The Dragon Bracelet…


by forrest fenn



Treasure-Chest-Forrest-FennWhen Don Johnson asked a question on this blog about a coat bracelet that adorns the treasure chest, I decided to write something here that might help quench his curiosity. It also gives me an opportunity to revisit my memory of Eric Sloane.
I first met Eric in 1975 at the Dutch Treat Club in New York as the guest of Armand Hammer and his brother Victor. I told that story with some relish in my book Seventeen Dollars a Square Inch, which is full of tales about the storied Eric Sloane.
Until he died in 1985, Eric and I enjoyed a relationship that surely is held in reserve for a special few. We lunched most days when he was in town, and I was in awe of him. He was twenty-five years my senior and just two years younger than my father.
Eric and I enjoyed an unprecedented custom of wanting to please each other. When I was in his home or studio and saw something I liked – he gave it to me. And when he was in my gallery our staff was instructed to gift him anything that tweaked his interest as he strolled our space. That’s how I got my cigar store Indian. Fortunately, our taste in each other’s personal possessions normally didn’t exceed about $20,000.
Eric consigned his work to us and our storage rooms were filled with his paintings, although during the last year of his life we sold one every other working day, on average.
But he was a dichotomy. Occasionally he’d walk into my office carrying a painting wet off of his easel. He’d say, “Forrest, I don’t much like this painting, it’s not very good, I’m thinking of throwing it out in the alley. What do you think?” That meant he wanted some walking-around money. So I’d say, “Oh no Eric, that’s the greatest painting I ever saw, let me buy it from you,” As he was busy acquiescing I’d pull a roll of bills from my drawer and start stacking them up. Eric would yell, “Forrest stop, that’s enough, please stop.” So of course I didn’t stop until the pile reached about 65% of what the painting was worth retail. With that deal done we’d go to the Pink and Eric would treat me to lunch with my money. We purchased sixty-eight painting from him in that manner over a nine year period, and in 1984 we gave Eric $346,980.
After a few months Eric’s pockets were full of $100 bills. He heard that because drug dealers had large hoards of American dollars our treasury was planning to recall all of its cash extant, and replace it with a different currency. That worried Eric and he decided to spend his cash money.
Coincidentally, we had a very nice canary diamond in our jewelry display. It was 43 carets. I remember the size because it was two carets smaller than the Hope Diamond that’s on display in the Smithsonian. Eric acquired our lovely canary for a Campbell Soup box full of money, and his wife’s very handsome gold dragon coat bracelet that was littered with rubies, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds. That was her addition to the trade and I was pleased with our mutual agreement. And that, Don Johnson, is how I acquired the famous bracelet.
And I might add that Eric’s wife also was pleased with the transaction because her husband was a very generous man.


added by dal-
Forrest did not send along a photo of the dragon bracelet. If you want to see it I guess you will have to find the chest because it is in a zip lock inside. He told me he put it in there “because the bracelet has a stainless steel hinge that might be effected by moisture if it is not found for a few centuries”.

49 thoughts on “The Dragon Bracelet…

  1. I treasure all your stories so much and I’m delighted to peek inside your world. What a special bond you both had with them…pretty neat.
    Thank you for continuing to share with us.

  2. Well now Forrest, that story was not for naught… it ought to bring ladies out of the woods on a trajectory straight down the canyon yelling, “Geronimo!” without a care for how far is too far to run.

    Every lady out searching thanks you Peggy for allowing Forrest to place the bracelet in the TC. 🙂

    • That’s funny Nor and rather creative humor too ; ) I’m rather visual and it’s stuck in my head now. Kinda reminds me of the Blonde and the alligator joke; I think Dal might like this one…

      A young blonde was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana. She wanted a pair of real alligator shoes in the worst way, but she didn’t want to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking. After becoming very frustrated with the “no haggle” attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the blonde shouted, “Maybe I’ll just go out and catch my own alligator so I can get a pair of shoes at a reasonable price!” The shopkeeper said, “By all means, be my guest. Maybe you’ll luck out and catch yourself a big one!” Determined, the blonde turned and headed for the swamps, set on catching herself an alligator. Later in the day, the shopkeeper is driving home, when he spots the young woman standing waist deep in the water, shotgun in hand. Just then, he sees a huge 9-foot alligator swimming quickly toward her. She takes aim, kills the creature and with a great deal of effort hauls it on to the swamp bank. Lying nearby were several more of the dead creatures. The shopkeeper watches in amazement. Just then the blonde flips the alligator on its back, and frustrated, shouts out, “Darn, this one isn’t wearing any shoes either!”

      • You are so right Carolyn. I would also love to see and hear the story and symbolism as it relates to Forrest’s life -behind every unique piece in the chest. For a time in college many years ago I studied art and architectural history, and could kick myself for finishing with a different major. Would have enjoyed being a museum acquisitions curator.

  3. F, your stories of your collection pieces are remarkable. Some stories are simple while others contain a great deal of detail. I hope you have the story pieces written down so that the history behind them will follow them for centuries. Do you plan on writing a history of the collected works of Forrest Fenn by Forrest Fenn? I hope you do. You are worth it. If you do, I hope you fill it with lots of colorful photos.

  4. Its fun to see things like that diamond and to hear about things like the bracelet. But just try to put a value on your friendship with Eric Sloane. When I think about that I start to understand a little about what the chase is. I am sure that he and many more await a joyous reunion with you. As you say ‘at the great banquet table.’

  5. Thank you Forrest, I had never heard that story. I can only imagine what that must look like. Don’t think I would ever have occasion to wear something like that ! LOL
    Guess I could rent a granddaughter to wear it while we had tea at grannys . 🙂

  6. Forrest- I love this story and am thankful you continue to be so generous with your time. I’m finding myself at the beginning of one these kinds of friendships, and it’s nice to see where it might go. Though -Apparently I need to start to saving up for a roll of hundreds in my drawer. 🙂

  7. A number of months ago, someone posted the observation that Eric Sloane’s actual last name, Hinrichs, was hidden in “hint of riches” in the first stanza. Deb recently noticed that his actual first name, Everard, was similarly hidden in “ever drawing” in the third stanza. The “rules” for teasing out these hidden names are not clear, but seem to include gathering letters from the beginnings and endings of nearby words and sometimes reordering them.

    In the first line of the poem, one can get Sloane by adding the s from “as” to the letters of “alone.” Finally, one can get the letters for Eric from the the first two and last two letters of line 3 in stanza 1.

    Even if this is some sort of hint as to how the nine clues are hidden, and it may very well not be, it is hard to see where to begin because there are so many possible combinations of letters. It’s analogous to the dilemma Astree recently pointed out about anagrams: if you have enough letters you can anagram anything. On the other hand, I don’t think Forrest ever specifically ruled out this kind of simple wordplay.

    • Eliza, so simple and logical for you and ff. Just not me. I was able to anagram larger geographical areas, but only because I had already landed there in my solution.

      Eric Sloane references and stories are wonderful and he was clearly a dear friend of Forrest but references to Eric don’t show up at all in TTOTC book.

      If all you need is the poem, a good map, with GE and TOTC book being helpful, how would an average searcher years from now know about Eric Sloane?

      • Forrest writes about Eric at some length in the preface to TTOTC on pages 6 and 7. To the extent that these hints exist at all (I’m still uncertain), they would only be hints about how we are to construct the clues, not clues themselves. It is interesting that the word “hint” shows up here in the poem, as if to suggest to us that there might be an important one nearby.

        • Eliza, thanks for clearing up my misinformation about Eric Sloane, especially since he was such an important person in Forrest’s life. Your anagrams sure line up nicely with his name(s). I had been waiting for a copy of TOTC in the mail and it arrived this afternoon.

    • Brilliant job teasing out Eric Sloane!! dang!

      It would take an entire novella to specifically rule out all the creative options searchers have come up with. 🙂 we’re a resourceful bunch!

      However , a FF scrapbook entry this year ruled out “ciphers, riddles, formulas, codes, etc” and I think (imo) anything that requires any wordplay formula at all is no longer in play. It killed my 2 darling solutions too, — one based on anagrams, and one based on an acrostic code.
      But what do I know?
      I still hang on to homonyms as fair play though. 😉
      Best luck!

    • @rodan, intentional modification of caret could be a simple play on words since punctuation related carets modify the word or it could carry any number of ancient or modern symbolic meanings IMO. A diamond that large could modify a relationship (buying love) although I’m not implying that.
      Here are some posibilities:
      Military distinction
      Pointed downward, the chevron is associated with Venus and with Isis, Ishtar, and other female goddess figures, including the Virgin Mary. Pointed upward, the chevron is associated with Mars and all gods of war. When shown intersecting one another, the symbolic meaning is the joining of man and woman, the blending of female and male life energies (androgynously or heterosexually). The Masonic set-square and compass icon represents such intersection, said by some initiates to symbolize the combining of boundaries and morality—body and spirit, politics and religion—instruments of the Great Architect of the Universe.

  8. Thanks Forrest, for the story about your wonderful friendship with Eric and how you acquired the dragon bracelet. It makes me want to read your book about Eric, but I can’t afford it! 🙂

  9. When I first saw Dragon, I remembered Green. Funny how tea and new beginnings fits into it?

    Just something that came to mind today.

  10. A few posts north of here I suggested that pinching off the beginnings and ends of nearby words might be a way to generate clues. I think there were more hints in this direction in the “Six questions more with Forrest Fenn” piece on Jenny Kile’s blog from 2/4/14.

    Start with that puzzling phrase “only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.” It’s certainly not very helpful by itself, but the fact that the language is, well, odd, suggests that something other than a literal reading of the phrase might be at play here. Forrest’s subsequent answer(s) to 6Q may shed some light.

    Start with “Autobiographers always lean toward the subject.” Since “autobiographers” is plural, the subject is “us.” So they lean “to us.”
    Glue the two words together and you get “tous,” which isn’t a word itself, but if you say it out loud, assuming it rhymes with “house,” you get “Taos.”

    Now look at the third quote: at leAST Once a year…

    or the last quote. …SO busy TAlking…

    I’ll let you do the others.

    So this brings us back to the original phrase. I suspect that we are to pick out a few LETTERS in “tight focus” to find our hidden treasure. And lo and behold, there they are, and in the correct order: tighT fOcUS.

    Is this really a short tutorial from Forrest on how to create clues from the poem, or just my vivid imagination? You can decide for yourself. On the one hand, it is understandable to view this approach as opening up too many combinations of letters, but remember: the puzzle was designed to be extremely hard, but not impossible.

    One last thought. I still think that too much has been read into Forrest’s comments in Scrapbook 62, in which he ruled out, among other things, the use of codes, ciphers, and riddles. At the end of the day, we still have to extract nine specific clues from the poem. Any way you look at it, that makes solving the poem a word puzzle, so there will need to be some kind of decoding strategy to do this. I still thing it involves the kinds of tricks I described above: wordplay (similar to what you might use in British-style cryptic puzzles), and in particular, homonyms, anagrams, and of course, pinching letters off the ends of words.

    Down the road, I’ll give some examples of what I think are some of the nine clues. One interesting feature: each one seems to have a “twin” elsewhere in the poem that leads to the same phrase.

    • Eliza: your figurings here are ingenious and imaginative for sure.
      And I agree he might have left some words (like puzzle, acrostic, etc) out of thst list, and perhsps the omissions ate something some searchers would like to make a lot of.
      However, Imo , I don’t think there’s anything to read or not read into SB62 nor the one about the Code of the West or about the feeding of pond fish. They are as straightforward as his Today show clue/hints, or moreso. And to me they say ” no riddles, no ciphers, he’s a man of his word, and we’re by and large ignoring his advice being fed to us “.
      …. But for all we know, that’s his sneaky way of extending the game 🙂 right?

  11. Thanks Mapsmith. I wasn’t going to start posting about specific clues for a while, but I think I can give you one example. It can be derived from the poem alone, but also seems to have several “outside” hints, perhaps because of its importance. I’ll go through some of the non-poem hints first.

    First, go back to a couple of the early supplemental clues from Forrest:

    Old Outhouses
    in OhiO Or Utah

    Now look at the colophon at the end of the book. It might look to someone like two owls side by side.

    in the poem per se:

    First, we see the word “wise” in stanza 4.

    Second, we see two words with double Os in the last stanza.

    Now look at the last two lines of stanza 5 (this works best on this blog’s version of the poem.)

    The capital I’s look exactly like lower case Ls, so we see: know,I’ve …nowI’m …

    so, VISUALLY, we see the word “owl” twice. Just look at them sitting side by side!

    Now to the actual clue in the poem: Consider “Look … down.” Drop the d, rearrange just a bit, and you get OWL NOOK. Secondly, in the last stanza, using letters from “worth” and, just below, “listen (just drop the i),” you get OWL NEST.

    I have this clue at or near the end of my list, so perhaps the chest is hidden in an owl nook in a tree (in the wood!).

  12. Kat, all those OO’s and owl nooks are integral to the poem and in my opinion literal at the tc location, but darn hard to find in a wilderness. Are you also considering the sketch illustrating moonlight because of its double OO’s? Time for the snowy owls to return to many states. Would love to figure out where to see them.

  13. As I am perusing the hoD tonight, I came across this statement above that I thought was insightful:

    Forrest did not send along a photo of the dragon bracelet. If you want to see it I guess you will have to find the chest because it is in a zip lock inside. He told me he put it in there “because the bracelet has a stainless steel hinge that might be effected by moisture if it is not found for a few centuries”.

    For those of you who believe the chest might be submerged in water, perhaps you might also want to consider the stainless steel hinge on the dragon bracelet and whether you think that a zip lock bag would hold out for a “few centuries” in keeping “moisture” off the bracelet.

    As f says, “Any part of some is better than no part of any.”

    • I would add as another thought, f talked about openly carrying part of the treasure in his hands as he went to hide the treasure (or something like that, I am too lazy to look up his actual statement tonight). I suppose this might have been the item or one of the items he openly carried so as to ensure it didn’t get damaged. I can only imagine that it is slightly more fragile than those gold nuggets the size of hen eggs.

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