This is the full text from chasechat of a guy accusing Forrest of lying in the various stories in The Thrill of the Chase, along with Forrest’s lengthy response. -Mike
Ahem! Not that kind of person, you say?? You don’t think he lies/misleads on purpose?? Hmmmm….
1. Fenn says he didn’t go to college === LIE!! No, I’m not talking about the brief stint at Texas A&M in the book…. he went to Temple Junior College for 2 years. Source: Lubbock Avalanche Journal article written by Mel Tittle dated Tuesday January 7, 1969, on page 6
2. Fenn says that the chest depicts “three-dimensional female figures on its four sides and the lid.” I think the readers of this forum will agree that this statement is completely false…. the chest depicts a “castle” type structure under siege….. I believe John Brown provided the links to prove this is the case….. Maybe Fenn wasn’t wearing his glasses or needs a better prescription!
3. Fenn claims he found a “crudely made” stone grave marker in Vietnam that he attributes to a French soldier who died during the French Indochina War in 1947….. But but but the words on the stone grave were in ENGLISH!! And a quote from H.L. Mencken no less! And how in the hell can he consider it a “crudely made” stone grave marker if it had arcing English words written on it?!?!? To me that sounds pretty elaborate! Why would the French bury one of their soldiers and mark the grave with arcing English words?
4. Fenn’s Mission count….this is all over the map…. page 76 = 274… page 78 = 326….305…. page 96 = 328…..So which is it, Fenn???
5. Fenn claims he took pictures of the parachute canopy above him and the jungle below…. What!?! Ok, let’s do some physics here folks… On page 84 Fenn says he ejects at what he thought was 1,000 feet. On page 87 the F-100 he was in crashes 1/2 way up a stone bluff at “1,000 feet”. Ejecting from a crippled F-100 at 1,000 feet with a nominal parachute decent rate of 25 feet/second would give about 40 seconds before hitting the ground. So all of this taking pictures on the way down after bailing out doesn’t make sense. He says in another account of the incident that he bounced off the bluff a few times….. so I just don’t buy it…
6. Fenn says he covered up Philadelphia and it took him to another dimension in his mind….. same idea told by Neil Armstrong and other astronauts (I’ll consider this borrowed, not stolen or lied about)
7. Fenn quotes a poem on page 75 by (according to Fenn) his “dear friend J Evetts Haley” in speaking of his wife. BUT WAIT A SECOND!!! “Courage has a Crimson Coat” is a poem by Nancy Byrd Turner…(a descendent of both Thomas Jefferson and Pocahontas by the way). Haley was actually an outspoken critic of LBJ and published “A Texan Looks at Lyndon: A Study in Illegitimate Power”…. Fenn should know that since he once held a reception for Evetts at his art gallery in Santa Fe….
8. Fenn describes an area in the “Looking for Lewis and Clark” chapter (p.62) which is VERY similar to a description told by Osborne Russell in “Journal of a Trapper”…. Read the Trapper book and compare the two…Fenn’s description “…that little stream got narrower and narrower and deeper and deeper until it developed vertical sides that nothing could get through but water.”
9. Fenn states that young Skippy obtained a plane in Idaho (without having a pilot’s license and no training) and couldn’t takeoff in “15 miles of water runway” on Hebgen Lake since it was above 6,000 feet. I consulted a pilot friend of mine who has flown a float plane in the mountains of Alaska…. When asked about taking off from 6,000 feet, he says that “it depends”….. Apparently there is a “denisty altitude” that has to be considered…. A “Denalt comp” (or some such device) and a “Koch Chart” (sp???) calculates the discrepancy of altitude above sea level and air pressure/density for those particular conditions… BUT HEY, maybe it was really hot that day! Or maybe Skippy didn’t know about it since he apparently “borrowed” a $xx,xxx plane from someone in Idaho without a pilot’s license or training for the day!! I sure as hell would lend a license-less kid my $xx,xxx plane for a day! No problem!!
10. Fenn says on page 37, “I always thought getting out of bed in the morning was cruel and unusual punishment and I hated it with a passionate fervor.” BUT he states on page 48 that he “[got] up at 4:45 am to be on the job at 5:00 am and sixteen hours later my shift ended and I was eight bucks richer.” Soooooo, he hated getting up early in Texas, but in Montana, it was no big deal?!
11. Fenn says he was working 16 hours a day as a dishwasher at the Totem Cafe, yet he had all kinds of time to explore Yellowstone and be a fishing guide??? Maybe there are more than 24 hours in a day up in Montana/WY!
12. Fenn writes, “Until you’ve loved a cow, part of your soul remains undiscovered” (page 31) This statement can be attributed to Anatole France, a French poet/writer who published a bunch of stuff – one of which being a book of poems titled “Poèmes dorés” or “Golden poems”… The actual quote from him is, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Just another STOLEN quote!
13. Fenn says he flunked most of his classes…… yet he was NEVER held back??? Come on! I realize his dad was the principal of junior high, but if he was that bad of a student, he surely would have been held back a grade…. And if you look at the 1948 Cotton Blossom yearbook (Fenn’s senior year), it says on page 29 that he was involved in Basketball (jersey #56 – they went 20-6 on the year), Football, Track, Baseball, Student Council, Biology Club, Physics Club… and on page 100 Fenn is shown in the “Folk and Square Dance Club” picture…. and on page 103 he is in the “Auto Mechanics Club” picture – 5th row 3rd from left…. COME ON!!! He just wants you to think that he was a bad student…. BUT WHY LIE ABOUT IT??
14. At age almost 80, Fenn remembers his classmates from 1st grade – Billy Joe Ray and John Charles “whatever” – and an incident involving a jar of green olives???? MAYBE….. but I doubt it!!!!!
15. Fenn says he read “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and that it was about “an ambulance driver in WWI in love with a nurse…lots of killing, mud, bombs, and dead horses”…. Uh, wait a minute, NOOO…that was “A Farewell to Arms”!!!!!
17. Fenn uses famous Rockwell paintings throughout TTOTC….. yes, yes, these are “drawings” that aren’t EXACTLY like the Rockwell versions…. but LIFTED from Rockwell nonetheless!!! (Thanks for bringing this to our attention John Brown!!)
18. And Finally, Fenn says that he hid a treasure chest in the mountains north of Santa Fe that is so full of gold that it is almost too heavy for one person to carry….. Still holding my breath on that one, Fenn! I’ll believe it when I see it!!
I don’t normally read the blogs but Stephanie alerted me to some problems and miss-information on chasechat. Perhaps it is prudent for me to make some clarifications. Where research has revealed discrepancies in what I have written, I apologize. Sometimes when the same question is asked months or years apart my answers may vary. You can blame those differences on my brain but not my heart. My mind has been known to malfunction and my memory detour from what I have said previously, and my mood may prompt snap statements that I later realized were off the mark. Please know that I am ambivalent about the treasure being found and that I will never consciously say anything that is designed to mislead or deter.
I would like to address statements that were made by bloggers who is unknown to me. I don’t mean to be critical, just want to clarify.
(1) When I receive a short, pleasant email from someone who signs their name and doesn’t ask a question I don’t want to answer, I will usually reply. I don’t read long emails and am not interested in individual religious beliefs.
(2) I was shot down in the Delta Region of South Vietnam on the 24th of August 1968 and again in Laos on the 20th of December 1968. If there is a discrepancy in the number of days in-between then I will admit to a math shortcoming. Sorry.
(3) H. L. Mencken did not originate the grave marker quote. He paraphrased it from a mid 18th century Frenchman’s story, or from several grave marker inscriptions in Louisiana. I stole it from a headstone during the Vietnam War.
(4) My flight logs reveal that I flew 328 combat missions. 274 in the F-100 and rest were with forward air controllers in small spotter aircraft. Those missions were to direct air strikes on enemy targets.
(5) I did take a dreaded brown bag lunch to school on several occasions.
(6) There have been examples where I spelled dollars, dollers. I confess to those errors, which still seem to be recurring problems when my typing talents outrun my thinking processes. There also are places in each of my books where I deliberately misspelled or made up words for effect. My books should not be used for research, they are for fun. That is why I don’t use footnotes or compile bibliographies.
(7) There are no clues in any of my videos, and I know nothing about cows in Chicago, except that one who got in a cab in 1948, and left me standing in the rain on State Street.
(8) College, Hmmm! When I attended Temple Junior College, it was a 2-year school but was not considered a college by the students. It was like high school, no one had to pre-register. I enrolled so I could play basketball for the Leopards. I remember attending some classes but not with any serious intent to learn, or to be hurt by what education I received. During my second year, I either dropped out or flunked out. Either way, it was of no consequence to me. The school is now Temple College and attitudes have changed.
(9) The beautiful treasure chest does in fact depict three-dimensional female figures climbing ladders. Some of the women are waving flags but there are no weapons and there is no siege.
I’ll quote from chasechat in red and speak freely since I don’t know the blogger. To reiterate, my motive is to clarify some points that seem to be important. I hope I don’t offend anyone.
*Note from me…Stephanie…below I’ll underline what Forrest has said so it’s easier to see what he’s replied to as I can’t put it in red like his email was.*
(10) “3. Fenn claims he found a “crudely made” stone grave marker The grave marker was very crudely made, as indicated in the drawing on page 95.
in Vietnam I did not say it was in Vietnam
that he attributes to a French soldier I did not attribute it to a French soldier. I have no idea who fashioned the grave marker.
who died during the French Indochina War in 1947…..But but but the words on the stone grave were in ENGLISH!! And a quote from H. L. Mencken on less! The quote probably is not from H.L. Mencken.And how in hell can he consider it a ‘crudely made’ stone grave marker if it had arching English words written on it?!?!? The words were not written on the marker, they were crudely chiseled in, perhaps with a sharp stone. To me that sounds pretty elaborate! It was not elaborate at all. Why would the French bury one of their soldiers and mark the grave with arcing English words?” I did not say the French buried the soldiers. I have no idea who buried them.
(11) 4 Fenn’s mission count….this is all over the map….
page 76 = 274 This is correct, I flew 274 in the F-100 as stated in the book.
page 78 = 326 This is correct. I had flown 326 at that point, and then flew 2 more, as stated in the book.
305 I don’t know where this number came from. There is no page number.
Page 96 = 328 This figure is correct as explained above.
(12) Fenn claims he took pictures of the parachute above him and the jungle below….What!?! That is correct, and I also got a photo of my plane as it hit a Karst and exploded
On page 84 Fenn says he ejects at what he thought was 1,000 feet. Yes, that was a judgment call on my part but I had no way of knowing my altitude above the trees at that time.
On page 87 the F-100 he was in crashes ½ way up a stone bluff at “1,000 feet. I think she means the F-100 he had been in, because I had already ejected when it hit the bluff.
Ejecting from a crippled F-100 at 1,000 feet with a nominal parachute decent rate of 25 feet/second would give about 40 seconds before hitting the ground, So all of this taking pictures on the way down after bailing out doesn’t seem to make sense. I’ll admit to knowing very little about feet/seconds but my memory of the incident is that I was not rushed.
He says in another account of the incident that he bounced off the bluff a few times…..so I just don’t buy it. My recollection is that I said my parachute dragged on the bluff and streamed, which is true. It was not the same bluff that my plane hit. I do not recall hitting the bluff with my body.
(13) Fenn says he covered up Philadelphia and it took him to another dimension in his mind…..same idea told by Neil Armstrong and other astronauts (I’ll consider this borrowed, not stolen or lied about) Thanks for the concession. Covering up Philadelphia with my thumb might be a little exaggerated but I covered all of it that had been in my view. Either way, I was effected by the incident. I am not aware that Neil Armstrong and other astronauts have made similar observations.
(14) Fenn quotes a poem on page 75 by (according to Fenn) his “dear friend J. Evetts Haley” in speaking of his wife. BUT WAIT A SECOND!!! “Courage has a Crimson Coat” is a poem by Nancy Byrd Turner. The two poems in question are not identical. My quote comes from Evetts Haley’s book Nita Stewart Haley, privately printed, designed by Carl Hertzog, and was never sold, but was given to close friends. It was published in 1958 and the poem is on the last page of his book, page 15, and immediately under the poem are the finishing words to his book:
Thus while I tore out my heart in mad endeavor upon the stage of action, my dear grey-gowned Nita – who really played the leading part, sat far back in the wings of life, and with vast pride and infinite patience, wove all of the cloth for me to wear.
I don’t feel the need to defend what Evetts said.
(15) Fenn describes an area in the “Looking for Lewis and Clark” chapter (p.62) which is VERY similar to a description told by Osborne Russell in “Journal of a Trapper”….Read the Trapper book and compare the two…Fenn’s description “…that little stream got narrower and narrower and deeper and deeper until it developed vertical sides that nothing could get through but water.” I have read Russell’s book more than a few times and I do not recall that passage. It would be fun if someone on this blog would compare Mr. Russell’s quote with the one in my book.
(16) 9. Fenn states that young Skippy obtained a plane in Idaho. I did not say he obtained a plane in Idaho. (without having a pilot’s license and no training. I did not say he had no training. And could not take off in “15 miles of water runway” on Hebgen Lake since it was above 6,000 feet. That is correct but I don’t know where the blogger is going with the rest of this paragraph so I will move on to the next one.
(17) Fenn says he flunked most of his classes. I did not say that I flunked most of my classes. Yet he was never held back. That’s because no one was held back. Don’t make the mistake of comparing the 1940s with the 2013s …he surely would have been held back a grade. Not true. And if you look at the 1948 Cotton Blossom yearbook (Fenn’s senior year), it says on page 29 that he was involved in basketball, true, Football true, Student Council (?) Biology Club Everyone who took the class was in the club by acclimation. Physics Club, What club? I flunked the class. And on page 100 Fenn is shown in the “Folk and Square Dance Club” picture. I must not have known what that picture was for. I don’t even remember such a club. Same for Auto Mechanics Club.
(18) At age 80, Fenn remembers his classmates from 1st grade….Maybe but I doubt it!!!!! At age 83 I still remember 1st graders, Scotty, Edward, Laurens, Martha, Pat, Betty, Mickey, and get frequent emails from all of them. I lost others in the last year. Many of my classmates from 1st grade I do not remember, however. Most of them are dead.
(19) Fenn says he read “For Whom the Bell Tolls” Not true, I read only about 20 pages. And it was about “an ambulance driver in WW!…….Ug, wait minute, Nooo…that was about “A Farewell to Arms” No, it was the Spanish Revolution.
(20) Fenn says it was raining in Santa Fe, NM the day after J. D. Salinger died??? Ummmm, not according to wnderground.com or nws.noaa.gov!!!Maybe it didn’t rain all day, or maybe I just drizzled. Would you believe mist? Can someone help me out please?
(21) Fenn uses famous paintings throughout TTOTC…Not true, my illustrator did make 2 drawings from details of Rockwell paintings. It was done under the laws that govern “fair use.” A common practice. Thank you John Brown.
(22) And Finally, Fenn says that he hid a treasure chest in the mountains north of Santa Fe that is so full of gold that it is almost too heavy for one person to carry. That is true, especially women and youngsters. Still holding my breath on that one, Fenn! I’ll believe it when I see it. I doubt it.
*Below Forrest says everything*
It appears that someone is working very hard on this blog to make a case against me for reasons that may be self-serving. Most likely it’s somebody who is frustrated in the search for my treasure and feels it necessary to discredit me to pacify their failures. Maybe they serve a purpose by enticing others to think and communicate. A good lesson in life is that one should be very careful when saying something absolutely, leaving no room for an opposing view, or a different opinion. That lesson is underlined when one accuses another of lying. I yield in this blog to anyone who has an animosity toward me or would bring me dishonor. Those who would seek faults in me back to my first school grade will find that their opportunities abound. I am finding many things about myself that I did not know, and for that I am thankful. And for those who bring hate and ill will to the search I would ask to back away or drop out. Your shelf life has run out.