Ever since Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island in the 1880’s western cultures have associated peg legged pirates, foul speaking parrots and treasure maps displaying a big fat “x” with buried treasure. Old west outlaws seem to have also buried their stolen treasure in deep holes.
Lackeys dug a grave-like rectangle in the sandy desert floor and into it went chests of gold, silver, cash, bank notes. All to be retrieved later after the local law lost interest in the hunt. The words “buried” and “treasure” are so commonly spoken together that many of us naturally assume that all treasure is buried. But of course its not.
In Forrest’s poem there is no indication that you’ll need a shovel to get at his treasure. In interviews he always carefully selects his words and deliberately avoids the word “buried” when speaking about the treasure or the chest. Instead he uses the word “hidden”.
I bring this up because the most oft’ repeated statement that I hear falsely attributed to Forrest is that he said he “buried” the treasure. In fact, I have not seen printed or heard in interviews anywhere where Forrest ever said the treasure was buried. More importantly, I’ve heard him correct individuals who have attributed the word “buried” to his description of the chest. “I never said buried.”, He once told a reporter over lunch in Santa Fe.
Forrest’s vigorous denial of using the word “buried” suggests to me that it really is not buried. If it was buried he would not take such strong objection to the word. Of course this is all circumstantial evidence but I believe you won’t need a metal detector to locate it. He hid the chest but did not bury it and if you are in the right location you might have to look around…inside a hollow tree, under a rock, in a cave…who knows…but in my opinion it is not buried.