Jon Lackman conducted this email interview with Forrest for a publication that did not use it. Rather than let it die in his computer Jon has decided to share it with us. The interview was conducted in May of 2015.
– My apologies for the morbid impolite question, but it seems quite possible that this treasure hunt will be the first line of your obituary. Are you comfortable with that? Is there something else you’ve done that you’d prefer to come first?
FF: I said in my book that my obituary should say, “I wish I could have lived to do the things I was attributed to.” During my art gallery years I advertised full page color in some of the most prominent magazines of that time, which made me an “expert” in the eyes of many. It was good for business, but it also made me a target. My treasure story lit a fuse that will burn until someone finds the chest full of gold, and perhaps beyond, My 20 years as a fighter pilot was a much larger part of my life. In Vietnam I flew 328 combat missions, and was shot down twice. The reality is that what my obituary says will be of little consequence.
– I’ve read that you wrote the book and set the treasure hunt to get kids off their little texting machines and outside to smell the sunshine. Apart from this, are there any other important messages that you wanted to get across?
FF: Yes, I have two daughters who are in their 50s and don’t know who Clark Gable was. I wanted them to know that their great great grandmother watched Comanche Indians run through her barnyard in Ft. Worth trying to catch chickens.
– You have said some things in scrapbook entries that seem too bizarre to be true, like the fact that you keep your jeans on when you shower. Are you at times just pulling people’s legs?
FF: Yes, I didn’t think that comment would fool many people. I was trying to make a point.
– Last month, you indicated that still nobody has correctly solved beyond the first two clues. Is this correct? Still nobody has solved beyond the first two clues?
FF: Very few people tell me exactly where they are searching so there is no way for me to know. Some searchers have been within 200 feet.
– Without saying how you know, you have offered reassurance that you know the treasure is still in its hiding spot. Is there any method planned for hunters to obtain this reassurance after your death?
FF: No sir.
– Do you intend to keep releasing occasional small hints for as long as you live? Have you made any plans for clues to continue surfacing after your death?
FF: No sir.
– I’ve also read that you wrote the treasure hunt for an unemployed redneck with 12 kids. Does this mean that all of those people who are delving into Native American history, Greek mythology etc are looking too deeply? Can hunters really get to the treasure location with just a good map, the poem, and a decent knowledge of words?
FF: I wrote the book for everyone who feels a sense of wanderlust. In your last question if you change the last word to geography, my answer would be yes.
– How much progress can be made by someone just thinking and searching the Internet from home? (Another way of saying this: How many clues can only be decoded in situ?)
FF: All of them, in theory, but not likely in practice. A searcher must go to the site to find the treasure.
– People have become fixated on you telling them to bring a sandwich and a flashlight. Are they just wasting their time focusing on these things as clues?
FF: They certainly are not clues.
– How much more likely are hunters to work out where warm waters halt with the aid of TTOTC, compared to without it?
FF: You sure ask confounding, but insightful questions. The clues are in the poem, but there are hints in the book.
– Can you give me one quote that will inspire my readers that it is possible to find your treasure? Something to motivate them? Something to tease them.
FF: Those who solve the first clue are more than half way to the treasure, metaphorically speaking.