“I made it hard deliberately. If it was easy, anyone could do it.”
Police in northern New Mexico found the body of a man believed to be Pastor Paris Wallace of Grand Junction, who went missing while searching for a mysterious horde of riches hidden by the equally mysterious Santa Fe art dealer Forrest Fenn. This is the second known death of a hunter of the Fenn treasure and some want him to reveal the location of the bronze chest filled with an estimated $2 million worth of gold and jewelry before more die trying to find it.
“Don’t look anywhere where a 79- or 80-year-old man can’t put something. I’m not that fit, I can’t climb 14,000 feet.”
Forrest Fenn gave hunters that hint in 2015, five years after he claimed to have buried the treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Fenn, a successful art dealer, got the idea for the treasure hunt when he was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. His plan was to bury a chest filled with gold, rare coins, gemstones and other valuables along with a copy of his autobiography and then commit suicide nearby as a morbid hint to treasure hunters that they’re getting close. Unfortunately, his doctors ruined his plan by being wrong about how long Fenn had to live – he’s still kicking in June 2017.
In 2010, Fenn buried a 10-by-10 inch ornate bronze box filled with 40 pounds of treasures somewhere in the Rocky Mountains between Santa Fe and the Canadian border at an elevation above 5,000 feet but, as he suggests, well below 14,000 feet. More clues were buried in a 24-line poem in his self-published book, The Thrill of the Chase.
It’s estimated that tens of thousands of treasure hunters have walked away empty-handed – except for the two who died trying – despite the hints from Fenn and help from his own blog and numerous websites devoted to finding the chest.
"No one knows where that treasure chest is but me. If I die tomorrow, the knowledge of that location goes in the coffin with me."
Besides the potential for death in the mountains, there’s one more thing treasure seekers should consider: Fenn has been under investigation since 209 by the FBI as a suspected grave-robber in a huge archeological theft case codenamed Cerberus Action – Cerberus is the multi-headed Hound of Hades from Greek mythology who guards the gates of the Underworld to prevent the dead from leaving.
Is the treasure hunt an elaborate scheme to distract attention from the grave-robbing allegations? Are the artifacts in the chest some of the items allegedly stolen from graves? Does the treasure chest even exist? Fenn claims many have gotten close but no one has found it.
Are you brave enough to try for yourself? Here’s Fenn’s poem with the clues.
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.
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.
From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
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.