The Thrill of the Chase has been on the market for several years now and thousands of individuals and families have jumped in to search for the golden treasure. Irene Rawlings, who has a radio program in Denver, first promoted my book, then introduced me to Margie Goldsmith. Margie is the Manhattan girl who snatched the torch from Irene and started writing about the treasure: three times in the Huffington Post, full page story in the Robb report and in the United Airlines Hemispheres magazine. Sparks started flying and I have received 1,200 emails from that story. My book rushed out of print and has since been reprinted three times. I owe those girls a lot.
Then there’s Dal. He’s a frustrated searcher who hides behind a white mustache and lives on a little island where he makes videos and pushes information. I sometimes send him things to place in the cyber file, hoping to correct some of the misconceptions and misapprehensions that always surface when many people seek the same goal.
I am separated from the action now, but am interested in hearing from the players. With the hindsight of reading 21,000+ emails, I see hundreds of people worrying about where someone else is looking. Searchers are rushing to take advice from those who don’t know.
Beware of those who say they’ve found the treasure, and there are at least 31 of them out there. My silence will never be a hint.
Let me summarize a few real emails for you:
A man said he found the treasure and the bracelet that I wanted back was a rusted tin can, so he sent it to me in the mail.
A mayor in a small town wanted to know why I hid so much money that could have been spent building a pool hall to keep teenagers off the streets at night.
A preacher needs the treasure so he can go on vacation because his parishioners are too poor to pay for it.
All sorts of people need open heart surgery, hernia operations, an oxygen bottle for aunt Phyllis “because she smokes and can’t breath.”
Houses are in foreclosure and I could be a hero to so many people.
Some say I am unreasonable because I won’t tell them exactly where the treasure is. “There is no closure from our trip.”
Some want to know how deep the treasure is buried.
Mr. Dunham from South Dakota took his wife and four boys into the mountains looking for the treasure. They didn’t find it but he said they gathered fire wood to justify the trip.
One man said the Forest Service is mad because treasure hunters are making them do the job they are being paid to do.
There were 160 tents on government land in New Mexico where a tent had never been before and the Forest Service had to take rangers away from very important jobs to patrol and keep people from digging and cutting down trees.
Eight year old Marva Jane caught a cold while standing out in the rain looking for “billions of dollars in gold.” Her mother wants to know if I will pay for the family health insurance.
One cute little girl (who sent me her picture) wants to know if the Hope diamond is part of the treasure.
Thirty-two women want to marry me. I usually ask for photos and whether or not they have an airplane.
Another is concerned that if the gold gets wet it will rust and lose it’s value.
Some think the bronze chest will melt if it gets hot in a forest fire or a hot spring, and the gold will spill out.
One man, who claimed a few months ago that he found the treasure is now saying the story is a fraud and that I never hid it.
A few have asked if Mt. Rushmore is the right blaze.
One lady is worried that the gold coins are getting old and won’t be worth as much when she finds them.
An Indian saw the pre-Columbian gold frog in one of the photos in the book and said frogs are bad luck and that’s why no one will ever find the treasure.
A New Mexico archaeologist criticized me because a deer might trip over the “box” and hurt its leg.
NY cops caught a guy digging in Central park near the Alice in Wonderland sculpture because he heard that I could quote some of Lewis Carroll’s book.
Searchers are worried about the gross number of Babe Ruth candy wrappers that are littering the pristine Montana forest, and wanted to know if I feel bad about it.
A family wants to know where they can rent a boat to cross Lake Tahoe because they think they see a blaze on the other side. “Our binoculars are very good.”
A college student wanted to know if I made an environmental impact study before I “dug the hole and put the jewelry vault in it.”
If Margaret’s husband goes looking for the treasure one more time she’s going to divorce him and take the kids. She’s holding me personally responsible.
Two guys got into a argument over a parking spot in Jackson Hole but discovered they were both looking for the treasure so they went out searching together the next day.
A lady wants to know how far her teen age son can walk out into Grebe Lake. “Are there any alligators in the lake and if there are, does Yellowstone control them?”
Another is mad because she was told not to slide down the Firehole River falls with no clothes on.
A few searchers are concerned that the treasure has been found, and asked if I would trust them to go see for sure? They promise not to tell anyone.
A New Jersey couple said their son got lost in the mountains and think he deserves the treasure chest for risking his life.
A seemingly sober searcher from Cimarron said God told her the treasure was two feet deep in the pond beside my house and wanted to know if it would be all right for her to look if she brought her wet suit.
Several people have asked where they could register to look for the treasure and if it was OK to search on Sunday.
One 73 year-old man said that if he was younger he could “line the clues up” and wanted to know if that counted?
A boy said that if he found the treasure his parents would probably make him split with his sister, and wanted to know if I could help.
A man heard that I wanted the bracelet back and asked that I deposit $50,000 in his bank account to assure that I would be an honest man when he found the treasure.
A stalker rang my gate bell on and off for two days. When I dialed 911 and the police caught him he said all he wanted to do was “search my yard and look in my garage.”
A man from Arizona refused to leave my property and when the police came he tried to attack a female officer. He was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed.
A man said his car was unreliable and asked that if it broke down in the mountains, would I come and take him the rest of the way to the treasure.
More than a few people have said they know where the treasure is but are in wheel chairs. They want to know if I will bring the treasure to them.
A man called on the phone to say that he had found the treasure. When I asked him if hot water had discolored the bronze chest, he said, “Thanks for telling me,” and hung up.
I get many emails that have no text, just coordinates or the name of a Town or place.
Someone said they went to where the treasure had been and wanted to know why I moved it.
The great preponderance of folks who are searching seem to be the typically good honest people who relish in memories of their adventures, especially when their children were along. I enjoy getting photographs of the people and where they have looked.