Millionaire who hid treasure in Rocky Mountains says
it could be 1,000 years before someone finds it...
Chris Baynes,The Independent April 18, 2018 An eccentric art dealer who claims to have hidden treasure worth millions of pounds in the Rocky Mountains says 350,000 people have tried and failed to find to find the riches.
Forrest Fenn, 87, warned it could be “1,000 years from now” before hunters discover the whereabouts of the chest filled with gold nugg[quote]ets and precious gems.
He revealed in 2010 that he had concealed the bounty somewhere in the 3,000-mile mountain range, and in a subsequent memoir he published a map and a poem said to contain nine clues about the location.
Four men have died looking for the treasure, thought to be worth about about $2m (£1.4m).
Mr Fenn, a former US Air Force pilot and art gallery owner, is bombarded with hundreds of emails a day from people fishing for clues. The millionaire estimates as many as 350,000 have gone hunting for the fortune, but said he had no way of knowing how close they had come to discovering it. “It could be found soon or 1,000 years from now,” he told CNBC.
Mr Fenn, whose gallery in the New Mexico city of Santa Fe attracted frequent visits from celebrities in the 1970s and 80s, initially planned to bury himself with the treasure when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. But after he recovered, he conceived the treasure hunt and dropped clues in a 24-line poem in his self-published memoir The Thrill of the Chase.
He said the popularity of the search “has been successful beyond my wildest dreams”.
However, police have accused Mr Fenn of putting lives at risk after fatal accidents involving treasure seekers. Last July, the body of 31-year-old Eric Ashby was pulled from Colorado’s Arkansas River after his raft overturned. His family said he had moved to the state a year earlier to look for Mr Fenn’s bounty.
Three other deaths have been linked to the search for the treasure.
The art dealer responded by revealing additional clues on his blog.
“The treasure chest is not under water, nor is it near the Rio Grande River,” he wrote. “It is not necessary to move large rocks or climb up or down a steep precipice, and it is not under a man-made object.
“Please remember that I was about 80 when I made two trips from my vehicle to where I hid the treasure. Please be cautious and don’t take risks.”
Mr Fenn said his main motivation for setting the challenge was to encourage families to spend more time outdoors.
”I wanted to give the kids something to do,” he told Business Insiderin February. “They spend too much time in the game room or playing with their little handheld texting machines.
“I hope parents will take their children camping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. I hope they will fish, look for fossils, turn rotten logs over to see what’s under them, and look for my treasure.”
CNBCA millionaire who buried treasure in the Rockies
has offered one main clue
Jonathan Blumberg,CNBC Wed, Apr 18 5:45 AM PDT Somewhere in the Rockies, in the roughly 1,000 miles between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Canadian border, may be a treasure chest worth millions. The man who claims to have hidden the fortune back in 2010 is Forrest Fenn, now 87, a former Vietnam fighter pilot and art dealer.
Fenn estimates that as many as 350,000 people have gone hunting for the treasure, he tells CNBC Make It , adding that there is no way of knowing whether anyone has actually gotten close. "It could be found soon or 1,000 years from now," he says.
"No one knows where that treasure chest is but me," Fenn told NPR in 2016. That includes his wife. "If I die tomorrow, the knowledge of that location goes in the coffin with me."
The main piece of guidance Fenn has offered is a cryptic 24-line poem he wrote in his self-published memoir, " The Thrill of the Chase ." He has since shared the poem on Instagram.
"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," reads one stanza.
"Read the clues in my poem over and over and study maps of the Rocky Mountains," Fenn recently told Business Insider . "Try to marry the two. The treasure is out there waiting for the person who can make all the lines cross in the right spot."
The chest is nearly a square foot in size and weighs 40 pounds when full. It supposedly contains emeralds, rubies, gold coins and diamonds — all artifacts that Fenn, a self-taught archaeologist, amassed during his own sometimes controversial explorations in the Southwest, reports Vox . The millionaire was criticized in the 1990s for excavating the San Lazaro Pueblo Indian site he bought, for example, and the FBI searched his home in 2009 in connection with the sale[quote] of artifacts looted from the Four Corners area, though no charges were filed.
Fenn originally filled the chest after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. He planned to drag it into the mountains to die beside it. After he survived, he left it in a walk-in vault at his house for years, where a couple of witnesses confirmed to NPR that they saw it filled to the brim with valuables.
He decided to hide it and launch the hunt years later, during the Great Recession. "Lots of people [were] losing their job, despair was written all over the headlines, and I just wanted to give some people hope," he told ABC News .
Some of the Fenn treasure hunters are obsessive. "Most of my 12 hours every night I'm on Google or something looking up clues," Ricky Idlett, a steamboat operator in Mississippi, told Vox. "Every night. Every night I'm looking." There are a number of online forums where enthusiasts trade theories about where the treasure might be, including an entire subreddit called r/FindingFennsGold that's devoted to the cause.
Fenn says he gets 100 emails a day, reports the New York Times . On a few occasions, he has had to call the police after unwelcome visitors showed up at his house or threatened him. "This one guy called me," Fenn told ABC News. "He said, 'Tell me where the treasure is right now. I'm going to kill you.'"
And for some, the quest has proven fatal. At least four people are believed to have died in accidents while searching. This led some to call for Fenn to end the hunt. He hasn't, but he has added a few additional clues on his blog to try to help people stay safe.
"The treasure chest is not under water, nor is it near the Rio Grande River. It is not necessary to move large rocks or climb up or down a steep precipice," he writes. "Please remember that I was about 80 when I made two trips from my vehicle to where I hid the treasure."
"The search is supposed to be fun," he added.
He has also affirmed that hiding the treasure in the first place was largely about encouraging families to enjoy the outdoors. "I wanted to give the kids something to do," he said . "They spend too much time in the game room or playing with their little handheld texting machines. I hope parents will take their children camping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. I hope they will fish, look for fossils, turn rotten logs over to see what's under them, and look for my treasure."
Overall, considering that supposedly hundreds of thousands have gone searching for the treasure, Fenn tells CNBC Make It that hiding it in the first place "has been successful beyond my wildest dreams."
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