Just two years ago New Mexico State tourism was begging Forrest Fenn to star in the tourism video, with their arms waving "come on in" encouraging people to come to the state and spend their hard earned tourist dollars. He was even recognized and given awards for his contribution to tourism. Now just two years later the State Police Chief is screaming for him to shut down the Thrill of the Chase.
Mr. Fenn told everyone that the treasure is "wet," which ironically now is linked to both searcher deaths in New Mexico, since they both died in the Rio Grande River. Was that "wet" statement, what prompted Mr. Fenn to remark in that commercial that he wished he did not say? It may be a coincidence, but many searchers hang on every word Mr. Fenn makes. Most abide by every every word to the extreme literal meaning.
Did mentioning the treasure is "wet" and "pinion nuts" (only found in New Mexico) literally drive these searchers to New Mexico to take extreme measures that lead to their death in the Rio Grande? Surely common sense would dictate that is a ridiculous notion. But we are talking Forrest Fenn Fever here and as a person who has watched these target fixated searchers over the past four years, I say it is plausible.
Their outlandish actions provided a basis for most of the stories in my book Finding Forrest Fenn. Anything from being hoisted down mine shafts (read my Sample Chapter) and scaling cliffs Indiana Jones style to the treasure residing in an alien womb ( I kid you not). There is no shortage of crazy in this crazy Chase and even Mr. Fenn is astonished and claimed 7% of searchers are certifiably crazy. So there is no wondering why Mr. Fenn is changing the Chase to ensure the safety of the "membership."
The community is very much like a cult, and if Forrest Fenn says anything they listen, except the part about not going where a 80 year old man wouldn't carry a 42 pound box. So look forward to Mr. Fenn spelling out a strong safety message to his following in the form of a clue since that is his style.
I understand the Police Chief's concern for public safety but by becoming part of the media frenzy actually adds risk to the searchers lives. Surely a top law enforcement officer is fully aware that publicly calling on Mr. Fenn to end the Chase will cause panic amongst many of the Fenn Fever sufferers as they drop everything to get that chest full of gold before the Chase is prematurely shut down. I trust Mr. Fenn knows how to manage the Chase and expectations better than anyone, he certainly has much more insight into the mind of the searcher than anyone else.