How Fenn Answers Questions

There is much excitement about the Fenn Book Signing Event at the Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico on the evening of November 2, 2017. Can’t be there? No worries. We’ll be live streaming it to our YouTube channel (

There is an expectation that Fenn will be answering some of the hundreds, if not thousands, of questions that searchers have been posing and posting on the various forums, like this one:

“How do you know that the poem can be correctly understood by someone other than yourself? Everyone who reads the poem has their own interpretation of what it means. So how do you know that someone will eventually interpret it in exactly the way that you intended? If you have never revealed the clues and their meaning to anyone else, no one has ever verified that they can be understood in the way you intended. And, it’s possible that no one will ever unlock the precise interpretation of the poem that you imagined. You say that the poem is ‘difficult but not impossible’ which means that you think it is solvable – but what makes you think that it is solvable? How do you know that the clues can be deciphered by other people in the precise way that you intended?”

I’m happy that I’ll be in the audience, with a camera pointed in Fenn’s direction, to capture the look on his face if or when he gets this one.

Which, by the way, will not elicit the answer (or four, as there are four different questions in the paragraph above) the searcher expects.

Fenn will likely respond with something like, “Everything you need to know to find the treasure is in the poem.” I categorize that one as one of his “pat answers.”

So, let’s talk about how Fenn answers questions. Because, he answers questions based on how they are asked. He does nearly the same thing for interviews with journalists or questions from searchers in an audience.

There are four basic types of Fenn responses:

  • The “pat” answer. Fenn responds in this way when he perceives that the question has been asked and answered many times before, i.e., “How old were you when you buried the treasure?” Fenn has answered that question enough times to have developed a pat answer that includes “…I never said I buried it,” and “…don’t go where an 80 year old man couldn’t go.”
  • The misdirection answer. Fenn responds in this way when he perceives that the answer to the question may provide the audience (of one or more) additional hints or clues to the location of the treasure. He may or may not precede the response with something like, “I don’t want to answer that question…” and then move on to what I call “misdirection territory.”
  • The “Yes” or “No” answer. Fenn especially likes questions he can respond to with a simple yes, or no (exclusive of, again, giving out hints or clues). But, it is rare that he doesn’t expand on the yes or no to provide additional information. Unless he doesn’t particularly like you.
  • The avoidance answer. You can tell when Fenn doesn’t like the question when he responds to the question with a question. Which, technically is a form of misdirection. His question is designed to do one of two things – shut you up, or move on.


As a former journalist and documentary maker, when editorializing, I always ask questions that begin with one or more of the words how, who, where, when, what. I avoid using why unless it’s a hostile interview. I also avoid compound questions, i.e., “What were the conditions on the ground, and when did you realize you were in trouble?”

Unfortunately, that approach doesn’t apply to a Fenn post-book-signing Q&A.

If I was at the event, and I was going to ask questions, they would be short, non-compound, and elicit a “yes” or “no” response, upon which Fenn will provide additional information – if he likes you. If he doesn’t like you – you’re screwed anyway. That is a tactic very different from the one I would use were I a journalist with the opportunity to interview Fenn.

You’re more likely to get a useful response to “Does the sun ever shine directly on the treasure chest you hid?”

You are less likely to get a useful response to the a question like the one I cited above.



Another Search Season Ends. Fenn’s Treasure Remains Hidden.

As of this writing, November, 2017 is drawing nigh.

Counting a short one in 2010, that makes eight seasons under searcher’s respective belts (including 5 for me) with nothing to show for it.

Well, not exactly nothing.

To me, the distance between reality and fantasy in the forums is not only greater, but increasing at a far more rapid pace, as the combination of frustration and the evolution of interpretation and argument is ever more exaggerated. In some ways, they are helpful to Fenn’s goal of the treasure remaining hidden for at least a thousand years.

I can write without equivocation:

  • Fenn is not providing the community, any of them, especially “certain individuals,” additional hints or clues.
  • Nothing Fenn has said or written since the first edition of his “Thrill of the Chase” in 2010 has helped any searcher get closer to the treasure he hid.
  • No one has been closer than 200 feet to the treasure – and knew they were closer than 200 feet – a quote Fenn still used as recently as May, 2017.
  • There is zero in the way of evidence that any searcher has correctly decoded what are the meanings of “warm waters,” “home of Brown,” “no place for the meek,” and “the blaze.”
  • There is zero in the way of evidence that the treasure is hidden North of the border between New Mexico and Colorado.
  • To me, Fenn is tired of the “Chase,” realizing he significantly underestimated the number of interested parties, and the size of the population he once referred to as “the 7%.”

Here’s the good news: it’s still out there, and we have at least six months to plan our 2018 campaign, comfortable in the knowledge that no one else is any closer than we. Although, based on what I read in the forums, thousands are farther away.

Good luck in your search.

Reminder: We Will Live Stream the Fenn Event on November 2nd.

No ticket? No problem.

You didn’t get one of the 46 tickets to the Forrest Fenn book signing at the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe on the evening of November 2nd?

No problem!

Watch it all from the comfort of your home. And, participate in the live chat with other viewers while the event is taking place!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be informed when the stream goes live:

Busy on the evening of November 2nd?

No problem!

YouTube will automatically post the video of the event to our YouTube channel as soon as it completes its processing.

If you have a question you’d like to have answered, write it in the comments below, and we’ll give it a try.


What Makes Fenn’s Place Special?

On the trail to Popo Agie Falls.

According to research there are six possible characteristics of what makes a place special. Fenn’s special place may have one or more of them.

  1. Unique Personal Connection
  2. Social Connections
  3. Natural Beauty, Peace and Serenity
  4. Uniqueness of the Location
  5. History, Anthropology or Archaeology of the Location
  6. The Amenities of the Place

We’re going to discuss Fenn’s Special Place on our next live stream on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 1pm MDT. Q&A to follow the presentation via SuperChat.

To be informed when the program starts, subscribe to our YouTube channel. Click here to subscribe.