Does the Treasure Contain Clues?


One clever concept that I thought might be inspiring was, does the treasure chest contents contain clues? Forrest Fenn said in the Joanne London interview:

“Part of me is in that chest and I am not taking about the autobiography, I am talking about part of my soul is in that chest, there are things in there that are very dear to me. In two thousand years when someone finds it I hope they put it in the Smithsonian and they put it on display and raise the lid and tell the story that happened two thousand years ago. Does that not get you excited?”

Forrest said before he closed the lid of the treasure chest for the last time he felt a part of him slip inside the treasure. He even infers that the contents of the chest are representative of who he is and since he put a lot of thought as to what went into the treasure chest, I strongly believe that that those items were very important and likely contain valuable information about the treasure chest location or further hints to the clues. The following is a list of contents in the chest he named Indulgence (formally called Tarzan) that serve as more evidence that a part of him is hidden with the treasures:

  • 265 Gold coins, mostly eagles or double eagles

  • Lots of placer nuggets from Alaska (two weigh more than a pound each)

  • Pre-Columbian gold animal figures (jaguar claw and frog)

  • Ancient Chinese human faces carved from jade

  • 17th century Spanish gold ring with a large emerald found with a metal detector

  • Antique ladies gold dragon coat bracelet that contains 254 rubies, six emeralds and two ceylon sapphires and numerous small diamonds.

  • Tairona and Sinu Indian necklace from Columbia that contained thirty-nine animal fetishes carved from quartz crystal

  • Silver row bracelet with 22 turquoise beads worth only $350 to make but had a lot of importance so much so that he wanted it back.

  • Old Mayan gold beads gift from Wolfgang Pogzeba

  • Solid gold Pre-Columbian nose rings are very heavy. They must have presented some problems when worn, but beauty sometimes comes with a price

The cheapest item in the trove is also the most important item in the chest to him, the silver turquoise bracelet. He said it was only worth a few hundred dollars but the twenty -two turquoise beads were found by Richard Wetherill in Mesa Verde in Colorado. He had the beads made into a silver bracelet which he won in a pool game from a member of the the Harvey family. Thus this could mean one or more of the following is significant to identifying the location of the treasure: Colorado, Harvey, silver, turquoise, gambling or the number twenty-two. Note in Fenn’s book Forrest spelled Wetherill as “Weatherell” indicating this aberration could have a link to “weather” or Richard as in the poem’s direction, “hint of riches new and old.” There are 22 beads in the bracelet, which may indicate the number 22 is important to the solution.

Contained within the chest are several gold coins which might indicate gold or coins are important to solving the poem. Forrest did purposely spell dollars (“dollers”) incorrectly on one of his bronze jars, possibly hinting to money or dollar as a clue. One of the gold coins that rests on top of the pile of coins is a $10 dollar Calladian Maple Leaves coin (Queen Elizabeth II). I speculate that this is tightly linked to the poem's line: "And leave my trove for all to seek?" This is consistent with my theory that hints are associated with blatant errors and aberrations. This coin has the word "Regina" printed on it which also may be linked to Mr. Fenn's clue that the treasure isn't in Eastern Saskatchewan - but Regina the Capital is. What does this all mean? I feel it is explicitely points to the home of Brown which I wrote about on a previous blog.

The treasure chest contains rubies, diamonds, emeralds and two Ceylon sapphires. These may also play prominent roles in indicating where the treasure is hidden. Sapphire mean peace and is the September birthstone which could hint to equinox. Star sapphires may be linked to the mysterious use of * ( asterisk) in his memoir. There is also a seventeenth century Spanish ring which may hint to Spanish or ring as an important clue. He does mention spanish a lot and he purposely made an error in the book and, For Whom the Bell Tolls, or is he hinting “For Whom the Bell Rings?” Rings are circular and he made a reference to the circular reference in the T.S. Eliot poem Quartet several times in the past.

Mr. Fenn included quartz crystals and a dragon coat bracelet as well and one must consider their importance or link to one or more of the clues. More recently he has been talking significantly about the Fenn Clovis Point collection which contain arrow heads made from quartz crystal.

Finally Mr. Fenn said a very old Tairona and Sinu Indian necklace was Columbia in the chest and it was made of sinew. Forrest also made comments in one of his scrapbooks about the need to use sinew in bows in the future. Maybe “draw” as in “the end is ever drawing nigh” means to “draw a bow." These items may very well provide insight to the meaning of the clues.

What about the chest itself? He did talk about it a lot and he said he over paid for it because it made the perfect treasure chest. So what makes it so special? He said it was a 1150 AD Romanesque lock box, made from bronze with cedar wood lining and held a bible or a book of days. The age of the box is the same year as the legendary King Arthur which supports the camelot theme. The chest has three dimensional female figures carved on its surface which could be a hint to what is special to Forrest Fenn since he loved his mother and two daughters and is especially consumed by his love for his wife Peggy who stood by his side and encouraged him to fight the cancer that almost took his life.

He originally named the chest “Tarzan” and then changed the name to “Indulgence.” The word indulgence means: “the behaviour or attitude of people who allow themselves to do what they want.” Since the chest may have once held a bible the origin or home of the word indulgence came from the Roman Catholic Church: “a grant by the pope of remission of the temporal punishment in purgatory still due for sins after absolution.” The religious inferences to this chest is very intriguing despite the fact that Forrest stated that knowledge of bible verses will not assist anyone to the treasure location. Then again when he purposely stated the incorrect distance between Santa Fe to San Antonio as 619 nautical miles (it is statute miles) in the John Bullis post it immediately made me suspicious when I read John 6:19 from the old King James Bible:

So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid

That sounds suspiciously similar to the poem when one considers the bolded words. This brings to question whether the poem’s fourth line “And hint of riches new and old” isn’t actually a hint to the Bible’s Old and New Testament.

The use of a bronze chest makes sense because it will withstand the elements so what is so special about Romanesque? Romanesque architecture used pillars in the construction and it also hints of something Roman like the Greek and Roman God Apollo who was the Gold of music, poetry, art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light and knowledge. Many of those traits apply directly to this puzzle and Forrest has used these words repeatedly in his stories.

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