TODD LOVATO: Thanks Eric

Date Site Name Link
11-04-2013 KVSF Radio Click Here
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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.

LOVATO: Sure.

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 Amazon.com 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.

LOVATO: Okay.

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.

LOVATO: Right

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.