On Postmarks in TTOTC

Postmark Graphic: "The Thrill of the Chase" by Forrest Fenn, pg 22.

Postmark Graphic: “The Thrill of the Chase” by Forrest Fenn, pg 22.

Having spent 10 years of my life with the National Security Agency, it is difficult for me not to look for ciphers of various sorts in everything from company logos to Fenn’s Book. (Logos? Really? I once spent a week with EXXON. Take a good look at it the next time you see it.)

Here is a potential cypher in Fenn’s book I find intriguing. (Although I have yet to make anything of it.)

Counting the Epilogue, Fenn’s book, “The Thrill of the Chase,” which includes a chapter on the story of the treasure he hid, is comprised of 26 chapters. (Coincidentally, the same number of letters in the English alphabet.)

Most of the chapters in the book are preceded by a photograph recorded in, what seems to me, a time contemporary to the subject of the chapter that follows. I say most, because not all of the chapters are preceded by photographs, e.g., pg 20 “No Place for Biddies.”

Of the chapters which are preceded by photographs, 20 of them include a postmark as a graphic device, similar to the one in the attached photo from TTOTC/pg 23.  Several of the postmarks are duplicated on the inside front and back cover of the book.

There are 6 chapters which do not  include a postmark at the beginning, even though some of them include a contemporary photo. They are:

  1. Pg 1 Important Literature
  2. Pg 20 No Place for Biddies
  3. Pg 32 My Spanish Toy Factory
  4. Pg 104 Blue Jeans and Hushpuppies Again
  5. Pg 134 Dancing With the Millennium
  6. Pg 144 Epilog

Of the 20 postmarks, the YEAR of the postmark is illegible on 6, (e.g., pg 46) and there are 6 that are “embellished” with additional information, (e.g., pg 56). (The embellishment on pg 121 is difficult to see without an eye loupe.)

(I’m not going to make a big deal out of 6 of this, 6 of that, and 6 of something else. And, if you comment on it, I won’t approve it.)

The postmark that intrigued me the most, and was the basis for this blog post, is the one on pg 72, preceding the chapter entitled “My War for Me.” (This chapter contains 31 pages of the 146 page book, taking more 20% of the book for itself.)

The postmark reads, SATURDAY 27 DEC and the YEAR is illegible. There is a photo on the same page of the Fenn’s the  date they were married, with the caption, “Our wedding, Dec. 27, 1953,” There were obvious differences in the manner in which the two dates were presented, one making the YEAR illegible, and the other not including the DAY.

That curiosity led me to a www.dayoftheweek.org where I entered “December 27, 1953” and clicked “Go.”

The response was “December 27, 1953 is the 361st day of the year 1953 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 4 days remaining until the end of this year. The day of the week is Sunday.”

Who gets married on a Sunday?

Apparently, Fenn. I wrote him to ask about it, and he graciously replied that, indeed, he and Peggy were married on a Sunday, according to her mother’s wishes.

So, why “SATURDAY” on the postmark? One of Fenn’s intentional mistakes to see if we noticed?

I entered the information for the 13 other postmarks in which the YEAR was legible.

Not one of the DAYS are correct, according to the DATE and the YEAR.

Could Fenn’s graphic artist have not been interested enough to check? Well…yes. It’s possible.

But even then, you’d think there would be at least one of the postmarks in which the DAY/DATE combination was correct.

My opinion: the placement of the postmarks, the illegibility of some and embellishment of others, and the DAY/DATE errors are intentional.

I’ll leave it up to you to figure out why.

8 thoughts on “On Postmarks in TTOTC

  1. Nice blog. I too have worked with the postmarks and I find them to be significant. I especially like the “Friday, Jun 5” one that is repeated on two of the stories. That one I believe is a huge clue when you are standing in front of the blaze. I also think it reveals the exact date he hid the treasure.

    • Thanks for checking us out. I agree with you that the June 5 date is significant, and I think the other dates have significance as well. I’m still not certain if they have a cipheretic meaning.

      • Actually, much of my work at the NSA was cryptological and analytical. Ciphers are in paperbacks on magazine racks at WalMart. Little old ladies buy them to entertain themselves.

      • When I said I was surprised that you haven’t figured out what the dates translate to, I said it not to have you tell me how little old ladies entertain themselves, but to say that for such a self proclaimed puzzle solver and smart NSA guy, you should have been able to solve what those date stamps actually traslate to. There is a solution, and my daughter figured it out. Now, just because she did that, it isn’t the end of the quest. It only led to another conundrum. If one solves that problem as well, again, it’s not the final solution. It’s a potential additional clue. Combined with the nine initial clues in the poem, it might narrow down the final resting place of the chest. I have eliminated certain resolutions that can be reached by visiting certain areas that apply. The real answer is… keep looking in places that fit, and either eliminate them, or find what you have been searching for. If the chest in fact exists, it will one day be located. But I often wonder just what Mr. Fenn has perpetrated on us. Whatever it is, I’m having fun in the chase.

      • I did not proclaim myself either a “puzzle solver” or a “smart NSA guy.” My exact quote is, “Having spent 10 years of my life with the National Security Agency, it is difficult for me not to look for ciphers of various sorts in everything from company logos to Fenn’s Book.” In addition, I never said I didn’t resolve the cipher in the postmarks. My exact quote is, “I’ll leave it up to you to figure out why.” My congratulations to your daughter.

  2. I was looking at some of these things in the book and they only lead me on wild goose chases. Of course that’s not hard to do…….I have become an expert on chasing wild geese.

    I found the video Dal took with Fenn and his two designers very enlightening. They were discussing Too Far Too Walk. I won’t go into all the examples but what I got from it was Fenn wrote the words, the designers made the book look pretty. So a lot of what some view as clues are creative day dreams of the designers.

    On the conspiracy theory side of this, I suppose Fenn and the designers could have staged this segment to make me think all of the fluff in the book means nothing.

    What a tangled web we have to traverse.

    • I think your intuition about the stamps is correct. I have been working the stamps. They will not work for you if you are not in the right place –

      Because I like your web site and the way you write – and what you do – I will tell you what I have learned. There are – 7 stamps which are duplicated on the inside of the covers both front and back, (14) and 20 among the chapters for a grand total of 34.
      The reason I know he used each and every stamp for a purpose is that when I applied them to the people I had in the back stories they were working except I had too many – then the duplication occured to me and it’s working. I only have 5 left to decifer. The people usually relate to the chapter with the stamp or the caption he used in a photo. The story is a parody – so I know I am right on. Some of the people are very personal to the area. I have not found that the stamps will do anything for you other than to tell you the area in general and not a specific location. For that you will need to find the coordinates. But, wouldn’t it be nice to know for sure your at least your close? It’s tedious and time consuming work – but helping me write my book!

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