The Case of the Mirrored Image…

March 2017

by Jeremy P


“In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backward… Now, this was a case in which you were given a result, and you had to find everything else for yourself.” – Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet

The archaeologist resurrects the past from available evidence found in the present. It’s not an easy job. Often the story is told only through small details, and the archaeologist has to piece together the small bits they find into a larger narrative. For a great example of this, be sure to check out some of the video interviews with Forrest, l ike this one in which tiny marks on a bone suggests that ancient peoples may have had to eat horses when times were tough. It’s pretty cool what all you can figure out from a few small marks.

Dr. Jones said, “Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library. Research. Reading.”, and it’s the same in the Chase, but you all know that already.
It’s winter. If you’re out in the woods, you shouldn’t be. So while it’s no grand adventure, let’s have some fun.

We’re going to try and resurrect the past, in some small way. We’re going to turn back time and try to figure out what an original artwork looked like, from what we find in the present, using one of the well-known illustrations in T he Thrill of the Chase. We’re going to take this image and rebuild it as the artist originally intended.

First, some context. Mirrors, reflections, reversing, these topics are so on the minds of searchers these days, based on comments from Forrest in the past year. Most searchers are watching videos on Youtube about the “backwards bike”. They’re digging up scrapbooks in which Forrest shared pictures of his bathroom mirror. They’re wondering about mirrors in the chest. They’re pondering quotes from the book like, “…if any readers over the age of twelve don’t see a little of themselves in this mirror…”

Mirrors are hot right now, but did you know… there is actually a mirrored image in the book? There’s just the one, it’s on page 146, and if you don’t look twice you may miss it.

This is the image as published in The Thrill of the Chase, on page 146. At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be anything curious about it. Those who have read the book have considered whether it holds clues, but on its own it simply seems to be an illustration about the environment, similar in theme to the Joni Mitchell song about paving paradise and putting up parking lots.

Look closer, however, and you may begin to notice some oddities. Most of the people I’ve talked to, when asked, eventually notice that some of the tree stumps have been duplicated. Fewer, still, notice that this image is a mirrored one.

The left edge of the sky in the image is exactly the same as the edge of the right side.
So, let’s keep things straight. I don’t want to start any clue-mongering. I think we can reasonably say that the mirroring in this image is the work of the graphic artist who placed the image on the page, and not the original illustrator (presumably, Allen Polt, as listed in the credits), and it’s probably not a clue from Forrest in a conspiracy with the artist himself.

How do we know this?

We know it was the graphic artist who mirrored the edges, because a space for a tree stump is copied on the left side, where there is no tree stump, with exactly the same edges as the space on the right, where there is a tree stump. The illustrator didn’t do that. It’s clearly a Photoshop job, post-illustration, pre-press.

What I’m interested in — what we’re endeavoring to do, in fact — is to determine whether or not we can figure out exactly what the original image was, before it was doctored. We want to see if we can reconstruct the original image and bring it back from the past.
Got it? Great! Let’s get to work!

What we don’t know, yet, is which edge of this mirrored image is the original edge. We’ll need to know that in order to reconstruct the original image.

For now, let’s skip over the question of edges, just for a moment, and look at the tree stumps in the foreground.

As we can see, several of the tree stumps are duplicates. The copies are color coded here. Which ones are copies, and which are the original, is a little difficult to determine, but not so much if you think it through.

There are two types of images that graphic artists work with, vector and raster images. Vector images are scalable because they are just paths, so like between “x” and “y” fill the path with black. These are great for logos where you don’t know if it’ll be a small image on a phone or a big image on a billboard. Line drawings, solid shapes, those are all good for vector images. Photos, not so much.

Raster images are made up of individual pixels. They don’t scale well, especially when trying to make them larger. We’ve all seen pixelated images of small graphics blown up big, and those are raster graphics. These are raster graphics, the illustrations in the book.
But here, in this image, we have clean lines. This suggests they haven’t been scaled up. In fact, they have probably been scaled down, as we have another clue in the line thickness, or weight. Notice that most have similar line thickness, but some are lighter than others. The line weight suggests that the copies are the smaller ones, because the lines are thinner.

Great! We’ve made progress. Let’s remove the ones we can determine are copies, based on line weight. These are the smaller red and blue ones. Here’s the result:

Notice that the ones that were marked green and orange haven’t been removed. That’s because we don’t have any basis for determining which of those are the original, and which have been duplicated… at least not yet.

Now, let’s turn our attention back to those edges of the sky. Can you figure out which one is the original edge?

They are nearly identical, so don’t feel bad if you can’t figure it out right away. OK, I’m not really being fair. It’s a trick question.

Truth is, neither the left side, nor the right side, is the original edge. It’s this green dotted line shown here. Wait, what? You’re wondering, “Where did that come from?” Bear with me. It is the original edge. Here’s how we know…

The six stars highlighted by the green circles are all the same set of two stars. If you have the book, check it out. It’s obvious once you know what you’re looking at.

There’s other “registration points” in the ink strokes and minor white space, as well, but these six are the most noticeable.

These stars give away that what we have is the exact same pattern on the left, twice, and once on the right. This leaves us three potential original edges, and we have to decide which is the correct one.

Well, obviously, we know that one of the two on the left isn’t the original, and we know that it can’t be the outer one on the left, because that leaves the inner left duplicate pattern unaccounted for. There’d be, like, a gaping hole there. It’s not rocket science.

But now that we know that we are justified in doing so, let’s remove the outer edge duplicate, the two stars on the farthest left and the matching pattern that surrounds it.

What we’re left with is what we know to be the original face of the left side, and what the graphic artist gave us as the edge of the right side.

The second set of stars on the left were kept as is, and the reconstructed edge was found in the ink marks. Again, if you have the book you can follow along. These small scans don’t show the marks in great detail.

However, If you look very close at the illustration on page 146, you can see a little indentation here, a duplicated ink stroke there. Hidden in all of this is everything we need to find the original line marked above in green.

OK, still with me? So, now that we have this somewhat awkward looking image, we also have a very new question. When trying to deconstruct what the graphic artist made, and reconstruct what the original illustrator made, we’re forced to ask…

Did the graphic artist flip the right side to the left side at some point? It’s a fair question. Although we’ve found that the left side had at least one copied pattern, maybe both patterned areas were copies, originally from the right side. So, the question, was our reconstructed left side copied from the right side of the original?

The answer is, No. How do we know?

This little line here tells us. It’s not a natural line. Drawn from left to right, it stops abruptly at the arrow, then starts again and ends at the stump that we can clearly see is the same stump from the left side of the image.

The two stumps, the one on the left, and the one on the right, are the same, so which is the original?

If you trace this little line on the left side of the image, it flows naturally. If you trace the line on the right side, it doesn’t. The one on the left, of course, is the correct original line, and the stump on the left is the correct original tree stump.

Further, if you look at the image on page 146, this non-natural line’s “bump” coincides with a darker ink stroke extending upward. Everything to the right of the darker stroke is a duplicated pattern from the left image, everything to the left of the stroke is not that pattern, it’s “new” image.

Now we’re really making progress!

We can follow this line and reconstruct the original right edge of the illustration and remove the copied edge.

It’s not an exact science, but this is more or less the original, non-mirrored, right edge of the illustration.

And now we can clearly see which of the remaining duplicate stumps are original stumps, and which are copies that should be removed.

We remove the final stumps, leaving only the original stumps, the original left edge of the illustration, and the original right edge of the illustration.

Finally, like a ghost from circa-2010, we have a glimpse of the original illustration. Let’s recap…

This is the illustration that was constructed by the graphic artist, from the original illustration provided by (presumably) Allen Polt, published on page 146 in The Thrill of the Chase.

As we’ve seen, when looked at closely, it’s been changed in several ways from the original artwork. Through analysis, we’ve determined exactly what steps the graphic artist took in constructing this image, and working backwards from the published image we were able to reconstruct the original work.

We found evidence that both sides were actually extended, using the left edge of the original work. The right side was augmented. The left side was the augmented. But even as the left side of the original work was used, it was copied and pasted to both sides, and the original left became left, right, and also left-left.

It was challenging, but we did it. Like archaeologists, we’ve built a time machine and peeked into the past.

You’ve been patient long enough, so let’s have a look at the original work by the original artist! Here it is, The Original Illustration…

It’s possible that the original work has some minor differences from what we were able to reconstruct, but we should be fairly certain that if said artwork ever surfaces we’d be pretty close, if not spot on, in our reconstruction.

To me, this version looks more like the style of other images in the book. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to draw similarities between it and, say, the image on page 41 of the book. There’s a similar rounded side on the right, and a straighter edge on the left.
Now all we need is Allen Polt’s autograph to make it complete.

OK, you’ve all been really great on this adventure. As a reward, you can now let your imaginations wander!

Why was the image expanded from the original work???
Was the illustrator OK with the changes???
Did Forrest even know the graphic artist made the changes??? Is the mirroring a clue???

Unfortunately we can’t answer these questions with just the physical evidence we find in the final published image. But, hey, that’s what imagination is for, and maybe that’s why it’s so much more important. Imagination fills these gaps between knowledge, which are like enormous canyons waiting to be filled.

Go fill them up! Jeremy P.

170 thoughts on “The Case of the Mirrored Image…

  1. Although I believe the ‘stumps’ drawing holds clues, I think the copy & paste add-ons were simply done to expand the pic to fit the page. Bottom line is, FF still has us all stumped! 😉

    • One of the things I was wondering, and maybe you may have an opinion on this, is whether the altering of the image makes it less likely to have importance in finding the treasure. For example, if you think the stumps hold clues, does adding more stumps, or copying existing ones from the original illustration, diminish the likelihood of stumps holding clues?

      • The book version emphasizes the replicated larger stump ‘design’ in the foreground. I don’t think the change is significant since all the non-duplicated stumps were still drawn to look similar. IMO.

  2. Jeremy,

    Your dissertation was a pleasure.

    You passed! You are now to be hailed as “Dr. Jeremy P”

  3. Bravo, Jeremy! That was a fun read! I liked your very well written and meticulous walkthrough! I wonder if one can get certified as a “forensic graphic designer”?

  4. “…Chasing is the careful art by which detail and sharpness may be restored or altered by applying pressure either directly such as with a hammer, or indirectly with various shaped tools…”

    -Elden C. Tefft ‘Sculpture Casting’
    University of Kansas 1960,1968

    Ever think about starting a foundry JP? I think It’d be right up your alley 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Absolutely I would start a foundry. Just need some metal to melt down. You wouldn’t happen to know where I can find some gold laying around out in the woods, would you?

  5. Jeremy—

    How do we know this was your original article? Just kidding.
    Nice work! 🙂

  6. Great detective work!

    If only we could photoshop the physical dimensions of the treasure chest so it’s much larger and therefore potentially easier to spot!

    Just using my imagination. Could a 3D printer accurately replicate the treasure chest once you have it in your possession? Could it be painted accurately to depect the same shiny look? Could one place copies in multiple spots in the Rockies? Just for fun!

    • I have a spin on your idea Hawk. My thought was for the finder to make a few copies in plastic and auction them for charity. Can you imagine the ‘double takes’ from friends that saw Indulgence sitting on your mantle or coffee table?

    • Yes, actually. For the right price, there’s all sorts of things you can do with 3-D printing, including having a model “printed” in bronze:

      It would probably cost you a fortune for anything other than a trinket-sized copy of the chest, but you could certainly have the chest modeled and reproduced that way.

      • Thanks for that!

        Looks like from that company if you wanted to spend some cash you could replicate most of the contents in the chest! Amazing!

  7. Loved it, Jeremy! Very impressive how you worked backwards to solve that!

    Have you looked at the drawing on page 21? It appears to have a mirror image as well, the kid with the hat looks like the kid on the right, minus the hat…

    • Not *technically* mirrored as the two aren’t the same, while the two edges on p. 146 are exactly the same… but I’ll allow it anyway 🙂 Good eye.

    • And for that one, I’d say the one on the right is the original. For the left, the hat is constructed from the other person’s hat and the arm is constructed from the boy in the foreground’s.

  8. Extraordinary!
    There’s other mirror images in the book but this was less obvious.
    Nice job, Jeremy

  9. Very interesting, Jeremy! I definitely learned some things from your presentation that will make life a bit more interesting. Yet, what I learned in regards to “The Chase” is that Forrest is a master at hiding things in plain sight. That is what I get from viewing this image.

    So far, I agree most with Randawg’s first comment, except, we are not “ALL stumped.” Some have been, “within 200 feet,” but IMHO could not see the stump because they were still looking for the trees. (kind of a play on words, but I will leave it at that till I return to the “stump” under different circumstances)

    • Thanks, LMN! According to Forrest, those who have been that close didn’t know it, so maybe they’re stumped as well 🙂

  10. Jeremy, nice job.
    Why was the image expanded from the original work???
Was the illustrator OK with the changes???
Did Forrest even know the graphic artist made the changes??? Is the mirroring a clue???
    1. In my word, as you explained better, The image may have been enlarge for the size of the book page… instead of re-drawing… parts of the image was expanded. fenn’s book is larger than most.
    2. Does it matter if the illustrator was ok with it?? I’m sure he got payed, the question fall in line with # 3. we’re the changes made known by fenn or just by the ‘group’ designing the book.. in return.. fenn saw the final drawing for approval.
    4. At this point in time, I personally can’t say it’s a clue. One reason is, fenn stated the “text” in the book for hints [each of us can believe him or not]. Although, it would be an out right lie to use the illustration of the 2010 published book, and years later comment about the text [ no BS 85% 15% excuse here. ] not in my mind anyways.

    But as you know this is not the only doctored pic or other example.. is the coins [ I’m sure you know which pic I’m referring to ]. So logically, and in this scenario; pics were taken, illustrations drawn and designs changed for spacing and sizing. It is the computer age after all, right?
    It would add expense to redo the pics [photographer and his time] illustrations [artist and his time] and man hours redesigning those new pieces of work… imo, it was all done for sizing, cost efficient, and time saving for a faster marketing.
    And as you’ve shown… you were capable of removing parts with just your computer. I’m not sure how much time it took for those details, however, it seems more efficient to do so.

    • There is much more that can be done, trust me, I was one of the programmers who worked on Photoshop and Illustrator.

      I noticed many things but they were leading to too many rabbit holes so I abandoned it. Then after seeing a post by Mindy and Wolf with the mirorred Eagle I got back into it.

      Of course FF’s recent comment made me look even harder 😉
      Dear Mr. Fenn,

      There is talk on the chatter boards that you photoshopped some of the pictures in your TTOTC book. Care to settle that question once and for all? Ollie

      Ollie, I have not photoshopped anything because I don’t know how, and never had a reason to learn.

      On page 64 of TTOTC our book designer put Skippy in the driver’s seat of his car. She searched my photo collection and found just the right one. I watched her size it and was amazed at the process.

      It proved once again that I’m not yet ready for the 20th century. A few photos were cropped and some were enlarged, but that’s about it, except for the collage on page 133, which was her idea. f

      • People diss rabbit holes so much that irony would have it that the chest is probably hidden in one. I accidentally ran over a rabbit while driving in NM that was so large that it’s borough could easily have accommodated a 10″ x 10″ x 5″ box, and it’s not like the rabbit needed it anymore. I’m not sure what my point is… I did feel very bad for the rabbit.

        Oh, my point is: unraveling little mysteries is half the fun. If your expertise is in Photoshop and Illustrator, have some fun with that. Mr. Fenn might say that some images are altered “…and that’s about it…”, but who’s to say that the alterations don’t matter? It’s a bit more to add that to his statement than what he actually said.

        I had a lot of fun on this little project. I encourage you to tackle your own! 🙂

        • lets see if my brain serves me right i thought it was to represent his father looking down on him r if i read it right had to toss a spider out doors every thing has a place in life.

          • Jeff and Titan-
            So good to see you here. Your writing is vastly improved. You have made great progress in one year. Will we see you at Fennboree?

          • Dal or Anybody, I am curious about the comment “i thought this was to represent his father looking down on him…” What does that mean? Thanks for the reply!

          • LMN, the chapter this image is in talks about his father and how he’s watching over him, among other things.

      • I just realized that Fenn stated he wasn’t ready for the 20th century when it’s the 21st century. A typo or on purpose I wonder!?

    • I think on these what made me ask that is that the artists I know get really particular about how their work is presented. They’d probably care, but of course that doesn’t mean that Allen Polt would. It’s possible that Polt’s agreement allowed for altering of his drawings. I don’t know. I’d probably be a little upset to find my drawing altered if no one told me ahead of time. Of course, there’s other drawings that were substantially altered in no covert way. I’m thinking of the Buffalo Cowboys drawing, for example, where the entire car was removed to just have the front axle being pulled by Cody. Even writers, while knowing that their work is going to get hacked up by an editor, don’t really look forward to that aspect of publishing.

    • The only thing that I remember about the reflection debates was a couple of scrapbooks. First, there was the picture of Wheeler Peak, Nevada. It was reversed, with a bear wallowing in the water, a rock pillar, and FF’s hat in the air above his head.
      This made us reflect that maybe he was reflecting Wheeler Peak New Mexico, and maybe Bear Wallow creek. Or, maybe it was Wheeler Mountain in Colorado between Fairplay and Breckenridge. One reflection there is that it has the Blue River, whereas Wheeler Peak in New Mexico has the Red River. A reflection of contrasting colors.

      Then there was the scapbooks in the bathrooms. It had basins, a head, and marble. This made me think of the Yellowstone geyser basins, head waters, and that the geysers made travertine. — a type of marble. In one of FF adventures he dug up a mammoth tusk. Which got me thinking about Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone. In another story FF showed us a porceline bird that he called Minerva. The Minerva terrace is at Mammoth Hot Springs.
      But, what about the mirror in the bathroom? Is that what it is reflecting? When I look into it all I see is a young Errol Flynn or Clark Gable.
      My version of the Chase is more like somebody that cuts out articles and pins them to a wall, with strings of yarn connecting them. Reflect on that.

      • That’s pretty good Michael. I had to go back and reread the comments on SB 126 and the floating hat picture. I forgot you noticed the image of Wheeler Peak, Nevada was flipped and drew a connection to mirrors. That’s pretty interesting.

      • Sticking articles to walls with pins…sounds like cop work… makes a great read J !!! Gives us something to do while we sit and watch it rain, sleet, hail and snow in our California forest. I likely would have just asked for the original. Ha! Thanks

  11. Jeremy, Any idea why the night time sky is two toned? What does isolating those two tones tell us? Question for Anyone Else – Just where is the man looking…not at the moon IMHO? Why was he working at night time…with very little moon light to assist and what does the bird have to do with it? Because I do not own the book and therefore don’t know the context of this picture, I am also curious to know the context or reason for this particular drawing on that page or in that chapter.

    • Any colors that came through in my scans are just due to having a crappy scanner and image resizing. The actual illustration is in black and white. Some ink strokes are lighter than others, but they’re all shades of black ink.

      I think you’ll have to use your imagination to figure out what he’s looking at, what the bird might have to do with anything, why he’s out at night, and so on. 🙂

      With my ruler, just now, I traced his gaze to (among other things) the word “Google”, which appears in the text that is also on this page just above the scans.

      • I think that you are saying there are different shades of black ink. That still works for me.

        I asked because IMHO the same way that the bird does not -belong- in the moon, the -moon- does not belong in the “sky,” nor do the stars. That is because it is not a sky at all. How is that for employing some imagination?

        That put everything important to hide in plain sight.

        • LMN,

          What does your imagination tells you this is? I could say for example that what we see in the background is not the night sky.
          This man is clearing out after a forest fire and what we see is the burnt foliage piled up. No stars, just the daylight coming through and not the moon but a sideways hollow piece of log where the bird decided to nest cause there are no standing trees left.

          The man is gazing at something, not the bird. Maybe what Jeremy said, the word Google or Epilogue.

          • Hi Oz, I lack knowing the context of the picture within the chapter and page. That is because I do not have the benefit of the book. To share much more than that I have would reveal too much about my solve and I would like to go see for myself. Yet, I can say that I believe it is intended to be a really good hint for the location, a daytime picture, a place that would allow a bird to nest close by and perhaps the (Moon) suggestion is to visit at night time for retrieval.

    • Thanks, Clint. That is obvious and I really do intend to buy the book(s), eventually. In the meantime ff says “the poem, a good map and …knowledge of geography” is what it takes to solve the riddle of the poem. I believe the book(s) would be a great read, but right now they would cloud my focus.

      • Hi LMN I though the same way as you on the books but I was vary new to chase last year and went down a lot of rabbit holes my first trips out and believe me there is a lot them.My best advice to you do what FF said Read poam read TTOTC read poam again then read TTOTC real slow and watch for clues and hints. I have a real good solve waiting on the SNOW TO LEAVE.!!!!,!!!!

  12. I think ya’ll know thAt many drawings were copied and slightly altered from work by Norman Rockwell.

    • I did read that somewhere, and saw the originals. That’s pretty curious as well. I don’t recall this one matching any Rockwell paintings though.

  13. JP, I’m glad you’re not working on the treasure hunt or I’d be shopping for plane tickets and snow shoes tonight!

    • I’m fairly certain that chest will be waiting when the snow has melted, but thanks for the compliment 🙂

  14. Very nice work Jermey. I posted something similar several weeks ago and originally discussed on in 2013. Anyway, the process is a subtle hint and not a clue IMO. It happens all the time if you request it. I have the same folded twisted process hanging in my living room for about a month now. It was my xmas present to myself and I prayed for it.

    Just another note… butt tarry scant with marvel gaze. A hint, when looking at images people naturally look from top down. Its how the human brain process some images. So here is one of many favorite videos:

    • Thanks geydelkon. I didn’t realize someone already mentioned this image being mirrored. Do you have a link for that? I’d like to check out their comments.

      • I think it first discussion started by VGboss.
        Also you will find a lot of discussion on mirroring of images on the same thread.

        In June of 2014 I bought from Cody to the World-Bartlett. Now, Thrill of the Chase page 43 The main street cowboys picture was what set everything in motion for me and I knew I was on the right trial. This a great book, if you can put it all together. I have posted a picture on my facebook page:

        • Sorry I cant write well this morning. I woke up with a migraine. I hate when that happens.

        • Nothing new under the sun, I suppose. They should have gone further and restored the original image like I did. If you want to know how something works, tear it apart and rebuild it 🙂

          • I like your analysis the best sir. Many want to know why. The best answer that I can come up with is that he is trying to teach us something. Is he showing us what an artist license is all about, or how to stretch a printed painting on canvass. One way they call the mounting is mirroring. I am still trying to nail that one down.

            If I walked into his gallery and I stood there looking at a painting. Then he walks up and says” What do you think?” It’s all left up to my interpretation to the painting if I want to buy it or not.

          • IMO, Jeremy made an excellent argument for the key word, ” to be in tight focus with a word that is key”. With so many references to a mirror image, the obvious mirrored drawings by Norman Rockwell, and now Jeremy ‘ s awesome find, this could be the word that is key.

  15. Jeremy P. The mirrored image that I found interesting is on page 32 and 33. Page 33 is a blown up mirrored image of page 32 with the addition of 2 more boys. Confirmation to my solve. Especially the place they are pointing to.

    • I should not that when I say “mirrored”, the definition I’m using is that the image is the exact same on both sides and reversed or flipped, so when using that definition I said there is only the one mirrored image in the book, the sky on p. 146. I realize, though, that the word can have a bunch of different definitions and that’s cool too. If you see a mirror on p. 32 and 33 and that works for you, I think that’s great.

      • Regarding the page 32-33 images: which do you suppose is the original, Jeremy? I’ve been assuming that when a smaller version of an image appears at the start of a chapter in the TOTC book, it’s usually a shrunk-down copy, but I’m second-guessing myself here. Were the 2 other boys in the background of the p33 image included in the original drawing and deleted from the p32 drawing, or was the p32 drawing the original and the other boys added into the p33 drawing? I could see it going either way, and in either case I think the graphic designer did a skillful job of either removing or adding those elements from or to the illustration.

        • Generally speaking, graphic artists start with large images and resize them (raster graphics being what they are, as explained in post here). So I’m pretty sure the original there is the one on p. 33. Some of the smaller images are just the larger images shrunk down, but I’ll tell you a funny story… for the life of me, I can’t decide how the pie image (p. 47 & 49) started out. The small image shows an uneaten pie, the large image seems to be an eaten pie. The large image could have been uneaten as well, then doctored. I could see Forrest telling the graphic artist, “You should make that pie look eaten.”… but I don’t know how that went down. It’s an unsolved mystery, that one.

          • Wow, I did not catch that one, Jeremy! Good eye!

            I just took at look at those images myself and to me it looks as if on the smaller image the lineweight of the uneaten pie crust appears slightly thicker than adjacent lineweights (like the boy’s leg), so that leads me to think that the larger image on page 49 was the original, was shrunk down, and then the pie crust was drawn in on the shrunken image. What do you think?

  16. There were 18 stumps in the original drawing, now there are 23. I ask myself why some stumps and reflections are added; and why do reflections seem to create a different view than the original view. Will this lead to second site.

    Could these reflections be added to symbolize what has been done is rippled and repeated into the waves of history and time. After all the trees were cut down, it effects all life in the area. One can dream the birds will now nest on the moon, but that is highly unlikely and unreal.

    Also time and direction can be further interpreted. In the picture as printed in the book the moon is a waning crescent which is always visible before dawn low in the east (up all night why: working or worrying?). In the original (artists rendition) the moon is not reversed it is not a waxing crescent which would be visible low in the West after sunset.


    • I think the analysis of time, here, is very interesting. It is a waning moon. Good analysis.

  17. Info on 18 & 23:
    *English letter (W) is #23.
    *The end of the Greek alphabet Ω,
    *In chemistry Ω= 18 for oxygen, no more view of 18 stumps (no more air, lifeless?).
    *Ω is also a value (800) which could be a call or a symbol for “knowledge is free”.
    *V is the symbol for vanadium. It is number 23 on the periodic table. Emerald derives its color green from either Vanadium or Chromium.
    *Or is 23 as an important prime digit.
    *If 41+73+200ft.=314=a tasty pie.

    Or just a horshoe to symbolize,

    Good luck on your search all!


    • Was there something odd in your tasty pie, THC? Are you seeing strange colors and hearing voices aloft?

      Ω + Ω = 1/2 a horse (everyone knows that) 🙂

  18. Hi vox,

    I understand it can be odd for some to have a prime desert. Is your response because your (V) can be hi. or simply a double knot (00) to entangle or step into.
    Ω + Ω = A full horse if it threw a couple of shoes.


  19. Any genius can see that the picture is mirrored but it takes a real genius to explain it in real detail . 🙂
    What,s always stumped me is the “X” on the stump.
    Thanks for sharing ,Jeremy.

    • Thanks, Onaut. People keep saying “genius”, and I think that’s funny 🙂 If you re-read the steps, it’s simply making observations and thinking it out. You look at something, wonder how it came to be, and come to common sense conclusions. Anyone can do that.

  20. Hey JP- would it be a pain to add one more pic of the reverse? (The stuff that WAS duplicated without the original) could be neat to see as well…

  21. Jeremy, I’ve reread your post and looked at the drawings. You’re an artist. Which would you have accepted? The “supposed” original drawing, or the one with “add-ons”? In my opinion, I believe you can tell which has more balance to the eye, and perhaps why it was done. This is an opinion, offered as a thought.

    • I’m not really sure why the image was altered. I’m leaving that to everyone to decide for themselves. But let’s say that it was for symmetry or balance, or something like that.

      I’m going to be honest and say I’m not a very *good* artist, amateur at best, and I’m especially not that great at composition. That’s the truth, so I would have accepted the original.

      But, my answer is more philosophical than artistic. Some guy, presumably Allen Polt, created that drawing. It didn’t exist before he made it. He put it on paper where there was nothing before. So then along comes some graphic artist and he/she “fixes” it? That doesn’t seem right. Also, to be fair, I’m an individualist. I don’t really get into art by committee.

      That’s just my opinion, though. In reality, this is actually very common in commercial arts.

      • I’m curious with the statement you made about what is common practice in the commercial arts. Would you believe Mr. Polt, if he is truly the original artist, and being in the business, would know and/or have to accept this happens? I know you are not he, but just curious. Not sure how else to ask. Sometimes, I have a hard time putting down my thoughts.

        • Hello, pdenver! Do you have an opinion on why this picture was placed where it is in the book? What is the context of the page/chapter. I ask because you have likely looked yourself and you are a helpful person and I still don’t own the book. Thanks

        • I should probably say that when I say “presumably” Allen Polt, I’m only saying that because I don’t really know who the artist is. The only thing we have to go on is in the credits at the beginning of the book which says, “Drawings by Allen Polt unless otherwise noted”. One could argue what might constitute “noted”, and whether there are any that aren’t by Mr. Polt in the book, but claiming that one isn’t by him would require some kind of justified argument, and that’s not my intent in this fun little project. I *accept* that drawings are by Mr. Polt, unless otherwise noted, and extend that to say “Who the heck knows what’s meant by ‘noted’?” I believe, a little bit, that this drawing is probably, kinda, by Allen Polt, sorta, I think.

          I’d say that Mr. Polt seems to be OK with everything in the book. I haven’t ever emailed him or asked him anything, but others have. To my knowledge he hasn’t replied with any complaints about graphic artists butchering his masterpieces.

        • OK, one more comment… 🙂

          On his website, talking about his work, Allen Polt writes:

          “What is there about a painting that stops you?

          Does it stir an emotion in you?

          Do you believe what the artist portrayed?

          Is everything explained, or is there enough mystery for the viewer’s imagination?

          Has it been painted with passion and confidence or is overworked?

          Thoughts like these keep me in check and balance, nevertheless, I can tell you that in the midst of a painting, it’s about the best place I can possibly be.”

          These are great, and oddly relevant to the discussion. “Do you believe what the artist portrayed… or is there enough mystery for the viewer’s imagination?”

          My personal take is that the graphic artist left this particular illustration “overworked”. But don’t listen to me, form your own thoughts on it 🙂

    • Hi pdenver! I would value your opinion on why the picture is shared at this particular location in the book? What is the context of the chapter and page or the message that the illustration would be attempting to reinforce? I am sure that you have thought of all that.

  22. Great post Jeremy, really enjoyed the read.

    This picture to me has always just meant: “Mourning (mourning dove) over forrest being gone.”

  23. Jeremy, great work! Now, what about the turtle next to the dove in the moon. Now is it still a mourning dove, or is it a turtledove? Anyone?

  24. Here’s a possible explanation for what is going on here: the original drawing was not wide enough to fit the page of the book the way Fenn wanted it to, so parts of it were copied and added to the borders.

    That would certainly make sense for the edges of the night sky, but also for all of the tree stumps that are copied. You can see that for each tree stump that is copied, there is one that is not on the edge and then there are duplicates (possibly reversed or shrunk/enlarged) that are on the edges and would not have been in the original drawing. Never is there a case where there are duplicate tree stumps in the original field of the drawing. Now maybe he did that so he could get the desired number of tree stumps or stars or whatever, but it could just be because he wanted to spread out the image to fit the page.

      • go in the book too far to walk and look at the simpson girls when they are 44,look at the whole picture of the little girl,left side of her then look at the half picture of the little girl,right side looking at her from page,if you look and have to slant alittle you can tell this is the same picture,the hair bow sleeve shape hair necklace all fits the same.I don’t think there were twins.flower petals and all,check it out and let me know what you think

        • I would agree Virginia the photo’s appear to be the same, but mirror images. But then he shows them again when they are older on page 45 in the same picture. Not sure why he would not be telling the truth about them being twins. Maybe he did not have pictures of both of them at the younger age.

          • This is not the only place in TFTW that he uses the same picture twice. On page 31 there are two pictures that are the same. The picture behind Skippy throwing his child into the air is the same as the picture behind it. The one behind is an enlarged reverse image of the one on top.

          • Also on page 94/95 the picture in the lower left is the same as the picture on the upper right. They have been separated and made to be two individual pictures. The only thing missing from the bottom left image is peggy’s legs. They have been photo shopped out and replaced with water that is in the top left of the same picture. You can match up the water ripples.

    • If the desire was to just make the image larger to fit the page then why not just enlarge it as it was? There has to be another reason other than just fitting it to page size.

      • One reason for adding to the drawing instead of enlarging graphics is distorting the drawing.
        You see the same effects enlarging photos some times.

        However I’m by far an expert in either Photoshop or illustrations.

        • Seeker,

          Thats fair, I would agree. This reminds me of a post by forrest that he put out that was not done well to make it look larger or simple look like more. It is from Treasures bold. The gold nuggets post: In this photo he takes the right hand side of the nuggets and copies them to the right hand side of the originals. This one has always baffled me.

        • Seeker, you’re correct. Stretching the image ONLY horizontally would take it too far out of proportion. That, I believe is why the artist chose to “add on” to the image. He/she was just trying to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible being it’s the only picture on the two page spread of text. I, myself having worked as a graphic artist would have done the same thing. If the client didn’t like what had been done, he would have had them change it back. That’s my opinion.

        • Seeker, that is why the drawings were probably vector graphics, which can be resized forever without any distortion. So Fred is correct, a vector illustration can easily be scaled to fit the page.

  25. Is it my imagination, or are there actually more people looking at the possibility/probability of altered images after FF’s most recent question and answer on Jenny’s?

    Awesome job, Jeremy and Diane and everyone else who have found some pretty neat stuff! 🙂

    • Great job Jeremy, well done. Very interesting how you broke down the picture from its final version to its original version.

      I wonder how many pictures and illustrations in TTOTC and TFTW have been altered or created in a way to give added or hidden meaning to them. I sometimes feel like a kid in the dentist’s office reading HIGHLIGHTS magazine, trying to find all the hidden objects (or hidden meanings) in the picture.

  26. Jeremy, did you notice the changes done to the same illustration on page 145 under the ‘Epilogue’? Behind the man one stump is missing and the larger one moved closer.
    This just reinforces the fact they must change some details in order to compensate for size or page placement.

    • Oz, I have not seen it (of course) but it does sound like a bold in-your-face, hide it in plain sight type of hint to me!

      I am so ready to go trout fishing!

        • Oz10, have you noticed that in these previews , on the preview titled “gold and more” , the big letter “A” that starts the paragraph, has a little yellow “r.” Beside it ?
          Zoom in and you can see it. Looks like the “A” has been pasted…

          Just seems to sloppy for one of Forrest’s books….

          Any ideas ?

          See ya……

        • Yes, that is supposed to be an -n- for ‘And then I got a cancer.’

          That might have been when they converted the file to a downloadable .pdf

  27. Thanks, Oz. Because i have seen the Epilogue online before, I guess that I should have noticed this illustration before. So, does that mean this illustration is seen 3-times in the book??? I am looking forward to your reply!

    Are you sitting down? At great risk, I will share that I see a total of 13 separate hints in this illustration and I suppose many even actually rate as full-blown confirmation of clues. I better stop now, because I might be seeing 14.

    Do you fly fish? Do you think that the trout fishing is good this time of year? I am coming, from 1600 miles away and don’t want to miss the timing.

    • LMN, I only have that excerpt like you, I’m not sure how many times it comes up on the book total.

      So you see 13 to 14 hints there, that is way too many but you may be unto something.

      Sorry, I’ve never done any fly fishing but I would like to learn. Where will you be going trout fishing, the Gallatin or Kootenay?

      • Oz, When I gave you a number, I did not mention how many are repetitive. Not sure where I am even going fishing. Wherever my retired fishing guide suggests!

    • The link Oz10 provided above shows the entire Epilogue and what is shown in the book. It is there, where it is only shown.

      • pdenver, Thanks for the confirmation. That certainly makes sense that it would be found only at the Epilogue/conclusion and twice for emphasis.

    • Keep track of when the river is free from ice. In my opinion, that should be the best time. Call up a fly shop. They’ll let you know when the best time to go, and where they’re biting.

  28. Oz, Unfortunately my comments all are “awaiting moderation” for some reason and that makes me want to go back to not participating in the blog at all. i guess someone views me as controversial??? It really puts a damper on timely dialog for me.

  29. “New Moon Superior Bird’s Nest With Rock Sugar 75gm X 6 Bottles

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    Just throwing that out there.

  30. Nothing wrong with that!

    It’s crossed my mind that the dust jacket on The Thrill Of The Chase book is the actual “Home of Brown!”

    • When I began the Chase, and I read some comments from searchers about the dust jacket and the book, I had, in a most embarrassing way, thought the gold letters on the cover may have had a trace of real gold in it. I cannot believe I’m going to post this, but I hope it makes you giggle, as I embarrassingly do now.

      • Well I can top that one Mr. Denver – I almost took my book apart to see if there was anything under the cover – brown cover – strings holding it together, etc etc. I knew if I tore up the book my family would have had me committed. LOL (Maybe I should reconsider….)

        • I can save you some time there… I looked under the brown paper and found cardboard…. I even soaked the beautiful brown cloth cover in warm water. I thought it would be soo cool to have a good map emerge but nothing happened 🙂 lol it was a blast though!

        • Geez don’t get me started on Pantones. “f is hidden” all over those pages. his Blueprint in the poem feels like an Equation that can be used to locate the beginning Of “A” certain Line or trail in His storey. “Up in the Over,” said Mr Quigley. mirrors only shows a reflection of the man the world is his museum and we are his art.

  31. Nice write-up Jeremy,
    and thanks for posting Dal,

    This discussion relates to my solve:

    Many are seeking a sole blaze but why not seek multiple blazes. No trail has only one blaze. There may be many to move from one site to other places on the ground or in our minds, if I think its a trail and I can follow the blazes I shouldn’t even have to bring a kot. I guess it is suggested to stay up late, I did notice the moon phase the same in both renditions-a waning crescent visible in the west before sunrise could be significant.

    Im still wondering and believing with the trees down what about the blazes, or how can I start a blaze if I’m cold. Any thoughts what kind of bird is in the tree. Is it a blaze, is it a bushtit with no bush and no trees to nest in.


  32. Great work, Jeremy! You gave me a new appreciation for all the illustrations (that I have never seen) in the book(s).

  33. As to the stumps in the photo, has anyone else researched the Forest Finns of Norway? It is interesting reading and could explain the stumps, IMO.

  34. I think Allen Polt drew all of the illustrations, but
    Mr. Fenn noted/marked many of them after Polt was finished. Just an opinion.

    ~Allen K.

  35. Well, I just read this entire “Case of the Mirrored Image”. No one asked what to me, is the single most obvious question of all. Where are the trees that have been chopped down?

    A man stands with his ax among tree stumps and no felled trees. I find that incredibly curious.

  36. I found the stumps exactly as pictured… do what does that mean? It ‘s there. i think not.. but it matches exactly… I think a rabbit hole… no home of brown etc… I don’t know how to add a pic, or I would… just saying this is a real place….. in NM.

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