, right?

FENN: But I’ll tell you I think I made a mistake. I think it was on Dal’s blog. I told somebody that the clue - part - a dam was not part of the clues.

EEDS: Okay.

FENN: “Where warm waters halt” is one of the clues and they - a lot of people figured that’s where water is letting out of a dam.

EEDS: What about a beaver dam?

FENN: That’s a dam.

EEDS: Okay.

FENN: That’s no clue.

EEDS: There’s no dam.

FENN: But I told this one person it’s not related to a dam, and so I felt like that’s the only person that knows so I had to announce that as one of the clues. I didn’t want to give that as a clue, but

EEDS: But you did it here on Dal’s blog?

FENN: I did it on Dal’s blog so that everybody would play on the same field.

EEDS: Exactly. So you needed to be fair.

FENN: I didn’t want to give that as a clue, but I had to.

EEDS: Okay. But you feel there’s plenty in there, uh, to lead somebody if they think in the right way, to the treasure. Which, I gotta believe, the value of the treasure is going up every year, right? The price of gold?

FENN: Well the price of gold is coming down.

EEDS: Coming down, right, now, but how long ago did you hide this?

FENN: Well I think we’re going on six years, aren’t we Dal? Yeah.

EEDS: So, gold 6-7 years ago. $800 - $900 an ounce? Or was it over a thousand?

FENN: Yeah, I think it was like $1200 - $1300 an ounce. But, you know, if you read the prognosis on gold, they’re saying it’s going to go to $5000 an ounce. When that happens, this treasure chest is going to be worth a lot of money.

NEITZEL: But it’s not just gold that’s in there right? We’ve seen some of the things that are in there.

FENN: Well there’s 2 little carved ancient Chinese jade carved carvings.

EEDS: Right

FENN: There are some pre-Columbian gold figures, Waka’s, and cast gold frogs that date - and there’s a beautiful Tyrolian and Sinu necklace that dates to 2,000 years old with wonderful fetishes made with quartz crystal. And cast gold jaguar claws and it’s, it’s… The person that finds that treasure chest and puts it on his lap and opens that lid is going to faint or start laughing. One of the two.

NEITZEL: Forrest, this chest weighs 42 pounds.

EEDS: But it’s small enough to put on your lap.

FENN: Well there are 20.2 troy pounds of gold in that treasure chest, and 265 gold coins. And a lot of them have numismatic value way beyond the spot of gold.

EEDS: So, Dal, how many times have you got Forrest drunk hoping you would get the location out of him?

NEITZEL: I tried. We’ve tried phenobarbital. We’ve tried everything you know? But, we just can’t get him to tell us anything.

EEDS: What’s his biggest weakness? Is it chocolate? What is it?

NEITZEL: I don’t know. We haven’t worked on that yet. That’s a good idea!

EEDS: That’s the other mystery: how do you pry this out of him? You ain't’ telling are you?

FENN: There are people on the blogs that think that Dal has an inside track on where… I’ll tell you what. I think that they think because Dal and I are friends that handicaps him.

EEDS: Probably.

FENN: Because I’m very careful around Dal.

EEDS: And you probably let slip little non-clues - little things that’ll confuse him.

FENN: Well I may give him…

NEITZEL: I’m always confused, so it’s not hard for him to confuse me more.

FENN: Dal has no advantage over anyone.

EEDS: Alright. This beautiful book. Tell me about this beautiful book.

FENN: Well that beautiful book is about eight or nine years in the making. It’s 412 pages. It has 168 color plates.

EEDS: It’s about 25 pounds.

FENN: It weighs 6.25 pounds. We broke the law on that book. There are three places in there where you can swoosh your phone on an avatar

EEDS: You told me you were going to do that

FENN: You can see a video of Leon Gaspard riding his house, riding his horse around Taos. How many books can you do that on? And there’s another place…

EEDS: Where can people get it?

FENN: You can get it on Dal’s blog. You can get it on Old Santa Fe Trading Co dot com, and you can buy it at the Collected Works bookstore in Santa Fe.

EEDS: The only place? The only bookstore?

FENN: That’s the only bookstore in Santa Fe that has my book.

EEDS: Right. You’re very loyal to them, aren’t you?

FENN: I am, yes. Dorothy and her daughter…

EEDS: I knew I’d find it there Saturday. The only place I had to go. And it’s for sale, and it’s called, “Leon Gaspard and the Call of Distant Places.”

FENN: The call of distant places, yeah. He was married to - before the first world war. And as a wedding present, his uncle gave him three horses. Two were riding horses and a pack horse. And Gaspard put his new bride on a horse, and they rode for two years across Russia and Mongolia sleeping on the ground. I mean, that’s what this book - it’s history and it’s art. And it’s a wonderful biography of his

EEDS: Does that speak to you more than his paintings did? Just that. Just picturing that?

FENN: That means the paintings that I was selling in 1976 for $7500 are more than $1,000,000 now. You have some money in a tin can someplace, buy yourself a nice Gaspard painting.

EEDS: It’s a beautiful book.

FENN: Thank you.

EEDS: I invite people to either stop by and visit Collected Works and take a look at it. It’s sitting there on the counter. I think that I said William got up and left here - this will be the last artist biography you’ll do?

FENN: That’s my 10th book and that’s my swan song.

EEDS: This is it huh? Thank you for coming by. Dal, thank you coming by.

NEITZEL: Thank you for having me.

EEDS: How much longer you going to be in Santa Fe?

NEITZEL: A couple days here.

EEDS: Yeah?

NEITZEL: Yeah, it’s a beautiful place.

EEDS: It is a beautiful place. Forrest, all the best.

FENN: Thank you!

EEDS: Thank you for coming by. Alright, if you want to go back, if you think there might be clues, and there might be, I’m not saying there aren’t, might be some clues in this interview, go back. It’s going to be up couple hours from now. Santa Fe dot com slash Richard Eeds. Might lead you to that treasure chest. That fits - can sit on your lap. I don’t know. I am convinced finally that there is a treasure chest. Which is more than I was originally.

Date Site Name Link
28-02-2017 A Gypsy's Kiss - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Santa Fe Children's Museum Raffle Video - Forrest Fenn Video transcript: (transcript begins at 18:00) SHELLEY CARNEY: So this was a fun day. What do you have to say to all the people who donated or purchased raffle tickets for this?

FORREST FENN: Well if you look around this museum you see what a wonderful job they do. The museum is not necessarily full of toys. It's full of scientific experiments and you see kids that can barely walk or you see kids – I was in here the other day and the parents loved it so much. I mean I'm really impressed with this museum. But to answer your question first of all I have to thank Dal Neitzel because he announced the raffle on his website He sold the tickets. He raised the money. He paid for the PayPal fees out of his own pocket and then he sent us a check. And so I have to thank Dal Neitzel. But for the 91 people that purchased tickets I don't know there was one lady her name was Diane bought a thousand dollars' worth of tickets.

CARNEY: Oh my.

FENN: And it was so heartwarming for me to see so many people interested in this project.

CARNEY: Mm hmm. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to give to the underprivileged children here in Santa Fe.

FENN: It is. And this museum has been here for a long time and there was a time not too long ago where there was talk about the museum going under for lack of funding and that would be a terrible thing. So Jessica and I are talking about some other things where we may be able to raise some money. We need to be able to keep this museum open.

CARNEY: That's right. I know you do a lot of charity work. Is there anything else you have your eye on doing charity-wise?

FENN: No. But I really don't have to time to get involved as much as I would like to. But the children's museum in Santa Fe, but not only in Santa Fe around the country, they do a wonderful job. In a time when the world is so full of problems we need to start our youth out on the right step and the children's museum I think is one of the answers.

CARNEY: That's true. We have great early childhood education through the children's museums around the world.

FENN: Yeah.

CARNEY: So anything you would like to talk about with searchers today?

FENN: Well, no.

CARNEY: You know how they hang, they hang on your every word.

FENN: No, no. I don't have anything else to say. But I'm very appreciative to all the people that purchased tickets and I think it's a wonderful thing.

CARNEY: Ok. Well we appreciate you coming down today and doing this drawing so everybody could watch it live.

FENN: It's my pleasure.

CARNEY: Thank you so much for watching today. I'm with Forrest Fenn here at the Santa Fe Children's Museum…

FENN: I might say one other thing that Jessica doesn't know this but Dal told me in an email yesterday that there was one person that purchased tickets. She said if it went above five thousand dollars that she was going to throw another three hundred dollars. So that's not indicated on the check there but people want to get involved and I encourage people not only through this raffle but Jessica and the people that work here do so much good. I would like to see people just send them a check. That's ok. What's the address here Jessica?

JESSICA: I'll help you with that. It's 1050 Old Pecos Trail in Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505. The web site is

Date Site Name Link
05-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on His Friend Eric Sloane - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: That’s a book I wrote about my best friend, Eric Sloane. I’m very proud of that book. I tell people that that book is not written. It’s a conversation between me and Eric. When you read that book, you’ll have to agree that it’s not written like a book is supposed to be written, it’s really a conversation. He was such a talented person. He could paint a major painting a day, go to lunch with me, go to dinner that night with his wife, and write 50 books in 50 years. The most productive man that I ever saw. The year that he died, I sold one of his paintings in my gallery every other work day, and that’s an absolutely astounding statistic.

But we had a system. Eric wrote all these books, and he’d bring them in to me. And I loved to read them, you know, and I’d put them under my desk, stack some under my desk, so… A man and his wife had come in. I didn’t know them, and Eric didn’t know them. I’d introduce myself to them and I’d say, “This gentleman here is Eric Sloane the famous painter and famous writer.”

“Oh, nice to meet you, Mr. Sloane. I haven’t heard your name before, but nice to see you.” And Eric would say, “Well, Forrest, don't you have one of my books around here someplace that you could give these nice folks? So I’d reach under my desk and hand them a book. And they’d say, “Well, Mr. Sloane would you sign that book for me?” And, “Oh, sure.” And Eric opens the book - he’s got a pen there, and “What do you do for a living?”

“Oh, I’m an oil man in Midland,” and Eric’s talking to him and doing something in the book, and they laugh at jokes and it’s hot in Midland. And then he hands the man the book, and there’s a beautiful oil well there that’s sputtering gas and sputtering oil and an old beat up Ford pickup truck there and a guy working on it or something and guy is astounded that Eric never stops this conversation and has this beautiful drawing there. We always sold those guys a painting. Eric would just absolutely charm them.

And when we first started - when I first started selling his paintings, I didn’t know Eric. I knew Eric Sloane’s name. I was at the Dutch Treat Club in New York, the guest of Armand Hammer and Victor Hammer. Armand Hammer owned Noler’s Gallery and the Hammer Gallery and his brother Victor was the Director of Hammer Gallery and they took me to Dutch Treat Club. Twelve people sitting at a big round table. And I’m sitting next to a guy; I didn’t know who he was. He’s pointing out, “There’s Bob and Ray, there’s Edward R. Murrow, there’s Walter Cronkite,” and just on and on and on and in awe of everybody in there was just a famous person. And there were hundreds of people there, but I was the only guest so they had to introduce me. And I had to stand up in front of all these - the most famous people in the world while they introduced me. Everybody applaud, “Glad to have you here Mr. Fenn.” And I was charmed by this guy on my left. I said, “You know, I said, the Dutch Treat Club is for literary people. People in the arts: artists, dancers, singers, that sort of thing - opera stars.” And I said, “Are you in the arts?” He said, “Yes, I am.” I said, “Well, what’s your name?” He said, “Eric Sloane.” I said, “Good Lord.” Armand Hammer had baited me. And they baited me because they wanted me to sell Eric’s work in Santa Fe. They sold his work at the Hammer Gallery in New York, but they said he needed a western gallery and so they baited me and I had to laugh at myself. But, I fell in love with Eric Sloane. He knew everybody: Neil Armstrong, Jimmy Doolittle, he sold Amelia Earhart a painting, I mean just on and on and on at what this guy could do. He was so clever. We’d go to lunch at - I always took him to lunch at a restaurant that had paper placemats because I knew Eric was going to make doodles on it. Every time he’d make a doodle, I’d make him sign it, and I’d grab it before the waitress could get to it. Sometimes he’d scowl when I’d, “Eric, sign that. I want to keep that.” So, sometimes he’d sign his name backwards. He could sign his name upside down and backwards. Just giving me the nyah nyah (gestures thumb to nose). I got a bunch of those things.

Eric was just so clever, and it was so much fun to be with him. He had a heart condition. This one place we used to go to lunch, uh, after lunch he’d go to a pay phone and put a dime in the pay phone. He’d take the receiver and hold it up to his pacemaker. And the computer in New York would say, “You are okay,” or something like that, you know? One time Eric said, “I don’t know what I’ll do if that voice in the computer tells me my heart has stopped working.” That’s a pretty good line, isn’t it?

He said, Because you’re my agent, I want you to price my paintings. You know about it more than I do, besides, it embarrasses me. So we were at lunch one day, and I said, “Eric, I’m selling your paintings for seventeen dollars a square inch.” He said, “What!? Seventeen dollars a square inch!?” He got on my carcass with both feet and I was gasping for air, and I was praying the waitress would come over and spill something on him to change the mood in the conversation. But anyway, after awhile, we came to a mutual understanding that there someplace. But he said, “That’s not enough money.”

DAL NEITZEL: Before you go there, what’s so odd about seventeen dollars a square inch?

FENN: Well I said, “Eric, I’m selling your paintings for seventeen dollars a square inch because you have to have a norm. In golf they called in a par. Something to start with to tell you if you’re good or bad.” And I said, “Otherwise, we don’t know how to appreciate your paintings. Demand dictates value, but you have to have a common starting point.” I said, “Everything is sold by size. Diamonds, yachts, buildings. I don’t care what it is.” I said, “Even picture frames.” He said, well, something to the effect of, “Well you know I don’t think my paintings are chopped liver,” or something like that. So I tried to, uh, we got a little bit loud and there was a lady over there in the corner that was trying to hide behind her coffee cup. I think our waitress kind of tripped over some kind of bucket trying to get out the side door, but uh, then we started laughing and ordered rosalie creme brulee and everything was fine. But he said - and I said, “I’ll tell you what Eric, you don’t like for me to sell your things for seventeen dollars a square inch so, you start pricing them.” So he said okay. So he came over to the gallery and we pulled out a - we were selling a lot of his paintings, but we had 30, 40 maybe 50 in storage waiting to take them out. At one time I had seven of his paintings wet, off the easel and in my office waiting for the paint to dry so I could put them in my bins. That’s how prolific he was. So he started adding 30 percent, 40 percent to these paintings. Well, the next year, his income was reduced by $150,000. I mean, if that’s not the truth, the truth is there in spirit. And I talked about that in my book, because I was very precise when I wrote that book. And at the end of that year, he said, “Forrest, let’s go back to what you were doing. Don’t tell me what you’re doing, just go back and do it your way.” And the next year, we increased sales by like 40 percent and he died in 1985 and the 12 months before that we sold one of his paintings every other work day for the entire year. That’s unheard of. I mean Renoir never did that.

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn's Summer of Logging Video Transcript I was a teenager. I don’t remember what summer it was, no but I remember I was standing in front of my one-room cabin in West Yellowstone talking to my father about something and this pickup truck drove up. Two guys got out of the truck. One was Al Jones, and he was older. I think he must have been, maybe he was 19 years old, and he had a guy with him by the name of Don Peterson. I didn’t know either one of those guys but they walked over and shook my hand and shook my father’s hand and said, Forrest I hear you’re looking for a job. I said, well, what do you have in mind? He said, we’re going to go up into the mountains and cut a bunch of lodgepole pines. I have a contract with a guy building cabins and he wants me to get a bunch of lodgepole pines for him. He said, are you looking for a job? And I said, well; my father said, how long you going to be up there? And Al Jones says, maybe six weeks, probably not longer than six weeks. And I said, sure, I’ll go. My father said okay, and that was all there pretty much all there was to that. I'm sure he paid me but I don't remember what it was. It couldn't have been very much.

The next morning real early at first light we got in the pickup truck and we headed out and I didn't really know what to expect. I told them I didn't have any logging shoes. You know there's such a thing as a logging boot and I didn't have any of that. You know I can't go out in the mountains in my tennis shoes. But Don Peterson had an old pair that he had worn out and he gave those to me and he said try these on. They were too big for me but I put two pair of socks on, heavy wool socks on, and they fit pretty good. And I said ok I'll go. So here we are now, we're heading out on State Road 20 out west of West Yellowstone just before you get to Targhee Pass there's a little gravel road that turned right. It takes you to Denny Creek. And so we're driving down – I didn't know where we were going but I didn't much care anyway. We came to a little dirt road to the left and there was grass growing over it. Nobody had been on that road, we saw a couple of truck tires, in the last month. Just before I think you get to Rumbaugh Creek. But anyway, we drove up that road about two miles. A very difficult road to navigate with a car. Al had purchased from the Forest Service a bunch of trees – lodgepole pines – and he was told where he could cut those pines so that's where we were gonna go and camp. A lodgepole pine if it's ten inches in diameter at the base you go up 50 feet and it's still ten inches. Those things don't taper much and that's what Al wanted because they were going to be used for building log cabins. And we didn't have a tent or anything but I had a bedroll that I had had for some time. I made it out of a bunch of quilts that I got someplace and it was a pretty good bedroll but it wasn't waterproof. So I did have a tarpaulin and that was about all we had. We had a few groceries that were gonna last us a couple of days but we set up camp there. I built a kind of lean-to looking thing out of pines. They would retard water for about ten seconds and then it starts. But they'd keep the hail off of me. We set up a camp there with almost nothing. There was a little stream of water there about 15 feet other there and it was maybe 4 feet wide and a foot deep – fast running water. And we were always talking about what we were gonna do, what are we gonna eat. But these guys had a .22 rifle, they had a shotgun and I took my fly rod out there. So we had fish. We would catch fish in Hebgen Lake and we would bring them up there and put them in that little stream of water and they could get out so every time we wanted something to eat well we'd take a fish out and we'd clean the fish and then wrap it in mud – mud maybe an inch thick all the way around the fish and then we'd put it in the coals in the fire and put coals on top of it and you know 30 or 45 minutes later you take that thing out it's hot and it breaks open real easy and now you're looking at a beautiful, pink flesh of a brown trout or a rainbow trout and the skin comes off with the mud. I mean it was a beautiful. I learned a lot with those guys. But we had squirrels and we had grouse out of season and we had all the chipmunks we wanted but there's not much food in those little chipmunks. I think the name of that chipmunk is the least chipmunk. I guess there's a reason for that name. But anyway we ate pretty good if you can call that some kind of luxury though it was fun being out there.

I found an old coffee pot. I know it had to hold more than a gallon of coffee and it had been laying there I don't know how long. I don't want to say a hundred years but it had been there a long time. The problem was that somebody shot a bullet hole, a .38 caliber bullet hole, about this far from the bottom of that coffee pot and I guess that's why they left it there. But anyway I found that thing.

When you get up at first light, I'm a night person, I hate to get up early particularly if my bedroll is wet and I'm cold. But we didn't have any coffee and we didn't have any hot chocolate or anything like that. So we decided that we would make coffee out of boiling pine needles. And I had done this before with Donnie Joe on my trip we went looking for Lewis and Clark. I carved a pine limb, a limb off a pine tree and stuck it through that hole and across the pot and out the other side and it fit pretty good. You know it dripped a little bit but it would keep the water from pouring out of that coffee pot. And we would fill that thing about two-thirds full of water and put pine needles and pine cones in it. We experimented around, you know, there are a lot of wildflowers up there. We would throw dandelions in there or daisies or different things – none of that helped. When you boil pine needles for a while the oil floats to the surface. I want to call it kerosene. It probably is real close. It sure smelled like kerosene. But then we had, when we got ready to drink some of that terrible stuff we would take a stick and brush all of the oil off the top of that. And you take a drink of that stuff let me tell you – it would clear out your sinuses. But it was astringent and it'd wake you up. We did that enough times that I remember pretty vividly what that stuff smelled like and tasted like.

But we lived pretty good and we didn't have a chainsaw but we had axes. I could cut it, take all the limbs off of it with an ax, peel all the bark off of it – and I could do one and a half or two of those things in an eight-hour day. Your hands are covered with that pine sap and you know there's no way to get that stuff off. In the evenings we would go down to Hebgen Lake about two or three hundred feet down there and fish and we would wash our hands in sand. We were sandpapering our hands is what we were doing but we could get enough of that stuff off at least to be comfortable.

Every time we would get one or two logs ready to go down Al had this big old draft horse. A beautiful big old draft horse. His name was Billy Joe. And he had hooked Billy Joe up to a log and we would snake that thing down to Hebgen Lake and put it right there on the sandy shore. We would chain those things together and pull them tight with a come along on the front and on the back both. And then we'd get in that little boat of his – a rowboat with a motor on the back – and try to pull those things two miles across Hebgen Lake against the wind. I think he had a ten horse motor in it and we weren't going a mile a week. Particularly when the wind was blowing – I mean that boat wouldn't even move sometimes. Because we were driving not only a heavy load but they were a sail. They were trying to go against – but we did that. We had to pull them across the lake because we couldn't get a truck in where we were camped to load them on the truck. And he had a big truck, it had a motor on it but that motor was open-air motor and I'm sure it had 100,000 miles on it.

But we hauled those things across the lake and we had a heck of a time. I don't remember how we got them on that truck because we didn't have any kind of a crane or anything but we did that. And we took them into town and we dumped them and we got fresh supplies and we went back out again. My parents didn't seem to care. I mean they were tickled to death – anything that I wanted to do as long as I had a job it was ok with them. And I think we made two or three – we must have hauled down about 50, 60, 70 big lodgepole pines. One of the great experiences of my life was that six weeks to two months I spent out with Al Jones and Don Peterson.

Good times and I love that country. Wildflowers everyplace, fast running, Hebgen Lake full of trout and we're looking at deer and elk and black bear. We never did see a grizzly. They were in there but they never did bother us. But grouse and gee, a wonderful experience. The downside was that afternoon thunderstorms appear in about 20 minutes and we'd see them coming and we'd try to hunker down, get in our bedroll and put the tarp on top of it. But you could never protect yourself from those Montana thunderstorms. And that water is cold and when your bedroll gets wet there's no way to dry it before it's time to get in at night. But the fires that we had we'd build a big fire at night and I'd get up and put another four or five logs on that fire. We kept that thing going all night and it was, you smell like smoke but we could go down to Hebgen Lake and take in that thing and take a bath. Great, great memories and I loved that. I lived doing that. It was hard work.

Date Site Name Link
22-06-2013 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Pottery Shard Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: This black pigment on here is a Rocky Mountain beeweed. It's a plant that grows all over the southwest. And what the Indians would do in prehistoric times is pick this plant and put in a container and boil it until nearly all the water is out of it and then it becomes a thick paste. Then they could paint it on. And the pigment actually penetrates the pottery. Then when they fired it it's part of the pottery. This has been laying out in the open since about 1200 AD. This is Jeddito black on yellow again. This is Rocky Mountain beeweed color. This is hematite – it's a pigment. It's made out that yellow clay that's found on the Jeddito wash that runs under I-40 over there on the other side of Gallup, New Mexico. Here's pottery that – they call it corrugated pottery. These perforations in here could be either made by fingers or some kind of a stick implement. A lot of times you can see human fingerprints where they pressed that in there like.

This is Pueblo III pottery. I can tell by the painting in it. This dates to probably 1150 AD. This is called an Apache tear. This was blown out of a volcano but then when the volcano blows this is molten. It's not solid but it's just barely molten. It can be a big blob of black glass is what it is. When it blows up in the sky 2,000 feet it takes a shape and before it hits the ground it's solid. So when it hits the ground and bounces it's what they call an Apache tear. There are places in Arizona where this stuff is three feet deep. Indians love this stuff because it's volcanic glass is what it is. It breaks in conchoidal fractures which means they can flake it into arrowheads or different kinds of tools.

This is the handle to a ladle for dipping water out of a container or something. It's hollow because if this was solid clay then when you fire it it would probably break because it's so thick that it could not distribute the heat fast enough so it breaks it. So what happened is the Indians would fill this up with sand but after it was fired they didn't want the sand to stay in there. So what they would do is they would do is put a stick – a wooden stick all the way through this thing and just leave it in there. Then when they fire this ladle the stick burns of course and leaves a hole here. And so the Indians would dump the sand out through that hole. But some of the sand had little rocks in it that are too big to get through the hole when they dump it out and when you shake it it rattles. So they called these things baby rattle ladles. I found a few of things – they're wonderful. This old stuff is so beautiful I think.

Look at this. Now this is very coarse. I'm sure this was a cooking vessel, made as a cooking vessel which means it's fired at a lower temperature. I can't break that but a lot of them you can break. And these are what they call clouds – when they was in the firing and they stacked the fuel around this unfired pot in the process of firing it why every place where something leaned against the pot to prevent air from getting there that means it's fired in a reducing atmosphere at that spot so it's black.

This is a biscuit ware. This was made up around Abiquiu, New Mexico north of Santa Fe. And this is Type B because it's painted inside and out.

DAL NEITZEL: Why is it biscuit ware?

FORREST FENN: That's just the name somebody put on it. Again Rocky Mountain beeweed. Indians love this – this is schist. Garnets grow in schist; and it sparkles and I think these things were medicine rocks. When you find something and you don't know what it is you usually call it ceremonial or medicine. Beautiful old, purple glass. When they stopped using tungsten it changed the whole complexion of these things.

DAL NEITZEL: So that would obviously be much, much younger?

FORREST FENN: Yeah, this could be 1850 or something. Here's a broken mano. It's made out of basalt but you can see it was about this long and they'd push out and pull back. These are [inaudible] made by somebody grinding corn. I love that piece. This is actually Sikyatki pottery. This dates between 1400 and 1600 AD. This is Pueblo IV Jeddito clay. And you can see where human hands, fingers have scraped this.

Look at this, isn't that beautiful? The paintbrush made was made out of some kind of fiber material, vegetation. Here is some red hematite. That's Jeddito clay also. Now see this is another ladle handle but they made it small so doesn't have to be hollow. I don't know whether this is designed or whether this means something to somebody or whether it was just a design that they wanted to use.

Now here's an interesting thing – this is Arizona pottery. The red is hematite pigment but this was a bowl but it had a crack in it. So they didn't want to lose the pot so what they did was drill a hole on either side of the crack and they tied it together with sinew or some kind of a fiber thread or a cord. Isn't that interesting? You can see where a pump drill or a bow drill drilled this hole and I'm sure that there was another over here because they were trying to prevent that crack from breaking and going clear across the pot.

DAL NEITZEL: So they weren't making pots with handles?

FORREST FENN: Oh yeah, sure.

DAL NEITZEL: Oh, they were.

FORREST FENN: Yeah, there are some in here. Here's one. This is a big, this is not a painted pot. It's never even been burnished on the outside. So this would store grain or food or water. This pottery – the Indians, there was only one time in the southwest when the Indians fired pottery high enough temperature to make stoneware and that was about 1850 when the Hopis were firing pottery with coal. And probably they had some kind of a bellows to fire it in and they could make it stoneware. All of this pottery here will not hold water over a long period.

This stair step design is a typical prehistoric design in the southwest. I don't know what it means but these – this pot evidently had some red on it someplace. This is Rocky Mountain beeweed black. This stuff paints on here brown but when you fire it it turns black. They call it Jeddito black on yellow. But this is a hematite paint that's either – I think this is a mistake the Indian made. I don't think this is deliberate design here. But it tells me that this pot had some red on it someplace.

Another type of ladle handle where it has an indented, a concave handle. More biscuit ware. Here's an interesting design. Somebody was having fun and I don't know what this container was. It's just barely concave. It could be some kind of a tablet.

Now this is volcanic lava. This is what you see pouring out of volcanoes today running down the side of the hill. This is actually lava which means it's melted rock. Pottery smoothers, see how this has been packed. See the different coloration there. That means this was made to pack something on all three points. Here's more – this is probably an old whiskey bottle. It has numbers on the bottom of it. This thing could date real easy to 1850. This may have been an old liquor bottle. More biscuit ware, more Jeddito. This is beautiful Jeddito design. Isn't that nice? Rocky Mountain beeweed and Jeddito clay.

Right here is a piece of calcidyne. You can see where they've taken a billet off of a big core like this. They hit it with a deer antler or an elk antler and knock it off. You always have a bulb of percussion. That tells me that the striking platform was right here. A big bulb of calcidyne – and when they knock it off you always have the bulb of percussion and then you have a resonance that comes around here and is very sharp like if you took a BB into your window, shot your window at home it makes a perfect little, round circle. That's a fracture just like this. They call them waste flake or conchoidal fracture. And you always have a sharp edge around this. And the Indians loved to use those as knives. Sometimes when they would get dull they would sharpen it once or twice.

Here is a piece of Jeddito black on yellow but these are all utilized services – one, two, three. They were doing something with this. See how smooth that is? A million different designs. Here's another hole. This is up near the rim so they're trying to tie a crack together so that it won't continue to break. A big hole on this side, a little hole here which means that they had to drill that. All they needed to do was get through. They didn't need to make this hole as big as this one. They just needed it to be big enough so that they could tie it together with animal sinew or some kind of vegetable material. Indians that lived in Arizona made much more beautiful pottery than the New Mexico Indians. I don't know that they knew where the barter was but.

Date Site Name Link
08-07-2013 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Book Collecting Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: Books to me are – I'm comfortable when I'm around books. I have probably three or four thousand books in my library and it just kind of makes it cozy. I build a little fire in my beehive fireplace and surrounded by books and it's really a comfortable feeling for me. I decided years ago I wanted to collect unique books – and there are two senses of the word unique which means there is not another copy just like this book.

And I don't know I probably three or four hundred books that fit that description. I have a few of them here in front of me now. For instance this book – I bought a collection of books from the heirs of Algernon Smith. This book is Cavalry Tactics 1841. Algernon Smith was a good friend of General Custer's. He was killed in the Battle of Little Bighorn with the general and this book is signed A.E. Smith 7th United States Cavalry – 7th Cavalry United States Army. And what I've done with all of my rare books I write my name in pencil inside the book. And if I had my way everybody for the next few hundred years that takes possession of this book I would like for them to write their name under here. Algernon Smith was the [commander] at the Battle of Little Bighorn and was killed there. I like that little book.

But when you talk about people signing books – this is a book Pony Tracks by Frederic Remington. A very famous book printed in thousands of copies. This book was given by Edward R. Murrow to Eric Sloane and Eric Sloane gave it to me for Christmas in 1980. It was written by Frederic Remington. It has an original Frederic Remington letter in it signed by Frederic Remington, New Rochelle, New York; and it has an original Theodore Roosevelt letter signed by Theodore Roosevelt. But this is the copy that Frederic Remington gave to Teddy Roosevelt in 1905. This book is written and illustrated by Frederic Remington.

Now this book, while we're talking about artists, Rhymes from a Round Up Camp by Wallace Coburn. What makes this book special and what makes it unique is who owned this book. This is to Mr. Wadsworth but the good part is that there is an original pen-and-ink drawing my Charlie Russell. This book was published in 1899 – excuse copyrighted in 1903 which was at the height of Charlie Russell's. He painted his best paintings around that time. This is a book that was illustrated by Charlie Russell and it says "Show me the way to go home babe Yellowstone Petes onley daughter Nell". And it has his initial – signature, a buffalo skull and dated 1904. But there are a number of illustrations in this book by Charlie Russell. Then there are things that – I like to stick things in books. This didn't come with the book but this is Charlie Russell's original letterhead. And this is a letter to me from Frederick Renner who was the expert on Charlie Russell. He authenticated this book for me on February 5, 1977. That's how long I've had this. I think I had this book for about five or six years before that. And this is a letter to me from the Biltmore Gallery in Los Angeles signed by Steve Rose. He was just appraising the book for me. He appraised it in 1990 for $9,500 with that little Charlie Russell pen-and-ink drawing.

This book is a special book. See the spreckling on the edges. Rarely do you see spreckling on a book. This is leather bound. This is a book about Espejo's exploration of New Mexico. Isn't this a beautiful book plate? Espejo was the Spanish explorer that came in here ostensibly to look for the missionary that Coronado had left here when he returned to Spain. But this is a very special book. It was given to me by Evitts Haley in September 1969. This tells about Espejo's exploration of China but especially of New Mexico. Espejo was here in 1583. This book was published in Paris in 1589 in French; and I've been told that this book was printed only in two copies and that the other copy is in The Louvre. I don't know if that's true or not but that's what I've been told.

This great book, The History of the Constitution of the United States, by Bancroft, is not something that I would normally be interested in except that when I first got in the art business in Santa Fe there was a lady here in town hat settled estates. When somebody died and they needed to close out the house she would go in and inventory everything and sell the pots and pans and the flatware and the coffee tables and everything that needed to be sold she would sell them. And if there were some pretty good books she would call me on the phone and say Forrest I have 300 books. Some of them are good western books. Are you interested in them? And she would tell me that she wanted five or six hundred dollars or twelve hundred dollars or whatever it was. And I would tell her ok I'll take them. And then I'd send my shipping guy over there with some boxes and we'd pack all these things up and bring them to my gallery. Then over the next month or two months I would go through these books a little bit at a time when I had the time to do it. So this is Volume 2 of a two-volume set History of the Constitution. And I didn't think much of it but I turned to the first page and thumbing through this thing I found that it's a pretty amazing book really. It has original documents bound in this book – some of the letterhead of the Continental Congress and dated 1776. Isn't this a beautiful seal?

Now I'll tell you what this book is. This book is signed by King Charles III of Spain, and Charles Pinckney who was 29 when he signed the United States Constitution was later three times governor of South Carolina ending in 1808. Ok here's the signature King Charles IV and here's the signature of Charles Pinckney. Here's the King's wax seal. I love this kind of stuff. This is really – this is history personified. This beautiful thing is dated 1824. It was signed by David [Daniel] Carroll who died in 1829. He signed the United States Constitution and later became United States Representative from Maryland. These two volumes are just full of things that have been tipped in. This is signed by Thomas Mifflin who signed the Constitution and was governor Pennsylvania. And it says here "In Convention Philadelphia February 26, 1790". This document was signed by a man by the name of Tyler. It's dated 1870. That's pretty late. This is signed by John Sullivan. This document is dated January 30, 1789. That's when George Washington was elected president – 1789. This is signed by William Smith. IT's dated December 5, 1800. Isn't that interesting?

DAL NEITZEL: And you had no idea that that material was in there when you bought it?

FORREST FENN: I didn't know that there's two volumes that were in there and the lady that sold it to me she didn't know it either because she didn't go through the book. But after I found these things I called her on the phone and took her lunch and I gave her quite a bit more money.

But this document it says "Hartford July 1, 1776". It's signed by Jacob Wadsworth, delegate to the Continental Congress. In these two books every document and every photograph that's been tipped in here is signed by someone who either signed the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution or both. Some of them signed both.

Books can be very special. This book is leather bound. Cowpers it says. It says "Minor Poems". It's a book of poetry – leather bound. It has hand-marbled end papers. If you don't know what a marbled end paper this is a painting. This is not a print of a painting this is actually oil on paper. And this book says that this book was owned by William Goodwin. But what makes it really neat is that it's a four-edge painting book. See it's gilded on the edges but watch this. (Bends the page edges to reveal an image of an Indian on a white horse hunting a buffalo. 12:30 approximately.) You got that? And the book is dated in 1850 so that we know that this painting was put in this book after 1850. The book was published in 1822. You know over the years it's taken a beating. A lot of times when you see a great binding they're signed by the binder. I don't see a signature on this one but this one has my little clip on it. It says "Forrest Fenn Collection Santa Fe". That's all the writing I could get on that little thing but I love this little book.

And I have about I think I have bout four-edge painting books. This is "Idols of the King" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Double four-edge painting book Oxford and Cambridge. Now let me show you this. You can see that it's gilded on the edges but it has watercolor paintings on the four-edge, on the side of the edge not on the edge but the side of the edge. This is a – are you rolling?


FORREST FENN: This is a watercolor painting of Oxford. (Bends page edges to reveal image of Oxford landscape. 14:00 approximately.) And if you turn it over turn it around this is a watercolor painting of Cambridge. (Shows Forrest putting books on a shelf of large bookcase.)

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Trust Video Transcript: I tell stories about myself I really shouldn't tell but I hired a full-time research librarian because I needed a crutch. I didn't know very much and this gal pretty good. I never wanted a computer because that would be admit[ing] that I was coming into the 20th century and I never did want to admit that. But we had a Rolodex with 5x7 cards on it and if you bought something from me for 25 dollars or more, if it was a book or something, you went on our Rolodex – your name, your wife's name, your kid's name, what you bought, what you gave for it, where you live and that sort of thing. And so over the next few years well I had 3,000 some names on my Rolodex and I meet all these people but have a terrible memory. I'm pretty good for faces but I don't remember names. So the phone would ring, my secretary would pick up the phone and she would say Mr. Fenn this is Joe Smith on the phone and I'd waive to her with my head like that. In the meantime she's taking the card out of the Rolodex. She runs in and hands it to me and I'd pick up the – oh Joe how's Phyllis and little Mary and Johnny. I said do you still have that old beat up Sharpe painting you paid too much for when you bought it for me. I said send it back I'll refund and you know that repartee back and forth was a lot fun for me. I didn't remember the guy but after we talked for a while then I would probably remember him. It was so much fun. But he thought that I remembered him and that's called salesmanship. That's not illegal. But I enjoyed the business of art and I particularly enjoyed the people. The people are wonderful. And I would take anybody's check for any amount of money and everybody told me I was crazy – you cannot do that. This guy bought a $275,000 painting from me. I didn't know the guy. He had never been in my gallery before but he said how can I pay you for this painting. I said I'll take your check. He says you'll take my check. I said yeah, I'll take your check. He couldn't believe it. He said in New York they won't take my travelers checks. But he started to pull out his wallet for his ID and I says I don't want your ID. I said I think your check is good. I was never sorry. There was one time a guy – I got several bad checks but they were all mistakes. Nobody was trying to cheat me except this one guy. He wrote me a bad check for six hundred. And I knew the guy by reputation because he had done the same thing around town. So the check bounced. I didn't say anything to him at all. I didn't write him a letter. I didn't call him on the phone. But six weeks later he didn't pay me and I sued him without a conversation with him. He couldn't believe that I'd sue him for six hundred dollars 'cause it's gonna cost me five thousand dollars to sue him. So he was calling my wife at night wanting me – trying to talk her into have me drop the lawsuit. This went back and forth. I sued him for the six hundred dollars ($600), $2,500 punitive damages, interest on the note and attorney's fees. And we argued back and forth for a little while and I finally settled for a thousand dollars but I said come back in my gallery – buy something else. I'll take your check for $100,000. I said but next time it's $500,000 punitive damages. I think I taught him a lesson – you know you want to go along with people but you don't want people stepping on you all the time.

Date Site Name Link
08-07-2013 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
How to be an Artist Video Transcript: Years ago when I had my gallery in Santa Fe, and I sold it in 1988, so I think I'm talking about in the first part of the 1980s. It was common for me to buy merchandise – artifacts and paintings from people who walked in my front door. And sometimes I would buy from five or six or seven people a day. And so one time this lady walked in and she didn't have an appointment with me but she walked in my office and asked if she could talk to me and I said yes. She was a good looking woman from San Antonio and she had a little artifact that she wanted to sell me. And I didn't want to buy it. I tried to be nice to her. I told her that I really didn't want it and the woman started crying. And I said why are you crying. I got up and closed door and sat down beside her and said why are you crying. And she said she was divorced, a single mom with two kids that were ready to start college and she didn't have any money for them to enter college and it was really bothering her. We talked for a while and I found out that she had a close friend in San Antonio that was in the same situation that she was in. She was divorced with a couple of kids at college age and they were really close friends and I said, I asked her what she was going to do. And she said she didn't know what she was going to do. She was frantic. And her ex-husband was not gonna help educate the kids. So I said to her, I said well do you have any special talents that would help you make a living? And she said no but she had been a homemaker. I said well how would you like to be an artist? And she said no, I can't do that. She said I have no talent in that area. I said well let's think about it for a minute. I said if you will listen to the rules I think you can make some money being an artist. She was willing to listen. So I took her up on Canyon Road to Orezanos. It was a place where they sold nothing but artist supplies and I bought her some watercolor papers, some watercolors and the necessities for her to play around with being a watercolor artist. If you listen to me I think we can make this work. So she said ok. The good part about it was that she had a friend in San Antonio that owned an art gallery and she was in the same situation that this lady was in. She had a couple of kids and ex-husbands were not helping them. So I said if you won't get greedy on your prices – if you're willing to sell your paintings for three, four, five hundred dollars, I said we might be able to make this work. I said you don't have any talent as an artist or you can't paint realism. Really the only thing that you can paint is abstract art. And I said the rules that you should listen to are first of all don't use the color black. Black is depressing. Don't paint any sharp edges. Make things blend. You need to learn the colors in the rainbow. What color will flow into what color. And I had a good friend here in town by the name of Lee Ramos. She was a really good painter and she taught. She taught painting. So I lined up one or two lessons for this gal mostly to teach her how to mix watercolor paints and what colors need to be next to what colors. I mean I didn't know anything about it but I thought we might make this thing work. So she agreed to do that. She had some things going for her. First of all she was a good looking woman and she had a friend who had an art gallery. So boy the handwriting was on the wall there as far as I could tell. I said paint a bunch of paintings, do the best you can and talk your friend into having a show in San Antonio. I said any man that walks off the street he's not gonna come in to buy your paintings. You're going to have to sell them to him. There's a distinct difference in somebody buying something and somebody being sold that item. So she agreed and I said price your paintings two, three, four, fix, six hundred dollars – top dollar is six hundred dollars. I said any guy that comes in and you talk to him and have a cup of coffee or something I said he'll spend four hundred dollars for a painting maybe even if he doesn't want it. And she said ok and we did that. Well she had a show in San Antonio. I think she had 45 paintings and the lady that owned the gallery was another good looking woman and I think they sold every painting – they sold the show to the wall. Every painting was sold. So, you know, she had a smile on her face and I saw her a couple of times after that and she continued to do it. She still can't paint but she was making something, a product for the consuming public that the public wanted in a very narrow area. It was enough for her to make a living. I was a business man when I was in the art gallery business and artists don't like to talk about some things. They don't like to talk about how many man hours they have in that piece of art. I tried to keep myself, my thinking in perspective. My perspective was that art is no different from any other commodity. You have a manufacturer and you have a retailer. An artist doesn't like to be called a manufacturer. I'm gonna take a little bit of heat for saying that I know but the way I looked at it from a business standpoint an artist manufactures something that you bring to me and sell it to me wholesale and I sell it retail. That's the way this country operates and it worked very well for me and I think it worked very well for her. As far as I know she's still painting those three or four hundred dollar watercolors. You know the old definition of an artist is somebody who can starve to death without dying.

Date Site Name Link
18-12-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Highlights of Fennboree 2016 Video Transcript: (cross talk)

DAL NEITZEL: Okay, where’s the treasure?

WOMAN: Right here!

NEITZEL: I like that. It’s a good answer.

WOMAN: It’s in a chest.

NEITZEL: Okay, and where?

WOMAN: It’s in a secret location. You have to solve the poem.

NEITZEL: You guys looking for the treasure?

MAN: Yes. I’ve got the (inaudible) hat on. I’m looking.

FENN: Who invited this guy?

MAN: All kinds of 1890s silver coins.

(cross talk)

MAN: It’s come up quite a bit, that people are saying it starts very broadly gives you a general area, then narrows it down, narrows it down, until finally it tells you.

NEITZEL: Sullivan, where’s it at?

SULLIVAN: (Inaudible). Was up the white chambers in the corner of the field with the barbeque grates but somebody moved it.

NEITZEL: Where’s the treasure? Where is the treasure? Where’s it at?

CAROLYN: I’m not telling.

NEITZEL: You know where it is?

CAROLYN: Right here.

RENEE: Yeah, family.

CAROLYN: That’s my treasure.

MISSOURI JIM: North of Steamboat Springs, and in Wyoming.

(cross talk)

DUNBAR: Do you remember me? (Inaudible) Dunbar. Oh my God. I will treasure this for the rest of my life.

WOMAN: Well, it’s in Portland. Not that treasure. It’s a Portland one.

WOMAN: I’m pretty sure that it’s near Abigail Dunaway. It used to be called Dunaway Park.

MAN: Yeah, they say it’s only worth one mill. No, no. It’s worth ten million in my book.

NEITZEL: I got it.

MAN: Caught in the act!

MAN: Have a good night Forrest!

WOMAN: Thank you for coming!

(cross talk)

Date Site Name Link
08-07-2013 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Too Far to Walk Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: Well, my new book is going to be very similar to my memoir, The Thrill of the Chase. I’m going to publish some of my blogs, some stories that I’ve written that are not blogs. And, I’ve gone through my scrapbooks, and I’ve pulled out my life with Peggy through the years: Germany, when we were kids, and I’m writing lengthy captions to some of them. Some captions are going to be a page and half long, so there are just many stories illustrated by vintage photographs and by Danny Bodelson, who is making the wonderful drawings for me. Lou Bruno is going to be the producer of the book to work with the printer and the binders and lovely Susan Caldwell is my designer. The same designer that made my Thrill of the Chase book is designing this. This morning, I looked at three different proposals that she’s made and I told her I wanted all three of them.

SUSAN CALDWELL: ...the folio for each one, and it will say the name of the title with the name of the story.

FENN: First of all, the book has to feel warm. You have to want to pick it up and hold it. And it has to be personal. It has to have my personal signature on every page.

CALDWELL: And the thing is, I can take that one out if you want and put the house in there again too. You know, I can repeat the house and ghost this back a little bit more.

FENN: No, no. I don’t like that house behind the writing. I don’t think.

CALDWELL: Well see the reason I like this is because that whole photograph is there, and I love seeing this. But, I can ghost it back more, or even just soften the windows behind there a little bit more.

LOU BRUNO: I’m not sure about this drop initial cap, but -

CALDWELL: Yeah, I mean, we can play - I still like the idea of what you were suggesting.

FENN: Like you did the red one.

CALDWELL: Well, no I like what Lou was talking about. He goes, maybe we do a wax stamp, you know? It could just be your lowercase “ff”. And you know the wax stamp like they used to seal envelopes? We could just create that in a nice little three dimensional pop of red, or color or something like that.

BRUNO: Yellow, green, whatever.


BRUNO: She introduced this key line around, and we could do that with every blog, because I like this.

FENN: I like that.

Like with The Thrill of the Chase, Susan put the little postmarks in there and the little corners on the photographs. I mean, it’s kind of a home grown scrapbook. And this new book of mine, it’s going to be that way. There’s going to be funny things. We tell a story about in my motel in West Yellowstone. Ronald Reagan checked into Room 4, and he lost his key at midnight and couldn’t get in, so he went around back and he climbed through the bathroom window to get in. And there was a big item in the Los Angeles Times that said our Governor climbed in through the bathroom window. It made us famous.

You gotta draw a picture of him on the outside with nothing but his rear end showing, and two legs standing on a box. So we’ll have, on the left-hand side of the page, we’ll have him looking at his rear end and his legs, and on the right-hand side of the page, we’ll have him coming in the window. How does that sound?

I’m going to let you read my book. I’m not going to charge you to read my book. Come sit down right here.

CALDWELL: Show her, he wants to show her Mexico Beach.

PEGGY: I’ve been there.

CALDWELL: I know. You’re gorgeous. Every picture I see of you, I’m like whoa!

FENN: See there?

CALDWELL: There’s your head (laughing).

PEGGY: That’s right. I sat on the floor.

FENN: I think it’s going to be good. I’m very proud of this book. It’s kind of a sequel to my memoir, The Thrill of the Chase. And I’ve gone back and forth with titles. I was going to call this book, “Chasing a Vagabond.”

CALDWELL: Here, put it at 100 percent and it says “first home.” You look so cute! Ok so here, it says she didn’t bait her hook or remove it from the fish, and I go “dot dot dot there was always a bunch of retired guys sitting and fishing who would do those things for her."

PEGGY: (Laughing) They did. I mean, I never touched a fish.

CALDWELL: That would be me! And then here, it’s like, and he filleted and you cooked, and you caught.

PEGGY: That was a hammerhead shark and he made me hold it. It was a hammerhead shark - a little one, and you made me hold it.

FENN: Well you’re an adventurer.

PEGGY: I’m not.

FENN: This will probably be my last book. I’ve got three more books in my computer, but I doubt I’ll finish those. I’ve quit giving myself suspenses. I don’t have any deadlines anymore. And I’m just going to take things as they come. I’m having fun.

Date Site Name Link
25-12-2013 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
San Lazaro Artifacts 3 Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: If you have a dog, feel the back of its head. You’ll feel this ridge right here. See that ridge? That means European dog. The dog you have originally occurred someplace else and was brought into this country. But the prehistoric Indians had dogs of their own that didn’t come from Europe. They’re called Anasazi dogs. Here’s an Anasazi dog skull. You see you don’t have that ridge on the back? They’re very, very rare to find dog skeletons. But this is an Anasazi dog, this is a European dog that was excavated at San Lazaro Pueblo. And this is a coyote. It's very similar to a European dog. This is a horse leg. And over here we have, we found a lot of horses on the historic side of the pueblo. This is a number two phalange. This is a number one. What’s interesting about this is the tool marks here. I can’t say that they were eating horses, but I can say that they were butchering them. And this, these butcher marks here, were made by a metal knife, not by a stone knife. Food was dear and hard to come by at San Lazaro Pueblo. After the pueblo had been there, buildings for a hundred years, why, the Indians are bringing wood in to cook with and to fire their pottery and different things. And, as they do that, the wooded areas recede. And when the wooded areas recede, so does the game. The deer, the animals that live in the forest in the brush and brushy country. So, after a hundred years, or maybe fifty years even, the natives are walking half a mile or a mile to get wood for their fires. It was too much of a job to pick the Pueblo up and move it over there. First of all, the water is over here, so they can’t move it over there. Interesting the problems associated with those early people and the way they were able to cope with them and very successfully. Now this bone is the femur of some big animal. It was important that they get the protein out of these big bones. The marrow. And so they would break these bones and put them in a soup pot on a stone or cooking ware pot. And it’s boiling around there and these things are jumping around in this pot, hitting the edges of the pot, and it dulls all of these edges. Can you see that? The glare on that? Now, they took all the marrow out of here. All the protein is gone. You can throw this over there on the trash pile. Over the years it’s covered up, but you come back a thousand years later and it looks just like this. Because the protein is gone out of this bone, and the protein is what destroys the bone, when it’s discarded. So if you find a bone that’s pretty much destroyed in the ground, you know that that didn’t bounce around in a soup pot. Interesting that we found a lot of soup bones.

Date Site Name Link
05-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Kids at San Lazaro Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: Every year, for the past 14 years, we’ve had teenagers from Wyoming. Some of them are really good kids, some of them are pretty good kids, and some of them are not too good kids. We’ve had parole officer's permission to bring some of them down here. We’re trying to turn them around. We have a problem in this country with our youth and that’s where our future is. And yet, archeologists particularly, everybody loves archeologists. Archeologists are not doing nearly enough with their outreach programs to help us turn around the kids that are - drive by shootings, graffiti on the wall, teenage pregnancies, I could go on and on and on. They’re in the headlines of every newspaper, but nobody’s doing anything about it. About three years ago, I was sitting in a room that was almost excavated. We were down about four feet, The walls were beautiful. We had screened all the dirt, and we were taking it out. You uncover the dirt with a trowel looking for whatever might be there. And then when you get a pile of dirt, you put it in a bucket and you go up the ladder, you give it to a couple more kids and they screen it looking for things that we’d lost. Well I was sitting there, this little 13 year old girl, she was a little girl from Chugwater, Wyoming, or Wheatland, or one of those towns. I was sitting in the shade with my hat on drinking a Coca-Cola and she was out in the sun because that’s where she had to dig. We were talking about things, and she moved her trowel a little bit, and she turned over the most beautiful little mountain lion fetish about that big, with turquoise eyes. And she looked at me, and she looked at it. And I looked at her, and I looked at it. And she was scared to death. She didn’t - I said, pick it up. And she just sat there, you know, she wasn’t ready for that. This was an extraordinary event in her life and my life, and the life of everybody else out there. But she picked it up, and one of the eyes fell out. One of the turquoise fell out, so I put it in a little Ziploc bag, and I removed the other eye because it had been glued in with pinon pitch as mastic. I separated those eyes, but I marked them which eye goes in which side and when I got home I glued those things back in just like they were. But the point was, history was coming alive. And that same little girl, we were screening, we were under a shelter because it was a hot day and the guys come up and they dump half a bucket of dirt in the screen and we shake it, and then we very carefully go through picking out 50 little pieces of pottery and some lithics and different things, pieces of bones - bones of little dead animals you know. Mice and squirrels and things that punctuate that entire pueblo. I was telling this little girl about the Spanish. They came in this country in 1540 and Coronado didn’t have wagons because there were no roads, so all the things they brought in, they had to bring on their back and horseshoes were heavy, so they didn't bring horseshoes, but they brought nails. And when the nails wore down, they took the horseshoe off and put the same shoe back on but with new nails. They had a system. It worked well. And, I could see year, (eyes rolling) yeah - this guy’s telling me these things. And we’re shaking the screen and she picked up a religious medallion. It said Roma on it. It was cast. And I explained to her - she looked at me and she said, “Mr. Fenn, the Spanish really were here weren’t they?” She wouldn’t believe a word I said, until she picked up that medallion. I explained to her that it had a date on it, but the date didn’t mean the date that it was made. It meant the date of some important event. But the fact that it said Roma on it means that it was made in Italy. It had to be taken personally in front of the Pope and blessed, along with another 10,000 or they couldn’t put the word Roma on it. And then somehow it got into the hands of the Spanish either sold or traded or something. The Spanish brought it to Puerto Vallarta up to Camina Royale up to San Lazaro Pueblo. And all of the sudden, history comes alive for this little girl, and she said, “Mr. Fenn, the Spanish really were here, weren’t they?” I had been talking to her for an hour about that, and she didn’t believe a word I had said, but she believed me after that. I mean, I sound like I’m a genius. I don’t have the slightest idea what I’m talking about but you learn things. Every time you do something. When you touch a hot stove, you learn something about that, and sometimes you remember it, hopefully. History is something that I’ve been a part of, and studied, and I can remember a lot about history because it’s something that doesn’t just pass through my mind, it grabs a hold on the way through and I can remember those things.

Date Site Name Link
22-06-2013 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Woollyworm Video Transcript: My father was such a purist that he would see a fish feeding and that's the one he wanted. There's a bigger one right here but he wanted that particular fish and he got it. Some people that were pretty severe dry fly fishermen – and it's not enough to catch a fish. I want to catch that fish. I'm gonna make a woolly worm. I find it's fun. It's a good hobby to get into. In the summer time in a good trout stream if you have a woolly worm or a woolly bugger which is a variation of a woolly worm and squirrel tails you don't need anything else. Ok that's my red tail. I'm gonna cut it off about right there. There's nothing more beautiful to me than a nice stream making a turn around a bank and the blue-green water. I know that it's six or seven feet deep there and I know that there are probably four or five fish in there that are gonna measure 21, 22 inches, 17, 18 inches. Nice fish. But for me catching a big fish was ok once in a while but I like the small streams like the Gibbon River. It dumps into the Madison. And it's ten feet while and there are places where it's 12 inches deep but it will go around a bank and nice blue water. There's always fish in there that are ten inches. A big one is 12 inches. It's fun to catch those little things. You always turn them loose. Tie that on good and tight. This is going to be the body of the fly. Now I need some hackles and see these saddle hackles. This is as good as you get. This was my father's neck, I call them necks, and these are called hackles. I'm gonna take the fuzz off of the end there then I'm gonna tie it onto this hook and run it all the way up to the front because I want it to tie it really good. Now I'm going to run the chenille up. Good. Now I'm going to cut the chenille off. There's always a little stuff there that doesn't get tied in. You know if you've never been consumed by something then you really missed your turn. I've been consumed by collecting arrowheads and fishing. Then I'm gonna run my hackle up. What my dad and I used to do we'd go out on a stream and sit on the bank and see if there were any fish rising, coming up for bugs, particularly mayflies. I'm gonna tie the hackle in. Now I'm gonna pull that off. So we would watch what was happening with the hatch and we'd tie a fly sitting right there on the side of the stream that would imitate whatever those fish were feeding on. It worked very well. Now I have to cut, there's a few feathers sticking out front so I'll take those off. Now that tail's not looking too good. I'm going to make the head of the fly. Okay everything's tied in tight. Now I'm gonna have what's called a whip finish. Now I'm gonna cut the thread off. My tail got wrapped around my body there a little bit too much. There that's good. Polish on here, clear fingernail polish just to keep that thing from unraveling in the water. It makes it waterproof. The thread has wax on it to make it waterproof and then I'm putting this stuff on the head to make the head stolid. It will never come apart in the water. You can catch lots of fish with that fly.

Date Site Name Link
08-07-2013 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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San Lazaro Pueblo Artifacts - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: San Lazaro is a pueblo. The earliest dates we’ve seen on it is about 1125, 1150 AD. And it was occupied on and off, different buildings, all the way up in to the revolt against the Spanish in 1680. We’ve excavated - we think there are between 4500 and 5000 rooms and 27 buildings. Tenement houses, what you would call them today. Two story - some of them three stories high. And we’ve excavated about 50 rooms, which is right at 1 percent of the rooms. So that 99 percent of the buildings are still there and the rooms are intact. It’s a wonderful study, not only of archeology, but of history. I wrote a book titled “The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo” and in that book I said that, in my opinion, after about 1600, the Spanish were living in the same buildings, perhaps even the same rooms with the Anasazi Indians. They were historic at that time. The Spanish were living with the Indians because there is so much Spanish material out there. Until Coronado came here in 1540, there was no metal out there at all. But, after that time, there was just a profusion of hundreds and hundreds, thousands of pieces of metal: needles, awls, horseshoes, strike-a-lights, a lot of nails, jangles, a lot of religious materials. (Opening a drawer) A lot of this was found with metal detectors, but a lot of these pieces we picked up on the surface. I think that the Spanish came in here looking for gold, but I think they brought more gold with them than they found when they got here. For instance, these pieces, I don’t know what - these were some kind of container that I’m sure were destroyed when the Indians revolted against the Spanish in 1680. This is gold wash on top of silver. This is a beautiful spindle whorl that the Indians made out of a piece of majolica either from Spain or from Mexico. This is a little turtle fetish that was made out of a piece of basalt, which is a volcanic stone. These are Spanish bullets that went with the arquebus rifle that the Spanish brought in here. And, I think after about 1600, the Indians were getting on horses, riding into the plains on the other side of Las Vegas, New Mexico, shooting buffalo with a rifle, and bringing the meat home on horseback or burro. And I say that based on the fact that on two different occasions, I have excavated the hind quarters of buffalo with the bones articulated. I don’t think - if the Indian was afoot, bringing all that stuff back 50 miles on foot, he would have taken the meat off of those big - the femurs, and what they call the long bones in the buffalo - those things can weigh 25 pounds apiece, and a hindquarter has 100 pounds just of bone. So I’m pretty sure that the Spanish were living with the Indians. There is so much Spanish material out there, that, the Spanish were not inclined to be real good to the Anasazi Indians that were living there - tunnels. But, we find so much Spanish material that there has to be a close association with those two cultures.

Date Site Name Link
24-12-2013 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
San Lazaro Pueblo Artifacts 2 Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: All of these are Spanish things that I found at San Lazaro Pueblo, but look at the arrowheads made out of copper. These are strike lights, or chispa sparkers that they hit with a piece of flint to build a fire. Fishhooks. Chain mail. But the interesting thing are these five keys. They go to wooden chests. If I can find five keys out there, why can’t I find a chest? I think that, and I talked about this in my book, that the revolt in 1680 - there were a lot of Spanish people at San Lazaro and around San Lazaro. But, they were told that if they didn’t get out of town they were gonna be killed. Europeans are horrible bureaucrats. Spanish particularly. They took notes, diaries, ledgers. And they wanted to keep track of how many sheep they had ,and gold, and what the grizzly bears were doing down in the cornfields, and so… When Pedro learned that he was gonna get killed if he didn’t head down the river into what is now El Paso and into Mexico, so he took his chest and he found an empty room someplace that was falling in. He took his chest and stuck it in there under some timbers, some vigas, some latias, and tucked it in there nice, and put some rocks around it and foliage and liam so no one would see it, and he went down the river trying to escape the inevitable that was going to come tomorrow or the next day. His idea was, I’ll come back later and retrieve my treasure.

So here we are in 2012 digging out there. I have five keys, and I come to this room where Pedro hid this treasure chest, and there’s his wooden chest. It’s full of ledgers. It’s full of diaries. It has some trinkets in there, personal effects. His diaries and ledgers are going to tell me the names of the people who lived up there in 1560, 1570, 1580, 1600. How many sheep they had. How many goats. What was their relationship with the Indians. And diaries of everyday life out there. We’re gonna re-write the history of the southwest if we can find one of these wooden chests that has what I know is in them: ledgers and diaries and so forth. It’s going to be wonderful when we do that.

There’s so much Spanish material. These are carrot top nails. These are horseshoe nails. They’re called carrot tops. And very interesting, something that you’ll never read in a book, and this emphasizes the fact that we need to excavate these ruins. Because every ruin that is not excavated, is a book that you’ll never get to read and that is unsatisfactory to me. Some of the things that we’ve learned out there, I think, are astounding. For instance, when Coronado came into this country in 1540, he didn’t have any wagons. There were no roads. So what he did, he didn’t want to bring anything that was heavy. So he didn’t bring horseshoes in there. His horses were wearing shoes, but he didn’t want to bring more shoes because they were heavy. But he carried horseshoe nails. So now, when you shoe a horse, an old Spanish horse, the head of the nail sticks up 3/8 of an inch above the shoe. That tells me that the horse is walking on the nails, and not on the shoe. So when the nails wear down, they take the shoe off, put the same shoe back on with new horseshoe nails. So now we can start over again. Actually they serve the purpose of being cleats. Like a football player’s shoes has cleats on it. This is the same thing. And you can see that this was a carrot top nail but see how it’s been worn down? But beyond that, when you turn it over, you see how this horseshoe nail is bent over? Do you know what that means? This is what’s called dead as a doornail. You’ve heard that phrase? When a nail goes in and you bend it over, it’s not going to come out. There’s no way to get that thing out. That’s called dead as a doornail. So what does that tell me about this shoe? That tells me that the horse died with the shoe on its foot. There's so much to be learned.

Date Site Name Link
20-05-2015 Julius Brighton Click Here
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Video transcript by Julius Brighton interview with Forrest Fenn JULIUS BRIGHTON: Treasure can come to obsessors. The thrill of the hunt becomes all consuming. And there’s no better place to experience that than here. I’m 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. I’ll be searching in an area that is home to some pretty feisty wildlife, so I need to be prepared.

WOMAN: You’ll want to have a backpack, bear spray -

BRIGHTON: See that - ok, let’s just pause with the bear spray. You have a sign outside that says bear spray. I mean, what is - insect spray, mosquito spray, I’m familiar with, but… bear spray?

WOMAN: I’ve got it right over here if you’d 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: I’ve got sun, mosquito, and bear.

WOMAN: Right.

BRIGHTON: We’ve got it all. To improve my chances of finding Forrest Fenn’s hidden treasure, I’m teaming up with Dal Neitzel. He’s 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: I’m about nine hundred miles from here, so it takes me a day and a half to drive.

BRIGHTON: That’s more than just a passing interest. How much time are you spending on this?

NEITZEL: Every bloody minute that I’m not working.

BRIGHTON: Is it the adventure? Is it the puzzle solving? Is it the sense of anticipation? Expectation?

NEITZEL: Who doesn’t like a good treasure story? I mean, this is wonderful stuff, and to get involved in it itself…

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 that’s 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. Let’s go.

NEITZEL: Let’s go.

BRIGHTON: Each clue is a riddle that must be solved to work out where to go next.

NEITZEL: I think right here, we’re at no place for the meek. Because this is grizzly bear territory.

BRIGHTON: I’ve got my spray, so we’ll be okay.

NEITZEL: There’s a 40 percent chance of stopping a grizzly bear with spray. I’ve 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 that’s 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. It’s 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 Forrest’s 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 you’re looking for a beautiful little cast bronze box, ten inches by ten inches by five inches deep. It weighs 42 pounds. And it’s 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 heart’s going to stop. It’s going to be so beautiful.

BRIGHTON: Four years on, and there are now thousands of people hunting for it. So far, no one’s been able to solve the clues and find the chest. But I’m hoping today, Dal can help me do it.

NEITZEL: We’re looking for the blaze right now.

BRIGHTON: If you’ve been wise and found the blaze… What does he mean by blaze? Blazing a trail?

NEITZEL: Blazing a trail.

BRIGHTON: We’re 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 we’re onto something. Could this be a blaze?

NEITZEL: I don’t see why not. That works for me.

BRIGHTON: The end is ever drawing nigh. There’ll be no paddle up your creek. Well, here we are. Here’s a creek. Certainly couldn’t paddle up it.

NEITZEL: No, I couldn’t.

BRIGHTON: Be careful.

NEITZEL: Julius! Hey, look at this man!


NEITZEL: This is good. There’s caves in here. I think we need to look in there.

BRIGHTON: (inaudible)... There’s a whole bunch of stones.

NEITZEL: What about in here, look at how deep this one is.

BRIGHTON: I can’t 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. I’ve 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. It’s not here.

BRIGHTON: This is the problem. You’re right. Every time you don’t find it, you’ve got to keep looking.

NEITZEL: You’ve 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 don’t get the third and the fourth and they go right past the treasure chest.

NEITZEL: But you don’t know. That’s the whole thing, you know? You make the trek. You get to the spot and you say, “Okay, it’s not here. Where else could it be?” This is my 40th time. I know 40 places where it isn’t.

Date Site Name Link
05-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Collecting Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: That’s the principal reason by - for anyone collecting antiques. If that’s not true, why don't you buy a new thing instead of an antique? You want to live vicariously in that time presented to you by that object. It’s very important. Why do people collect autographs? Except to live vicariously through the person who signed that thing. I have a nice George Washington autograph, and I can look at that thing and say, “I’m here with them. With him. Look here.” I think that’s very important. And I also think that people don’t realize that’s why they collect - to live in a very small way with those people. And I talk about that in my Thrill of the Chase book. I mentioned a story, the chapter titled “Teachers with Ropes” where I had the George Washington portrait by Gilbert Stuart, whose portrait of George Washington is on the one dollar bill. And I had all these school children from miles around come in and sit down and I would lecture them on who George Washington was, what the American Revolution was, who the British were, what the fourth of July means. And then, I would ask each student to wash their hands. We had washcloths we passed around, then come up and touch George Washington. The teachers were appalled. This was a very expensive painting. “You’re going to let the kids touch that painting?” I said, “Sure!” So the kids, they’re giggling. When they got up to George Washington, they stopped giggling; they were very serious. Most of them touch him on the nose, some on the chin. But I said, “When you touch him, don’t push, don’t scrape, don’t use your fingernails, but very gently touch George Washington and close your eyes and think.” It was a thoughtful moment for those kids. It was an experience they would not get anywhere else in the world. And there were times after that, years after that, I would walk down on the plaza in Santa Fe, with an ice cream cone in my hand and a young person would walk up to me and say, “You're Mr. Fenn, aren’t you? Remember me? I touched George Washington.” Remember that. You teach kids by example.

You know, paintings and antiques are not to be worshipped. They’re to be enjoyed. There’s nothing wrong with smelling a painting. There’s nothing wrong with touching a painting. As long as you don’t offend the painting. I would never buy an oil painting that I didn’t smell first. Does it have kerosene on it? Has somebody been working on this painting? Has the paint been touched up or removed and replaced? I want to lift it, I want to look at it, I want to see if the canvas is tight on the stretcher bars. Are the stretch bars new? Are they back? Has the canvas been placed on a board, or is it the original canvas? Has it been re-lined? I want to smell it, I want to do all those things. And I want to touch it.

And if it was a painting that I bought for strictly commercial reasons, not a painting that I particularly enjoyed, but I knew that I was gonna sell it and make a few bucks, I would hang it opposite in my office - opposite my desk in my office. So that every time I sat down I would look at that painting. I wanted to become friends with that painting. I wanted to establish a rapport. And I’ll tell you an interesting story. The only new - the only Santa Fe client I ever had was, with some exceptions, was a woman by the name of Pony Ault. She had a bunch of money. She enjoyed art. She had a good eye. And, she was easy to like. So I bought a painting by Robert Henri - a portrait of a little girl. And I didn’t like that painting at all. I bought it because I knew I could sell it - thought I could sell it. So I call Pony Ault and say, “Pony come down here and look at this painting.” She walked into my office - it was right there, and she looked at that thing, “Is this what you wanted me to look at?” I said yeah. She said, “I don’t like that thing.” And we laughed at each other, and she left my gallery. And she happened to be in there with some friends another time a few days later. She brought Gregory Peck in my gallery, that’s what it was. And we were looking at that painting and she said, “Forrest why did you buy that painting?” I said, “Pony, that’s Robert Henri. That’s an important painting.” And she said, “meh” (gestured), and they walked out. But about a week or ten days later, I look up at my door, and there’s Pony Ault standing there. She said, “Forrest, I want that painting. That painting has grown on me.” You know what I said? I said, “Pony, I don’t want to sell it. I love that painting.” All things that you would covet are things that you enjoy. You need to feel of it. You need to enjoy it. You need to have a rapport with it. It’s not just an object.

Like with archeological things that we find at San Lazaro pueblo. Many of the archeologists put a number on those things and put the number in the file cabinet and that’s it. But those things to me can come alive. You know I can conjure back the mystic wonderings of those things. What was it used for? When was it made? Who made it? What were their names? You know. What were their problems? Every archeological room that is not excavated is a book that you’ll never read. And that’s important, I think. Save the past for the future is a philosophy that I don’t believe in at all. Because what about today?

Date Site Name Link
12-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Archaeology Video Transcript: Every time that I went out to excavate I felt like I was part of that. When I turned over a pot shard I would at both sides. I'd clean it up. If it shined in the sun, if it has a glaze paint I knew that that was galena which was lead ore and that tells me that that pot was made after 1300 when they discovered galena. So you know it's like reading a history book except in my history book, everything in my history book is original source material. What happens today is an archaeologist will read books about archaeology, paraphrase them and say the same thing again in different words. More so with historians than with archaeologists because there is a lot of new material in archaeology and there is not much new material coming out in history unless you have a document that turned up all of the sudden. But I could spend an hour excavating and learn ten things that I didn't know before. For instance we found horseshoes, I found a horseshoe out there that had a nail in it and about this far at the end of the nail it was bent over still attached to the horseshoe. What does that mean? First of all it means that the horse died with that shoe on its foot and the fact that it's bent over at the end that tells me that a horse because you couldn't get the shoe off. So when you bend that thing over it's dead as a doornail. That's where that phrase came from. When you bend it over it ain't gonna come out and so it's dead as a doornail. But the horse had to die with that shoe on its foot because there's no way to get it off without straightening that nail. And I look at the shoes and they're – I have about maybe a hundred what they call carrot top horseshoe nails. They have a crown on them that sticks up 3/8 of an inch. And because the Spaniards didn't have wagons when they first came in here. They didn't bring a bunch of horseshoes but they would put a shoe on a horse and the nail sticks out 3/8 of an inch so the horse is walking on the nail not on the shoe. When the nails wear down they take the shoe off, put the same shoe on with no nails. So the shoes never wear out. But I had to prove that to myself. I've never read that anyplace. History doesn't know that. And I can prove it. It's dead as a doornail and the nail is sticking out 3/8 of an inch. I mean how can you dispute what you're looking at? And there's so things that history has never written that if a person would stop and think or have it him in the nose because of something he turned over with a trowel. For instance if I was going to fight Indians in the old days I would try to fight them in a rain storm. You know why? Because their bow strings are made out of sinew and sinew is water soluble. They pull it back and the bow string breaks. That's when I want to fight an Indian if it's me against him and yet history has never told me that. I never read that in a book. And that's why we need to excavate these sites. Let's don't save them for the future. That's a stupid idea in my mind. Every room that isn't excavated is a book that you're not gonna be able to read and I want to read them. That's why I protected San Lazaro so much and I put covenants on that land out there. Nobody can ever put a building on it, 160 acres. The ruin runs 1,700 feet and 1,500 feet another but the covenant says no buildings. So you know I don't want population out there.

Date Site Name Link
05-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on His Pueblo San Lazaro Video Transcript: San Lazaro pueblo is 30 miles from here. It takes me 40 minutes to get there. Six miles down a little dirt road through three locked gates. But it’s a magic place. At one time, 1200 to 1500 people lived there. Buildings were built above the ground, two storeys high, sometimes three storeys high. Little kids running around in the year 1400 AD. 1200 people there. Women are making pottery, men are making rabbit nets. They’re wearing feathers in their hat, there are wonderful objects: bows and arrows, pottery and baskets. Everything that they could make, they did make. Mostly stone and bone tools. But, 600 or 800 or 1000 years later, the sand is blown in there and covered all these buildings. You could walk across that pueblo and see nothing but cactus. Because the pueblo - the buildings were made of stone, rocks. And the little critters out there - the gophers and the night animals would go out and find seeds. Cactus seeds. And they’d take them home to under the rock where they lived, and save the for winter. And in the springtime, the seeds germinate, and the cactus grows. So there’s no cactus out there anyplace (gesturing) but the Indian ruin is covered with cactus because the critters had their own community. It’s high society out there at night among the little critters. Paths everywhere.

Now you walk across that pueblo, and the rooms are all covered up. But you know that they are there. You walk across somebody’s home. I think each family out there had about four rooms. They had maybe 20-25 pots. Experience taught them what to do and what not to do. There were no outside windows or doors. They went in through the top because they needed the security of being able to pull the ladder in at night when they went to bed so nobody would come in after them. They knew what they were doing. Experience is a good teacher. But now all those wonderful things are covered up. The ground is covered with broken pieces of pottery and stone tools. Millions of them. And so you can look at that and in your mind you say, “Boy there’s 20 million broken pieces of pottery around here - how many people for how long did it take to do that, and why are so many of them broken?” And then you start researching and you learn that the wood out there burned at 820 degrees and it’s not enough to make stoneware so if you fill a jar up with water, within an hour it starts to leak out the bottom. The pottery is getting wet. You put it down and the pottery breaks. They learned by experience that if they’re going to cook in a pot they’re gonna do it at a low temperature so that when they put it on the coals, it can distribute the heat fairly rapidly and it won’t break the pot. Those that are fired at a high temperature don’t distribute the heat as easily and a lot of times, it will break them. You learn so much and every time you use your trowel, you turn over something in the ground that’s man-made or man-used. That’s a chapter in your book. Wonderful. I don’t know when I bought that ruin out there, but 1984? 85? In all these years, we’ve dug about 50 rooms. 5000 rooms, we’ve dug one percent. So just think of the stories that remain out there six inches below where you’re walking.

Date Site Name Link
12-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on The Blessing Masks from San Lazaro Video Transcript: One time I was digging out at San Lazaro, and I started finding an object that I really didn’t know what they were. I had uncovered the top of them. They were white with paint on them. So I called the state archaeologist. He came running out there and we excavated two prehistoric kachina dance masks made out of plaster. The Indians knew how to make plaster out of selenite. And they’d never been seen before. Books say that prehistoric kachina masks did not exist in prehistoric times, and we proved, we carbon dated these things at 1420. I called the archaeologist, and three or four of them come running out there.

One of them was Ed Ladd who worked for the museum up here. He’s a full blood Zuni Indian. Really a neat guy. Had a master’s degree in archaeology. He was a Zuni Indian. He said, “You guys wait in the car for a minute, because I want to go over there, climb down the ladder, and bless the masks with a ceremony.” And the ceremony was to take cornmeal out of a bag and spread it over the masks and say a few words. And we said ok. So Ed went over there, and he climbed down, and he was gone about five minutes and came back. So the rest of us went over there to finish excavating these masks that had never been seen before. Historians say they didn’t exist, but here they are. And a lot of paraphernalia with these masks - fetishes and painted rocks, and wonderful tools and things all related to some kind of ceremony. The masks were painted. They had long snoots, teeth.

These guys are standing behind me, all of the PhD’s, and they were talking about how wonderful this was and what we were going to do and how we’re going to, and what are we going to do next. And I look up at the top of the wall, and there was a pile of cornmeal. I looked at Ed Ladd. He said, “I put the cornmeal up on top,” he said, “I’m an archaeologist, but I’m also a Zuni Indian. I didn’t want to put the cornmeal on the masks because I could contaminate the masks.” I said, “Okay.” And he turned around and was talking to these guys behind me, and he comes a little dust storm. Whoosh. I picked the corn up and dropped it on the masks. And a couple of ravens flew by yelling at me and I didn’t have the nerve to tell Ed Ladd that God had changed his procedure and dropped the cornmeal on those masks. Those are the kinds of things that make life interesting in my lane. I wish my lane was a little bit better but (smiling).

Date Site Name Link
28-06-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Rules Video Transcript: I started making rules when I was about eight years old. Too young to have the intelligence to make rules for myself but I remember I was sitting on my front porch in Temple, Texas about eight or nine years old, out on the edge of town, the street in front of us. I don't remember it may have not even been paved. I think it was paved because the cemetery was right there on that little paved road. But anyway there was a livery stable about a half a mile from us where everybody kept their horses, you know lots of people riding horses still. So here's a cowboy riding by me and I'm sitting on the front porch all by myself. I thought I kind of like this cowboy riding by and I said, hi cowboy. I waived to him and he got off his horse walked over to me and hit me just as hard as he could hit me in the jaw, knocked me down, bloodied my nose, got on his horse and rode off. I said, you know, this guy was my best friend I thought. I mean I didn't know him but I said what can I learn from this. And I told myself you don't make the alligator made until you've crossed the river. And I wrote that down. And I don't know where I got that. I've heard it said by other people since that time but I wrote that down. That was the first rule I made and I said don't make the alligator mad until you've crossed the river. And when I sold my business 500 years later I had 109 rules. I flagged my calendar on my desk for the first working day of each month and that asterisk on the calendar told me to pull out my left-hand drawer and review my rules. And rules, I would move a rule up. If I thought ten was more important than nine then I would move it up above nine. So rules gravitated up and down on my list; and you're sitting there thinking this is the craziest guy I ever saw in my life. But it boils down really to one rule and I don't care what you do or where you are, it boils down to this: it doesn't matter who you are, it only matters who they think you are. If that's not true why is the advertising business the largest industry in the world? Every place you look there's advertising. That light bulb has the name of the company on it. That's called advertising. Women wear lipstick. Why? To improve the quality of the product. If that's not misrepresenting the product what is? It's called fraud in the court of law. They comb their hair, I mean, we're all guilty of these things. But once you realize that in order to survive you can't do it in today's society on your own. You just can't do it. You depend on other people whether you like it or not. There are no hermits I don't think that live in a cave that can do it all by themselves. My second rule was to try to be positive and the rule I made is this, and it filtered up from the bottom all the way to number two: It's better to do it and be sorry you did it than to not do it and be sorry you didn't do it. If you buy that painting and you're sorry you bought it then you can nearly always bail out and get your money back or most of your money back. But if you don't buy it and you're sorry and it sells at auction three years later for ten times what you could have had it for; then do you remember, I remember mistakes I made. I remember I was at a gun show in Waco, Texas, the Texas Gun Collectors Show. I was a private or something. I mean we're talking about in the 1950s. I didn't have any money but I wanted to collect. And I was walking up and down, all these had their wares out on guns and different things. And there was a presentation pipe tomahawk there. It had been presented to some famous person and it had a quill stem. It was a beautiful thing. The guy wanted 250 bucks for it. It was worth about 150 bucks but I just didn't have the money to buy that thing. But I held it, I coated it, I looked at it, I studied it, I smelled it. And finally I said I'll put it down and started to walk away. And this loud voice behind me, I'll take it. I turn around and it was Donald Yena, an artist from San Antonio. He had a big collection of Indian stuff, famous for his Indian collection. I looked around and Donald Yena said I'll take it and he bought that thing. I knew that I had made a mistake and I didn't think about it, I mean I thought about it but it didn't knock me down until a number of years later when that thing sold at auction for like $175,000.00 or something.

Date Site Name Link
05-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Forrest Fenn about going to Russia during Cold War Video Transcript: A lot of the most important things that I've done in my life, they may not be important by some standards but important to me, are things that I thought of myself. I decided in 1975 that I was going to go to Russia at the height of the Cold War, borrow a bunch of paintings from the Russian government, bring them to my gallery in Santa Fe and open a show. Everybody laughed at me. But I had a couple of hole cards. I knew Armand Hammer, he knew the Russian Minister of Culture. I could operate back and forth through Occidental Petroleum. He had a Telex, that was before faxes or anything like that. And I met Madame Betrova and I made a handshake deal with her at a circus one night in Moscow that we would have a five-year cultural exchange program. And I went to either eight or nine Russian museums and picked out 36 Fechin paintings painted in Russia with the Russian signature or no signature. I brought them to my gallery and opened a show there. And when I had those paintings hanging in my gallery I did not have a signed contract with the Russian government, including the big portrait of Lenin, 50 by 60-inch portrait of Lenin, a national treasure. And Madame Betrova, I called Madame Betrova on the phone, I said how do you want me to insure these paintings. I had a wonderful relationship with you. Do you know what she said? Forrest, you know more about that than I do. You put a valuation on them. Good lord. The deal was that she pays for everything that costs rubles because it was against the law for a ruble to leave Russia and I'd pay for everything that cost dollars. So I pick all these paintings out, they get on the airplane, land at JFK, State Department's mad at me because they don't know what's going on. They call me on the phone, Forrest these Russian nationals are getting off this airplane. I demand to know what's going on down there in Santa Fe. You know, I tried to get the State Department to give me some money because they had a detente program going on where they were trying to improve relationships with Russia but they wouldn't let me have any of that money. It was laying there but I couldn't have any of it. So I decided I'd pay for it myself. But because I've got to do everything and you're not gonna help me I'm not gonna tell you want I'm doing. And I didn't. And I hate to tell you this story but there was an undersecretary of state or something, big shot. I wouldn't take their calls but my secretary came to me and said Forrest you should take this call. She said it's an undersecretary. Well I didn't, under what? I mean is this guy a big shot or not. She said yeah he's a big shot. And he started in on me, just giving me hell for… are you running the federal government? I mean who do you think you are down there in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I said listen, why don't you pull out all those letters that I wrote trying to get you to help me and after you come up to speed I said call me back. I said I may take your call and I may not. And he hung up the phone and I got all these paintings and I had in order to get the paintings I had to hire a Russian curator. His name was Slava Titov. I had to furnish him with transportation and a place to live because he accompanied the paintings over here. They were not framed. They took the frames apart. A frame comes in four parts. So you screw it together and you put the painting in it and he had to do that because that was one of the requirements and I said okay. So we're doing that, it cost me a bunch of money and Peggy said did you invite Madame Betrova to the opening? You know I didn't even think about it. So I called her on the phone and it was three o'clock in the morning where she was but it was an okay time for me. She said why are you calling me at three o'clock in the morning. I said well I want to invite you to our show. She said okay I'll be there and she hung up the phone. I mean that's the kind of relationship we had. She was the greatest. She went on the Today Show. I had given her a Zuni pen inlaid with turquoise and jade and coral and different things, a pretty little pen. And she was on the Today Show I think with Diane Sawyer or somebody and Diane Sawyer says, oh Madame Betrova where did you get that lovely pen. She said Forrest Fenn from the prestigious Fenn Galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico gave this to me. God there went $150,000 worth of advertising for free. But anyway we had a good relationship; and she came to the opening. And when we were hanging the paintings on the wall Slava Titov was working with a couple of my guys. An FBI agent came up from someplace, Albuquerque I guess, and I think the State Department had called him, and he told me who he was and he said he was mad. They were hanging that big portrait and he said what are you going to do Mr. Fenn when some militant comes in here with a knife and slashes that painting from one side to the other? What are you going to tell the Russian government? I said, well, it really made me mad. I tried not to show it but I said, sir, two things come to mind immediately. First one is when the president of the United States calls me on the phone and asks me what happened I am going to tell him that I tried to get you to help me and you wouldn't. I said, secondly I can hardly wait. I'm going to make the cover of Time magazine, I'm going to get all this publicity and I'm going to sell a bunch of paintings. I said if you want to send some guys up here to my opening and stand around you can do that. I said but don't come up here getting in my way. I mean you had your chance to help me and you wouldn't so, just you're standing in my sunshine I told him. I think there were some FBI agents there or something but they didn't talk to me and I was arrogant but I was mad. You know I hate bureaucracies. If a job can be done by 2 people they've got 15 people doing it and none of them do it right. There's never time to do it right but there's always time to do it over. Explain this to me. I can make it work if you'll get out of my way. Just move over. And then I sent the paintings to the Frye Museum in Seattle, to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming and then I sent home and then I sent them 36 Fechin paintings that were painted in this country with the English signature. Worked like clockwork.

Date Site Name Link
23-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Forrest Fenn on Study vs Experience Video Transcript: It was understood that I wasn't going to college. First of all there was no money to pay for my college. We had, there were three kids in my family and none of them went to college. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to sit in a classroom for four years. And my father said to me one time which would rather have working on your car: a man that just graduated from four years' of mechanic's school or a guy that's been working on cars for four years? Which would you rather have? The guy with the four years' experience of course. There are so many things, colleges teach you what's in the book but they don't teach you what's not in the book. I used to, several times I lectured down at University of New Mexico in the art class and the business class both. Professors inviting me in there. Why? Because I had a gallery up there and he knew that I was going to tell the other side of the story. I was going to tell you things that are not in the books. They really didn't like me but they were thinking about their students. Twice I did that. So now I walk in the class; there's two hundred students sitting there. The professor is in the back of the room with three other, four other professors that came in off the hall and other classes because they wanted to hear what I had to say. And he introduced me, this is Mr. Fenn, Fenn Galleries in Santa Fe and blah blah blah, is successful, blah blah blah. He originated this and thought of that and the kids were impressed. I was impressed myself. I thought he was talking about somebody else. So I take podium and I say how many of you kids are in this class because you have to have the credit to get out of this school? About two-thirds of them hold up their hand. I say okay you guys can leave. I'll be sure that you get credit for this hour. Nobody leaves. So I said now I assume that the rest of you are here because you want to be a great painter, you want to make a bunch of money, you want to be internationally famous, you want to show at the Metropolitan Museum… everybody holds their hands up. Then I say what in the hell are you doing in this course. The guy teaching it is an artist. He's teaching you everything that he couldn't make a living at or he would be doing it and instead he's teaching you how not to become famous. And he's cringing and the students are grinning because they knew I was right. And then, well what would you do Mr. Fenn? Well I'll tell what I would do. I'd go to see Thomas Hart Benton or Thomas Moran or Charlie Russell or Renoir or whoever it is, I'd sweep his floor, I'd clean his brushes, I'd take his wife to the grocery store and I'd watch everything he does. I'd learn what he's doing, how he mixes his paints, how he thinks, how he designs a painting in pencil before he paints it. On-the-job training, the military calls that on-the-job training. That's how you learn. And I told them, I said when I retire, when I sell my business I may decide to be a world famous painter, make a bunch of money, show at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and here's how I'm going to do it. I'm going to hire a press agent. I'm going to get in the car with him. We're going to travel around the country for three months talking to gallery directors, curators, museum people, college professors, collectors. What kind of painting does a woman want in her living room, in her bedroom? What size works best? What colors? I want to know everything that you know. Everything that all the directors, all the curators know I want to know it then. Then I'm going to come home, put my press agent to work and I'm going to take a few lessons in art. I'm going to do that last because with me it's going to be least important. Since I don't have any talent, and I tell them, I said there's only one thing that keeps right now from being the world's greatest painter and that's talent. I have everything else but I don't have the talent. So I know that when I start painting I'm not going to paint realistic paintings. I've got to paint abstract paintings but I'm not going to use black. I'm not going to have sharp edges. I need to know what colors to blend together to meld, to create a mood for this woman or her husband. And I'm not going to sell my paintings for a lot of money. If I start selling paintings at $750 everybody will buy my paintings because anybody can afford that. And if I sell a hundred paintings how much money is that? Then I can look out there and I can see the gears turning. There was a case years ago in Atlanta, the Winecoff Hotel was burning in the middle of the night. People were jumping out of 20-story buildings. Thousands of people standing around there and this agent walked up to this kid and he said kid I've been looking at you, sirens everywhere, he said, I like the way you move. He said, I know that you're photogenic. He said, how would you like to be a singer. And I don't who that person was but it was somebody like Fabian or one of those guys. They manufactured him. Ricky Nelson was never known to carry a tune but my god you loved the way he sang. I'm one of his biggest fans. Died in an airplane crash that nearly killed me. I liked everything about him but he was manufactured and Marilyn Monroe was the same way. Some movie producer they threw a picture on his desk and he said let's do it to this one. Promotion, I mean how did Andy Warhol get there? Painting Campbell's soup cans? Sure he did, 80 million dollars. And I'd tell these students in the art class, I'd say, this was many years ago, give me $250,000 and I will make you an important artist or singer at your option.

Date Site Name Link
05-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Forrest Fenn on His Book, Beat of the Drum Video Transcript: I acquired a scrapbook that was made by Joseph Henry Sharp's first wife and I started reading that scrapbook and looking at the pictures and the things in there and I learned that a lot of things that had been said about Sharp were not true. So I said I'll just correct all those mistakes. So I wrote, I drafted over a period of time, I started making notes on 5 x 7 cards. I didn't have a computer. And after I got about this many cards I said it's time to start writing the book. So I put the cards in chronological order starting with time of birth and then up through his life and I just, I'd take those cards and I'd start writing and all the information I got off the card when I was through with it I'd put it in the back and I'd pick up the next card and that's how I wrote my book. Drafted 85,000 words and I had some people, a couple of people help me because I didn't know what I was doing and they would edit my work and I didn't like the way they edited it and I didn't like the way I wrote it. So I didn't know who was best – me or them – and I decided neither one of us was very good so I fretted about that for a while. I went to see some people who were supposed to know what they were doing and they did but they wrote different from me. But I finally drafted 85,000 words and I wrote it over and I didn't like it so I re-wrote it and I re-wrote it 13 times and I went from 85,000 words to 65,000 words. And I decided that it was a good encyclopedia but it wasn't much fun to read but I didn't know what, you know, what else is there? So I said okay I'm gonna go with this and I started acquiring transparencies of paintings and I just filled it up. I tried to put the paintings in the book next to the text where I talked about the painting and publishers didn't like that because they wanted to put all the color in one signature and in the back of the book or in the middle of the book or someplace. I learned that when I was talking about a painting the picture of that painting would be 40 pages away or something and I didn't like that. So I decided and so I didn't want a publisher I'd just do it myself. And so I did that and I lost a bunch of money. But, and it took 3,500 copies of that book took 12 years to go out of print. I never did give the book to anybody to sell except my gallery. And my motive was if you wanted to buy my book I wanted to know why you wanted to buy it. Did you have a Sharp painting? Does your mother have one? Do you want to get another one? Do you want to sell yours? In other words it's not, it was not a one dimensional thing to me. The book became an avenue for me. It got me in the front door so that I could talk to you about your collection. And I lost a bunch of money on the book but I sure made a bunch of money on the paintings that were attracted by the book. And then 10 or 12, 14 years later, whatever it was, the book went out of print and I looked down one day and Amazon was selling it for 750 bucks. I was selling it, it went out of print at $125.00. I started at $85.00 and I said well you know why don't I just revise the book, change all the color plates, correct a few mistakes that I made in the first book and I'll redo it again. But I had destroyed the flats. When I wrote the first book it wasn't laid out in a computer. It was laid out by hand. You cut this and you paste it over there and then you cut this and you paste it down there and you change it around and you have a big flat. This is a page. Then at the printer they make an aluminum copy, a burn of that page and they print it. So what I had to do, I had a computer guy scan the book for me and when he sent it to my computer I said good lord what is this. Because the computer didn't know the difference between a P and a Q or an I and something else. So I had to read every letter in the book and compare it with a copy over here and it took weeks, many man hours. But I finally got that done and I changed all the color plates and reprinted the book. I always do limited editions for myself and for people to buy if they want to and I did that. And the revised edition of my book is called Teepee Smoke and it's the only book that I ever wrote where I made any money. I had retired from the art business so I wasn't as much interested in paintings as I had been. I just sold a book. My daughter was working for me, she could ship them and because most of the work had been done before we did very well with that book. My garage is still full of them but I don't care it's the thrill of the chase right?

Date Site Name Link
23-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Forrest Fenn on Respect Video Transcript: I have a respect for anybody that's doing the best that they can whether they're, you know, if you, what is an artist? If you look the word artist up in a dictionary it says some guy with a brush in his hand. So you have to define the terms. What is an artist? What's the difference between art and craft? Where does a craftsman become an artist? You can't answer those questions. If you're doing the very best you can I admire you. I don't care how bad you are. I respect you and I have admiration for you because you're doing the best that you can. And if you have terrible ambition to be the best in the world and you don't do the best that you can I have no respect for you. Cynical. Call it like it is but I'm a, you know, like the guy said I have no respect for humankind because I consider myself to be one of the best of them and I know how bad I am. So when you amortize it out and transition from this to that and throw the S's and the O's out what it all boils down to – do the best that you can and leave other people alone. Simple as that. And if the world would learn that lesson look where we would be. Not only people learning the lesson but countries learning that lesson, cities learning the lesson, churches learning that lesson. Leave other people alone. I don't care what you believe unless you try to jam it down my throat. Leave me alone. You can believe what you want to. I'm gonna believe what I want to. What's wrong with that?

Date Site Name Link
04-08-2015 Fenn Searchers - Video Trailer Click Here
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Audio transcript from video "Fenn Searchers" trailer. Fenn's Searchers is a documentary about the search for Forrest Fenn's treasure, and the people involved in this great adventure story. CYNTHIA MEACHUM: There’s a guy that hid a treasure chest in the mountains north of Santa Fe. His name is Forrest Fenn.

DESERTPHILE: This guy, he hid a treasure. A fabulous treasure, somewhere in the mountains.

FENN: I had what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I got this beautiful little box, and I started filling it up with wonderful little things.

MAN 1: There are 20 pounds of this (gold) in the treasure.

MAN 2: Time to hit the road.

MAN 3: We’re gonna go find some treasure.

MAN 2: Are you sure we’re going the right way?

MAN 3: See the tall bushes up there? I think that’s where we go in.

FENN: My motivation was to get the kids away from their texting machines, out of their game room, off of the couch. I want them to smell the sunshine.

DESERTPHILE: When I find the chest, and I will find the chest, I’m going to take a selfie. And I’m gonna hug it a little. I might even kiss it. I might even lick it a few times.

MEACHUM: I’ve told Forrest, and I’ve told all my immediate friends I will never stop looking until it’s found.

SASCHA: My name is Sascha and I am a mom, and a wife and a treasure hunter. I come prepared, because getting stuck out here can be life or death.

WOMAN: Some people have said to us, this story can’t be true. There’s no way that someone would take this amount of valuable stuff, and just go hide it in the woods for anybody find. I mean, who would do that? And I always say, Forrest Fenn would do that.

FENN: Go experience all the great things that are out there waiting for you.

Date Site Name Link
27-06-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Forrest Fenn on Flying Helicopters Video Transcript: FENN: I went to, I guess it was a six or seven month helicopter school in Texas in nine days and graduated. I went back to the General and I said, “General, you’re looking at the Air Force’s newest helicopter pilot.” He said, “Fenn, that’s impossible. You’ve been gone nine days.” I said, “Here’s my diploma.” He said, “Well, I don’t believe it.” He said - we were on Randolph Air Force Base and we were the headquarters there, but the General I worked for had a Brigadier General working for him that ran Randolph Air Force Base. He said, “Willie Pearson has a helicopter that needs to go to Williams Air Force Base in Phoenix. Go ferry the airplane out there for him. We’ll find out if you can fly a helicopter.” It was a little H13G, had 43 gallons of fuel, and didn’t have any doors on it. When you go west, you always go against the wind. And this airplane had a top speed of about 60 miles per hour. And if you got a 20 mile an hour headwind, now you’re going 40 miles an hour, and Phoenix is 800 or 900 miles away, I don’t know how far it was, but it was across two or three states. And so I followed the highway out there when I needed to. I’d land at a gas station and I’d pull the rotor around so it was straight and I’d push the airplane up and I’d put 43 gallons of fuel in my airplane. Pay them out of my pocket and push the airplane back, start it up and I did that a few times getting to Williams Air Force Base. And that’s when I learned to fly a helicopter on that trip. And I was a hero in my own mind, you know?

NEITZEL: Well you were solving a problem.

FENN: That’s right, yeah. When you come to a problem, and you don’t know whether you can handle it or not, my philosophy was to just assault it. Just charge, you know? Pretend like you know what you’re doing. Any part of some is better than no part of any.

Date Site Name Link
23-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Forrest Fenn on Business Video Transcript: FENN: My style is homemade. It was bred with logic, hard work, guts, and imagination. And that’s all there is to it. It didn’t require money, it just had - I’ve always been a thinker. I lay awake in the morning after I wake up for an hour and I think, and I get ideas. A synonym for ideas is imagination. And I have guts. Imagination is not worth anything to you if you don’t have guts. But if you have imagination and guts and you’re willing to work, just back away, cuz I’m backing up to get a running start at you. And if you think that I’m being tough, then I wear that on my sleeve. I love that. If somebody hits you in the nose, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on. When I got into business in Santa Fe, I went to a store up on Canyon Road that sold Kachina dolls. There were thousands in there. They were so thick you could hardly walk down an aisle. And in every open spot there was a little sign, “If you touched it, you bought it. If your kids break it it’s yours.” On and on and on. I put my hands - I got as small as I could and raced for the door. I thought it was gonna cost me a fortune before I could get out. I got home and I said, “I hate that place.” How can anybody buy anything if they’re not allowed to touch it? So I made a bunch of signs and put them around my business. “Please touch. I am responsible.” Seventeen years I owned my business in Santa Fe, a customer never broke anything. Why are we so paranoid? I had employees break things. I never had a customer break one. Why are we so paranoid? I pull up into a store, and there’s no parking. Your car will be towed, blah, blah, blah. So I go in that store, and I say, “Why do you threaten me? Why do threaten your customers?” “What are you talking about Mr. Fenn?” “You’re threatening me. Somebody’s gonna tow my car out there.” “Oh, that doesn’t mean anything.” I remember one time I was in Central Park in New York, talking to a cop. He was walking around. And I was tired. And there was a bench over there that said, “Wet Paint. Do not sit here.” I said okay, but I was tired, and the cop walked over there with me and we were talking about something else and I touched the bench. I touched the bench here, and touched the bench here. There’s no wet paint there. I said, “Mr. Policeman, what kind of city do you have here where you threaten me?’ The bench is put here for me to sit down on it, and now you threaten me, you tell me not to sit on it. Why is your city lying to me? Why doesn’t your sign say, “This bench may be wet. Sit at your own risk.” What’s wrong with that? Somebody’s not thinking. That sign was probably on there for two weeks, nobody sat on the bench for two weeks because the paint was wet. It dried in 30 minutes. I hate things like that. But, what are you gonna do? I mean, I sat on the bench. I thought the cop was going to arrest me because it said don’t sit here.

Date Site Name Link
12-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Forrest Fenn on Legacy - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FENN: Somewhere in my past, in my ancestors, there was a pirate. I love treasures, I love to find things. There’s the thrill of the chase. You can’t sum it up better than that. There’s a thrill in doing it. That’s what gold mining is all about. That’s what arrowhead hunting is all about. As of this morning, I’ve responded to, like, 2,650 something emails. How many writers do you know of that put their email address in the front of their book? I may be the only one. I own the world’s record for doing that. And so these people send me emails. And you know, I’ve had 1200 or 1500 emails from guys that say, “Mr. Fenn we know we’re not going to find the treasure but I want to thank you for getting me and the kids off the couch and into the countryside. And you ask me why I wrote the book? I mean, I could give you a hundred reasons. That’s two or three right there. And I said in the book, the Rosetta Stone - it was 2,000 years before somebody found it. And I said in my book, don’t you know that the guy that carved that thing is proud of himself? So if nobody finds my treasure for 2,000 years, that’s okay with me. I’ve made all of these bells. Ding-a-ling. In raised letters, I’ve put different captions on these bells. Imagination is more important than knowledge. That’s something that Einstein said. I stole it from him. One bell says, “If you should ever think of me a thousand years from now, please ring my bell so I will know.” I thought that was clever. And 10,000 years from now, when the Chinese have moved over here, somebody’s gonna dig up that bell and they’re gonna say, “Good Lord, who is this guy Fenn?” It’s dated and it has my signature on it. They can Google me. They’re gonna know who Forrest Fenn is, because of my books, and they’re gonna say, “Yeah. Yeah, Forrest.”

Date Site Name Link
23-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Tests - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FENN: When you fly an airplane in the Air Force, they have what they call are “Technical Orders” or “TO’s.” Everything about that airplane is written in a book. How to fly it. How it’s made. Every little thing is in there. Once a year, you have to take a test on that airplane. The test for the F-100 had 600 questions on it. They give you the test, and they give you all the answers. And then when you go in to take the test, they pick out 200 at random, you take the test. You have to get all of them right. If you miss one question, you flunk it. What’s wrong with giving me all the answers that you want me to know instead of making the answers a mystery when you want me to know what they are? I don’t understand that. Give me the answers. Let me study them. And when I go in to take that test, I’m gonna know every little thing there is to know about that airplane. That was your goal with me, was it not? That’s something that hasn’t been around for a long time. I mean, I can’t explain it. Some things are so obvious that, you know, you don’t want to look so far down the road that you don’t see what’s laying in front of you. I hate the phrase strategic planning. Let’s talk about technical planning. Let’s don’t talk about 10 years from now, let’s talk about this afternoon, in the morning. What are you gonna do at eight o’clock in the morning? I don’t know what you’re going to be doing 10 years from now. Besides that, so many things have changed, your strategic plan is not worth writing anymore. Museums are bad about that. Universities. I never did go to a university, but I’m guessing (laughing).

Date Site Name Link
22-11-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Very Short Clip from San Lazaro - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: See, look. Comes up from where Georgia O’Keefe used to live.

SUZANNE SOMERS: See if it wasn’t for Georgia O’Keefe, we never would have met.

FENN: It wasn’t? You wanted to buy a Georgia O’Keefe painting.

SOMERS: You and I. I know. She was our link.

FENN: Yeah. Now this is part of a threshold. Look at this. Feel along the edges, how smooth it is. How many barefeet over how many centuries did it take to do that?

SOMERS: So we’re at the front door here?

FENN: What?

SOMERS: We’re at the front door?

FENN: Or the backdoor.

Date Site Name Link
08-07-2013 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
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Mistakes Not Error - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FENN: I’m a night person, and sometimes I get romantic at night. And I’ll say things in my computer, and I’ll get up, come in here and turn my computer on at eight o’clock the next morning and read it, and say, “God, did I really say that?” And so a lot of times, I delete it. But I’m a night person. I’m writing a lot of times at two o’clock in the morning. And then I’ll go to bed and I’ll think of something and I’ll get up 6, 8, 10 times before I go to sleep just to make notes. Because I know I’m not going to remember it in the morning - something that I want to say. And in my book, Seventeen Dollars a Square Inch, about Eric Sloane, my dear friend Eric Sloane. There were two times in that book where I described the books - he wrote 50 books in 50 years. I had pictures of 8 or 10 of the covers of his books on the right hand page. So write a sentence up, “He did blah, blah, blah… colon.” But you can’t end a sentence with a colon. So I put all the, the entire next page covered with book covers that Eric Sloane had written, I put those in a sentence and I put the period way down here by the page number. I did that twice in my book and nobody ever caught that. There was another case where I finished a sentence as a caption to a painting. I never heard of that being done before either, but I always make up words, and I look it up in the dictionary to make sure it isn’t there. My philosophy is, first of all, dictionaries retard freedom of speech. Did you know that there are 150 prepositions in the English language? And you’re not supposed to use any of them on the end. I think it’s terrible that people make rules like that. But, I make up words, and my philosophy is this: if the reader knows exactly what you’re talking about then who cares what the word is? Why does it have to be a real word?

Date Site Name Link
12-07-2012 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
The Power of Knowledge - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FENN: I wrote the book (The Secrets of San Lazaro) for 14 year old students. It’s written - As a matter of fact, one guy that reviewed my book said, “It’s juvenile.” He didn’t know that he was complimenting me. But, there’s a lot of - there’s some levity in the book, and a lot of personalities, people that worked with me. Stanley Marcus, from Neiman-Marcus was out there digging with me and his wife who has a PhD. in Mayan Archaeology. God, I could go on and on: movie stars and politicians that have worked out there with me. Archeology is fun. Archeologists should realize that Archeology is fun. Archeology is fun. It’s fun to find things, and their argument is that… I had a discussion with a good friend of mine who is a very important Archeologist. He made a saying that’s been widely quoted, “It’s not what you find, it’s what you find out.” And I said, that’s not a good quote. The quote should be, “It’s not JUST what you find, it’s what you find out.” When you go into a museum… The archeologists will tell you, we’re not after artifacts, we’re after information. But when you go into a museum, what are the guards guarding? Are they guarding the artifacts, or are they guarding the information? I love the information, but if you ask me, which I would rather have, the arrowhead, or the information about the arrowhead, I would say I’d take the arrowhead. You can have the information. Where am I wrong? What am I missing here? I resent, like I said before, I resent the fact that I can’t go into a museum and pick something up. I was thrown out of, well I wasn’t thrown out, but I was almost thrown out of the L.A. County museum twice because I was touching those great Rodin bronzes that they got there. I’m thirsty for knowledge. It’s two feet away from me and I can’t reach it. Okay, I’m gonna reach it. You don’t have to, just get out of my way and leave me alone and let me do it. That’s my philosophy.

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
His Belt Buckle - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FENN: This belt buckle, can you see it? Eveli Sabatie. Algerian. She’s having a show in Santa Fe next week at the Wheelwright Museum, up here. And she’s gonna have a bunch of her jewelry here. I saw her the other day. But I bought this belt buckle on her about 1973, when I was getting a lot of her jewelry and selling it. And I’ve worn it, as far as I know, every day since 1973. All the pictures you see of me, and it’s pictured in my book. The gal that designed my book wanted to put a picture of it on the frontage piece in my book and she did, “Too Far To Walk.” There was a lady that came into my gallery one time, and I was selling Eveli’s jewelry. And she wanted a belt buckle for her husband for his birthday. And I had this belt buckle, on one side of it was made out of ebony, which was is black wood, and the other side of it was made out of spiny oyster which is orange and white. And I hand it to her and said, “Ah that’s not for him.” But I had named this thing. It had a name. And she picked up the tag and said, “The name of this thing is between heaven and hell. Black here is hell, and red here is - I’ll take it that’s my husband perfectly!” And she bought that thing from me. The name on it - I don’t mix… That’s called salesmanship. That’s called salesmanship. You try to impart a premeditated intrinsic value into your sales. But hopefully people walk out of your gallery and they love what they bought, and I was always willing to take it back. Bring it back a year or five years later, I’ll give you your money back. Always.

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Doing It All Over Again - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FENN: If I had it all to do over again, I would do everything different. I’d keep my wife and my kids and my grandkids, but everything else… One of the first rules I made was, for myself when I was in the Air Force, was I don’t want to do anything for over 15 years. There are so many good things to do in your life, and there’s not very many 15’s. When I decided to sell my gallery, I decided to sell it after I had owned it for 14 years. I was making pretty good money. It took me a year to sell it. I sold it to my best client. But I was ready to… Like in the Air Force, I had to spend 20 years in the Air Force to in order to retire - I had to have the retirement, $1,000 a month. So I violated my rule because I had to. But then, I had a good art career for 15 years. I had a good career in the Air Force for 15 years. I’ve written 10 books. I’ve excavated Indian ruins. I mean, I’m on my last 15, but if I had to do all over again, I’d be a welder. I’d be a deep sea diver. I wouldn’t retrace my steps. I hear people, particularly movie stars, they’re in it - what would you change in your life? Oh I wouldn’t change anything, my life is perfect. I tell myself, well you’re a robot, I mean....

Date Site Name Link
03-04-2013 New Zealand Radio Click Here
Question Quote
Radio transcript on New Zealand Radio interview with Forrest Fenn HOST: Hear me all and listen good. Your effort will be worth the cold. If you are brave and in the wood I give you title to the gold. And that is the last part of a poem and we've got a link to it all on our Facebook page, by a man being described by media as a modern day Indiana Jones who's sparked a massive treasure hunt in the mountains near his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Forrest Fenn, an antiquities dealer, an adventurer, claims to have buried a bronze chest full of rare gold coins and nuggets and thrilling artifacts somewhere in the hills. And the poem from his autobiography The Thrill of the Chase contains clues to the treasure. And hundreds of modern day treasure hunters are traveling to New Mexico in search of gold as we speak. Forrest Fenn is on the line with us from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hello Forrest.

FENN: Well how are you sir? I'm doing very fine thank you.

HOST: Very nice to have you on. Before I ask about the treasure let's talk about you because you are a very interesting man. You were a prominent art dealer for many years. What is your background please?

FENN: Well I'm a high school graduate although I just barely graduated. I didn't go to college and I spent 20 years a fighter pilot in the Air Force and I was shot down twice in Vietnam and I came home to build an art gallery and I just put one leg in front of the other and, and here I am.

HOST: You built a very celebrated art gallery with famous clients like a US President, Jackie Kennedy, Cher, John Wayne. They were all, you knew them all didn't you?

FENN: Well they, you know, you know, the secret to being, to getting well known in this business is advertise full page color and I did that so I attracted, I had some pretty good paintings so I, I attracted the collectors.

HOST: I know; Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin. So the treasure and the chest, now can you tell us please why you've done this Forrest?

FENN: Well first of all I'm gonna correct what you said earlier. I've never said that I've buried the treasure chest. What I've said is that I hid it. That, that's not to say that it isn't buried I don't want to give that clue.

HOST: Okay, fair enough.

FENN: Okay. In 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney. My doctor gave me a 20 percent chance of living. And after that soaked in a few days I just decided you know what I've had so much fun collecting these things over the last 70 years that if I've got to go I'm just gonna take some of it with me. And why not let have other people have the same thrill of the chase I've had all of these years.

HOST: The thrill of the chase 'cause you started I think collecting Forrest when you were a boy and you discovered fascinating relics from all around the world I think haven't you?

FENN: Well that's right. I've always been a collector. I found my first arrowhead in Texas when I was nine. And it was such a thrill it, it launched me on a, on a wonderful trip of discovery for all these years.

HOST: And to very exotic places like the Libyan desert at one stage I believe.

FENN: Yes that's true. There are treasure every place you look. You know part of my motive in writing my book The Thrill of the Chase was to get kids off the couch and away from their texting machines and out of the game room and out into the mountains. You know I spent some time in Australia. I love that country.

HOST: Before we talk about what's in the chest you still have a lot in your possession, a lot of rare and valuable artifacts still don't you?

FENN: Well I'm still a collector. I can't say, I can say they're rare. I can't say all of them are valuable. You know they don't have to be valuable for me to like them. If they're old and pretty good I like it. It doesn't have to be expensive.

HOST: Including I believe a jade mask older than Jesus, a mummified falcon from King Tut's tomb?

FENN: Well that may be stretching it a little bit. I do have some ancient Egyptian things: a mummified falcon and I love that stuff. Particularly ancient Egyptian things, that's fascinating to me.

HOST: Is it true you have Sitting Bull's peace pipe?

FENN: I have Sitting Bull's peace pipe, yes, and people have questioned whether it was really Sitting Bull's or not but, but we have a picture of Sitting Bull holding it and we blew the picture up and we proved that it was the same pipe that I have by comparing grain in the wood.

HOST: Fantastic. Forrest Fenn is with us. All right so you want to get people away from their screens and into the great outdoors and this is the primary idea behind hiding the chest?

FENN: That was the primary, well I had three ideas really. One of them was that I wanted to give other people the same thrill of looking for things like I've had all these years. But you know a lady asked me one time Mr. Fenn who is your audience for this book? And I said my audience is every red neck in Texas that has a pickup job, he lost his job, has a wife and eight kids and needs, has an adventurous spirit. I said that's the guy I want to fill the pickup truck up with gas and head out looking for the treasure.

HOST: Wow. The Thrill of the Chase is Forrest's book. So the treasure – can you tell us if you wouldn't mind what is in the treasure chest?

FENN: Well you know there are 20.2 Troy pounds of gold. There are 265 gold coins. Most of them are American eagles and double eagles. And geez there's pre-Columbian gold pieces that date to 2,500 years old. There's some ancient necklaces. There are hundreds of rubies, diamonds, emeralds, two beautiful Ceylon sapphires and I also have my autobiography. I printed it, I printed it so small that I have to use a magnifying glass to read it but I put it in a little olive jar and tightened down and it's in my treasure chest also. I thought somebody that might find my chest whenever that is would want to know something about the crazy guy that did this thing.

HOST: The crazy guy that did this thing. Everybody who knows about you and your reputation says you're genuine and there's a chest and we fully believe that. But, um, how much, what's the value of what's inside it? Do you know?

FENN: Well you know I've never said because I don't know. I've never had the jewelry appraised and the price of gold goes up every day. And some of the coins in the treasure chest have numismatic value that exceeds their value in gold. So you know have estimated, a number of people saw the chest before I took it out and hid it and they've estimated anywhere from a million to three million dollars. But I don't know but I guarantee you the person that finds that treasure chest and raises that lid for the first time he is just gonna take a big gulp.

HOST: I'll bet. So it's fascinating, you wrote the book I think a couple of years ago now and no one really picked up on it and, but then you were interviewed I think for this may be wrong but for American TV I think and then it came to the public notice. And you've had, I believe you've had to give out a couple of extra clues have you?

FENN: Well you know I made a deal with NBC news. They want me to give a clue a month for 9 months and I told them I would do that. But I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna give any clues that are significant that would help somebody significantly in the chase. You know I'm not thinking about spring break or a Sunday afternoon picnic out looking for the treasure chest. I'm thinking 100 years from now, maybe 1,000 years from now. This is not something that I've taken very lightly.

HOST: Okay. So it's obviously not easy to find but it is findable in 2013. That's why they're all out looking. Would that be fair? You can find it?

FENN: Yes. In my book The Thrill of the Chase I wrote a poem and the poem has nine clues in it. If you can follow the clues to the poem they will take you to the treasure chest. And in my book there are several hints that won't take you to the treasure chest but they will help with the clues that are in the poem. It's not gonna be easy to find and nobody is gonna accidentally trip over this thing. They're gonna have to figure out the clues, decipher what they say and go right straight to the treasure chest.

HOST: I'm assuming, I'm not trying to pry information out of you but I'm assuming that if a guy, an unemployed guy in a pickup truck is driving across from Texas to have a look you don't necessarily need local knowledge, local geography knowledge?

FENN: No. The first clue in the poem is begin it where warm waters halt. That's the first clue. If you don't, if you can't figure that clue out you don't have anything.

HOST: All right. Begin it where –

FENN: I think you're gonna go out looking for that treasure chest. I think you have that in your voice.

HOST: I'm getting mightily interested actually considering my hourly rate. Well that's my next question. Do you mind if someone up sticks from New Zealand and comes across and starts looking? Is that the kind of person that would please you?

FENN: I love New Zealand. I wish all of those people would come over here. I've been to both New Zealand and Australia. I love that part of the country and I invite them to come.

HOST: Good on you Forrest. What are you getting out of it? I can see you're, you've described why you're doing it. What satisfaction is it giving you do you think?

FENN: Well you know in August I'll be 83 years old and I've collected all of these things and I've had so much fun doing it I just want somebody else to. Well let me go back to your question. I don't want anybody to say that the treasure story is not true and it's a gimmick for me to make money on my book. So to prevent that from happening I have given all of the books to the Collected Works Bookstore here in Santa Fe. That's the only place you can buy the book and they get all of them for free. And when they sell a book they put 10 percent of the gross aside to put in a cancer fund and we're gonna spend that money when we can find the right place to spend it. Some, hopefully some minority person that needs a cancer operation or something. We're gonna do some really good things with that money.

HOST: Bless you and I know you don't need the money anyway because of who you are. Forrest Fenn is with us. So what, there must be a problem with this though. You must be being contacted by hundreds or even thousands of people are you?

FENN: Well I've received over 14,000 emails. I'm getting between three and four hundred a day.

HOST: Wow. Any proposals of marriage Forrest?

FENN: I've had eight women want to marry me and my wife asked me today what do you tell these 18 women when they call you and want to marry you? I said well the first thing I ask them if they have an airplane.

HOST: That's very funny.

FENN: You thought that was pretty funny didn't you?

HOST: I did.

FENN: My wife didn't think it was that funny.

HOST: You're a great man. Well what, look at what you've started. It's a fantastic quest. In your bones do you think that somebody's going to find it soon or do you think it's going to elude discovery?

FENN: Well you know it's impossible to predict it. There have been two different parties that have figured out the first two clues but the, they went right past the treasure chest and didn't find it.

HOST: Ahh.

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.

Date Site Name Link
29-05-2015 Click Here
Question Quote
Radio transcript from Richard Eeds Show podcast on interview with Forrest Fenn RICHARD EEDS: Really happy to have in studio with us now a man who’s a legend in Santa Fe. Never met him until he did come in today. I had my doubts whether he’d 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 I’m 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 you’re the biggest fan? You say we. You brought your granddaughter Mika?

FENN: Yeah, granddaughter Mika. She’s just out of college. She’s trying to find out what she’s going to do.

EEDS: Texas Tech International Business graduate.

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Red Raider. Alright, Forrest Fenn. Best known probably for, I don’t 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 you’re internationally famous, but you’ve been a well-known business man, collector, you’ve been into all kinds of different things. You’ve been around Santa Fe for a long, long time.

FENN: Well, I moved to Santa Fe in 1972. Yeah, that’s a long time.

EEDS: It is a long time. Especially, uh, I mean, there’s 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 ‘72, 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t 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. I’ve 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: That’s right. I’m 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. They’re having tough times down there.

FENN: That’s 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: That’s right.

EEDS: Horses were reliable. Went to town with a wagon.

FENN: That’s 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 ‘70s, 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 didn’t 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 I’d made for myself over the years. And one of my rules was that I don’t 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 didn’t 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 didn’t sell anything. Didn’t 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 I’m going to spend this money advertising and if that doesn’t work, I’m 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. Don’t... But for you, you don’t want to take anything less than $10,000 from your first customer right? But it’s 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 didn’t 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: That’s right.

EEDS: Except with the buyer. And eventually, how big did the gallery become?

FENN: How big did the gallery become… Well I…

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 I… 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 don’t 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.

FENN: Yeah.

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, I’d 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 I’d 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, “If you touch it you bought it.” 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, “Please touch, we are responsible.” So that’s 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 you’re not allowed to touch it? I don’t understand some of these… I think I had an advantage over some people because I never learned the rules of what made businesses fail.

EEDS: And you didn’t 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: That’s right. And another rule I had was that I’ll take your check for any amount of money. This guy bought an expensive painting from me. I think it was $275,000. He said, “How can I pay you for this?” I said, “I’ll take your check.” He said, “You’ll take my check?” I said, “Sure I’ll take your check.” So he pulled out his ID card to show me. I told him I don’t want to see that. I said, “I can look in your face.” 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. We’ll continue our conversation and get into how he started collecting and what he started collecting and we’ll talk about the treasure hunt. Is it real, or is it just, I don’t know, a metaphor? Seventeen minutes after ten o’clock this is KVSF 101.5 the Voice of Santa Fe. We stream worldwide from Podcasts are available by about noon, one o’clock. Whenever Gino gets around to it. Also We’ve 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 o’clock.

EEDS: Twenty minutes after ten o’clock 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 it’s going to be about 80 today. Already in the mid-60’s. 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 he’s 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 driver’s side but on both sides.

EEDS: Made it deluxe.

FENN: That’s 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 that’s what I gave for that 1935 Plymouth. I didn’t have a driver license but I, and I was so short I really couldn’t 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? You’re not a very good example for a lot of them.

FENN: Well, if I don’t know a good story, I’ll just make up one. So they know all of them.

EEDS: You’re still looking for it. If somebody out there knows where there’s a two door or deluxe ‘35 Plymouth?

FENN: No, no. mine was not Deluxe.

EEDS: Alright. But you’d take either? You would take either if anybody has one?

FENN: Oh sure.

EEDS: But you want something that’s decent right?

FENN: I want to be able to drive it. It’ll be a culture shock for downtown Santa Fe if I drive around in that ‘35 Plymouth.

EEDS: That’d be great. So people could find you on the website?

FENN: is my website.

EEDS: So they can find an email if they have a Plymouth.

FENN: Sure.

EEDS: Yeah, get in touch with you. Send you some pictures maybe.

FENN: That’s right. I’d love that.

EEDS: That’d 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 that’s what started me. My philosophy is, that if I don’t have that object, then I can’t have all of them.

EEDS: Right

FENN: So, and I’ll 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 don’t have anything but I have the object. So I always had an advantage when I was buying something.

EEDS: What’s 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: It’s a Nicolai Fechin painting of a little girl painted in Taos. But I own Sitting Bull’s pipe and you know, it’s 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 there’s no question that Sitting Bull was holding that pipe. And that’s 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 wasn’t raised there, but I was born in a little town called Beeville if you know where that is.

FENN: Oh sure, that’s 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 it’s been sitting long enough, but they sent pictures. They have pictures posted on the internet. It’s exactly the same from when I was a little kid. So over all these years, Forrest, since you were nine years old, now you’re seventy-five-

FENN: I’m 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 it’s old and good I like it.

EEDS: Really.

FENN: Especially if it has some history.

EEDS: What about, what about, if there is anything, if there is a treasure chest, if there’s 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 don’t 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 don’t know whether you know this or not, but I gave the all the books to the Collected Works bookstore in Santa Fe. I didn’t even get my publishing costs back. Just so guys like you couldn’t say “if there is a treasure chest.”

EEDS: So you’re stating emphatically, right now, there is a treasure chest.

FENN: There’s a treasure chest and it’s out there and you’re the kind of guy that can go out there and find it.

EEDS: I probably could. Alright, I’m going to try and get a clue out of you. So how big has it gotten? How big has the entire phenomenon gotten?… There have been… I know there have been hotels in Laredo… I think that when one of the clues came out, they ran a treasure hunters special and filled the hotel. I mean, you’re doing a lot for business in Santa Fe.

FENN: Well that’s right. The mayor presented me with a beautiful little thing yesterday at the bookstore thanking me for… 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 that’s where I grew up and a lot of people think that the treasure is buried - is hidden someplace there. I’ve said that -

EEDS: Yellowstone National Park?

FENN: Yeah.

EEDS: Jellystone. Yogi Bear.

FENN: I’ve said it’s in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, and Yellowstone is -

EEDS: That’s true.

FENN: Fits that description, sure. The treasure is out there, I guarantee it.

EEDS: You’ve also said it’s under 14,000 feet.

FENN: No, I said it’s below 12,200 feet and above 5,000 feet.

EEDS: Okay. But everywhere is about 5,000 feet.

FENN: That’s a lot of places in the Rocky Mountains.

EEDS: You’re not helping people - that’s a lot of places.

FENN: Well, this lady called me on the phone and she said, Mr. Fenn I’ve studied your poem and I’ve looked at your clues. I need some, I just, I cannot figure it out. You’ve got to help me. I need something else. I said, Lady, I’ll 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, “I’ll send you an email. You just wait, I’ll send pictures. I’ll have it by, what, this weekend” or something. You never heard back?

FENN: I get 50 emails a day that say that.

EEDS: Really.

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 wasn’t there one of two things happened. Either somebody’s 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?

FENN: Sure.

EEDS: Alright. Thirty minutes after ten o’clock. Our guest is Forrest Fenn. I’m glad he came in. I had my doubts. Forrest is a bit of a prankster. We’ll find out from Mika. We’ll find out the truth here in a second. Twenty-nine minutes after ten o’clock. We’ll be right back. It is Friday, thank God it’s Friday. We stream live at santafe dot com, KVSF 101.5 The Voice of Santa Fe

EEDS: Thirty-three minutes past ten o’clock. Our guest is Forrest Fenn. Treasure collector. Treasure hider. Book writer. Author. Has a new book coming out, we’ll 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 don’t want to say it on the radio. But, can you tell us what might be in it?

FENN: What’s in the treasure chest?

EEDS: What’s in the treasure chest.

FENN: I can tell you exactly what’s in it. There are 265 gold coins.

EEDS: From what period?

FENN: American Eagles and Double Eagles, and there’s 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 hen’s 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, there’s about eight nice emeralds, and lots of diamonds. It’s a… If you find the treasure chest and put it on your lap and raise the lid, it’ll be a culture shock for you, Mr. Eeds.

EEDS: Alright, I’m 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 it’s absolutely full of gold.

EEDS: Is it old? The chest itself?

FENN: We think it’s 12th century, sure. Romanesque. I don’t know what to say. If you find it, you’ll either start laughing, or you’ll faint. One of the two.

EEDS: I’d 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. That’s when I got this idea to hide this treasure chest. Why not let everybody else have as much fun as I’ve had over the many years. And that was my motivation.

EEDS: So you bought the chest right around that period?

FENN: Yes.

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, you’d go out and find it.

EEDS: Is there, Forrest, is there any chance that somebody has found it?

FENN: I’m 99.99% sure that no one has found the treasure chest yet. You can never be 100% sure, but sure, it’s still out there. I would bet my kingdom that it’s still out there.

EEDS: And you have a substantial kingdom? When, how do you decide when to add clues? And you’ve done them how and so on?

FENN: Well, there are nine clues in my poem and one is in my book. And I’m not going to give any more clues. I’m… 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 don’t give any more clues. I’ve given, I’ve said some things that people think are clues

EEDS: Two hundred miles west of Toledo.

FENN: And it’s not buried in an outhouse. I’ve given that as a clue.

EEDS: That’s 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 I’m going who says I can’t take it with me? Sure I can take it with me, and that’s when I got the treasure chest. That’s when I started filling it up with wonderful things, you know if I’m going to go, I’m 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 ago… The latest book that you’ve published is three years old? Two years old? Three years old.

FENN: Something like that, yes. It’s called Too Far to Walk.

EEDS: RIght.

FENN: It’s 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: I’m just sitting here. I’m hoping people are listening in their cars at work or at home. They want to hear it from you.

FENN: Well, if you haven’t 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 world’s greatest collector. I collected bottle tops. I collected string.

EEDS: Tin foil?

FENN: You know, I could have done that, but I don’t think I ever collected tin foil. That’s something that could have been on my agenda if I’d 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 it’s 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, here’s 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. You’re 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. I’ve 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 that’s a very small group of people, and the great preponderance of people looking for the treasure are good Americans. They’ll say Mr. Fenn, we know we’re 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. That’s important to me. This lady from, a writer from Austin called me on the phone, she said Mr. Fenn I read your book. That’s really a strange book she said. Who’s 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, that’s my audience. That’s 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 we’re 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 it’s all of those things, but it’s something I feel is incumbent upon all of us to try to solve. In my small way, I’m 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 I’ve 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 you’re not going to release any more clues?

FENN: I’m 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, it’s 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 I’d ever done. But, in the back of my mind, I told myself that if I’m sorry tomorrow, I can go back and get the treasure chest. But the more I thought about it, I said, no I’m not going to do it. And I told myself it’s out of my hands now. I’m 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, I’m coming out there in my pickup truck but it’s 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, what’s the treasure worth inside the treasure chest?

FENN: You know, I’ve thought of that don’t 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 don’t know what they’re 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, it’s 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 found… 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 Mika’s microphone? Mika what have you seen, you’re nodding. Have you seen - do you remember seeing some of the stuff that’s in the treasure chest?

MIKA: I remember when he was putting… 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. I’ve 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 we’re talking about from Mesa Verde.

MIKA: Yes. But I’d 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, there’s a bracelet that I remember vividly because it’s so unique. It’s a dragon bracelet right grandpa?

FENN: Mmm-hmm

MIKA: It’s made out of gold and it has its eyes are rubies I believe and it’s wrapped in diamonds. It’s just this extraordinary piece of jewelry that I remember quite vividly because it is so amazing.

EEDS: So if you weren’t here, I would still think he’s putting me on but -

MIKA: He’s not. I give you my personal word that he is entirely honest. He likes to embellish, but he’s an honest man.

EEDS: I love the idea that you won that in a pool tournament with Fred Harvey’s… 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 entire… You know, what an ag… what a monumental marketing discovery the size of southwest. People don’t 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 let’s celebrate with some libations. That was the word she liked to use. I’d go up there. She’d drink vodka and I’d drink coffee… I’m sticking to that story.

EEDS: Yeah. I bet you are. Can we talk about your book? We’ll take another time out here. Another quick break. Come back, talk about the new book - a Russian…

FENN: Leon Gaspard

EEDS: Announcement going to come out very, very soon and you say you’ve got some kind of ground-breaking publishing technology that you’re going to use.

FENN: That’s 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 he’s also cutting edge publisher. Who knew? Forty-seven minutes after ten. We’ll be right back. KVSF 101.5 the Voice of Santa Fe.

EEDS: Fifty-one minutes after ten o’clock. 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: What’s it about?

FENN: It’s 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 it’s 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 it’s 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. That’ll clean out your sinuses a little bit. That’s the kind of person he was. In my book, we think we are breaking new ground and, you can tell me if I’m wrong, but on two places in my book there’s a link that you type the link into Google and you get a video of Leon Gaspard riding on his horse in Taos. We’re talking about 1920. Another link you can click on, you hear Leon Gaspard’s actual voice telling a story. We have nine paintings illustrated in the book that are 20 inches wide. When’s the last time you saw a 20’ inch wide spread in a book?

MIKA: I don’t 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 didn’t 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 didn’t know either of them?

FENN: No. I didn’t come on the scene then.

EEDS: Until ‘72?

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, you’d 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 uh…

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 wasn’t one of the best, but he was probably fourth or fifth on that list. It’s 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, he’d 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, they’re 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, let’s get our kids involved in something. We’re sitting on the couch too much. We’re playing with our little hand machines too much.

EEDS: Video games.

FENN: Mika’s guilty of that, aren’t 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 can… 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 don’t do e-books. Primarily, my books are picture books, so it’s hard for e-books to come out, but, the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe handles all my books. They’ll have it and we’ll sell it online and ship it

EEDS: Let us know when it’s done and we’ll 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 don’t have thirty cents on me. Dina’s got money though. Dina’s got all the money in this studio.

FENN: Okay.

EEDS: Hey I really - it’s been a blast. I hope that, you know, you didn’t mind that hour went really fast. You’re a pleasure to talk to.

FENN: Well, thank you, sir. That’s 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: I’ll do my best.

EEDS: When the book comes out

MIKA: I’m the driver, so I’ll get him here.

EEDS: Yeah, I bet. And you’re still looking for anybody that has a 1935 Plymouth

FENN: Two door Plymouth, sure.

EEDS: Doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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 ‘35 Plymouth, send him some good pictures, and make a good deal, right?

FENN: That’s right.

EEDS: Like you said, you never haggled for anything, you always overpaid.

FENN: If somebody can find me a 1935 Plymouth, I’ll 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 o’clock. We’ll see you Monday morning, bright and early seven o’clock. By the way, great show on Monday. We’ll have the owner of the Violet Crown theater, also Al Dusare, you know Al? The guy who used to own Maria’s?

FENN: sure.

EEDS: He’ll be here.

FENN: I know Al.

EEDS: He’s 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.

Date Site Name Link
08-05-2017 On the Road with Charlie - Part One Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from On the Road with Charlie Thrill of the Chase part One with Forrest Fenn (transcription between 6:18 and 34:06 mark) FORREST FENN: Well my father was a school teacher and Junior High School principal. That’s how I managed to graduate from high school. I had some politics working for me. I made terrible grades, and I prayed for D’s. Once in awhile I’d get a B or a C and everybody was jubilant over that. In the back of my mind, I kept telling myself that education didn’t have anything for me.

ISAAC COLE: And, uhhh

FENN: I remember looking out the window on a bright sunny day. The sunshine smelled so good and I kept asking myself what am I doing in here? I said in my book The Thrill of the Chase in Spanish class, right outside my window on 2nd floor, there was an old iron fire escape. I could get on that thing and slide down. I did that a few times while the teacher was writing on the blackboard, so she didn’t know that I was doing that but the problem was that old iron fire escape was rusted, and it really turned the bottom of my pants brown. And everybody, going to the next class, everybody knew what I had done. Everybody giggled. That was one of my great secrets that I discovered that all by myself and I was so proud.

COLE: Even back then you liked taking adventures - getting out there?

FENN: Yeah

COLE: Did you grow up with money? Were you comfortable?

FENN: I don’t remember when it was, but when I was about seven, eight, or nine years old in Texas my father worked for the city’s - he was a school teacher and principal. I can remember, there was a Gilmore-Aiken law in the state legislature was passed, and they go to sign it and my father’s salary jumped to $4000 a year. I remember that. That was about a third increase in his pay. So that answers your question. I remember the guy that lived next door to me lived in a brick house and so everybody knew he was wealthy. His father owned a gas station and I was in this little old hamburger joint one time and I remember, Millard was his name, he put a nickel in the machine to play a tune in the jukebox. I couldn’t believe he would squander a nickel to listen to a song for two and a half minutes. I mean, a nickel would buy you a Wimpy hamburger, Coca-Cola, bag of Fritos, an ice cream bar. Jeez, nickels were magic when I was a kid. I could make things work, you know, I told myself early on that I didn’t really want to break any rules but I sure as heck gonna stretch the heck out of some of them. How do you know where the edge is if you don’t know where to look? To me, rules were a guide. You should follow the rules, generally speaking, unless you have a better idea. And, the old saying is, it ain’t stupid if it works.

COLE: And how about later in life? How did you, how did you come into success?

FENN: I joined the Air Force in 1950 when the Korean War was new. And I did that because I was prime for the draft and I knew I wasn’t going to go into the Army so I joined the Air Force. The military grabbed hold of me and when I was 28 years old, I was a fighter pilot in the Air Force in Bitberg, Germany. The 2nd day I was in Bitberg Air Force Base, they took me down to supply, and I signed a requisition form for an atomic bomb. I owned that thing. It was on a dolly and it had a crew chief, like an airplane has a crew chief, but that bomb couldn’t move one inch unless I was standing there supervising it. So here’s a kid that didn’t know anything, didn’t have any education, and they gave me authority, they gave me responsibility, and I grew into that. And it paid off for me in a million ways. You gotta get a haircut once a week whether you like it or not and haircuts were a quarter, and they came out of your pocket and those were the rules.

COLE: So what did you do after serving?

FENN: After what?

COLE: After your time in the - did you say Air Force or Navy?

FENN: It was Air Force. I had a hard tour in Vietnam. I was shot down twice. I flew 328 combat missions in 348 days, and I ran a command post. I was a Major and ran a command post so I was working 16 hours every day for a year and I lost 22 pounds and didn’t even know it. I mean, we don’t have any scales in the combat zone. I came home mentally tired, and physically tired and I was looking for a place where the world would stop and let me off. Santa Fe was that place.

COLE: Now I hear that, uhh, you’re a big fly fisherman? I am as well.

FENN: I was a professional fishing guide when I was 13 years old.

COLE: In Texas?

FENN: No in Yellowstone. West Yellowstone, Montana and I could - I ran a tackle shop all by myself. The guy that owned it was drunk all the time, so one summer I ran the tackle shop. I could make a gross of flies in a day and wait on customers at the same time. But you know, I tied catgut leaders, tapered leaders, I made split bamboo fly rods. I had a name for every fish in that country up there: Mary and Phyllis and Johnny and I knew where all the holes were. I’m an outdoors person. It wasn’t so much fishing, it was being there. I remember when I could hardly wait to get on the river, and catch a big old brown trout. I’d get out there, get out of my car and look around and walk over and sit under a tree for an hour and watch the Osprey catch fish, and watch the Eagles try to take it away from the Osprey. God has a summer place up there you know?

COLE: I haven’t fished up in West Yellowstone, but I grew up going to uh, a cousin of mine owns Campfire Lodge.

FENN: What’s the name of it?

COLE: Campfire Lodge. It has a little restaurant there and log cabins and it’s right on Madison.

FENN: That’s after my time.

COLE: Yeah, probably.

FENN: Because I spent 19 of my first 20 summers - three months - in Yellowstone, or West Yellowstone, but the last time I was up there was 1950.

COLE: I was just uh, I spent the last week up in Buena Vista on the Arkansas, and man that was beautiful and then I was doing some research last night before talking to you, and it turns out a lot of people think the treasure is buried around there.

FENN: In Arkansas?

COLE: No. Outside of Buena Vista, Colorado. The Arkansas River.

FENN: That’s in the Rocky Mountains, so it’s within the perimeters.

COLE: And then I saw there’s a Brown Canyon there, but to me. You know, at first, I didn’t even know that people thought that could be a possibility there. I was just fishin. I’d rather, I’d rather fish than look for treasure, personally. I’d rather be in the water throwing flies than looking for treasure. Alright, let’s talk about the treasure. Why did you do this? Why did you hide the treasure?

FENN: Well, I talked about that in my book, The Thrill of The Chase, but in 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney. My doctor told me I had a 20 percent chance of living three years. And, you know, it takes a couple of weeks for all of those things to digest. You know, you go through all the emotions from denial to fear to hate to regret and sorrow and all of those, but I decided that I didn’t subscribe to a lot of things that I’d heard of. Who says I can’t take it with me? Who makes those rules for me? I don’t like that. I decided that I’d get this little treasure chest. I found this beautiful little treasure chest; I paid $25,000 for that thing. And I started filling it up with wonderful little things: hundreds of gold nuggets, 265 gold coins most of them American Eagles and Double Eagles, Middle Eastern gold coins that date into the 1500’s and then there’s two beautiful little antique jade Chinese carvings and there’s a Tyrona and Sinu necklace that’s a thousand years old with quartz crystal fetishes and gold jaguar claws. I mean wonderful stuff. I wanted something that was good enough to entice people, and worth enough to make it worthwhile. I had two or three motives. My main motive really was starting a pretty good recession. Lots of people were losing their jobs and I wanted to give some hope. Despair was written on the headlines of every paper, and that affected me, and I wanted to give some people some hope. A secondary motive was we’re a sedentary society today. We’re overweight. We’re sitting on the couch watching TV or playing with our little electronic gadgets. I don’t like what I’m seeing. I wanted to get the kids out into the mountains: hiking, fishing, swimming, hunting. All of those things. And I’ve done that. I think 100,000 people have been out looking for my treasure since we started. Did I answer? I forgot what the question was!

COLE: It’s alright. It was why you hid the treasure. And yeah, you answered it. Was part of it to maybe create a legacy?

FENN: You know, I don’t think about - when I’m gone, my name will be nothing but an asterisk in a book and I don’t think about those things. You can’t not have a legacy, but that’s not something that I aspire to have - a big legacy. If you want to say something about me, say it now so I can punch you in the nose.

COLE: When I first started learning about the story, people would say oh, well it’s a brilliant marketing scheme to sell books.

FENN: I have an answer for that. I gave all the books to the Collected Works bookstore. I didn’t even get my printing costs back. And so far, they’ve sold about 22,000 copies of The Thrill of The Chase book. And my sequel to that, Too Far To Walk, they’ve sold 1,500 - 1,800 of those things. Pretty good for a little kid that lived next to a cemetery in a little town in Texas who had no education and no aspirations. When I made a C in high school, everybody thought I’d exceeded my expectations.

COLE: So the proceeds of the books go to this bookstore that we’re in?

FENN: I beg your pardon?

COLE: So the books go to this bookstore that we’re in?

FENN: Yeah. Dorothy. She owns all the books. All of this book. My grandson, and his three sisters own my Too Far to Walk book. But I self-publish and I don’t have any distribution so these people have to do all the work.

COLE: RIght. And Cynthia said that you also donate some money to the cancer -

FENN: The deal I made with the bookstore here was, since I gave them all the books for free, I wanted them to set aside 10 percent of the gross sales for a cancer fund. Since I had cancer, I know what it feels like to have that and I know what it’s like to have cancer and not have any money to survive it.

COLE: When you had cancer, you didn’t have money?

FENN: I had insurance. I had my military retirement pay. And I made a few bucks in the art business, I mean, I could afford it but a lot of people could not. I was thinking mostly about kids, to categorize it further, Indian kids who have almost nothing and it turns out that the government takes pretty good care of some of those categories. I’ve given, I think, $85,000 away to cancer patients, and it’s very rewarding to me to be able to do that.

COLE: The community in the Thrill of The Chase and the treasure hunt has become massive. Like you said, there’s thousands of people looking for it. Did you ever, uh, think that it would get this big?

FENN: No. I’ve written 10 books and nobody’s ever wanted any of them. Every writer thinks their book is the greatest thing ever printed. My parents were dead, so who’s gonna buy my Thrill of the Chase book? So I printed a thousand copies thinking I’m going to die with these things. Two weeks later I went into reprint. There’s a lady by the name of Margie Goldsmith in Manhattan that wrote a story for Hemispheres magazine. The next day I got 1200 emails. Shut my system down. It took me three days to get my computer back up online.

COLE: Was that a little bit of a shock?

FENN: It was a shock, yeah. But I still get about a hundred emails a day.

COLE: Has it become a nuisance, or do you enjoy it - how big it’s gotten?

FENN: Well, I’ve gone from one end of the spectrum to the other. I feel obligated to the people who are searching, and that’s why I continue to do it, but I don’t enjoy most of it anymore. Another thing - I spent a lot of time thinking about what I was gonna do: fifteen years from the start to the time I actually hid that treasure. I tried to think of everything. What I didn’t think of is that, I’m convinced, seven percent of the American population are certifiably crazy. I mean, I get emails that are incoherent, or they talk about things that are so far out - Jiminy Christmas, I just don’t know.

COLE: Umm, I bet you get a lot of people begging for clues, or tell you how sad their story is, and how they could really use the money and begging you for some -

FENN: Well, no. Nobody begs me for anything. The big phrase is, “Am I hot or am I cold?” And they tell me where they think. Of course, I can’t afford to respond to that. I can’t narrow the search area for them. The overwhelming number of people, uh, I get a letter from a mother or a father and it’ll say, “Mr. Fenn we know we’re not going to find the treasure but I just want to thank you for getting us out of the - we’d never been to Yellowstone, or we’ve never been to New Mexico, and we’re learning about geography”, and therein lies my reward.

COLE: Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of people, you know, the joy of it is being in nature and some people even think that that is the treasure. The joy they get from being in nature is the treasure.

FENN: There’s a quote in the new Duveen book that said, “They never knew it was the chase they sought and not the quarry.”

COLE: That’s the same for me for fly fishing. Yeah, I love catching a nice brown trout or rainbow trout, but it’s being in the river

FENN: You don’t catch anything you’re way ahead.

COLE: Yeah

FENN: But I got a phone call from a lady that was writing a story for Texas Monthly or someplace down there. She said, “Mr. Fenn I read your book.” She said, “That’s a very strange book.” She said, “Who is your audience for a book like that?” and I said, “My audience is every Texan redneck with a pick up truck who lost his job and has 12 kids and a bedroll.” I said, “That’s my audience. I want him - That’s who I want to go out and find the treasure.” I get emails everyday that “I’m a redneck from Texas (laughs).” I got an email from a little girl that said, “Mr. Fenn if I find the treasure, do I have to share it with my brother?” I wrote her back and I said, “Ask your father.”

COLE: That’s so… That’s hilarious. And then I’ve heard that you said that people have been within 200 feet of it? Is that true?

FENN: I know that (pause) I know that people have been within 200 feet, because they tell me exactly where they are. I don’t know that anyone has been closer than 200 feet and I don’t think they have. Of course, so many people don’t tell me where they are searching, but the treasure is still out there.

COLE: Why do you think no one has found it?

FENN: What?

COLE: Why do you think no one has found it?

FENN: Because they haven’t discovered where it is.

COLE: You think that’s not looking hard enough? I mean, if you’re within 200 feet of it, and you don’t find it

FENN: But they don’t know - they didn’t know they were within 200 feet of it either.

COLE: Right. RIght. When you’re within 200 feet of it there’s still 1000 places that could be within 200 feet that you could be looking and not see it.

FENN: Well, it’s hidden in a pretty good place. It’s difficult to find, but it certainly isn’t impossible. But if you’re gonna find the treasure, you’re gonna have to solve the riddle that’s in my poem. The nine clues that are in my poem. Nobody’s gonna happen on that treasure chest.

COLE: Right. Right. You’ve said that it’s hidden in a place where you’d like to pass away. Can you talk about that?

FENN: Well, when the doctor told me I had a 20 percent chance to live, I made up my mind that I was gonna die. My father had terminal pancreas cancer. They didn’t give him six months to live. 18 months later he was still alive. But he called me on the phone one night and he told me, “Forrest, I’m going to take 50 sleeping pills tonight.” I said, “Dad, I’ll be there first thing in the morning.” He said, “That’s too late.” And it was. But I respected him because he wanted to do it on his own terms. Who says you have to follow everybody else’s rules? And that was paramount in my mind. When they told me that I was gonna die, okay. I accept that, but I’m going to do it my way not your way. Who wants to be in a coffin underground? It’s dark, it’s cold, you can’t see out. I’ve always said, lay me down under a big tall pine tree and go on back to town. Every animal on the planet does it that way except the human being. It’s the only animal that doesn’t do it that way. I don’t subscribe to a lot of those things.

COLE: I agree with you, yeah. I’m the same way. I’d rather turn back into earth than be locked up in a box.

FENN: Let my bones be fertilizer to grow some more pine trees.

COLE: Yeah, the energy continues on.

FENN: That’s right.

COLE: And, another question I have is, would you be disappointed if no one finds it in your lifetime?

FENN: I’m ambivalent about that. I really don’t have an opinion. Somebody could find it tomorrow, or a thousand years they’re still looking.

COLE: Um, another question I have is do you have any regrets?

FENN: About the treasure?

COLE: Yeah. Start with that.

FENN: When I hid that treasure, I had to make two trips from my car. There’s 20.2 troy pounds of gold in that treasure chest and a lot of coins have numismatic value way beyond the spot. When I was walking back to my car the last time, nobody around any place, and out loud, in a loud voice, I said, “Forrest Fenn did you really do that?” and I started laughing. But in the back of my mind, I knew that if I was sorry tomorrow, I could go back and get it. And so, the more I thought about this, the more I thought, “No, I’m not going to go back and get that thing. I like that. I mean, I’ve had so much fun over 70 years collecting that stuff, when I go, why not give somebody the same opportunity that I’ve had. I love that idea. The philosophy of that - get out in the mountains and… I got an email from this little kid from Florida. He said, “What am I going to do in the mountains?” I said, “Find an old rotten log. Turn it over and see what’s under it. I mean, you’re gonna find grubs, you’re gonna find ants, you’re gonna find all kinds of - write me a letter and tell me what you found and I got a three page letter from that kid. He went on and on. I saw their experiences and energies and education under every log and every mountain.

COLE: So true. Yeah, it’s so true.

FENN: Another thing that I might add that I think about a lot… When you’re sitting under a tree, way out in the wilderness someplace, look at the tree. You’ll find ants climbing up that tree. And you have to realize, that you could have been born an ant instead of a human being. In that same context, that ant is part of a society, just like you are. I mean, his problem is food, and hailstorm and winter. I mean, the problems are the same, and I think that’s a very interesting thought. I’ve thought about that a lot. You’re very fortunate to be a human being and an American. And we don’t appreciate that enough, I don’t think.

COLE: One thing I think about a lot is when you look at the grand scope of things, we kind of are like ants.

FENN: Sure, sure. But there’s so many questions you know? Why is the grass green? Who made that rule, and why does all the grass follow it?

COLE: Yeah, yeah, I know. Too many mysteries. How long did it take you to write the poem? You’ve probably covered this before but

FENN: Well I worked on the poem on and off for a few years. Because I had to change it. I thought I was gonna die. And so, the initial part of my poem said something like, “Leave my bones alone. Take the chest and go in peace.” But then when I got well, I ruined the story. So I had to change that and I’ve said before that that poem was really written by an architect. Every word is placed in there strategically, and you can’t ignore any of the nouns in that poem.

COLE: Yeah. That’s what, that’s what makes it fun. It’s like where, what could that mean? Where? You know because when I was reading that, I was like, that doesn’t make sense that that word “where” was where it is. So what does that mean and why is it there?

FENN: But what puzzles people is that I’ve written ten books and in each one of my books I’ve made up words, and I corrupt words. For instance in my Thrill of the Chase book, I talk about courting my wife and I say, “Everybody knew that she was too good for me, but tenacity was never one of my shortcomings.” I mean, it’s a terrible corruption on that word, but my point is, if everybody knows exactly what you’re saying or what you mean, then who cares what the word is? And so that thought permeates, manifests itself in the poem. Well what does that word really mean? Does he mean what it says it means and so that adds, puts a little dessert on top of the cake.

COLE: Exactly. It does, yeah. It makes it, it makes it, uh, more fun. For sure.

FENN: But the poem is straightforward. If you can figure out the clues there… there’s nothing in that poem that would make you think that I’m trying to fool you. I have never discouraged anybody from looking any place, or led them toward it and I never will. There’s no tomfoolery in that poem. It’s straightforward.

COLE: Gotcha. Um, are you impressed with yourself that no one’s found it?

FENN: Am I what?

COLE: Are you impressed with yourself that no one’s found it?

FENN: Everything that I - every time that I do something that works I’m impressed with myself because I never expected that to happen. Nobody ever expected me to be a success at anything. And so, you know, I’m a winner every day. But, to an ant a mud puddle can be an ocean so you have to keep things in context. I feel like I’m pretty good in my league - but my league is not very high.

COLE: Do you think there’s a chance that no one will ever find it?

FENN: Is there a chance? You’re asking me, how long is a piece of string? Is that what? There’s no answer to that you know.

COLE: Or do you believe that people, you know, that someone fill find it - eventually?

FENN: How long is eventually? Yeah, somebody’s gonna find it. I’m confident of that and I’ve said before that the person that finds that thing, puts it on his lap, and lifts the lid, they’re either gonna break out in laughter, or they're gonna faint, or something, but it’s such a sight. It’s an overpowering sight to look at all that gold. I mean, my words are inadequate to describe it. Particularly if you’re not ready for it. I mean, I’m ready for it; I built it. Every time I look at it, I just shake my head.

Date Site Name Link
17-09-2016 The Today Show Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript from The Today Show interview with Forrest Fenn CYNTHIA MEACHUM: It’s beautiful

JANET SHAMLIAN: In the mountains of New Mexico, Cynthia Meachum is hunting for millions.

MEACHUM: Come on, let’s go find the treasure.

SHAMLIAN: A bronze treasure chest filled with gold coins and precious gems, worth two million dollars. It’s somewhere in the wilderness, according to the millionaire collector who says he put it there: 86 year old, Forrest Fenn.

FORREST FENN: 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.

SHAMLIAN: That’s the first line of a poem that Fenn says contains nine cryptic clues published in his memoir, “The Thrill of The Chase.” The elusive hunt for the treasure has attracted people from all over the world here to the Rockies. But in this vast wilderness, it has also led some of them right into trouble. Channon Thompson went missing while search a national park in 2013, later rescued. Where did you spend the night

CHANNON THOMPSON: It was a little hole, literally, with a rock over the top.

SHAMLIAN: Randy Bilyeu disappeared in January. After his remains were found along the Rio Grande, his ex-wife called the treasure a hoax. Fenn insists it’s not.

FENN: It’s out there waiting for somebody.

SAMLIAN: A well-known dealer of southwestern art, who sold to Suzanne Somers and Ralph Lauren, Fenn acknowledges he can offer no definitive proof, and has told no one where it is. It’s location is not in his will. But you haven’t left any documentation.


SHAMLIAN: Purposely.

FENN: Purposely, yes. Because if nobody finds it, I want people to keep looking at it 500 years from now. Looking for it. What’s wrong with that?

SHAMLIAN: The real treasure, Fenn says, is in the pursuit.

MEACHUM: I totally believe that he hid the treasure. I do not believe it’s a hoax.

SHAMLIAN: The quest has spawned a cult following. Online blogs, with hunters sharing tips. Meachum, who has searched 70 times, among those obsessed.

MEACHUM: I’m absolutely not motivated by the money. It is solving the poem and beating Forrest at his game.

SHAMLIAN: A modern day gold rush for a treasure, still elusive. For Today, I’m Janet Shamlian, NBC News, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Date Site Name Link
17-07-2016 Rudy Maxa Travel Show Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from Rudy Maxa Travel show interview with Forrest Fenn RUDY MAXA: My next guest is a retired Air Force fighter pilot. He’s 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. There’s no other phrase for it. In this treasure box, I’m 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. That’s what our next guest tells us, that’s what he said he did. I’m 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: I’m 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 I’ve got to go, I’ve had so much fun collecting these things over the years why not let somebody else have the same opportunity that I’ve 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, it’s 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 Fenn’s book is called, “The Thrill of the Chase.”

FENN: That’s 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: That’s right.

MAXA: Major Fenn, I told you this when I talked to you yesterday, I received an email from someone I don’t know saying, “I understand you’re having Fenn on your radio show this weekend. I’m about to - this weekend - I’m going to dig up the treasure. I know right where it is. You might want to have me on the radio show too. So, you’ve heard this before haven’t you?

FENN: Well, about 1500 times.

MAXA: These are people that write you and say, “I know where it is.”

FENN: Oh yeah, they always do that. They’re looking for clues.

MAXA: What do you say to them?

FENN: Well, I tell them if you know where it is, why don’t you go get it and send me a picture and then we’ll discuss it.

MAXA: Well that’s what I said to this gentleman who wrote me. I said, “Listen, if you really think you’ve found it, send me a photograph of it. If Major Fenn validates it, we’ll have you on the show next week.” So you’ll have to tune in next week to see if this guy really did find it.

FENN: Well you’ll 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 treasure’s not there then one of two things is happening. EIther somebody’s 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. That’s incredible.

FENN: But they don’t know who they are. They don’t know that they were the ones that were close.

MAXA: Right, you didn’t 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.

MAXA: Really.

FENN: No one knows on this planet but me, and I’m not gonna tell anybody.

MAXA: Not even your wife knows?

FENN: No, no. She doesn’t 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 didn’t 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 it’s in New Mexico. That’s 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 you’ve just tuned in, as I’ve said. And so, how do you find this treasure chest? Well, you look at the poem that Major Fenn has written in his book, “The Thrill of the Chase” 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, it’s yours to keep and you’ll 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, it’s not that easy. Two of the nuggets weigh more than a troy pound each and are larger than a hen’s egg but there are hundreds of gold nuggets in there and some of the coins have numismatic value. It’s just wonderful. If you find that treasure chest and put it on your lap and open that lid it’ll be a culture shock for you.

MAXA: And how long ago did you bury this?

FENN: about six years ago. I’ve never told anybody exactly when.

MAXA: Alright, but folks have been looking for at least six years for this right?

FENN: That’s 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. I’ve received several hundred thousand emails. I’m 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 they’re looking for clues.

FENN: Well a lot of them. But many of them say, “Mr. Fenn we know we’re 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. That’s very rewarding to me.

MAXA: Excellent. You have gotten more people out to travel than, well I don’t know if it’s more than this radio show, but I applaud your efforts. I think it’s very creative and we’ll stay in touch with you. Please let us know when it’s found so we can have you and the finder on the show, won’t you?

FENN: I’ll 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: Now, I know that doesn’t make sense to you, so I’m sure Janet will post that on my fanpage on Facebook and and we’ll try to get it up on as well on Facebook. At any rate, Forrest Fenn. What a major guy. I just love this.

Date Site Name Link
05-03-2013 CBC Radio - As it happens Click Here
Question Quote
Audio transcript from CBC Radio interview with Forrest Fenn JEFF DOUGLAS: So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek? The answers I already know. I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak. So hear me all, and listen good. Your effort will be worth the cold. If you are brave and in the wood, I give you title to the gold. That is the work of a poet named Forrest Fenn. The complete poem is estimated to be worth millions of dollars. See, Mr. Fenn is not a full time poet. He’s an 82 year old antiquities collector who has come up with a complex and novel way to give away a fortune. Mr. Fenn has filled a chest with treasure. Yes. A treasure chest filled with gold coins and the like. He has hidden the treasure somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. To find it, treasure hunters will have to figure out the clues hidden in Mr. Fenn’s poem. We reached Forrest Fenn in Santa Fe.

CAROL OFF: Mr. Fenn what exactly is in this treasure chest?

FORREST FENN: To answer your question briefly, there are 265 gold coins most of them are American Eagles and Double Eagles. There’s a total weight in gold of 2.2 troy pounds of gold in the treasure chest. There’s lots of, hundreds of gold nuggets, two gold nuggets weigh more than a troy pound each, but there are hundreds of them. There are pre-Columbian figures that are 1500 years old, a wonderful 2,000 year old necklace with fetishes carved out of quartz crystal and other semi-precious stones. You know, it just goes on and on. The treasure chest weighs 42 pounds and is just 10 by 10 inches square.

OFF: And this is - anyone who finds it, can keep it?

FENN: That’s right, but they have to go get it.

OFF: Ok good. Therein lies the rub. So, just tell us first of all why you decided to do this.

FENN: In 1988 I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer. I lost a kidney, and my doctors gave me a 20 percent chance of living three years. It took a couple of weeks for that to soak in. Then, I finally decided that if I’ve got to go, I’m just going to take it with me, or take some of it with me. I’ve had so much fun collecting things over the last 75 years, that I thought it would be kind of neat for other people to have as much fun as I’ve had. That prompted me to buy a wonderful early old antique treasure chest. I gave $25,000 for the treasure chest. Over the months and years, after 1988, I started filling the treasure chest up with precious things. There are hundreds of rubies and diamonds and emeralds. Two Ceylon sapphires, and you know, just goes on and on.

OFF: So this is being put together because this would be something that you’d leave behind for others to find, but this was in 1988 you had the idea. If I might point out, you’re still alive and kicking so, things changed for you then healthwise, I guess?

FENN: Well, uh, I thought I was gonna die in 1988 and 1989 and, you know, I had an elaborate plan to hide this treasure chest and take it with me, and the story was ruined when I got well. So I had to change all my plans, but I did hide the treasure chest. It’s in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

OFF: You have left clues in the form of a poem.

FENN: Yes ma’am.

OFF: The clues are buried there.

FENN: The clues are in the poem and my book has hints that will help a person with the clues. The book won’t take you to the treasure chest, but the book will help you with the clues that are in the poem.

OFF: So maybe a little key to the clues and the poem then?

FENN: There are nine clues in the poem, and if you can figure out those clues, they will take you to the treasure chest, and you can have it if you can find it.

OFF: Well some of them seem… Some of the clues maybe are things that people locally would know. You say, “Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down. Not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown. That seems like a couple of clues to me.

FENN: That sounds like three or four to me.

OFF: I guess you have to know where the home of Brown is.

FENN: That’s right.

OFF: Okay.

FENN: And you have to know where warm waters halt.

OFF: Ah-ha. But it says there’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high. Mmm, couple more clues there.

FENN: Sounds like it to me.

OFF: So, I’m not leading. I’m not tempting you to disclose anything here then?

FENN: No, I’m not going to give any more clues.

OFF: How many people have taken up your challenge?

FENN: Well I don’t know. I know of hundreds but I probably don’t know but five or ten percent. They don’t always tell me they’re going out. As of this morning, I’ve receive a little over 9,200 emails. All of them are telling me where they want to go, or asking questions or something. You know, they think I’m going to give them another clue, but I’m not going to. I usually respond to an email when I get the first one from someone.

OFF: Why do you want people to do this? To go out looking for this treasure?

FENN: We have a problem in this world today, Carole, with our youth. And I blame parents for a lot of that, those problems. I think they should get their kids out of the game room and off the couch and away from their little texting machines and get them out in the countryside and let them smell the sunshine and walk through the forest and scare up some squirrels and find out what’s going on with nature. That’s my real goal.

OFF: Do you think that anyone that’s gone out looking for the treasure has done that? Found themselves in the forest and the mountains and enjoying that in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise?

FENN: I have hundreds and hundreds of emails from people that thank me for giving them the opportunity to do that. Yes, your answer is very positively yes.

OFF: Do you think you’ll eventually meet the person that finds this treasure?

FENN: Well, I’ll tell you what, Carole, I think that the person that’s gonna figure out the clues and go on to find the treasure is the kind of person that’s not going to be able to keep it quiet. I think I will know. As a matter of fact, in the treasure chest there’s my autobiography. 20,000 words in a little olive jar that’s protected from the elements. You know, if somebody finds the treasure chest 10,000 years from now, they’ll be able to read that autobiography and know something about me and why I did these things.

OFF: Any chance that this treasure is in Canada?

FENN: Well, I’ve told people that it’s in the Rocky Mountains.

OFF: Well the Rocky Mountains go into Canada. So there’s a chance it’s here?

FENN: You know your geography pretty good don’t you?

OFF: That’s not difficult.

FENN: I’m not going to narrow it down

OFF: Let’s go look for Brown’s place. Mr. Fenn, it’s great to talk to you. Thank you.

FENN: Thank you.

DOUGLAS: That was Santa Fe antiquities dealer, Forrest Fenn. If you want to read his poem, you can go to our website at

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Profit - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: I think I had an advantage over people because I never really liked art. I liked the business of art, but art was never important to me. If I’d not been in the art business, I would have never owned an original painting or unique bronze. But I liked the people and I wanted to attract people, and I wanted to sell expensive things. One of my rules was I don’t ever want to do anything where my best customer gives me a hundred dollars. I’m the world’s greatest schmoozer. And so, in order to do that, since I didn’t have any education, and I had no experience - I’d been a fighter pilot over half my life, I had to start at the bottom. Because I had no experience, I had to use what I thought was logic. How do you become an expert? It doesn’t matter who you are, it only matters who they think you are. So I said, “OK, I’m going to advertise full page color in the best magazines of the day.” If you advertise in full page color, they think you’re an expert. And if they think you’re an expert, then how do you deal with that? Well, I hired a full research librarian. I could get a painting by Joe Smith and I didn’t know who Joe Smith was, but fifteen minutes later I’m the world’s leading authority on Joe Smith because my research librarian told me everything I needed to know. And that worked pretty good. So I started attracting people - good collectors. You walked into my business, I wanted to know… closed circuit television on my desk in every room in my gallery, I think there were seven rooms that we showed art in, I had closed circuit television watching every room and the front door. If somebody walks in my front door, I wanted to see who it was so I’m more than likely going to go to the front door and shake his hand and buy him a cup of coffee or something. I’d tell the guy, look, I know you like this painting. It’s perfect for your collection. Give me $100,000 for it, come back in a year, and I’ll give you $110,000 as ten percent profit in a year. Well, he’s thinking about that, really doesn’t know what to think about that. I could see that he’s getting ready to say no and I’d say give me $100,000 for this painting. Bring it back in a year and I’ll give you 15 percent profit on your painting. In other words, I’ll pay all your interest at the note, you can keep it, bring it back in a year and you can get all your money back, plus something. He says, well, how can you do that? I said, well ok, I’m going to tell you how I’m going to do it. I’m going to take your $100,000 turn it four times in the next year, I’m going to make 25 percent each time I turn it, so when you come back and sell it back to me, I’ve already made $100,000 off you, and it’s appreciated another 25 percent so I’m going to sell it again and I’m going to make another 25 percent. That’s how I’m going to do that. The problem I’m going to have is going to be to try to get you to sell it back to me after a year because you’ll sell it to my competitor down the street, and they’ll make the 25 percent profit. The more money a person has, the tougher he is in a deal. That’s one of the rules that I learned.

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Customer Service - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: P.R. The best advertising is what the little old lady tells her friend across the fence in the backyard. I always wanted people to say ni - There’s a lady that bought a painting from me. A $1500 painting that I had on consignment for $1000. When I sold it, when she bought it, I made $500. She lived in Albuquerque. She didn’t like the frame. So I said, “OK, I’ll change the frame for you.” So I changed the frame. She didn’t like that frame. So I changed the frame again. Well she didn’t like that frame. So I said, “Madam, take this to your framer in Albuquerque, have him put a frame on it that you like and tell him to send me a bill.” And she did that. I lost like $1200 on that painting, but she told everybody in the world that I was the greatest person that had ever lived.

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn’s Mudfish Recipe - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: We drank water out of that little creek with old tin cups. You never take glass into the forest, but we had tin cups. I think each one of us had a tin plate. We’d shoot a grouse and put it on a spit over an open fire and cook that thing. I mean food’s not better than that. I mean we loved it. And we learned that what we wanted best of all was grouse. We did shoot a lot of ducks, but they were a lot of trouble. Squirrels were too much trouble too. We wanted to eat grouse and fish. We ate a lot of fish. I could always catch… The best kind of fish to eat is a little ten inch brown trout, rainbow trout because we wanted to cook them as one unit. You leave the head on, take the guts out, but leave the head on and pack it in mud and I was startled at how good that was. You pack a fish in mud. The fish is this long, and the package with the fish and mud all around it is about this thick. You put it in the coals and you put hot coals on top of it, but after about 3 or 4 minutes you start to get steam off of that fish. The mud is drying. And you can tell when you look at that thing the mud is dry, the fish is cooking until the mud pretty much dries. You look and you see that the fish is dry and then you start timing it. You know, I want to leave it in there another ten or fifteen minutes, and you’re guessing but you take it out, and you lay it on the side there and you take your knife and you split it and you lift that top pack of hard mud off, and the skin goes with it, and you’ve got that beautiful fish laying there. I should have been a chef I think. Those were good times. You do what you need to do when you need to do it, and I always felt sorry for the old mountain man and the early plains Indians living in that temperature up there but those guys - if you know what you’re doing you can do pretty good.

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on The Rendezvous - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: Sure I went to a few mountain man rendezvous. I enjoyed that. You’re mingling with mountain men. I mean, they got a lot of rules. You can’t park your car anyplace that it can be seen. You can’t wear blue jeans, you gotta wear paired clothes. Most guys had pants made out of deerskin that they’d tanned themselves. Everybody has something to sell: strike lights or hatchets or tomahawks or a hundred different things - lot of feathered things. A rendezvous lasts three or four days and you look over there and there’s 25 guys that rolled up in buffalo robes sound asleep. But it was fun. One time, I told this story in my book “Too Far to Walk” that these guys had flintlock rifles and ball and cap rifles and I thought they were overrated. Those things were primitive. They can’t be accurate, so I stepped off a hundred yards and found an old, a stump. I tacked a $100 bill on that stump. I said, “If you can hit that bill, you can have it. It cost you $5 to shoot.” So they said ok. I’m hiding behind a tree over there by the $100 bill and the first guy shoots and he blows half the stump away. I mean I couldn’t believe he was that accurate. Then the next guy did the same thing and the third guy punched it right in the center. I was hoping to make a few bucks in gas money to get me back to town. This guy came parading toward me. He says, “Mr. Fenn, I’ll claim that hundr, uh that picture of George Washington, or whatever it was, if you don’t mind sir.” I said, “Ok, you can have that bill.” I think I lost $80 on that deal.

I took period things. I took my Hawken rifle, and I had this gal make me a pair of pants. She made buttons out of deer antlers. It was period, and I had a period shirt too made out of calico. Everybody makes something because nobody had any money. They’d make something to trade or sell - period clothing, sure. A lot of people made beaded moccasins. Anything a mountain man needed, there was somebody there that could make it. There’s a guy making tin plates to eat off of - hammered them out. And the stories around the campfire at night are wonderful. Everyone’s lying to everybody else and dogs running around, little kids running around but they’re all in ancient clothing also. It’s a good family affair, and a lot of cooking and a lot of baking. They’re baking bread and putting coals on top of that dutch oven, and beans. A lot of people would bring buffalo meat to cook and deer and elk and antelope. Everything was… 1830.

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Publicity - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: There was a singer called Andy Williams. Remember him? He walked in my gallery one time, walked in the front door and says, “Where’s Forrest Fenn? Ethel Kennedy told me I had to meet Forrest Fenn.” Word of mouth. And it was so much fun, I became a good friend of Ethel Kennedy’s. She had a son that lived in Santa Fe. He collected incense burners, and so she wanted me to buy incense burners so she could buy them and give them to her son. And we did that. It’s not easy to find an incense burner, and we became pretty good friends. And she invited me to dinner one time at the old Palace Restaurant here in town. She had flown in with a guy on his Gulfstream. There was a lady sitting next to me, about 35 years old or so. I didn’t know her. The only person I knew was Ethel Kennedy, and there was, I think, six of us at this dinner. I was talking to this lady and she said...Peggy and I had just come back from Europe coming through New York to get to Santa Fe and she said, “Oh yes, did you stay in New York?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “Where’d you stay?” I said, “We stayed at the Sheraton Evelyn hotel.” She said, “Well, did you like the Sheraton Evelyn?” I said, “Yeah, we loved that place. Do you stay there?” She said, “No, but I own it.” So it’s good to get slapped up on the bank once in a while too.

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn on Writing - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: I’ve written ten books; I’ve not been successful, but I’ve enjoyed it. I publish my own books. I own a little publishing company. The only two books that have been successful were The Thrill of the Chase and Too Far to Walk. But, I found out that the hardest thing to do, with writing or anything else, is sitting down and getting started. Once I… I hated… I’m not a good writer and I struggle, and I’m inefficient. And, for that reason, I make up a lot of rules to protect myself. In each of my 10 books, I’ve made up words, and I look in the dictionary to make sure the word isn’t there. My argument is, that if the reader knows exactly what I mean than who cares what the word is? Where am I wrong? And so that idiosyncrasy of human nature manifests itself in myself very vividly in those respects. I corrupt words a lot. In my Thrill of the Chase book I was courting my wife and I said everybody knows that she was too good for me, but tenacity was never one of my shortcomings. I mean, that’s a terrible corruption and I’ve gotten letters from college professors, English teachers (laughs). But that’s who I am and that’s what I want to be. I misspell words a lot of times and I misspelled words in my book. In my book, I’ve made statements that were not true, just to see if anybody would catch it. One was about the first world war and For Whom the Bell Tolls. It wasn’t the First World War, it was the Spanish Revolution. For three or four years nobody said a word about that. When I wrote my short book, I wanted to say something that was atrocious so people would jump all over me and I could get some publicity and sell some books. So I said, the Indians at Taos pueblo practice idolatry like the Catholics. I thought that was a terrible thing to say and I was ready to take it on the nose. Nobody ever said a word. And I said that the first artist that painted Taos was Charles Craig but it wasn’t much of an artist. Nobody ever said a word. I mean, I was really disappointed that I got by with those things. But I enjoy doing those things.

In my Seventeen Dollars a Square Inch book, my biography of Eric Sloane, I made a sentence - put a colon there. On the next page were the covers about 10 different books that he wrote, but you can’t end a sentence with a colon. So down here by the page number I put a period. I have to point that out. I did that twice in my book. I ended a sentence as a caption to a painting. The book says you can’t do those kind of things, but that’s what I love to do. But nobody calls me on it.

Date Site Name Link
11-07-2016 Dal Neitzel - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Forrest Fenn talks about Yellowstone - Forrest Fenn Interview Video Transcript: FORREST FENN: My mother’s father and his wife liked to go to Yellowstone. They were fishermen. They introduced my father and mother at Yellowstone. And so my father was a schoolteacher, got three months off every summer, and so we started going to Yellowstone. Not only to be with my grandparents, but because my father was an avid fisherman. I think my first time up there was when I was one - 1931 and we camped at Fishing Bridge at Yellowstone Park. You could camp - you could put a tent up in those days and stay for three months in your tent. There were hundreds of tents around the lake, between the lake and Fishing Bridge it’s not very far, 1,000 feet or so. There were tents everywhere. There were bears at night walking all through those tents. It was a very popular place. Nowadays, you can’t fish off of Fishing Bridge and you can’t put a tent over there so, but we could in those days.

After about, when I was about six or seven years old my father decided we were going to camp over in West Yellowstone. And, after a couple of years my father decided that, because my grandfather had what they called a cabin camp in those days. Later they called those things Motels, but the cabins were freestanding. My grandfather was doing pretty good with that. He had a little pet squirrel that was always on his shoulder and he had a leather jacket and his old hat. A cigar in his mouth and his gray hair and that squirrel. I remember him walking around. My job, as a volunteer, was to cut wood. I don’t think he ever paid me but he said nice things about me so I cut his wood for him.

But my father thought that was a pretty good idea so he built a cabin camp. But instead of building them, we either traded them or, I don’t know how he got different cabins but we’d move them over in one spot about a block or two from where my grandfather’s cabin camp was on Boundary Street. Yellowstone Park was a hundred feet over there. My father’s cabin camp was called Fennhaven. It was just across the little gravel road there. And he moved cabins up together and he put them together and knock a wall out and now this is a two room cabin and after a few years he had six or seven maybe eight different cabins to rent to people. In the day time he and I were professional fishing guides, and we’d go fishing and my mother would rent the cabins out when we were gone during the day. It worked very well. In the wintertime, when we got ready to go back to Texas we’d close up the cabins and put wooden shutters on them because the winters up there can be bitter. We had a lot of things that we didn’t want to put in the cabins, so on our way home, we’d drive into Yellowstone park about two miles and my father, we had an old Plymouth or an old Chevrolet 1942 Chevy or something, he would drive off the road about half a mile through the trees over in there and we’d unpack a trailer that was full of stuff that we didn’t want to take to Texas but we didn’t want to leave at Fennhaven. And he’d cover it up with a tarp. I mean, there’s no airplanes up there, and nobody out in that country. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t… He learned that porcupines could do a number on your things, I mean they’ll chew into anything. I mean, they eat pine trees for a living.

People weren’t going through Yellowstone Park in the 1940’s when the war was on like they do today. But we had eight or ten very special fishing places that we never did tell anybody about. We could always go to one of those fishing spots, and be the only ones there. My father taught me how to be a professional fishing guide and I made $10 a day. You could take the whole family out there, maybe two families. We’d head out about six o’clock in the morning, and we’d catch some fish and then when it got time to eat I’d build a fire and cook fish in a skillet with grease and open a can of beans and I made french fries and stuff and they thought I was the greatest person in the world. My father always did that and he taught me how to do that. You deep fry trout and catfish. I mean, that’s what he did and the best eating in the world is out on the creek.

Fishing for me meant going out on the river catch two or three fish and then go sit under a tree - maybe cook a fish for myself. As a fishing guide, your concern is for everybody else and not yourself. You have to make sure that your client catches fish, that the kids catch fish. Sometimes I’d catch a fish and hand the rod to some eight or nine or ten year old girl and she’d pull it in and, you know, great experiences. I still, until a few years ago, I still got letters from some of those people. My father had some very important people as fishing guides. Don Hopkins out of Spokane. His wife was the only woman that could carry the National Geographic flag and post it someplace. He was a big guy in the Boone and Crockett club and he made me an official measurer. I was the only one in Arizona that was an official measurer for the Boone and Crockett club. But with Don Hopkins and my father they were purist dry fly fisherman. They’d sit over on the bank on the Madison River on a certain place there, the river has moved now and that fishing spot is not there any more, but they’d sit beside the road there and watch the hatches come up, particularly mayflies, and they’d watch a certain fish. He’d come up for a mayfly… and ten feet away (gestures up again)... and they knew that fish. And whatever that fish was feeding on, my father would sit there and tie a fly to duplicate that fly, and then Don Hopkins would get out there in his waders and false cast back and forth. He’s following that fish. He sees him come up three times, and then he’d drop the fly just in front of him and he’d catch that fish. It’s not enough that he catch a fish, he has to catch that fish. That takes it to an extreme. There are places up there when the mayfly hatches out, and it’s always in the evening, those flies come out of the water. They hatch in the water and start flying and you just have to hide behind a tree there’s so many fish.

But in those days, we kept so many fish, the fish weren’t large. If you caught a 14 or 15 inch brown trout, that’s a big fish. There’s an old poem my father used to recite: suffer under me to catch, so large a fish that even I, when talking of it afterwards, may I have no need to lie. My father liked that story. Today it’s catch and release in Yellowstone Park, why frequently you catch 24 inch rainbow and brown trout. Those fish were unheard of in the rivers up there in those days. You could catch them in the lakes.

I remember I was fishing on Hebgen Lake one time in a boat in the middle of the lake. The lake was full of weeds - they covered the lake. You couldn’t fish in a lot of places because you couldn’t fish in those weeds, but I found this one spot where the weeds were all around, but there was a hole that was not weeded like ten feet around, and I parked my boat right there and I had just put a brand new wooly worm squirrel tail on my leader and it was not wet, so I threw it in, there was no fish around anyplace. But I threw it in and the thing was floating, and I just left it there. In a minute here came a brown trout, about six pounds, and he took that thing. I have a vivid memory of that - one of the great experiences, and I caught that fish. He ran into the weeds, and I was very patient. I worked on that fish for 20-30 minutes and I finally got him out. It was like a 20 inch brown trout, a big male that has his bottom jaw hooked up. Jeez.

Date Site Name Link
18-05-2017 The Lure Post-Screening Q&A - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Are you the leg(end) in the misspelling of “knowledge” on your bells? FORREST FENN: No. I’m not a legend. People have called me eccentric and I think that’s a good description. They call me a maverick. You know, I never wanted to break a serious rule, but I stretched the hell out of a few. In today’s society, so many people are going right down the center line, and they never know where the edge is. How do you know where the edge is if you don’t go out there and look for - and look and see? I think we’re uh… There’s so many things happening around the world today in Washington, and I’m overwhelmed every time I read a newspaper I just cannot believe what I’m reading and so I don’t know where we are today. But it emphasizes once again that stop reading the news and get out in the mountains. Walk the streams and if there’s a problem in today’s society, I think that’s where it is.

Date Site Name Link
18-05-2017 The Lure Post-Screening Q&A - Video Click Here
Question Quote
You’re still burying things aren’t you? FORREST FENN: No I’m not burying anything.

FEMALE: Nothing else? No bells, no vessels?

FENN: No. And I never said that I buried the treasure chest. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t buried is it? You know, I think you're getting technical. I don’t want to have to define the terms.

FEMALE: I wasn’t speaking about the chest.

FENN: If you look the word burial up in the dictionary, it talks about sepulturing, about entombing, and there’s all kinds of definitions. Quite frankly, it’s very confusing. So I don’t want to answer the question whether the treasure chest is buried or not. Let me give you an example: if I laid the treasure chest on top of the ground, and some weeds blew in there and covered it up, now is it buried or isn’t it? Is it sepultured? Is it entombed? So, it’s best not to go there I think. The clues will lead you to the treasure and whether it’s buried or not, you can find it if you can find the blaze as a result of starting with the first clue. That’s what you have to do.

Date Site Name Link
18-05-2017 The Lure Post-Screening Q&A - Video Click Here
Question Quote
What’s more important: knowledge or imagination? FORREST FENN: It was Einstein that said that. That’s not my quote. I think there’s no point in having knowledge if you don’t have imagination. Yeah, I agree with that philosophy. You’re limited by what you can do if all you have is knowledge, but if you have imagination, then the whole world is open to you.

Date Site Name Link
18-05-2017 The Lure Post-Screening Q&A - Video Click Here
Question Quote
How many miles is it between clue one and clue nine? FORREST FENN: I think she’s asking me how deep is a hole. Katya you know that I’m not going to answer a question like that. When I saw you up on the side of that mountain, you almost killed yourself in this movie.

Date Site Name Link
18-05-2017 The Lure Post-Screening Q&A - Video Click Here
Question Quote
Has anyone determined the nine clues and what they represent? FORREST FENN: Well there’s about 250,000 people that think they have. I don’t know that anybody has told me the clues in the right order. I think part of the problem is, they don’t, they don’t focus on the first clue. If you don’t know where the first clue is, you might as well stay home because you’re not going to find the treasure chest. You can’t go out looking for the blaze and expect to find the treasure chest. There’s 10 billion blazes out there. So you have to start with the first clue and let it take you to the blaze.

Date Site Name Link
18-05-2017 The Lure Post-Screening Q&A - Video Click Here
Question Quote
If we find the treasure, we’re going to place it in a museum. What do you think about that? FORREST FENN: The museum out here on the Old Santa Fe Trail that you could put it in. It’s called Forrest Fenn’s residence, and I’d be happy to get it back. When I was filling that treasure chest, I wanted to fill it up with things that were valuable. And what’s the most valuable thing you can find is gold. It took me a long time to go into gun shows and places to acquire the 265 gold coins, most of them are American Double Eagles, but there are coins in there from the 15th century from the Middle East and there’s wonderful things in there. It took me a long time to do that. I thought I thought of everything. I mean, I can’t tell you how many man hours I spent trying to, before I had that chest, trying to… what’s going to happen and what’s the upside and what’s the downside. I think I did a pretty good job. The fact that nobody’s found it I’m frankly surprised. I would hope that somebody would find it before too long. You’re not going to happen on it. You’re not going to find it on spring break or on a Sunday afternoon picnic. You’re going to have to figure out the clues. Go to the first clue, and then the clues are consecutive after that. If you can decipher the clues, you’re gonna find that treasure chest.

Date Site Name Link
18-05-2017 The Lure Post-Screening Q&A - Video Click Here
Question Quote
How do you know searchers have been within 200 feet of the treasure? FORREST FENN: Well because people have told me exactly where they were. And that’s the only reason I know. That 200 feet is pretty accurate. But there weren’t too many people within two hund - lots of people within 500 feet of the treasure. But, the people that were within 200 feet didn’t know that they were that close to the treasure and they walked right on by it. And, of course, I’d never tell them that because they’d try to remember where they had been. But, they got a lot out of it and I’m getting more than a hundred emails a day and half of them tell me, “Mr. Fenn we’re not going to find your treasure. We know that, but I just want to thank you for getting my kids out into the countryside.” I’ve told this story before, but I got an email from this little 8 year old girl. She said, “Mr. Fenn if I find the treasure, do I have to share it with my brother?” Families are going out, and sometime, somebody’s gonna find that treasure. I was holding my breath in this movie; I thought someone was going to find this treasure. In this movie, I’ll tell you, there were people that were within 1700 miles of that treasure.

Date Site Name Link
18-05-2017 The Lure Post-Screening Q&A - Video Click Here
Question Quote
How do you feel about the people looking for the treasure? FORREST FENN: I congratulate them. I’m proud of every one of them. I’ve known Cathy ever since she moved here from Hawaii. She moved to Santa Fe from Hawaii to look for the treasure. That’s pretty ambitious. Michael McGarrity and Doug Preston - these guys saw the treasure chest in my home a long time before I hid it and, you know, all these people are family to me. And I congratulate everybody that has the gumption and the wherewithal to put your hiking boots on and hit the trail. There’s a lot to be learned out there. The main thing is to get out of the house.

Date Site Name Link
17-03-2013 KOB 4 Click Here
Question Quote
Video transcript on KOB 4 News interview with Forrest Fenn CHRIS RODRIGUEZ: Good morning New Mexico. You’re watching Eye on New Mexico. I’m Chris Rodriguez.

NICOLE BRADY: And I’m Nicole Brady. Today we are going to talk about a fever now sweeping the entire nation.

RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, all thanks to Gadi Schwartz. It is the treasure hunting fever. Gadi Schwartz is joining us this morning, and here’s something you probably don’t know about Gadi. He’s obsessed. Obsessed with a capital ‘O’ about finding this hidden treasure buried by Santa Fe art gallery owner, Forrest Fenn.

BRADY: Gadi, when did this whole thing start? We’ve been telling people about Forrest Fenn for a few years now, and he hid this treasure somewhere. And the Today Show picked this up so everybody knows about this now, but you really were the first person to tell us about it.

GADI SCHWARTZ: It’s kind of difficult. Sometimes you just cover a story and then you decide to just throw your reporter hat off and you jump into the fray and that’s kind of what I’ve done. Um, so, I don’t know how I feel about coming on TV now telling all my secrets. My hard earned secrets. You might get a few of them out, but not all of them.

BRADY: And that's the thing, Forrest Fenn has released many clues, which we’ll be talking about this morning, about where this treasure is hidden. You have spent years now trying to decipher these clues, and you got a few places. You’ve gotten close we think?

SCHWARTZ: A family vacation…

RODRIGUEZ: The rest of us go to Disneyland, Gadi is at some park.

SCHWARTZ: Bear Cave.

RODRIGUEZ: That’s a bear cave right there.

SCHWARTZ: Actually you can’t see it in the video, but in that bear cave there’s like, an elk carcass. So a grizzly bear dragged an elk carcass into its cave.

BRADY: Could have been a Gadi carcass.

SCHWARTZ: I was armed with little pebbles. I would throw them into the caves first to make sure there weren’t any bears in there. And then the plan was, if things went wrong, I’m wearing a life jacket underneath that jacket right there and I was just gonna jump into the river and float down if a bear took a swipe at me.

BRADY: Where are you in this video, let me ask.

SCHWARTZ: Somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe.

BRADY: Which is all Forrest Fenn has said.

SCHWARTZ: Way north of Santa Fe. Actually, that’s in Yellowstone. Yellowstone is beautiful, and it’s no secret that I think it’s in Yellowstone. Forrest has talked - that’s very important video right there. If you can find that on video, you’ll find me around there this summer. That’s kind of the area I think it’s in. I’m not going to tell you exactly which waterfall that is.

RODRIGUEZ: Well, let set the story up because I think you were, correct me if I’m wrong, the very first reporter anywhere to find Forrest Fenn and talk to him, so let’s air the first story that you did. And that was back in 2010?


RODRIGUEZ: Let’s show that package, that story.

SCHWARTZ: On any given day, in downtown Santa Fe, people walk by the only place where the key to a two million treasure sits on a bookshelf. The author, Forrest Fenn, is a legend in the Santa Fe art world

FORREST FENN: I might be nearly interested in everything and I’m easily occupied.

SCHWARTZ: Now just north of 81 years old, Fenn, who says there is an Indiana Jones in all of us, is collecting something new.

FENN: There’s one.

SCHWARTZ: Emails from people out looking for his treasure.

FENN: It’s a thrill for me to see what’s happening. People are getting interested in the thrill of the chase themselves.

SCHWARTZ: The thrill of the chase is more than a phrase, it’s the title to the story of Fenn’s life. He recounts falling in love with collect-sploring and fishing at an early age.

FENN: I remember there were times up in Yellowstone where I could hardly wait to get out on the river to fish.

SCHWARTZ: And the chapters of his life read like an adventure novel. He joins the Air Force, flying fighter jets, getting shot down twice over Vietnam. After retiring, he sets up one of the best known art galleries in Santa Fe and makes his fortune. And then a doctor tells him

FENN: He told me I had a 20 percent chance of living three years.

SCHWARTZ: He has cancer.

FENN: So, you know, my life changed dramatically there over a short period of time.

SCHWARTZ: But the predicted end never came. He beat the cancer and the thrill of the chase took on a whole new meaning.

FENN: I decided that I had had so much fun for 60 years collecting things, why don’t I find a little treasure chest, and fill it up with neat little things and go hide it someplace. And the people behind me, let them have the same thrill I’ve had over the years.

SCHWARTZ: The nine clues to finding Fenn’s treasure

FENN: Begin it where warm waters halt

SCHWARTZ: Can be found in a poem.

FENN: And take it in the canyon down

SCHWARTZ: In the back of his book,

FENN: Not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown.

SCHWARTZ: But if someone wise enough to find the blaze, the person who takes the chest and goes in peace inside the ancient box, they will discover 20 pounds of gold and jewelry containing diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and jade. Even though Fenn knows he might not be around for the discovery, that doesn’t diminish his excitement of bait.

FENN: If someone finds that thing in a thousand years from now, or ten thousand years from now, that’s gonna be an interesting discovery.

RODRIGUEZ: It will be an interesting discovery!

BRADY: What’s in the treasure box, Gadi?

SCHWARTZ: Well, starting with the treasure box, the treasure box is, I think an 11th or 12th century Romanesque lock box. So the treasure chest alone is worth about $25,000. Um, and then there’s all kinds of different stuff, actually, I’ve got my trusty book here. This thing has seen better days, but I’ll just read straight from it. It’s uh, there’s a gold bracelet, 254 rubies, six emeralds, two sapphires, a bunch of small diamonds, a Spanish 17th century ring. So a lot of the gold and jewelry that’s in this box isn’t just the weight of the jewelry, it’s also very, very valuable because it’s actual treasure like from Spanish galleons.

BRADY: We showed the story there and obviously Forrest Fenn has been a collector for decades. How did he amass some of this stuff? Has he told you a little bit about some of these particular pieces?

SCHWARTZ: Well he’s - actually, interestingly enough, his nephew, Crayton Fenn, is a treasure hunter. That’s literally what he does. I mean, he’s a deep sea diver treasure hunter. So he’s revolutionized some side scanning SONAR. And now what he does is he goes and he looks for old sunken trips, err, ships, he looks for Nazi submarines, those kind of things. So, it kind of runs in the family. I think that he got the gene probably from Forrest and kinda took it and ran with it.

RODRIGUEZ: Well since your story, and even before your story aired, there have been people coming to Santa Fe to meet Forrest Fenn and hanging out in Northern New Mexico looking for the treasure. Your next story is about a guy trying to find the treasure.

SCHWARTZ: Dal Neitzel. He is my frenemy. He is my nemesis. If anybody is close to finding Forrest’s treasure, it’s Dal. This guy - since this story that you’re about to see - he’s put even more work into it. I mean, he’s been pretty close. I think he’s probably the closest out there. He’s also got a fantastic blog, we’ll plug that right after the story.

RODRIGUEZ: Let’s watch.

BRADY: Let’s meet Dal.

DAL NEITZEL: 230,548 miles. 1600 of that is getting down here.

SCHWARTZ: Dal Neitzel has driven more than a thousand miles to Red River to claim the prize he thinks is his. He said I can document the discovery, and if he finds the $2 million treasure.

NEITZEL: I would be so excited. I would be doing little dances on the… I’d be holding it up and jumping up and down like this.

SCHWARTZ: I joined Neitzel a day after he got to Northern New Mexico. He’d been scouting the area, re-visiting Forrest Fenn’s poem for clues.

NEITZEL: I’m having it working a puzzle.

FENN: Below the home of Brown.

SCHWARTZ: But is that a color, a kind of trout, or a last name?

NEITZEL: This big old place, brand new says - Brown.

SCHWARTZ: What’d you think when you saw it?

NEITZEL: I thought here on the Red River, where I believe it is, and you know, the home of Brown right here.

SCHWARTZ: Neitzel isn’t exactly conspicuous walking around carrying an ice axe in the middle of this summer with me trailing behind him with a camera, but this stretch of the Red River is deserted.

NEITZEL: A few people come here, but how many people are going to know about this spot? Forrest maybe.

SCHWARTZ: We walk for miles about how the clues in the poem could fit a prime fishing area we have stumbled upon.

FENN: Begin it where warm waters halt

SCHWARTZ: It’s all a stretch, but Neitzel says this is where there are no more Red River jacuzzis

NEITZEL: The last of these vacation hot tubs

SCHWARTZ: So check

FENN: And take it in the canyon down.

SCHWARTZ: Looks like a canyon to us.

FENN: Not far, but too far to walk.

SCHWARTZ: We’re not really walking, it’s more like slogging.

FENN: From there it’s no place for the meek.

NEITZEL: The end is ever drawing nigh

FENN: There’ll be no paddle up your creek

NEITZEL: Just heavy loads

SCHWARTZ: We get to the spot Neitzel thinks the treasure is hidden.

NEITZEL: If I were going to put a 35 pound box somewhere, a pool like that would be a perfect place.

SCHWARTZ: Icy river water doesn’t scare this treasure hunter, and he plunges right in, but the water is moving too fast to see if there’s a treasure below. There’s no way to get a really clean look at what’s under that waterfall, so we’re gonna take this (gestures to a camera). This is going to act like our sonar. Armed with an underwater camera and Neitzel’s ice axe, I give it a try. Within seconds, I hit something that doesn’t seem right. Tap it right there and see what you think. Moments later we are both poking around freezing water trying to grasp at whatever is making that hollow sound. Finally, we get it out of the whitewater and realize it’s just a rock. Walking out of the forest in squeaky sneakers Neitzel says this is just another place I’ll rule out and if he doesn’t find the treasure, he won’t be disappointed because just being on a quest gives meaning to his life.

NEITZEL: What drags me out here is the beauty. I’m seeing places I never would have seen.

BRADY: Gadi, talking to Forrest Fenn, I know he has talked to you about that how part of this whole thing is getting people outside to enjoy the beauty.

SCHWARTZ: Do you know what kind of an emotional roller coaster that is? I have found this treasure like, five times. And then I start digging and then I pull it up, and then, it’s a rock.

BRADY: So this isn’t just a peaceful nature experience?

SCHWARTZ: No, it’s not. It’s not like a moment in nature where you have enlightenment, this is like you going over the poem over and over again. One time, I actually, I found a can - I had a metal detector, because I’m a nerd like that - and I had this metal detector. I was searching around. It hits something so I start pulling something out. It’s in this kind of little cave. I pull it out, and as I’m uncovering the dirt I see “NN” on this old can, and I’m like “F-E-N-N” and I’m trying to get it, trying to get it and reach my arm in and pull it out. It’s P-E-N-N and it’s an old oil can.

RODRIGUEZ: And then your heart drops a little bit.


RODRIGUEZ: Here’s something a lot of people don’t know. Gadi and I have been friends for a really long time. We went to college together and we’ve been really good friends. Sometimes we go to dinner and we chat about stuff. I think the last one we went to, we spent like an hour and a half together. An hour and 20 minutes of which we spend talking about Forrest Fenn, and his treasure hunts, and where he’s going to go next to find this treasure.

BRADY: That’s like all your vacations now. That’s all you do - go look for the treasure when you take time off work here right?

SCHWARTZ: Exactly. I’ve got two trips planned this year.

BRADY: And if KOB can pay for those

SCHWARTZ: And they should! They’re using my video you know! And if I find the treasure, I’ll hook KOB up with something you know. Some little trinket.

RODRIGUEZ: You can have a jewel. You can have a necklace.

BRADY: Thanks. I’ll wear it on the air every night. We don’t know exactly how much this is worth. It’d be hard to say right?

SCHWARTZ: Yeah, it’s gone from $1 million to $2 million to as much as $4 million. Even Forrest won’t put an actual estimate on it because it fluctuates and it’s all dependent on how much people are going to be able to get from each one of these things if they’re able to find the treasure and put them out on the market.

RODRIGUEZ: Periodically, you’ll hear Gadi in the newsroom reciting the poem, and we put the poem on some graphics so you guys can see it. Gadi, this is a poem that contains nine clues and if you follow these clues precisely you’re supposed to be able to find the treasure right? Start us off, start us off.

BRADY: You have it memorized, right?

RODRIGUEZ: Not if you’re going to look at the prompter.

SCHWARTZ: (recites Forrest’s poem).

BRADY: Very, very close.

SCHWARTZ: That last part I don’t think is a clue, so I don’t

BRADY: And he’s a great poet too!

SCHWARTZ: He says that poem actually took him quite a bit of time to put together. I mean, we’re talking years, so it’s not just a poem. It’s not just geographical areas, he might have actually put some type of cryptogram or like some type of riddle that you have to unlock with math I haven’t gotten that far yet.

BRADY: Oh my gosh. Well, the book, Gadi. Anyone can buy the book at the Collected Works bookshop?

SCHWARTZ: Not this one. This one’s got my secrets in it. I’ve taken a bunch of notes and stuff. Yeah, it’s $35 up at Collected Books up in Santa Fe. It’s the only place that they sell it.

BRADY: And it has Forrest Fenn’s whole story kind of in it too, which obviously as we’ve just seen, as you can tell through the poem is a very interesting guy.

SCHWARTZ: If this isn’t exciting enough for you, he writes about getting shot down twice over Vietnam, ejecting. He talks about quite a few adventures so, and he talks a lot about Yellowstone. Which is nice when you go to Yellowstone, if you think it’s in Yellowstone and you get to see some of the things he talked about as a kid so that’s very interesting.

RODRIGUEZ: One question that I know a lot of people have had is - he’s leaving this treasure out, but why? Why not give it to family? Any children, any nieces or nephews. Why is he doing this?

SCHWARTZ: I think he’s uh, to be honest, uh, his family is probably going to be just fine. You know, I think he’s probably got, I don’t know some people put a lot of money into their legacy. And this is as Forrest Fenn as it gets. I mean, talk about a story that keeps going and going, and gets passed on to different people. And talk about the love of collecting. I mean this is something that he loves to do and he’s being able to inspire other people to do it and get out into the great outdoors. So I think this is his way of, you know, taking a lot of stuff that he’s collected and putting it in a box and letting his legacy go on.

BRADY: Yeah, you’re absolutely right about the legacy. I mean, imagine if this didn’t get discovered for 500 years. What people would be saying about it then?

SCHWARTZ: I hope whoever finds it, re-buries another treasure, because I don’t want