On June 18th, the body of treasure hunter Paris Wallace was recovered in northern New Mexico, four days after he had been reported missing. Interestingly, it was known Wallace was searching for the "Fenn's Treasure," a real-life chest of gold and trinkets. The chest was hidden in 2010 by eccentric author and art collector, Forrest Fenn. Wallace is the second person to die while searching for the booty, after Randy Bilyeu's body was found in July of 2016 who had been missing for more than 6 months after embarking on a trip looking for the elusive treasure.
Sometime around 2010, an eccentric author and art dealer named Forrest Fenn hid a chest full of treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, north of his home, Santa Fe, where he had moved after he retired from the Air Force with his wife and opened an art gallery. He was an artifact hunter and he spent much of his time exploring the mountains around town looking for ancient native artifacts and selling them in his gallery. He also began writing and has published a number of books about his life and about the riches he has found. In 1988, Fenn was diagnosed with cancer, which to him at the time was a death sentence. So he loaded up a small chest with all sorts of gold coins, rare gems and other valuable trinkets from this business said to be worth $1 million along with a copy of his autobiography with the intent that he would go into the mountains with it and die by its side. It would be his legacy. But something happened along the way. Fenn was cured and his cancer was beaten into remission.
After his battle with cancer was won, Fenn got back to his normal, albeit off-beat, life, writing and collecting and selling art. All the while, the chest sat in his office ignored. Finally, one day Fenn thought to himself that he should do something with the chest and its contents. He decided he would do something fun and interesting with it. He would set up an old-fashioned treasure hunt. Off he went into the Rocky Mountains to find a place to hide it.
After hiding the box somewhere in the mountains, Fenn published a book about the treasure and what had lead him to this in life. In the book, called "The Thrill of the Chase," Fenn published a poem that contains nine clues to the treasure's whereabouts. Since then he has issued 4 additional hints on his blog. So far, no one has found it and Fenn is the only that knows where it is; not even his wife is in on the secret.
There are numerous blogs, a subreddit with thousands of followers, Facebook groups and message boards all dedicated to finding Fenn's Treasure. Last year, Vox sent a couple writers on a search for the treasure and they took advice from hunters as far away as Scotland. Some hunters have made more than 50 trips into the mountains looking for the riches. Like a real-life version of The Goonies or Ready Player One, dreamers and adventurers are letting out their inner-Indiana Jones, ditching their day jobs and striking out in search of honest to goodness buried treasure.
No one has found it yet. It's still out, sending out its siren song treasure hunters from around the world. Tragically, two hunters have lost their lives in the pursuit, but you can be sure, that won't dissuade thousands of others from trying to find it themselves. Good luck all you hunters out there, stay safe!
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