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Search Is Over: Hidden Treasure Chest Found In Rocky Mountains

NOEL KING, HOST:

A millionaire in New Mexico by the name of Forrest Fenn said 10 years ago that he'd buried a treasure chest in the Rocky Mountains. He suggested it could be worth up to $2 million. And thousands of treasure hunters tried to find it. Now it has been found - maybe. From the beginning, this whole situation has seemed a little cursed. Here's Grace Hood with Colorado Public Radio.

GRACE HOOD, BYLINE: Dal Neitzel runs a popular blog devoted to Forrest Fenn treasure hunters. Over the years, he's heard many people claim they've located the bronze chest with gold nuggets, rubies and sapphires.

DAL NEITZEL: The first thing that ran through my mind was, somebody else is trying it again. I'm so tired of this.

HOOD: But this message was from Forest Fenn himself.

NEITZEL: And he said, yes, it's been found. You know, yeah, that was a huge moment.

HOOD: Almost immediately, Neitzel saw a flood of comments on his blog, a tight-knit community of armchair explorers and outdoors people. Their obsession has prompted thousands to hunt for the treasure across the Rocky Mountains. At least four people have died. For a decade, their only clues have come from a cryptic poem in a map supplied by Fenn. He spoke to NPR in 2016.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

FORREST FENN: No one knows where that treasure chest is but me. They can go get it, but I'm not going to tell them where it is.

HOOD: Now he's not saying where it was found or who found it, turning up long-time skepticism that it's all a hoax. Fenn did not respond to interview requests. Treasure hunter Jamie Jourdan has always believed. She's gone on dozens of expeditions for the chest.

JAMIE JOURDAN: You know, people believe in God, but they can't see him. Why can't we believe Forrest Fenn hid a treasure just because we can't see that he did it?

HOOD: One thing she can see is a strong community that's developed around Fenn's treasure. In 2018, after she lost her home to a California wildfire, so-called chasers came to her aid.

JOURDAN: Six weeks into my evacuation, I had moved into a new home. Thank you to the chase community.

HOOD: Jourdan is working to organize one final annual gathering for her fellow hunters known as a Fennboree. And like many, she says she'll keep on exploring because you just never know what's out there. For NPR News, I'm Grace Hood. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.