This podcast offers a new obsession for thousands of people who spent years captivated with locating Forrest Fenn’s treasure.
Like many buried treasures both real and fictional, the famous trove of gold and jewels Forrest Fenn hid in the Wyoming Rockies caused its share of problems.
Yet there’s no doubt that Fenn’s wacky treasure hunt became an international obsession for thousands of people. Now, a new podcast wants to recreate a little of that magic with an all-new puzzle quest.
In early June, Cavalry Audio released a podcast titled “X Marks the Spot: The Legend of Forrest Fenn.” In nine episodes, the podcast retraces the history and controversy surrounding Fenn’s hidden treasure, supposedly worth $2 million.
But in a bizarre twist, the show contains its own mystery: a new puzzle for finding a treasure worth $50,000. Unlike Fenn’s treasure hunt, which had people trekking — and sometimes dying — in the Rocky Mountains, Cavalry is aiming for something safer.
“Designed so anyone can play along from the comfort of their own home, this new experiential approach challenges listeners to solve a puzzle buried within its nine episodes,” the company said.
Treasure Hunt Meets Brand Opportunity
It’s not entirely clear from Cavalry Audio’s announcement if there’s an actual physical treasure (apart from possibly a paper check). The likelihood of a chest full of gold seems low given that this publicity stunt aims to attract more listeners — not send people into the outdoors.
For example, podcast subscribers will receive new clues and hints for solving the puzzle. The producers also want players to participate via the podcast’s message boards. Cavalry will include even more clues in its social media posts, YouTube videos, and other podcasts.
Watch X Marks the Spot: The Legend of Forrest Fenn producer Branden Morgan’s interview with Treasure Warriors, ahead of today’s season finale!https://t.co/28Vj9GoJD8
— Cavalry Media (@CavalryAudio) July 26, 2022
“We wanted to introduce a new genre to podcasting that offered an experience similar to those who were caught up in the hunt Forrest introduced back in 2010,” said Branden Morgan, the show’s producer and host.
“Since launching the podcast back in June, clues have been hiding in plain sight, and some astute listeners have already noticed something was up.”
The podcast company also said its own employees do not know the treasure hunt solution. Instead, they contracted a third party to create the “elaborate puzzles.”
Forrest Fenn’s Complicated Legacy
If nothing else, the treasure hunt may offer a safer diversion than Fenn’s own puzzle.
In his 2010 memoir, the Santa Fe, N.M., art dealer publicly announced that he’d hidden a treasure “in the mountains somewhere north” of the city. Treasure hunters finally unearthed Fenn’s trove in 2020. But the decade-long search resulted in five deaths, multiple crimes in national parks, and widespread claims of fraud.
Even after Fenn’s treasure did finally surface, the discovery spawned at least three lawsuits. Let’s hope the new hunt results in a little less collateral damage.