The Foot Soldier’s Best Friend……

Memorial Day 2017

 

Aaron Pyle is a relative of Ernie’s and a searcher. He sent along these photographs today…they reminded me that not everyone who rushes to the front is in the military. None the less, they earn our respect and admiration.

 

AT A COMMAND POST, Ie Island, Ryukyus, April 18 (AP)–Ernie Pyle, the famed columnist who had reported the wars from Africa to Okinawa, met his death about a mile forward of the command post.

Mr. Pyle had just talked with a general commanding Army troops and Lieut. Col. James E. Landrum, executive officer of an infantry regiment, before “jeeping” to a forward command post with Lieut. Col. Joseph B. Coolidge of Helena, Ark., commanding officer of the regiment, to watch front-line action.
Colonel Coolidge was alongside Mr. Pyle when he was killed. “We were moving down the road in our jeep,” related Colonel Coolidge. “Ernie was going with me to my new command post. At 10 o’clock we were fired on by a Jap machine gun on a ridge above us. We all jumped out of the jeep and dived into a roadside ditch.

“A little later Pyle and I raised up to look around. Another burst hit the road over our heads and I fell back into the ditch. I looked at Ernie and saw he had been hit.
“He was killed almost instantly, the bullet entering his left temple just under his helmet.
“I crawled back to report the tragedy, leaving a man to watch the body. Ernie’s body will be brought back to Army grave registration officers. He will be buried here on Ie Jima unless we are notified otherwise.
“I was so impressed with Pyle’s coolness, calmness and his deep interest in enlisted men. They have lost their best friend.”

A Birthday for Forrest……


Forrest Fenn will be celebrating his 87th birthday on August 22…

Cynthia is asking EVERYONE to send him a birthday card…flood his Santa Fe mailbox.
You can send cards directly to Forrest at:

Forrest Fenn
PO Box 8174
Santa Fe, NM 87504

ALSO
Prairie Flower suggests we celebrate Forrest by planting trees!

She says: “A man named Forrest should have a forest named after him. It would take an act of Congress to do this, however. So I have come up with a different idea. Let us each plant a tree in honor of him – wherever you live! (If that is impossible for you to do, perhaps you can dedicate a tree in your yard in honor of him.)
Since a forest is considered to be a community of trees, our trees will be a community in a unique way – all dedicated to Forrest!”

Prairie Flower has posted the beautiful video of the Forest for Forrest tree dedications everyone sent her. It’s here:

Thanks so much!
Prairie Flower

Letters to Forrest…

Hello Mr. Fenn,

My dad and I have been looking for your treasure for 5 years. I’m 10 years old so when we started it was really just my dad. We have been to Western Colorado, Northern New Mexico and Wyoming. We are not giving up and hope to one day find this. It has been fun trying and I will never forget the time spent with my dad but it would be even better to find the treasure.

Thanks

Emilee from Denver


Hi Mr. Fenn,

I hope you and your family are enjoying this beautiful spring.

My, you have been very productive!  I have read your latest Scrapbooks and enjoyed them very much.  But a few have begged a response so here I go.  This will be a long email so I realize you will probably skip over it.  I appreciate your honesty about that, so I am forewarned.  But that won’t stop me, which brings me to my first response.

In Scrapbook One Hundred Seventy Nine, you wrote about Peggy, “Everyone knew she was too good for me, but tenacity was never one of my shortcomings.”  That line is one that I have hung my hat on more than a few times.  I am sometimes greatly motivated and accomplish things with precision and excellence.  However, the majority of the time I am kind of a bumbling plodder, taking one step forward and two steps sideways.  But through it all, I am goal-oriented.  That’s a nice way of saying I’m determined in a very stubborn sort of way.  Tenacity, it seems, was also never one of my shortcomings.  I just liked seeing it in writing.  It somehow makes it more true.

Which leads me to my next item.  In Scrapbook One Hundred Seventy, you wrote about your experience in the judicial system.  You were duly sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Well, when I wrote to you about falling in the lake and hitting my head that wasn’t the whole truth.  I mean, it did happen, but it wasn’t the whole story.  So here is the whole truth:

Every year my brother, Kurt, has a fishing contest at a pond in Fleming, Colorado.  Fleming is a small town on the eastern plains.  He strongly believes in encouraging kids to learn to fish as a lifelong skill and enjoyment.  So once a year, during Fleming Days, he puts on his competition.  While it is open to anyone, kids are welcome, and especially those who have never fished before.  He has me come out and help those kids bait hooks, cast lines, untangle crossed lines and everything else involved in the process.  It is enormous fun.

The tournament was drawing to a close and I was with my granddaughter, Neevie.  She had already caught a small bass which she enjoyed, but it had not put her in the prize categories.  Kurt shouted out, “TWO MINUTES!” when Neevie’s pole bent with a solid bite.  I had her hold the pole and with the next bite she set the hook.  She reeled as fast as she could and there, about seven feet off shore, I saw a bullhead on her line.  It was small, but it might put her over to get a prize.  All of a sudden I heard the drag.  That dadgum fish had snagged itself on the rocks.  I told Neevie to just let it swim for a minute and it would free itself.  But after all of the fight it must have decided to take a breather, it didn’t move more than an inch or two.  “FORTY SECONDS!!!” my brother yelled.  Well, I knew it was do or die.  If I could get that fish on shore in 39 seconds it would count.  So I went in and unsnagged the line and fell in dramatic fashion (like a cow on ice).  At the same time, Neevie decided to pull her pole straight back so the fish went flying out of the water like it was shot from a slingshot and bounced onto the shore.  As I am lying there, half in the water and half out, I could hear a voice yelling, “DID YOU GET THE FISH??????” and then, almost as an afterthought, “Are you OK?”.  Neevie finished just out of money, I think she lost by a half of an inch, but I couldn’t swear to it in a court of law.

Lastly, we have Graciella.  The painting did not appeal to me at first, but as I really looked at Graciella I began to warm up to her.  Now I have created a nebulous backstory and find myself rather protective of her.  I hope she is being appreciated wherever she is.

While your Chase has created an amazing adventure, I really love your writing (no matter where you put your commas).

Thank you,

Rita

 

 

Fenn’s Searchers – A Film by Matt Maisano…

Matt’s documentary about those searching for Forrest’s hidden chest will premiere in Albuquerque at the Albuquerque Film & Music Experience, aka the Albuquerque Film Festival, aka ABQFILMX.

This is the day before Fennboree 2017 begins…so you can go see it before you head up to Hyde Park in Santa Fe.

 

To learn more and get a ticket to see Matt’s film see the contact information on the flyer below or just head to abqfilmx.com

 

Thank You Searchers……

Dear Forrest and Members of the Search Community,

What an honor it was to recently be surprised with a quirky raffle fueled by your generous donations and hosted by none other than Forrest Fenn!  Thank you simply doesn’t cut it, so before I explain the significance of that wonderful encounter, I’d like to share a little more with all of you about who I am, what the Santa Fe Children’s Museum is, and why generosity combined with a sense of hope and adventure is really the greatest gift we can bestow on each other.

I first heard about Forrest Fenn and his treasure about 2 years ago.  I was visiting my family up in Colorado (my home state) and was talking with my dad who was very sick with cancer at the time.  He asked me, “Have you heard about that treasure some guy from New Mexico hid out in the mountains?”  My father had a penchant for all things baffling, unexplained, and archaeological.  I inherited these same fascinations, and while we didn’t have the easiest relationship, we could always strike up a conversation about the mysteries of the universe.  “What treasure?”  I asked.  He proceeded to explain that a strange man had hidden a fortune somewhere in the Rockies and that the only known clues to its whereabouts were to be found in a poem published in some book he wrote.  True to my dad’s own sense of adventure and admiration of infinite possibilities, he encouraged me to go look for it when I returned home to Santa Fe.

Fast forward to New Mexico… my own busy life overshadowed all memories of that fanciful conversation and I became deeply entrenched in nonprofit work.  First at an animal sanctuary, then at the local animal shelter, and now at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum.  Probably not unlike many of you, I like indulging in big, seemingly unattainable ideas, that often seem ridiculous to others, and then pursue them like crazy with only my imagination, a compulsion for good deeds, and an unrelenting belief that anything is possible, to guide me.  Indeed, while maintaining this kind of drive is hard work, and ends in frustration and disappointment more often than not, every step is worth the journey and it ensures that we’re living our lives in accordance with what we find most meaningful.  While I can really only speak for myself, I suspect it’s this same kind of magic that inspired Forrest to hide his treasure, and the very same magic that inspires you to seek it.

So in honor of the cumulative force that brought us all together at this single point in time, I’d like to explain the actual impact the money from the raffle is having on some of the children here in Santa Fe.  As an institution, we aren’t a museum in the white-glove, hush-be-quiet sense of the word, but rather a place where kids can indulge their curiosities, engage in healthy social interactions, and learn by doing.  We have an incredible 1.5 acre interactive garden space, and over 35 play-based exhibits that help boost confidence, curiosity, and problem-solving skills.  We serve families from all economic backgrounds and on many levels… from educational programs, to special community events, to community access projects for those who need it most.

In collaboration with several organizations dealing in child welfare, we’ll be using the raffle money to hold monthly birthday parties for some of the most vulnerable children in the region.  Foster and homeless kids, families with adults in rehab programs, children who are grieving… you name it… we’re here to make sure these kids get their day in the sun.  Not only will they get a great big birthday celebration at the museum and the opportunity to share the experience together, but they’ll also be getting presents from us, fancy birthday cake, and the opportunity to bring friends and relatives along for their special day.  You made that possible for these kids!… A big resounding thank you is in order.

THANK YOU.

On behalf of the Santa Fe Children’s Museum and the children whose own journeys you’ve helped brighten, and on behalf of my father, who embarked on his own journey into the great unknown one year ago this month, may your own paths continue leading to new friends, grand adventures, and the kindest of intentions.

Yours in gratitude,
Jessica Jenkins
Santa Fe Children’s Museum

Two Boys Find Hidden Gold…

by dal-

I knew this would get your attention. It’s true…but it’s not Forrest’s treasure they found.

Two fatherless kids living on the edge of poverty with their mothers in Baltimore found a hidden pot full of gold coins quite by accident when they were digging a hole to hide some small items of their own back in 1934.

The face value of the gold is nearly $28K but all the gold coins are from the 19th century so the value as collectible gold is much, much higher. In 1934 a three bedroom, brand new home cost about $6K.

A decent wage is $20/week.  This is big money…In today’s money that collectible gold could be worth $10million.

The question of course is who gets to keep it. It was found by the boys but it’s in the basement of their tenement building…which they don’t own. They can’t take the coins to the bank and quietly exchange them for cash because in 1933 President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6102 made it illegal for private citizens to own gold bullion or coin. The boys are told that If they take the coins to the bank they will be arrested. If they try to spend it they will be arrested and the gold will be confiscated by the government. What would you do?

I bumped into this fascinating book about this riveting event the other day. I finished reading it today. A real attention grabber. The book is titled Knight’s Gold and is written by Jack Myers. You can find it on Amazon as a paperback or as a Kindle read.

Jack does one heck of an investigator’s job in unraveling the mystery of who put the pot of gold in that basement and why. He is also a fine storyteller taking readers vividly through America’s relevant confederate history and the lives of a few ethically challenged dreamers.

It reads like a fine historical fiction novel…and that would be good enough…but it’s all true and that is stunning!!

Jack deftly draws us into the story with connections that go back to the assassination of Lincoln, the Alamo and even the slave trade. It’s one good bouncy ride through history and the human condition.

What’s more..gold caches of the same parentage are still presumably hidden today in places all over the country. No nine clues. Just a big fat pot full of collectible gold hidden for secret purposes that never saw the light of day.

I was captivated throughout the story not only by the thorough investigation and gripping historical tale but also by the nagging question…are the boys going to get to keep the money or will the government, lawyers or the bad guys get it instead…a question certainly relevant to our own search…

Looking for a good read til the snow melts? Try Knight’s Gold by Jack Myers. It’s available on Amazon.

BTW: Jack mentioned that searchers should be aware that some KGC treasure was reportedly moved to Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and perhaps Utah during the 1870s and 1880s.  Knights’ Gold will give some clues as to what to keep an eye out for when looking for these transplanted KGC treasures.

The Case of the Mirrored Image…

March 2017

by Jeremy P

 

“In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backward… Now, this was a case in which you were given a result, and you had to find everything else for yourself.” – Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet

The archaeologist resurrects the past from available evidence found in the present. It’s not an easy job. Often the story is told only through small details, and the archaeologist has to piece together the small bits they find into a larger narrative. For a great example of this, be sure to check out some of the video interviews with Forrest, l ike this one in which tiny marks on a bone suggests that ancient peoples may have had to eat horses when times were tough. It’s pretty cool what all you can figure out from a few small marks.
http://dalneitzel.com/video/fishing/sl03.html

Dr. Jones said, “Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Research. Reading.”, and it’s the same in the Chase, but you all know that already.
It’s winter. If you’re out in the woods, you shouldn’t be. So while it’s no grand adventure, let’s have some fun.

We’re going to try and resurrect the past, in some small way. We’re going to turn back time and try to figure out what an original artwork looked like, from what we find in the present, using one of the well-known illustrations in T he Thrill of the Chase. We’re going to take this image and rebuild it as the artist originally intended.

First, some context. Mirrors, reflections, reversing, these topics are so on the minds of searchers these days, based on comments from Forrest in the past year. Most searchers are watching videos on Youtube about the “backwards bike”. They’re digging up scrapbooks in which Forrest shared pictures of his bathroom mirror. They’re wondering about mirrors in the chest. They’re pondering quotes from the book like, “…if any readers over the age of twelve don’t see a little of themselves in this mirror…”

Mirrors are hot right now, but did you know… there is actually a mirrored image in the book? There’s just the one, it’s on page 146, and if you don’t look twice you may miss it.

This is the image as published in The Thrill of the Chase, on page 146. At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be anything curious about it. Those who have read the book have considered whether it holds clues, but on its own it simply seems to be an illustration about the environment, similar in theme to the Joni Mitchell song about paving paradise and putting up parking lots.

Look closer, however, and you may begin to notice some oddities. Most of the people I’ve talked to, when asked, eventually notice that some of the tree stumps have been duplicated. Fewer, still, notice that this image is a mirrored one.

The left edge of the sky in the image is exactly the same as the edge of the right side.
So, let’s keep things straight. I don’t want to start any clue-mongering. I think we can reasonably say that the mirroring in this image is the work of the graphic artist who placed the image on the page, and not the original illustrator (presumably, Allen Polt, as listed in the credits), and it’s probably not a clue from Forrest in a conspiracy with the artist himself.

How do we know this?

We know it was the graphic artist who mirrored the edges, because a space for a tree stump is copied on the left side, where there is no tree stump, with exactly the same edges as the space on the right, where there is a tree stump. The illustrator didn’t do that. It’s clearly a Photoshop job, post-illustration, pre-press.

What I’m interested in — what we’re endeavoring to do, in fact — is to determine whether or not we can figure out exactly what the original image was, before it was doctored. We want to see if we can reconstruct the original image and bring it back from the past.
Got it? Great! Let’s get to work!

What we don’t know, yet, is which edge of this mirrored image is the original edge. We’ll need to know that in order to reconstruct the original image.

For now, let’s skip over the question of edges, just for a moment, and look at the tree stumps in the foreground.

As we can see, several of the tree stumps are duplicates. The copies are color coded here. Which ones are copies, and which are the original, is a little difficult to determine, but not so much if you think it through.

There are two types of images that graphic artists work with, vector and raster images. Vector images are scalable because they are just paths, so like between “x” and “y” fill the path with black. These are great for logos where you don’t know if it’ll be a small image on a phone or a big image on a billboard. Line drawings, solid shapes, those are all good for vector images. Photos, not so much.

Raster images are made up of individual pixels. They don’t scale well, especially when trying to make them larger. We’ve all seen pixelated images of small graphics blown up big, and those are raster graphics. These are raster graphics, the illustrations in the book.
But here, in this image, we have clean lines. This suggests they haven’t been scaled up. In fact, they have probably been scaled down, as we have another clue in the line thickness, or weight. Notice that most have similar line thickness, but some are lighter than others. The line weight suggests that the copies are the smaller ones, because the lines are thinner.

Great! We’ve made progress. Let’s remove the ones we can determine are copies, based on line weight. These are the smaller red and blue ones. Here’s the result:

Notice that the ones that were marked green and orange haven’t been removed. That’s because we don’t have any basis for determining which of those are the original, and which have been duplicated… at least not yet.

Now, let’s turn our attention back to those edges of the sky. Can you figure out which one is the original edge?

They are nearly identical, so don’t feel bad if you can’t figure it out right away. OK, I’m not really being fair. It’s a trick question.

Truth is, neither the left side, nor the right side, is the original edge. It’s this green dotted line shown here. Wait, what? You’re wondering, “Where did that come from?” Bear with me. It is the original edge. Here’s how we know…

The six stars highlighted by the green circles are all the same set of two stars. If you have the book, check it out. It’s obvious once you know what you’re looking at.

There’s other “registration points” in the ink strokes and minor white space, as well, but these six are the most noticeable.

These stars give away that what we have is the exact same pattern on the left, twice, and once on the right. This leaves us three potential original edges, and we have to decide which is the correct one.

Well, obviously, we know that one of the two on the left isn’t the original, and we know that it can’t be the outer one on the left, because that leaves the inner left duplicate pattern unaccounted for. There’d be, like, a gaping hole there. It’s not rocket science.

But now that we know that we are justified in doing so, let’s remove the outer edge duplicate, the two stars on the farthest left and the matching pattern that surrounds it.

What we’re left with is what we know to be the original face of the left side, and what the graphic artist gave us as the edge of the right side.

The second set of stars on the left were kept as is, and the reconstructed edge was found in the ink marks. Again, if you have the book you can follow along. These small scans don’t show the marks in great detail.

However, If you look very close at the illustration on page 146, you can see a little indentation here, a duplicated ink stroke there. Hidden in all of this is everything we need to find the original line marked above in green.

OK, still with me? So, now that we have this somewhat awkward looking image, we also have a very new question. When trying to deconstruct what the graphic artist made, and reconstruct what the original illustrator made, we’re forced to ask…

Did the graphic artist flip the right side to the left side at some point? It’s a fair question. Although we’ve found that the left side had at least one copied pattern, maybe both patterned areas were copies, originally from the right side. So, the question, was our reconstructed left side copied from the right side of the original?

The answer is, No. How do we know?

This little line here tells us. It’s not a natural line. Drawn from left to right, it stops abruptly at the arrow, then starts again and ends at the stump that we can clearly see is the same stump from the left side of the image.

The two stumps, the one on the left, and the one on the right, are the same, so which is the original?

If you trace this little line on the left side of the image, it flows naturally. If you trace the line on the right side, it doesn’t. The one on the left, of course, is the correct original line, and the stump on the left is the correct original tree stump.

Further, if you look at the image on page 146, this non-natural line’s “bump” coincides with a darker ink stroke extending upward. Everything to the right of the darker stroke is a duplicated pattern from the left image, everything to the left of the stroke is not that pattern, it’s “new” image.

Now we’re really making progress!

We can follow this line and reconstruct the original right edge of the illustration and remove the copied edge.

It’s not an exact science, but this is more or less the original, non-mirrored, right edge of the illustration.

And now we can clearly see which of the remaining duplicate stumps are original stumps, and which are copies that should be removed.

We remove the final stumps, leaving only the original stumps, the original left edge of the illustration, and the original right edge of the illustration.

Finally, like a ghost from circa-2010, we have a glimpse of the original illustration. Let’s recap…

This is the illustration that was constructed by the graphic artist, from the original illustration provided by (presumably) Allen Polt, published on page 146 in The Thrill of the Chase.

As we’ve seen, when looked at closely, it’s been changed in several ways from the original artwork. Through analysis, we’ve determined exactly what steps the graphic artist took in constructing this image, and working backwards from the published image we were able to reconstruct the original work.

We found evidence that both sides were actually extended, using the left edge of the original work. The right side was augmented. The left side was the augmented. But even as the left side of the original work was used, it was copied and pasted to both sides, and the original left became left, right, and also left-left.

It was challenging, but we did it. Like archaeologists, we’ve built a time machine and peeked into the past.

You’ve been patient long enough, so let’s have a look at the original work by the original artist! Here it is, The Original Illustration…

It’s possible that the original work has some minor differences from what we were able to reconstruct, but we should be fairly certain that if said artwork ever surfaces we’d be pretty close, if not spot on, in our reconstruction.

To me, this version looks more like the style of other images in the book. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to draw similarities between it and, say, the image on page 41 of the book. There’s a similar rounded side on the right, and a straighter edge on the left.
Now all we need is Allen Polt’s autograph to make it complete.

OK, you’ve all been really great on this adventure. As a reward, you can now let your imaginations wander!

Why was the image expanded from the original work???
Was the illustrator OK with the changes???
Did Forrest even know the graphic artist made the changes??? Is the mirroring a clue???

Unfortunately we can’t answer these questions with just the physical evidence we find in the final published image. But, hey, that’s what imagination is for, and maybe that’s why it’s so much more important. Imagination fills these gaps between knowledge, which are like enormous canyons waiting to be filled.

Go fill them up! Jeremy P.

What Happened to that Bag of Money?

Raffle ticket sales are completed. Our total raised is $7,673.30. A pretty distinguished sum that should put a smile on some kid’s faces. Thank you everyone..I know the museum will be very, very pleased. This is terrific!!!

The drawing took place Monday, February 27th at Noon at the Children’s Museum. Forrest brought his old brown hat and all 366 tickets were poured in and stirred up. The winning ticket was drawn by a child at the museum. The winning ticket number is #9173 sold to Jackson H.

Congratulations Jackson…

 

A New Contest…

Winter is still upon us…

Here is a contest to help us imagine greener pastures and softer breezes…

The MY FAVORITE STORY Contest

Pick out your favorite story, of the 49 stories (48 plus the preface) in “too far to walk” and then tell us, in 200 words or less why it is your favorite.

Winner gets a lovely, limited edition, 24×30, beautifully printed map of the treasure area. This is a large version of the map in the back of TFTW. It is suitable for framing, numbered (6 of 250), comes with a certificate and a story about Forrest’s compass and is signed by Forrest. These maps sold for $100 when first produced a couple of years ago.They are no longer for sale.

There are very few of these maps to give out. I only have three left and I plan to keep one for myself.

RULES:
One entry per person
Must be 200 words or less
Must be on the topic of “My Favorite Story From TFTW”
Must be emailed to:
dal@lummifilm.com
With the subject line “My favorite story”
Include your blog name (not counted as one of the 200 allowed words)
Entries must be received by dal before the contest closes
Contest closes 11pm (Santa Fe time), February 19th, 2017

JUDGING
Entries will be posted on a page linked at the bottom of this page.
Entries will be judged based on originality, imagination and story-telling
Judging will occur as soon as practical after the contest ends.

EXAMPLE
Below is an example of an entry in less than 200 words.

—-

Nowhere, in my mind, does Forrest appear more gracious, more memorable, than in his mindful preface.

He starts this book not by trumpeting the 48 great stories we are about to snuggle up with, but rather, by touting the book’s short-comings.

In the preface he hints of what’s sadly missing from his list of stories….what he wishes he could have told us, but had to leave out.

Forrest confesses that he has not included a story about his dear mother who shared food with the homeless, nor another about meeting the wife of a brilliant and stouthearted German officer who tried to stop Hitler, and finally, he hints of an exciting chase while searching for gangsters in Naples. But, Forrest admits, none of those stories are in the book.

Forrest clearly has more stories to share. Stories no one else but Forrest can ever tell because no one else alive was there.

They say that we do not die at death, instead we live as long as the last person to have known us is still alive to tell stories about us.

I hope that stories about the chase for Forrest’s gold can continue forever.

by dal

—-

 

Now it’s your turn…

ENTRIES CAN BE FOUND BY CLICKING HERE