Kidney Cancer Theory
When I was a very young adult, I survived malignant melanoma, one of the most deadly forms of cancer, at a time when there was a zero chance of survival if not discovered early. Many inquired as to how I knew I had cancer and I joked that I had a sudden urge to run across Canada. The joke being that young Canadian Cancer victims at the time such as Terry Fox and Steve Fonyo ran across Canada to raise cancer awareness. So what does this have to do with this treasure hunt? When faced with death early on in life, many people go on to live their remaining days trying to understand and defeat the illness that will eventually defeat them for the benefit of those who will be affected in the future. It is difficult to describe why it happens, all you need to understand is that it does.
To try and understand, one must attempt to imagine themselves in Forrest Fenn’s body and mind and live the stages of acceptance. Initially, one will try to understand what caused the cancer and how to stop it from happening to someone else. If Forrest Fenn reacted as most people who suffer from cancer, then most certainly he would want to understand what caused his cancer. Sometimes the shocking reality of hindsight is a strong motivator for one to take action to prevent it from happening to others. Forrest remarked in his memoir that one’s purpose in life is to make others happy and he said that he felt disappointed because “There was no hero anywhere in me and everything I thought about radiated an aura of misfortune." [The Thrill of the Chase] Could taking action against the suspected link to his cancer be a reaction to these feelings? Note he used the word “radiated,” which could be a subtle reference to his painful radiation therapy. The poem Ode to Peggy was sparked by Peggy’s refusal to let cancer take her husband and she and lead the charge of support for this enduring battle.
When Forrest relented to the fact he was going to die, he knew exactly where he would hide his treasure. He did not need to think about where, so it is possible he knew because his plan revolved around kidney cancer. The following quote came from a Report on Santa Fe interview: "I thought I was going to die… and I had an elaborate plan that I am not ready to talk about. I really ruined the story when I got well." This quote was given when he said he was motivated by the fact he was going to die and he planned to take the treasure with him. As a caner survivor myself, it is easier for me to imagine such an elaborate plan. The question in the poem, “So why is it that I must go?” and the response “I’ve done it tired and now I am weak”, certainly supports the cancer theory as that is exactly what he said he would have done, fought the cancer until he was weak and then take his treasure out into the desert to die.
The causes of kidney cancer are: obesity, lack of physical activity, age, heredity and chemical exposure. There is no indication that the first four are a factor in his case leaving just chemical exposure. Was he exposed to chemicals during his service or when he was an innocent child or both, and if so, what are those chemicals? Forrest commented in an Tony Doukopil, X marks the Spot, interview that the "chest is 'exposed' to rain and snow, and could be scorched in a forest fire" and Forrest also said that a part of him is in that chest. Was he referring to the elements in the context of chemical elements and not the obvious weather elements? There are many chemicals that contribute to kidney cancer such as arsenic, asbestos, benzene, cadmium copper and lead.
The earlier in life one is exposed to them, the more likely harmful effects will show up later in life. Forrest spent much of his time in Yellowstone and Montana fishing as a boy. Many of the fish he caught and consumed could have been contaminated from such effluents caused by local mining operations such as the Anaconda smelter near Butte, Montana. In The Thrill of the Chase, Forrest Fenn, the environmentalist said, “…all of us are environmentalist to some degree, and me more than most,” providing evidence why this area would be special to him.
The area around that smelter was not only polluted by chemicals from the smelter but all the greenery around the smelter was, and still is, a brown dead wasteland. Many treasure seekers have noted Forrest’s quote from the T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding but if this reference is a hint to T.S. Eliot himself, then his more famous works is the poem titled Wasteland.
During his military life, he could have been exposed to some chemicals even radiation from the nuclear bomb he carried on his fighter jet. During the Vietnam War, rainbow agents were used to kill vegetation. Many Vietnam veterans suffered from their exposure to Agent Orange. Orange was just one of the agent colours used but the underlying chemical was Arsenic which was also used as a chemical weapon in World War I and known as lewisite. One could then speculate Forrest’s rainbow is one of these agents.
Forrest continued to stress all the information required to retrieve the treasure chest is in the poem. A good map, Google Earth and his memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, are also good reference materials.[SB62] I initially thought the very first line in the poem, “As I have gone a lone in there”, was an odd way to start a poem with “As,” since it could easily have been omitted or substituted. He spent fifteen years constructing that poem, choosing his words wisely and emphasizing the importance of most of those words. It took me quite a few months to finally consider “As” or “AS” is the chemical symbol for the element arsenic with the atomic number of 33. Arsenic is also used to treat pressurized wood and is conceptually connected to “in the wood." One has to be brave to fight cancer, thus there is a strong case to support of the poem’s line: “if you are brave and in the wood."
Arsenic was once used to harden bronze and the treasure chest is cast from bronze around the same time in history that the element arsenic was first documented. Forrest Fenn commenced his post military life as an entrepreneur casting bronze objects and art so there is definitely a compelling connection to bronze. Arsenic is derived from the Persian word “yellow” or “gold coloured." Forrest mentioned the word Yellowstone many times in reference to Yellowstone National Park, but is he secretly hinting to this alternate meaning of yellow stone - arsenic? He once said, “I wish someone would ask me a question that I would feel comfortable answering, like what color is a daffodil,” and "I think Mr. Fenn is a great guy. He pets dogs, thinks about going to church, grows pretty daffodils," opening up the possibility that the colour yellow is arsenic or the colour/flower symbolizing cancer.
Most cancers come from early exposure so the likely source is from ground soil or contaminated water as a child. He spent many of his summers in and around Yellowstone National Park catching and eating fish, so were those fish contaminated with arsenic? We know Mr. Fenn is an environmentalist and the photo in his memoir of the lumberjack looking at the bird nesting on the moon because there are no more trees, certainly confirms his environmental awareness. The Anaconda copper smelter spewed copious quantities of arsenic during his childhood, did that smelter affect the dirt he played in, the water he drank or the fish he ate? The brown dead wasteland surrounding the Anaconda smelter, certainly is high in arsenic and is the site of a federal superfund.
There are a couple of ancient Chinese human faces carved on jade in his treasure chest and he explained the different types of jade on Mysterious Writings blog. He admitted carrying “slicks” or jade stones in his pocket to bring good luck, however this is another aberration because the true history behind jade evolved from the Aztecs who carried jade in their pocket, or in a pouch at their side, to cure kidney disorders, purify the blood, and protect the warrior's strength. Nephrite is derived from the Greek word lapis nephriticus, meaning “kidney stone” and nephrite jade was believed to be a cure for kidney stones. "Give it to a kid-ney."
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