Why did Forrest Fenn put strands of his hair in the sealed olive jar?

The simplest answer: So his hair could be used as a basis for DNA testing to prove, without equivocation, that it was the owner of those strands of hair had placed the treasure in its hiding place.

That also means it is very likely that Fenn’s autobiography end’s with a paragraph something like this:

“I, Forrest Fenn, wrote this autobiography, placed it in this olive jar, and sealed the olive jar with wax. I, Forrest Fenn, placed this treasure in its hiding place with the expectation that, someday, someone would find it. I, Forrest Fenn, am of sound mind. I, Forrest Fenn, make this decision freely. I, Forrest Fenn, transfer the title of ownership of this treasure to the person who finds it. I, Forrest Fenn, have placed strands of my hair in the sealed olive jar with the expectation that they will be used for DNA testing as evidence that the preceding statements were written by me.”

Here’s my problem with it.

Proof of “ownership” via DNA testing would only be meaningful if the following two conditions existed:

  1. Fenn was still living when the treasure was found.
  2. The treasure was found before Fenn published “The Thrill of the Chase” in 2010.

If Fenn was no longer living when the treasure was found, a DNA sample would be irrelevant.

If Fenn hid the treasure after he published his book, a DNA sample would be irrelevant, regardless of when the treasure was found.

To put it another way, if Fenn hid the treasure before publishing his book, and if someone found the treasure before he published his book, the strands of hair would have value. Otherwise, they are meaningless.

Bottom Line: We believe Fenn hid the treasure before 2009/2010. That he had the foresight to place strands of his hair in the olive jar support that hypothesis.

4 thoughts on “Why did Forrest Fenn put strands of his hair in the sealed olive jar?

  1. I don’t know, ….it not being found for a thousand years seems to also fit the bill just fine. If there isn’t anything else to confirm it, then there is a reason for a hair sample and autobiography. He could have hidden it when he said he did or not, it really doesn’t matter when he did. Perhaps he never meant for it to be found, except in the far distant future, but only searched for and promoted?

    • In 1000 years, it will be found by an archaeologist, and put into a collection in a museum or university…if any of that still exists. They will leave the jar sealed, because they will already know the story, and DNA would not provide them any additional information.

  2. I think your conclusion is errant for this one. I fail to see how his death has anything to do with the validity of a DNA sample. I would be more concerned with degradation of the sample in the type of container he chose.

    Anyone who spent 10 years designing this search, including a DNA hair sample and a written transfer of ownership with the belief that it could be out there for “1,000 years” would have certainly made an effort to memorialize the validity of the sample by getting his DNA tested in life and retaining a written report of it. He would not need to continue to live for the report to be valid. Additionally, if this were contested at some point, even after his death, familial matches could be performed to establish that the sample came from an ancestor of a now-living relative.

    Last, I have concerns about your continued assertions that the treasure was hidden before 2009. While your theory was valid originally, Forrest seems to have eliminated that possibility after the second death attributable to the search. During his public statement that he will continue the quest, he stated he hid the treasure “in 2009 or 2010”. Unless he was lying, the early-date theory must go out the window.

    Keep up the good work though.

    • As I said, if the treasure is not found until after his death, a DNA sample as evidence of anything, is irrelevant. The only case in which it is relevant is if the treasure had been found before he wrote the book.

      After the last death, and, after we questioned when the treasure was hidden, Fenn changed the way he addressed the issue. Fenn DID NOT say he “hid the treasure in 2009 or 2010.” He said “…he was about 80,” and “…he hid it about 2010.” The word “about” is important, because it provides leeway. We know it wasn’t 2011 and he wasn’t 81. So, either it was 2010 and he was 80, or it was 2009 and he was 79, or…he uses the word “about.” Fenn doesn’t lie, nor have I accused him of such. He “misdirects.” When Fenn says, without any equivocation, “I hid the treasure in 2010,” or “I hid the treasure in 2009,” or “I hid the treasure when I was 79,” or “I hid the treasure when I was 80,” then, and only then, can anyone be certain that it was not hidden earlier in the decade. I can also predict he will never address the issue without it being preceded by some sort of qualifier, like, “about.”

      If you have any evidence supporting your hypotheticals above, please post them below.

      Finally, no need for you to be concerned about what I say. Nothing you can do about it anyway.

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