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In Memory of the Late Forrest Fenn and His Famous Treasure

The hunt for the infamous Fenn Treasure ended in 2020, so it may be fitting (or maybe part of the plan?) that Forrest Fenn should pass on in 2020 to a new treasure hunt in the great beyond. The Santa Fe New Mexican announced that Fenn died on September 8th in his home in Santa Fe. Santa Fe Police spokesman Greg Gurulé said Fenn died of natural causes at the age of 90.

Forrest Fenn

Followers of Fenn’s long life and famous treasure hunt – this writer is one of them – know that Forrest never believed he would reach this age … he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1988. That seemingly fatal prognosis and equally mystifying recovery inspired him in 2010 to hide a box containing $2 million worth of coins, jewels and expensive items somewhere in the Rocky Mountains in a spot easily reachable on foot by someone who was 79. Thus began 10 years of fun for Fenn and 10 years of frustration – and at least five deaths – for treasure hunters.

“A pilot in the U.S. Air Force, Fenn flew hundreds of combat missions during the Vietnam War. After his service, he was a gallery owner for decades in Santa Fe. He authored 10 books, including The Thrill of the Chase, which spurred interest in both the treasure hunt and his life.”

Fenn said the treasure was located north of Santa Fe at an elevation over 5,000 feet above sea level and not in Nevada, Idaho, Utah or Canada or near the Rio Grande River. That put it in either New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, or Montana. His book gave a few more clues. It’s estimated that 350,000 people looked for the treasure, a hunt that picked up national publicity in 2012 with an interview in Newsweek.

Forrest Fenn

“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. I do not know the person who found it, but the poem in my book led him to the precise spot.”

On June 6, 2020, Fenn announced that the treasure, which may now be worth closer to $3 million, had been found under a tree in Wyoming by an unnamed person who sent photos and other evidence which confirmed the discovery – something many doubted, especially since Fenn, at the request of the finder, released nothing more than a few photos of the found treasure.

And now, Forrest Fenn will tell us no more about his treasure … unless the crafty eccentric left more for us to read or hear about it. This writer wouldn’t put it past him. After all, Fenn said at one time that he would be buried with his treasure.

“To all of those who did not find the treasure, we hope that you got some enjoyment from the chase.”

This writer certainly did. Thanks for some great stories, Forrest Fenn. You were truly one of a kind.

(This is a breaking story. More details if and when they occur.)

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Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.
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