Raffle Planning, Live Streaming, and an Item of Intel

AGK20131231Please note the change in time for the raffle drawing from 10am to 2pm MST.

Click here to read the backstory on this article, and to buy raffle tickets.

I spent the morning at the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe meeting with Forrest and book store owner, Dorthy Massey. We spent some time planning for the “TTOTC Do Good Raffle” taking place at 2pm MST on Tuesday, January 7. After Fenn had chosen the backdrop (in front of the fireplace with the Elk antlers above), we made some adjustments to the lighting and worked out an agenda. The entire event should take less than 30 minutes. Fenn seemed to be in very good spirits, and was happy, and a bit proud, of the results of the effort. You can track the results here.

He said that as of this morning, “over” 760 raffle tickets had been sold, including those to one individual who had purchased $1,000.00 worth! On the day of the drawing, whomever pulls the winning raffle ticket will be able to read the winner’s name to the audience, as Fenn has handwritten the ticket buyer’s name on each one.

I write “whomever” because, unfortunately, while she will be in attendance, Suzanne Sommers will not take part in the drawing due to a contractual conflict of interest. We discussed alternatives, but, as of this writing, I don’t have a name certain to share with you.

I took the opportunity to test the book store’s wireless internet to determine its live video streaming capability, and it passed with semi-flying colors. There was enough bandwidth to broadcast, but with a 17 second delay. My technical team was viewing from their workstations in Albuquerque, and simultaneously communicating with me via cell phone. They told me the moving image and audio were perfectly clear, which surprised me. I was shooting with my Android tablet with the LiveStream Android app for the test, rather than the high-end equipment I’ll be using on the day of the event.

The event is posted at LiveStream.com

The event URL is: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/6520967/events/2625624 Use this URL to login to the event on the day of the raffle.

To save yourself some time and frustration on the day of the event, I’m going to highly recommend that you pre-register as a viewer at LiveStream.com. Registration is free, and required in order to view the event stream. You can share the above link with anyone you’d like, again, recommending that they register before the day of the event.

If you’re unable to view the live event, don’t fret. I’ll be posting the event video on my YouTube channel soon after I return to my facility in Albuquerque.

While at the bookstore, I purchased two books: former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s novel entitled,  “Blowback,” written with Sarah  Lovette and a handy, highly-detailed, and waterproof field guide entitled “The Rio Grande – A River Guide to the Geology and Landscapes of Northern New Mexico.” Hoping for some treasure hunting feedback, I showed the book to Fenn. He looked at it, then without any feedback, changed the subject.

Dammit!

The one item of additional intel (sort of) I collected at the meeting: Fenn told me he flew his own aircraft the last time in 2008, at age 78, meaning he was still able to pass his medical. He said that the events of 9/11 had put a lot of pressure on the general aviation community, including requiring him (with over 7400 hours in a variety of types) to attend an annual two-week-long refresher course in Vero Beach, Florida. He sold the aircraft shortly after his decision to quit flying. (He taught his grandson, Shiloh to fly before he could drive, although he (Shiloh) does not own an aircraft.)

Images: Rio Chama Recon

Where DO warm waters halt?

AGK20131226-01As you can see in the attached photo, I’m constantly reverse engineering all, or parts of Fenn’s poem.

For me the poem is closer to literal than metaphorical, and closer to metaphorical than metaphysical. Although, I have sense it contains all three.  When Fenn writes, “Begin it where warm waters halt…” my instinct, and my brain configuration draws me to the literal before even attempting the more difficult (for me) metaphorical or almost impossible (for me) metaphysical.

So, where, exactly, do warm waters halt?

Upon asking the question, I realized I wasn’t quite sure what was the temperature of warm water. A little research indicates there are several ways to define “warm,” ergo there are as many ways to define “warm waters.”

As usual in life, “warm water” means different things to different people. To the chemist for example, “warm” water is 112° F, which is measurably specific. To a game and fish manager it’s temperature that ranges from “about” 55° F (the temperature under which cool water species, like trout, thrive) to “about” 75° F (the temperature above which warm water species, like bass, don’t). When I tested warm water from my kitchen faucet against the inside of my wrist, then measured it, it ws 99° F. Interesting considering normal body temperature is 98.6° F.

The dictionary lists several, but defines the adjective warm as, “Somewhat hotter than temperate; having or producing a comfortable and agreeable degree of heat; moderately hot.” Not very exact.

The National Spa and Pool Institute considers 104° F to be the maximum safe water temperature for adults.  Therefore, spa controls have a limit that prevents heating past 104° F.

But, wait…there’s more. Again, it’s about Fenn.

On one hand, he spent 20 years in the Air Force, most of it as a fighter pilot. My experience with fighter pilots is that they all have a Dr. Jeykyll and Mr. Hyde personality component.

Outside the cockpit, he mimics Mr, Hyde’s flamboyance of inexactitude, a very relaxed look at the physics of life. Close counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Very much like the current public iteration of Forrest Fenn, and his responses to treasure hunt related questions.

Inside the cockpit, though, there’s a Dr. Jeykyll concentration on perfection. Turbine pressures, speeds, g-forces, coordinates, directions, distances, radio frequencies, fuel load, weapons count, etc. Want a good example? Count the number of numbers in the TTOTC Chapter entitled “My War for Me.”

Imagine how “…someplace in the mountains North of Santa Fe…,” “…not on top of a mountain…,” or “…it’s 300 miles West of Toledo…” would work for a fighter pilot.

So, another questions results.

Which of Fenn’s personalities wrote the poem, Dr. Jeykyll or Mr. Hyde?

I think Mr. Hyde. When Fenn walked away from his aircraft cockpit the last time, he walked away from it in the truest sense of the phrase. He left “exactitude” behind.

Why?

Because exactness is an impediment to freedom and independence.

And, if Fenn is anything, he is a high priest of freedom and independence.

So, where do warm waters halt?

Warm waters halt at any boundary where they are literally, metaphorically or metaphysically transformed to any temperature other than warm.

Lukewarm, cool, cold, frozen, hot, or steamed all qualify – and temperature may not be measured in degrees.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Announcing A Gypsy’s Kiss: The Podcast!

podcast-headphonesI do everything in my power to add a post to this blog at least twice a week, usually on Mondays and Thursdays, unless I’m traveling, as is the case this week.

But, I’m taking a few minutes away from the holiday festivities here on the East Coast to announce the latest addition to this blog: a weekly podcast containing an interview with one of the active hunters in the community of Fenn Hidden Teasure searchers.

I’m very interested in learning more about who everyone is without the filter of anonymity. The conversation will be about the person, and not their search solutions or strategies. Although, we’ll finish every interview with the following two questions:

  1. How do you think Fenn will know if the treasure has been discovered, and
  2. In which State do you think Fenn hid the treasure, and why?

I plan to post the first interview with a surprise guest on Monday, January 6, 2014, and then every Monday thereafter with a new guest every week.

If you think you have an interesting story to share with the rest of the search community, please click on the “Podcast Form” link at the top of the page, fill it out completely, and submit it. I’ll schedule them in the order in which your response appears in my mailbox.

In my response, you’ll receive a tentative date for the interview confernce call, the log in for the converence call, and the set of questions I’ll be using to conduct the interview. The first three interviews of the year are already booked with special guests, so yours will be scheduled sometime after that.

If you’ve been wise, and found the blaze…

ThreeWiseMenblueskyandstars

Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

Matthew, Ch 2, Vs 7-10,
The New Testament
King James Version of the Bible

I had a dream.

I dreamed I was standing at the edge of a canyon, hydraulically routed down the geology of someplace in the mountains North of Santa Fe. I was on the Western side of the canyon, facing East, the river below flowing North to South. The sun was low, but not near setting in the sky, casting my shadow across the canyon so that it fell upon the far wall. As the sun set and my shadow rose my ephemeral head eventually I had a dream.pointed to a large star shape in the rock on the East wall of the canyon. It was large enough to be seen without aid, and difficult to discern whether it was natural or not.

Anchoring myself with a rope, and a pair of carabiner clipped to a safety belt, I walked to the edge of the canyon and leaned over. I looked quickly down, and could see the faint, cool outline of a trail switching back and forth from the canyon floor to the canyon rim North of my position. About three quarters up the side of the canyon wall one of the ledges on its side stood out from the others. In a depression on the ledge  laid a brown box. The ledge was high enough above the trail that the box could not be seen by anyone walking upon the trail as it continued North from that point.

By that time the sun had set, and dusk had fallen upon the location. I wondered, for just a moment, whether or not the treasure would tolerate one more night alone, cold, undiscovered and uncared for.

I stood back from the canyon edge, untangled myself from the safety belt and anchor rope, hoisted my pack upon my back, and headed for my campsite. I found a grassy spot near my tent, and using my backpack for a pillow, I laid down to admire the stars in the unpolluted sky overhead. The moon not having risen, the Constellations shown almost in neon. I called their names out to them. They did not call out my name to me.

Protected by Orion’s sword, I fell asleep outside my tent and sleeping bag.

And, I had a dream.

Connections, Synchronicity & Segues

Fenn writes like he thinks.

And, he thinks in compact, self-contained packages (CSCPs*), the current one connected to the previous one as much as it is to the following one. Then, as he moves through his line of thought, he builds cross connections. Eventually, each CSCP is virtually connected to all the other CSCPs. As they age, some of them float out to the edge of his cranial universe, far away enough from the center of mental gravity that they escape, never to return. Some hang on near the edge and are modified by it. They become memory anomalies, or as he calls them, “aberrations.”

Sooner or later, when he needs them, he pulls some of the related CSCPs together to form a new, complete thought.

Then, he writes.

The Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung gave the process a name. He called it synchronicity.

Synchronicity is what leaves Fenn’s audiences with a sense of a mind that’s in constant motion. Eclectic, yet organized. Artistic, yet logical. Organic, yet mechanical. Cunning, yet caring. Twisted, yet aligned.

To me, the synchronous manner in which he thinks, then writes, is what leads to what I refer to as “The Fenn Segue.”

(Segue: pronounced seg-way. Definition: to make a transition without interruption from one activity, topic, scene, or part to another.)

I noticed it the first time in my reading of the chapter entitled “First Grade,” subtitled “Lanier School,” beginning on pg 16 of “The Thrill of the Chase.”

It begins, “My father was a teacher at Lanier School…” There’s a photo of his father captioned, “Mr. Fenn, Principal” on the opposite page.

One could assume that this chapter was going to be about his father. And, for the most part, it is.

olivejarkeyIt is, except for the SEGUE about John Charles whatever, who would sometimes “…bring a little jar of green olives to school and wave that thing…” in Fenn’s face. Description of the jar of olives follows. The first time I read the chapter, I was so distracted by the olive jar segue, that I had trouble concentrating while reading the rest of the chapter. Instead of following my eyes reading, my mind was asking itself the same question Fenn asked the readers, “What was that all about anyway?”

Why would you segue out of a perfectly good story, to tell a completely unrelated one?

Synchronicity. It was not unrelated. It was connected. The olive jar, a CSCP that had traversed some distance out into the universe in his mind, was snapped back into his current CSCP of thought. Lanier School? Probably.

(As I am writing this, I recalled a CSCP of A****** Garcia, the overweight, abused bully two grades ahead of me at St. Anne’s Elementary School in Santa Fe, who would seek me out on the playground and beat the crap out of me. On one of my leaves from the service, I was informed he had killed himself in a car accident on I-25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. He was drunk. He killed his girlfriend in the process, and left his wife and daughters with almost nothing, except unpleasant memories.)

By the way, the previous paragraph was a classic example of a segue.

I’ll bet some of you had the olive jar kid in your lives too. I’ll bet just reading this elicits the memory of your olive jar kid. Don’t have that kind of memory? Then you were probably the olive jar kid.

That, of course, is not the only Fenn segue in the book. The “horseshoe” segue in “Dancing With the Millennium” on pg 135 is a good example. There are several others. Even the “Treasure” chapter beginning on pg 127 entitled “Gold and More,” subtitled “Somewhere North of Santa Fe,” contains a couple, including the dream about Captain Kidd and Gardiner’s Island. He also, in the same chapter, writes that he placed his 20,000 word autobiography in a glass jar, sealed with wax, into the treasure chest.

I felt like there was something important about the Fenn segues. Upon completing my first reading of the book, I returned to its beginning and made notes of each of the Fenn segues.  I especially noted the mention of the olive jar at the beginning of the book and his mention of the jar containing his autobiography near the end.

Focused on finding the treasure, I didn’t think much about it. In the grand scheme of value…well – his autobiography wasn’t an egg-sized gold nugget. Was it?

I didn’t think much about the jar until one day I heard him talking about his autobiography in the jar.

A jar he sealed with wax.

And, a jar he put in the treasure chest before he hid it.

An olive jar.

Yes. He said it was an olive jar.

They key, I believe, to understanding the Fenn Segue is in the olive jar.


* You won’t find Compact Self Contained Packages (CSCPs) in the literature. I made up the phrase to describe how I think Fenn thinks.

Win One of Fenn’s Bronze Jars Filled with Archeological Treasures

Update

Click here to get the latest information on the raffle. (12/31/2013) Fenn has added some new details about the prize on Dal Neitzel’s Blog. Read about it in “Scrapbook Fifty Four.” 01/01/2014). Get the final information on the event live stream here.

About Renelle Jacobson

Renelle Jacobson

Renelle Jacobson

Renelle Jacobson, whose photo you see here is one of the army of searchers looking for Fenn’s hidden treasure. She’s 41, single, and suffers from a rare form of of bone cancer called osteosarchoma. Five years of chemo and several surgeries didn’t kill the disease. So, in 2011, doctors amputated her left leg above the knee. She has a prosthetic leg, but the cancer changes the shape of her limb, making it difficult for her to use the prosthetic.

After searching in Yellowstone several times over the summer, she traveled to Santa Fe to visit with Fenn. Of their first encounter, he wrote,

“When Renelle Jacobson stepped out of her car in my driveway, and walked toward me, I was charmed at first sight. Her smile telegraphed a timeless message: ‘Look out world, because here I come.’

“Renelle Jacobson inspires me in a singular way; her spirit holds me in thrall. Each day she tests the extremes in ways I can’t even imagine. To know her even a little bit, as I do, is to love her a lot.”

Cancer treatments are incredibly expensive, and although Renelle has insurance, it doesn’t cover all the costs. So, never one not to do something, Fenn put together a plan for a raffle on Renelle’s behalf. Every dollar raised will go directly to Renelle to help her pay the costs of her treatment.

You can read more about Renelle from Fenn’s perspective on Dal Neitzel’s blog, here.

The Prize

As he described in the chapter entitled  “Dancing with the Millennium” in “The Thrill of the Chase,” Fenn hand forms bells and jars made from wax, then has them cast in bronze at Shidoni Foundry North of Santa Fe. He’s made over 30 of them, his handiwork embedded with his fingerprints transferred to the wax and then to the bronze. He’s buried many of them in the mountains and deserts of the Southwest in holes so deep they could not be found with a metal detector. He imagines they will be found thousands of years from now.

The Prize

The Prize

And, now you can buy a ticket to own one of these unique and priceless treasures: a brass jar, hand made by Forrest Fenn.

But, as they say on TV, that’s not all.

Fenn has packed the jar with a few prehistoric and early historic objects  from his own collection. The artifacts are full of history that would fill a hundred books if they could speak. Many of the objects came from his excavation at San Lazaro Pueblo. And, others have come from other locations. Note the example of the Clovis Point in the upper right hand corner of the photo above, rarely seen outside a glass case of a museum’s archeology exhibit. Yours to keep!

Wait, I’m not done. There’s more.

Fenn has promised that if whoever wins the raffle brings the jar to him, he will tell them what he knows about each of the items. Independent of Fenn’s offer, I will offer to document the meeting between Fenn and the winner of the prize in still and moving images, theirs to keep.

The Tickets

Tickets are $25 each, or 5 for $100. You can purchase them by clicking on the image below, which redirects you to Dal Neitzel’s Blog. Neitzel is a Fenn’s very good and trusted friend. After your purchase using PayPal, you’ll receive an email from Neitzel containing your ticket numbers.

Raffle Link

I can’t imagine a better way to spend $25 or more during this holiday season. This is a unique opportunity to help someone in need and to potentially win the only example of Fenn’s bronze jars and bells that will remain unburied.

Please purchase one or more raffle tickets today.

To buy Fenn’s books or not? That is the question.

I recently received a comment from one of my regular contributors, a searcher who puts much thought into his effort. There was a question at the end of his comment. He wrote, “Lately I have kept researching my general area and feel strongly about my approach. I am considering purchasing both [of Fenn’s books,] “The Thrill of the Chase” and “Too Far to Walk” to see what hints jump out to confirm or ruin my area. What say you?”

In a Socratic way, the question stimulated the response I share below:

My Copies of Fenn’s Books

I have purchased both of the books referred to above. I’ve read them both, TTOTC more than once. I also have a copy of Fenn’s book on his San Lazaro pueblo excavation, which I’ve read sporadically, especially when I need something to relax me at bedtime before going to sleep. Not that it’s sleep-inducing, it’s just a comforting read.

The challenge of identifying additional clues or hints in any of his books is made immensely more difficult due to Fenn’s writing style.

He is a natural storyteller. Storytellers naturally embellish. He, by his own admission, takes license with his research, spelling, grammar, punctuation and definition. He makes mistakes, sometimes intentional, sometimes not. He is adorably cunning. He’s intentionally inexact. And, he’s a senior citizen, therefore  his memories aren’t quite as perfect as he would want us to believe.

He wrote his memoir like I would write my memoir, neither of us like Thomas Jefferson wrote his.

As a result, almost everything he writes can be interpreted by someone as a hint or clue that reinforces something they may already want to believe, including their search algorithm. Once a searcher makes a decision that something they have read in one of Fenn’s books supports their particular search algorithm, it naturally becomes part of the algorithm, not only the current one, but future ones as well.

I have fallen prey to it as much as anyone, having convinced myself there is something special about the word “horseshoe” based on one of Fenn’s segues in the book. (Of which I will write more about later.)

I also believe Fenn’s writing style is the primary reason there is so little agreement in the search community about where we imagine he hid his treasure. ChaseChat and Dal Neitzel’s blog, while very useful and informative, have published thousands of posts in which searchers disagree with other searchers solutions, and when they do, cite Fenn’s written or spoken words to support their differing position.

Finally, whenever Fenn is asked whether there are additional hints or clues in the books (independent of the poem), he responds with obfuscation. At the event at Moby Dickens Book Shop in Taos, he said, “There are nine clues in the poem, but if you read the book (TTOTC), there are a couple…there are a couple of good hints and there are a couple of aberrations that live out on the edge.” A couple? Aberrations that live on the edge? What? Either he’s blowing smoke, or we’re all reading way too much into his writing.

So, back to the original question. Would I recommend you buy the books?

Absolutely.

I would buy them even if I wasn’t searching for the treasure. I would buy them because they are pretty well written books soulfully composed by a talented storyteller with a great story to tell. I would buy them because they gave me the opportunity to meet him and to have them autographed by him.  I would buy them because they are a pleasant reminder of this period late in my life where I can tell people that “I’m a treasure hunter,” (rather than “retired”) when they asked me what I do for a living.

But mostly, I would buy them because they provide me additional insight to Fenn, the man. And, as I have written in the past, “The key to finding the treasure is in the man. Know the man, and you know the treasure.”

If, in addition, I could give myself a morale boost by identifying some of what he’s written as hints that solidify one or more of my search solutions, then that would be an added benefit.

Buy the books? Yes! You’ll be glad you did.


If you haven’t already, and decide to buy the books, do yourself a favor and call either  Moby Dickens Book Shop in Taos or Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe, and order the books from them. They’re small businesses that have been very supportive of Fenn and the search community, and they sell the books at list price. Tell them Toby sent you.

Fenn’s Clues and Hints: Intentional, Accidental or Incidental?

I copied the following lines from the “Cheat Sheet” page on Dal Neitzel’s Blog:

Q: Are there clues in “The Thrill of the Chase?”

Fenn: “Yes, because the poem is in the book.”

Q: Are there clues in “Too Far to Walk?”

Fenn: “Yes, because the map is in the book.”

Q: Are there subtle hints in “TTOTC?”

Fenn: “Yes, if you can recognize them.”

PIC_0080Fenn has also said, “The chapters in my book have very subtle hints but are not deliberately placed to aid the seeker. ”

And, on more than one occasion, Fenn has said that there are hints (he’s careful not to use the word “clues”) sprinkled throughout the book.

He’s also written (in emails), “All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem.

Therefore, I have come to following conclusions:

  1. When Fenn intentionally gives us a clue, it’s…well…bull puckey.
  2. Any other clue or hint to finding the treasure, outside the poem, are accidental or incidental to the written word or the conversation.

Here’s what I mean.

If I go over any of the clues of which Fenn has preceded with any variation of the phrase “I’m going to give you a clue (or hint),” they have no real value. At least to me. I could go on searching, following the clues in the poem, and knowing none of the following would have made a difference to me:

  • It’s not on top of a mountain.
  • It’s below 20,000 feet.
  • It’s above 5,000 feet.
  • It’s not in Idaho, Nevada, Utah or Canada.
  • It’s 300 miles west of Toledo.
  • It’s at least 8.5 miles North of Santa Fe.
  • It’s not in a graveyard
  • It’s not associated with any structure.

…yada, yada, yada.

I believe:

  • There are at least hints, and maybe clues, in everything that Fenn has written or recorded.
  • Those hints and clues were purely accidental or incidental to what he was writing or the conversation he was having at the time.
  • He was surprised to have noticed them or to have them pointed out to him, post hoc.

For, a classic, example, associating the phrase “too far to walk” with the phrase “about 10 miles” in the preface of “Two Far to Walk” was purely accidental. It also, in the grand scheme of things, may be totally meaningless. But, it wasn’t intentional.

I also believe that there are incidental hints or clues in may of the recorded interviews, with value, as long as they are not preceded by the phrase cited above.

I find nothing written or spoken by Fenn in which he has said the equivalent of “I intentionally placed hints (or clues) (in anything) other than the poem.”

So, where does all that leave me?

Here: Fenn hid a treasure someplace in the mountains North of Santa Fe and wrote a poem containing nine clues that, when correctly interpreted, will lead me directly to the treasure.