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This is the Meat Eater podcast coming at you, shirtless, severely beaten, in my case, underwear, less than half a meat eater podcast.


You can't predict anything. Presented by Onex Hunt, creators of the most comprehensive digital mapping system for hunters download the Hunt app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Know where you stand with Onex. We're we're sitting here, just keep this in the back of your mind while you listen to this episode we're discussing why?


Why a woman is topless, but a man is shirtless. And why you never see a topless man or a shirtless woman, Ben, share your theory. If you said a shirtless woman, she could still be wearing a bra. Yeah, that's good. It was killing me, joined by Ben Wallace, who you just heard from there. And Ben is finally the writer, Ben Wallace.


He's finally written something worthy of us, hundreds of articles that are just not worthy of us.


And finally, he's done it. I'm honored. Is that when you set out you wanted to land on this show?


I mean, it took me a lot of years, but like a career. Yeah. To lay off people, kind of what you're you know, you're I don't know, like like when people say, what do you write about?


It's hard because you're a generalist. Long form magazine.


I'm I'm mostly a magazine writer. General interest write about everything from, you know, neo-Nazis to. The media business to treasure hunts wrote a book about wine. Yeah, yeah, tell people about that real quick. I find myself telling people about that book. All right. So I wrote a book about the most expensive bottle of wine ever sold, which was a supposedly a 1787 Bordeaux red Bordeaux that had belonged to Thomas Jefferson and was discovered in a bricked up cellar in Paris in the mid 80s and then sold for this record price to the Forbes family is in Malcolm Forbes, who started Forbes magazine.


And but then the sort of questions began. Was it really Thomas Jefferson's was it really hidden in the cellar for 200 years? And was the guy who founded it was this German collector named Harry Rosenstock on the up and up, or was he a con man?


And so the book follows that mystery and just cut to it. I don't give away the ending.


Oh, he forgot to buy it to find out. One of the things I learned in that book that was most interesting to me was that, I mean, besides a story about the wine, it was a thing I didn't realize. The book has a lot to do with.


Like, there's a part of the book where Ben needs to explain kind of how wine became a mainstream, like Wall Street Dick Swingin' kind of thing, right? Yep. And it got into this thing where people have wine tastings. I had never heard is that that you have wine tastings, you can have a horizontal or a vertical tasting.


That's right. So tell people like what that is.


So like a horizontal tasting would be one year, one vintage, let's say, a 2020 vintage, but it would be a bunch of different wines, like maybe it's like 10 or 20 or even more wines all from that year. And you're comparing so say, of the same sort of weather conditions, same growing conditions, but you're comparing the wines against each other, a vertical tasting. You're taking a single wine from a single producer and you're looking at it over different years.


And it could be like a hundred years or samples from one hundred years of a single wine. And then you can see sort of how that makes a difference in how it tastes.


And I don't want to give away and Ben's book, but I'll point out that once, like Wall Street finance, people got into the now that has happened like definitively overnight, but as it became fashionable to host wine tastings.


And people were filling out their verticals or horizontals. There will always be these really hard to find bottles. Like, there's sort of like the bottlenecks in the. Process of assembling bottles and there emerges a gentleman who is always seems to find one, right?


But there's some guy who wants this extremely rare 1947, you know, Cheval Blanc, which was one of the famous ones. And then this guy, Hardy Rosenstock, you know, miraculously just bought a private cellar that had a dozen 1947 Chevelle blocks now. And over time, so many bottles of Cheval Blanc came on the auction market that there were more bottles of it for sale than had ever been produced.


Doing that led into. You wrote so many other things that have always been, you know, cranking out so much work, but doing that led into a stint for you. It gave you like a temporary stick. As the person like a person who goes and examines what's the most expensive blank one can get?


That's true. Yeah, I did two articles for GQ magazine about I think was called like the one percent of the one percent just trying out super expensive, a rare things like, you know, the Bugatti Varane Sports Car or the most expensive bed.


The Huston's is a Swedish bed called the Huston's Vividness Bed, where I mean, to try it, I had to sleep in the showroom. And for like insurance reasons, the company made us hire a security guard just to while I was in there sleeping in the bed with, like, you know, glaring New York City lights shining in through the plate glass windows.


And then you did the most expensive toilet. I did. It was Japanese toto toilet, delightful experience, the most expensive airplane, most of airplane ride, the most expensive airplane ride going to Dubai, where you have a you actually have a cabin instead of a seat and you can take an in-flight shower and you get a smoothie afterwards.


I mean, even though it's maybe, you know, maybe like five dollars add on value, it just kind of caps it for me.


Yeah. Yeah.


And then you did the most expensive fishing trip you can go on most expensive fishing trip, which I think you went on a similar trip and it's not the same one down in Patagonia.


I think I was on the exact same to fly fishing, you know, I mean, I wasn't on it with you, but I was on a similar trip.


I think you gave me a few pointers with a fly fishing rod before I went. My wife was born up being attracted to those guy dudes because they wore flight suits. I did not know that I was in Wales, we weren't even married yet, I was the early date. I took her on a early date, which gave her the wrong idea about what scene was going to be. And then she wound up taking quite a shine to all these young whippersnappers, run around the helicopter pilot suits, which is that's a weird astro.


Well, when you have a reservation like a hotel or a restaurant or something or people ever expecting Detroit Pistons defensive player of the year, Ben Wallace, you know that every every now and then.


Every now and then. I do get a little bit of a look like you're not what I was expecting.


Yeah, very different. You have all all your teeth and everything all lined up. I don't know anything about his dentistry, I just, you know, does he? Yeah, he has much more hair than I do. And, you know, he looks like a professional athlete. Berlinguer.


Yeah, he's about a foot taller than this. Ben Wallace. Darker skin, bigger hair, much different.


Also, the Pistons are a basketball team, not a hockey team. You ever see with the team?


Oh, why did I think hockey. That was perfect. Just like when you play injured.


So it's very it's very on brand. Why do I think hockey.


I know what was the position you said made?


It felt to me like a hockey position goalie. He was a power forward. He was a defensive to that. And I feel like it must be hockey.


The thing that bent all that stuff is not worthy. All that all that work was not worthy. But what is worthy is Ben is just finished a large piece of reporting.


On the forest fen treasure. You probably have a chain now, I would say like a high level of subject matter expertise on the forest floor, treasure surpassing, surpassing that of our own.


Spencer Neuharth, who has no. A mild interest. Yes, tell. What you got, we could give Ben a break and Spencer could explain what he feels the treasure is, just go right to Ben.


All right. Ben, explain the Fed and Treasury.


All right. The Fed Treasurer. We've got to understand fast food. Fast food.


No, I got this all planned out. You're going to talk with Forest?


No, you could do it briefly, but I want to get into the guy, OK? I won't get into the guy. But first, I just want people to be like, oh, that thing.


The Fed treasurer is a chest of treasurer, including a lot of gold coins, gold nuggets, gems, some ancient jewellery that was hidden in the Rockies in 2010, and that by an eccentric guy from Santa Fe, a wealthy art art dealer. And that set in motion a treasure hunt that has had, you know. Possibly several hundred thousand people searching for it for the last decade. A million bucks, about about a million.


Yeah, but then a million. But that's not counting its collective value as now a cultural artifact. Absolutely.


Which can make it exponentially greater. Exactly.


You know, four people have died looking for it. Five at least five have died trying to find the treasure. Yeah. OK, with that established and I want to jump in and explain real quick how I became aware of force then and I feel that I was.


Telling, I've been friends with Ben for a long, long time. In excess of a decade, I think 13 years. And I feel like I was probably from the start, from early on, I mentioned the dude Forrest fan to you. I knew this this this art. Well, an art collector, fighter pilot who's a Vietnam pilot, correct, flew through 328 combat missions. A centric. Antiquities dealer. Just man about town in Santa Fe.


I heard about it a long time ago when I was when I first got interested in Clovis points, so Ice Age projectile points like spear points from the Ice Age, when I got interested in Clovis points, you couldn't read much about Clovis points without reading about. A collection of Clovis points that had been dubbed the Fen Cash. Anthropos, I knew a number of anthropologists who were like legit academic anthropologists, a number of anthropologists who were kind of like pot hunters.


Meaning there are hobbyists who like to hunt arrowheads and they would often sit and argue about and speculate the legitimacy of the cache, and it was this some hand, I don't know, a dozen or some handful of Clovis points.


And the one guy I came to know about, Tony Baker, who passed away, was explained to me that he knew for a fact. I can say I think I can say this because he's dead, he told me. Now everybody's dead.


He told me he knew for a fact that some of the Clovis points in the fence cache were phoneys. Then I became aware of the treasure because I had heard and I was not this is not correct. I had heard that. Some of these Clovis points had made their way into the fen treasure. And last night, I learned that they're not. Yeah, I mean, when I started reporting on this, that was one of the first questions I asked because you had mentioned that to me and I learned that he had sold the fan cash before he hid the treasure.


So what give us a rundown of I mean, I just touched on a little bit, but give a rundown of, like, this guy's background and why he would have emerged as a person to, like, set off a treasure hunt.


Like what is you know, what what motivated him anyways?


I mean, he grew up in Texas. His dad was a schoolteacher. And growing up, I think, really young, he started collecting arrowheads and that ignited a lifelong obsession with collecting things and with, you know, in particular Native American antiquities. And when he became a pilot, he joined the Air Force and then was in Vietnam, you know, flew all these missions, were shot down and rescued twice. But even as a pilot, he would, you know, use his flights to kind of survey the landscape and occasionally, like, put down and, you know.


Scour ruins for collectibles, and so he was just a real kind of obsessive collector, and after he got out of the Air Force, he moved to Santa Fe from Texas and became an art dealer. And so then he had a kind of professional way to pursue his passion of collecting and owning things. And his house in Santa Fe was full of, you know, things like Sitting Bull's peace pipe and all kinds of, you know, kind of fabled relics and.


And he was just a lifelong collector, and then eventually in the mid to late 80s, he sold his art gallery after being a big part of the Santa Fe art boom.


And he bought a huge Indian pueblo, the San Jose Pueblo, basically as his personal archaeological hunting ground. And then he spent the next 10 years there, kind of excavating it himself, courting no shortage of controversy in the process, causing no shortage of controversy.


There were accusations that he had found human bones. There were, you know, various mediations with tribes over, you know, certain things he found in the pueblo. Well, how much did he buy that thing for?


I don't know. I don't think that number has been published. OK. Yeah, but it was I mean, I think it was over a thousand acres.


It was it was a huge thing, like bought an old pueblo or something like an old village site. Yep, to dig it up. Yep. You mentioned the Santa Fe hour boom, as if it was like an event. What what was that? It was so I guess in the 70s and early 80s, Santa Fe became a popular.


Place for art collectors to go to buy cowboy art, Indian artifacts, sort of new Western art, and then was at the center of that, I think a lot of kind of Hollywood celebrities got into the southwestern look. So, you know, Michael Douglas, Suzanne Somers, Ralph Lauren, people like that became enamored of this summer's Three's Company.


The Regal Beagle. Yeah. Dude, that was a very suggestive television show. I remember one episode where someone's overhearing two people in the bathroom. Trying to make a shower curtain fit. And it's not long enough. And someone overhearing the conversation coming to a conclusion about something else going on, very suggestive for that episode.


Know, I've often brought up that I think Shakespeare stole most of his material from Three's Company because that's where he developed his love for, like, misheard conversations, you know, but that's the premise for a novel like Shakespeare Traveled, traveled back in time from Three's Company to and started writing his columns. Like this is a blow up in the Elizabethan era. Yeah, it's like people who love this. When I get back to where I came from, this idea that you hear a conversation, Miss, only here, part of it get a come to a wild conclusion.


It's all textbook theories, Don.


Don Knotts should be and should have been more Shakespeare adaptations. So you're saying kitchen?


Yeah. OK, so walk through as best you can to how. This, you know. Art dealer. A little bit of a fatalist, I mean, he insults Braken to her, a raconteur, I mean, he himself said, you know, 85 percent of what I say is true, you know? And he said he said that he said it's not what you are. It's what people think you are. So there was a little bit of the kind of roguish storyteller to him always.


Can you quickly tell the story you talk about in your article, at least in early drafts of your article, where he has a thing on display?


In his galeria. Someone that works for him knows more than he knows about what's on display or not. So he had an intern. This is an I think the early 80s or late 70s. And he had an intern named Linda Durham who would later go on to found like a pretty major Santa Fe art gallery. And she was a Playboy bunny. She had been a Playboy bunny, which I think in those days meant you, like, actually worked it like a Playboy club.


This is in New York City. And she was really interested in Egyptology. Go figure.


And a customer of hers at the Playboy Club made a gift to her of a small like something small and mummified. And she had it x rayed by a doctor friend using like a medical X-ray device.


And it was a baby crocodile that had been mummified, but for real, mummified by a real Egyptian mummified baby crocodile and Gazza's in her stuff.


And like a Nile crocodile. I mean, I don't know. I mean, I don't know which river it came from.


But my guess that that's my guess is that species and they wrapped it up like a little Halloween costume and mummified it, you know.


And those guys, so at a certain point, I think she needed money, she sold it privately to a private collector and eventually, by bizarre coincidence, it ends up in fense. Sounds like he buys it. And he was always buying just like interesting objects.


So he buys this for the gallery and he displays it in a case and says, you know, Diocletian from the British Museum, you know, and it was sort of implied that it was a human mummy. And what's dear session mean? That means like sometimes museums have too much stuff and they maybe need money. So they sell the stuff.


But does that give is that meant to give it a path of legitimacy?


Yes, it gives it yeah. It gives it sort of this, you know. Or of validation and respectability, is that only in museum lingo or is there another case where you would say think private private collectors who have sort of collections, discussion things? I learned this working on the wine book because the Forbes family collected all kinds of stuff and they would deaccessioning things from their collection.


Yeah, a lot of other people do that.


They call it selling something, which is all this shit. I get my old lawnmower.


OK, so. Continue about the crocodile. All right, so Linda Durham, young intern in Fense Gallery, sees this thing that used to belong to her and went to to Foreston and said, you know, that's not the assertion by the British Museum.


Like, that's a little baby crocodile I got from some guy who came to the Playboy Club. And, you know, she said Fen was not happy to have this story.


He was telling about this object corrected. Got you. Yeah.


I think it's important to bring up the it's important to bring up. I don't want to call him credibility, and I don't want call credibility problems. It's important to bring up the showmanship. Of Fen or what's the word you would use, showmanship, credibility, gap? I don't know. I think he was a you know, he was a promoter. He was a salesman. He's not unique in the art business that way. I think there's a fair amount of that among art dealers.


You kind of hype things. But and he was as you said, he was a storyteller.


So, you know, might be a good word for him.


A bit of a rascal. He was rascally, I think he liked to just generate. Like ideas and in creative rockets, he was he was a rascal, and actually I talked to this curator at the American Museum of Natural History, David Hurst Thomas, who knew and liked fan, unlike a lot of archaeologists who thought he was a pot owner. And Thomas said Forest was a rascal. You know, he reminded me of the what you see in the the Native American oral literature a lot.


Oh, yeah. The word got in my head is you use the word.


Yeah, I was like my buddy Fred, who used to call Bill Clinton the rascal president, that words always stuck in my head, but he was like attempting to build this image as though, like, the dosages commercials, the most interesting man in the world, like it has big that energy.


Totally. Yeah. Yeah. But he's got like 300 combat combatted. I mean, there's like a foundation there, right? Absolutely.


And in fact, when I went into this, I first thought, oh, am I gonna have to do all this kind of verification, like get his military records? Because this sounds like a tall story, but it actually is all true. Yeah, yeah.


And they were somewhere along the way, I think, where he had crashed a jet and then somebody went in to where he said he crashed and they found it and like verified the whole story about, you know, this crash that, you know, who did that.


I didn't know this. I met those guys. I have a giant thing. That's a long story. Do you mind if I tell us real quick? I have a box of one thousand meat bags, plastic bags that butcher's used to send me home in because years ago the production company we work with was doing a show with Pat Loffredo.


The guys I work with, the camera guys I work with, have been working on that and came over to my house, these bags, lamb meat and whatnot, and I was admiring the bags. They passed along to the Frida's that I was an admirer of the bags.


They sent me a thousand of them. I still have them. Use them all the time, so when the name popped up, the pattern of Frieda's brother, the famous butcher. Went to Vietnam to find a chuncho airplane who was planning to, but he ended up he hired local, he hired some Australians, expats in Vietnam, to do the on the ground work for him. So they actually found it. But he was, you know, in live remote touch with the.


He wanted. He's an engineer, he became electrical engineer, he became, I think, really interested in the puzzle of seeing of sort of the historical research and, you know, could he crack this puzzle? Could he was a treasure hunter. Also, he was a fan.


Treasure is a fan treasure guy. If you're just a spin off. Exactly.


So, like, if you're a fan treasure guy, job one is basically making a study of Forest Fenn because you're trying to understand, like, places that might have been special to him or he might have hid the treasure. So crystal free to happen to go down the rabbit hole of fense Vietnam experience and thought it would be an interesting challenge to try to find this wreckage if it's to sell it back to fan.


He gave him he gave him a couple of the pieces that he got machinea.


Man, I mean, he was using a drone, you know, sending drones over the jungle, and then they sent people in on the ground after they had some evidence and they talked to villagers who are like, oh, yeah, there's wreckage over on that slope over there. No kidding. Yeah.


So get us into how get us into what he's thinking when he decides to, at whatever point a decade ago, build up a little treasure box and hide it.


Well, the story of the treasure begins. Thirty two years ago, 1988, Foreston was diagnosed with kidney cancer and told it was terminal. His father had died of pancreatic cancer and his father, when he was diagnosed with cancer, had swallowed 50 plus sleeping pills to spare his family the agony of, you know, drawn out death. So when Forrest is diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1988, he decides he's going to do the same thing. But with the twist that he's going to go.


To a remote place that he had already decided upon is the place where he wanted to die somewhere in the Rockies and he was going to die there, but he was going to bring a chest of treasure that he was going to create with him and people could search for his body. And when they got there, they could take the treasure. So he's going to create a treasure hunt that would accompany his his burial site. And he was going to create a poem with a puzzle in it as the sort of mystery suicide note.


The suicide note was going to be this this kind of, you know, encrypted treasure map that people would have to try to crack. That's great. But then that's where that's where if you're in a century, that's how you put your money where your mouth is. No, you don't. I mean. Like when the rubber meets the road. And you keep at it like that, that's like that's my that's that's great eccentricity right there. But he doesn't then he doesn't die and probably he did not die, he recovered fully from cancer and but he kept sort of toying around with this idea of hiding a treasure chest.


He would talk about it. Yeah, he talked about it to friends.


In fact, you know, when friends came to his house, he had a walk in a vault in his house where he kept some of his more valuable collectibles. And when friends came over, he had, like, bring him into the vault where he also had the bottle of pills that he had planned to take with him.


And he would show them this this work in progress, which was this bronze ten by ten treasure chest that he was filling with valuables.


Oh, that's how big it was. Ten by ten inches. Yep. But 42 pounds, 42 pounds. Oh, 20 pounds. I was thinking about I didn't know I was thinking of a big ad. Remember, I was asking you a lot of questions last night about the actual, like, stashing of it.


Ten by ten. Yeah, oh, yeah, I was picturing like like in a pirate movie, totally like a steamer trunk size. Yeah. Oh, ten by ten. Yeah. OK, go on. Yeah, I'm looking at Spencer's pull up picture of it. So you kept, you know, playing around with what was going to be in the chest and he would take, you know, put stuff in, take it out, and his main goal was to create a treasure that like when the finder opened the lid, they would just be dazzled by it.


Like it wasn't just going to be a box with some valuable stuff in it.


It was going to actually look like that treasure chest out of, like, you know, a pile of storybooks, pirate movies that it's too small a box.


Yeah, a small pirate. Yeah, I would have found it not have been like I was expecting something much larger out of walked away in disgust.


So one of the questions was, Will, if he hides this treasure, how is he going to know if it ever gets found, if it's off in some really remote place? And so one of the things he was trying to figure out was how can I what can I what can I leave in the box that will let me know it's been found. And I think at that time it was kind of early for GPS and he wasn't that technically minded a guy.


So I don't think there was ever and also the idea was that this might be there for a thousand years. So I don't think he was ever seriously considering a technological solution. But one of the things he considered was putting something like a bank, you know, a bank letter or a beribboned worth enough money that the finder would have to go to the bank to cash it out. So like 100000 dollar beribboned, they're not going to just sit on that.


And when they went to the bank, he would be notified. He then, though, thought, well, what if the bank doesn't exist anymore, so apparently he took that out of the chest and he came up with some other item, kicked around and kicked around, putting some thousand dollar bills in it, which I didn't know existed.


Did he actually put in some thousand dollar bills, which, you know, as was recently discovered on the Internet, features the face of Grover Cleveland, and then he took them out because he thought they would rot over time.




So the No thousand dollar bills, so no thousand dollar bills, no Clovis points, no Clovis points, but like a lot of like big gold nuggets, eagle gold coins, double eagles, others, kind of more esoteric jewelry and some projectile points or.


No, I don't know. I'm not sure. I thought you mentioned that there was some projectile points in there.


I think someone I talked to said they thought there were, but I don't know for sure, you know, maybe put them in and took them out.


And I'm sure a couple times, because it looks like he's like staging the perfect scenery.


Yeah, you might have thought, you know, the point for, like, impressive enough visually. Yeah.


So he. Stashes it. So we stashes it also in the summer of 2010, he hides it doesn't tell anybody where, and he self publishes a memoir called The Thrill of the Chase with this twenty four line stanza poem that contained what you needed to what you would need to figure out where the chest was hidden.


Spencer, can you read for us some lines? I'll tell you when I start getting bored.


Some lines from the poem that explains where the Treasurer's as I've gone alone in there and with my Treasurer's bold, I can keep my secret where and hint of riches, new and old beginning where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down not far but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown. From there, it's no place for the meek. The end is drawing ever nigh. There'll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high.


If you've been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down your quest to cease. But Terry Skint with Marvin Gaye's Just Take the Chest and Go in Peace. So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek the answer? I already know I've I've done it tired and now I'm weak. So hear me all and listen good.


Your effort will be worth the cold if you are brave and in the wood I give you the title to the gold.


That has everything you need to know, and then he. Over the decade. Makes himself available. Intermittently in terms of the raspiness, though, I think before we move on, we got to back up to 2009, which is a year before he hid the treasure, which is when the FBI knocks on his door and many other dealers and diggers and holders of artifacts from the Four Corners area. And it's the FBI is I don't know what the name of the case was, but Fen was involved and I think they took like 10 things from his home, some small stuff all the way up to a bison skull that they had taken.


But no charges were ever filed in this deal. But they kept his stuff. I don't know about that.


I think he got them back. I mean, there were charges filed against a bunch of other people. I think, like over 30 people were arrested, but not against him and almost No.


It's interesting to point it out, but if the FBI knocks on your door and takes a bunch of stuff and there's no charges filed and they give you your stuff back, why is it brought up as though you did something bad?


Because it's like the guilt by. Yeah, but they didn't determine that he did something bad.


Fen phen appear to be like the most minor player in what ended up happening. It was so big that I think there were three people that committed suicide in the case. What two people that had their doors knocked down to grab stuff and then the informant himself killed himself and then never had any charges in the thing.


But let's say I said, well, I heard the FBI kick Spenser's door down and it's almost like, yeah, but they had the wrong door.


They had to go to the neighbor's place. Like, still one thing and one thing. One thing that happened. Still, he must be a bad person. One thing that happened is the Associated Press falsely reported that Fent had been indicted and then had to correct that. But so, like the day of, he was probably the most best known person of all the people who got rounded up in that whole operation. And so it was kind of hard to, you know, bring the horse back into the barn.


After that was reported. People just thought then was, you know, more implicated than he was.


Yeah, I don't think it's like a far leap either that I don't mean to sound like Alan Dershowitz here, but I'm just saying it's like there's a little bit of like, you know, if he did if he did get in trouble and got his shit back, I don't know.


But that's like understood. But I don't think it's a far leap to, like, look at this happening in 2009.


And then a year later, he hides one or two million dollars worth of know pieces of memorabilia somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and doesn't tell anybody where. So I think there's like suspicion there, and it's why a lot of people throughout this and like even now that it's pretty much over, have suspected that there was no treasure or that like this was a ploy to sell books, I'm sure we'll we'll revisit this part of the story itself. But it plays into the thing of, like, this guy doesn't have a perfect past.


And so it could be a reason why this isn't just like an innocent treasure hunt, uh, encounter that had you encounter that little plot twist your reporting, Ben?


Yeah, yeah.


I mean, but the idea that he's like, I know what I'll do with all my illegal stuff is put in this box and buried out in the woods. Yeah, but yes.


But I'm glad you remembered it because I actually had forgotten that part, you know.


Hmm. You chose not to put that in your article.


I did really well because I forgot there's only so much you can fit. It's a long ass. Yeah, I was looking look, I couldn't put the cash in there, you know.


Yeah. The whole point was to talk about the fine cash, the project, the Clovis points. That's all I wanted. A big close point article from Ben was what I was.


It was that his only brush up with like the FBI that you know of. Yeah, but he was I actually I talked to a BLM agent who who was involved in that case and like Fenet, been on everyone's radar for years. I mean, he was like constantly kind of a figure of suspicion. He knew a lot of the people and he was someone who really seemed to kind of tread close to the line a lot and was constantly having these skirmishes with, you know, archaeologist's with museums, with the state government.


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Now, we're going to jump to this. Fen, or the decade or over the years, makes himself sort of available. To to the. Hundreds of emerging individuals, thousands, thousands who set out to find the treasure.


Now I want you to talk a little bit about who these people are, how they operate, how they communicate.


But in that include that. Fan continues to. Give little like getting warmer or no, not that I can assure you it's not this like talk about how that dialogue emerges between the treasure hunters and the treasure Haidar. I mean, it all has been, you know, he loved the media, I mean, he was actually controvert one of the things he was controversial for in the Santa Fe art community was the degree to which he kind of courted press attention.


And so it was inevitable that when he starts this treasure hunt, like part of the appeal for him would be all the attention it was going to bring him. And so he was very open. Not only he was open to treasure hunters, but he was also very open to the media. He went on The Today Show a bunch of times, which in 2013 he went on the Today show and it kind of blew the whole thing up. I mean, that's when I think a lot more people got into the hunt.


But after he did his initial appearance on the Today show, just talking about, you know, the hunt he had started three years earlier, he agreed to come back on The Today Show once a month for the next, I don't know, nine months and give a clue each time. And he did it maybe three times.


And then I think he got he sort of stopped liking the the the pressure of the Today show was putting on him to give a serious clue each time because he was giving pretty minor stuff like, well, it's not in a graveyard. You know, I think I think the Today Show is kind of like we need you to give us better than that.


Yeah, there was some of our pizzazz. Yeah. More pizzazz, like, you know, so they wanted it to like they wanted to lead you of discovery.


Right. They're trying to force. I think so they're trying to narrow the search possibilities. OK, so, so simultaneous with that, there emerges this robust community of treasure hunters around the treasure and, you know, on the Internet, they all get together and a bunch of forums that are extremely active and, you know, people throwing out their various theories, which they called solves or people talking about their, you know, boots on the ground trips, as they referred to their field trips, actually look for the treasure and like, you know, like the Internet is about everything.


I mean, it was it was a very varied group of people with varying levels of evidence backing up their theories.


And so, you know, there were people who would put forward serious interpretations of the poem and then there'd be other people who would say, did you notice in that interview, Finn was wearing a hat and there was a hole in the hat.


And if you look closely under a microscope, that hole is the shape of Colorado. So I think that's telling us the treasure is in Colorado.


Yeah. You know.


Some of the clues he gave her substantive absolutely he one of the first major clues he gave was he narrowed the initial description of where the treasure was, was it's in the mountains north of Santa Fe. And initially, a lot of people thought that meant it was in New Mexico. At a certain point, it kind of broadened. People realized he was talking about the Rocky Mountains as a whole, but he excluded Utah and Idaho and he excluded Canada.


So then it was basically narrowed to the four search states where Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.


And didn't someone think if you went north long enough, you'd eventually wind up back south of his house?


And that must be where it was exactly one one one one of the boys circumnavigate the globe and wind up in Albuquerque.


This was actually a woman who ran one of the main forums. Her theory was that it was buried in Fense Backyard. And I said, but what about it being north of Santa Fe? And, you know, if you go all the way around the world, you can be in his backyard and still be north of Santa Fe.


He. Then people start dying. Then people started dying. I mean, people were were interpreting, you know, really like like home of Brown people started interpreting as an outhouse.


So we had to eliminate, like say it's not it's not in an outhouse. It's not under an outhouse. That's a red carpet.


But yeah. So homebrewed you get into that, too, because there's another interesting. Everyone, everyone who's read Catcher in the Rye, if you haven't read his phenomenal book, Catcher in the Rye, written by J.D. Salinger, J.D. Salinger's publisher was Little Brown. The Salinger family ended up owning a property in Wyoming or so there was a Salinger ranch.


It was in Wyoming. I'm not sure whether or not.


So Homer Brown, that must be it. Little Brown. Yeah, there. Author's family's ranch. Yeah. Crazy shit.


Yeah. So. The search began just attracting thousands and thousands of people, some of those people were kind of desperadoes there that, you know, they quit their job, they or they went bankrupt or they, you know, they kind of had nothing to lose.


And they they went out there and a lot of them had minimal, if any, wilderness experience.


And I have a great book they should have brought with them about. That is it's available for preorder. It's called The Mediator's Guide to Wilderness Skills and Survival. Would have saved a lot of lives. A lot of lives, a lot of people are saying it would have saved a lot of lives, so this guy named Randy Billu puts in to the real ground on a inflatable raft and. Is not heard from again, if kids like wasn't it like a child is a child's inflatable raft because he's got in his head because the words put in.


Are in there, he's got in his head that it's like you need to do a float, you need to do a river float to find it like that, he put it in somewhere, you know, cash the treasure, and then proceeded down the river and saw that.


So everybody starts doing float trips, so everyone starts doing float trips.


So eventually his body is found. He drowned. Two more guys drowned. One, I think, also in the real ground day, another in the Arkansas River. A fourth guy died in Yellowstone National Park. He was slipped on a slope and dropped 500 feet to his death. And then another guy, snowmobile into dinosaur national monument, wearing like a thin jacket and jeans and froze to death.


And that same guy, that's the one I empathize most with, Matt. Here's why you shouldn't vote, because a month beforehand, he had to get rescued for the same thing.


Oh, yeah. And some of these moments that inspired fan to, like, give further clues as he talked about, like having this dialogue. Right. Trying to stem the bleeding. Yeah.


So like when when this Randy died in the Rio Grande, I think Fenet just said he's like not in the Rio Grande or he had said it's like it's not south of Santa Fe or somebody that basically eliminating the Rio Grande. And then Randy's wife, you probably covered this man or saw it, but she like came out and was very vocal that, like, this treasure does not exist. This is all a hoax because she wanted to sue the guy.


I mean, I'm sure she had many motives for her husband being killed, looking for the treasure.


But she was like one of the very vocal people that was like this. This isn't real.


Yeah. And actually, the head of the New Mexico State Police, Pete Casitas, publicly implored fan to to end the hunt, you know, to stop the deaths.


Yeah. And in your article, I was surprised to read to that that. The Fen treasure. In addition to Breaking Bad, the television show is credited with an influx in tourism to New Mexico, it was that substantial.


New Mexico's tourism department created a video featuring fan as part of their tourism drive.


It's weird because we've had New Mexico advertise. Tourism. And in the notes that says you can't mention Breaking Bad. But I didn't say not to mention the found treasure. Interesting. Yeah, I think Breaking Bad on a lot of people to Albuquerque and fence and a lot of people to Santa Fe. Yeah.


You know, he then he gave some other he also started to give some other clues, like he kept saying keep. He said in terms of the put in and river access, this is all together from the article.


But in terms of the river access, someone eventually a searcher, what do they call themselves?


Chasers, chasers. Ask him, did you return like when you deposited the treasure, did you return by the exact same path?


And he said yes. Which eliminated this idea that he did a river trip. Exactly. And then he said, I guess a number of times he said. I was how old? Eighty when he when he buried your head. It's forty five pounds. I'm 80 years old. I carried it from my car.


Yeah. So keep that in mind. Yeah. Tulip, presumably to eliminate a lot of the people who do the crazy. Yeah, he eliminated I like it's not that was the main thing. It's it's nowhere in 80 year old man couldn't have gone. But yeah, specifically, it's not the real grand. I think he might have even said it's not in a river or beside a river.


And I think I think he may be eliminated like national parks because of the Yellowstone thing.


No major national parks. OK, maybe it was the Yellowstone thing.


It was like you don't need rock climbing gear. It was something from one of those events. Nothing.


You're not. Yeah. You don't need crampons or like you're going to be rappelling down. Although there was a guy, another guy who rappelled into the Grand Canyon and ran out of rope before he got to the bottom. And then when, like 11 National Park Service people came to rescue him and they got him down, he ran away because he was worried one of them was going to steal his soul.


These people and then there was an Indiana treasure hunter in Yellowstone that got caught in an area he wasn't supposed to be in Yellowstone National Park doing something he wasn't supposed to be. I think he was doing some rock climbing. And when he got to the judge, he said, you might call me a lunatic, whatever, but I feel wholeheartedly.


I solved that fan treasure thing. I still feel it's down there, Your Honor, I dare anybody to figure out a better solve. And so his defense of being in this place, he wasn't supposed to be like that's where the treasure was, Your Honor. That's why I should be innocent.


There were there were hundreds of people who said, I definitely have the correct solve.


And when people would say, well, then why don't you have the treasure, they would say either, like, well, he clearly removed it or it was never there. And this whole thing's a hoax. Or there's there must be like a proxy item there, but the treasure itself isn't going to be there.


So instead of just saying, oh, I guess my solve was wrong, you know, can you get into I think we've kind of touched on the crazy shit is like. Right. The crazy shit's fun, but you can just kind of imagine. Right, like the hole in his hat or whatever and and people.


And you covered how people started getting very interested in his biography. And they're kind of looking for that like Rosebud moment from Citizen Kane. Right.


Of like what would be some place of particular resonance to him? Or he would have put this thing because he established that he put it somewhere important to him. So it has to be somewhere that he's been.


So how do we find where all he's been and all this kind of like avenue, this whole avenue approach emerges of like that, that you'll find additional materials within his biography but spent some time on.


Some of the people who are who were thinking about it probably in the correct way, so a lot of the more serious searchers focused on Yellowstone because Fenet said, my heart is in Yellowstone.


And as a child, he had spent a lot of time with his family on fishing and camping trips in Yellowstone. So so that's where I would say.


Most of the most serious searches that I encountered spent most of their time, I mean, there were still some people in New Mexico looking, not that many in Colorado, quite a lot in Montana, but Wyoming and Yellowstone in particular was was sort of the biggest focus for a lot of people.


One of the very popular spots was, you know, just like 30 miles from us, the way the crow flies had been like because he had pictures in his biography of him at Hebden Lake and riding horses there and talked about how much he loved it and stuff like that. So that became a very popular place as well.


Specifically, it had been like, you know, that that Ausborn Russell and his journal. This is before having, like existed, it's you know, it's an artificial lake, it's an empowerment. They used to call that the Firehole as well. They would call holes like sheltered valleys where you could spend the winter because some guy showed up there and the whole thing was on fire. All that timber that you see in the bottom was burned and they call it the fire hole.


Then it got like subsumed by. Lake Hapgood. People started to realize they're starting to feel that there has that. That the poem can't. Do it like like a literal understanding of the words in the poem that it can't. Be adequate, like it can't put you on a spot to find a 10 by 10 inch box. Right. It was just so it was so vague. It could be interpreted in so many ways. And just to take one example, the clue where warm waters halt, you know, could refer to.


Like uncountable sort of hydrothermal locations, you know, I mean, there's so many I went down to the Boiling River when I first moved to Montana looking looking for this treasure.


Oh, it was on a big box. I may have, but I wasn't, you know, maybe I mistook it for a rock, but because fed.


But then one of these treasure hunters, the primary treasure hunter you profile, talks about that Fenet mentioned in some writing or some lecture or something he had mentioned as a kid being in a river and now he would hop around near a hot spring trying to find water.


This is Boiling River, actually. Oh, it was. But yeah, he would hop around and talk about places that were too hot, places that were too cold. And so him saying begin where warm waters end or whatever, led some serious people to think that that's like that's got to be like kind of where you need to look.




And you get another guy that thought. Sunlight, Bassam. That was also the same guy who whose first search location was boiling river, really fixed on Sunlight Basin, because that was the place where he found, you know, the Sallinger Ranch. And there were other sunlight he thought might refer to the warmth, that sunlight creak. And he found there was a mining claim where his clues sort of had led him there. That happened to be owned by an LLC company that was registered to an attorney in Cody who sat on a museum board with then.


So he thought, you know, that was that seemed kind of interesting.


And one of the areas these guys focused was, is it on public or private land?


And one of the things they looked at was this idea that Fenn probably did some due diligence about the legality.


And so explain that little bit of the of the solve.


I mean, there were so many potential legal issues, right? Like what's what are the tax issues, depending on what kind of land it's on, you know, what is it, government property or can to find her claim it as property? You know what's going to happen with this? Are the land rights stable like in 500 years? Will the same or the land still be preserved in the same way? Or might it have come into private ownership or leased out for logging or whatnot?


So, you know, there was a lot of thought given to what kind of land might then have most seriously considered to try to avoid those issues.


And where was the the good money was on what, public or private? I would say public, but but even that had a lot of complications. I mean, private probably had more complications. You couldn't search it, right?


You couldn't search putting it somewhere where people wouldn't be able to look. Yeah. Yeah.


Unless it was private land that he secretly owned, which was one possibility people looked at and they tried to search to see if they were looking through public records, looking for, you know, things are kind of concealed by corporate ownership.


And but there was a lot of attention paid to that possibility.


I did hear at one point in time, I think Spencer mentioned this to me, did he at one point in time announce that someone had been a couple hundred yards from it?


He said on more than one occasion that. A bunch of people had been within 500 feet and one or two people had been within 200 feet of the treasure, like actual searchers, actual searchers, because they would send him emails. He was fielding hundreds, hundreds of emails, like over 100 a day. Searchers were constantly contacting him and he was, you know, engaging with them. And so they would say, hey, I just, you know, here's my solve.


They would want to tell them they're solved.


I think maybe some of them were hoping he would give them a clue or a hint and which he would not do for the most part. And so that's how he knew where people were searching.


Yeah, like all this dialogue that kind of happens among fans and searchers and then fans and media and these different interviews, it causes like some missing clues that like, is it real? Is it not? One of them that I came across a lot was that fan had supposedly said at some point during this that he had made a day trip from his house to hide the treasure, which hung up a lot of people like, OK, well, then it can only be this far north from his house, but you start looking for and you can actually find where he said that.


But there's like a portion of of the searchers that think that's like a legit clue, but it can't be traced anywhere. And so I think there's a lot of stuff like that specific thing.


It's like one that general supposedly said that the way to beat the Plains Indians is to kill all the buffalo. And then. Historians. Eventually realize that. That was never said. Yeah, so like the searching community had intentionally or unintentionally created these red herrings like this, you know, it's a day trip from his house sort of thing.


There were also like these super searchers who kind of befriended Finn and would really focus a lot on developing that relationship and. It created a certain amount of disharmony in politics in in the chase community, because people would think that some people were secretly being given like a leg up that they didn't have, that they were getting tips from then.


I want to bump along to more contemporary realizations here, but a thing that I want to cover. Two observations. One was. I'm sure there were people that were secretive, but it tended to be collaborative. You would post yourselves, I mean, the collaborative people would in the secret ones, you would. Yeah, so there was a community, people who be like, hey, how about this? Hey, how about this? Not like hoarding it for themselves.


This one to like, see, it gets they wanted to see resolution and not so much take ownership of who.


One of the searchers that the primary search, you focus on Tommy's name again, Justin Posi, who takes an extremely organized, passionate, expensive, exhaustive approach to this, he and a friend.


Hit on an idea they don't attempt. They hit on an idea of this, this. Technological tool that's out there that can track someone's eyeballs. And looking at a screen like what are they looking at as they're looking at a screen? It's software that will see. What would be to the human eye, imperceptible movements and also what you're trying not to look at so you can show someone a screen and get a sense like this person is is purposefully not putting their eyes in that direction or whatever, and they get this idea if they could get fan in a room.


With this software, with this program and flash for him, a map of the Rockies. They will.


What is eyeballs don't want and there's eyeballs will betray, doesn't want to know a lie detector test like CIA next level stuff, and then they would dynamically keep changing what he was seeing, sort of like his eye was going towards, let's say first it's in Wyoming, like northwestern Wyoming.


Then it would immediately like zoom in on a close up of northwestern Wyoming, and then it would look at what's he looking at or avoiding looking at there. And they would do it like very rapidly.


I mean, the computer could do it almost instantaneously.


And I mean, Justin said when he was working on eye tracking technology for a major technology company, I mean, he's a software, you know, engineer that it's shockingly precise and he doesn't do it on ethical grounds.


Right. I mean, first of all, getting fed in a room and looking at a screen already begins to tread close to potentially sounding like kidnapping. But even if he's there voluntarily, it just seemed like not, you know, not fair play.


Like it's it's almost like. Yeah, you know. And their interests using an unconventional weapon. Yeah.


They're interested in fair play. Yeah.


Right now we jump ahead to I want to ask Ben what his personal favorite find theory was like. If you had to guess where was. I mean, I kind of think that this is the solution that I might talk about a little bit was the correct one.


Hmm. I don't know. How about you?


Well, I don't know. I enjoyed all of it there. Like, I'm biased. I liked the idea of being in Paradise Valley because it's an hour from where we're sitting right now. And there was like a lot of very obvious stuff in there that seemed to make sense, where it was like the warm waters, halt the boiling river, ride the canyon down Yankee Jim Canyon, home around the Joel Brown Boat launch.


Yeah, the end is drawing ever nigh. There's nine Montana. And because I live here, I like the idea of the Paradise Valley thing.


And you're kind of a rockhound. Yeah, I'm the rock picado, but a rockhound that's that's actually like probably where I saw the greatest overlap in communities were like people who like to look for rocks and the people who like to look for treasure weigh more so than like people who like fishing or mushroom hunting or something.


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Like every big news story, I wake up one day not long ago and I have many, many text messages. From various friends. The phone cache has been discovered. Immediately, everyone I talked to. Says bullshit, because I'll tell you why it's bullshit. For Sven, these five people have died, Forrest Fenn is under pressure to stop the bleeding.


He's being sued by various participants who've devoted the decade of their life to finding the treasure.


There's like not emerging, there's always been a rumor that it's a lie, it's becoming too burdensome for him. He's a failing health, which is borne out by the fact that he died a couple of days ago, is a failing health. And he just needs to bring it to a close. The fun is over, so he bullshits up some photos or whatever and just tries to, like, wind it down.


Not a lot of clarity. The guy that found it doesn't want to be known. It's all a lie. And that just goes to show you that it's all a lie. That is the the initial narrative, as I understood it. Is that fair?


Spencer, I don't think everybody was that pessimistic or like you and I were, uh, I yeah.


So I feel that way a little by everybody. I mean us. Right. Right now.


Now, looking back now that he died in like September and he was found in, I don't know what was achieved by June. Right. Again, like the timing is a little bit suspicious, just like with the FBI raid on him hiding the thing. But, yeah, I don't know, there's like warranted suspicion still. I'll let Ben take it from here.


Also, just one found one other one other part of the burden was like I mean, his family was dealing with it like they had a guy break into their house with an axe and his daughter held the guy at gunpoint. There was another guy who was stalking his granddaughter. So like, he had a lot of reasons why he might want to, you know, he'd created a monster and you might want to to end this.


So tell us what's known about the finder and what might be known about where it was found. All right.


So then initially, just as it's been found, kind of more details to come.


You know, people were a lot of people were skeptical. People wanted to know more, maybe a week later post a couple of photos of him with what looks like the recovered treasure in what looks like like a lawyer's office or at a conference table.


But it's got, you know, dirt encrusted on some of it and signs of aging. But still, it just wasn't enough. And people were like getting really angry both at him and the finder for not telling more about where it had been found and then said, I have always said, and this is true, he had always said, I'm going to leave it to the finder to choose whether or not to identify themselves and to choose whether or not to reveal the location.


And the the speculation was it was for the legal potential legal implications. What if the guy doesn't want to pay taxes on it and report it to the IRS? Then it all has been kind of anti-government. So he might be sympathetic to that. In any case, he had said that's what he would do and he did it. But people were really angry about it. Everyone wanted closure. A lot of people thought it was a hoax. I mean, I was I was pretty skeptical for all the reasons you mentioned.


Anyway, there's a ton of pressure on him. Finally, a couple of weeks after the discovery, he posts online again.


He says the finder is agreed, you know, for the benefit of the community, that I can reveal another detail, and that is the state in which it was found. It was found in Wyoming. So some people are satisfied by that, some people thought it was further evidence of something not on the up and up because the three lawsuits against him concerned Colorado and New Mexico. So by saying it was in Wyoming, he immediately kind of invalidated the premises of these lawsuits.


Hmm. And like the singular details that he had given were that it was a man and he was from back east, which when you live in New Mexico, there's a hell of a lot that's east of you. So just like the details weren't even details, really.


You know how bakkies is used for a guy who hit Mexico back, which not some dude from Nebraska.


OK, so this is not it's not I mean, it doesn't narrow it. It trims off maybe one hundred million Americans, but there's still a couple hundred million left over that way.


Yes. The Santa Fe New Mexican, which is his hometown newspaper, after like the solve or after it was found and it was announced himself, they had they made a really good analogy. They said this is like a detective solving a murder without identifying the killer.


That's like the feeling that he's gave everyone, huh?


Well, if you listen to this podcast. You would be familiar with the story, we had an episode with a guy, some very similar to this episode with a writer who's somewhat missing in Costa Rica. The assumption was that he'd been murdered.


OK, and it was about his efforts to find his son, Roman Roman dial, Roman dial. Yeah, he wrote a book about this.


It was his efforts to find his son's body, identify the murderer.


And his son was killed by a tree that fell in a storm. So he solved a murder.


But did not identify a killer. Put that in your pipe. It's like that same unsatisfying feeling, though. Oh, yeah, I'm with you. But the only pipe and smoke it, Spencer, no, you tell that to the Santa Fe New Mexican. All right, Ben. Go on, it's found. It's it's found by a shy guy back east. They said he was a shy guy, a real wallflower, this guy, it's in Wyoming.


You know, people were just people were not satisfied. And so the the suspicion and the skepticism, I would say, you know, increased people wanted to know more. They just and they weren't buying it. And a lot of people, including like some of the most focused, devoted.


You know, sensible searchers thought it thought like Fenn had ended the hunt and and gotten to try to retrieve the treasure or had a family member do it.


And the searcher again, you spend the time on Posi. Justin Yeah. Justin Posi. At first he's like depressed and kind of catatonic. Yeah. But then instead of quitting searching, instead of being like, I'll move on to whatever the hell is next, like I'll get a dog and. Hang out at home. He's like, he resumes just searching for the spot where it had been.


Well, just as insane as a side note, as a side note, I mean, he already had a dog, a visalo.


Oh, no. It's all about the damn dog. I forgot.


So this is a one of one of his super methodical, you know, tactics that he used to kind of increase his chances of finding the treasure was he had a vessel named Tucker, 55 pound Vizsla.


And he had read about how in the 1960s in Russia and Finland and Sweden, they had geologists had trained what we're called or dogs who had an ability to to sniff out mineral deposits, you know, that are like buried 40 feet deep. And so he began to wonder what you know, we know the chest is made of bronze. We also know that searchers have gotten within 500 or 200 feet of the chest. You know, it would really suck if I got close to the chest, but not close enough.


I could at least eliminate that possibility if I trained Tucker to be able to smell bronze.


So he trained Tucker to smell bronze and dog treats next to bronze chunks and badly bought on Amazon.


Correct. And then eventually just bury the bronze and give the dog tree exactly. Yeah, yeah, this fellow this gentleman was like, wow, just keep searching and just try to find a little hole where so do drag the treasure.


I mean, he was not he was not alone. He was not alone. An enormous number of people I talked to would be like, you know, what are you going to do now that the search is over? And they be like, oh, I'm going, I'm going searching next week.


What's that song? The search is over.


You were with me with that song. No, you were with me. It's like Peter Starer something. The search is over. You know, you you it's like the last thing he says, oh, the searches.


And, you know, you just don't know the science. Well, I don't know.


I wish to say it's like a sunk cost fallacy type thing. Right. Where is this like you've dedicated your whole life to this?


It's like, well, I got to keep going with. Yes.


I mean, the same way that there were people are like, yeah, my soul is correct in the fact that the treasures they're not there means like it wasn't there. He took it.


These people would say, well, this is like a second there's a second treasure. Like they would have theories like there's a second treasure buried there or the treasure, the treasure finder probably left part of the treasure there because that's what I would have done. So there was there were reasonings behind it.


Is it Peter Petersberg? Hit it, Steve, I'll say it again. Say it again.


This wants to do when they make this into a movie and Ben's like in the movie and shit and they're going to have this song play Survivor so that then you're saying, wait a second.


No, wait, hold on.


So I have a question out of all of the searchers who you interviewed, is there a common thread like what's the typical psychological profile of these folks?


I mean, there was actually a scholarly study done by a psychologist at the University of North Dakota of the Finches community. And, you know, I mean, you read the study, which is available online, and it's like, you know, he's using all the psychological terminology, like normative, you know, personality and like mood disorder and does it add up?


But I mean, basically, it seemed like most of them were pretty normal, but there were 10 percent of the community who described themselves as having an addiction.


And those are the people who are most active on the forums. Those are probably most of the people I talked to because they're the ones who kind of know about each other. And you you meet at these events. Mm hmm.


Get into. I'm trying to lead you gently where I want you to go hear Ben. The dude posi. Wants to find the spot. Because if he can find the spot, he can he can find what the salve was or he can legitimize, like if he could figure out what it was, then he could.


Reverse engineer. Whether it was real or not. But as if he didn't doubt that it was real, but since for him the main goal was always like the cracking of the puzzle and not the getting of the gold, like the fact that someone had found the gold didn't end the puzzle challenge for him.


So he thought he just still wanted to solve the puzzle.


And now he was even more motivated, could have been found. And he was I mean, there was a concern that am I even going to know that I'm there if the chest has been removed, but maybe if I do it relatively soon, they'll still be at least before this winter.


You know, there will still be evidence of where the chest and he's got photographs to go off now because the the finder snapped a couple cell phone pictures of the box.


What happened is so. In September, someone calling himself the Finder posts an article on a website called Medium saying I'm the finder and telling the story about but a pretty vague story, but about how they're the finder and how they've they spent 25 days once they knew the general area and that, you know, they were crying and getting torn by branches and they found the treasure and then they met with forest and all of this. But they're anonymous. And normally it would be easy to dismiss them because tons of people throughout this whole thing have claimed I found the treasure.


But in this case, they included photographs that had not been. We're not among the photographs Fenn had posted. So but they were clearly outtakes from the same photo shoot. So it had to be someone who had some connection to the situation. Also, the friend family posted a link to this article on their website, which gave it that validation. So people were like, OK, this is the finder. OK, so then a few weeks later, another searcher.


Gets an email from someone who says, like, I know who the finder is and I know where the treasure was found and that. Finder gets Justin involved, and together they they go out looking for what is supposedly the real location where the treasure was found. And it was and it was in Yellowstone and the. The solve, according to this source, was that basically there were words in the poem that sound or look like numbers that were either they were called like homophones or which is like sounds like words or kangaroo words where there would be like a no word within another word like done includes the word one.




And basically, if you took all of these numbers that you could take out of the poem in sequence, they gave you latitude and longitude coordinates.


And those coordinates were at a site in Yellowstone Park. We're out in Yellowstone. Near to a lake at the Continental Divide, which is kind of a like a like looking at it, it's kind of like an auspicious sort of lake for clue given. Because it. Flows both ways are like a drains says on a continental divide, right, and somehow like drains one way and the other, something like that.


Apparently, it's the only natural lake in the world that drains to two watersheds, huh? It's right off 191 like right there. So we could have. Locked with an man could have carried it right from his car. And this dude, Justin. Starts trying to match up photographs. Right, I mean, what he's really trying to do is verify the information that this source has provided, right? Yeah, and the source has provided a few photographs.


The source has provided the information of, you know, these words in the poem lead to these coordinates. And so he was trying to verify that what the source was saying and where the source had taken the photos were, you know, held up. But there was still a question about like, is the source credible? Right. And the reason they were taking the source seriously was because it was like right after the treasure was found.


Everyone like the kind of leaders of the forums where we're being inundated with, like, you know, I was the finder like literally more than 30 people and I was the finder they were being inundated with. Like, I know what the saw was like more than three hundred. This is what they saw was so they just ignored them all. And there was this one guy who sent an email that, you know, and to Mike Cowlings, who ran one of the sites saying, like, I know the finder.


I know this. And he wrote back Cobra. And that was it.


But then in September, the guy writes him again. He says, like, next week there's going to be some news coming out. And then the next week, this media article comes out from the finder. And so he's like, oh, maybe like I actually does know something. So then he started talking to him. And this this this source basically said he had met the finder online. There'd been a group of them who were discussing these sort of coordinate based and homophone based solves.


And apparently the source was not very happy that now that he was not the finder and he was like, so I'm just going to tell you everything I know. And so that's what Justin Posi was going out there with these two other searches, Cynthia Meachem and Thor, to try to verify what the source had said. And what did they find so they so they found first they go out and find nothing.


They go out to the what they think the GPS coordinates are, find nothing.


They go back the next day, I mean, it gets kind of technical, but basically they they they determine that if you Raptor and I think they talk to the source again, if you start the poem at the beginning where warm waters halt, you got the first of the coordinate numbers and then you have to wrap around at the end of the poem to the beginning of the poem. And so the numbers in the first stanza come last. And if you also use like what is apparently standard decimal notation for coordinates, you get point to, which is 12 seconds.


And they had previously been treating two as meaning two seconds, 12 seconds, put them exactly at a location that Justin Posi was able to his satisfaction to match up with the source photographs based on the angles of leaning trees, the distance between trees, the height of the sun, the leaf litter, all of that, although obviously the more kind of the stuff that deteriorates more quickly was less reliable.


But there was a thing about there was three species represented on the ground. Right. Right. It's fairly ubiquitous in the West. But still, there's like he would he was looking at overlays of these three species, exactly like in the original photograph, three plants, one deciduous leaf that they thought was in Aspen.


There were lodgepole pine needles. So there was a cottonwood twig. I think they thought there was looking for like the convergence of those three species, which is a mighty big area.


But still, apparently I mean, he said actually it turns out that Aspen forestation is not nearly as ubiquitous as you might think in Wyoming. I don't know. You might know otherwise.


We actually had somebody, Steve, intermediator, Instagram comments that had comment on multiple posts. And they were like, my co-worker solved it. It was my co-worker that found it. So then I reached out to that guy and I was like, who's your co-worker? Like, why should I believe you? That kind of stuff. He's like, This is what he told me here. You can talk to him.


Here's his info or no is the other way around. He said, Well, here's my info, have him contact me.


So he contacted me and he's like, yep, I'm the guy that found it was like, OK, can you prove it?


Can you show me a picture or something that we can talk about this more? And he's like, well, here's the deal.


There was no treasure. And it was it was one of those people as as Ben had said earlier, but he had like multiple days exchanging emails and texts and stuff.


He was telling me he was the guy and that it was in Maybelle, Colorado. And and then he eventually, you know, told me they're like there actually was no treasure, but I solved his clue. And here are the reasons why and stuff like that. But I was hot on the trail for a few days. I was like, I got it.


Oh, all really cool little feather.


You're like Internet sleuth incap. Yeah. Ben, how confident are you? Like, that's where it was. Yes, I mean, I'm not very I'm not very confident, I mean, I guess the question I asked Justin Posey, how confident is he? And he, I think, put his confidence like 85 percent. Like I think he thinks it is it.


But there are reasons to to doubt it.


I mean, one thing that gave him confidence in it was they scooped up some dirt in a plastic bag at the site that the coordinates led them to and brought it back to the parking lot because they hadn't been able to bring Tucker the dog into the park. And they let's talk her out of the out of out of the truck. And he runs around sniffing. And then he gets to the pile of dirt and immediately sits down and his tail starts wagging, which apparently and looks up for a treat, which was apparently the you know, what happens when he finds brons.


And so I thought there might be like some sort of, you know, brons residue in the dirt. How confident?


That is not a good idea, man. I get the credit card records of everyone that fan knows to see where they were buying gas. And see if they were buying gas up thereabouts when they went out to retrieve the box to end the search. I mean, he has really he has relatives who are pilots also the flight records. How confident are you? And as you when you answer this, put in the input you have from people who are most obsessive about this but who are rational individuals, how confident are you?


Not that not there was a treasure and all that. OK, how confident are you that. It was a legit find and then it wasn't. A. Family deciding it's time to wrap it up. I will say until the latest development with this coordinate solve, I was actually I was pretty sure the family must have made a decision to wrap it up.


This has made me think probably there was a finder it the chances that you could find latitude and longitude coordinates in sequence in this poem that could lead you, of all places on the planet out of billions of possible locations to a spot in the search area is very small.


So that carries a certain amount of weight. I also think. You know, since this coordinated solve has been announced within the community, I mean, there's been a ton of skepticism, but people are still trying to match the poem clues like home of Brown, where warm waters halt to this location. And I think there's a good chance, like none of that ever matter.


Yeah, I was going to ask about all of those words were only to lead to get you to figure out the numbers or if those words also pertained to to clues.


I kind of think so, because even if you know this location, like, there's no way the words could ever lead you to a precise place. And if you have the coordinates, you don't need vague words.


So when you need a bunch, you need a bunch of words. They have numbers in them. You need a bunch of words that have numbers. And then he also is a fan of the rhyme. So they got a ride, you got they got a rhyme. Yeah, is it iambic pentameter? I remember learning at school. I mean, that is a a meter. I'm not sure if this one is that.


I don't remember what it means. I was never needed to learn it. I think Shakespeare used to bring it back to Shakespeare pentameter.




You're not going to have an answer for this, but like, what will the person do with the treasure? How can they possibly use it as a treasure would be used to like, get all these riches and not reveal too many things or like how you go back and look for a dude with a lot of jewelry?


Well, actually, he's also shot.


Don't expect it to be like making a lot of noise.


We may have an answer in the medium article posted by the capital letters, the finder. They said, I'm a millennial and I have student loans and I cannot afford to keep the treasure.


My first attempt is going to be to have it end up in a place for us.


I wanted it to which people think was a museum, probably, maybe the Buffalo Bill Museum and Cody.


But basically they're going to try to sell it at auction where I think they can maximize the value not just of the actual objects, but of the whole story around the story.


Yeah, it doesn't make any sense to liquidate it. Yeah. Yeah. And then your guy that you spend most of your time with your serger that you spent because you could spend time with the finder because he doesn't want you has he doesn't want to he's too shy, too concerned about the whatever economic issues he's faced with now. Legal issues. The guy. One of the guys you spent time with was kicking around like how he might like to get it, but acknowledges that it's beyond probably going to be beyond his means because it's not even going to be sticker value.


Yeah, yeah. I mean, he thinks it'll be, you know, exponential or multiple. So, you know, let's say instead of one million, it's ten million.


It was worth a million bucks ten years ago. Yeah. I mean, it's also based on the, you know, fluctuating price of gold, so. Sure. And whatever, you know. Yeah.


And you mentioned in the end, you close by saying that this serger chaser. Is thinking about. Assembling his own treasure. And following in the. Footsteps of forest, then, that's right. He found a meteorite which is confirmed as a meteorite and apparently there's a lot of there's a lot more where that came from. And so all of them together would be very valuable. And that would be the basis of this treasure that he would hide and set up his own treasure hunt.


Spencer's personal cancer reached out, grabbed his mike, just very slow down.


I guess I've had two instances where I thought maybe this is a meteorite and like, the dollar value on those things is crazy. So if this person has a meteorite to hide, that's that's great. That's a valuable treasure.


Frazier did a piece about meteorites one time or some aspect of it, and he was dealing with a meteorite that it it come through a guy's roof in Montclair, New Jersey. Came through his roof, cracked his toilet. Yeah, that's a no that's happening also, and he goes upstairs like that was a meteorite.


So do you think we are going to ever have, like, the satisfying ending, like the murder solved, but we haven't identified the killer thing? Are we going to get all the details someday? I mean, I think the the you know, the combination of the the source coming forward, if they are legitimate, has kind of taken away a lot of the, you know, the best part of the story that the finder has to tell. But I can't see why they wouldn't, especially if they're if they're concerned about, you know, how much money they have.


I mean, the easiest way in the world to make money would be for them to sell their story. Right. Right. I mean, to publish a nice book about it. They could, you know, make a movie about it. So I would I would think that the finder would want to come forward at some point, especially if it's more than one person. And apparently it might be a team of a few people.


Hmm. And that that's also like one of the big red flags for people referring to the forest and treasure thing because he self published the book. So he was getting all the proceeds from this treasure map hidden in the poem. And then there was a long stretch there where the books were selling for like one hundred dollars on Amazon and eBay. And it was like incredibly valuable.


And so that's it's pretty damn good marketing to be like, here's this book I have. And within it you can find the details to a million dollar treasure that's hidden.


I have to say, there's a roundabout way to sell some books. Maybe we should try it.


No, I mean, the one thing I'd say about that is actually the he published three memoirs and the first one, which was self published and sold to this one bookstore in Santa Fe, collected works. They got all the profits. He didn't because he wanted people to know, like, I'm not profiting off this. I'm not sure if that's true of the later books, but that first one, he he wasn't and he was already wealthy.


He was a wealthy guy.


So I'm not sure he he would do that. Can you close by? Tomball. For Sven's death. Nothing suspicious, nothing suspicious, I mean, you know, he was he turned 90 in August, and then in early September, there was a kind of last gathering of the most devoted searchers in Yellowstone and fishing bridge in West Yellowstone and fishing bridge. And what you said has a sign says you can't fish, which there's no fishing allowed.


And it was the Labor Day weekend. And then that Monday, Finn died of what the Santa Fe police said was natural causes. You know, there was some suspicion about 99 years old. He's nine years old. Yeah.


And his wife died a few weeks later.


His wife of 66 years back. Wow. Oh, that's touching. Yeah. I like that man, but he held on and died and my wife dies like fast. That's one of the things I like the said was someone was saying to him. That he should call the search off and he said if there is a pool. And people drown in the pool. Do you close the pool or you teach people to swim, right? And he had expressed right that that he just wanted people to get away from their devices and shit and go do something.


Just be outside. If that was true. I wonder if the if it backfired, because it's hard to tell if this lives more. In the device Internet, like, did he create an Internet thing? Or did he create a nature thing? If you had to look at it now. I think he did create a nature thing. I mean, tons of people, you know, went out on searches. You'd never I mean, one of the people I interviewed was like a Boston cop who drove across country for three days with his son and spent a week camping in the Rockies, you know, which he'd never been to the Rockies.


So I think I think there were a lot of people like that. I think it did get people.


But there was definitely a very robust, you know, bunch of armchair treasure hunters who maybe never went to the Rockies, never went and spent a lot of time, you know, talking on in the forums.


So how do people. How do people find your article? Well, I think if you go to NY, it'll be there on the front page. And why If you run into other problems, Ben Wallace, type in Ben Wallace fan. Benjamin Wallace, unless you want to get the nod. Oh, sorry.


Benjamin Wallace type in Benjamin Wallace something like Fan Something and treasure New York Magazine.


Yeah. You'll, you'll, you'll, you'll get there. Yeah, you'll get there.


Thank you for coming on.


I'm glad I finally earned a slot on Meat Eater. Are you thinking about doing a book about this? You know, I actually I would like to and I I emailed my agent about it and he said there's already a book that's been in the works for a while by a guy who was a treasure hunter involved for years and.


You know, it's being published by a major publishing house, is it enough? Yeah, your publisher, Random House, Sons of Bitches. Yeah, I'll buy yours. Your copy better.


All right. Thank you, Ben. Thank you. Good to be here. Are you going to write more stuff to come and talk to us about it?


I mean, it's hard to get Meat Eater relevant material into New York magazine. I got to like I don't think New York is where a lot of, like, hunting and fishing is happening.


Yeah, this is not new. It's true. I mean, I hope I will. Well, yeah. Yeah, that's what makes it relevant is what wasn't in there, which is Clovis points which are used for hunting.


That's a tenuous that's a tenuous connection. And I had to twist Steve's arm to like talk about this is a golf course fan.


Oh, I never said such a thing. Yeah. I wrote about forest when you still had your momma's milk that I brought about for a spin in 2008.


But you were very cool on the idea of like having this big thing on our website and like getting Benmore involved and having you on the podcast.


You were not very hung on this. It was by DNA. Been on the podcast. I think after some text messages from like people are going to want to hear this.


Oh, dude, I'm going to hear that.


I do not I'd have to revisit some of this. I could picture me being a little dismissive of the find.


He's just holding a grudge because he proved them wrong about the squirrels. Oh, no, he doesn't think they know they know it because do I have Spetznaz coming back out very soon because I have developed an overwhelming body of evidence. OK, I will see to contradict Spencer's findings, including including a book by the author, the same author who wrote Light in the Forest.


Put that in here to be continued.


You got me.


All right. Thank you for it. Thanks.