An ornate box stuffed with gold coins, nuggets and precious gems stashed a decade ago has been found. At least a million dollars worth of hidden treasure was discovered somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. At least four people died, out of the thousands who searched. Clues in the form of a poem were finally deciphered but now, there’s a fresh mystery, the person who recovered the chest may have “hacked” the solution from another treasure seeker.
A treasure chest with millions in gold
The cache was called “Fenn’s Treasure” or “Forrest Fenn’s Gold” after the antiquities collector from New Mexico who hid it. With Barack Obama’s economy in the tank, Fenn wanted to give folks some real “hope,” so he started a treasure hunt. “The country was going into a recession and everybody was losing their jobs. I wanted to give somebody some hope.” That was only one of his motivations. “The other was that I wanted kids to get off the couch and go up to the mountains.”
It certainly did the trick. Mr. Fenn figures that “hundreds of thousands of people” were out there searching for the “ornate, heavy Romanesque box” full of gold in the past ten years. Unfortunately four treasure seekers died. Mr. Fenn isn’t happy about that. He went out of his way to make things safe. “Nobody should have risked their lives, but certainly there were some tragic losses, and I’m very sorry for that, but I think, generally speaking, it’s been a good thing.”
The only information that Fenn revealed other than his poem of clues was that “it is hidden in the Rocky Mountains, somewhere between Santa Fe and the Canadian border at an elevation above 5,000 feet. It’s not in a mine, a graveyard or near a structure.” No need to bother or disturb anything. When he heard about the tragic deaths, he added, “The treasure is not hidden in a dangerous place. I hid it when I was about 80 years old.”
An excerpt from The Thrill of the Chase gives the flavor of the clues. “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.” Another clue is “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.”
A new mystery
Now that the treasure has been found, a fresh new mystery surrounds the discovery. Fenn won’t reveal the identity of the person who came back with the gold, other than “I do not know the person who found it, but the poem in my book led him to the precise spot.” He adds, “The guy who found it does not want his name mentioned. He’s from back East.” He sent Fenn a photo of the treasure as confirmation.
Even now, Fenn won’t reveal the location. “It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago.” The gold nuggets, gold coins and precious gems are valued at well over a million dollars and probably nearer to two million at today’s prices.
A real estate attorney in Chicago is steaming mad. Barbara Andersen claims whoever walked away with that box hacked the solution from her computer. She filed an injunction in federal District Court over it. “He stole my solve! He followed and cheated me to get the chest.” Andersen asserts that “she solved the puzzle but was hacked by someone she doesn’t know.” She wants the court to “stop an unknown defendant from selling booty from the treasure chest. She is also asking the court to give the chest to her.”