Once Upon a While…

A place to discuss Forrest’s book, Once Upon a While, A Third Memoir by Forrest Fenn.


166 thoughts on “Once Upon a While…

    • Yes! A new book to read!
      Chapter entitled “The Evolution Of My Art Opinion”. This chapter immediately raised my warning signs in my mind. Art critics always want us to believe that art requires education to appreciate it properly, but while I believe this is true for art pieces with history or at least a story about its creation or the environment of the act of making this art. For example, if the art was a copy of the Mona Lisa, it w is probably not worth much but if it was made by an indigineous American in the 1800’s after seeing the real Mona Lisa only once, well then that would be an entirely different thing. It would be worth a lot. But what he says first about Wassily Kandinsky I would agree with, art should be something that is a universal language, it shouldn’t require an education, it should have an appeal for more people.
      There was a time at the turn of the last century when artists of many different arts, even music, that felt that if an uneducated person of the masses can’t possibly understand a good price of art! I disagree!

      • I just wanted to add that the reason that I mention this is that it tells us more about Fenn. He is more down to earth and less likely to be “abstract” about everything in life including he poem for the treasure. For example, in music, another “universal language” it has been proven time and again that it doesn’t even matter what social values you are raised under, there is a universal effect on people when different note arangements are played to people, it has the same effect on people no matter where they grew up. This is a fact the can be double checked by looking up “nodal” scale playing. Playing a certain set of notes will provoke a certain emotion or feeling, no matter where they grew up or what language was being used. But people want to raise the intulectual value of what they make (human nature). So you can have a bizzare Jazz peice that is jarring and weird only because they used a note not in an accepted nodal scale. And they are singularly proud that because the piece used that out of scale note. This will impress music majors but it has little weight with me because if the only reason to appreciate a piece of music is that it used an out of scale note who cares? Other than music majors it just sounds wrong to most people, therefore it doesn’t fill the basic requirement of being universal in its language. As a music guy myself I can tell you that New York’s Juilliard School of Music doesn’t like to accept students that submit scores that are in 4/4 timing. They think it is too pedestrian even though this timing reflects the largest acceptance in the general populous. Should art be valued on what only a few can appreciate or is it more important to move (or effect) the most people?
        Bonus time! For those who read my whole rankings I have a little nugget of info. In fact his book he defines by its usage here the word “nigh”. Small nugget yes, but still important, more important than the fact that “where warm waters halt” is at his swimming hole.

        • Hi Eric — I did read all the way through. My experience is that music is cultural. If you grew up in southeast Asia, what would sound “melodious” to you could sound quite dissonant to a Westerner … and probably vice versa.

          As for rhythm, as a musician I gravitate toward non 4/4 time pieces. Any fans of Rush, Yes or Genesis will relate. Suffice to say that prime numbers figure prominently in those bands’ time signatures, and I love them for it. Just don’t try to dance to it.

          • Zap –

            You gravitate away from 4/4 time signatures? That’s sounds awfully limiting. Maybe you mean at times you gravitate?

            How are you a musician? That’s a funny way of asking what you play. I have mentioned before that I play guitar, but the conversation was removed.

            A bout 3 years ago, maybe 4, I wrote a song in 3/4 time called Long Time Ago. The chorus is in 4/4 tho.

          • Hi Lug: guitar, piano and (long ago) cello … before it was “cool.” Then Yo-Yo Ma came along, and more recently the very talented 2Cellos. Wish I’d kept it up — I was a better cellist than I ever was a concert pianist.

  1. If you draw lines to each entrance of Yellowstone it makes a star like the one ff is fishing. The hook lands on canyon village and the fishing line lines up with hwy 20 up to Bozeman.

    • Thats’s interesting, actually taking a map and drawing a star.
      Clearly Clueless

    • I never considered it before, but Fenn mentions “Indiana Jones” types in TToTC and actor Harrison Ford (a big “Star”) has a ranch near the Snake River in Wyoming.
      (“Snakes…why did it have to be snakes?”)

  2. Would like more details about the book.
    I know it comes paperback, is hardbound available.
    The first two memoirs can be ordered signed, can this one?
    Thanks! 🙂

    • HI SpecialKLR: the book is only in paperback — at least so far. Dal: thanks again for starting two new threads for the 2nd and 3rd memoirs. I predict they will get a LOT of use!

    • I got my ouaw signed because it was back ordered. May depend on inventory and if FF is still signing occasionally for them. Just give em a call.

  3. Cloves
    “Smells bizarre and strong. The taste has a bite that comes with a lasting sting.”
    Sounds familiar…
    “Why does my wife have three bottles of cloves?”
    Is this a Q that needs an answer?

    • I have thought for a bit on cloves myself. Using Forrest’s outlaw English ( his own rules). Change the E in cloves to a i, this is using imagination. So who has one of like 3 Clovis point collections? Forrest. They have red ochre on them from sw Wyoming.

    • “The taste has a bite that comes with a lasting sting.” Sounds like the old biddies leaving a nasty taste in his mouth that left a lasting sting.? Or Frosty. Maybe the old biddies smell like the bizarre strong smell?

      Three bottles on the wall one fell down and then there was two?

      Maybe no one uses cloves that much so one keeps collecting them?

      Three leaf clover? I think 4-H is four clovers.

    • Isn’t that the strong spice that looks like a tack? What in the heck are those things good for anyway?

      • Hi Clee: as carpet tacks, I agree they don’t seem to serve much purpose other than maybe baked ham. But ground, cloves are an awesome ingredient in a proper pumpkin pie.

    • I think we can all agree that 3 is a very important number, so for that reason alone I would say yes, it is a question that needs to be answered.

      On my last outing I was of the strong opinion it was directly related to the blaze, but no dice there, though in all honesty, I ran out of time and was not able to finish hiking one trail in particular before having to head home. So that idea may still be valid and I plan to finish that hike next time out.

      But today something else hit me that might be an even better answer to that question that complements what I believe to be an important component in solving the riddle and which lead me directly to my current search area.


    • Anyone familiar with clove berry bushes? They grow at the correct altitude and have beautiful yellow flowers – Just a thought – JDA

  4. Back cover; We also must thank Jessica Jenkins who fought bravely with the author about where the commas were supposed to go while correcting his verb tenses.
    Interesting that this topic is commented on…again.

    • Oh wow! Fought bravely. FF sounds strong headed. Maybe those commas are important and the verbs too?

    • Hello ken. I also like the video of the book signing for said book and Mr. Fenn’s comment about Jessica Jenkins not finding any errors in Mr. Preston’s foreword. 🙂

  5. The Price of Freedom;
    I purchased the model from Alex with the understanding that it would cast in only 30 copies.
    I quickly made the mold and started with #28 because I wanted to work the casting bugs out before making the lower numbers, which would be more valuable. Twenty-eight of the copies were sold over time, but I liked #28 so much I’ve kept all of these years. I also liked the #1 copy, but I can’t remember why.
    The math seems off to me…or #’s 29 and 30 were cast after #28…? He kept two and sold twenty-eight….

    • Your reading is correct. FF says he cast #28 first, followed by the remaining 29 in some unknown order of casting. He kept two and sold 28 for a total of 30 castings.

      Logically, if one were concerned about “casting bugs”, one would cast #30 first instead of #28. Why then cast #28 first and not #30 or even #29? And why does he like #28 so much? There’s an answer that those who got within 200′ might be able to figure out, if they knew they were within 200′.

      • Why does he say “I also liked the #1 copy, but I can’t remember why.”
        Seems odd.

        • The lower numbers are saved for the most pristine. If my name is going to be on it. The number isn’t what makes these valuable, it is the quality. #1 would be perfect enough to be considered #1, imo, maybe.

      • XFiles: I have a decent working theory for Forrest claiming he liked #28, while claiming to not know why (or probably more likely, not wanting to say because it’s a hint). If the theory is correct, you’d be right: it would only have meaning to searchers who had gotten reasonably close to the treasure chest’s location.

        • Zaphod73491: If you’re looking in NM, then maybe we’re thinking the same thing.

        • XFiles: no, it’s Montana for me, so our thoughts are different on the #28.

    • Perhaps he was using modern math. It doesn’t have to add up to be correct as long as one took the right steps getting there. After all, two can keep a secret if one knows the answer by heart, a balancing act that’s easier said than done, but still must be proven over time.

    • So starting with 28…29 and 30 and the rest came later…maybe the idea is that #30 has similar ‘desirability’ as #1, if it is the known ‘last’ of that run…even tho it may not have been…does it matter? He could have just chosen 28 for no reason at all…you number guys crack me up…how’s that workin out? (and no I don’t have it either, but I don’t claim to either).

  6. IMO,
    The cover is an in your face hint about the location of the treasure chest..

    • Eaglesabound: I assume you don’t think that means the treasure chest is underwater. 😉 For anyone who worked on Breakfast Tea & Bourbon, I would imagine there is an immediate temptation to associate the asterism on the cover with a road map to clue locations.

  7. This book cover makes me grin and softly roll my eyes at the same time.
    I love Mr. Fenn’s sense of imagination.
    And, I agree with others maybe he gives us hints.

  8. For as deep in the search as I’ve been, I actually never bought this one. Meh… maybe I will sometime.

  9. Thanks for creating separate book topics Dal! I had a wonder why thought on page 147 the story is all about Doug Hyde except the very last paragraph Forrest talks about Joe Medicine Crow. Maybe I’m just not seeing the connection.

  10. Zap—-

    Thanks for suggesting the new topics. Thanks Dale for listening to the suggestion. I only have the OUAW book. But I did notice quickly after I got it the little piece of artwork that says POW!! Right next to it there is a page reference to a story about Skippy and the exploding fireworks stand.

    I wondered though if that was really what POW was referencing. Could it be that the poem in some way is a tribute to the POW’s and MIA’s, and those also killed during the Vietnam War? Since the book is now a topic I I t thought I’d share this, though the mention of Vietnam is nothing new.

    Was there possibly a promise Forrest made to someone? (So why is it that I MUST go…). Just a thought.

    • If Forrest is now (about) 88 years old, it’s highly likely he made a promise to
      someone. You have questions; I have answers. IMO.

    • Sparrow–

      You are so right IMO.
      POW ….Does indeed stand for Prisoner of War.

      IMO–You might read about the founders of the MIA/POW movement or else you could play Canasta.

      Hope that helps!

      1F Billy

  11. For the benefit of those who don’t (yet) have the book, you can find 95% of it here on Dal’s. I’ve done the cross-reference legwork for you. Sorry — this is going to be long, but hopefully helpful to some of you. Some notes about anomalies, changes, and misspellings included.

    Chapter 1: Supplemental Punishment = Scrapbook 86.

    Chapter 2: The Long Jump = Scrapbook 89. (Note: there is an if/of misspelling on page 8)

    Chapter 3: Sweet Fragrances = Scrapbook 49. Pg. 14 liquorice misspelling has been corrected to licorice.

    Chapter 4: An Education from Stanley = Scrapbook 147 (Original title: Art as an Emotion). Prices of the mink coats have changed from $1995 and $10000 to $3500 and $12500.

    Chapter 5: The Loom of the Desert = Passages Two.

    Chapter 6: Me and Little Beaver = Vignette – Me and Little Beaver. “Meadow larks” still written as two words (pg. 31). Page 31: “It had ‘Red Ryder’ burned in big letters across the wooden stock.” (In the original Vignette, it was “etched” not “burned”).

    Chapter 7: Shelling Corn = Scrapbook 91. No postmark stamp – first of only 2 chapters without one.

    Chapter 8: Experiences with Joe = Scrapbook 82.

    Chapter 9: Glory Is Never Enough = Scrapbook 100: “Glory is where you find it”. No postmark stamp.

    Chapter 10: Explosion on 3rd Street = Scrapbook 125: “Fire Cracker”.

    Chapter 11: Divorce Logic = Scrapbook 166: “Graveyard Logic”.

    Chapter 12: Once in a While I Do Something Right = Scrapbook 170.

    Chapter 13: Annabella’s Hat = Vignette Anabella’s Hat (note different spelling). In the book on page 65 it’s spelled Anabella, same as in the Vignette.

    Chapter 14: I Never Go Shopping, But… = Scrapbook 46 – I never go shopping… Pg. 68: “Practice Beauty and Random Acts of Pleasure” (line should be “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty”).

    Chapter 15: The Unfortunate Hiccup = Scrapbook 180 (same title). Postmark stamp #13 pg. 70: ??? 1949. (Day and month either not legible or completely absent). Forrest’s sketch of the binoculars guy with hiccup bubbles leaks from page 70 into page 71, and the binoculars have switched from his right hand to his left and made to look 3D.

    Chapter 16: In a Tuck = Scrapbook 128. Pg. 73: “But I had the instincts of jaguar” (missing article “a”); in SB 128 it’s “instincts of an adventurer.”

    Chapter 17: Rainy Night Blessings (but the tops of pages 76, 78 and 79 say “RAINY DAY BLESSINGS” = Scrapbook 169: “Eunice, LA”. Typo on page 76: “…and told her not [to] worry about me.”

    Chapter 18: The Quahada Chief on a Black Pony = Scrapbook 174 (same title). There is a map of Kings Canyon hiding behind Quanah Parker on his horse on page 80. “Glacier Monument” is visible, as are the words Palmer (Mountain), (Mt.) Bago, (Mt.) Gardiner, Fin (Dome), Pyramid (Peak), Crater (Mountain), Kid (Peak), (Mt.) Pinchot, (Mt.) Wynne, Striped (Mountain), Marion (Peak), State (Peak), Dougherty (Peak), Kid (Peak), Goat (Mountain) and Munger (Peak).

    Chapter 19: Prince of the Comancheros = Scrapbook 173 (same title).

    Chapter 20: Montana Golden = Scrapbook 118 – Montana Golden Fish. Page 92 has the same stick figure as the book cover, but attempting to hook a disinterested golden trout instead of a star.

    Chapter 21: Remnants of the Past = Scrapbook 117 – Ancient Leftovers.

    Chapter 22: Things I Covet = Vignette – Palettes.

    Chapter 23: Well, Here’s Moses. Vignette – Well, Here’s Moses.

    Chapter 24: Salute to a Warrior. No direct Scrapbook, but Renelle referenced in SB #’s 65 and 93, and the original story appears on Forrest’s blog December 4, 2013.

    Chapter 25: The Iron Rooster of Santa Fe County = Scrapbook 175 (same title).

    Chapter 26: Lessons From Forrest = Scrapbook 183 – Forrest Gist and the Waning of Art.

    Chapter 27: Memories that Never Die = Scrapbook 90 – Forgotten Memories. Pg 120: Forrest’s shadow from the cover of TFTW mirror reversed. Reversed Tony Bennett lyrics on page 123. Should be “In my solitude you haunt me with reveries of days gone by. In my solitude you taunt me with memories that never die.”

    Chapter 28: Me and Mummy Joe = Scrapbook 92 (same title). The “FORREST” of every other postmark stamp has been replaced with “THURSDAY”. Also, this is the only stamp that says “MY 2 SENSE”; all the others say “MY TWO SENSE”. Possible reason for the 2/TWO change: there are a surplus of words with double letters in SB 92 (and corresponding chapter 28).

    Chapter 29: Algernon’s Relative = Passages Three – A Dark Date with Destiny. Perhaps akin to Chapter 28, this chapter is full of threes. Page 129: “three little books”, “When he mentioned his price, which was three times too high”, “… I’d have these three treasures” and “Casey’s Infantry Tactics Vol. III”. Page 130: “But three years later…” and “He was 33 years old.” The chapter is also packed with capital letter C’s (third letter): pg. 128 photo: U.S. CAVALRY twice, CASEY’s INFANTRY TACTICS, COMPANY “A”; pg. 129: Aide-de-Camp twice (should not be capitalized), Civil War, Cold Harbor; pg. 130: Cape Fear, US Cavalry twice, Custer four times, Yellowstone Campaign, Commander of Company E, Evan Connell twice, Coffee at the Plaza Café (note capitalization of Coffee); pg. 131: Cavalry; pg. 132: Connell three times, Custer twice, Jean Conger.

    Chapter 30: Cultures on Top of Cultures = Vignette – Prehistoric Thoughts.

    Chapter 31: The Evolution of My Art Opinion. From Forrest’s blog on Old Santa Fe Trading Company website. Black and white photograph on page 136, but the Fechin painting on the wall is in color (“Portrait of Alexandra 2” – Fechin’s wife).

    Chapter 32: Doug Hyde in Stone = Scrapbook 181 – Doug Hyde in Full Flourish. “The Song of the Singing Wire” has been corrected to “The Song of the Talking Wire” (painting by Henry Farny).

    Chapter 33: Apaches in the Garage = Vignette – John Bullis. Dessert spelled with one S on pg. 151.

    Chapter 34: Me and Michael Douglas = Scrapbook 81 (untitled).

    Chapter 35: Is it My Candy Ann? = Scrapbook 164 (untitled).

    Chapter 36: The Graciella Experience = Scrapbook 178 (same title). Typo on pg. 160: “Pony open[ed] the door”.

    Chapter 37: Partying with Suzanne Somers = Scrapbook 56 (untitled). Plane sketch on page 162 is duplicated on title page. Stars like on the cover all over pages 164 & 165. “three 300’ long ocean freighters” changed to “three 900-foot-long ocean freighters” and the Occidental Petroleum guy’s salary went from $200 million to $100 million.

    Chapter 38: The Bullet Comes Home = Scrapbook 145. The $2 bill at the bottom of page 169 is a picture of the $2 found at Ground Zero that belonged to Robert J. Gschaar who died in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

    Chapter 39: The Price of Freedom = Passages 4 (same title).

    • That is AWESOME Zap!

      Thank you so much for all of the effort and time that went into this cross-reference!

        • good job Zap. I believe you caught *most* of the anomalies/slight differences. I still find it interesting that Fenn has remained fairly constant in referencing TTOTC as the book to use in deciphering the poem. This is especially true even while talking about TFTW at Moby’s. Still…one has to believe there are nudges/useful info in subsequent books. New map etc….
          Thanks for sharing your work.

          • I remember FF saying that the book only has several clues and hints. The rest sprinkled about in the book (very little means sprinkles). He also said that the book does not give any answers. Meaning that one will have to work at it and will have earned it. I recently went back to the map and found a very small area with an X on Rt. 285 but it’s not very specific. The x looks like it was drawn in. Not sure why it’s there. Not in my search area. FF never mentions being there. A local has told me from W Yellowstone that there is a place that most don’t know about and it has never changed. He said walking through there still looks like the 1930’s and never touched. I am wondering if this is FF favorite place.

          • Tracy…Fenn has said many things about the *hints* in TTOTC. Words such as; several, a couple, aberrations….The important descriptor for me is *very subtle* and that the *hints* only help with the clues…they do not contain any definitive *answers* to the clues. The catch is when he says…”if you can recognize them.”
            I feel confident that Fenn likes to goof around a bit and has thrown a few comments around that have some bearing on the Chase…but nothing that acts as a *magic bullet* to point anyone towards the treasure. He also admits to hints in TFTW. I believe none of the hints will help until one *learns/discovers* wwwh…absolutely.

        • Thanks, Ken. On the anomalies, I naturally kept a few close to the vest, but felt it was safe to share the ones that I did. 😉

          “I still find it interesting that Fenn has remained fairly constant in referencing TTOTC as the book to use in deciphering the poem. This is especially true even while talking about TFTW at Moby’s.”

          Assuming my interpretation of the clues is in the right ballpark, my take is that the hints in TTOTC are most useful for helping a searcher figure out or confirm the starting point and first few clues. IMO, all three memoirs contain ample hints to the starting point, but perhaps those nudges are a little less obscure in TTOTC. At no point in any of the books does Forrest outright reveal the pinpoint identity of WWWH.

          • Yup…and I believe there is a zero chance that any of the hints are a *direct hit* by any stretch of the imagination. I also believe there may be one particular hint that is included in all three books, but differently presented. wink winkle…

    • WOW Zap – Thanks for all of the work. You must have EVERYTHING cross referenced in a database – Nice work – JDA

      • Thanks, JDA. One of my motivations for asking Dal to start pages for TFTW and OUAW was that I have lots of compiled data like this for these two books that I wanted a proper venue for sharing, and I didn’t want to hijack the already heavily used Odds -n- Ends page. 😉

    • Zap,

      I don’t have this book and have been waiting on posts like yours. I know you have read all of what you posted and seen certain comments of Forrest’s that can help lead the way to poem clue solves, or at least I have? The “hear me all and listen good” comes into play even in the TTOTC book but here on HOD his comments come alive for those without any of his books. So for those who have not yet got to understand Forrest try and read all his comments and scrapbooks ect…they just might help you to understand why this “place” he hid indulgence.

      Again Zap thanks for your post.

      • Good advice Bur. Reading is one thing, understanding is another, but I am trying to understand. JDA

        • Hi JDA,

          Maybe it’s just my phone and tablet but I don’t see my posts in recent post or yours. I post fine but all I see is early post that don’t seem to change. Do you have this issue today?

    • You missed a significant aberration in #3, sweet fragrances. Forrest says that herbs are roots. Spices are roots but herbs are not roots. Herbs come from the green leafy part of the plant. This is a significant hint. The scrapbook appears to be drawiind our attention to cloves, but the real hint is hidden in arrow root.

      • Hi john: I can think of at least one exception, and Forrest has mentioned it by name using both spellings: licorice and liquorice. Licorice root is an herb, not a spice.

    • Zap –

      I don’t think I have ever talked about mondegreens here.
      Have you?


      • Hi Lug: haven’t heard them talked about here. There are some funny ones from rock/pop music — the Eagles’ Hotel California, for instance, that people regular mishear some of the lyrics. A local bar band in the 90s liked to have fun with the lyrics of popular songs. For instance, CCR’s Bad Moon Rising: “There’s a bathroom on the right.”

    • Thank y’all for all of y’all’s hard work. Y’all must have been motivated. IMO.

    • Zap,
      Thank you, I don’t have the book and this gives me something else to compare my solve area to. I tried ordering TTOTC yesterday but had no luck, so this was a happy surprise.

    • Thank you Sir! Thanks for identifying the colour Fechin in Ch31.
      I notice the Ch31 photo with “Portrait of Alexandra 2” is also a photoshop of page 104 of TTOTC so it stands out that way too. In Ch31 Roseta Santiago is mentioned a couple of times. When I see Alexandra next to Roseta I immediately think of Alexandria and Rosetta and then I can’t help but think of the Rosetta Stone reference of page 138 of TTOTC. It would be great to have a Rosetta Stone. Cool to know that Roseta Santiago was commissioned to paint the cover of Mr Fenn’s “Historic American Indian Dolls” book. I know I can pull “tiny wooden katchina” out of “take it in the canyon down” (+/- some other stuff). I’d never hear of a katchina before so I’m not sure if that is coincidence or not? Could it be a hint that we should anagram? Is anyone using tools like this: https://www.thewordfinder.com/anagram-solver/ ? Are there better ones? Has anyone found other Rosetta Stone like hints/clues?
      I hope someone is Fechin soon.

      • HI Argillite: nice association between Roseta/Rosetta and Alexandra/Alexandria. I think Forrest loves these kinds of word games. The question is: is he teaching us to fish, or is he just having a little fun?

        • Great question Zaphod. My assumption is that Forrest is both having a lot of fun and also hammering us over the head again and again with associations that go right over our heads. All I’ve got are assumption at this time though. Early thoughts were that first grade and accelerating the learning curve were attempts by Forrest to teach us. Olive jars and window panes. Unfortunately I’m a poor student.

    • Zaphod!
      Wow! This is impressive work to break down Once Upon a While for all of us. Thanks you so much!

      • Flutterby: thanks! Even though most of the material in OUAW has appeared here on Dal’s or on Forrest’s blog, it’s nice to have it in book form, and think there are some very important hints found only in the book.

        • Is it not interesting that Fenn’s other books purportedly contain hints, and then this new one is a repeat of info/stories previously aired out on this blog and elsewhere? It does support the idea that Fenn likes to mess around with folks a bit…and keep them wondering.

          • Hello ken. What do you believe is the reason Mr. Fenn put some of his scrapbooks in book form?

  12. the fisherman.
    is the star at the end of his line the bait or the catch?
    or an asterisk.

    I wonder.

      • JDA- so if the stick fisherman is Forrest and once upon a while he catches a star…like Glenda Goodacre? and others.

        I think maybe.

        • Most of us are “Fishing” for a treasure chest (Indulgence).

          Each of the four bigger stars represent something on our “Fishing” trip. It is up to us to figure out what they represent.

          To me, they form a “Pattern” or “Map”. “Overlaying this “pattern” on a particular piece of real estate will result in “Catching” the “Big one” – At least that’s how I see it – JDA

          • That’s smart thinking. Form a pattern and overlaying the pattern. Norman Rockwell would overlay is paintings. The one sketch in FF’s book with the FF’s dad having a sit down conversation in his Principle office is a painting from Norman Rockwell. If you look at some of those paintings Rockwell has one with cats and chickens in the painting. The chicken’s are the wall paper and the casts down at their feet. FF’s book has the cats in the barn with Bessie which is another Rockwell (Bessie the cow). FF’s grandma has the chickens in her yard and looking out the window. Windows are used through out his book. Looking through windows? Are the windows actually the picture frames that boarder the paintings. Are we suppose to look at all the boarders of the Map (states. like a stitching in a cloth and use the stitching removal method to look underneath or pull the thread out.) and peel them away in layers?

      • Clearly- yes, i can see the star as bait too. evidence is the slack line and the pole is not doubled over. the fishing has just begun. obviously the stick fisherman is using the correct bait because there are other stars in the “lake”.

        what sort of carnivore eats stars?

        i think.

    • Hi Lugnutz: yes, I’ve posted that link here before, and commented that since the audience for that story was very different than the treasure-hunting audience (and it came out years before the book and poem), people should be wary of building solutions that hinge on information found in it. It is the longest chapter in TTOTC by far — but also the one that I think is least helpful.

      But you asked if I spotted anything of note. The answer is “of course”. Hint: the original version and the book version are not identical.

  13. Yes – I know.
    I posted it here because you have been enumerating the differences between the updated stories in OUW and the originals.

    To me, the fact that anything changes is an indicator that these stories are hint free.
    I mean, am I right?


    • Hi Lugnutz: I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that in my opinion there are hints in EVERY chapter of OUAW.

        • All these hints and no closer to the chest.
          Not very good hints I guess.

          Oh, and you two ^^ in different states.

          Zap I truly look forward to someday reading what you regarded as hints. What you regarded and how they were applied to the geog.

        • Lug;;

          You are critical of those of us who see hints, and are no closer.
          You do not seem to be making much progress despite not being distracted by the hints – How do you explain that?. Hints or no hints = no treasure – How do you explain that? JDA

          • JD –

            I am precisely as close as you are right?

            Are the hints bad? Are they vague? These are not questions you should answer for me, you should ask them for yourself.

          • I am just saying that the kettle should not call the pot black. You criticize us, who see hints, but you are no closer.

            Are we precisely the same place? Doubtful, since I DO believe that the hints have gotten me closer than you could possibly be without them – but only time will tell.

            I assure you, I evaluate EVERY thing – including hints, and even your posts – JDA

          • Hey JDA…good luck when you return to your spot again.
            One of the *hint* comments Fenn has made is interesting;
            “Discovering which hints to use is part of the mystery.”
            To me…this one defines the complexity of the Chase.

          • I LOVE that quote Ken – That puts the challenge into 10 little words – “Discovering which hints to use is part of the mystery.” – Sure wish there was an “index” one could use 🙂 JDA

          • I wouldn’t say I’m critical I would say I believe you are incorrect in your assessment of hints.

  14. Forrest Fenn –

    I am just taking a moment to ask a favor.

    Could you make better hints?

    These guys seem to have a really, really, hard time with them.

    Thank you!
    I almost forgot the key word Please.

    • Lug- I’m tryin man! lol.
      no, I’m not Forrest Fenn thank god but I’m dropping what I believe to be truths not hints. these guys having a hard time are making things harder than they are. but isn’t that human nature? I hate to use the words human and nature in the same sentence because humans are uninvited guests on this planet. so, there really is no such thing as human nature, rather human invention. I believe Forrest kept it simple and smart. in the end we will know why.

      the key word is IN. I am the few in tight focus with that word. you can see the photo at the thread titled “A Fun Safe Side Trip.”

      I think.

      • There are no hints and I am being facetious.

        The idea that there are hints to the geographic location or locations is ludicrous.

        That’s my opinion.

        • lug- the geographic location of the chest mentioned in the poem is the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. and here is the hint…
          all the chapters in TTOTC up to “My war for me” are hints to Buffalo Bill. all the chapters after “My war for me” are hints to museums. put the two together and you get Buffalo Bill Museum.

          I think.

        • Some things I remember said about the books, though I haven’t been in here for awhile, so correct me if I am wrong:

          TTOTC- “sprinkled” hints.

          TFTW- “Unintended” clue? ( Some people think it is the not Canada on map)


          I wonder why would there be specific stories that were posted on this blog by FF, published in a book BY FF?

          Are the stories in the 3rd book ( Chase relative) meaningless in relation to the chase treasure hunt? Has anyone put the question to FF?

          Sprinkled, unintended and …..( other than the Preface)…..what?

          I think they are : Intended Insight.

          Meaningless? Then why publish them In a book?

          • My two cents, for what it is worth – NADA.

            Not every searcher looks at the SB’s, and yet there MIGHT be hints sprinkled in the SB’s. By putting the same “hints” in book form, Forrest may have made sure that they were available to “ALL” who were interested.

            Forrest may have thought that searchers may have missed several important “Hints” in he SB’s, so consolidated them (with small revisions) in OUAW.

            Just an idea – JDA

          • Alsetenash- yes sprinkled. see: “is the book important” for the sprinklings to Buffalo Bill.

            i think.

    • the key…the word that is key…here’s my opinion:
      (I could have these quotes and dates wrong)
      Nov 2, 2013 – “…then go back and read the poem over and over and over again. And then 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….”

      3 month later appeared – Feb 4, 2014 – “…Many are giving serious thought to the clues in the poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key…”

      Forrest is using the link between “tight focus” and lens focusing deficiencies like spherical or chromatic aberration to point put what he said a few months prior – ABERRATIONS are the key “That might be a hint to help you with the clues”.

      all IMO, no cipher keyword and something that most searches are aware of at this late date. Great to see some searchers sharing their lists of aberrations!

      • I would say we saw a chaser share some things that are not abbe rations, just normal associations.

        • Thanks for the reference to a classic line from a classic movie!
          Igor: Abby… Normal.
          Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby Normal?
          Igor: I’m almost sure that was the name.

          I do have a hard time figuring out which things in the books are actual aberrations and then identifying them as hints and linking them to clues in the poem (even identifying something definitively as a clue). I’d better make my own list, currently I’ve just got notes and scribbles in my TTOTC.

          For example P.7 – Sloane married 5X (I think it was 7X) doesn’t seem to jump out as much as JC Whatever and the olive jar. The olive jar reference really sticks out as weird. Then I go off scrambling for more information – like Slim Green the Saddle Maker & the Rancho Del Monte (Rancho Encantado), or the Harold Del Monte Collection (and Forrest’s and others) at the McCracken Research Library (so much great stuff to learn about), or is the way the olives are packed a reference to nearby Los Alamos and cubic closest packing, or even anything related to the proximity of the Tesuque Pueblo/dog. I learn a lot of fascinating stuff but I’m no closer to the chest…..Forrest even asks “What was that all about anyway?”

          Looks like I’d better compile my research in a more organized fashion.

          (P.S. Ernst Abbe – thanks for that! – more fascinating research. The achromatic doublet story of Chester Moore Hall/Edward Scarlett and James Mann/George Bass/John Dollond was one that I always found intriguing).

        • Hi Argillite,

          “I do have a hard time figuring out which things in the books are actual aberrations …”

          Yes, how to decide, for instance, if a misspelling was accidental or deliberate. In TTOTC, for instance, would Forrest really misspell caddis, Richard Wetherill, or Colombia?

          “For example P.7 – Sloane married 5X (I think it was 7X) doesn’t seem to jump out as much as JC Whatever and the olive jar. The olive jar reference really sticks out as weird.”

          Yes, it’s weird, and it’s a hint (IMO).

          “Then I go off scrambling for more information – like Slim Green the Saddle Maker & the Rancho Del Monte (Rancho Encantado), or the Harold Del Monte Collection (and Forrest’s and others) at the McCracken Research Library (so much great stuff to learn about), or is the way the olives are packed a reference to nearby Los Alamos and cubic closest packing, or even anything related to the proximity of the Tesuque Pueblo/dog. …”

          It’s none of those things, and you will never guess it in my opinion. Just file it away for now as an oddity. When you figure out WWWH (by other means), check back with the olive jar line and see if your brain doesn’t then make the connection.

          Same goes for the backwards Babylonian saying about fishing. Forrest reversed it deliberately.

          And so this post actually ties in with OUAW and not just TTOTC, Scrapbook 46 and its version in OUAW altered the bumper sticker saying from “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty” to “Practice Beauty & Random Acts of Pleasure.” I actually don’t have a good explanation for that switch yet.

          • Argillite –

            To me the olive jar never seemed like an abbe ration.
            I eat a lot of olives, as do most people.

            Olives as hints have figured into my solves or thoughts because of all the jar stuff and all the recipe talk.


          • * * * * ” . . . altered the bumper sticker saying from “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty” to “Practice Beauty & Random Acts of Pleasure.” I don’t have a good explanation for that switch yet.” * * * *

            The original was actually “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty”, and was itself a bit of wordplay reversal. (An old girlfriend had the book.)


          • Thanks JAK: I’ve seen multiple versions of the saying on bumper stickers and elsewhere, but your version is indeed the original going back to Anne Herbert in 1982.

          • Didn’t know 1982, the book (and the girlfriend) were early ’90’s.

            And yep, Anne Herbert (the book, not the girlfriend).


          • Lugnutz, thanks for the olive comments. I like what you did there. That should give me some things to look into in a coherent manner (or the opposite). I’ll stop posting on this particular thread as you are all off on some far more important topics but I greatly appreciate the help and the nudges.

      • * * * * ” . . . then read the book again, but slowly looking at every little abstract thing that might catch up in your brain.” ff * * * *

        The phrase that stalled a thousand searches. 😉

        (And searchers)

        I think, by the way, that ff warned us off aberrations (as opposed to inviting us to stock up).

        (” . . . every little abstract thing that might catch up in your brain . . . ” – aiyeee, get it out! get it out!)


        • Thanks Jake, is there consensus on that among searchers?

          I must say that I often let an ATF influence my understanding or think I can intuitively derive meaning from it. Sometimes this is at my own peril and excludes large parts of the search area.

          Did I misinterpret this one to think it meant to actually look for aberrations rather than exclude them?

          “…And then 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 was hoping this would help with confirmation of clues because as it is now I can confirmation bias a multitude of things to a multitude of solutions that I can convince myself fit the clues. I’m still looking for the eureka moment of “why didn’t I think of that before” and then going to straight to a spot to collect the chest with a smile on my face.

          • * * * * Argillite asked – ” . . . is there consensus on that among searchers?” * * * *

            On aberrations?

            Yes, unanimous consensus, actually – none of us has the foggiest idea.*

            In the same “every little abstract thing” interview, what he said about aberrations was in answer to the question “how many clues or hints are in the book?” (referring to TTotC).

            “There are nine clues in the poem, but if you read the book, uh, there are a couple . . . there are a couple of good hints, and then there are a couple of aberrations that live out on the edge.”

            Rounding the bases, we have to decide whether coach is waving us off here, or waving us in.

            I opt for “less is more” – both because aberration suggests rabbit hole to me, and because if I started collecting aberrations I wouldn’t know where to stop, and wouldn’t know what to do with the ones I had.

            Same goes for hints, as far as I’m concerned – a “couple of good hints” became, 10 minutes later IN THE SAME INTERVIEW, “every little abstract thing that might catch up in your brain.”

            I much prefer the fenn of “stop arm chairing that thing to death.”


            (“Searchers have routinely revealed where they think the treasure was hidden and walked me through the process that took them on that course. That’s how I know a few have identified the first two clues. Although others were at the starting point I think their arrival was an ABERRATION and they were oblivious to its connection with the poem. Playing a hunch is not worth much in the search . . .” f)

            *(Zap excepted, of course) 😉

          • Thanks Jake, rabbit holing seems to be my specialty. I wish there was a prize for that.

          • It may well turn out to be a rabbit that finds the Big Prize, Argillite. Alice could have chosen not to follow the White Rabbit down that hole, and then where would we be? 😉

            Me, I just think ff has so many more interesting things to do than weave weave weave away at this all the time. It seems so simple to uncover the hints that folks uncover, but if you look at it other way round, it’d take an obsessive amount of work to conceal all those secret wheres.

            Like finding an obscure definition of a word. All you have to do is dig a little farther. But “scant” will take you to “slab” much more easily than “slab” will take you to “scant” (assuming you’re looking for a way to hide a “slab” in plain sight in a poem).

            On the other hand, there’s always this:

            “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – the White Queen


          • JAKe

            You say, “But “scant” will take you to “slab” much more easily than “slab” will take you to “scant”

            This MAY be true, but Forrest used “scant” in the poem not “slab” – Therefore we had to use what was given. We were given “Scant” and had to find the obscure definition = Slab – NOT the other way around. Just sayin’ – JDA

          • * * * * JD wrote – “. . . but Forrest used “scant” in the poem not “slab” – Therefore we had to use what was given. We were given “Scant” and had to find the obscure definition. . . . ” * * * *

            I wasn’t talking about reading the hints or clues, JD, but about creating them.

            If the song gives you scant and you don’t quite get it, you look it up and get to slab fairly quickly (1st page on wiktionary).

            Now, to check the plausibility that “Hank done it this way” when he wrote the song, imagine the reverse procedure. Hank’s got slab, and wants to hide it in his song, so he looks it up. Tell me what dictionary or thesaurus Hank used to get from slab to scant? I can’t find one. It’s unlikely that he intended you to read scant and find a slab.

            Not sure why you say we “had to find the obscure definition.” Translating the poem from English into Obscurese or even Synonymese is iffy (do we just keep looking until we find a word we like better?), especially when a word used as an adverb (as in this case) is replaced with a synonym that’s a noun, turning an odd but grammatically straightforward clause into . . . what?.

            I know we all see things different and I’m all for it. Just throwing a horse of a different color on the table for a look-see. And the scant/slab was just a handy example (nigh/left works equally well) of how the coolness of a rock found on a beach isn’t necessarily related to the likelihood that it just washed up there at random.


            (well, that came out long, and probably no more coherent than the brief version JD questioned in the first place)

  15. “Five People You Meet In Heaven.” The War For Me reflects on this book by Mitch Albon. I understand what FF is saying about everyone plays a part.

  16. “First lesson which is that there are no random events in life and all individuals and experiences are connected in some way.”

  17. I like your idea, JDA. The Stories in this book OUAW that are from the SB’s and other categories from on here written by FF; could be Insightful to a solve. I wouldn’t say help to achieve a solve but to assist in perceiving your solves’ story .

    Meaning: I have my interpretation of what are the clues in the poem and what they mean poetically/geographically and locations .I have my location of these clues I think I have figured out, interpreted – married to a map. The stories he posted on here and are also in this book , in my opinion, give an added story within a story that may be literary additions in relation to the location- more riddles!

    Do these stories have a riddle to my location in any way? That’s my approach, anyways. IMO.

  18. I wish you all good luck on the chase. I have come to terms that the valuable precious time and investment to do such a search is infinite in time. The poem is infinite. Time is priceless. I feel that time-space is at sleep with the chase. To much infinite fastness slips away and the only riches in life are the treasures of one’s life well spent.

  19. I will post the conclusion of my paper trail solve to find the chest. The actual steps I took are too numerous and detailed to post. So here goes.

    “Once Upon A While” a third memoir by Forrest Fenn.

    Fishing for a star. The “Star” is no other than Johnny “Mack” Brown, an American college football player and film actor.

    Brown is mentioned in the novel From Here to Eternity. In a barracks scene, soldiers discuss Western films, and one asks, “Remember Johnny Mack Brown?”.

    Some of the films he has made are Montana Moon (1930), The Oregon Trail (1939), Deep In The Heart of Texas (1942), The Lone Star Trail (1943), among others.

    Deep In The Heart of Texas refers to the Alamo.
    “I give you title to the gold” refers to a cold bronze jar that Forrest buried at least three feet deep. You must first find the jar to find the map inside that will lead you to the treasure chest.
    The Jar with the map is in the basement of the Alamo.

    Good Luck with the search. I am simply to far from the Alamo, and to old to go on. Please remember all the research I have done, and don’t forget to give my bell a jingle, so to speak.

    • If you’re able to nibble, fallingrock, it would seem you know where the treasure chest is.

  20. I thought it was interesting how Douglas Preston describes in his forward how he was at first very self-conscious about sitting around the table with Forrest and his posse of local Santa Fe movers and shakers, and then towards the end of the book Forrest describes having pretty much the same exact feeling while he went to party at Suzanne Somers’ house. Circle of Life!

  21. Here’s a difference in word-selection that jumped out to me when I first read OUAW:

    In the chapter “Algernon’s Relative”, when describing the death of Algernon Smith at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Forrest writes: “A bullet had cleaved a tunnel through his side even as another pierced his proud breast.”

    However in the original version under Passages 3, it reads: “A bullet had cleaved a tunnel through his side even as another pierced his gallant breast.”

    I remember originally reading Passages 3 and thought that the use of “gallant” used to describe one of Custer’s party who was intent on wiping out another Indian settlement, seemed a bit off (gallant meaning “brave” or “heroic”). The substitution of the word “proud” for the book seems more appropriate as it speaks of the general hubris of Custer’s overconfidence in prematurely commencing his attack at Little Big Horn, causing the party’s demise.

    So maybe in the editing process Forrest or his editor decided to change the word from “gallant” to “proud” because that seemed to be a better choice as I describe above.

    OR, thinking more imaginatively (and thus very possibly more erroneously), perhaps the use of the word “gallant” in Passages 3 was originally used by Forrest on purpose in an effort to make a subtle hint to the Custer Gallatin National Forest northeast of Yellowstone? Custer being one of the main subjects of the passage, and Gallatin being a “flutterby” type of play on words using “gallant”. Maybe Forrest thought the hint was too obvious in the original form and changed it for final printing of the book? (Or maybe that’s complete hogwash-baloney and I’m just falling down yet another rabbit hole!)

    • nice ideas Blex…perhaps a different glance. it is not a *rabbit hole* unless there is a rabbit in it.

Comments are closed.