Adventurer who spent years chasing Forrest Fenn’s treasure lastly discovered it — and is unmasked

Jack Stuef introduced in a Medium put up that he’s the one who claimed the 42-pound bronze chest — brimming with gold, treasured jewels, diamonds and different artifacts. He discovered it in June after monitoring the treasure’s whereabouts for 2 years as he studied clues in a poem in Fenn’s memoir, “The Thrill of the Chase.”

Fenn, who died in September, hid the chest hoping to attract courageous souls with a lust for journey to the good outdoor. And it did.

The hunt — which has repeatedly been known as a hoax skeptics — galvanized roughly 350,000 voyagers to hunt the treasure. Many individuals left behind their jobs and spent their life financial savings on the search, and no less than 4 folks died alongside the treacherous traverse the Rocky Mountains.

Stuef mentioned he wished to stay nameless when he discovered the bounty, and Fenn revered his needs. The one element Fenn shared on the time was that the finder was from “again East,” maybe a reference to his time in D.C. at Georgetown College. However three months later, Fenn died. He was 90.

Shortly after Fenn’s demise, the Medium put up “A Remembrance of Forrest Fenn” was revealed an nameless writer claiming to be the adventurer who beat out all of the others for the treasure. The article showcases a canopy photograph of Fenn reunited together with his treasure, after the supposed victor introduced it to him. Pictures of a chest and its contents are embedded all through the essay.

Within the put up, the writer particulars the agony of his years-long seek for the treasure.

“There have been just a few occasions after I, exhausted, lined in scratches and bites and sweat and pine pitch, and nearing the tip of my day’s water provide, sat down on a downed tree and simply cried alone within the woods in sheer frustration,” he wrote. “I spent about 25 full days of failure in search of the treasure at that location earlier than getting it.”

And like all the things related to the famed hunt, there’s ensuing drama.

On Dec. 7, the line of the article — which was initially displayed as “The Finder” — immediately switched to “Jack Stuef.”

Jonathan “Jack” Stuef, a 32-year-old medical college pupil from Michigan, declared himself the writer of the put up and thus the victor of the hunt. He mentioned he spent two years looking for the bronze-encased bounty.

Shiloh Forrest Previous, Fenn’s grandson, confirmed Stuef because the rightful finder of the treasure in a put up on a web site devoted to the notorious treasure hunt.

“Jack discovered the treasure chest on account of years of cautious looking out, with none assist from my grandfather, myself or every other member of our household,” Previous wrote.

He went on to clarify the rationale behind the sudden unveiling of Stuef’s id: “Because of a Federal Court docket order, we will likely be required regulation to supply Jack’s title and make contact with info, to the extent that we now have it. Given these circumstances, we wished to let these within the search neighborhood hear it from us immediately, earlier than we’re compelled to reveal it.” He known as the lawsuit “frivolous.”

The federal lawsuit towards the Fenn household is certainly what prompted Stuef to return ahead, he affirmed when he disclosed his id.

“For the previous six months, I’ve remained nameless, not as a result of I’ve something to cover, however as a result of Forrest and his household endured stalkers, demise threats, house invasions, frivolous lawsuits, and a possible kidnapping — all the hands of individuals with delusions associated to his treasure,” he wrote. “I don’t need these issues to occur to me and my household.”

Stuef didn’t reply to a request for remark from The Washington Submit, although he talked to Daniel Barbarisi, who wrote the piece for Exterior Journal and in addition penned “Chasing the Thrill,” an upcoming e book concerning the hunt. Barbarisi has frolicked in search of the treasure himself. The authorized case in query was instigated a fellow treasure hunter and Chicago actual property lawyer who contends that Stuef hacked her texts and emails to steal her search plan.

Though he wouldn’t reveal the specifics of the place he discovered the treasure (except for that it was located someplace in Wyoming), Stuef denied the allegations towards him.

Stuef’s motivation for holding the hiding spot a secret is his perception that revealing the exact location would spoil the “pure surprise” of a spot Fenn held pricey, and would finally be “destroyed folks searching for treasure they hope I dropped on my manner out or Forrest on his manner in,” he wrote within the assertion.

Stuef added that the treasure is in a vault in New Mexico, the place it’s going to keep till he finally sells it.

In his put up, Stuef additionally sought to dispel doubt concerning the controversial quest: “I’m not and was no means employed Forrest, nor did he ‘choose’ me in any strategy to ‘retrieve’ the treasure. I used to be a stranger to him and located the treasure as he designed it to be discovered,” he wrote.

Earlier than Stuef turned a full-time treasure hunter, he had a short stint as a Washington journalist.

As a pupil in D.C. at Georgetown College, Stuef was the editor in chief of the Georgetown Heckler, a satirical journal. After graduating in 2009, in line with Exterior Journal, he contributed to the Onion, BuzzFeed, and different publications. Throughout his time as a journalist, he repeatedly discovered himself on the heart of controversies.

Particulars stay comparatively scant on how Stuef intends to spend his newfound fortune, although he did say he’ll repay his medical pupil loans and presumably pivot to a profession in finance.

“I believed that whoever discovered the chest could be completely hated, as a result of it ends everybody’s dream,” he informed Exterior Journal. “That’s one thing of a burden. I understand I put an finish to one thing that meant a lot to so many individuals.”

Correction: This story has been up to date to replicate the spelling of Daniel Barbarisi’s title, and that he wrote the Jack Stuef piece for Exterior Journal, however shouldn’t be on workers there.

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