Shelley Carney Interviews Tomas Leach, Director of “The Lure” | Santa Fe Center for Contemporary Arts | May 18, 2017

“The Lure” is a feature length documentary about some of the men and women enchanted by Forrest Fenn and the treasure he’s hidden “…someplace in the mountains North of Santa Fe.”

The interview was conducted in a classroom very kindly provided by the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, which sits adjacent to the Santa Fe Center for Contemporary Arts, where the film was screened to a full house on the evening of Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Mr. Fenn, several of his family members, and at least three of the searchers in the film were present.

Shelley and I give the film a hearty “thumbs up,” as Leach navigates his way, equally adeptly, through the various wilderness areas to which he’s taken, and the strongly felt (and expressed) emotions of the searchers. He seems to have found a healthy balance between the two.

Leach’s cinematography was subtle and thoughtful, and the audio was enviable, as it was as good, if not better, as I have heard on any film of this genre (and budget). The film was well edited with only a couple of scenes that could have used a little extra cutting but moves along smoothly, and at a consistent pace. In all, it was a very engaging story, well told, in a technically astute manner. Our compliments to Mr. Leach.

In conclusion, should you get the opportunity, see the film. If you’re not searching for the treasure before, we’ll bet you’ll be after.

Click here for more information on Tomas Leach and his film.

Where, Exactly, Are the Clues in Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Poem?

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Poem in "The Thrill of the Chase."

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Poem in “The Thrill of the Chase.”

Three things.

First: I have, and perhaps not for the last time, come to a conclusion that the nine clues in the poem are exactly in the following order, and that each complete sentence represents a single clue, i.e., “Begin it where ware waters halt and take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk.” is one clue, not three. To wit:

  1. As I have gone alone in there and with my treasures bold, I can keep my secret where, and hint of riches new and old.
  2. Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk.
  3. Put in below the home of Brown.
  4. From there it’s no place for the meek, the end is ever drawing nigh; there’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high.
  5. If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease, but tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.
  6. So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek?
  7. The answers I already know, I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
  8. So hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold.
  9. If you are brave and in the wood I give you title to the gold.

 


Second: The first clue in the poem indicates that Fenn hid the treasure in New Mexico.

Third: The poem is not a map.

Shelley and I will explain it further in our next vlog, due on April 26, 2017. I’ll add the link to the video on this page, once the vlog is published.

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Follow our hunt for the Fenn Treasure:

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The Forrest Fenn Cryptex: Only 95 Variations To Go…

The Fenn Cryptex. Back in the olden days, I had access to computers that would calculate the solutions for me. I’m using the keyword “treasu,” from the longest word in the poem and subtracting the repeated letters m”r, e, and s.” Coincidentally, it’s nine letters long. Fenn seems to use the numbers 3, 6, and 9 more often than is coincidental.

 

Fenn’s Tactical Offensive Counterintelligence Operation

As the result of our visibility due to our investment in time and effort given to our Internet properties, including this one, we are often in receipt of emails from searchers who describe some or all of their solutions to us.

The most recent one included this sentence, “Forrest wrote 2 books, numerous scrapbooks, vignettes, etc.  There are featured questions, weekly words, etc.  He has given us a lot of information.”

Needless to say, that got our attention.

We respectfully disagree with the assertion, “He has given us a lot of information.” Amongst all that Fenn has provided, there is only one item of information that has provided any value to us.

This one – “I haven’t given a clue (that) I think was going to help anybody substantially.”

Those exact words were spoken by Fenn at the Collected Works Bookstore in October of 2013. I have (because I made) the video recording.

Thus, we do not believe Fenn has provided us even the most fundamental “actionable intelligence.”

If anything, he’s implemented a casual program of what we in the intelligence community would have referred to “tactical offensive counterintelligence, with intent.” That’s information promulgated intentionally to confuse an issue.

(It should be noted, though, he’s not doing it in an intentionally hurtful way – he’s doing it because he’s Forrest Fenn, he’s 86, he’s naturally mischievous, and he likes attention.)

Why does that make sense?

Because it is far easier for Fenn NOT to give us any information beyond what he’s written in The Poem.

Think about this: What, in terms of time and effort, would it take for Fenn to manage the process of providing an additional six years’ worth of “hints” or “clues,” enough to keep the effort going, but not enough to spoil his dream of being a topic of conversation a thousand years from now?

Remember what a big deal the “unintended clue” in TFTW turned out to be?

If you’ve managed to conclude (as a result of all that additional information he’s provided) that Fenn would like someone find the treasure before he dies, you’re wrong.

From Fenn’s perspective, there is no rational reason to provide any information beyond what he has in The Poem.

So, here’s a test.

Erase all your solutions from your mind.

Instead, start with this: You have The Poem, access to GMap4, and you know the treasure is hidden someplace north of Santa Fe in the Rocky Mountains. Bonus: You found the TFTW map online.

No books, no scrapbooks, no videos, no Fenn blog, no ChaseChat, no Dal Neitzel, no A Gypsy’s Kiss, no “Forrest gets emails.”

Now, answer this question: Where, exactly, do the warm waters mentioned in The Poem halt?

 

The Intelligence Process – As Applied to the Search for Fenn’s Treasure

A Beautiful Mind

I spent five years in the United States Army from 1969 to 1974. Two of those years were spent in Viet Nam assigned to a firebase near the (then) town of Ca Mau, but I traveled all over the Mekong Delta in IV Corps. I volunteered for, and was assigned, to the U. S. Army Security Agency (ASA), a branch of the National Security Agency (NSA), and I held a Top Secret Crypto clearance. My primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was 98C – Traffic Analyst. I say primary, because I went through far more training in other courses and schools before going overseas. The traffic I analyzed and acted upon had nothing to do with cars or trucks. I wrote that so you know I have a good sense of what I’m about to suggest to you.

Intelligence is a process. It includes targeting, collecting, collating, analyzing, formulating, reporting, planning and action.

The most often heard phrase in that community is “actionable intelligence.” That means “intelligence in which the confidence in its accuracy is so high, that you’re willing to put American lives at risk.”

As an analyst, that concept significantly affects the way you work.

It means that you put each one of the above steps in context. But, eventually, there comes a point in the process where you have to decide whether or not you have to present your findings, conclusions and recommendations to the people who make decisions.

I have lost sleep over those matters. In times when expediency counted, I spent hours worth of self-reflection and in discussions with other analysts on whether to present my work. Being wrong, or not presenting a well-thought-out case, is not something you want to do. At best, it costs credibility. At worst, it costs lives.

But, this is just a treasure hunt, isn’t it? No lives at risk. No big price to be paid for a mistake in analysis and judgement.

So, what’s my point?

As a result of our vlog, we have received “intelligence” on where we should consider conducting searches for the treasure. Nothing really firm, mind you – mostly strings of random ideas and attempts to weave them together into coherency. Certainly, in my opinion, not actionable.

That’s my point.

We look at every one of our solutions we devise from the perspective of “would it pass the actionable intelligence” test? Could I present this solution to a group of people who have my best interest at heart, and expect them to, not only agree with my assessment, but, then, to take action on it?

Next time you find yourself in the midst of a “Beautiful Mind” attempt at determining where and how to finds Fenn’s treasure, stop.

Ask yourself, “Is this good enough to present it to a group of people whose decisions based on my analysis will put lives at risk?”

I know. There are no American lives at risk. It’s just a treasure hunt.

But, here’s a fun way to look at it: let’s say the treasure is a small nuclear device, and your job is to find it, and disarm it before it blows up part of the Rocky Mountains. How good would your solution to the nine clues be then?

Where DO warm waters halt? (Continued)

GoogleEarthDam-001It’s been busy for us the last couple of weeks due to the effort we put in to documenting Fenn’s raffle of a bronze jar on behalf of Renelle Jacobs, a searcher suffering from a rare form of cancer who is fortunate to have a man like Fenn take an interest.

But, we’re done with it now. And, it’s time to get back to the winterized version of the chase.

Where did we leave off?

Aha! 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.

For example, let’s say the boundary is what’s inside Yellowstone Park, where through geothermal activity, hundreds of geysers send rockets of hot (not warm) water into the sky.  They fall back to earth, where they seek the lowest level (as water is wont to do) and, having cooled some, contribute to nearby streams and rivers. The rivers then cross outside the boundaries of the park.

That’s just a bit too Rube Goldberg for me. Since “Begin it where warm waters halt…” is the starting point, I think it needs more clarity than what’s provided above.

(I believe that the boundary between Fenn’s “warm waters” and NOT warm waters is very distinct.)

All of the above assumes Fenn was referring to the waters’ physical temperature.

Fenn is also an admirer of art. An artist may have a completely different perspective of “warm” waters when defined by the color spectrum. The warm and cool of the color spectrum have no physical temperature. But, for the most part, the closest a river gets to warm is brown, like the Rio Grande South of Española. I’ve never seen rivers that were consistently orange, red or yellow in color.

I suppose you could make an argument that the “Red” River in New Mexico, by name, is on the warm end of the spectrum. And, it ends at its conjunction with the Rio Grande, which is probably more precise than Fenn would want. No mystery there.

There is the mushy boundary between the water flowing from hot springs and eventually into cool creeks or rivers. A couple of months ago when I was on the Colorado River below Hoover Dam, I relaxed in pools that were about the right temperature as they transitioned from hot springs to cool rivers. But, it was very localized.

That leaves me with just a couple more options. I’ll write them in reverse order of Holy Righteousness! (I took a little dramatic license there.)

In New Mexico, the State Game and Fish Department publishes regulations that define boundaries between warm waters and trout waters (not cool waters). My research indicates there are no comparable definitions of the difference in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, making New Mexico unique in this respect. So, for example, trout waters on the Cimarron River begin on the East side of the first campground, where apparently, State regulations dictate warm waters halt.

Another example: The trout waters of the North Rio Grande begin at the Colorado State line, where, according to the State Game and Fish Department, warm waters halt. They continue South to the Taos Junction Bridge near Pilar. But, about a hundred yards above the bridge, the Rio Pueblo, NOT a trout water, converges with the Rio Grande. Warm water halts there, too.

But, that tactic leaves me with solutions in only one State.

So, here’s my top “warm waters halt” assumption.

As the surface water of a reservoir begins to cool due to the effects of evaporation, it sinks, and it gets denser, so it continues to sink. And, as it sinks it gets cooler. So, generally speaking, for every dam from which the water is released at the bottom, its water will be much cooler than the warm water in the reservoir behind and above it.

That particular perspective of “where warm waters halt…” has three important characteristics when it comes to the treasure hunt: it doesn’t limit me to a single State solution, the boundary is very precise, and the boundary stays in the same place making it easy to find and identify. All good things when the instructions read, “Begin it where warm waters halt…”

I’ve already been to the areas below El Vado Lake Dam, Eagle Nest Lake Dam, and a couple of nameless dams further North. If you Google “List of Dams in New Mexico,” (or any other state, for that matter) Mr. Google will actually return a list.

Of dozens. Dammit.

I have my favorites, and eventually, frustrated with the less precise, less discernible options of “where warm waters halt,” you will, too. Good luck in your search.


New Topic.

I’m not quite sure what to do with this, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

My friend, Sherri, tells me that in TTOTC:

  • The phrase “New Mexico” appears 6 times, 4 of which are references to the publishing process, e.g, “Starline Printing in Albuquerque, New Mexico.”
  • The word, “Colorado” does not appear.
  • The word, “Wyoming” appears twice.
  • And, the word “Montana” appears 3 times, although one is a reference to “The Montana Gazette” rather than the State.

Sorry, Colorado.