Dear Forrest Fenn,
I know you will most likely never read this email but feel compelled to tell you about a gold hunt I created in 2012. I was in a residence art program called Redline in Denver Colorado. Each artist was given 2.5 grams of gold and asked to create a piece of art. I’m a painter but didn’t want to use the gold to create a painting.
When I was a child my mother invented a game called captain. She would make me pirate hats out of newspaper and draw pictures of places in the house. I would go from clue to clue eventually finding a prize.
I wanted to recreate this experience for other people. I used my gold to create a gold hunt where people would go from clue to clue in the hopes of being the first to find my gold. When I created this adventure I thought the experience would inspire me to create a piece of art. The gold hunt didn’t happen the way I thought it would. What I thought would be a fun adventure that I casually mentioned on Facebook got out of hand right away. The gold was only worth about 150 dollars at the time but many of the participants had no scruples in double-crossing one another and tricking me into giving information. I don’t know why I thought there wouldn’t be cheating but there was a lot of it. No one wanted the game to end so the finder of the gold bought more gold and created new clues to keep the hunt going. I was then able to look for the finders gold and became a hunter. The hunt become even stranger and took on a new life. No one seemed to know where it was headed. I had to complete strange challenges involving rolling craps and speed hammering to get me to the gold. Things got even further complicated when a token that could have been turned in for gold was broken into 4 pieces each possessed by a different person. The game eventually ended and I didn’t get the gold.
The gold hunt became a piece of art. The legend was better than any documentation of the experiences. The stakes were so low but some people wanted to win at all cost.
Many of the participants and I wondered what would have happened if there was more gold involved. I’m recreating the gold hunt again and pulling out all the stops. There will be nine thousand dollars in gold this time. I‘m creating clues that will make it harder for people to cheat. I am also looking forward to seeing how people figure out how to cheat. I have been working on promoting the gold hunt by telling people the story of the first gold hunt one person at a time. I’m raising money to buy gold and will have a new gold hunt in July. There will be 20 clues this time. Each participant will have to work much harder. Participants will have to be able to research and problem solve.
If you end up reading this email thank you for your time.
You can see Terry’s work, watch interviews and hear more about his treasure hunt at the links below