Treasure Hunting the American Way

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by Björn Schöpe

July 18, 2013 – Everybody can reach what they desire if they only really wish to. According to this fundamental conviction of the American Way of Life everybody can find the treasure allegedly hidden by former art dealer Forrest Fenn somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe – everybody who really wishes to and who makes it to understand the codified hints in a poem written by Fenn.

It is now over twenty years that Forrest Fenn filled a chest with things particularly precious to him. At this time a doctor had told him that he had only very little time to live. So Fenn decided to take this chest with himself into the wilderness where his body should be found together with a treasure containing also some personal notes regarding his life.
But Fenn was cured. The chest remained with him all the same. The art dealer repacked over and over again, some things he took out others he put into the chest. Among others there are now historic gold coins, a gold Aztek armlet and other American antiquities worth between one and three million US dollars. Nobody knows the exact value, though, since the chest’s content is unknown. And even the previous owner probably could not give more precise figures since many items are collectors’ pieces and, hence, their market value exceeds by far the pure material value.
Some years ago, the exact date is not known, Fenn took the chest and drove into the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe where he hid the treasure. Then he invited everybody to find it. He encoded hints in a poem written by himself which he published online. Later he wrote an autobiography where further hints were hidden. According to his statements his motivation was to make people to go out and experience great sensations, maybe even make experiences which would change their lives. He is being extremely successful, that’s for sure!
You can find numerous sites dedicated to ‘The Thrill of the Chase’ as the project has been baptised unofficially. Treasure hunters give hints in blogs, exchange opinions and analyse the poem in an extensity and with a sometimes nearly religious passion that reminds of bible exegesis.
However, with all this passion even ‘accidents’ occurred. A woman was rescued in the last moment when she was lost in the wilderness. Another treasure hunter dug at a protected area of historic tombs where police took him away.

On his website Fenn writes that ‘the chest is not in a dangerous place’. He reminds his fans to stay safe, keep provisions with them and a GPS.
One of the most persistent participants is certainly Dal Neitzel, who did some treasure hunting time ago. His blog is considered to be one of the most reliable sources of information in the web. But even he – so long and as far as has become known – has not yet found the treasure. In the end you will not find the chest in the web but only out there. In a place in the Rocky Mountains which cover a surface about the size of Germany. At least, if someone will find it at all, let’s hope that many people will enjoy the hunt and that this experience will change their lives in a positive way and not make them forget about their whole live and ruin them. Because fundamentally Forrest Fenn’s idea is really a great one.

It does not matter if you want to join in the treasure hunt or just read something about it online, you may enjoy some websites anyway.

Old Santa Fe Trading is Forrest Fenn’s website. You can read about his large collection of American antiquities, follow his blog or get recent hints for the hunt.

The most important information on the hunt offer also The Thrill of the Chase

… and a Facebook site.

Dal Neitzel’s Blog has a certain authority on the subject.

And then there is of course the book written by Forrest Fenn.