Retired art dealer and author Forrest Fenn announced that his famous $ 3 million treasure chest was found in Wyoming after some people said the ten-year hunt was a joke.
In 2010, Fenn published a treatise, The Thrill of the Chase, in which he contained a poem with references to the location of a treasure chest – allegedly filled with $ 3 million in gold and other valuable antique items – that he had hidden somewhere in the city Rocky Mountains.
He announced that the treasure had been found on June 6 of this year, but refused to reveal where it was found, saying that he had promised the lucky winner that it would be kept secret.
But he has now revealed that it was found somewhere in the state of Wyoming and says he wants to close those who have been chasing the chest elsewhere.
Art dealer Forrest Fenn (2013) announced that his $ 3 million treasure was found in Wyoming more than a month after he said it was found by an anonymous treasure hunter
Fenn (pictured with the treasure in June) said he revealed the condition in which he had left the treasure chest to enable people who had searched in other states to complete it
Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have hunted and covered areas from New Mexico to Montana.
At least five people died looking for Fenn's hidden assets, KRQE reported.
But not everyone believes the treasure hunt was legitimate, and Fenn was accused of an elaborate joke.
Linda Bilyeu – Randy Bilyeu's wife, who died looking for the bounty – said she believed the author invented the treasure for attention.
In June, after Fenn revealed that the treasure had been found, but before posting pictures of the cache, she told Westword that she believed Fenn had never hidden the treasure.
"He needed attention, and that's how he got it," she said. "Fenn needed more attention, which is why he said the treasure was found" without evidence "."
Fenn from Sante Fe, New Mexico, claimed in a blog post last month that the treasure chest had finally been found, but declined to provide more details about who the lucky treasure hunter is or where exactly it was found.
All Fenn said at the time was that the treasure "lay under a starry sky in the lush, wooded vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and hadn't moved from where I had hidden it more than 10 years ago".
The 89-year-old also wrote: "The treasure chest was found by a man I didn't know and with whom I hadn't communicated since 2018."
An undated photo of the bronze box, gold coins and other antiques that make up the treasure
Fenn shared this picture of the treasure chest when it was allegedly found in June
More than a month later, Fenn has now decided to throw a bone at his fans – and disappointed treasure hunters – by giving them a tiny clue as to where the chest was found.
Fenn repeated that he had promised the lucky finder to remain silent about the identity of the person and the location where the 20-pound chest filled with 22 pounds of valuables was found.
"However, the finder knows how important a closure is for many seekers, so he agreed today that we should disclose that the treasure was found in Wyoming," wrote Fenn on July 22.
"Perhaps today's announcement will conclude those whose solutions were in New Mexico, Colorado, or Montana."
Fenn also wrote that "the treasure has not moved in the 10 years since I left it there on the floor and walked away" – meaning that it hadn't even bothered to bury it.
He concluded the article with a letter: "We hope to all who have not found the treasure that they will enjoy the hunt a little."
Fenn models a bracelet (left) that had been tarnished in the 10 years since he left the Wyoming treasure. On the right is his treatise with the poem that triggered the treasure hunt
Five people died trying to find Fenn's treasure: Randy Bilyeu (54), Jeff Murphy (53), Pastor Paris Wallice, Eric Ashby (31) and Michael Sexson (58).
Bilyeu was found dead in the back country of New Mexico in 2016. Murphy's body was found in Yellowstone National Park in 2018 after he disappeared there in 2017.
In 2017, Wallice's body was found in northern New Mexico, while Ashby's remains were found in Colorado.
Sexson died in March 2020 at the Dinosaur National Monument on the Utah-Colorado border.
Fenn was criticized after each death of the treasure hunter, but refused to cancel the search.
Instead, in June 2017, he made it his goal to warn treasure hunters to stay safe while searching.
“The treasure chest is neither under water nor near the Rio Grande. There is no need to move large stones or climb up or down a steep chasm, and it is not under an artificial object, ”wrote Fenn in a blog dedicated to the search.
“Please remember that I was about 80 years old when I made two trips from my vehicle to the place where I had hidden the treasure. Please be careful and take no chances. "
A 2018 treasure hunter shows a Wyoming map of areas he previously searched for in search of Fenn's treasure
In an interview in 2018, Fenn explained why he decided to hide the bounty.
"I had several motives," said Fenn. “First of all, we were in a recession – a lot of people are losing their jobs. I wanted to give hope to some people. Desperation was everywhere in the newspaper headlines.
"And secondly, we are an overweight society – I think not only in this country, but around the world," said Fenn, who ran a successful art gallery in Santa Fe with his wife for 17 years.
"So I wanted to keep the children away from their electronic devices … and out into the sun, out into the mountains, hiking, fishing, picnicking – and anything but the couch. Get out of the playroom. & # 39;
The idea came to him after he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1988 and had a 20 percent survival rate.
"I went through all the emotions like everyone else – denial, anger, all these things," said Fenn, who has two daughters with his wife.
"But then, after about a week, I said to myself," Okay – if I have to go, who says I can't take it with me? "I had a few things and it was so much fun collecting them for over 75 years. Why not give someone else the same opportunity I had?
"I mean, I'm not going to miss these things. My family was looked after. And so I got this nice little treasure chest; I gave $ 25,000 for it and started. My problem was, I wanted it to be valuable, but I also wanted it to be viable. This essentially boils down to gold and precious gemstones. & # 39;
He started to build a cache that contained "hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets".
He added: “I have donated to charity, and everyone else. That’s done. I wanted to do something that lasted. I wanted to introduce the Rocky Mountains to people – flatlands – who would always return. I mean, if I gave something to a charity it would be the end.
A 79- or 80-year-old man went to this hiding place twice in one afternoon. It makes no sense to climb to the top of the mountain or hike 20 miles in search of the treasure. & # 39;
"I wasn't expecting it to catch fire as it is, but I think 350,000 people were looking for the treasure," Fenn told DailyMail.com in 2018. "Of course it's also been eight years. Some of them go back several times. & # 39;
The treasure hunters who died hunting Fenn's bounty
Randy Bilyeu pictured was found dead in the wild west of Santa Fe
At least five people have died looking for the treasure. Police officers had Fenn publicly pleaded to end the treasure hunt and said this was a threat to public security.
53-year-old Sexson from Deer Park and his companion, an unnamed 65-year-old man from Thornton, set out in March this year to search for wealth in a remote section of the Dinosaur National Monument – the area in which the both were adventurers trapped in snow at the end of February and had to be saved.
On this occasion, Sexson had died when the rescuers located the two treasure hunters who had been reported missing four days earlier. His companion, who was said to be wearing weatherproof equipment, survived the ordeal and was brought to safety.
Jeff Murphy, 53, was found dead in Yellowstone National Park
Bilyeu was missing in January 2016 and found dead in July.
His body was discovered by workers along the Rio Grande and an autopsy could not determine the cause of death.
Bilyeu & # 39; s ex-wife has publicly expressed her belief that the Fen treasure is a joke.
Murphy, 53, of Batavia, Illinois, was found dead in Yellowstone National Park on June 9, 2017 after falling about 500 feet down a steep slope.
Yellowstone's investigation into Murphy's death was kept private, but KULR-TV received it at the request of the Freedom of Information Act in February 2018.
The investigation report found that Murphy's wife had told the park authorities that Murphy was looking for the treasure when she called to report it missing.
Pastor Paris Wallace
Eric Ashby, 31, was found dead in Colorado's Arkansas River
Wallace, of Grand Junction, Colorado, told family members that he was looking for a buried treasure, but did not show up for a planned family reunion on June 14, 2017. His car was found parked near the Taos Junction Bridge and his body was found 5 to 7 miles downstream along the Rio Grande.
Ashby, 31, was found dead in Colorado's Arkansas River on July 28, 2017.
Friends and family say he moved to Colorado in 2016 to search for the treasure, and was last seen rafting on the river on June 28, 10 to 15 miles upstream from where his body was found. The raft tipped over and Ashby had been missing since then.
S.The 53-year-old Exson from Deer Park and his companion, an unnamed 65-year-old man from Thornton, left in March to search for wealth in a remote section of the Dinosaur National Monument.
When the rescuers located the two treasure hunters who had been reported missing four days earlier, Sexson had died. His companion, who was said to be wearing weatherproof equipment, survived the ordeal and was brought to safety.
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