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January 21, 2021 48 mins

In 2010 an eccentric art dealer hid a treasure chest with $2 million in valuables somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and published a poem with clues on where to find it. Hence began the most famous treasure hunt in modern times.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to stuff you should know, a production of I
Heart Radio. Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark,
and there's Charles W. Chuck Bryant over there. Bryant, Really,
would you say the first time? I pronounced it with
a real hard te Bryant. Yeah, you only do that

when you're mad at me, you know, like kissing through
a clenched teeth, kind like I say, Josh Clark, Right,
Marge Simpson even know the one where that guy came
in and introduced Marge's substitute teacher. Oh yeah, yeah, um
so wait what did you say? Boy? This is this

is great podcasting. Right now, I'm clearing my throat and
asking you what you said ten seconds ago. Uh? Well,
I do have a couple of weird announcements, if let's
do that before we actively get going. One is just
a quick listener shout out. And you remember in the
Hell Hell Hell episode when I couldn't think of the

Pixar movie where if you were forgotten you go away,
It's Coco. Yeah, I saw somebody right then, And is
that a good movie? I've seen nothing but good things,
but I've never watched it. Dude, Coco is easily the
best looking animated film I've ever seen. It's amazing. It
is striking. And that's from Joe Brown. He's a movie crusher.

I felt so dumb because the main song from that
movie is called remember Me. Think it's about being remembered.
The title of the song is remember Me chuck. Uh.
And also, uh, we wanted to announce that we are
edging close to one hundred thousand books sold. Yeah that's

pretty good, huh it is, and we would really like
to hit that number. Oh okay, yeah, I mean like
we uh, I mean you don't Yeah, yeah I do.
I totally do know, I totally do. Um. It's just
usually we coordinated with stuff like this so I can
prepare some remarks. Uh, you know, come on, let's see
what you gotta say. Selling book, good bye book, good you.

Hundred thousand, big number, that's what I have to say
off the cup. Yeah, we'd like to hit a hundred
thousand because that would, um, that would please a lot
of people. It's a good round number. And just because
the holidays have come and gone, you still can go
out and get that thing, the stuff you should know
Book of Interesting Facts and Figures. What it's called bit's

close stuff you should know Invisible colon uh, an incomplete
compendium of mostly interesting things. We took some grief for
not actually putting a colon on there. Oh really after
our colon heavy speak over the past few years. Yeah,
my response is that it's invisible and silent, invisible in silent,

much like us. Yeah, yeah, not at all. But the
thing is, I wonder if we shot ourselves in the
foot by making the thing bright red so people are
confused and think it's it's only a Christmas present m m,
because you're right, it's not. Just because Christmas is over,
it doesn't mean you can't get it. So it's available
everywhere still, and you can get it from indie booksellers

to Giant uh, global monopolies. Everywhere has it anywhere you
can buy books. That's right. Uh. And then my final
little quick shout out because this is an episode on
the fin Treasure. Actually know a guy who looked for
this thing, and it's my old pal from my film
industry days, Kim bro and I remember when this well,

we don't want to ruin anything, but I remember him
posting on Facebook about it some that he had looked
for it. He didn't quit his job like some people,
but he was a UM, a casual to moderately intense
UM explorer for the Finn Treasure. So that's really neat man.
Big shout out to kimbro Yeah listen, Actually, oh even better,

you won't have to email and be like you should
really listen to the Finn Treasure episode. So you just
kind of let the cat out of the bag. You
and the title of the episode. We're talking about the
Fen Treasure, and it's probably familiar to a lot of people.
It made the news pretty widely over the decade that
it was ongoing. But for those of you who aren't

aware of it, it was a treasure hunt, like a
real live treasure hunt. There was a chest of treasures
literally treasures of gold and jewels and gems and are
like archaeological artifacts hidden somewhere by a very eccentric art
dealer named Forest Finn, hence the name Finn Treasure. And

he published something in his book which is basically a
puzzle map full of clues I think nine clues, and
said you got everybody go find it and kick back
and and watched by the highest count I've seen about
three fifty thousand different people search for this treasure, some

of whom, like you mentioned, quit their jobs moved out
to the rockies so that they could um search more frequently.
Most people, though, just kind of were casually involved or
maybe followed it on the message boards that kind of thing.
But but the people who actually did go out and
look for it, we're kind of fulfilling this vision that

Forest Fin had, which was, you know, we're also just
kind of stuck on our couches in front of multiple
screens all the time, and there's so much natural beauty
out there that's just passing people's lives by. UM. And
he said, well, you know, if you put a chest
of treasure worth a couple of million dollars out there,
tell people it's somewhere out there, it might actually get
some people to go look for it. And and that

was the definite result of that whole thing. Yeah, I mean,
it's a very cool thing. I did not know about
it until the end, and I'm still trying to sort
of dance around a spoil alert. UM. But you know,
anything could have happened. It could have exploded, yep, could
have never been found and been a hoax, right, don't

forget Martians could have been Martians, it could have been found.
You'll have to listen to find out. But eventually when
things came to a conclusion is when I learned about it,
and I was kind of mad that I didn't know
about it before. I definitely would not have gone and
looked for it, but I would have done a lot
of online sleuthing just to sort of poke around because

it's kind of fun. Treasure hunts are neat Well, yeah,
that was the cool thing about this too, is like
you could do a lot of it through online sleuthing
and you could just kick back and like join the
forums and help out like that. But if you had
your own salves is what they're called, where you figure
out different solutions to the clues UM and you put
them all together. That's a solve, and you know, different

people had multiple solves UM. To prove whether it was
correct or not, try to find the you had to
actually get out there and look follow the solve that
you would come up with UM, And so a lot
of people did do that, and I think that's really
cool because it drew a lot of people out to
the Rockies, and the Rockies are indeed quite beautiful they are. Uh,

should we talk about the man himself? I think we should. Man. Yeah.
So Forest fen f E double n FO double R
as Well was born in Texas and he was always
into the great outdoors. Apparently when he was a kid,
they used to vacation at Yellowstone National Park and it
really made a pretty big impact on him. He went

through high school and then joined the Air Force and
became a pilot. Uh served in Vietnam, and after about
twenty years of service in the military, got out, moved
to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and got into the art
dealer business, which is something he really didn't know anything
about it first. No, but he, I guess, had started

collecting art um even though he wasn't like a particularly
enthused by art itself. But he liked the business of
art and art collecting. I think he liked the art
world and um, I get the impression also that it
brushed up against celebrities and you could, you know, get
rich people to part with their money pretty easily. So
sure that has something to do with it. Yeah, I

think he really liked that a lot. Um. One thing
I do want to say, I saw about his time
in Vietnam was that he said that he had flown
three hundred and twenty eight combat missions in three hundred
and forty eight days while he was there, which is
just astounding. And then apparently that drove him to become
a pacifist because he after he left the military, he

became a certified self proclaimed pacifist from from Fur the
rest of his life from what I understand, Yeah, which
that quite a few Vietnam vets went down that path.
I've heard a lot of those stories. So he uh
moves to Santa Fe in ninety two, and like you said,
by that time, he had already collected some art. What

he would you is go out and buy art from
um little known artists and then up sell it, which
is I guess the whole nut racket. But that's the
business of art collecting, as you buy low hopefully and
sell high, right. And uh. He specialized in Native American
art and also artifacts and opened the Aerosmith Finn Gallery

with his partner Rex Aerosmith. Um. Eventually he just became
the Finn Galleries with his wife Peggy, and he sold
art for you know, about eight or nine years. UM.
While he kept selling art, but in eight or nine
years he started uh selling it to really famous people
and was making a lot of money doing it. Yeah,
and he would actually he had a pretty cool tactic actually,

um where you know, if you were of some certain
level of rich or famous, he would put you up
at his gallery, which is, you know, a compound which
had lots of guest houses that were filled with art
and everything was for sale, and um he would just
kind of like, uh bathe you in luxuriousness while also
simultaneously trying to to sell you art. Um. So he

he seemed to have been living a pretty kush lifestyle
in Santa Fe for a while, and he was making like,
I think grossing back in the eighties six million a
year um in eighties money too, which is you know,
that's a lot of cheese for somebody who just came
into the art world because he said, I guess I'll
go try this next. You know, the dirtiest money too.

It's pretty dirty. Yeah, And a lot of people are
like that guy is no hero. He's very widely celebrated,
but a lot of um Native American communities, including I
believe the Pueblo, UM, say, you know, this guy is
a plunderer. And archaeologists too are not a big fan
of him either, because he would excavate UM, you know,

our archaeological sites, but without any documentation whatsoever. He just
wanted to get to the artifacts and then he would
take it and sell it. He would he would ruin
an archaeological site UM to to get to the art
and then make some money off of it. So he
didn't have He wasn't beloved universally in that sense, for sure.
It's worth pointing out. Yeah, I mean the FBI actually

investigated him. They did an undercover operation where an informat,
a wired informat just like you seen the movies, went
over to his house. I assume sort of posing is
some kind of a rich art collector, and he was
like here, like, look at all this cool stuff, like
here's some eagle feathers, which I'm not supposed to have,

and here's some human hair from antiquity, and here's some
chain mail and some prehistoric sandals and a basket and
and don't tell anyone, but I'm not supposed to have
any of this stuff. And after the raid UH in
two thousand nine, apparently no charges were brought. It says
in our article that UM people assume that the artifacts

were hidden or sold, but he had stuff confiscated, so
there was definitely only some of it there. And I'm
just not sure why no charges were ever levied against him.
He was a part of a bigger um investigation with
a lot of people, but that might have something to
do with it. I have no idea that well, he
seems to have been slick and rascally like in the

way that you know, those kind of people attract admirers
far and wide and tend to like get off the
hook in situations that other people necessarily wouldn't. So who knows.
I have no idea exactly why he wasn't prosecuted if
he was, you know, caught with that kind of stuff,
but it would kind of um be in step with

his larger personality, which is, you know, I saw him
compared to the Native American coyote archetype, you know, the
kind of the trickster, the the slick when you can
never quite pin down. He definitely had a thread of
that going through him, if not that being like you know,
his main trait. Yeah, I mean, he was definitely extent

rick He kind of flouted the rules of the art world.
He thought they were kind of stagy and he was
going to do his own thing. Um. Apparently in his
galleries he had signs that said please touch the art,
we are responsible. Um. He sold Master forgeries like as
Master forgeries and basically said, hey, if you like the painting,

by the painting the real fakes of those people who
just by it because of the real signature of the
real artist, which is interesting. Um. And he said he
had a roster full of celebrities Jessica Lang, Michael Douglas,
Steve Martin, Robert Redford, and as everyone knows, the largest
art collector on the planet, Suzanne Summers. Yeah, who he

was trying to help find a Georgia O'Keefe. Um. And
I don't from a profile of him and People magazine
that that hadn't been successful yet. But who knows what
the nineties brought. You know. Well, she had that thime
Master money, so yeah, she was rolling in the thime
as her money. She wasn't hurt. Um. So so Forest

Fin is kind of going along living his life just
being Forrest Fin from what I can tell. And he
was diagnosed with cancer. His father had had developed cancer
and uh, when when Forrest was younger, and his father
decided that rather than UM undergo uh potentially losing battle

with with cancer, UM, he would take his own life.
So he took a bunch of sleeping pills and he died.
And Forrest Uh decided he wanted to do the same.
But rather than like his father dying at home, he
knew of a spot that he wanted to die in
in the rockies, and so his idea was he was
going to put together a chest of treasure uh, and

when the time came, he was going to walk out
to this spot, UH, take a bunch of sleeping pills himself,
and lay there and die. And then at some point
somewhere sometimes somebody was going to come along, probably and
find this treasure chest being clutched by an old skeleton.
That was his idea. But the whole idea kind of
took a left turn, Chuck, because he actually got better.

He didn't he didn't die from cancer. He actually beat it.
And I think that came as a bit of a
surprise to him. Yes, I imagine pretty pleasant surprise. Uh.
So he wrote a self published memoir called The Thrill
of the Chase Publishing, and he um In it contained

a poem with six rhyming stanzas printed on the map
of the Rockies. And I think we should take a
break and read this poem right after this. All right,

Fenn has written a poem, and I think we should
just read it. You want to take turns? Oh? Sure?
Are we going to do our voices like the Halloween episode?
Or you can do whatever you want to know? I agree,
we'll skip that one. I'm not going to read it
as Sammy Davis Jr. You want to go first to me? Uh,

dealer's choice. Okay, I'm gonna go you ready, all right?
As I have gone alone in there and with my
treasures bold, I can keep my secret ware and hint
of riches new and old. My turn, Ye begin it
where warm waters halt. That's the first clue of where

to start, by the way, and take it in the
canyon down not far but too far to walk. Put
in below the home of Brown Capital b. Yeah, that's
a big one. From there, it's no place for the me.
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 Terry scant with marvel gaze,
just take the chest and go in peace? Okay. Uh
so why is it that I must go and leave
my trope for all to seek the answers? I already
know I've done it, tired, and now I'm weak and finally,

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. This
is really exciting, I gotta say, sure, especially the back
and forth. You know, I'm really appreciative of us doing
that was a really amazing literary device. So what this
was was a very cryptic poem about this treasure that

he's hidden, and uh, it was a real treasure, like
you said it was. I mean some people say possibly
up to three million dollars worth of golden loot. Um.
I imagine just being a part of the fin treasure
makes it even more valuable at auction. So who knows
what it would fatch? You know? Yeah, I think, um,

from what I've seen that there's a pretty wide belief
that the treasure sold intact as the finn Treasure, would
be worth way more than its estimated market value of
the combined parts. Oh totally. There's some rich person that's
just like, I want to have this in my house.
I'll pay ten million bucks for it. Uh, we should

say the box itself was actually a treasure as well, right, Yeah,
it was a twelfth century bronze treasure chest basically, I
think a ten inch by ten inch treasure chest or chest.
The fact that it contained treasure made it a treasure
chest by definition, but I don't know if that's what
it was originally built for. But yeah, it's a remarkable
looking box just just on its own. It's the kind

of heft and size and just shape that you would
imagine opening and being like, wow, there's hundreds of rare
gold coins among other things in here. Yeah, so, uh,
rare gold coins, um two gold nuggets supposedly as big
as a hen's egg. That that's pretty neat to look at,
I imagine. And then artifacts like pre Columbian figurine, some

jade carvings from China, antique jewelry, emeralds, rubies, like the
kind of thing that you would open up in. I
think he you know, he wanted a bit of a
wow factor and not just like a stack of cash. Yeah,
well apparently he was originally going to put thousand dollar
bills in there, but but yeah, but he was like,
I don't know when this thing is going to be found,

and who knows what kind of you know, uh, what
kind of shape those those that paper currency is going
to be in. And also he's like, who knows if
there'll be banks accepting that kind of currency any longer.
So he decided to put in more, um, everlasting treasures
like gold and things like that. So he takes this
box chuck and this treasure chest. He goes to the

spot somewhere in the Rockies where he he was he
wont he was going to go lay down and die,
but rather than lay down and die, he just leaves
the chest there, comes back, publishes this book and then
you know, let's everybody know about it. And it takes
a few years to catch on because I believe he's
self published the book. Um, so he didn't have a
lot of marketing behind it. But word of mouth started

to spread that there was a man from Santa Fe
who claimed to have put a two million dollar treasure
chest out in the woods somewhere and had published a
poem that that contained all the clues you needed to it,
and so people started really getting into this, right, Yeah,
I mean he didn't um. He gave away a few

extra little clues, but basically said, the clues are in
this poem. Uh. There are nine of them. They are
listed in consecutive order, and they are you know, there
are a series of steps that you have to take,
um starting with that second stanza. Um. He did also
say it's somewhere in the rocky mountains between Santa Fe

and Canada. Another big clue was that it's an elevation
of about five thousand feet, so that that's a big
one that rules a lot of stuff out. And then
this last extra clue is also pretty big. He said,
it's not in a mine or in a graveyard or
near any man made structure. And he said that last
part from what I saw, because people were starting to

do really dumb things and and going for really far afield.
And he kept reminding people because so this is something
that kind of um emerged from from reading about this stuff.
He became part of this community. People would call him up,
they'd text him, they'd email him, like he became friends
with a lot of the most hardcore searchers. Um. And

you know, sometimes they would ask him for clues or
hints and he would just ghost him. But others just
were kind of like, you know, I'm sitting in this
one spot and you know, thinking of you right now
because you you sent me here through this. This treasure
hunter just wanted to thank you. Like he became a
friend to a lot of these people. Um. But the
one thing he kept saying to this crowd was, I

was eighty years old carrying a forty pound treasure chest
when I went out to this place, Like like, this
is not a place where you have to climb up
any sort of precipice or go down a precipice. Um,
it's not that hard to get to. Just remember, like,
it's the kind of place that an eighty year old
man carrying a treasure chest weighing forty pounds can get

to by himself because there was no one there. There
were no witnesses, um. And it was just his word
that this was actually there that people had to take
it for for you know, on face value. Yeah, one
of his friends supposedly saw what he claimed was the
treasure chest in his walking close at once. But that's

kind of the only verification and that this wasn't some
big hoax. I think people took him at his word.
And you know, if you're gonna figure something like this out,
you have to start. If you don't get that first
clue right, then you might as well not even bother.
So it really comes down to begin it to where
waters I'm sorry, begin it where warm waters halt and

take it in the canyon down. You gotta find that place.
And people like, what does that mean? Are their rivers converging?
Is it a hot springs going into a river? Um?
The first thing I thought was like, maybe he's being cheeky.
Maybe it's like, uh, some primitive National park bath house
that doesn't have hot water, right, you know, like, don't

don't look in nature it's a bathroom. That's Some people
actually took um below the home of Brown to mean
an outhouse. I'm not kidding. I saw that in a
couple of places, but Brown is capitalized. Yeah, I know,
I know, But that's the like that that like you're
idea about, you know, it being like a place without

hot water. This pretty pretty mainstream thinking actually, like the
like there were people who really got into this and
started seeing things that just were not there. Yeah, of course,
so um there. The whole thing is there was a
lot of question about how you should interpret this and
like I didn't see that that, like the whole thing

actually did start with beginning where warm waters hault. A
lot of people suspected that the real first clue was
in the first stanza, but apparently that's not the case.
It is um, as I have gone alone in there
and with my treasures bold I can keep my secret
ware and hint of Rita's new and old. People were

looking at things like, um, so in that first line,
as I have gone alone in there, they're like, well,
if you look at um the word gone and the
word alone, the number one is spelled out, and those
two words, maybe these are some sort of coordinates that
start with one one Like this is the level of
thought that bating too much into it, way too much.

And yeah, I think he even kind of tried to
help guide people away from that, like you don't need
to be a cryptologist to get this right. This is
you know, uh, it's it's not that kind of a
puzzle like it's it's it's different than that. Um yeah,
I mean he said there were no codes, no anagrams.
It was just like warm waters, dummy, right, But that

didn't stop anybody from from saying like, no, no, you're
a liar. And that's clearly one one or the first
two numbers in whatever coordinates you're giving us. Interesting. So, uh,
he did accomplish his goal as far as getting people
out there. Um, like you said, like he got emails
where people talked about these amazing places they never would

have seen otherwise. And I imagine that brought him a
lot of joy because that was the whole point for him,
was to was to get people out there. And uh,
I think he had the idea initially during the financial
crisis when everyone was feeling down about stuff, and he said,
this is really gonna uh if people find out about it,
this is gonna spice up a lot of people's lives
and get them out into nature. Yeah. Because again, like

you could sit there and be like, Okay, this is
you know, this is where I think the starting point is,
and I'm gonna go on to Google Earth and start
here and try to find the next clue and put
together a solve. But again, if you had thought that
your your solve was onto something you had to go
out to the rockies and go see for yourself. Um.
So it really did get all those people out to nature.
And you know there there were so many like, um,

thanks and messages and you know, um just kind of uh,
what's the word I'm looking for where you honor somebody
with thanks or something like that. Yeah, there were accolades
for a forest friend for doing this because you know,
he helped change a lot of people's lives. But um,

there were definitely cases where things went far enough off
the rails that some of these treasury hunters did not
come back from, you know, going to verify their solves
in the in the woods in real life. Yeah, I
mean sadly, it looks like there were five people that died.
Certainly others that were rescued that could have died. Um.

One man named Jeff Murphy I think died from a fall.
A man named Eric Ashby was found in the Arkansas River.
There was a man named Randy Bill you who he
was one of these full timers. He moved from Florida
to Colorado and he died and was found near the
Rio Grand River. There was a preacher named Paris Waller

Um um, sorry Wallace a priest who was Um, he died.
And then just before this thing came to its conclusion
in March, there were two men found. Uh. One of
them was alive and one of them, named Michael Sexon,
was actually dead. They went out as a pair, which
is what he always recommended, like go out with a buddy,

don't be dangerous. Um. But one of these guys died
near a Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. Yeah, and Um,
the other guy, like you said, was rescued. That was
the second time that pair had had to be rescued
in the area in a month. Man. Yeah, so you
can imagine that law enforcement in some of these places
around Colorado in New Mexico where people were getting lost

or dying. Um called on Fenn to say, like just
stop this, just call us off, like tell everybody where
it is, like this has gotten dangerous. People are are
losing their lives now because of this, Like people have died,
and Forest Fen had um a fairly libertarian response to that.
He said, there's there's not Um. He said, life is

too short to wear both a belt and suspenders. If
someone drowns in the swimming pool, we shouldn't drain the pool.
We should teach people to swim, which has a certain homespun,
wild West folksy sensibility to it, for sure. Um, it
makes sense like he wasn't he. It's not like he
was the original Tom Fool who was sending people to

their death in the quicksand that he knew was going to,
you know, catch them on their way to find this treasure.
Like he was. He was trying to get people out
of doors, and he was trying to guide them as
best he could in a safe manner without giving anything away. Um.
And you can make a case one way or the
other that he was responsible or not responsible for those

people's deaths. I think it just comes down to your
philosophy on personal responsibility or you know, um, indirect responsibility. Yeah.
And he also after that quote said why do I
have to pay school taxes when I don't have kids? Right,
I don't care about your kids. And now I'm going
to get emails from libertarians. Yeah, I don't think libertarians

listening to this anymore. We discussed them. Oh, who knows, Now,
I'm sure there's some out there. I'm just kidding. Of course,
we have libertarian listeners. So there was some other you know,
aside from the deaths, there's some other darker sort of
aspects to this story. Um. When you have hundreds of
thousands of people looking for something in national parks and
in wildlife, you're gonna get some people that are not

accustomed to being in these places and treating them with
their respect they deserve, and uh damaging protected spaces and
uh species. There was one person charged with the misdemeanor
for digging under a memorial cross owned by the New
Mexico State Game Commission. Um. They had to actually backfill
the space to stabilize the monument. Um. There was other people.

There were other people arrested over the years for digging
in national parks, digging in cemeteries, people being indicted on
federal charges. Um. You know this is what you're gonna
get when you sort of have a wild West treasure
hunt in in very kind of sacred areas. Yeah. Especially, Yeah,
you're gonna attract some nuts and kooks for sure, who
who don't listen and who just stopped thinking you're using

their brains. Um. One I was, I believe, got a
restraining order UM taken out against him by Fenn and
his family because he had decided that the real treasure
was fens granddaughter and that that was the key to everything,
and had started stalking Fens home. Um, which is kind
of scary. Yeah, did you see anything else about that guy?

About the stalker? Yeah, I had. His name was Francisco
Paco Chavez. Paco was his nickname, and uh, he was
just clearly had had issues. I don't want to like
diagnose him or anything, but um, it wasn't just about
this treasure hunt. He at one point has sent pictures

of hearts, the treasure chest and a shoe with a
message that said one shoe can change your life Cinderella me. Um.
He said he wanted to marry his granddaughter. He eventually
was put on three years probation in and then in
twenty nineteen showed up at his house again on on
the like, Uh, you know, he had a gate at

home and I was trying to get buzzed in. They
saw who it was and he just sort of disappeared
before the cops could show up. But um, that that
pretty scary. Yeah, I can't imagine. Um, I mean, that's
super duper scary to have somebody zeroed in on you
like that, under any circumstance, you know. Yeah, Um, I
think there was another guy who tried to gain entry

into the house with an axe and had to be
held at gunpoint by Fen's daughter. Um. But he was
the kind of guy who inspired love and support by
his family. And I saw a uh quote from his grandson,
whose name is shiloh Old, which is pretty wide wild
West name, uh, and he said, you know, this has

been you know, really hard on the family, but you know,
we we fully support our grandfather. Um. It's I thought
that was kind of neat, and it says a lot
about his family that they were willing to endure all
this without you know, being like, just tell him where
the where the treasure is? Like, this has gotten out
of hand, so should we take another break and then

talk about this mysterious conclusion you've been talking about totally?

So people are still looking for this thing, it's um,
I believe twenty right June of Yeah, you're speaking in
a you know, past tense. Well, no, actually, I think
there are people still looking at this for this as
we'll see, but they're not necessarily looking for the treasure anymore.
Because in June of there was an announcement made by

forest Fen that said, it's been found. It's over. Somebody
found fair and square and and um. Thus began this frustrating,
maddening slow trickle of vague confirmations that this had been
found and it had been found legitimately. That actually encouraged

conspiracy theories about whether the treasure had even existed at all,
or had ever been out there in the wilderness at all. Um.
That still kind of persisted among some people of this day.
But from what I saw, most of the people who
were involved in the treasure hunt are satisfied that it
was found and that it was found fair and square.

Are you saying there are people in this country that,
in the face of hard facts and truth, Uh, still
believe in the conspiracy. Chuck, believe it or not. That
may be true. I think the jury is still out,
so UM. I think it's kind of interesting what he
said when when they did find it, he said, Uh,
it has been found under a canopy of stars and

the lush forced vegetation the Rocky mountains, and had not
moved from the spot where I hit it more than
ten years ago. I do not know the person who
found it. That would change. But the poem in my
book led him to the precise spot, and uh, like
you said, because of the conspiracy um individuals, he said, Uh.
He posted a picture of it and he's like, here

it is. Here are some of the objects. They have weathered.
It's darker than it was ten years ago when I
left it in the ground and walked away. Here's like
a bracelet that's been tarnished. And yet some people still
were like, Nope, I don't believe the facts in front
of my face. This is a hoax. Yeah, I mean
the fact. The fact is that the guy who um
found it didn't want to be named. So now you

had an anonymous person named the Finder who said that
you know, he had found it. He wouldn't reveal how
he found it because he was saying that he had
been to this place obviously to get the treasure, and
it was so beautiful and pristine that he said it
was not an appropriate place to become a tourist destination.
He and want people going out there and looking for
maybe treasure that was dropped along the way um, or

just you know, trying to see for themselves this place.
It was a sacred place in his opinion, and he
wanted to defend it so um to this day. Uh,
the second part has still held true. People don't know
where he found this thing, which is why I said,
some people are still looking for this. They're not looking
for the treasure anymore. They're looking for the spot, like

the spot has become you know, the treasure. UM. And
there was something that that we left out before that
I think is worth mentioning um because Forest Fen was
in correspondence with a lot of these people who are
searching for this hard core UM. They would tell him
like where they'd been or whatever, and he wouldn't give
him anything in response. He'd just take the information, you know.

But then later in interviews he said that multiple people
had been within a couple hundred feet of the treasure
and just hadn't been able to find it. Um. And apparently,
uh one of the reasons why is this anonymous finder
said that somebody had gone out that way and put
a misleading blaze. Ablaze is one of the clues, but

it's also something that marks trail, and it was the
penultimate clue. I believe if you found the blaze, you
were very close to the treasure and somebody had put
some other misleading blaze out there to be a jerk,
I guess, or throw other people off the trail. Um,
but there are a lot of people who had come
really really close and just walked right past it. Basically, Yeah,

and apparently the original blaze had been damaged over the decade,
so I don't think it was even visible to begin with.
Then you had the misleading blaze and this mystery person
would eventually be out of though because of a lawsuit. Uh.
There was a woman, a real estate attorney from Chicago
named Barbara Anderson who said that treasure is mine. Um,

I solved it, and somebody hacked into my email and
my cell phone and stole I solve and it's this person,
whoever it is. And so because of this lawsuit, uh,
Jack stuff, a thirty two year old medical student had
to be revealed and and go to court, and um,

we have we are one degree removed from Jack Stupe.
I was wondering if friend Dazzo knew him or not.
They they're there, they worked there around the same time,
I would guess, right, Yeah, so he was a writer
for The Onion and we knew folks from The Onion,
and uh, I didn't text our buddy Joe Randazzo. But
I did text Joe garden Um, former Onion writer, and
he knew him, and he said after uh, and asked

him if I could quote him on all this, and
he said, after he found it. He said, we had
a nice little Onion alumni chat about him. And he
said he's a decent enough guy. And he said, but
as my uh, he said, as my friend John Harris
for The Onion put it, I didn't not expect him
to find buried treasure. So uh. He said that he
was the kind of guy. And you know, I read

a little bit more about him. He was, um apparently
into this kind of thing. When he was a kid.
He was obsessed with the show Push Nevada, which was
a TV show reviewers could solve a real million dollar mystery. Um.
Joe said he admired his pluck. Uh. He had gained
some notoriety before I'm sorry, after The Onion when he

wrote for something called The Wonket and uh he was
the person who in two thousand and eight made a
drogatory term about Sarah Palin's uh special needs son and
kind of got a lot of grief for that. Um
got out of journalism, went to medical school, and then
started searching for this treasure. Yeah, I guess he liked

um only meeting with patients everything else. He hated about
medical school from what I read. UM, But yeah, he
just kind of dedicated his life to this. From what
I saw, he didn't really share how into it he
was with friends and family, UM, because he didn't know
if he was ever going to find it, and it
was just a weird thing to to be into this

deep as far as he was concerned. So he seemed
to have some perspective. But UM, I saw some some
of the other treasure hunters were like this guy, Jack Stuf.
He he was kind of a lone wolf, but at
some points he went on and like and joined some
groups that were trying to solve UM the treasure hunt

as a group UM. And there were questions at first
about whether he had basically taken a solve from one
of the groups that he participated in and solved it
himself and wasn't sharing the treasure. But um that group
was involved in basically looking at like alone has the
number one, and they were just totally off. What Stuf

apparently did was apply his UM degree in English and
literature and did a close reading and studied forest Fan
and watched all the interviews with him, read every interview
he could find to see if he slipped up or um,
just to kind of understand who he was more, and
then applied that to it and treated it less like

a cryptogram and more like a poem that was that
was symbolic, and that apparently is how he cracked the code. Yeah,
I mean um. He said that he he did notice
a couple of slip ups and interviews that Forrestment had
made and that he said, I just guess no one
else noticed these. Um. And he said his like, he

obviously used the poem to to follow the steps, but
in his mind it seemed like um. And there's that
great Outside magazine article that if you want to read
more about it, it's pretty in depth about him. But um,
he said, what he really wanted to figure out was
the where he thought he might want to die. Uh.
And he thought that was sort of the biggest clue

of all and that it would probably be some really
beautiful place and not you know, like a rocky, dusty
hillside or something like that. Uh. And it turns out
that he was right. And um, you know, he said
that that one A's had worn away over the years.
But he went to the spot where he said, I
think this is the spot where he wants to die.

He went there about twenty five times over a couple
of years, and I just, you know, finally found it.
Pretty neat story. Yeah that that, Um, that Outside magazine
article on him is pretty interesting. I found one I
think is even better. Um. It was in New York
Magazine by Benjamin Wallace called the Great twenty one century

treasure Hunt. I believe, um that was that it was
really provide a lot of extra details in different ways
of looking at it that I hadn't seen elsewhere. So
and it also profiled a different hunter who didn't find it,
by the last name of Posey Um, but is a
pretty interesting cat himself too. Yeah, so Stuf ended up. Um.
He said he became friends, like legit friends with Fenn

before he died in September September seven. Um, he was
ninety years old. And uh, he said, you know, I'm
hanging onto this for now. I may split it up
and may display some of it. I may sell some
of it. He's really not sure what he's gonna do.
I think I'm with you. Like, if he really wants
to bring in the windfall, he should sell it all

as one big package to some super rich person who
wants to display this thing. But right now he's kind
of hanging onto it. And um, it was really seemed
like genuinely broken up when when Fenn died. Oh yeah,
that guy was very much beloved in the community for sure.
Like there there was one of those guys who went missing,

one of the searchers who went missing, I believe um. Oh,
I don't remember which one it was, but he was
missing for seven months and after the initial official search
and rescue UM was called off forest Fenn paid for
a chartered helicopter to continue the search, and a lot
of the treasure hunters searched for him too. So it

was a very tight knit community and this guy was
like this kind of homespun odd figure to them that
they could text and say hi to. He was super approachable, um,
and yet he he wouldn't give you anything. He wouldn't
give you any hint as to where the treasure was.
So it must have been really interesting for him too
to um to kind of put himself in that kind

of jeopardy or put the treasure in that kind of
jeopardy by interacting with people who we're spending tons of
their waking hours looking for this treasure UM and not
giving them anything, not a single clue. It must have
been pretty fun for him to to that that's how
he spent his last days, you know. Oh, totally. Uh.
And if you're thinking in terms of movies, like I

always think, there is a documentary which I wasn't able
to watch, called The Lure from that UM obviously before
it was found. They made this documentary about people who
were searching uh. And you cannot stream it online, but
I think you can actually buy it from the website,
and they are making supposedly a movie about it. UM
director Jake Zamanski has been hired to make a movie

based on journalist Hudson Morgan's misadventures looking for this thing himself. Uh.
And it's about a group of millennials who set out
to find it and getting wacky misadventures. And it's described
as uh an action comedy Goonies meets the Hangover. Oh.
I never thought I would hear those words put the

other on the sid So who knows, maybe we'll see
that one day. Uh. Wow, Okay, well, um, let's see
you got anything else. Nothing else, let's the find treasury.
But if you want to know more about it, go
check out that outside article in the New York Magazine
article and then just prepare to dive in and you
can still join it and figure out where the spot is.

Just be safe, you know, be smart. And since I
said be safe and be smart, that means it's time
for listener mail. I'm gonna call this layoff Cisco guy eyes.
So uh, in our Buffets episode, I think you specifically
sort of bagged on Cisco the restaurant delivery service. I

was bagging on restaurants that use Cisco's pre made ingredients
and try to pass it off as if it's just
sure you know their own stuff. Alright, So take that, Brandon.
But Brandon says this, Greetings guys have listened to many
years and rarely needed it right in. But on the
Buffet episode, that was a massive misconception of the role
of Cisco at restaurants. I have worked for Cisco for

thirteen years, delivery for ten, and now a shuttle driver
hauling food from Salt Lake City to Grand Junction, Colorado
every day. I love my job. Cisco was portrayed on
the show as a prepackaged, frozen microwave food company. Uh.
While we do have select items that are ready to
eat and frozen, the vast majority of our food supply
our fresh foods, fresh foods and vegetables. We supply restaurants, hospitals, schools, etcetera.

With everything needed for kitchens to become successful. Our trucks
are dual zone refrigerators for frozen and fresh items. I
hope you can do an episode on food delivering how
semitrucks are used to keep the cold chain supply and action.
I hope this didn't go on for too long. Didn't,
And I hope your perception of Cisco will change for
the better. Sure, yeah, I mean I love Cisco. Now

let's all go to Cisco lots of love. That's from
Brandon writer in Colorado, and he saidps, can you plug
my very small gaming channel on YouTube? Sure? It is
Brandon due to gaming and that is d O O
D all one word Brandon dude gaming on YouTube. Yes,

I haven't seen his gaming channels, so let's just go
ahead and hope that it's all above boards. That's a
good point. You should probably do that. Yeah, we should,
we'll get we'll get busy on that. You go and
click on it in the first video, is right. Yeah,
that would be the least of my worries. Actually, actually
that'd be fine. Uh. Well, thanks a lot, Brandon. Sorry

for really kind of I guess indirectly talking smack about Cisco.
That was my intent. So thank you for calling me out.
Uh And if you want to be like Brandon and
call me out or call Chuck out too, you can
do that to you once in a while. If you like,
you can send us an email. The Stuff podcast at
iHeart radio dot com. Stuff you Should Know is a

production of I heart Radio. For more podcasts for my
heart Radio, visit the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or
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