Notre Dame of the Rockies


After listening carefully to Mr. Fenn over the past two years, I feel I have discovered his hinting pattern. A repeatable and predictable pattern helps the seeker to find those hints. I talked in great detail in my book, Finding Forrest Fenn about how he is able to place unsuspecting hints by distracting our attention with a dominant subject. In my Tarhe post, I was able to crack the Toledo and Nevada hint but what about eastern Saskatchewan joke clue?

Dal spent significant time on the Toledo “non-clue” but one thing that Forrest told him that stuck out was, “west” meant straight west like 270 degrees. Then Stephanie was struggling over how close Forrest said she was. What if the hint or the key to cracking the solution was physically 270 degrees west of Toledo and close to Stephanie’s home of Chicago?

Forrest has used the words “bend” and “twist” in a lot in his conversations, so much that I feel he is hinting at something, but what?

There is a city near Chicago and is 270 degrees west but less than 300 miles from Toledo called South Bend, Indiana. Everyone has a little Indiana Jones in them but they weren’t expecting Indiana to be a State. This town has a famous University that has produced some very good football players called Notre Dame. The interesting fact is Saskatchewan also has a college in Wilcox called Notre Dame that produces very good NHL calibre hockey players. Forrest has talked about sports many times especially football.

So we have a connection between Saskatchewan and 300 miles west of Toledo. So what? Forrest, early on in the chase changed the hint to “the ROCKY Mountains north of Santa Fe,” emphasizing “Rocky”. The French translation of Notre Dame is “Our Lady.” There is a 90 foot Madonna that sits on the continental Divide called “Our Lady of the Rockies.” Forrest could be describing and hinting about his special place though symbolism outside the search area; and that is why we need to think and do a lot of research to solve the poem.

Our Lady of the Rockies is actually a dollerd which is a resemblance of the Virgin Mary. This strongly supports the reason he spelled dollar as “doller” on one of his bronze bells. Forrest hinted in one of the scrapbooks the cavalry hat and several times he referenced the calvary but Calvary is actually a site of the death of Jesus which is symbolized by the Virgin Mary statue.

Initially I was skeptical of this because Forrest said, “I am not a religious person but I am probably the most spiritual person around.” However he is very symbolic and spiritual and posts of the Reliquary, Moses and Indulgence (the name of the treasure chest) has certainly hinted something religious.

This statue has an interesting story behind it. In 1979 Bob O’Bill’s wife, Joyce, had cancer and he vowed if she survived he would build a statue of Mary in her honour. Our Lady of the Rockies was completed in 1985 as a result of Joyce’s recovery. It was built in Butte and airlifted in six pieces by the Nevada Air National Guard using a Tarhe Helicopter. Three years later Forrest similarly found out he had kidney cancer and the story of Our Lady of the Rockies could have been the inspiration behind his treasure hunt.

In his memoir’s, Totem Café Caper, Forrest wrote about a lady named Grandma. However, in his original story Grandma was called, you guessed it, “Mary.” This is a very powerful hint as it catches Forrest purposely changing a name which points to the Virgin Mary – Our Lady of the Rockies.

I know what many of you are thinking - too much religion and Bible verses, etc. But there is an aberration in his memoir where he spelled Bible as “bible” and used capitals to spell “Book of Days” which is a song by Irish singer Enya. Combine this with that Irish Guinness beer commercial and Forrest’s football references and one has a strong case for the Fighting Irish Notre Dame football team. Forrest said, “I believe there is a higher hand someplace, I don’t know what it is but I think I have lived a charmed life…”

Our Lady of the Rockies is non-denominational tribute to all women of the world and is not so much a religious icon. Forrest said he hid the treasure in a very special place and when he misspelled “farther” in his Six Questions at Mysterious Writings, “move father away from the chase” that obviously left his mother. The only logical and human reason Forrest would ever leave his wife and two daughters to run off and die on his own would be for them and them only. The women in his life, his mother, wife and two daughters are what are special to him and this special place reflects that because it is a place to remember and place in high regard all the women that are special.

Beside this statue is a church that people can place plaques to honour and remember their mothers. Remember he says his church is in the mountains. Forrest claimed in scrapbook seventy-three that Einstein said, “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.” Well the truth is, it was Sir Winston Churchill who spoke those words. Remember those cute Polar Bears Forrest posted on Dal’s blog, polar bears are synonymous with Churchill. This aberration suggest “Churchill” is the hint or in this case, “church on the hill.”

The hill or mountain this church and statue stand, is called “Saddle Rock.” I explained this “in the wood” significance here:

This combination of a human torso (Our Lady) and body of a horse (Saddle Rock) is a Centaur.

Since Forrest says this is a very special place of which he knew immediately where it was when he found out he was going to die from cancer, it is likely the women in his life were so special and the story behind Our Lady of the Rockies was so close to his own that he chose this special place to rest his bones.

When I found our Lady of the Rockies I was reminded instantly of Forrest’s opening words in a reward ceremony that contained a joke about Lady Gaga. I wonder if this is the "She" that will be happy when the treasure is found.

“I’m not sure “admire” is the right word but if we twist it a little maybe we can make it work. The word means approval or high regard. So it works. I sure feel that way or I would not have hidden it there.” - Forrest Fenn Mysterious Writings

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