The Chief of All Animals …

february 2018

by race with buffalo

 

Black-billed Magpie. Photo: Bob Kothenbeutel

 

A Story of the Cheyenne of the Great Plains
There was a time when all the animals lived in peace, when no one ate anyone else. All the animals were the same color, because they had not yet painted their faces.

Buffalo was the largest and strongest of the animals, and he was getting hungry, He wanted to be the chief of all the animals. He wanted to draw strength from all the other animals by eating their flesh. Buffalo wanted to become the eater of all the animals.

The Human People also said that they should become the chief of all the animals. People wanted to draw strength from all the other animals by eating their flesh. People wanted to become the eaters of all the other animals.

Buffalo challenged the Human People to a race, the winner of the race would become the chief of all the animals. The People said that they would accept such a challenge, but since buffaloes have four legs and People have only two, the People claimed the right to have another animal run the race in the People’s place. The buffaloes consented.

The People chose the Bird People to represent them in the race. They chose Hummingbird, Meadowlark, Hawk, and Magpie. All the other animals and birds wanted to join the race, too, each of them thinking that just maybe they too had a chance to become chief of all the animals. All the animals took paint and painted the faces for the race, each according to his or her spiritual vision.

Skunk painted a white strip on himself and his symbol for the race. Antelope painted himself the color of the earth for the race. Raccoon painted black circles around his eyes and around his tail. Robin painted herself brown with a red breastplate.

The race was to be held at the edge of the Black Hills at the place known as Buffalo Gap. The competitors would race from the starting line sticks to the turn around stick and then back to the starting line. All the animals, painted according to their vision, lined up between the sticks. Among the animals were the Bird People, who would run the race with their wings for the Human People, and Runs Slender Buffalo, the fastest runner of all the buffaloes.

The cry was given to begin and all the animals and birds set out on the race. Hummingbird took the lead, ahead of Runs Slender Buffalo, but his wings were so small that he soon fell behind. As the animals neared the turn around stick, Runs Slender Buffalo took the lead. Then Meadowlark came up beside Runs Slender Buffalo, and the two went along side by side right into the turn. Runs Slender Buffalo wheeled around the stick, her hooves thundering, and she pulled away form Meadowlark, who went wide to make the turn.

The animals in the lead passed the late runners who were still headed for the stick. Meadowlark fell behind and cheered on Hawk as he passed her. Hawk gained on Run Slender Buffalo, and it looked like he might pass her. Her heart was pounding and her legs were tiring. But Hawk’s wings were tiring also, and he soon fell behind.

Runs Slender Buffalo was nearing the finish line as the winner. It looked like the Buffalo People would become the eaters of all the animals!

Then, behind the buffalo woman, wings beating steadily, came Magpie. She was not a quick starter, but her wingbeats were hard and true. Her heart was strong. Her eyes did not wander form the finish line. She never looked back. Her wings were wide and she drove herself forward with beat after beat after beat. All the other animals had fallen behind. Runs Slender Buffalo looked over at the magpie, but the magpie never looked away from the starting sticks.

With each beat of her wings she moved past Runs Slender Buffalo by no more than the length of her bill. At the starting sticks, many animals began to line up to watch the finish. Raccoon, who had fallen out of the race early, had returned to the starting sticks. Now he stood up between the sticks and put out his little hands for the runners to touch as they passed. He would feel the touch of whoever was in the lead, and turn toward the winner.

Closer and closer came Runs Slender Buffalo, and some of the animals feared Raccoon would be trampled. Magpie gradually flew nearer to the ground so she could brush Raccoon’s little hands as she flew past. Raccoon did not move, but stared straight at the onrushing pair. Magpie seemed to be pulling ahead. Runs Slender Buffalo leaned forward as she ran to touch Raccoon’s hand with her great nose.

Magpie’s wingtip touched Raccoon’s little hand and he turned toward her and instant before Runs Slender Buffalo thundered past and he was surrounded by a great cloud of dust. All the animals waited breathlessly for the dust to settle. At last, there stood Raccoon with his little hand raised toward the path of Magpie.

The Human People had won the race!

The Buffalo wandered the great plains and ate grass and the people became the great hunters, the chief of all animals.

-Race With Buffalo

Chasing Forrest’s Treasure…

 

DECEMBER 2017

 

Unless you live on an ice floe in the arctic you probably know about Cynthia’s book, “Chasing Fenn’s Treasure”.

This is a great book not only about searching for Forrest’s chest but also about the best hikes in northern New Mexico, and even more specifically, about enjoying yourself in the great outdoors. This is NOT a book about cracked up solutions and secret codes …this is a book about searching with style and joy and persistence over several years in some of the prettiest country northern New Mexico has to offer. It is a journal of Cynthia’s remarkable treks and it is a guide to places near and dear to everyone looking for solace and Indulgence in New Mexico.

What makes it better than the norm is Cynthia’s captivating storytelling, her cheerful approach to searching and her delicious photographs. This is a book that is going to make you want to hike around in NM whether or not you believe the chest is there. But if you do believe the bronze chest is resting somewhere in the Land of Enchantment then this is not just a good read…it’s a necessary guide. There is just no sense searching in NM until you’ve looked through this informative journal.

The book itself is certainly impressive. It’s a full 8.5 by 11 inches with a full color, glossy card cover. Inside there are 129 information filled pages…practically everyone of them contains full color, beautiful photos that fundamentally illustrate her searches but also excite and delight the reader.

I’m not the only fan of this book…Forrest said this:

“Cynthia, I love your book. You are a natural for the chase, so full of energy and fun. f”

The way you get your hands on the book is to order it directly from BookBaby. You can find out more about ordering and even check out sample pages, here:

https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Chasing-Fenns-Treasure

Ohh…and if you want a signed copy…it’s possible. Cynthia told me all you have to do is buy a book and then take her out to lunch… 🙂

I’ve been to lunch with Cynthia and I have to say, it’s an enviable experience…

dal-

 

 

 

Unlock …

DECEMBER 2017

by JAMES

 

“Many have given serious thought to the clues in the poem but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.” ff

“… a word that is (KEY)” That’s the quote! …

… Not the phrase, “A key word”, “The key word” or “That key word”.

If you don’t understand the logical thinking process of something so simple, then IMHO, you will never understand Mr. Fenn or find the TC called Indulgence.

I’m a part of this blog and I know that Dal has that page called “The Key Word” and that it’s a very popular and a controversial topic… But maybe Dal should re-name those pages (simply because it’s wrong) or possibly start another correct one. I truly understand that some will blast me for this story. I’m not worried about that.

Disclaimer or Claimer

( I’m just having a little fun with Dal here so y’all ease up… he knows it’s his blog and he can do what he wants. I’m also aware of that. )

This is written for discussion purposes… maybe a little enlightenment, maybe not that I’m RIGHT. I have an opinion and a guess just like everyone else. But who knows if this is right or wrong except Mr. Fenn. Maybe just maybe he will have a comment back or make another Scrapbook post with a subliminal message (again).

Let’s get to “IT”. (No!… this it is NOT the “it” in the poem just to clarify)

What’s one of the first Intriguing words you ever read when you get started on TTOTC?

UNLOCK

Yep,  he tells us what we should be looking for (right off the get go). I personally have missed this simple fact until now, yesterday… November 27, 2017…  and I’ve been a part of this blog and chase from 2013 doing constant research and analyzing of TTOTC.

So what are we suppose to unlock? Mr. Fenn uses a definition of a word to describe the action of another definition of the same word.  He tells us to “unlock the clues in the book”… but it’s deeper than that. To “Un”-lock the lock on something that has a lock but is not locked? And what do we have in this chase that has a lock? The TC Indulgence. This seems backwards at the least. To unlock a lock that is already unlocked. That’s why he says to unlock “the clues”.  And the reason the box isn’t locked? Maybe you can guess but IMHO he’s solved that issue when he concealed Indulgence in her location.

Now let’s look at the lock mechanism. There’s a latch that you have to lift to get to the key hole to insert the key to unlock the box (if it was locked).  However we see the box, with the lid down or with the lid up, we know that “it’s unlocked and that the key is inside the box”. Mr. Fenn has told us so. Here’s another question to think about. Why would he tell us that?

But he instructs us to somehow unlock the clues. With a key, right? Keys maybe? Have we heard this before? In my piece called [Camouflage] I wrote, “Some of us understand that Forrest is very subtle and can sneak a clue right in front of your face by having a very generic conversation with you, as he did with Dal in one of his San Lazaro interviews. (If you can figure that one out… Then you’ll be a step ahead of the game and other _______ hints may come into focus for you. One has to remember that Forrest makes you believe one thing while he tells you another.” Let me explain these comments a little more.

During the San Lazaro – 02 video in the “Gone Fishing Interviews” page on the blog, Dal is interviewing Mr. Fenn at his home in a room with a gazillion items on the walls, shelves, counters and in the neatly lined drawers. He has all these things he could talk about but at one point he (Mr. Fenn) pulls a drawer out and starts talking about the old keys that are there in the drawer. There are 5 keys. FIVE “keys”. Hmmm 🤔 He talks so nonchalantly about it that the words seem to just flow by and the interview continues. Hey says, “But the interesting thing are theses 5 Keys… If I can find 5 Keys our there why can’t I find a wooden chest?”

Pay very close attention to what he says Pedro does with the chest.

The blank by the way in my statement previously is for the word “Key”, just to clarify.

Let’s move back to the lock on the TC. In the photos that are provided in TTOTC, the TC lid is up and we see CE5 written under the latch portion on the lid. Let’s remember now that there is at least one other  picture of the TC open that does NOT have this script (CE5) in that location. So when did this CE5 get written or applied to the chest? And what is the true reason why it was done? Some (maybe Mr. Fenn) say it’s a “Code for accounting purposes”. Well that could be true with the right interpretation policy in place. But I will state here as fact that he hasn’t shown us anything else that has such a code written on it. Not Minerva, not the Reliquary, not the Falcon, not any other artifact Mr. Fenn has put forward. Plus, there are numerous versions of reasonings out there as to this question also. I’m not saying it’s not a true fact… what I’m saying is there’s another reason. Something can have more than one purpose.  I want to say that Mr. Fenn is suggesting we look for 5 keys as described by CE.

If I told you now what I believe CE5 stands for 100 %, then I would be surely giving away the largest hint I have as to the true location of the TC (again IMHO). Interesting and Challenging enough is the fact that there are over 25,000 + words in the standard dictionaries that start with the letter “C” alone. I have my guess on what the 5 key unlocking clues are. They are spread individually throughout TTOTC book. Can you find them like I have?

Have fun on yall’s winter study and in the CHASE.

James (TZP) –

 

 

C C or Ω Ω …

November 2017

by B

 

I came across this picture a few months back while doing some research on New Mexico. It made my heart stop when I first saw it. It is an old grave marker, the church is just a pile of bricks now. I imagine it was a breath taking spot in it’s day & it still is in my opinion. History is all that remains & the sound of the wind through the tall grass.
-B

 

Once Upon A While Book-Signing Events…

 

November 2017

by CYNTHIA

 

Thanks to Toby and Shelley for live-streaming the book-signing event and for posting their great photos. Forrest asked me to write a few words and post a few pictures. Here is a written account of what I remember with a few of my photos (and some texted to me) capturing most of the events from my view with a few words to explain.

The Pre-party was organized by Whiskeyes (from the Chicago area) and held at The Thunderbird Bar and Restaurant above the plaza. They planned for 16 people and gave us our own private room… we filled it over the course of the 2 1⁄2 hours we gathered there. Most of the regulars were there, plus some new faces. It was a joy for me to hang out with new and old Fenners. I remembered all the names for about an hour… here it is two days later and I’ve forgotten a few. I apologize for the names I’ve forgotten but will mention some of the ones I remember. If people could post comments with their name and identifying photo, that would be nice for those who could not attend.

BoomerGirl brought her grandson all the way from Portland, Katya from Taos, Amy from way out in the boondocks near Nederland Colorado, and Desertphile from way out in the boondocks across the Chama River across from the monks who all live near Ghost Ranch (Abiquiu), New Mexico. Whew!

BoomerGirl and her grandson

Me and a really nice guy whose name might be John, Doug, or Greg, or none of those. I knew I should have taken notes. My fault, and I apologize!

Shelley (looking so eloquent) hanging out while Toby mingled taking pictures.

Katya, Amy, Desertphile, and Doug Melching (from Michigan) posing for me. These folks hung out with me all day, all evening, and the next morning. You’d think we’d be sick of each other by now… but no, we love gathering for Forrest’s events, and we always pick up where we left off

Darcy Howat

Darcy Howat came all the way from British Columbia, Canada, to attend the events. He was smart and brought paper and colored markers for us all to sign our names and where we came from (and I don’t mean our mothers… he wanted to know where we reside.) I would have thought he might have won the no-prize for traveling the farthest but I met people from Florida and someone from Hawaii. Sorry, Darcy.

Andrea and Slurbs

Everyone knows Slurbs and his beautiful wife Andrea. They both live near me in Rio Rancho (near Albuquerque). I hope I’m allowed to announce that Slurbs plans to retrieve Fenn’s treasure chest next weekend. It’s funny how many people told me they would have the loot before June 1st, 2018… and they all are looking in different states! Ha Ha… Gosh, I just love this game!

Toby Younis and …maybe John or Johnathon

Toby Younis and a guy named John or Jonathon, or not. Why do I think he’s from the mid-west and searches in Yellowstone National Park? I might be wrong about one of those…

The blond woman is from Canada… I’m almost certain.

Around 4:00 people started leaving The Thunderbird and walked the block to Collected Works Bookstore. Amy and Desertphile danced their way there.

Or they were driven by their chauffeur. Jamie is the driver and Whiskeyes Michelle is standing outside the car laughing.

Some of us were not as savvy and waited until almost 4:15. Once inside the front door, we encountered a long line (mob) of attendees who were receiving their book and ticket from the desk. Dorothy the owner did not allow anyone to take a seat prior to the scheduled starting time of 4:30 sharp. Kudos to Dorothy and all her staff for putting on this event. (I asked Dorothy for permission to take her picture for this story and she adamantly said NO. Hmmm… she probably heard about what happened in 2015 at the Gaspard Book-Signing when I took a picture of Charmay and posted a story about her on this blog. AND… I want you all to know Charmay attended this event and was sitting in the second row from the stage. I did take a picture of her but did not speak to her, but I waved. I bet she had nightmares later!)

While folks waited to pick up their book and ticket, Forrest so graciously meandered through the mob and chatted with the attendees.

Promptly at 4:30, Dorothy ushered us to the seating areas. Different colored tickets meant different sections. Toby was already prepared and set up for the live-stream. ABC Nightline also had a crew recording the event and interviewing searchers one- on-one afterwards. Hopefully Dal will post the air date several days in advance. This screening should have concluded the footage they needed.

Susan Caldwell and Lou Bruno are the team behind the book. Here Susan is signing my book and telling me which star on the front cover I should fish for… OMG, I’m kidding!!! Please don’t call her and ask her what she wrote in my book. Forrest and Susan might actually kill me… I will be banned from future events if anyone calls her.

Forrest continued to mingle within the crowd for awhile…

Then he got tired and sat down on the edge of the stage. He was so kind and entertained us with photo ops. (Eric, Desertrat, Sacha, Forrest, Katya)

I think this is a selfie taken by Sacha of herself, ff, and me. Covert One is in the seat in white shirt behind me.

Shiloh, Forrest’s grandson (the young hunk as I heard numerous women refer to him) introduced Forrest and Doug Preston promptly at 6 pm. The event was officially underway. Forrest spoke a bit and then turned the talk over to Doug Preston. There was a Q and A afterwards but very few questions were answered regarding the treasure hunt or poem. Shiloh reminded everyone this event was about the new book. However, there were some very comical moments during the course of the Q&A and the room exploded with laughter multiple times.

About 50 minutes later, Forrest shook Shiloh’s hand and thanked him. The three guys on stage applauded and the room followed in one great big loud applause, thanking all three men for a very enjoyable and entertaining evening.

We all stayed seated while Forrest and Doug made their way to the back room to the table that was set up for the actual book-signing portion of the evening. Then one very long line formed to take your turn. You would have thought they were selling an iPhone X. Except none of us had tents and sleeping bags. We waited patiently to get our turn.

Sacha, Eric, Desertphile, Amy, and I were some of the last few to get our books signed. It was now approaching the witching hour at La Fonda and we were parched!

It was almost 8:30 by now and all the tables were taken but we found a few empty spots at the bar. New faces in this photo are Brooke from Texas behind Katya and Bill Gorman behind her.

There was drinking….

There was dancing… (Amy, Desertphile, and Katya doing the TWIST, for Pete’s sake. You’d think we were at an AARP meeting.)

And there were dogs… This is Jack (Bill G’s dog.)

I don’t know what time the lights came on and they had last call, but we were there until almost midnight. Doug was a real gentleman and walked me the four blocks to my Inn.

I tried to sleep but my mind was racing… thank goodness I scheduled the Friday morning brunch for 10:30. I set the chirping crickets alarm on my phone just in case. Then I realized how hungry I was, and realized, like an idiot, I did not bring any food or snacks with me. I’m much more prepared when I treasure hunt. I remembered walking by a little alcove just past the lobby (in the Hilton just behind the bookstore… awesome room and an affordable rate on a week night in the off season, for future information) that was filled with drinks and snacks. I was too lazy to get up, get dressed, and get there… it involved a long walk down dark hallways and using either a tiny elevator or steps in a window-less stairwell. I disliked both choices so drank more water.

I may have dozed off but I didn’t think so. All of a sudden I realized I had not put my parking permit on my dashboard. What if they had towed my truck and I got up later and had no transportation to get to Brunch? I looked at the clock and it was 5:30 am. The adrenlin rush caused my brain to awake fully. I had to get dressed and verify if my truck was beside the back door of the Inn where I had parked it. It was easy to get to… a few steps down the hall to the door. I pushed on the door to exit. It was locked.

OMG, I retreated back the dark hallway towards the lobby. I chose using the elevator. I stopped in the alcove and grabbed a bag of white cheese nips, about the only kind of junk food I could stand to eat. The hallways and lobby were empty and I startled the woman behind the desk to pay for my snack. I told her I’d forgotten to place the bright magenta parking permit on my dash and I was worried my truck might have been towed. She smiled and said it was ok…

Making my way from the lobby back down the hall, into the elevator, down a longer darker hall and finally to my room, I opened the bag of junk food and ate as much as I could stand. It helped erase the hunger, and I slept.

Friday’s Brunch was scheduled for 10:30 at the Tesuque Village Market. I arrived shortly after 10 am to let them know a crowd of possibly a dozen or so people were about to descend on the place. As I stepped inside, I noticed a long row of tables with familiar faces. You guys are so awesome!! There were already a dozen Fenners seated with more people to arrive. The woman owner/manager said they’d turn on the heaters out in the enclosed porch area and set up the entire area for our group.

Forrest had emailed me that morning that he planned to attend but would be late. None of us cared what time he’d arrive… we just hoped he could attend, eventually.

Our group grew to 30, and Forrest did indeed arrive around 11:15. He ordered coffee, sat at various places around the table to talk to most folks, and eventually stood around and posed with us for even more pictures.

Focused, Desertphile, Amber, Forrest, me

Jeff Burch and Titan

It must have been well after twelve by the time we all started to leave. A small group continued to hang out near the entrance where I had parked. I think we didn’t want the event to end… it was hard to say goodbye, not knowing when the 5 of us would see each other again. It was 1:09 pm when someone said “here comes Forrest.” He approached us grinning from ear to ear. He said he was hungry and came back for a frito pie. He hadn’t eaten breakfast like the rest of us. He motioned for us to follow. We were seated at the original table where the large group had assembled briefly 3 hours earlier. Sometimes it pays to linger awhile… Forrest ate his Frito pie, a few of us ordered and ate again, and then we listened to Forrest tell stories about his business days selling art. It was the end to a perfect 24 hours for Amy, Desertphile, StrawShadow, Amber, and me… and hopefully Forrest.

Thanks to everyone who made these events so successful! Here’s a link to all the pictures:

Cynthia
November 4th 2017

 

Theory for When Forrest Hid Indulgence…

November 2017

by Rob

 

Forrest has been understandably secretive about when he hid the treasure chest. Scrapbook 163 discusses the fact-checking questions that were asked of Forrest prior to publication of Taylor Clark’s story “The Everlasting Forrest Fenn” in the California Sunday Magazine (which appears inside the L.A. Times and the San Francisco Examiner). That story, by the way, was my first exposure to Forrest Fenn and his treasure. A few of those questions dealt with when Forrest hid the treasure:

Fact-checker: “Even your wife didn’t know when you buried the treasure, correct?”

Forrest Fenn:I have never said I buried the treasure so please don’t say that. I hid the treasure, but that does not mean it is not buried. I just didn’t want to give that as a clue. My wife’s name is Peggy.”

F-C: “You hid it in 2010?”

FF: “I have never pinned it down that close. I just say I was 79 or 80 when I hid it.”

F-C: “So you were 80 then?

FF: “I was 79 or 80. I have a reason for not wanting to give an exact date.”

A year-and-a-half earlier during the Moby Dickens Bookshop Q&A in Taos, an anonymous fan posted a question to Forrest’s online fan base: “Was the car, you walked back to after hiding the treasure, rented?” Forrest replied, “You know, that’s the first time I’ve been asked that question. But, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about that. That’s why I’ve told people that I buried the treasure … that I hid the treasure chest when I was either 79 or 80 years old because I don’t want the exact date to be known because I’m afraid someone will go check the rental car records and how many miles did Mr. Fenn put on the truck or car, and so I don’t answer those kind of questions. But shoot that person that sent that email.”

So if that had been as precise as Forrest was willing to be, then it would mean he hid the chest some day between August 22, 2009 (when he turned 79) and August 21, 2011 (the last day he was 80) – a 730-day span. However, The Thrill of the Chase was released in the fall of 2010, so it is reasonable to assume the chest was already hidden by then. Any lingering doubts about that were removed by Douglas Preston’s forward to Forrest’s soon-to-be-released third memoir, Once Upon A While. If Doug’s account below is accurate, then we now know that Forrest was 79 when he hid Indulgence:

“And then finally, one lovely summer day in August 2010, I visited him and he brought me into the vault. The chest was gone! “I finally hid it,” he said. He was about to turn eighty years old and still in excellent health with no sign of cancer, and he decided to stop waiting and hide the chest now.”

So that cuts the window by more than half. Doug doesn’t give the exact day he visited Forrest in August, but it was no later than August 21st, which means the absolute latest Forrest could have hidden the chest was August 20th. But thanks to some middle school kids’ questions that Forrest responded to in February this year, we can say more than that:

Q: “Could you also tell was (sic) time of year you hid the treasure?”

A: “Yes, it was summer.

And later:

Q: “What time of year did you hid (sic) the treasure?

A: “Summer

There is some ambiguity as to what dates Forrest considers to fall under “summer,” but I doubt it’s a strict astronomical definition based on the summer solstice and autumnal equinox. Most likely, it’s just the three months that most school kids would consider summer in the U.S.: June, July and August. But to be safe, I retained September since technically fall doesn’t start until late September. So we’re left with two Indulgence-hiding windows: August 22, 2009 – September 30, 2009, and June 1, 2010 – August 20, 2010. So 40 days in 2009 and 81 days in 2010.

So why does any of this matter to anyone other than unscrupulous rental car agency employees? Because I wanted to show just how limited the possibilities are. I’ve winnowed down 730 possible days to just 121. And I’m about to knock that down to a single day because I think Forrest actually hid the date in the poem itself!

There are no years or months mentioned in the poem, and few words that could be construed as numbers to be used for dates, so how could he hide a date in the poem? One way would be to use letters to stand in for numbers, e.g. A=1, B=2, … Z=26. So today’s date (October 25, 2017) could be encoded as 10-25-2017 or J (10) – Y (25) – T (20) – Q (17), or alternatively as JBETQ if the 25 was split into individual digits.

Now, not all dates can be encoded this way. For instance, October 30, 2017 won’t work because we don’t have a letter to correspond to either 30 or 0. The year 2009 presents problems, too, because of the consecutive zeroes. The best one can do is encode that year as “TI” and assume the decoder will figure out that 20-9 means 2009 and not 209.

With the exception of the four days in our window that fall on the 30th of a month, every date can be expressed as either a 4-letter code or a 5-letter code, sometimes both. There are 456,976 possible 4-letter combinations, only 103 of which encode a date in our window, so the odds of a random 4-letter combination producing one of our dates is about one in 4437. The odds are even longer on a matching 5-letter combination: 1 in 162759. But there are a lot of ways to pull letters out of the poem: consecutive letters in a word, initial letters of consecutive words, final letters in consecutive words, first letters of poem lines, and so on. But if Forrest was really going to do this and expect it to be found, why bury it somewhere obscure? Why not stick it in plain sight by using only the capitalized letters that begin each poem line?

There are 24 lines in the poem, and therefore 21 different 4-letter codes that can be generated using consecutive lines (without wraparound from the bottom back to the top). The first is AAIA from the words As, And, I & And. That would work okay if Forrest had hidden the chest on January 1, 1991 (1-1-9-1) with the 1900 implied. But let’s cut to the chase. Despite the long odds, there is exactly one date in our 121-day chest-hiding window that can be found using this system:

From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.

FTTJ = 6-20-20-10 = June 20, 2010. Not only does it encode the last two digits of the year, it encodes the full year. And the code is completely contained within one stanza. It also immediately follows the word Brown: the only capitalized noun in the poem. Arguably it is the second most prominent location to hide a four-letter code, exceeded only by using the first four lines. If Forrest really did secret the hiding date within his poem, that might explain one of his enigmatic puzzlers from Mysterious Writings Weekly Words a little over a year ago:

“I could have written the poem before I hid the treasure chest, but I didn’t.”

On a final note, Forrest wrote in TTOTC that two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead, so there has been speculation that perhaps one other person, now deceased, might have known where Forrest would hide the treasure. I think this date tells us that person’s identity. June 20th in 2010 fell on a Sunday. Father’s Day.

Rob-

Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Eight…

scrapbook

MARCH 2017

GENERAL SPICER

I thought I was the world’s greatest fighter pilot just like all twenty-four-year-old recent graduates of pilot training who were long on ego, and short on everything else.

When I walked in General Russell Spicer’s outer office and asked his secretary if I could please see the general, she asked if I had an appointment. When I said no, she asked me what I wanted. I told her I would like to have permission to fly the general’s F-86F. He was Chief of Flying Safety for the entire Air Training Command at Scott Air Force Base, and had no business letting a lowly 2nd Lt. fly his airplane, especially since I had never flown that model before. That’s what I had going against me.

Colonel Russ Spicer in WWII

I had not met the general but knew him by reputation. Everyone did. He shot down three German airplanes in WW-2 and when his P-51 took battle damage, he was forced to bail out over the English Channel. He floated around in a one-man dinghy for two days, finally washing ashore in France. His hands and feet were frozen when the Germans took him prisoner. As the senior officer in Stalag Luft 1, he gave a speech that the German commander said was “riotous,” and Spicer was sentenced to six months in solitary confinement and then execution by firing squad. The day before he was to be executed, his POW camp was overrun by Russian soldiers and the Germans fled. Spicer was liberated.

Major General Russ Spicer in the 1950s

When the general’s secretary picked up the phone and said, “General, I think you should come out here,” most of my cockiness went south, and I suddenly felt like a crippled ant in an elephant parade.

The general’s huge, black mustache startled me because it separated his nose from his mouth in such a commanding way. I wondered if he could intake air. When he grinned at me, and after we saluted, he invited me into his office. “What can I do for you, Sir?” the general asked as he lit his pipe and offered me a seat. I told him my name, and that I was a pilot in the 85th Fighter Interceptor Squadron flying the F-86D, and that one of our hangars was next to where he kept his plane. We talked for a while. I had seen him many times approach the field at 1,500’, 250 knots, make a tight pitchout, drop the gear and flaps, and land. To me it was like poetry. His F-86F was the same model that had shot down most of the Migs during the Korean War, and I really wanted to fly it

He looked at me for a few seconds, then picked up the phone. “Get my crew chief for me please.” The general said, “Pull my airplane out because Lt. Forrest Fenn is coming down to fly it.” I was really grinning. I thanked him, saluted, and turned to leave when he said, “Don’t you dare break my airplane.”

An F-86F passing the tower at Nellis AFB

The crew chief stood on the ladder and talked me through the engine start. That must have been 1954, and I flew for about an hour. It was the thrill of my life to fly that airplane. I went back to my squadron thinking I was the world’s leading ace. When my boss learned what I had done, he came over and congratulated me, not because I had flown the general’s airplane, but because I had guts enough to ask him if I could.
But that’s not all of the story.

Five years later I saw the general again. He was commander of the 17th Air Force at Wheelus Air Base, Libya, where we had a gunnery school. He remembered some brash Lt. asking to fly his plane, but he didn’t remember my name.

Thirty years later, the lady who purchased my gallery hired one of General Spicer’s sons to be her driver. Is this a small world, or what? f

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Seven…

scrapbook

FEBRUARY 2017

Jon Lackman conducted this email interview with Forrest for a publication that did not use it. Rather than let it die in his computer Jon has decided to share it with us. The interview was conducted in May of 2015.

Thanks Jon!!

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– My apologies for the morbid impolite question, but it seems quite possible that this treasure hunt will be the first line of your obituary. Are you comfortable with that? Is there something else you’ve done that you’d prefer to come first? 

FF: I said in my book that my obituary should say, “I wish I could have lived to do the things I was attributed to.” During my art gallery years I advertised full page color in some of the most prominent magazines of that time, which made me an “expert” in the eyes of many. It was good for business, but it also made me a target. My treasure story lit a fuse that will burn until someone finds the chest full of gold, and perhaps beyond, My 20 years as a fighter pilot was a much larger part of my life. In Vietnam I flew 328 combat missions, and was shot down twice. The reality is that what my obituary says will be of little consequence.

– I’ve read that you wrote the book and set the treasure hunt to get kids off their little texting machines and outside to smell the sunshine.  Apart from this, are there any other important messages that you wanted to get across? 

FF: Yes, I have two daughters who are in their 50s and don’t know who Clark Gable was. I wanted them to know that their great great grandmother watched Comanche Indians run through her barnyard in Ft. Worth trying to catch chickens.

– You have said some things in scrapbook entries that seem too bizarre to be true, like the fact that you keep your jeans on when you shower.  Are you at times just pulling people’s legs?

FF: Yes, I didn’t think that comment would fool many people. I was trying to make a point.

– Last month, you indicated that still nobody has correctly solved beyond the first two clues.  Is this correct?  Still nobody has solved beyond the first two clues?

FF: Very few people tell me exactly where they are searching so there is no way for me to know. Some searchers have been within 200 feet.

– Without saying how you know, you have offered reassurance that you know the treasure is still in its hiding spot. Is there any method planned for hunters to obtain this reassurance after your death? 

FF: No sir.

– Do you intend to keep releasing occasional small hints for as long as you live? Have you made any plans for clues to continue surfacing after your death? 

FF: No sir.

– I’ve also read that you wrote the treasure hunt for an unemployed redneck with 12 kids.  Does this mean that all of those people who are delving into Native American history, Greek mythology etc are looking too deeply?  Can hunters really get to the treasure location with just a good map, the poem, and a decent knowledge of words? 

FF: I wrote the book for everyone who feels a sense of wanderlust. In your last question if you change the last word to geography, my answer would be yes.

– How much progress can be made by someone just thinking and searching the Internet from home? (Another way of saying this: How many clues can only be decoded in situ?) 

FF: All of them, in theory, but not likely in practice. A searcher must go to the site to find the treasure.

– People have become fixated on you telling them to bring a sandwich and a flashlight.  Are they just wasting their time focusing on these things as clues? 

FF: They certainly are not clues.

– How much more likely are hunters to work out where warm waters halt with the aid of TTOTC, compared to without it?

FF: You sure ask confounding, but insightful questions. The clues are in the poem, but there are hints in the book.

– Can you give me one quote that will inspire my readers that it is possible to find your treasure?  Something to motivate them?  Something to tease them.

FF: Those who solve the first clue are more than half way to the treasure, metaphorically speaking.

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Six…

scrapbook

FEBRUARY 2017

Graveyard Logic

At an opening in our art gallery during the mid-eighties, I met a nice young
married couple. They were in their twenties or so, and I’m sure of that.
People smiled at the sight of them walking around, holding hands, and
munching on the finger things we had near the wine cooler. In subsequent
weeks I saw them infrequently around town, whispering to each other, and
holding hands, a sure sign of impending problems.

I don’t remember her name, so for some subliminal reason probably, I’ll call
her Angel. She was walking toward me one day as I departed the bank on
Palace Avenue. Her eyes were red, her hair was a gnarling muddle, and she
was sobbing uncontrollably. I was startled.

When we stopped to talk, and as she smeared a hankie across her face, she
explained what a bad person her ex-husband was and that she would never
recover from what he did to her. “It’s been two months, you know.” No, I
didn’t know, but that was okay.

After a long coffee respite at the Plaza Cafe, her emotions subsided
somewhat. I learned that Angel was a professional potter who was trying to
support herself in a failing market. I felt terrible, and wondered what I
could do to help.

Finally, it came to me. I told her to go make her divorce in the form of a
pot, “because we’re going to have a funeral.” She started laughing and
hugged me, then laughed and hugged me some more. The spell of doom was
broken and she hurried away to her studio.

Well, ten days later I was digging a hole at the north end of room block two
at San Lazaro Pueblo. It was beside a pre-historic path that led down to the
clay mine. Angel was sniffling into her hankie. It had been an awkward
forty-five minute drive as I had tried desperately to concentrate on the
road.

She had made the ugliest pottery thing I have ever seen. It was about 18″
high, 10″ across, and it reeked with dismal black figures that had sharp
edges. The iron nails that she had driven periodically around that poor jar
had been mostly destroyed and were crumbling as a result of the
high-temperature firing. Angel had written her ex’s name in big black
letters, but I am sure it was misspelled. “Ferd,” it said. I wondered what
that was all about.

After she threw some things into the pot, I put the lid on, placed it
reverently into the ground, and covered it up with dirt. Then she started
piling rocks on the grave. She kept piling them on. I suppose maybe she was
afraid that somehow her divorce would get out of the hole.

Leaving her alone to conduct the funeral, I walked back to wait in the car.

Well, I’ve never heard such carrying on. It was so loud! There was yelling
and sobbing and singing, and screaming maledictions. She spit out a few
words, the definitions of which I was not cognizant. During one loud scream
I heard the word “Fred,” and I think the blossoms started falling from a
nearby cholla cactus. I quickly rolled my car windows up.

Twenty minutes later, we were driving home. Angel was giggling and her hair
looked nice. All of a sudden she rolled the window down, threw her hankie
out, and looked at me. She just looked at me and smiled. That’s all! Wow,
once in a while I do something really good. f