by Chris Goff
Who isn’t obsessed with treasure-hunting?
From the time I was a little girl and my father read me “The Story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” I have dreamed of finding treasure. The story comes from a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales known as the “Arabian Nights” or “One Thousand and One Nights.” It tells the story of a poor woodcutter out cutting firewood in the forest, who comes upon a group of 40 thieves, with a great fortune hidden in a cave in the forest. The cave is sealed by a huge rock, which opens when a thief uses the magic words “open sesame” and closes with the words “close sesame.” Ali Baba watches until all the thieves have gone, then he enters the cave and takes one bag of gold. As you can imagine, things go downhill from there.
A lot of fiction is written about hunting treasure.
THE GOLD BUG by Edgar Allan Poe is a short story about one man’s search for pirate treasure hidden by the notorious and real-life Captain Kid. TREASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson tells about Jim Hawkins who finds a treasure map where X marks the spot. And nearly every Clive Cussler, Dan Brown and Steve Berry book written is about a quest for treasure.
But it was after The Real Book Spy named THE ORACLE, Clive Cussler’s and Rogue Robin Burcell’s book featuring the husband-and-wife treasure-hunting team of Sam and Remi Fargo as his June Rogue Recommendation, that I really started looking into treasure-hunting opportunities. From Geocaching (a new sport where participants use GPS to locate hidden caches of toys or trinkets) to sunken wrecks containing millions in gold and gems, I found a myriad of opportunities out there. Unfortunately, most of them require the seeker to be a professional treasure hunter—or at the very least have connections.
For example, History lists the following as six of the most famous missing treasures: Ark of the Covenant, Montezuma’s Treasure, Blackbeard’s Treasure, Treasure of Lima, Mosby’s Treasure, and Nazi Gold in Austria’s Lake Toplitz. There are shipwrecks with treasures as large as $133 billion yet to be found.
I finally stumbled on the Legends of America, a state-by-state list of treasure legends, ripe for the picking.
But, perhaps most intriguing of all, I discovered one opportunity planted in my own backyard…
The Fenn Treasure
In 2010, Forrest Fenn—a millionaire art dealer and former fighter pilot—claimed to have hidden a bronze chest filled with gold and valuables estimated at $2 million somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Then he wrote the following poem, containing nine clues, to help hunters find the location of the treasure:
As I have gone alone in there If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Addendum: one of the Rogue Readers, Alex Lemaire, sent me a link to a post in Metal Detector Planet about some real-life treasure hunters most people know nothing about. It’s definitely worth reading! Thanks, Alex.
Me? I think I’d find an old hotel worthy of re-purposing and start a writer’s retreat.