A Deadly Hunt for Hidden Treasure Spawns an Online Mystery

Everybody is searching for something. Paul Ashby’s search began with an unexpected phone call on July 8, 2017. It was a Saturday night in Townsend, Tennessee, a small town just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. An affable Army vet with gray hair, a goatee, and wire-frame glasses, Paul worked as a concierge at a rustic event space called the Barn. He was dressed in his usual top hat and coattails that night, greeting guests who were attending a wedding.

Paul had lived in Townsend, off and on, since 1974. In 1990, he separated from his wife and moved with their 4-year-old son, Eric, into a mobile home, then a small hilltop house nearby. He turned the modest two-bedroom home into a hippie retreat, teaching himself to make artisan cheese and hanging a purple sign with his favorite quote by the front door (“There is no path to peace … The path IS peace”). He’d often take his son trekking through the nearby hills and rafting down the Little River.

Paul had raised Eric mostly on his own, struggling to relate to his son’s fascination with computer games and anime. Eric would carry his laptop a quarter mile down the hill to a telephone pole in an attempt to speed up his internet. “He’d be sitting down there at 1 o’clock in the morning,” Paul recalls.

Eric was grown now—31 years old—but still had that headstrong streak. He had recently developed a singular obsession: an epic treasure hunt in the Rocky Mountains devised by an enigmatic art mogul named Forrest Fenn. In 2016, Eric had moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to devote more time to the hunt, which involves deciphering the clues in a cryptic poem, and on June 28, 2017, he told friends he had solved Fenn’s puzzle and was going to retrieve the treasure. Paul didn’t know much about the treasure hunt, but he was happy to hear his son was out hiking and rafting as he had as a boy. That day, Eric posted on Facebook. “I hope today turns out to be the success I’ve hoped for,” he wrote. “Wish me luck.” Ten days later at the Barn, Paul received a call from an unknown number.

“Mr. Ashby?” said a young woman on the other end of the line.

“Yes?” Paul replied.

“Your son is dead. He fell out of a raft and drowned.”

Paul figured his son was up to some kind of joke. “Tell Eric now is not the time to be playing pranks,” Paul replied. “I’m in the middle of a wedding.”

“No, Mr. Ashby, you don’t understand,” the woman said. “Eric is dead.” Then she hung up.

Paul clutched his phone as the wedding party swirled around him in what felt like slow motion. He tried calling the number back but no one answered. When he dialed Eric’s phone, the call went straight to voicemail. Who was the unknown caller? Where was his son? And why would Eric risk his life for an eccentric old man’s game?

Part of Forrest Fenn’s art collection.

Daymon Gardner

Forrest Fenn doesn’t own a watch, a cell phone, or a GPS. “I am not ready for the 21st century,” he told me. When I visited him one sunny afternoon last April, he didn’t seem to be much like a man for the 20th century either. He’s 87, with wispy white hair and inquisitive eyes. His favored outfit is blue jeans, a belt with an ornate turquoise buckle, and Hush Puppies shoes. He lives on a couple acres of land in a sprawling home on the Santa Fe Trail. American Indian artifacts and Western curios line his walls: buffalo skulls, arrowheads, moccasins, and original paintings by the masters of the frontier. “Ralph Lauren came here and tried to buy that headdress,” Fenn said, pointing to one in a feathered row hanging in his study. As with most of Fenn’s stories, it’s hard to know what to believe. As he admits in his self-published memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, “one of my natural instincts is to embellish just a little.”

Fenn grew up in Temple, Texas, and still carries the soft twang of the Lone Star State. Though his father was the headmaster of his grade school, he sometimes played hooky, hunting for arrowheads in nearby creek beds. “When the sun was out, the smell of freedom was more than I could resist,” he wrote in his memoir. He spent his summers working as a fishing guide in West Yellowstone, Montana, where his family had a cabin. After graduating from Temple High School in 1947 and marrying his high school sweetheart, Peggy Jean Proctor, he joined the Air Force. He flew hundreds of missions in Vietnam and was twice shot down, earning a Silver Star and Purple Heart.

Fenn returned home on Christmas Eve, 1968, and retired from the Air Force two years later. He had been interested in American Indian artifacts since childhood, and he decided to make himself into an art and antiques dealer. In 1972, using the $12,000 annual stipend he received as retirement pay, Fenn moved his family to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and bought an adobe home, where he turned the ground floor into a gallery. Fenn made up for his lack of experience with a showman’s streak. Noticing that competing galleries took out small black-and-white ads in local newspapers, he spent $3,000 on a full-page color notice in Architectural Digest.

His brash marketing methods worked, and wealthy collectors began visiting his gallery. “I’m a great schmoozer,” he told me. Before long he was among the top-selling art dealers in town, he claims, earning up to $1 million a year. He transformed his modest gallery into a lavish, two-acre homestead featuring three guest houses, a rapturous garden, and a pond containing two alligators named Elvis and Beowulf. Fenn says politicians and celebrities including former president Gerald Ford, Robert Redford, Cher, and Steve Martin made pilgrimages to Santa Fe to purchase his exotic goods and attend his legendary parties. Jackie Onassis once left behind a bottle of brandy, Fenn adds. He offered me a sip from what he claimed was the same 36-year-old bottle: “Shut your eyes and imagine you’re drinking it with her.”

In 1988, at the age of 58, Fenn was given a diagnosis of kidney cancer. Two years earlier, his 81-year-old father, William, was told he had pancreatic cancer, Fenn says. After 18 months, William killed himself by taking 50 sleeping pills, according to his son. “I respected him for having the courage to go out on his own terms,” Fenn recalls. After being racked by chemotherapy and an unsuccessful surgery to remove the cancer, he says, he was given a 20 percent chance of surviving three years. As Fenn tells the tale, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps—but with his own swashbuckling twist. He would fill a treasure chest with gold and jewels, he thought, and carry it to a special place in the Rockies. Then he would swallow a bottle of sleeping pills and die beside his riches. But first, he would write a poem containing clues to the treasure’s location. “Take the chest,” read an early draft of his poem, “but leave my bones.”

The “problem” with the plan, Fenn says, is that he recovered. Over the next several months, then years, he slowly grew stronger, and in 1993 he was declared cancer-free. After being homebound by his disease for years, Fenn was overcome with a renewed appreciation for nature and an urgent sense of purpose. “We need to get off the couch, out of the game room, and away from our electronic gadgets,” he says. He now saw his hunt as a way to entice people into the wild.

Late at night, alone in his artifact-­laden study, he tweaked and revised his poem. Finally, in 2010, long after he first hatched the idea, he was satisfied. He acquired a 10- by 10-inch bronze treasure chest and filled it with emeralds, rubies, diamonds, and gold coins he’d collected over the years at gun shows and auctions. He added two gold nuggets from Alaska, “as large as chicken eggs,” he says, as well as an old Navajo bracelet with 22 prehistoric turquoise disc beads inlaid in silver.

One summer afternoon that year, Fenn drove into the Rockies—for how far and how long, he won’t say—with the chest and the treasure in the trunk of his sedan. He made two trips to his destination. First, he loaded the empty, approximately 20-pound bronze box into a backpack and lugged it into the mountains, breathing heavily. He stashed it in a spot dear to his heart. Then he returned with the gold and jewels and filled the chest. “I was entering into strange territory in my mind,” he recalls. He walked back to his car feeling giddy about what he’d done. “I said in a loud voice, ‘Forrest Fenn, did you really do that?’ ” he says. “No one was around, and I started laughing.”

In the fall of 2010, Fenn commenced the treasure hunt with the publication of The Thrill of the Chase, which includes his completed poem. The 24 lines contain nine clues to the chest’s location, “in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe,” he says.

Fenn originally printed just 1,000 copies of his memoir and stocked them at Collected Works, an indie bookstore in Santa Fe. In 2013, Hemispheres magazine ran a story on his treasure hunt. Soon after, the Today show aired a series on Fenn, and his slim, 150-page book became an overnight sensation. Thousands of buyers from as far as Italy and Ecuador flooded Collected Works’ website. (First prints of The Thrill of the Chase can now fetch more than $750 on Amazon.) Despite Fenn’s intent to lure people away from their devices, his hunt had all the ingredients—a cryptic puzzle, a tantalizing fortune, an intriguing mastermind—to go viral. News coverage followed, from national TV broadcasts and local newspapers throughout the Southwest. What started as one man’s quirky swan song became a real-life Ready Player One.

Fenn achieved Wonka-like status among the self-described Searchers, the online community that cropped up around his legend. Lovers of riddles and outdoor exploration converged to form a dedicated network of blogs, message boards, websites, and Facebook pages devoted to the hunt. Toby Younis, a retired digital media executive who cohosts a Fenn fanatic YouTube show, A Gypsy’s Kiss, says the internet helps them “crowdsolve” the puzzle. Searchers espouse theories in Fenn forums and detail their quests in YouTube testimonials. Dozens of Searchers meet in Santa Fe each June for Fennboree, an annual fanfest.

But despite the hive mind enthusiasm of the Searchers, others grapple with doubts about the truth of Fenn’s tale. They imagine an 80-year-old man—or even a young, healthy person—carrying a bronze chest across his back. What kind of terrain—steep, wooded, rocky—could he traverse without tripping over tree roots and stones? Though a handful of Fenn’s family and friends claim they saw him filling the chest, there’s no way to prove what was inside, let alone what it could be worth. And, barring its discovery, there is no way to prove that he actually hid it. Given the more than 100,000 square miles of mountains where the box could be located, it seems unlikely that even the most intrepid Searchers will find it anytime soon, if ever. Still, over the past eight years, the possibility that the bounty does exist has been enough to spur treasure hunters into the red canyons of the high desert and wild rivers of the Rockies.

Fenn claims he receives more than 100 “treasure emails” from eager seekers every day. He told me that 350,000 people have looked for the treasure, an estimate he bases on his always-full inbox. For devout Fennheads, the appeal isn’t just the money, it’s “matching wits with Forrest,” says 64-year-old Cynthia Meachum, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since retiring from her job as a semiconductor engineer in 2015, she’s devoted her life to looking for Fenn’s treasure, first in a remote valley near Taos, New Mexico, and now near Yellowstone National Park. The hunt tends to attract people with technical backgrounds, Meachum says. “We’re probably the most egotistical group of treasure hunters, because we all think, ‘I use logic every day in my job. I use flowcharts. I use schematics. How hard can this be?’ ” she muses. “Well, none of us have found it.”

Over the years, Fenn’s poem has inspired Talmudic interpretation. One Searcher on the website Fenn Clues posits that, based on the first line, “We are almost surely looking for a location that satisfies ‘alone.’ So, a Solitary Geyser or a Lone Indian Peak would fit the bill.” Other determinations are more arcane. A Searcher nicknamed the White Knight insists the “blaze” in the 13th line refers to a turtle-shaped tattoo on the chest of a character in Marvel’s illustrated version of the 1826 novel The Last of the Mohicans. How that translates to the modern-day landscape is unclear.

Since publishing his treasure riddle in 2010, Forrest Fenn has doled out about a dozen additional hints in interviews, books, and TV appearances.

Though Fenn occasionally stokes the frenzy with interviews, he regards online sleuthing as unnecessary. “There is no reason for anyone to use the internet or social media when going to search for the treasure,” Fenn told me. “All they need is a map, a plan, good health, and a buddy to go along for safety reasons.”

Perhaps inevitably, determined Searchers have disregarded his advice. In January 2016, Randy Bilyeu, a 54-year-old man from Broomfield, Colorado, disappeared with a raft while hunting for the treasure near Cochiti Lake in New Mexico. The news devastated the Searchers, who, for the first time, had lost one of their own. Bilyeu was embedded in the Fenn community: He was friendly with Dal Neitzel, who runs one of the most visited Fenn treasure websites, and he once met Fenn at a book signing in Santa Fe. Disturbed by the news, Fenn paid for a helicopter to carry a search party. Six months later, Bilyeu’s remains were found on the banks of the river.

In June 2017, Jeff Murphy, an alleged Searcher from Batavia, Illinois, died of an apparent fall near the 7,000-foot Turkey Pen Peak in Yellowstone National Park. The same month, Paris Wallace, a pastor from Grand Junction, Colorado, died near the Rio Grande. The deaths have only garnered more publicity for the treasure hunt, spurring stories by Nightline, The New York Times, CBS News, and others.

The Searchers aren’t the only ones at risk. Fenn and his family have found strangers digging in his backyard for the treasure, he says. One woman wandered up the driveway to pray. In April 2017, Fenn sought a restraining order against a 55-year-old Texan who showed up at his home taking photos.

Despite all this, Fenn insists it would be wrong to halt the hunt. “If I called off the search, what would I say to the 350,000 people who have had wonderful experiences hiking in the mountains with no ill effects except but a few mosquito bites?” he says. “An average of 12 people die each year at the Grand Canyon. There is a risk in nearly everything we do.”

Paul Ashby in the former bedroom of his son, Eric, at his home in Townsend, Tennessee.

Daymon Gardner

After graduating from high school, Eric Ashby started cooking in restaurant kitchens around Townsend, nursing dreams of becoming a professional chef. With a wave of dark hair, mischievous eyes, and a ready laugh, he made friends easily. He never had much money, according to Heather Britt, a friend of his, but he didn’t seem to care about material things.

Then, in 2014, a motorcycle accident left Eric with a gangrenous leg. He told his dad that a doctor prescribed him oxycodone for the pain, and he got hooked. Though Eric fully recovered from the accident, “he couldn’t get away from the pills,” Paul recalls. Later, Eric took a swing at a plainclothes police officer who had pulled him over. He was convicted of assault and sentenced to seven years’ probation.

Eric first heard about Fenn’s treasure hunt in early 2016. He immediately geeked out over the riddle. As a child, Eric had immersed himself in fantasy books and sci-fi shows like The X-Files, and Fenn’s puzzle had a similar allure. Tempted by the mystery and still struggling to overcome his oxy habit, in April 2016 Eric moved to Colorado Springs, where he had some friends. He knew he was violating his probation but thought that if he stayed in Townsend he’d end up back in jail anyway.

The change of scenery was just what he needed. He kicked the pills, his friends say, and found a job as a server at Edelweiss, a kitschy German restaurant. He lived in his car for a while to save money and started dating Jamie Longworth, a local medical marijuana grower.

Eric Ashby

By early 2017 Eric had become consumed by Fenn’s treasure hunt, talking about it incessantly. He often stayed up late after waiting tables, smoking weed and compiling clues on his laptop. He tracked possible locations for the treasure on maps, homing in on Royal Gorge Park an hour away. Often he’d call Longworth to tell her how close he was to decoding Fenn’s clues. Eric wasn’t driven by money, she says. He enjoyed the intellectual puzzle of it all. “He was one of the smartest guys I ever met,” Longworth recalls. “He would say his goal in life was to be fascinated by a blade of grass.”

One day last spring, Eric met up with a group of friends and declared, “I know where Forrest Fenn’s treasure is,” says David Gambrell, who was there that day. According to Longworth, he believed the area where the “warm waters halt,” as the poem describes, was the Arkansas River. He connected another clue, “put in below the house of Brown,” to the home of a local physician, Dr. Brown, who had lived in the Gorge. And he deduced that the “blaze” Fenn cites referred to a fire that had happened nearby. When Eric described the precise location—nearly 60 miles southwest of Colorado Springs near Sunshine Falls, along the Arkansas River—Gambrell’s gut tightened. He urged Eric to take precautions. “Make sure somebody’s with you,” Gambrell told him. Eric replied that he’d already made a few trips to that area, but bad weather and high waters had prevented him from reaching his destination. When he told Longworth where he was headed, she urged him to reconsider. “I was completely convinced it was unsafe,” she recalls. “I didn’t want him going.” On June 28, Eric went anyway.

Ten days later, Paul received the anonymous call while he was greeting wedding guests. When he couldn’t reach his son, he called the Fremont County sheriff’s office in Colorado Springs. They told him there had been a reported drowning, but no body had been found, so they couldn’t identify the victim. A few days later, he was contacted by detective Sterling Jenkins, a stocky, goateed officer who specialized in marijuana enforcement. Jenkins couldn’t find a missing person report for Eric Ashby. It wasn’t unheard of for people to vanish in the rivers and mountains around Colorado Springs, but it was unusual for the disappearance not to be reported. Paul later told Jenkins that he believed his son had been out searching for Fenn’s treasure, but the detective had never heard of the hunt. “I didn’t know if it was an accident,” Jenkins says. “I didn’t know if it was foul play. It could be a hoax.” The detective vowed to find out what had happened.

Paul Ashby holds a copy of the contract drawn up by his son on the day he disappeared. The document stipulates that Eric will split the treasure among those hunting with him, should it be found.

Daymon Gardner

Word of Eric’s disappearance soon spread across Searcher blogs and message boards. But unlike Bilyeu, who had attended Fenn book events and was immersed in the Searcher community, Eric was unknown to other treasure hunters. Though he had spent hours poring over their theories and tips, Eric wasn’t an active participant in Searcher forums. He rarely shared his hunches online, and he often went treasure hunting alone. As details about Eric’s checkered past emerged, some in the close-knit Searcher network viewed Eric’s disappearance with skepticism. One faction pushed to distance the Fenn community from Eric’s case, arguing that his rumored drug use would cast the hunt in a negative light. Others questioned whether Eric was looking for Fenn’s treasure at all when he went missing. When I asked Neitzel about Eric’s case, he bristled and refused to answer. “Let’s move on,” he said gruffly. Eric, they seemed to say, wasn’t one of them.

Without the aid of the Searchers, Eric’s friends and extended family dissected Fenn forums and Facebook pages for possible clues that might lead to him. “We called ourselves the Investigators,” recalls Britt, his friend from Townsend.

Lisa Albritton, Eric’s half-sister on his mother’s side, led the family’s efforts from her home in Largo, Florida. Though she and Eric had grown up in different states, she in Florida and he in Tennessee, the siblings were in touch often.

In truth, it didn’t take long to find out what had happened to Eric. Shortly after Paul received his mysterious phone call, Albritton went to Eric’s Facebook page and posted a query on the growing thread of comments from Eric’s concerned friends: “Does anybody know the names of the people my brother was with?” she wrote. “Please feel free to message me, add me, I don’t care I just need answers.”

A friend of Eric’s in Colorado Springs quickly replied with a profile picture of a smiling, twentysomething woman with shoulder-length blond hair, dark eyebrows, and a fashionably shredded pink shirt, along with a name: Becca Nies. “Can somebody tell me what role she plays in this?” Albritton replied. Longworth offered an answer: “She was with him, as well as her boyfriend Jimi Booker, when he ‘drowned,’ ” she posted. She then provided a screenshot of a Facebook message that Nies, who had worked with Eric at Edelweiss, had sent her on Saturday, July 8, just hours after Paul got his mystery call, and 10 days after Eric had gone missing.

Nies said that she was with Eric and three of her friends that day. “On wednesday june 28th,” Nies wrote, “we went on that treasure hunt. Eric drowned in the river unfortunately. Im sorry to tell you like this, you deserve to know.… Very sorry.”

“If I called off the search, what would I say to the 350,000 people who have had wonderful experiences hiking in the mountains with no ill effects except but a few mosquito bites?”

The note from Nies should have put an end to the sleuthing, but it only seemed to spark new clues and paths to investigate. “How does she know he drowned if he hasn’t been found?” one of Eric’s friends replied on the Facebook page. “Sounds like some bs to me,” offered another. The police weren’t giving any information, and Eric’s body had not been found. In that vacuum, and in the heated detective atmosphere of the treasure hunt, rumors flew: It was a fight that landed Eric in the water, a scheme to steal the treasure from Eric and leave him behind.

The most vexing question remained: If four people had watched a man disappear underwater, why did they wait 10 days to tell anyone? That delay stoked its own conspiracies. “Something strange is going on it seems like with no one wanting to talk to anyone!!” one Investigator posted. “They really aren’t gonna like it when a bunch of people from Tennessee show up on their door step!!!”

“Exactly!” Britt replied, “And that’s what it’s gonna take!”

That July, Albritton launched a GoFundMe page hoping to raise money to drive to Colorado. Eric’s family continued to check in with Jenkins, but as far as Albritton could tell, the sheriff’s office was making little progress. She pleaded for help in finding her brother. To her surprise, she received $3,500 from a single donor: Forrest Fenn. Word about Eric’s disappearance had spread across Searcher blogs and message boards, eventually reaching the Wizard of Oz himself in Santa Fe.

Albritton and a cousin made the drive from Florida to Colorado in four days. They arrived in Colorado Springs and checked in to a hotel. Days later, they went to Nies’ apartment. Eric’s red Mercury Cougar was still out front, where he left it the day he disappeared. Albritton cued up Facebook Live as she approached the car, video streaming—just in case anything happened. “We’re going in the car, and I’m just going to try to grab everything I can,” she narrated, her voice tense. In the back seat, Albritton found her brother’s backpack. Heart pounding, she grabbed it and sprinted back to their car.

Back at their hotel, Albritton dumped out the contents of Eric’s bag: some moldy sandwiches, two cell phones, and a notebook. When she flipped the book open, she found a handwritten contract between Eric, Nies, and her friends agreeing to share whatever treasure they might find—51 percent for Eric and 49 percent to be split among the others. Albritton held the contract with a shaky hand. “Eric Ashby will be the executor of the selling and distribution (documented) of assets regarding said Quest,” the contract read. There was nothing treacherous in the document itself, but stoked by the hours she’d spent unspooling conspiracy theories among Investigators online, her mind reeled: Had there been a plot to kill her brother and steal the treasure? She reported what she had found to the Colorado Springs detectives.

Alarmed, Paul flew to Colorado Springs to search for answers. He met with Jenkins, who took him out to the spot on the Arkansas River where Eric had last been seen. Jenkins told him that two photographers had been taking pictures of whitewater rafters that day and called 911 after witnessing a possible drowning. But there was no way of knowing if the person had been Eric—the victim was unidentified and no body had been found. The people who were with him had been questioned, but Jenkins had not yet reached any conclusions. Desperate and sleepless, Paul called his brother, an Army specialist, for advice. If no one else could find his son, then Paul wanted to search the rapids himself.

“Can we go get him out of the river?” he asked.

“Paul, don’t even bother,” his brother said, “If the river is ready, the river will give him back to you.”

On the Arkansas River near Sunshine Falls—where Eric was last seen—the rapids are unpredictable.

Daymon Gardner

On July 28, a body was discovered by a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer several miles down the Arkansas River. A Fremont County coroner later identified the victim as Eric Ashby.

After several weeks of investigating—questioning Nies and her friends Jimi Booker and Anthony Mahone, as well as the two photographers who had witnessed the incident—Jenkins and his team pieced together what had happened that day in June. Eric had driven to Nies’ apartment, where the group drew up a handwritten contract. They set off toward the river in an old green Jaguar sedan, stopping along the way to buy a cheap, two-person raft. They wound along mountain roads to a parking lot near Royal Gorge Park, where a suspension bridge hovers nearly 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River.

Eric led the group a few hundred yards through piñon pines to the edge of Sunshine Falls, a churning, boulder-strewn section of the river. As they watched rafts of tourists careen by, Booker told Jenkins, the current roared higher and faster than they had expected. Sunshine Falls is known for violent Class IV-V rapids, powerful enough to hurl rafters into the choppy water. Eric, who said he had been to the same spot on previous excursions, assured the others that it was still passable. “When he saw the river, he seemed OK with it,” Booker told me on Facebook Messenger, but “he said he had almost died on this hunt before.” (Nies and Mahone did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this story.)

Eric told them he believed the treasure was on the other side of the river. He planned to float across in the raft, retrieve the box, and bring it back. Despite his insistence that he had plenty of experience whitewater rafting, Eric had taken no helmet or life vest. He tied one end of a rope around his body and gave the other end to his companions on the river’s shore. “We weren’t prepared,” Booker told me later. “We had seen whole teams of rafters ride by with maybe six or seven people on large rafts, and they were still having a hard time riding the current with a professional guiding them.”

“They’re absolutely negligent. A life was lost. People watched it happen.”

Midway across the river, Eric’s flimsy raft started pitching uncontrollably in the froth, and he fell into the rapids. (Nies and Booker told the sheriff’s office he jumped out of the raft.) The rope slipped free from his waist as he was swept away in the fast-moving current. He attempted to make it to the other side but plunged underwater. When he hit the next set of rapids, known as the Sledgehammer, he went under again. This time he emerged facedown. He was carried away by the current.

From their post a short way downstream, the photographers looked on in horror as the body floated by. They frantically called 911 for help. Booker claimed that he and his friends searched along the shore of the river for half an hour, but the water was too violent. They returned to their car and drove away without waiting for the police to arrive. One of the photographers later told the police that he was troubled by the witnesses’ behavior, given the circumstances. “He told me it appeared as though they were not concerned with the unknown male’s well-being and had not bothered to attempt to assist the individual when he was in the river,” deputy Jeffery Moore wrote in his report.

Booker told me they took off because they knew the photographers had already called for help and felt there was nothing they could do. “I felt so powerless that it kills me inside,” he wrote me, “because my natural instinct would have been to jump in that water, but I know I wouldn’t have made it.”

Nies told Jenkins that she knew Eric had left Tennessee while on probation and didn’t report his disappearance to the authorities because she didn’t want to get him in trouble with the law. She said she wasn’t sure whether Eric was dead or alive. But by not giving the sheriff’s office Eric’s name, no one—including his family and friends—had known what had happened to him. “They’re absolutely negligent,” Jenkins says. “A life was lost. People watched it happen.”

On a rainy weekend in March, I attended an event for Eric at the Barn in Townsend, where Paul still works as a concierge. Paul had his son’s body cremated and brought back to the hills of Tennessee. Pictures of Eric hiking and cooking lined a table alongside a box bearing his cremains. Local country singers performed ballads on the small stage.

Now Eric’s family wants to make sure such negligence doesn’t happen again. They’re working with Colorado and Tennessee legislators to pass Eric’s Law, a “duty to report” mandate that requires any witness who sees someone’s life in danger to notify 911. Paul hopes the law ensures that “no one walks away,” he says.

He originally blamed Fenn for Eric’s death. “I wanted to see him hung out to dry,” he says. He’s since made his peace. Jenkins places responsibility on the Searchers. “As an adult,” he says, “if you make a decision to look for this treasure, you need to be prepared.”

When I talked to Fenn, he had distanced himself from Eric’s death. “I told myself that he was on drugs and had nothing to do with the treasure,” Fenn says. He continues to encourage the treasure hunt. In a recent interview with a blog called Mysterious Writings, Fenn wrote that his “gut feeling is that someone will find it this summer.” In fact, he reveals, a Searcher recently came within 200 feet of it. “Someone told me exactly where they were,” he tells me, “and I knew they were close.” He declines to say more, wary of tipping off the Searcher. His prediction, of course, will likely only spur more Searchers to return to the wild.

With each new death, the stakes of the search grow higher. Fenn continues to urge his followers to avoid putting themselves in life-threatening situations. (After all, he cautions, he was already 80 years old when he hid the treasure; there’s no need to assume feats of endurance.) This summer, thousands will take to the Rockies’ tributaries and trails, racing to glimpse the glint of a bronze chest in the wilderness. If it is discovered, many Searchers admit, it won’t just be the lost fortune they’ll miss—it will be the lure of adventure, the misfit community, the promise of the unknown around every bend.


David Kushner’s latest book, Rise of the Dungeon Master, is based on his profile of Dungeons & Dragons cocreator Gary Gygax in issue 16.03.

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Berkeley police arrest 17, seize several makeshift ‘weapons’ at start of planned protests

Police in Berkeley, Calif., arrested at least 17 people Sunday as several hundred people gathered in the city for planned dueling protests that sparked fears of broader violence.

Two groups of alt-right protesters had announced plans for a “No to Marxism” rally at the city’s Civic Center Park earlier in the week. That prompted plans for a “Sweep Out The Facists” march and counter-rally that drew hundreds of people downtown.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that several dozen “anti-Marxist” protesters arrived at Civic Center at 12:30 p.m. At one point, the group pushed books off a table set up by a local Communist bookstore, but police and bystanders stepped in to head off any potential confrontation.

Approximately an hour later, a group of marching counterprotesters tossed fireworks and flares at police officers. No injuries were reported.

City officials said neither group had sought or obtained a permit for their respective rallies. On Friday, police issued rules prohibiting masks and items that could be used as weapons.

On Sunday, the police department posted photos of weapons they had seized on Facebook and Twitter. They included a hammer, rocks, wooden sticks, metal rods, and canisters of pepper spray.

“We are confiscating weapons and making arrests,” police said.

Those arrested included Jason Wallach, 41, and Kate Brenner, 69, both of Oakland, who were charged with possession of a banned weapon, police said.

Kristen Edith Koster, 50, of Berkeley, was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon. Maria Lewis, 29, of Emeryville, was charged with carrying a banned weapon and working with others to commit a crime.

Arrested protesters Maria Lewis and Thomas Parker.  (Berkeley Police)

Thomas Parker, 22, of Berkeley, was also charged with working with others to commit a crime, as was 27-year-old Caitlin Boyle of Oakland. Blake Griffith, 29, of Oakland, was charged with vandalism.

Sarena Perez, 39, of Oakland, was charged with possession of a banned weapon. David Chou, 26, of Santa Cruz, was charged with possession of a banned weapon and working with others to commit a crime. Freddy Martinez, 31, of Berkeley, was charged with battery.

Arrested protesters David Chou and Freddy Martinez.  (Berkeley Police)

Ericka Sokolower-Shain, 28, and Javier Cruz-O’Connell, 22, both of Berkeley, were charged with possession of a banned weapon. Jamie Hill, 30, of Emeryville, was also charged with possession of a banned weapon, as was 27-year-old Bella Podolsky of San Francisco.

“We’ve seen what the patterns are and one of the patterns is using nonviolent protests as a cover for violence and what we encourage people to do is to separate themselves from violence,” Berkeley city spokesman Matthai Chakko told KTVU Saturday.

Events last year turned violent when so-called “alt-right” groups clashed with anti-fascist groups, the station reported.

Arrested protesters Blake Griffith and Sarena Perez  (Berkeley Police)

5 ASSAULTED AT BERKELEY PROTESTS AS BLACK-CLAD ANARCHISTS STORM RIGHTWING RALLY

“No to Marxism” rally organizer Amber Cummings held a “No to Marxism” rally in Berkeley last August in which 10 people were arrested, the Bay City News Service reported. A person dressed in black, the hallmark of the infamous Black Bloc, which advocates violence, destroyed another person’s camera, according to the news outlet.

Police said the list of banned items at Civic Center and Ohlone parks included metal pipes, baseball bats, glass bottles, pepper spray, knives or daggers, shields and slingshots, KTVU reported.

Arrested protesters Ericka Sokolower-Shain and Jamie Hill.  (Berkeley Police)

Police also banned people from wearing masks, scarves or bandannas or anything covering their faces except for religious or medical reasons.

Sunday’s protests came one day after police in Portland, Ore. clashed with demonstrators protesting a rally by far-right groups. Local media reported that police ordered the counter-protesters to disperse, then moved in behind a volley of stun grenades. One of the rounds reportedly hit a counter-protester in the head, becoming embedded in his helmet and injuring him. One woman was taken to a hospital after being hit in the arm and chest with a “flash-bang” grenade.

Arrested protesters Bella Podolsky and Javier Cruz-O’Connell  (Berkeley Police )

Four people were arrested.

On Sunday, Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw ordered a review of the use of force by officers to determine if they followed policy and training guidelines.

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/08/05/berkeley-police-arrest-17-seize-several-makeshift-weapons-at-start-planned-protests.html

Here’s the technology behind those mesmerizing drone light shows

Alex Jones believes Democrats planned "civil unrest" for the Fourth of July. Maybe he's thinking of fireworks.
Image: Getty Images

Where will you be on the Fourth of July? 

Alex Jones thinks Americans will be fighting in a vicious battle over avocados and soy milk. The often disgraced conspiracy theorist and self-proclaimed “performance artist” claimed that Democrats are planning to launch a civil war on Independence Day in a tweet on Monday. 

In the video Jones posted, he ranted that “establishment publications” that communicate with the government instead of the general public “began to develop a plan” using civil unrest and “racial strife” in order to “force Trump out.” 

OK, Alex. Maybe he misinterpreted the annual fireworks displays as “civil unrest.” 

But his attempt at riling up the public was turned into a patriotic meme as Twitter users imagined where they would be if a second civil war broke out. 

Twitter users responded withthe hashtag  #SecondCivilWarLetters, joking about battling incels and searching for Starbucks safe houses.

Like the correspondence between soldiers and their loved ones during the “first” American Civil War, Twitter users kept their spouses and family members posted with updates from the front lines of battle. 

It seems like everyone’s running away to Canada.

The leftist battalions also made fun of the alt-right’s fondness for tiki torches, which is just about as intimidating as their khakis.

War is rough, everyone. Where are the avocados??

They did it to own the libs, obviously.

It’s all quiet on the far right front. 

In the video he released with his tweet, Jones actually admitted: “I’m not that smart!” 

“How did you know they were planning a civil war,” Jones asked nobody in particular, before claiming that news organizations have been planning this “civil war” all along. “I told you! I’m not that smart!” 

So no worries, you won’t have to fight through Chick-Fil-A on the Fourth of July. Alex Jones himself said he isn’t that smart. 

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/07/03/second-civil-war-letters-alex-jones-conspiracy/

19 Funny Hand-Stitched Projects That Will Make You LOL

When you think of cross-stitching, you probably picture prim and proper women from olden times stitching Bible verses or well-known proverbs surrounded by a bunch of flowers, right?

Well, friend, I’m pleased to tell you that there’s so much more to cross-stitching these days.

Advertisement

Read more: http://twentytwowords.com/hilarious-cross-stitches-that-youll-want-to-hang-in-your-house/

Supreme Court deals major blow to public sector unions

Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court dealt a major blow to public sector unions on Wednesday in a case that could shake their financial structure and undermine their future stability.

The ruling was 5-4 along partisan lines, with conservative Justice Samuel Alito writing for the majority.
“It is hard to estimate how many billions of dollars have been taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment. Those unconstitutional exactions cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely,” Alito wrote.
    In a blistering dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote, “The First Amendment was meant for better things. It was meant not to undermine but to protect democratic governance—including over the role of public-sector unions.”
    Reading from the bench, she added: “There’s no sugarcoating today’s opinion.”

    At stake in the case

    At the center of the debate is a 1977 Supreme Court opinion known as Abood v. Detroit Board of Education that says while non-members of public sector unions cannot be required to pay fees for a union’s political activities, they can be required to pay so-called “fair share” fees pertaining to issues such as employee grievances, physical safety and training.
    In recent years, so-called Right to Work groups as well as some conservatives on the court have pushed for it to be overturned. Wednesday, nearly half of all states have laws on the books that allow broad fair share fees for public employees.
    The case was brought by Mark Janus, an Illinois public sector employee, who challenged the fees. He said that because he is a government employee, issues germane to collective bargaining are inherently political. He argued that the First Amendment protected him from having to support such political expression.
    Janus has been represented in the challenge by groups such as the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center.
    The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents public sector employees, has described the challenge as a threat to American workers.
    The public sector unions argue that they are required by law to represent all employees regardless of if they are members and that no one is required to join the union.
    If non-members don’t have any obligation to pay fair share fees for the collective bargaining obligations, they would become free riders, benefiting from the representation without sharing the costs, the unions say. The coffers of public sector unions would also suffer if non-members were able to get services for free.
    Alito noted, and dismissed, the impact to union funds.
    “We recognize that the loss of payments from non-members may cause unions to experience unpleasant transition costs in the short term, and may require unions to make adjustments in order to attract and retain members,” Alito wrote. “But we must weigh these disadvantages against the considerable windfall that unions have received under Abood for the past 41 years.”
    The Trump administration sided with Janus in the case, reversing course from the Obama administration in a 2016 case when the Supreme Court heard arguments in a similar challenge, but deadlocked in a 4-4 split following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
    This story is breaking and will be updated.

    Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/27/politics/supreme-court-union-fees-decision/index.html

    10 Things Remarkable Parents Do (That Set Their Kids Apart from the Rest)

    By Angela Pruess

    At any given time you’ll find four or more parenting books on my Amazon wish list, a few by my nightstand, and an email box chock full of insightful parenting theories and approaches.

    Granted, child development is my career, but I speak with plenty of parents in my practice who find themselves in similar circumstances.

    With information around every corner and our culture projecting constant messages (many times contradictory) regarding how we should raise our kids, feeling like a confident and intentional parent can seem out of reach many days.

    In my 12 years as a family therapist, I’ve seen many well-intentioned parents mistakenly employing strategies that aren’t meeting the emotional or developmental needs of their children or families. I’ve also observed an increasing number of parents that are successfully mapping out new and healthier ways of raising children.

    These insights, collected over time and gleaned from experience, parallel what we know from current brain and behavioral research about what kind of parenting is most likely to contribute to the healthy development of children.

    1 | Know that kids will act like kids.

    Often parents forget that the way a child’s learning begins is by screwing up. Making mistakes. Behaving immaturely. The ‘magic’ happens when a supportive caregiver then steps in to steer them in the right direction. We get frustrated and impatient, becoming annoyed with whininess and ‘back talk’ when really, this is how kids are wired.

    The part of the brain responsible for reason, logic and impulse control is not fully developed until a person reaches their early 20s. Immature behavior is normal for immature human beings with immature brains. This is a scientific reality that helps us to be patient and supportive in order to guide our children when they struggle.

    2 | Set limits with respect, not criticism.

    Due to the fact that our kids need to learn literally everything about the world from us, they will require many limits throughout their day. Without proper limits in their environment, kids will feel anxious and out of control.

    Limits can be delivered in the form of criticism and shaming, or they can be communicated in a firm but respectful way.  Think about how you appreciate being spoken to at work and go from there.

    3 | Be aware of developmental stages.

    Have you ever questioned where your easy-going toddler disappeared to as he was suddenly screaming bloody murder while getting dropped off at daycare? Hello, separation anxiety!

    There are literally hundreds of very normal, very healthy transitions kids go through to become adults. Being aware of these puts their puzzling behaviors into context, and increases the odds of reacting to them accurately and supportively.

    4 | Know your child’s temperament and personality.

    It seems pretty obvious, but if we are in tune with the characteristics that make our child unique, we will have a better understanding of when they may need additional support, and when and where they will thrive.

     

    Once you know the basics of what makes your child tick, many important areas become much easier to navigate, such as pinpointing the best environment for homework, or understanding why your daughter needs to come home from overnight summer camp.

    5 | Give your child plenty of unstructured play time.

    Unless you studied play therapy in school, most adults will never fully understand and appreciate the power of play.

    Play is how kids learn all the things and develop all the stuff. This means leaving time each day for straight-up unstructured, kid-controlled, exploration of the world kind of play.

    6 | Know when to talk and when to listen.

    Kids learn to be pretty good problem solvers if we let them. Because we love the life out of them and want them to succeed, it’s hard not to jump in and solve problems for them by virtue of lecture or criticism.

    If parents more often held their tongues and waited it out, they’d be shocked at how often their children can successfully reach their own conclusions. Being heard is powerfully therapeutic, and it allows us to think things through and reach a solution.

    Kids want and need to be heard, and feel understood. Just like the rest of us.

    7 | Have an identity outside of your child.

    Many of us often claim that our children are our world, and this is certainly true in our hearts. In terms of daily life however, parents need to have more. We need to nurture the friendships, passions and hobbies that make us who we are as individuals.

    Doing this can feel like a battle, as our protective anxieties try to convince us our children can’t be without us, and also that we can’t be without them. But we can be, and need to be, in order to stay sane, and avoid saddling our kids with the task of meeting all of our emotional needs.

    8 | Understand that actions speak louder than words.

    The way you interact with your child and live your life will be your child’s greatest teacher. Kids are incredibly observant and way more intuitive than we give them credit for. They are always watching.

    This can be slightly inconvenient for parents, but if we’re able to keep it in mind, knowing our children are watching our actions will not only teach them how to behave, but it will make us better people.

    9 | Recognize that connection, fun, and creativity are the best ways to promote positive behaviors and a cooperative attitude.

    Fear and control aren’t effective long-term teachers for our kids. While those dynamics may appear effective in the short-term, they won’t equip our kids with a strong moral compass, or effective problem-solving skills.

    If our child feels valued as a person based on our interactions with them, they will naturally learn to value others and have the confidence to make good choices.

    10 | Set the overall goal to shape a child’s heart and not just their behavior.

    We often get the impression from the world around us that the goal of parenting is to produce a compliant, well-behaved child. While these are certainly desirable qualities for most parents, they are not core qualities that contribute to a happy and healthy human.

    Helping our children understand the importance of their thoughts and emotions gives them coping and relationship skills. Skills that will protect and guide them throughout their lives.

    Changing our parenting habits and styles is never easy, but if it’s truly in the best interest of our children, it’ll always be worth it.

    **This article originally appeared on Parents With Confidence

    Read Next On FaithIt
    “He Was Starving—Literally”: Grieving Mom on the Breastfeeding Mistake That Killed Her Baby

    Read more: https://faithit.com/10-things-remarkable-parents-do-set-them-apart-angela-pruess/

    Owner Got A Cat In 1988, Probably Did Not Expect To Throw Him A Birthday Party 30 Years Later

    Meet Rubble, a cat from Exeter, England, that is now being called the ‘oldest cat in the world’ after recently celebrating his 30th birthday. Rubble and his owner, Michele Foster, have been the very best of friends since she got him as a kitten on her 20th birthday, back in May 1988.

    Michele believes that the secret to Rubble’s longevity is the fact that she pampers him as if he were a child, she never had children of her own so Rubble is positively showered with attention and care. “He’s a lovely cat, although he has got a little grumpy in his old age,” she said. “He has plenty of life left in him yet, but I don’t think we will go down the Guinness World Record route as I am not sure he would like lots of people coming to see him or a fuss being made out of him.He is old now and would not like too much attention or be hassled. We would prefer if he was just left to live out his old age in peace.”

    The oldest cat who ever lived, according to the record books, is Creme Puff, who was born on August 3, 1967, and lived until August 6, 2005, an incredible 38 years and three days! Rubble has some way to go before breaking that particular record, but Michele is very proud of his achievement. She remembers her 20th birthday, the day they first met, quite clearly. “He was part of a litter of cats that my sister’s friend had, and I had just left home,” she explained. “I was lonely living on my own so got him in as a kitten. He is very loyal. We used to live in London and moved around a lot.”

    “If you care about something and someone and really love them, that goes a long way. I have always treated him like a child – I don’t have any children and had another cat called Meg – who passed at the age of 25. If you care about something, no matter what it is, it does last.”

    Understandably, due to his advanced age, Rubble suffers from high blood pressure. He needs regular medication, which he gets from Shaun Moore of City Vets. “We recently had this amazing cat in for a check up and to celebrate his 30th birthday,” he said. “Rubble is quite likely to be the oldest cat in the UK and is still going strong. He is on medication for his blood pressure but apart from that, he is in remarkably good health.”

    “He enjoyed a free check up, some Whiskas Catmilk and Felix pouches, and less appreciated a free supply of medication for the next month as his birthday present from City Vets.”

    While we are sure Rubble appreciated the treats, if not the medication, we can only salute his achievement and wish him continuing good health. Scroll down to check him out for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments!

    Meet Rubble, a British cat who is now being called the ‘oldest cat in the world’ after celebrating his 30th birthday

    Image credits: SWNS

    His owner, Michele Foster, got him as a kitten on her 20th birthday May 1988

    Image credits: SWNS

    “He was part of a litter of cats that my sister’s friend had and I had just left home”

    Image credits: SWNS

    Image credits: SWNS

    “I was lonely living on my own so got him in as a kitten”

    Image credits: SWNS

    The pair have been inseparable ever since

    Image credits: SWNS

    Rubble has now matched the age of the last world record holder

    Image credits: SWNS

    Rubble had a party at his local vets where he was treated to some of his favorite cat food and a free check-up

    Image credits: SWNS

    “He is on medication for his blood pressure but apart from that, he is in remarkably good health”

    Image credits: SWNS

    Image credits: SWNS

    He is quite likely to be the oldest cat in the world and is still going strong

    Image credits: SWNS

    Happy 30th birthday Rubble!

    Image credits: SWNS

    Here’s how people reacted

    Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/worlds-oldest-cat-rubble-30th-birthday-michele-heritage-britain/

    High school summer reading list is decried as anti-police

    A South Carolina high school drew the ire of parents, police and community members after it included what they called anti-police material in a summer reading list.

    From a list of four books for students taking an English 1 College Prep course at Wando High School in Charleston, two are focused on racism and police brutality.

    “It’s almost an indoctrination of distrust of police and we’ve got to put a stop to that,” John Blackmon, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3, told the local news. “There are other socio-economic topics that are available and they want to focus half of their effort on negativity towards the police? That seems odd to me.”

    PARENTS ANGERED AFTER PLANNED PARENTHOOD PARTNER LEADS ‘GRAPHIC’ SEX-ED LESSON IN SCIENCE CLASS

    Students can pick “All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, which is described as “the story of two teens, one black and one white, who struggle with racial tension in their school and their community,” in the class assignment, or “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, described as the main character witnessing her childhood friend, Khalil, being shot – unarmed – by a police officer.

    While the students have two other options on the reading list, the Fraternal Order of Police says the two anti-police books should be dropped from the list because they focus on negativity toward officers.

    The school is reviewing the book materials after formal request for reconsideration was submitted.

    “I understand two of the selections/choices for this summer’s reading list for English 1 College Prep classes are considered controversial by some members of our community,” Wando Principal Sherry Eppelsheimer wrote in a statement. “I appreciate their concern and input regarding this matter.”

    The school board could pull the book the books from the summer reading list, if it decides to take up the issue.

    Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/06/13/high-school-summer-reading-list-is-decried-as-anti-police.html

    How Global Sporting Events Run On Bribes & Help Dictators

    Soccer: it’s the sport the rest of the world calls “football”, despite how loud America yells otherwise. It’s also the global obsession that peaks every 4 years with a World Cup. This year’s Cup is about to start in Russia. 2026’s Cup is about to get awarded to the United States and Canada and Mexico, maybe. And everyone is abuzz about which of the perennial contenders (minus Italy, minus the Netherlands) will win it all. That passion for the game means big crowds, big glory, and big money. But did you know it also created the world’s most brazen white collar criminal organization? And helps past and present autocrats keep their stranglehold on power?

    On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Dr. Natalie Koch (Maxwell School at Syracuse University) and by DeMorge Brown (Harmontown, Channel 101) for a deep dive into how soccer’s governing body became a secret Swiss crime family without most fans noticing. They’ll find insanely bold corruption in the sport everywhere from Qatar to Trump Tower. And you’ll discover how soccer, the Olympics, cycling, falconry, and more global sports take our planet’s politics in a weirdly dark direction while also bringing joy to our planet’s people.

    Footnotes:

    NatalieKoch.com

    Critical Geographies of Sport: Space, Power and Sport in Global Perspective (edited by Dr. Natalie Koch)

    FIFA Announces Russia, Qatar as World Cup Hosts for 2018, 2022 (Full Presentation)

    Soccer’s Culture of Corruption (New York Review Of Books)

    Opinion: Did Russia Steal the World Cup? (The New York Times)

    FIFA releases report detailing alleged corruption in World Cup bids of Russia and Qatar (Los Angeles Times)

    Fifa official took bribes to back Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid, court hears (The Guardian)

    Plot to buy the World Cup: Huge email cache reveals secrets of Qatar’s shock victory (Times of London)

    What happened to the Qatar World Cup’s cooling technology? (BBC News)

    Revealed: Qatar’s World Cup ‘slaves’ (The Guardian)

    Stadium deals, corruption and bribery: the questions at the heart of Brazil’s Olympic and World Cup ‘miracle’ (The Guardian)

    How Uruguay broke Brazilian hearts in the 1950 World Cup (BBC News)

    Fifa corruption claims: South Africa ‘agreed $10m deal’ (BBC News)

    FIFA Took Bribes Over Germany’s 2006 World Cup Bid, Report Says (TIME)

    How The 2002 World Cup Became The Most Controversial Tournament in Recent Memory (Vice Sports)

    Ex-FIFA official had $6,000-a-month Trump Tower apartment for unruly cats (The Washington Post)

    The Economist explains: Vladimir Putin’s macho stunts

    Chairman Mao Swims in the Yangtze (TIME 100 Photos)

    “Gulf Nationalism and the Geopolitics of Constructing Falconry as a ‘Heritage Sport'” by Dr. Natalie Koch (Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism)

    Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (TripAdvisor)

    Benito Mussolini skiing & sledding without a shirt on

    World Cup stunning moments: Mussolini’s blackshirts’ 1938 win (The Guardian)

    Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/how-global-sporting-events-run-bribes-help-dictators

    The Way by Kristen Wolf

    Book Summary

    Anna is a striking and spirited young girl living in ancient Palestine where being a daughter is a disappointment. While her father excitedly anticipates the birth of his first son, the invisible Anna endures a life of drudgery. One bright spot in her world is the crippled old woman living by the village well who declares that the headstrong girl possesses a powerful destiny. But before the elder can reveal her prophecy an unexpected tragedy strikes Anna’s family and her father—dressing Anna as a boy—sells his daughter to a band of wandering shepherds.

    Abandoned and armed with only bravery and wits, Anna must learn to survive the harsh desert and unruly men. Yet just when she masters her bold life of disguise, she stumbles upon a den of mysterious caves and is captured by the secret band of women living inside. Unable to escape, Anna soon discovers that the sisterhood’s mystical teachings and miraculous healing abilities have forced her to question everything she’s been told to believe and—to her amazement—unleashed an astonishing power within her.

    But when violent enemies opposed to the women’s ways threaten to destroy them, Anna vows to save her mentors and preserve their powerful wisdom. Forced again to leave home and loved ones behind, a transformed Anna returns to the world of men—as only she can—determined to unfold a daring and dangerous mission: One that will put everything she’s become to the test. Will she succeed…or be condemned?

    Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2Ng0NuD

    “The Way is a daring and passionate debut from an author to watch in the future.” – Historical Novel Society

    “Wow, is all I can say. This novel blew me away!” – Book Pleasures

    “THE WAY is a magical, evocative first novel that I plan to buy a carton of to give to my family and friends. This message of compas­sion, healing, and respect for women could indeed transform our world.”  -Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of A Woman’s Journey to God

    Author Bio:

    KRISTEN WOLF is an award-winning author, creative and wondernaut living in the Rocky Mountains. Her debut novel, THE WAY, was hailed by O, The Oprah Magazine as “A Title to Pick Up Now!” Her second novel, ESCAPEMENT, won a 2018 IndieReader Discovery Award. A graduate of Georgetown University, she was nominated to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and holds an M.A. in creative writing from Hollins University.