The Moby Dickens Book Signing…

Moby Dickens Bookstore in Taos, NM

SUBMITTED March, 2017
by dal


Moby Dicken’s Bookstore was a 30 year fixture on the Taos scene. It closed it’s doors in 2015 but not before Forrest held a book signing there in November of 2013. After the book signing event Forrest took the stage and talked about his book and answered questions from the crowd. Many searchers feel it is one of the most revealing interviews Forrest has given. Toby Youris shot a video of that event and posted it on YouTube.

Toby’s video is now available HERE.

A full transcription of that video is below:

Forrest Fenn at Moby Dickens Bookstore in November of 2013.

Forrest: Well, I always thought I deserved a throne. I’m very glad to be here. I want to thank Jay and Carolyn and Dorothy for bringing me up here. Jay asked me to say a few things about my treasure’s story. Is there anyone here that knows about the story? Who in this room has not heard about my treasure story? That’s pretty good. 1n 1988, I had cancer and they told me I was going to die. That’s a good way to start off a talk. They gave me a one in five chance of living three years. A lot of things were happening about that time. I was selling my gallery in Santa Fe and I had a lot of clients that were coming to see me to do different things.

It just so happened that Ralph Lauren came to my house. He collects antique Indian things like I did. He didn’t know that I had cancer. We were standing in my library and I had something that he wanted. It was a beautiful Sioux Indian bonnet with white ermine skins hanging on it and split antelope horns. It was a wonderful thing. He wanted to buy it. I said, “Well I don’t want to sell it.” He said, “Well you have so many of those things. He said you can’t take it with you.” I said, “Then I’m not going.” We laughed and changed the subject.

That night I started thinking about that. Who says can’t take it with me? Why do I have to live by everybody else’s rules? If I’m going to die of cancer, I’m going to take some stuff with me and I made up my mind. I bought this beautiful little treasure chest 10 inches by 10 inches and 6 inches high. Wonderful Romanesque thing, an antique scholar told me that it was probably Romanesque 11th or 12th century. Maybe it held a Bible or a Book of Days, but it was wonderful, had a great patina on it. I started filling it up with things I thought would be attractive. There are 265 American gold coins, mostly eagles and double eagles. There are some middle eastern gold coins that date to the 13th century. There’s a little bottle of gold dust in there. There are hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets, mostly from Alaska, Placer nuggets. Two of them are so large that they’re the same size as a hen’s egg. They weight more than a pound a piece.

In this chest I put hundreds of rubies. There are two beautiful Ceylon sapphires. There are eight emeralds, lots of little diamonds, Pre Colombian wakas, 2,000-year-old bracelets and a tirana and sinew necklace that dates probably 2,500 years old. The finishes on the necklace are made out of quartz crystal and carnelian and semi-precious stones.  I told myself I wanted it to be visual enough so that when a person found the treasure chest and opened it for the first time, they would just lean back and start laughing. I showed the chest to a number of people in Santa Fe and that’s what they all did. I invite you to go look for the treasure chest.

My plan was … If I was going to die of cancer … They said I had a one in five chance of living three years. They told me I had a year probably anyway. I decided I knew where I was going to hide the treasure chest. I told myself with my last gasping breath I was going to go out there and fling myself on that treasure chest and let my bones go back to the dirt. It was a great plan. The trouble with it was that I got well and ruined the story.

I told myself just because I got well didn’t mean that I could not hide the treasure chest anyway and I did that. In my book, The Thrill of the Chase, there’s a poem in there that has nine clues in it. If you can follow the clues to the treasure chest, you can have the treasure chest. I thought about that a lot and when hid the treasure chest I had to make two trips because the thing weighs 42 pounds. It’s small but gold is heavy. When I hid and was walking back to my car, I started laughing out loud and said, “Forrest Fenn, did you really do that?”  I had a hole card. I told myself if I decided later if I didn’t want to do it, I could go back and get it. The more I thought about it, the more I said, “Yeah this is perfect.” Why can’t I influence somebody a thousand years from now, a hundred years from now? Okay, next weekend. If you can find it I think it will be worth your while.

A lady reporter from Texas, called me on the phone and said, “Mr. Fenn who is your audience for this strange book?” I said, “My audience is every redneck in Texas with a pickup truck, a wife with 12 kids, who lost his job. I said, “Throw a bedroll in the back of your truck and go look for the treasure and take the kids. Get the kids out of the game room away from their little playing machines and let them breathe the sunshine and the things that the forest has to offer, a wonderful opportunity.” I just this last week passed 25,000 emails from people and probably 15,000 of them have told me, “Mr. Fenn we’re not going to find the chest, we know that, but I want to thank you for getting me and my kids off the couch and out in into the world.”

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to talk too much, I would entertain some questions if anybody has one. Yes sir.

Male: Did I understand that the proceeds from you book are going to cancer?

Forrest: I’m having trouble hearing him. Can somebody help?

Male: Did I understand that the proceeds of your book are going to a cancer foundation?

Forrest: Let me explain that to you. Dorothy Massey at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe owns these books. Jay bought them from Dorothy. The deal I made with Dorothy was that she can have the books but she has to leave 10% of the gross sales aside for a cancer fund. I think we have about 50,000 bucks or something in that fund now. We’re looking for somebody that we can feel proud about helping. If I had my way, we’d find some little minority kid that can’t afford what it takes to get well and spend our money that way. I don’t know whether that will happen or not, but that’s the plan anyway. Is there another question?

Female: I have one about the poem. If you follow the poem precisely will you find yourself switching back?

Forrest: If you follow the clues in the poem precisely would I what?

Female: Will you find yourself switching back, making a loop?

Forrest: This gal’s dangerous. Would I find myself switching back? I think I can say no to that without giving away too much of a clue.

Female: Okay.

Forrest: Nobody is going to happen on that treasure chest. You’re going to have to figure out the clues in the poem and go to it. There are several people that have deciphered the first two clues. I don’t think they knew it because they walked right on past the treasure chest. I’m not going to tell those people who they are because one of them particularly would faint I know and tear the countryside up trying to figure out where they’d been. It’s an opportunity to … Doesn’t have any downsides I think. Everybody wins if you go out looking for it. Another question?

Female: Given that your simply gave it away. You gave this treasure away to the cosmos and to whomever. Did you have any heart wish of how the treasure might be used for good?

Forrest: No. I don’t feel like I’ve given it away. Whoever finds it is going to earn it. Once they find it and have it in their possession, I’m out of the picture. They can do whatever they want to with it. You can’t … I don’t want to make rules for people after the fact. Yes, sir.

Male: How would you know it hasn’t already been found?

Forrest: I’ve been asked that question. I really don’t want to answer the question because that would be an answer that I don’t want to reveal, but I can tell you that no one has found the treasure. Yes, sir.

Male: When do you think the treasure would be found? Do you think it’s a 10 year, 100 year? When do you think it will actually be discovered?

Forrest: Why don’t you ask me how deep is a hole?

Female: Okay, how deep is a hole?

Forrest: It’s not predictable, but I think this last summer … I’m guessing, but I think there were 35,000 people out looking for the treasure chest.

Male: Are you concerned that once it is discovered that your private spot will be exposed to so many people that it will no longer become special?

Forrest: There’s all kinds of case scenarios. If a person finds it and he doesn’t want the IRS to know it, then maybe the spot will never be revealed. In my opinion, the type of person that’s going to find the treasure chest is the type of person that can’t keep it quiet. I’m not worried about that really. Yes, ma’am.

Female: You said that it took you two trips to hide the treasure. Did you hide it two times or did you carry it the second time?

Forrest: I hid the whole thing in one spot, but it took me two trips to get to that spot with the weight of the treasure chest.

Male: From the car to the spot.

Forrest: Very special spot.

Female: Could you tell us more about what’s in your book like it’s not just the poem but it’s a memoir right?

Forrest: It’s a memoir. I never did go to college. I prayed for D’s in high school and nobody ever listened. I graduated because my father was the principal. I never did read the great books. I talk in my book about Hemingway and other writers that are very internationally celebrated and so I went down to the book store and I got a couple of those books and I started to read them.  I told myself, “These things are no good.” For Whom the Bell Tolls, I read about a third of that thing and threw it in the trash. I started to wonder, “Why does everybody?” … You may think those are wonderful books. I’m little bit weird. I’ll have to admit that.

JD Salinger died. Diane Sawyer’s talking about how wonderful he was that he wrote books and put them in a vault so nobody could see them. I told myself, “This is my kind of guy.” I went down and I bought Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. I thought I was going to like that book because I’d never heard of the guy. I said “Everybody thinks the book’s pretty good. He’s nobody so it must be a pretty good book.” I started reading it and I read a little bit. I put it down and started thinking about it. I read some more. It took me about a day and a half to finish that book, and I wasn’t ready for it to end when it was over. I started telling myself, “You know if this is a good book … If Catcher in the Rye is a good book, I can do that.” It’s nothing but a guy talking to himself really is what it is.

I said, “I can do that.” I started writing my memoir. I started remembering … I would encourage all of you to write your memoir. You don’t have to edit it. Send it to the Library of Congress. They love those things. Start with your earliest recollections like I did. I remember when my grandmother told me about when she was a kid in Fort Worth watching the Comanche and Kiowa Indians run through their barnyard trying to catch chickens. I have two daughters that are in their 50’s who don’t know who Clark Gable was. I wanted my kids, my family, my grandkids to know something about my family. Something about me and my wife and what we’ve done and where we’ve been, kind of a peek back into our lives. At the same time, I was thinking about my treasure chest. How do I bring all of these things together?

It was 15 years from the time that I got cancer until the time that I hid the treasure chest, 15 years. The poem in my book is something that I changed over and over again. When you read the poem, it looks like just simple words there, but I guarantee you I worked on that thing. I felt like an architect drawing that poem. The original version of the poem said, “Take the treasure chest, but leave my bones and go in peace,” or something like that. Then I got well and I ruined that story.

I believe very strongly in that. I started making bells out of bronze and little jars. The jars I put my autobiography in the jars and seal them up tight. I’ve buried eight of those things way out in the desert and in the mountains. Nobody knows where. I couldn’t even go back to them because I’ve hidden them so well. Who says I can’t influence the future? Who says can’t take it with me? I don’t believe in those things.

Which is best? Laying on the ground on a treasure chest, your bones rotting in the sun or laying in a hospital room with tubes down your throat and your nose and machines everywhere? People running out watching you all the time. Which would you rather have?

Female: The desert.

Forrest: That’s my philosophy. Anyway I’ll admit I’m a maverick in that area. My father had pancreas cancer. They gave him six months to live. 18 months later, he was still fishing up in Yellowstone in those lakes and fast streams. One night about 10:00 at night he called me on the phone. I was in Santa Fe and he was in Temple Texas. He said, “Forrest I just want you to know that I’m getting ready to take 50 sleeping pills.” I said, “Dad I’ll be there first thing in the morning.” I had an airplane. He said, “That’s too late.” It was too late.

I respected him because he wanted to do things on his own terms. What’s wrong with making your own rules about things? He could have gone in the hospital and withered away for another three weeks or a month. That’s no way to live. All of these thoughts manifest themselves in my treasure chest. The thrill of the chase, I keep going back to the thrill of the chase. You can think I’m crazy if you want to. A lot of people have said that. It’s something that I believe in. That treasure chest I’ve said is in a very special place to me. If I get another disease, on my last dying gasp, I’m going to throw myself on top of that treasure chest. Then I’m going to dare you to come find me. Bella, do you have a question?

Male: Mr. Fenn, we actually have one that sent to us. Since you were speaking about the poem, Dal Neitzel has asked if you would kindly read the poem of which I happen to have a copy of said poem.

Forrest: That damn Dal Neitzel’s always getting me in trouble.

Male: I’m just the messenger.

Forrest: He think he’s safe because he lives on a little island, Lummi island out of Seattle. I’ve got his number though.

“As I have gone alone in there, and with my Treasures bold. I can keep my secret where and hint of riches new and old. Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown. From there it’s no place for the meek. The end is ever drawing nigh. There’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high. If you’ve been wise and found a blaze, look quickly own your quest to cease. But tarry scant with marvel gaze just take the chest and go in peace. So why is it I must go and leave my trove for all to seek? The answers I already know. I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak. So hear me all and listen good” … I may have to read this thing. “So hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold. If you are brave and in the wood. I give you title to the gold.”

I view that as a challenge. There are so many things in life that are wonderful. There are so many things that are not wonderful. I think this world’s in trouble. I don’t need to tell you that. I think we need to … My father used to tell me, “Grab every banana.” He told me that a 100 times. He and I collected arrowheads together. We were thinking about going out to a friend’s farm with newly plowed to look for arrowheads, but it was drizzling rain. I didn’t much want to go, but my father did. We were discussing, he said, “Grab every banana.” I said, “Father, you’ve been telling me that for years.” I said, “I don’t know what you mean.” You know what he said to me? He said, “Now that you asked the question, maybe you’re old enough to know.” Pretty profound huh? He said, “The train doesn’t go by that banana tree but one time.” He said, “You should reach out and grab every banana on the way back.” I thought that was pretty good. Let me tell you, I’ve grabbed a few bananas in my time. Grabbed a few lemons too. Yes, sir.

Male: Are you familiar with the poet Robert Service?

Forrest: The what?

Male: Poet, Robert Service.

Forrest: No.

Male: You’d give him a run for his money.

Forrest: Thank you, thank you. I like poetry. I can walk down the street and see something and I quote poetry to myself. I did that coming up here today in the car with Dorothy Massey. It’s a little … I’ll read you a poem from Alice in Wonderland. “How doth the little crocodile improve his shiny tail and pour the waters of the Nile on every shiny scale? How cheerfully he seems to grin. How neatly spread his claws and welcome little fishies in with gentle smiling jaws.” I like that.

You may not know who Senator Al Simpson is, Senator from Wyoming, retired. He can quote the entire book from Alice in Wonderland. Yes, sir.

Male: Do you want to say anything about the accumulation of that treasure and why [those specific things were [inaudible] must have been a big piece of the pie.[inaudible] Or is that too personal a question.

Male: He’s wanting to know, on the accumulation of what you put in the chest, were they personal type items? How hard was it for you to put some of those items in there? How did you determine what you placed in there?

Forrest: Thank you for asking that question, sir. I wanted that treasure chest to be part of me. I wanted … If I’m going to take it with me, I don’t want it to be a bunch of abstract items. I put things in that treasure chest that are very dear to me. One of them, probably the cheapest thing in that treasure chest is a wonderful little bracelet, has 22 prehistoric turquoise beads in it. The beads were found by Richard Wetherill. The first day that he discovered Mesa Verde and climbed down into the ruin from the canyon top. He picked up those 22 little turquoise beads. In 1901, when Richard Wetherill was excavating Mesa Verde, there was an Indian working for him that made a bracelet out of those 22 little turquoise beads, disk beads. They call it a row bracelet. It was made about 1902 or so. When Richard Wetherill sold it to Fred Harvey of the Harvey houses, and years later that whole Harvey collection was given to the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

I won that bracelet in a pool game with Byron Harvey who was the nephew of Fred Harvey. That’s how I got that bracelet. I have an association. It’s the only Indian bracelet I ever had that fit me. I used to walk down the street showing off that bracelet. It’s worth about $350. It was special to me.

Female: Have your grandkids ever tried looking for the treasure?

Forrest: What’d she say?

Male: Have your grandkids ever tried looking for the treasure?

Forrest: No, but I’ll tell you an interesting story. Some of the emails I get from people, I got one last week from a lady about your age. You must be 11?

Female: Nine.

Forrest: Nine? She said “Mr. Fenn if I find the treasure chest do I have to share it with my brother?” I get all kinds of emails. This one lady said my truck is not very reliable. She said, “If I go in the mountains on the way to your treasure chest and my truck breaks down, will you come and pick me up and take me the rest of the way?”

Female: Do you think kids will ever find your treasure? Do you think kids have a shot at trying to find your treasure?

Male: Do you think that kids will ever find the treasure?

Forrest: Do I think that kids …? You worry me a little. Yeah I think kids may have an advantage. Don’t expect me to explain that, but sure. Their eyes are better. They’re more agile. They have more energy. Why should a kid take backseat in the treasure hunt? Is that your daughter there?

Male: Sure is.

Forrest: She’s dangerous. Okay, more questions. Yes, sir.

Male: You put a lot of people, a very bold, exciting adventure. It seems you put yourself on an adventure watching all these people. Are you enjoying that?

Male: He said that he put a lot of people on a bold and exciting adventure and yourself. How are you enjoying watching all of this adventure around you?

Forrest: “Well tell me not in mournful numbers.  Laugh is but an empty dream. For the soul is dead that slumbers and things are never what they seem.” I’m enjoying it, yeah. I didn’t expect it … I always figured that the treasure chest was a bomb. I didn’t know that I had a fuse until Dorothy came along and a couple other people that started giving publicity to the book. Now it’s out. No matter what happens now, it belongs to the ages I think. Sure, there’s a … People talk about, “Mr. Fenn is that your legacy?” You know, I don’t like philosophy of that. I don’t like … Once a person dies, that should be the end of it. If you want to say something kind about me, say it me while I’m alive. Don’t wait until I die. Let’s not talk about legacies. Yes, sir.

Male: When you had cancer and you got well and you decided to hide the treasure, do you think maybe fate … Maybe you got well so you would hide the treasure?

Forrest: I believe that there’s a higher hand someplace. I don’t know what it is, but I think that I’ve lived a charmed life. Here’s a little kid from a small town in Texas, made D’s and F’s in high school. Joined the Air Force as a private, became a fighter pilot.  When I was 27 years old and a fighter pilot in Germany, I went down to supply and checked out an atomic bomb. I signed a form. I owned that atomic bomb, 61 kiloton bomb. The bomb at Hiroshima was 17,000 tons. This was 61,000. I thought that if I can do that from my background, then look at what other people can do from their background.

I had a hard tour in Vietnam. I flew 328 combat missions in about 348 days. I was shot down twice. I took battle damage a few times. I lost some roommates. I lost 22 pounds and didn’t even know it. When I came home, I was tired. I was tired mentally. I was tired physically. I wrote a story that’s in my memoirs that’s called My War for Me. If you don’t do anything else, read that story. I think it’s 7,500 words, but I’m very proud of that story. It tells … In my new book, ‘to far too walk’. Do we have a copy of that?

I tell another story that’s an aberration to My War for Me story. I’ll [00:30:00] tell you briefly about that. I was laying in the wet jungle in Laos. I just jumped out. My wife got a telegram saying that I had been shot down and no parachutes had been seen. I’m lying there trying to decide what to do. I had a radio. If I call the rescue people, they would probably come get me and I’d go home. It was Laos in those days, 1968 was pretty wild country. What if the helicopter comes in to get me and it’s shot down and two or three guys are killed? Now where am I? I haven’t been rescued and four guys have been killed. Those things were preying on my mind.

I was 38 years old. I was a perfect human physical specimen. I had graduated from the jungle survival school in the Philippines. The jungle was never hot. It was never cold. Fast running water, drinkable water was everywhere. I had two guns. I had a knife. Under every log in the jungle is nourishing food if you’re willing to eat it and I was. I figured that I could walk to the South China Sea in a month or six weeks. So the question is am I going to take the challenge that will never in a million years be offered to me? Or do I remember my wife and two kids at home? So what do you do? I decided it wasn’t fair to my family. So I used my radio the next morning. They came and got me and nobody was killed taking me out. One of the things in my life that I think I’ve been not gifted of course, but I hate to use the word luck, but I believe there’s a higher hand yet. Tomorrow I’ll get run over by a train, but I believe in karma and some of those things.

I’m not a religious person, but I’m probably the most spiritual person around. That’s the way I define it. I hate to get on my soapbox. Yes, sir.

Male: I’d like to know more about your new book.

Forrest: My new book, ‘too far to walk,’ in my preface I explain where I got the title to the book. Dal Neitzel who put me on the spot a while ago, three days before we went to press … I own my own little publishing company, it’s called a One Horse Land, a Cattle Company. Two days or three days before we went to the printer, I didn’t have a dust jacket. I sent Dal Neitzel an email. I said, “Go to the Madison River in Yellowstone Park. There’s a very special place I’m going to tell you about and take a photograph of the water.” Stand on the bank. Put the flowers in the photograph and send me the photograph. He did that and sent me the photograph. My designer here in Santa Fe put the shadow across it. Two days before we went to the printer, I was still writing this book.

When a writer sends a manuscript to a publisher, two years later they’re thinking about going to the printer. We did this in two days, a byproduct of having your own people working for you. People that designed this book and helped me are wonderful. Same people that did that book for me. Some people you can never thank enough.

Male: We’ve got a question from your online fan base that we got to address to.

Forrest: Who is it?

Male: This one’s anonymous.

Forrest: Okay. Boy I’m in trouble now.

Male: Was the car you walked back to after hiding the treasure rented?

Forrest: Was it rented?

Male: Was it rented?

Forrest: You know that’s the first time I’ve been asked that question. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about that. That’s why I told people that I hid the treasure chest when I was either 79 or 80 years old, because I don’t want the exact date to be known because I’m afraid somebody will go check the rental car records and how many miles did Mr. Fenn put on a truck or a car. I don’t answer those kind of questions, but shoot that person that sent that email.

Female: Back to The Thrill of the Chase, outside of the poem, approximately how many hints or clues are in the book? Would you say 10 to 20, 20 to 30?

Forrest: How may clues?

Female: How many hints?

Forrest: There are nine clues in the poem. If you read the book, there are a couple of good hints. Then there are a couple of aberrations that live out on the edge. Yes, ma’am.

Female: You say there’s nine clues in the poem. The poem has more than nine lines. Can you share with us which are exactly the lines are the clues?

Forrest: Which of the 24 lines are clues?

Female: Yes.

Forrest: Little girl I already know you. You’ve been out looking for the treasure.

Female: I’m trying to help everybody else.

Forrest: She already knows what the clues are. No I don’t want to do that.

Female: Okay.

Forrest: She’s scary too. Have I talked enough?

Male: No.

Male: I don’t have a question, but I just want mention since you’re so interested in information that the gentleman that emailed you from Lummi Island.

Male: Dal. Dal Neitzel.

Male: Lummi Island is on the far side of a reservation that’s called Lummi Reservation. He has to go through the reservation every time he goes home to catch the ferry to go out to his island. Just an interesting fact I thought you might be interested in.

Forrest: I didn’t know Dal until after I’d written my book. He came to Santa Fe because he wanted to talk to me about the book and the poem. I didn’t know the guy so I didn’t want to meet him at my home. I met him at the Collected Works Book Store in Santa Fe. He introduced himself to me with a fictitious name. He had some ulterior motives related to that. After a few minutes of conversation, I learned that his name was Dal Neitzel and that he had worked with my nephew Crayton Fenn who’s a professional deep sea diver. He found the Agamemnon, Lord Nelson’s flagship, and brought a canon up off the {?} … He has a website that’s as wonderful pictures. I don’t know what the website is, but Dal Neitzel was working with my nephew when they found I think 79 17th century sunken Spanish galleons off of Uruguay.

Dal Neitzel, his water runs deep, and he’s a really neat guy too. He runs a blog. I think he controls that whole blog. It’s very interesting. I read his blog so I can learn a lot about myself. Your friend isn’t laughing.

Male: Coming from the online site again, I’ve been asked to ask you, how many people have told you they’ve discovered the unintended clue in ‘too far to walk’ and how many were right?

Forrest: I haven’t had anybody tell me the answer to that clue. If you read my preface it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, I think what they’re talking about. There are clues in my new book that can help a person. Did I answer that question? Did it have two parts?

Male: Yes, no that was it. Now here’s a really obscure one. Is it possible to locate the treasure chest without ever leaving your computer and Google Earth?

Forrest: No, it isn’t. Did I really say that?

Male: I believe it got caught on tape.

Forrest: There’s not a picture of the treasure chest on Google Earth. Was that your question?

Male: Yes, I think that will suffice.

Forrest: Google Earth doesn’t go down far enough.

Male: Yes, sir.

Male: Tell us about the children’s little book that you have planned.

Forrest: The children’s book that I have planned?

Male: Yes, sir.

Forrest: There’s a lady that contacted me. She’s written several children’s book and she read both of my books and she said, “I want you to write a children’s book with me.” For some reason she thought I was a child, I guess, the way I write my books. I said, “Okay.” We’re thinking about that. I would like to do that. I’m not a natural writer. I struggle when I write. I think my prose looks easy, but sometimes … I said just today, “Sometimes when I get to the end of a sentence trying to write the end of the sentence, I forgot what the front part of the sentence was.” I may be running out of words.

I have three books in my computer that I’m really proud of. I would like to finish one. The main one is a book called Closet Stories of Taos. It’s about the artists and the characters, but it isn’t an art book. It’s a gossip book. It’s about Long John Dunn. That wasn’t his name at all. His name was Vigil [Vehill]. He killed two people in Texas, both of them justifiable, but the Court didn’t think so. They convicted him of first degree murder and gave him life in prison. The Sabine River down in south Texas overflowed and they let all the prisoners out to stack sandbags to protect the house and John Dunn jumped in the river and floated on a log “far from the reach of Texas Rangers”, he said. It’s a wonderful story about John Dunn.

It’s about Harsh [McHorris] who owned the first car dealership in Taos. Teracita Ferguson and there’s a great story … I don’t know whether I could tell this story in this mixed company, but I will. There were two guys down on the plaza walking around one Sunday afternoon. There were accosted by two women who wear hoods over their faces. They wanted these two men to go over to LaFonda Hotel with them because they had a room over there. These two guys didn’t want to do it. I’m not going to mention their names, but in my book I do. The two women turned to walk away and one of the men lifted the hoods of these two women. One of them was Teracita Ferguson and the other was Georgia O’Keeffe. My book is really a gossip book. It’s stories about Doc Martin and the artist. Great stories about Gas Borden, Fechen and Sharp and Couse, and Victor Higgins and some of the others.

Male: Questions? Okay then I will ask another from the online world.

Forrest: Will you quit going back to the computer?

Male: Okay, this will be the last one. Other than the one you’ve mentioned, are there any other hints in ‘too far to walk’ that would help solve the nine clues?

Forrest: There’s the major clue in the book, but I don’t think it will help you find the treasure chest. I’ll tell you what the clue is. In the back of my book, there’s a map. I’ve said that the treasure chest is hidden in the Rocky Mountains. Here’s a treasure chest of the Rocky Mountains. If you knew where the treasure chest is hidden, you could find it on this map. The map stops at Canada. The Rockies keep going up there, but I said that it’s in the Rocky Mountains which would include Canada. When this book was printed, I didn’t realize that Benchmark Maps that made this map stopped at the Canadian border. That’s a clue, but it’s not going to help you much.

Female: That’s not the clue.

Forrest: What did she say?

Male: She said that’s not the clue.

Forrest: There are no clues in this book, but there are some hints. What I tell people to do, if you’re really serious about looking for the treasure, get The Thrill of the Chase and read it. Then go back and read the poem over and over and over again. Then go back and read the book again, but slowly looking at every little abstract thing that might catch up in your brain that might be a hint to help you with the clues. Any part of some is better than no part of any. I don’t think that will help you much.

Male: If someone does find the treasure and they reveal themselves that they have found it.

Forrest: If somebody finds the treasure what?

Male: If somebody does find the treasure, and spoils your plans to cast your bones on the chest, will you find a new location and do it again?

Forrest: How do you answer a guy that asks a question like that? I don’t think so. I mean I’ve had my run.  A lot of things you can’t plan. Making plans is antagonistic to freedom. I used to tell a story in my ‘too far to walk’ book about in Santa Fe I had a Piper Malibu Mirage. It carried lots of fuel. It had 43 foot wingspan. I could go out there all by myself. Push the hanger doors open because I didn’t want anybody to help me. Crank that airplane up. Get permission from the tower to take off and head north and then turn my radios off. I had no idea where I was going to land, what I was going to see. I didn’t even care. I had six or seven hundred miles before I had to think about that. I had GPS and I had maps. I’d find a little town up in Wyoming or Idaho or someplace in Montana and look on my map and see if they had a rental car or an airport. If they did, I’d land and rent a car and go out and sit by the lake or the river. I did that.

I tell a story about that in, I think it’s Lander, Wyoming. The little Popo Agee River runs through lander. How can you not stop when little Pope Agie River runs through a town?

Female: My best friend who passed away a couple of months ago, she lived in Lander.

Forrest: She lived in Lander?

Female: Yeah.

Forrest: I’ve been to Lander a few times. It’s a typical little town. You have to love Lander. That’s grassroots America. As a matter of fact, I have a granddaughter that’s pre-med at Texas Tech University. I told her that I would pay for all of her college to get a medical degree if she would promise me that when she graduated and got her license that she would go to a little town like Lander. Set up a shingle and make house calls. She has to do that for two years. She promised me that she would to that. That’s where I am with this whole thing. Yes, sir.

Male: Forrest, did you have nine clues before you wrote the poem? Or did nine clues appear after you wrote it?

Forrest: They’re contiguous.  I knew where I wanted to hide the treasure chest, so it was easy for me to put one foot down and then step on it to get to the next foot. That’s what I did. I changed it over, I don’t know how many times. I looked up the meaning of words. You know, we really don’t know what some of our words mean. For instance what does the word several mean? S-E-V-E-R-A-L, what does that mean?

Male: Many.

Forrest: What?

Male: Many.

Forrest: No. It means more than two, but not many more than three. Isn’t that a way to define a word? More than two but not many. I doubt that anybody in this room knows that. I mean I wouldn’t know it except I’m a writer and sometimes I look things up. There are lots of words in the English language that we can’t define. Consequently we use them erroneously. How the hell did I get on that subject?

Female: Is there anything in the chest you would like back?

Forrest: Is there anything in the chest that I want back? Yeah, I want my little bracelet back. I’m glad you asked that question. Her name is M A C I. Anyway, I’ve had about 35 men or people send me an email that says I found your treasure. I’m looking at it. Of course, I don’t believe it, but I write them back and I say congratulations. I say, “Will you sell me my bracelet back?” They say, “What bracelet?” This one guy said that to me that he had my treasure chest and I said, “Well I’m interested sir, did the hot water affect the patina on the treasure chest any?” He said, “Thank you,” and hung up. He thought I had given him a clue and he’s going to go out and look in all the hot water up and down the Rocky Mountain. Everybody has their own gig. I keep saying that, but I believe it. Yes, ma’am.

Female: Have you left comparable treasure to you grandchildren sir?

Forrest: Do I have comparable treasures for my grandchildren?

Male: Yes.

Forrest: My family is taken care of. I’m another maverick in that area. The last thing I want to do is make my kids or grandkids wealthy. I was in the art business for so many years and I saw what inherited money can do. It’s the thrill of the chase. It’s the thrill in doing it yourself. I bought all my grandkids cars when they got their driver’s license. I’m paying for all their education. Then they’re on their own. First of all, I’m really not that wealthy. I mean I can live on the interest and that’s the definition of a wealthy person, I guess. Lots of things … I have everything I want, but I don’t want very much.

Female: How did you come out with the title ‘too far to walk’?

Forrest: You have to read my preface. I explain it in my preface. Let me read it to you. I’ll read the dedication.

“This book is dedicated to all who have pushed me against my will and made me a better person.”

Here’s my preface. “I put a small, rubber dingy in the Madison River a few miles from West Yellowstone Montana and fished downstream to Baker’s Hole. That part of the river was in the quietly forgotten western edge of Yellowstone Park. There were no roads, no trails, and no rangers to tell me that I wasn’t supposed to do that. The river distance was about ten miles, and the best fishing was in the bends where the water turned greenish deep and beautiful. The small boat containing my camping gear was tethered to my belt and as I leisurely walked in the quiet river, I spent three days there casually casting my fly and enjoying the solitude. The river experience, it cemented my connection to that special country and I promised myself that someday I would make that trip again. That day never came for me and my disappointment still casts a lonesome shadow across the Madison River. For me now, it’s just too far to walk.

That’s where I got the title. Yes, sir.

Male: Forrest, may I suggest that you tell the audience, those of who aren’t searchers.

Forrest: What?

Male: Tell those in the audience who are not searching why the phrase too far to walk is so important?

Forrest: I didn’t say it was important. That part of my preface I think is a metaphor for my entire life. Looking back, I’ve done some things that I’m not going to brag about, but I’m also not done some things that I wished I had. As a matter of fact in ‘The Thrill of the Chase’ I talk about writing my obituary. My, what do you call it?

Female: [inaudible]

Forrest: Yeah, I wish I could have lived to do the things I was attributed to. See there? She feels the same way about that. I had my gallery for 17 years in Santa Fe and I had no education. I’d been a fighter pilot all my life. When I opened my business I didn’t have a painting, knew nothing about business, knew nothing about art. I had to start from scratch. My first two shows I didn’t sell so much as a book. I finally told myself … I had a little bit of money left that I had saved 20 years in the Air Force. I said “I’m going to spend this money advertising and if that doesn’t work I’m going to slam the door and go do something else.” It started working for me.

I learned to play monopoly in my art gallery. Every time I sold a painting, I took the profit and bought two paintings. Then I took the profit and bought four paintings. Over a period of time, it took me two years before I could finance my gallery out of accounts receivable. I learned a lot along the way. There’s so much to learn. I learned that when I needed somebody to work in my accounts receivable and accounts payable office, that’s a very important job. In a business, everything depends on cash flow.

This lady came to see me. She wanted to work for me, and I needed somebody in accounts receivable and accounts payable. I said, “Let me think about it overnight.”  About 8:00 that night, I went to her house and knocked on her door. She let me in. I wanted to see what kind of housekeeper she was. If there’s stuff laying all over the floor, she’s not going to work in my accounts receivable. I want her working as a salesman out front. Different personalities have different … I’ve always said that salesmen like school teachers have shelf lives. It’s about six years. Dorothy will say that’s not true. If you own you’re own business it’s a little bit different.  I learned a lot in the art business. I learned a lot about people. I learned a lot about business and I learned a lot about life.

So many writers, I don’t want to be critical, but I know so many writers that are so much better than I am. Everything is researched perfectly. Everything is correct. The commas are in the right spot. You go right down the center line. I told this writer today, she should be writing Encyclopedia Britannica’s. It’s no fun to read. Everything’s there but it’s no fun. I said how are you going to know where the edge is if you don’t go out there and look? I never wanted to go down the center line. I want to bounce off the curbs. I think I’ve done that. I got caught a few times.

If I had my life to do over … I said in one of these books, if I had my life to do over, I’d change nearly everything. Why do the same thing over and over again? You read in these different magazines. They ask a question, “What would you change in your life?” “I wouldn’t change anything. Everything’s been perfect.” I think that’s such a thing to say. Why do the same thing over again? Nothing wrong with slamming a door and starting out new again.

“Out of the night that covers me, dark is the pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever God’s may be for my unconquerable soul.” I think that’s a good place to stop, don’t you?

Male: I agree.

Forrest: Thank you.


104 thoughts on “The Moby Dickens Book Signing…

  1. Dal, you’re a gem. I’ve always enjoyed the video, and after hearing it what had happened, I was quite disappointed. Thank you so much for providing us another opportunity to the interview.

      • Do you know the name of the female that Forrest is talking to at the Moby Dickens book shop toward the end of the interview when he says, “she already knows the clues….I don’t want to do that.”

        • I watched a recap of the Moby Dicken Book shop interview. It looks like her name is Stephanie. She used to have a blog named What’s a blaze but it is no longer. Do you know what her last name is and if she is still blogging about FF.

        • I watched a recap of the interview. It looks like her name is Stephanie. She used to have a blog named What’s a blaze but it is no longer. Do you know what her last name is and if she is still blogging about FF.

          • Thrill seeker,

            Stephanie, because of all her searching travels, was the thought on many minds when that book signing comment first came out.
            I have met Stephanie here in Clearwater FL at a meet and greet along with other searchers and she is a strong searcher.
            But I believe it was another lady searcher that had written Forrest and discussed her solve prior to that book signing. Her discussion on her solve was not here at hoD.

            By the way I believe Stephanie is still involved in the chase and has a blog.

            Good luck,

  2. I agree! I’ve been looking for it for about 2 maybe 3 weeks! Thank you for posting the script!

  3. So sad. It is to bad everyone is trying to make money from the story of Forrest Fenn.
    At this time I would like to personally thank you for this blog. Thanks for all of the time and effort that you have given to all of us. It is so nice to come somewhere that is not shoving advertisements down our throats.

    I come here when I need the cold heart facts. No B.S. and it is also free. How can anyone beat that.
    I don’t care what anyone says. Dal, you are an outstanding person. And you have my upmost respect.
    I am not sure how much help you have with this blog? But everyone involved gets a pat on the back from me.
    Thank you!!!!!!

  4. Thank you, Dal, for the transcription of the Moby Sickens book signing. Have you heard of any video or audio of the book signing at the La Fonda or Inn and Spa Laredo in Santa Fe in 2013? I know that you did not attend. I did attend and witnessed some attendees taking video, but have not seen any attached to your blog. What say you? I recall jelly and crackers, good horderves and wine, good company, live folk music, and a Dr. Pepper drinkin’ Fenn. I was unable to take any video due to poor planning on my part. There has to be some video of that evening in existence out there.

  5. Slurbs-
    I am not aware of any video coverage of the entire event. I remember that there were a couple of short clips that folks grabbed…one may have come from Kelly or Zoe. The person who may have filmed the entire event could be Toby. He was filming Forrest’s events at that time…
    Another person who was sometimes filming Forrest around then was Irene Rawlings’ husband. I can ask and see if either shot those events…

      • Dale is my middle name. No one but my mother ever called me Dale, and then, only when she was mad at me…which seems like was most of the time,,,I got used to be being called Jerry Dale…How sad. JDA

      • randawg-
        You’re right. That’s probably spellcheck.I usually remember how to spell my name…I’ll correct that…
        Forrest actually referred to me as “dahl” back then…or maybe it was “dull”…anyway, he did not call me “dale”…

          • Toby

            He says Dal in a way that falls between Pal and Pale. It’s like Dale buy clipped short. He certainly knows it rhymes with pale.

            He says other things funny too.


      • Hi Dal — nice work on the transcript: I know how tedious that is when transcribing from audio rather than written word (unless you happen to be a stenographer!) If you’re going back to edit “Dale,” another proper name that got scrambled a handful of times was Lander (Wyoming) as Ladner.

        • Lug: that’s ridiculous. You must have watched the video at least once. “Ladner” is not a word ever uttered.

      • [note to self: immediately cancel airline ticket to Ladner, British Columbia ..and frantically check availability for Wyoming flights]

        jeez Dal! – i noticed how you (mysteriously) managed to transcribe “Dal Neitzel, his water runs deep, and he’s a really neat guy too” faultlessly though 😛

        • Holy Cow Curious! Did Forrest really say that? I never noticed that before..Maybe that’s a clue…
          I need to borrow a shovel and start digging up something…but I don’t know where…

        • well, just don’t expect to borrow MY shovel anytime soon, as it’s on a freighter halfway to BC already!

          ..along with my brand new Nitecore MH20 Cree XM L2 U2 4500K LED rechargeable Flashlight (with neutral white light option)
          ..and my extra large ham sandwich with extra extra mustard 🙁

          • [note to self: immediately forgive Dal after sending him the bill for my fancy new flashlight – then throw my silly, yet immaculately crafted, voodoo doll of him into the fireplace..]

            [oh wait! ..whoops!! 🙁 ]

            relax nikan – you worry too much 🙂

        • It’s not that I’m slow or anything Curious but I just got the Ladner/Lander thing…I fixed it..
          I’m not that good at subtle hints.
          “Hey stupid, it’s Lander not Ladner.” would have probably worked better…
          You are correct though…I am certain my brain cell was locked onto Ladner, BC when I wrote that…

    • Slurbs-
      Irene says that there was no video of those events shot by her team…I’ll check with Toby.

    • Slurbs-
      Toby didn’t film those events either. He did take very good notes though and he recalls hat both those events were more about book signing and less about speaking. He believes Forrest said little except to thank folks for coming.

  6. It is by far my favorite interview! Filled with an over abundance of hints if you can spot them….

  7. Great!
    Thanks Dal,
    Very time consuming process.
    I had only transcribed certain parts.

  8. Yes, it really is one of Forrest’s great videos. And like Iron Will, I have almost memorized the entire interview.

    The one question I wish had been asked, but wasn’t was: does the searcher need a 4WD vehicle to reach the spot where the searcher begins to hike? Nevertheless, I think I know what Forrest’s answer would have been. 🙂

    Ken (in Texas)

  9. No this is good! I’ve seen the video and I didn’t get as much out of it as reading this transcript. I can hear F’s voice as I read his responses.

  10. Like others, this is one of my favorite interviews, which is/almost memorized. It’s too bad the bookstore didn’t offer Mr. Fenn the “throne” once they closed their doors.

    • The other interview I like is the radio interview with Mr. Fenn and Dal. It was around Mr. Fenn’s birthday, and Dal mentioned something about singing “Happy Birthday” to Mr. Fenn, and Mr. Fenn said he would give him $5 if he didn’t. It still makes me laugh. 🙂

  11. Thanks Dal;

    I had read bits and pieces of the interview, but never all that you have transcribed. Thanks for your efforts. JDA

  12. Thank you, Dal!

    I’m fairly late to the party here, so my first hearing about this interview was in the past month or so from some other posts on this site mentioning that the video had been taken down.

    I did not think much about my missing out on hearing this interview, but now that I have read the whole transcript, I am very appreciative of you giving me and everyone else the opportunity to have read it. It very much enhances & enriches everything that I have read about Forrest and his philosophies so far. He’s a cool dude!

  13. Dal,

    Thanks so much for this. Your efforts and intent you bestow for everyone visiting your blog is a true example of a heart of Gold.

    We outer appreciates your inner.

    Thank you.

  14. Thanks Dal. Much appreciated!

    Just a side note: In the video, directly to the right of Forrest is a book by M.C. Escher–I’ve always felt this might be a hint—so wanted to share that since we are reading an interview, and not seeing it.

    • Dal,

      I concur with Sparrow. Thank you for your effort and believe the Book by M.C. Escher was strategically placed by FF in his interview. I know there has been some noise on MW on the photos/drawings in TTOTC. I have solid proof that the photos/drawings play a role in the chase. I am keeping my silence right now but will provide full explanation in the future.


      • I talked to the artist by phone way back , 2014 maybe. Ttotc book has his name and email in it. I sent him an email that also had my ph# in it and he called me back. He said he sees no way by the brief instructions received from Forrest for each drawing, that the drawings that he, Allen Polt drew, could have additional clues in them.
        For instance he said, the stout hearted men, he was told simply to draw some boys by a bon fire. I don’t remember if Allen read the stories before he made the drawings, of course Forrest could put a drawing where ever.
        We did not talk about the dove in the moon, nor the drawing on pg 99, or many others.

        • This is the reason I think Forrest edited some of the illustrations. For example, I think he added stumps to the axeman illustration. Certainly many of the stumps are digital copies of each other, sometimes at different scales or mirror-imaged.

    • Having been on the scene on the day of the event, I can tell you that the “decorating scheme” in Moby Dickens was very eclectic. As we were rearranging the room to ready it for Fenn, I moved the book from the seat of the white chair and on to a window seat behind Fenn – a space shared by the Moore’s fat cat. I then set up my camera so, a) I had a good shot of Fenn, and b) I would have the least amount of traffic walking in front of the lens. I can assure you, the book was not “strategically placed.”

  15. That was a classic Forrest Fenn video. Wonder what happened to the high backed chair he sat in for that event? Ivory colored with handwriting I think…

  16. Thank you for the transcript. Videos tend to go in one eye and out some other orifice.
    But now something from the transcript is stuck in my head. I have to read it again, get a good map and get my copy of Too Far To Walk.

    • um…Bakers Hole is right at the northern end of the runway at the West Yellowstone airport. It’s a heavy traffic area. It looks like a good place camp while you are in the area. But I wouldn’t put a treasure there. That whole area of the Madison looks like it gets high traffic. It’s off my list for now.

  17. Dal, thanks so much for this posting. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
    See you at Fennboree!!!


    • How could you possibly know that? After all, he showers with his jeans on. 🙂

    • Fennatical

      someone kept their X-Ray Specs from the 70’s …apparently

  18. After reading the transcript I can say a couple of things:

    JDA—keep your dictionary. Definitions of words are very important.

    The treasure appears to have been originally hidden approx. 2003.

    The bracelet appears to have a name. I had missed that before.

    There are many other things, but those stood out to me.

      • You sure about that Jim? From above:

        “It was 15 years from the time that I got cancer until the time that I hid the treasure chest, 15 years.”

        Forrest got cancer in 1988.

        • I think he hid the treasure “chest” in 2003 and then hid the actual gold and goodies in July of 2010. That way he can say that he hid the treasure chest before he wrote the poem, which he did say (remember what he wrote on MW). “I could have written the poem before I hid the treasure chest, but I didn’t.” f

          This way both statements that he made about the timing and of hiding the treasure can be correct and not contradictory.

          It also may be the reason why some searchers believe that there are two treasures involved in the chase.
          What do you think?

          • Interesting idea, but if I were Forrest and concerned about the lurking shadow of death and leaving behind a good Chase of my own design for all to enjoy, I would not space my trips 7 years apart and risk leaving behind only an empty chest. I think the commonly agreed upon truth that he made 2 trips in one day seems most appropriate.

          • Yes, two trips from his car to the hidey spot. 11 lbs. each trip. An old man (80) might have a bit of trouble with carrying 22 lbs. on his back and traveling more than a few miles in one afternoon.

          • Oh I forgot, the 7 year difference. At that time he wasn’t lurking in the shadow of death, he was cured of cancer by then. He realized he wasn’t ready and got cold feet. Maybe he wanted to test the hidey spot for someone to stumble upon. There is another reason that I think he waited for such a long period of time (7yrs) b4 completing the his plan. That I won’t tell.

            How would he risk leaving an empty chest for his legacy if he hadn’t wrote the book yet? No one would have known about his plan.

          • I think the chest was hidden after the poem was created, but not published in any way. I recall him saying I knew I could go get it, then I wrote the TTOTC with the poem in it. I dont know the Source of that .

          • Manowar—

            That is a very reasonable explanation. And as someone mentioned, a seven year “test” could make sense. If no one can “stumble”upon the place in seven years, then it must obviously be a very good hiding place.

            So retrieve the chest, fill it with valuables, and return it (after a few people have seen it) to where it was before. Then release the poem you finished after you hid the chest originally (the poem leads to the exact spot).

            By the way, Barty didn’t explain this to me, the ghost of Peter Falk (Columbo) did.

    • To the dictionary campers – I’m thinking about raffling off my dictionary because I can’t force the meanings of words to fit any solution to the poem.

      Does anyone want to purchase a raffle ticket? Ticket prices will be reasonable and in (USD).

  19. Love this interview. He gave a couple of pretty good hints to a few clues!
    Thanks, Dal.

  20. Thanks Dal. I was always sold on NM or CO for the location of the TC except for the one question in this interview about the rental car. Why not just answer yes or no instead the talks about not wanting anyone to figure out the exact date and the miles etc. Sure sounds to me like he rented a car but this alone doesn’t mean it’s not NM or CO but would seem more likely that if a rental were used then he was up further north for a few days. I know a lot of bloggers debate that he wouldn’t have flown with the contents and all that but I”m sure that boarding a small commuter out of SF wouldn’t be an issue and others have pointed out how he may have shipped the empty chest ahead via private carrier or USPS etc. Wonder if he caught a ‘hop’ on some Air Force AC! Anyhow, yes or no on a rental car and what difference would it make? I One other thing, when he spells out M A C I , I always thought he was fixing to say that his granddaughter wanted the bracelet but got side tracked ….IMO

    • Imo, doesn’t matter if he had a rental. He could have gotten one in Santa Fe! He did say he drove a sedan when he hid the treasure. (Mysterious writings).
      I think it’s probably a red herring. It’s totally illogical and not needed info, but will trip some up that waste time searching for “not needed” info. Why correct someone when they are wrong? This IS a race to the treasure!
      The one who finds the treasure is someone who uses logic, analyzes the clues, marries them to a map, and walks confidently to it.
      So, stick to the 9 clues, TOTC and a GE and/or a good map. These little tidbits given by F, are not hints or clues. He said he was not giving any out, so stay clear of brain clogging trivia.
      Just MO. Read HOD for amusement! 🙂

  21. Dal, My appreciation, too, for providing this transcript. Another example of you going above and beyond. At this point, that particular list is getting long!

    Upon reading the words, many points pertaining to my search were confirmed and I missed all of those as I watched the video. It is amazing how the eyes and brain apparently function differently in response to different media.

    • eagle-
      That happened to someone else recently and they were ending up in the spam/junk folder…
      You might check and see if that’s what is happening to yours…

  22. Thanks, Dal.
    I also had to look for this new post. I’m not getting them either.

  23. Toby has posted his monetized Moby Dickens video. You can find it here:

    There are also bonus materials you get to peruse when you pay to see the video..

    No reason to say bad things about monetizing here…If you don’t like the idea you could just stay away from the video.

  24. Dal, I can’t begin to imagine the time it took to transcribe that audio. For all your effort and time thank you so much.

  25. Your audio recording as transcribed above does not match my recollection in some places. Too bad the original video has been removed.

    • Crow-
      Look at the post again..It has been moved…not taken down…
      Toby has monetized the video. You can watch it for less than $2…

  26. Wow, could you believe I just read this here transcript Post? Yeah, it’s true. I’m not subscribed to this post. So, I read all of the comments too. Thanks for your reply to my comments, Dal. As far as the book signing event I mentioned, I vividly recall several attendees taking video of the event. I sure wish I had. As a note to you, Dal, and all… in the part about John Dunn. You transcribed that Forrest said John Dunn’s name was really “[Vehill]”. I would like to clear up an error here. Vehill is the phonetic of what was pronounced. Correct spelling of the name is Vigil. Hence, Vigil is pronounced vee-hil (or Vehill). I know this as I am from Taos and guess what my grandmother’s maiden name was. You guessed it, Vigil. She was born about a mile from the John Dunn bridge in Arroyo Hondo in a in a house which is yellow (at least that is how my eyes perceive it). I wonder now if I am somehow related to John Vigil a.k.a. John Dunn. I guess I may have overlooked this Vigil thing when I watched the video. Thank you for the unexpected insight. I think it is a good thing. I think I will go and let my mind wander now… First, I’m going to subscribe to this Post in case anyone has questions or comments regarding these comments.

  27. I just read some of this interview, and this is the first time I heard anything about a “hole card”. What do you think Forrest meant when he said he’d had a hole card?

    • IMO, he had hidden the chest before publicizing doing so.
      Quoting FF:
      [When I hid and was walking back to my car, I started laughing out loud and said,”Forrest Fenn, did you really do that?” I had a hole card. I told myself if I decided later if I didn’t want to do it, I could go back and get it.]

      ‘Hole Card’ may be defined as: a thing that is kept secret until it can be used to one’s own advantage.

      Since the Treasure Hunt and POEM hadn’t been made public in this instance, if FF changed his mind about offering the chest to the first Finder, he could simply retrieve it.

      • Thanks for the explanation. I was thinking that he meant that literally, like he had a card with a hole in it! Then maybe he left it somewhere where some searcher would come across it…

          • Thanks! Sometimes I think I think too much. One last thought- maybe if there was a card left somewhere, I wonder if Forrest thought the person would reveal its discovery at some point, which would let him know they were close? Just food for thought.

          • Mike, maybe this will help clarify… I would think a card would fall into the same.

            “I said on the Today show that the treasure is not associated with any structure. Some people say I have a desire to mislead. That is not true. There are no notes to be found or safety deposit boxes to be searched. The clues can lead you to the treasure, and it will be there waiting when you arrive.”

  28. Forrest: This gal’s dangerous. Would I find myself switching back? I think I can say no to that without giving away too much of a clue.

    When I was transcribing this line for my collection of comments from f, I probably watched and listened to this line in the video 30 or 40 times. My wife asked me how many times I was going to listen to it as I repeated it over and over (thankfully we’re still married, and I’m sure all my kids think I need hearing aids). I watched f closely, I listened carefully, I drove my family crazy.

    In the end, I determined that f had said “… without giving away to much of ‘the’ clue.” Does that make a difference? I think it does, enough so that I spent over an hour trying to accurately understand and know exactly if f said ‘a’ or ‘the’.

    So I have often wondered since then which clue, or which words in the poem that make up the clue, that f was alluding to with this statement, and what the actual thing the clue refers to when correctly deciphered. The straightforward answer for me has been the third stanza and that it is somehow related to a trail. I’m sure more than a few will say “duh, JCM”; but there are some things that one will only begin to realize and see after a lot of thought and deep reflection on the words which f has said.

    There are so many statements and comments by f that are like this, those that cause me to give pause and take time to think and consider the implications and possibilities, a refining and rendering of detail for what the area is like where f hid his treasure. There is something very unique and rewarding that comes from using your mind and imagination to visualize a place, and then go to a place for the first time, feeling like you have been there before, and that you are catching up with an old friend.

    • JCM,
      Your thought process is great… and if correct with “the” it would make a big difference in my mind.
      I’m going to take it one step further and add stanza 4 in the same thought. If we have been wise and found the blaze…imo… we’re still not done and told to ‘look and gaze.’ I’m still under the assumption the ‘trail’ { as you call it } is still not complete at whatever the blaze refers to.
      So maybe, it’s not a line or two but the entire journey that is involved as to not wanting to ~giving away too much of a/the clue.

    • This is what I have in my notes from transcribing.

      (7:48) If you follow the poem precisely, would you find yourself switching back? Making a loop? (It appears Fenn did not hear “Making a loop”) (Also Fenn repeats the question without mentioning “Making a loop”) “I think I can say no to that without giving away to much of the clue”
      “THE CLUE”

      I thought he was referring to “Not far, but too far to walk” considering the distance to go up a hill or mountain in a straight line can be much shorter as opposed to switching back and forth.

  29. Belated thanks to Dal for doing good work for the Chase…
    Transcribing this interview into a readable form sheds a different light on some of the moments from the video form. I continue to refer back to this rendering as a staple item in the Chase toolbox…the video seemed to lull my mind away from what was being commented on. Great stuff here!
    “Laying on the ground on a treasure chest, your bones rotting in the sun…”

  30. I have a question for anyone who was at the Mobey Dickens bookstore interview or who may have a copy of it on video clip. The question is in regard to the following statement copy/pasted from the interview as it is printed above.

    FF: “There’s a major clue in the book (Too Far to Walk), but I don’t think it will help you find the treasure chest. I’ll tell you what the clue is. In the back of my book, there’s a map. I’ve said that the treasure chest is hidden in the Rocky Mountains. Here’s a treasure chest of the Rocky Mountains. If you knew where the treasure chest is hidden, you could find it on this map. The map stops at Canada. The Rockies keep going up there, but I said that it’s in the Rocky Mountains which would incude Canada. When this book was printed, I didn’t realize that Benchmark Maps that made this map stopped at the Canadian border. That’s a clue, but it’s not going to help you much. (

    My question relates to this one statement in the quote. ” Here’s a treasure chest OF the Rocky Mountains” Is it a typo or did FF actually state ‘treasure chest OF the Rocky Mountains’ rather than ‘treasure chest IN Rocky Mountains’? If he said TC OF the RM then that would support my belief that we should be looking for the earth’s history of the RM and that the answers we need to know are there. We know that he has stated that there is no special knowledge that is needed, but that knowledge of geography might help.

    This quote from a blogspot online explains the concept I’m talking about. “The rock record is often referred to as a book, because rocks tell the story of the Earth if we know how to read them.  Following this analogy, an unconformity means pages are missing … or in this case, whole chapters.  But were the pages really removed?  Perhaps they were never written.

    This statement sounds to me exactly like what FF was saying when he talked about going to the Borders Bookstore. He wanted to “hold” the books. Basically, the earth holds the books/story of the RMs. According to FF, “Sooner or later each of us will be nohting but the leftovers of history or an asterisk in a book that was never written”

    And then there is another statement that supports my belief that you have to know where the TC is before you go looking for it. “If you knew where the treasure chest is hidden, you could find it on this map” So. . . wait!. . . Isn’t this statement saying that you have to already have the answer before you go looking for it? I’ve thought that from the beginning but had not related it this statement until now.

  31. Couple of small issues:
    1. “It was 15 years from the time that I got cancer until the time that I hid the treasure chest, 15 years” — There are people (Valerie Plame Wilson and Douglas Preston) who saw the chest well after 2003 (1988+15 = 2003) (plame saw it after 2006 when she moved to Santa Fe). I can detail my research if anyone cares. I just think it’s strange because he was emphatic about saying 15 years twice, and speaks of architecting the poem for 15 years. 15 years before 2009 would be 1994 (after cancer cured?). Curious

    2. FF says “I tell a story about that in, I think it’s Lander, Wyoming. The little Popo Agee River runs through lander. How can you not stop when little Pope Agie River runs through a town?” Could this be a transcription error?
    First off, the Middle Popo Agie runs through Lander, not the Little Popo Agie
    Secondly on page 210 of Too Far To Walk, FF mentions that he “stopped at the little town of Lander, Wyoming. The airport had a short runway but I landed all right, and rented a car. The Avis attendant was a 14 year-old boy. We became quick friends and he took me out on the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River that ran through town and out across the fertile ranch land. Both of us found arrowheads. …..”

    • My pleasure, Dal! Thought I’d toss something out on revisiting this thread. Up above, regarding Ralph Lauren:

      “We were standing in my library and I had something that he wanted. It was a beautiful Sioux Indian bonnet with white ermine skins hanging on it and split antelope horns.”

      Clearly these aren’t antelope horns, but the comment reminded me of this picture on your website:


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