For real or fake: Authenticity over Forrest Fenn treasure discovery continues

by Amanda Push

After an infamous treasure chest was allegedly found in June, the very important controversy over whether the Forrest Fenn treasure was actually discovered is continuing to unfold after photos of the cache were released.

In case you’re new to the world of treasure hunting, welcome to the adult version of “The Goonies”! This particular booty is a bronze chest filled with gold and jewels worth more than $1 million, according to the man who hid the treasure..

It was hidden by Forrest Fenn, a Santa Fe author and artifact dealer, in 2010 in the Rocky Mountains, and for the last decade, more than 350,000 people have scoured the wilderness in search of it. Some of them have gone as far as to give up their jobs and spend their savings in search of the treasure. As many as five people are believed to have died.

In June, however, Fenn claimed that a man (who did not wish to be identified) discovered the chest. To confirm he had found the treasure, Fenn said the man sent him a photo of the chest. He claimed the man who found the cache was able to locate the treasure in the Rockies because of a poem Fenn had written in his 2010 memoir, “The Thrill of the Chase.” The poem apparently held clues as to the treasure’s whereabouts. Fenn wrote the poem to inspire people to go on a good ol’ fashioned adventure, and boy did they take him up on that offer.

Up until recently, Fenn refused to show the photos of the treasure chest allegedly sent by the treasure’s finder.

However, (Fenn’s official blog) recently released photos of the discovery which, for some, has confirmed the story’s authenticity while, for others, it’s only added to their doubts.

Linda Bilyeu, the ex-wife of Randy Bilyeu, a Colorado man who died hunting for the treasure in 2016, is one such skeptic.

“I believe he never hid the treasure,” she told Westword. “He needed attention and this is how he got it. Fenn needed more attention, which is why he said the treasure has been found with ‘no proof.’”

Since Fenn first announced the buried treasure, the quest has drawn its fair share of controversy.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, a Chicago attorney, Barbara Andersen, said she is filing an injunction in federal District Court. She alleges that it was actually she who solved the case but a mysterious hacker stole her answers.

Another treasure hunter, Brian Erskine of Prescott, Ariz., filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court claiming that it was he who solved the mystery. Erskine believed the treasure was located in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, between Silverton and Ouray.

As to whether or not the public will ever truly know for sure the status of the treasure? Well, the odds don’t look good in our favor.

“The finder wants me to remain silent and I always said the finder gets to make those two calls. Who and where,” Fenn wrote on his blog.

Amanda Push


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