US Coins

Fenn passing leaves treasure questions unanswered

Long after the June claims that a hidden treasure allegedly placed by Forrest Fenn was found, debate raged about the finder and the authenticity of the entire exercise.

Nearly three months after the announcement, Fenn passed away the age of 90. The author and antiquities dealer died on Sept. 7 in New Mexico.

Between the find announcement and Fenn’s death, Fenn shared more details. Though he continued to protect the anonymity of the alleged finder, he contended that he had communicated with the man from “back East” who had agreed to reveal the location as Wyoming. Additional pictures were made available to major media outlets, but most seemingly lost interest in the story.

To date, no independent verification of the finder or the treasure’s content has been provided.

A chest reported to contain more than a million dollars worth of gold and other treasures was reportedly hidden a decade ago, and Fenn encouraged treasure seekers by providing a map and a 24-line poem in a book he had written. In the process of the search, at least five people died. Fenn estimated shortly before he died that nearly 500,000 people had made an effort to find the treasure.

With Fenn’s death, the lines between fantasy and reality will be forever blurred. Skeptics abound, contending that no treasure was hidden in the first place and only circumstantial evidence has ever been offered to discount that belief. For many, proof has not been presented in a manner that would allow them to change that belief. No photos of the chest in its “hidden” location were published, simply one man’s word that it was there and that it was found. Alternatively, some believe that it was never found, but that Fenn tired of the “game” he’d created.

Fascination with getting rich quick motivates some people to seek a fortune, whether by searching for a hidden treasure or other means. Until the individual who supposedly discovered the treasure admits to it, the story has no real conclusive end. It’s what legends and legacies are made from, and creating a legacy may have been Fenn’s motivation all along, with or without a treasure.

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