Treasure Hunter Sues Forrest Fenn

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By Tim Binnall

A disgruntled treasure hunter from Colorado has filed a lawsuit against Forrest Fenn after he failed to find the author's infamous hidden cache of riches. The notorious Fenn treasure allegedly consists of $3 million worth of gold and jewels stashed somewhere in the American southwest. The eccentric art dealer purportedly hid it back in 2010 and launched the hunt with the publication of his book The Thrill of the Chase, which contained clues for where the riches could be located.

Since that time, countless individuals from around the world have attempted to solve the puzzle and find the treasure. And, in a strange lawsuit filed on Monday, David Harold Hanson reportedly declared that he did locate the riches, but wound up being misled by Fenn when he got too close to recovering the elusive cache. According to a court filing, the treasure hunter claims that, using the author's clues, he "arrived at the location where the hidden items were."

However, Hanson alleges, Fenn subsequently released additional clues which the treasure hunter described as "misleading," since they upended his theory for where the riches could be found. The lawsuit goes on to assert that the author also provided insights that led to someone else finding "the items in question." As such, Hanson believes that Fenn is responsible for preventing him from obtaining the treasure and, in turn, he is demanding $1.5 million in compensation for his troubles. Hanson's reasoning for that dollar figure is that it is half the reported value the Fenn treasure.

For his part, Fenn says that he cannot recall ever having any correspondence with Hanson in the past and, presumably, is not all that concerned about the lawsuit. To that end, two details in the maddeningly vague court filing raise serious doubts about the treasure hunter's story. First, if he truly located the spot where the riches were hidden, one wonders why he was somehow unable to find the cache. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that someone else managed to recover the treasure, which is a rather dubious assertion considering that there is a huge community of treasure hunters still hard at work trying to solve the mystery.

Hanson's lawsuit is merely the latest odd development in what has become an increasingly weird saga. In recent years, four people have died while searching for the Fenn treasure, leading one police department to plead with the author to call off the hunt. While Fenn refused to do so, he has also experienced some strangeness due to the mystery as not one, but two overzealous treasure hunters have been arrested for trespassing onto his property in the hopes of learning where the riches were hidden.

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