Your Grandfather, Dying, Hands You a Copy of the Poem.

In the ChaseChat forum, one of the members (SidnCharley) proposed the following hypothetical scenario:

ThePoem“Let’s assume for a minute that you grew up in a remote corner of the globe never having heard of Forrest Fenn or his secreted treasure.  Then, just before he passes, your grandfather hands you a worn out, folded up piece of paper and says, ‘I hope you have as much fun as I did. Now go get the gold!’

After carefully unfolding the yellow paper made brittle by time, your eyes begin soaking up the 24 rhythmic lines which end with this promise “I give you title to the gold.”  Just beneath the final line, scrawled in your grandfather’s shaky script, you see the phrase “All you need is the poem.”

Of course this situation is completely hypothetical, but imagine if it were real and there was no possible way to get more information or know anything else about the chase.  This means you don’t know it’s north of Santa Fe; you don’t know it’s in the Rocky Mountains; you don’t know it’s above 5,000 ft or below  10,200; you don’t know it’s not in Idaho or Utah (or Canada) and you don’t know it’s not associated with any structure.  Also, there are no books (TTOTC, TFTW) to read, no blogs to stalk, no other way to get more information than contained in those 24 simple lines.

Would you ever be able to find the treasure’s precise location?  And, just out of curiosity, does this thought exercise help you look at the poem in a different way?

You can find the entire thread (of multiple pages) here. (And, I recommend, that, if you are not already, become a contributing member in good standing of ChaseChat.)


Here are my thoughts on the matter, as posted on ChaseChat.

As suggested in the well-composed SydnCharley missive above, and, moreover by some of the things Fenn has said, I’m a Treasure Poem Purist – I believe all one needs is Fenn’s poem to locate the hidden treasure chest.

I do not deny that there may be hints in the book. But, what if I couldn’t afford the book? (On the other hand, without the book our character wouldn’t even know to begin in the mountains North of Santa Fe.)

I also do not deny that Fenn has given out “clues” on various occasions. But, Fenn, at the October 22, 2013 event at Collected Works Book Store in Santa Fe, New Mexico said, “I haven’t given a clue (that) I think was going to help anybody substantially.” Before that, he wrote on Dal Netietzel’s Blog, “I will never give a useful clue in any of my emails or other communications, TV or otherwise, nor will I hint away anyone who might be getting close to the treasure. My silence will never be a hint.

And, before that, he responded to an email from a group of San Diego searchers with, “All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem. The chapters in my book have very subtle hints but are not deliberately placed to aid the seeker. Good luck in the search.”

That leaves the character above with the entire Earth to wander in search of the treasure. Grampa dint give him no hints worth a damn.

He/she only has two things to rely upon to help him/her:

1. the “instructions” their grandfather’s handed them, and
2. their collected knowledge of their grandfather, and his odd behavior.

To me, that means:

1. While the clues are in the poem, and the hints are in the book, the key is in the man. Know your grandfather and you know the treasure.

2. WWWH is not only the first clue, it is, by an order of magnitude, the most important clue.

3. There is an implication that the location, on a map or by reference, of WWWH is glaringly obvious. (Your grandfather knowing that without it being glaringly obvious, you’d have to wander the Earth for the rest of your days.)

4. According to Fenn, a small number of searchers have pinpointed the first (and second) clue, and then they walked right past the treasure chest.

Thus, it was glaringly obvious to them what the man meant when he said, “Begin it where the warm waters halt, and take it in the canyon down…”

The question I’d like to ask one or more of them that located the first clue: “How much of what was in the book, other than the poem, did you use to help you determine where the warm waters halted?”

Apparently, we should be looking at the Forrest, and not the trees.

15 thoughts on “Your Grandfather, Dying, Hands You a Copy of the Poem.

  1. Toby, you said “Fenn has said that he’s never given a clue (outside the poem) that would help”

    do you have the quote this is based on. i have suddenly become interested in this statement because it seems to me that as i see it being quoted by blog posters it cannot possibly be true.

    but then i realized maybe the meaning and the way people are saying it is incorrect. i have found this to be the case many times in the past, i kept hearing people saying something over and over and taking a certain meaning from it that when i researched it on my own it turns out that what F said and the context in which he said it gave a different meaning, and that what people said on blogs is usually taking it to one side of an extreme, and probably because it fits more comfortably with their point of view.

    kind of like, all you need is the poem, i kept seeing that, but then when i researched it, i realized those weren’t the words F used, but people had taken his statement, took a certain meaning from it that they like, which moved the meaning more to one side of an extreme, the words then become changed to match exactly the meaning they wanted from it.

    i spent some time looking into this statement that you refer to, and what ive come up with is this

    “I haven’t given a clue I think was gonna help somebody substantially”

    this has a different meaning i think then the statement you refer to. i would like to know if you have another quote you know about and if you can share it. i found this one from the appearance 10/22/13.

    • The correct quote is “I haven’t given a clue (that) I think was gonna help anybody substantially,” as recorded in the video I shot on October 22, 2013, and documented in my “Selected Quotes, Notes & Commentary” of the same. I put the word “that” in parenthesis because it was almost imperceptible in the recording. The primary difference between what you heard and I recorded was your “somebody” vs my “anybody.”

      I don’t see the nuance of “…a different meaning…” between what people are writing, i.e., “Fenn said that he’s never given a clue that would help,” and the correct quote above. Clues like “it’s not in Utah or Idaho,” or “It’s not on a mountaintop,” or even “it’s above 5000 feet,” are perfectly aligned with the quote. As a matter of fact, I’d challenge anyone to make an argument that any quote he’s given after the publishing of the book actually improved their search solutions.

      • well i could easily make an argument that his statements have drastically improved my search solution, but at the end of the day it would only be an opinion because I don’t know where the chest is

        it is not a small difference between saying, I havent given a clue that would help (period) and I havent given a clue that i think would help substantially …. the first is one is saying no help at all and the other is saying some clues may have given some small amount of help …. the second is , he says i think (that) such that it would be possible then he gave a clue he thought wouldn’t help substantially but as it turned out it did, contrary to what he sincerely thought, if such a thing occurred i don’t think he would disclose.

      • It just struck me. You’re right. Fenn is wrong. He has given us a set of very significant clues in his words following the publication of TTOTC. Thank you for the discussion. It’s stimulated a new insight.

    • Hey Chris, long time no see……..Back when he was doing the Today Show clues he stated the clues he gives on TV wouldn’t be of any help; which is what I think got him in trouble with the Today Show producers and ended the monthly clues.

      Here’s the quote from Fenn on Dal’s site that started the “useless clue” debacle.

      I am separated from the action now, but am interested in hearing from the players. With the hindsight of reading 21,000+ emails, I see hundreds of people worrying about where someone else is looking. Searchers are rushing to take advice from those who don’t know.

      Beware of those who say they’ve found the treasure, and there are at least 31 of them out there. I will never give a useful clue in any of my emails or other communications, TV or otherwise, nor will I hint away anyone who might be getting close to the treasure. My silence will never be a hint.

      • You are 110% correct Goofy.I never believed info after the fact would help anyone.Perfectly placed static is how I looked at it.A good reminder for all!

      • Come on fellas. There are plenty of after the fact statements from Forrest that are useful information. Maybe not actual “clues” per se but I can think of a lot of things he has said that
        are extremely helpful, and at least eliminate some places from the search.
        Eliminate the states he mentioned, eliminate tribal lands, eliminate private property, eliminate places you cannot reach by car, etc and then the search area gets fairly manageable. Then if you stay in the NM area it gets even smaller. You know it is in NM – right?

      • Hi Goofy,

        Probably the main reason the furor arose on the useless clue thing was the way F stated it, it was like not even leaving a small opening in the door that some clues were at least a small help. I think it was obvious then and is still obvious now, the added info and hints he has given out (and is still giving out) are at the least a small help.

        It has not escaped my notice that he used very different language this time, more precise/accurate in its meaning and leaving a small door open in its implications

        “I haven’t given a clue, (that) I think, was gonna help somebody substantially”

        Probably as a result of the useless clue incident imo. I think his personal preference for w/e reason was to reckon all the added info outside of the book as useless and unhelpful, however he has now made an adjustment on that.

        Thank you for posting that quote because I didn’t have that one, and I had forgotten a few key things he said in there, which now at this time seem more important I think.

        This one in particular, assuming that F truly means this (and he would have to for the integrity of The Chase, so I will keep the faith that he does)

        “nor will I hint away anyone who might be getting close to the treasure. My silence will never be a hint.”

      • Again, I’m going to point out, the correct quote is: “I haven’t given a clue (that) I think was gonna help anybody substantially.” He did not use the word “somebody.”

      • @Chris……..You’re welcome. The only way we will know if the clues are useless or not is when someone finds the treasure and discloses the location.

        The useless clue statements have never made any sense to me. Why would he do that?

        Fenn may be playing us like a cheap guitar and all these extra clues are nothing but marketing propaganda……which he is very good at. When someone finds it and everyone complains about the extra clues…….He will say “Hey I told you they were useless”.

        It doesn’t matter where the chest is; it only matters where they think it is.

  2. A great scenario to consider;
    Totally agree with #1.
    But not#2/3/4: if he dies saying nothing else, there’d be no overriding reason to think WWWH would be “clue #1” nor would I know there’s even “9 clues”. For my part, I’d either start at line 1 ( as Julie Andrews sang, the beginning is a very good place to start) , or, I’d start at the question, presuming the rest was the “answer”.

    • I don’t know about anyone else but I picked up on WWWH as being the first clue when I only had the poem and nothing else to go on. I mean it plainly says begin it
      where WWH. An obvious starting place tt me even at the time when all I had was the poem

  3. And one more thing. The way I arrived at what I believe is WWWH was strictly via the poem.
    I’ve done a lot of searching in the obvious places that beginners are drawn to. Only after about a year of repeating WWWH over and over again to myself did I hit on my possibility. I’ll admit that the being in the mountains knowledge was helpful in that thinking. All the while I have
    tried to tell my self over and over not to complicate the thing and remember that the poem is the map and it means what it says.
    The human brain is wired to try and make sense out of things. The beauty of this poem, and its danger, is that when one cannot make it make sense the brain starts taking you in a zillion different directions. It is excruciatingly difficult to stay on track with this thing and not wander into unproductive territory. Remember Forrest’s caution to not over think it.

  4. Oh, I also would not be to sure that what I think I new about my grandfather would be of any serious help. I’m pretty sure Forrest put this out there for anyone to solve, whether they knew him personally or not. It seems to me that he does not think his own relatives have any leg up on this thing.

  5. My sentiments EXACTLY. To much effort is being directed in areas other than exactly what the poem says, and the critical starting point. However, I would suggest that “In the mountains north of Santa Fe” is kinda important knowledge. I also think that a New Mexico location is important. If my idea about what WWWH means is correct it is in only one New Mexico location, but could also be in one location in any state. WWWH is the clue of clues. But I don’t have the chest. Yet!

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