This Chicago treasure hunter had solved the trail of a hidden chest of over $1 million, but she says she was hacked and her ‘solve stolen’
This is a script that went horribly wrong for Barbara Anderson, an attorney from Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. There is this treasure chest buried in the Rocky Mountains. According to the man who hid the treasure chest for a treasure hunt, it is filled with gold, jewels, and other valuables worth more than $1 million was hidden a decade ago in the Rocky Mountain wilderness.
Now the Rocky Mountains treasure chest has been found and the finder is the keeper. This was confirmed by the man who created the treasure hunt, Forrest Fenn. Fenn, who lives in Santa Fe, said he packed and repacked his treasure chest for more than a decade, sprinkling in gold dust and adding hundreds of rare gold coins and gold nuggets. Pre-Columbian animal figures went in, along with prehistoric “mirrors” of hammered gold, ancient Chinese faces carved from jade and antique jewelry with rubies and emeralds.
He said he hid the treasure as a way to tempt people to get into the wilderness and give them a chance to launch an old-fashioned adventure and expedition for riches. Fenn told The New Mexican in 2017 that the chest weighs 20 pounds and its contents weigh an additional 22 pounds. He said he delivered the chest to its hiding place by himself over two separate trips.
Fenn’s announcement created a frenzy among treasure hunters. It prompted hundreds of thousands of people to search in vain across remote corners of the U.S. West for the bronze chest. Many quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the search and others depleted their life savings. At least four people died searching for it.
Now Fenn told the Santa Fe New Mexican on Sunday that a man who did not want his name released — but was from “back East” — located the chest a few days ago and the discovery was confirmed by a photograph the man sent him. But Barbara Anderson is not happy. She says she had solved the Fenn treasure map and somebody hacked her computer and stole it from there.
Andersen alleges she was hacked and her “solve stolen” by a man she didn’t know who’d been taunting her with texts in recent months, according to a lawsuit she filed Monday in Santa Fe. The defendants in her suit are the unnamed man and Fenn, the orchestrator of the treasure hunt. Andersen said in recent years she rearranged her schedule and asked judges to move cases to allow her monthlong breaks so she could follow Fenn’s clues.
Fenn’s treasure hunting involved first scouring a website widely used as a forum, where Fenn himself posts updates. Anderson estimates she’s spent $10,000 to $30,000. She paid $4,000 just to put her furnishings in storage in Chicago as she all but moved to New Mexico on her most recent trip. She was sleeping in her SUV when she heard the news that the treasure had been found.
Andersen said she has met Fenn a few times and has exchanged emails with him. He hasn’t been responding to her since the treasure was found, she said. “I don’t want to be filing this lawsuit. This was supposed to have a happy ending,” she said. “I can’t imagine this was the way (Fenn) ever thought this would end.”