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Buried Treasure Accross America

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  • Buried Treasure Accross America

    Millions Near You? Real-Life Treasure Hunts
    Feb. 5, 2009

    With this draining economy, record job losses and a hot mess in Congress contemplating almost a $1 trillion stimulus package (or bail out depending on your view), who couldn't use some extra cash?

    By extra cash, I don't mean a forgotten five dollar bill you left in your winter coat or the $100 you took in the office football pool. I'm talking about getting real money that doesn't involve the prayers of a lottery ticket or breaking any of the commandments, particularly the eighth and ninth.

    There's millions and millions, maybe even billions of dollars, in buried treasure throughout America just waiting for someone with a Radio Shack metal detector to come along.

    If you can solve the string of numbers pictured left, you may be able to find the exact location in Virginia of the Beale Cipher treasure estimated at $43 million. There's also the the millions from gangster Dutch Schultz reportedly sitting in a safe buried somewhere in the Catskill mountains or the mysterious Oak Island Money Pit where two million pounds of gold was buried beneath of Oak Island. It's obvious something was buried there, but what?

    Treasure hunting may pick up in popularity in the recent months as more people are cash-strapped with extra time, but let's hope the fever pitch never allows a repeat of Geraldo Rivera's televised treasurrific failure of "The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults."

    Read on to find more lost treasure, but some practical advice first. Check local ordinances before digging, picking or otherwise tinkering and respect private property. If you get arrested for trespassing, you're losing money instead of finding it. These adventures are based on rumors and speculation, in some cases, very old speculation so if you decide to embark on one of these treasure hunts, do your research and if you happen to not find the gold, there's still the lottery and the time-honored crossing of fingers.

    Dutch Schultz's Buried Gangster Treasure

    The Would-Be Treasure: Gangster Dutch Schultz's entire wealth
    Estimated Value: $7 million (1935), $30 million (today)
    Possible Location: A safe in the Catskill Mountains near Phoenicia, NY

    The Legend: Old-school gangtser Dutch Schultz was a very successful criminal amassing millions of dollars during Prohibition. However, he made enemies with the government and fellow mobsters like Lucky Luciano. It was his 'colleagues' that eventually did him with a vicious mob hit in 1935.

    Fearing confiscation of his wealth either from the government or his colleagues, Schultz supposedly loaded up $5-7 million in a safe and headed upstate out of Manhattan with his bodyguard. They were spotted in Phoenicia, NY in the Catskills and returned back to his Newark, NJ office where he would be shot soon thereafter. His bodyguard also died in the mob hit so the only two people who knew the loot's location were dead.

    The Clues: High on morphine and hallucinating due to an infection from the rusty bullets his killers used, Dutch Schultz babbled on his death bed for a couple of hours before he went into a coma and died.

    Or was it babbling? Some believe he was giving clues to the location of his buried treasure. The words have been part of the plot of the 'Illuminatus' trilogy and Beat poet William S. Burroughs used the deathbed monologue for a novel simply titled 'The Last Words of Dutch Schultz.' An annual gathering of Catskill treasure hunters uses the words as an unofficial map along with books like John Conway's 'Dutch Schultz and His Lost Catskills' Treasure.'

    Here are some of the key lines from his last words:
    ... Wonder who owns these woods?. . .he'll never know what's hidden in `em ...
    ... Lulu [his bodyguard], drive me back to Phoenicia. Don't be a dope Lulu, we better get those Liberty bonds out of the box and cash `em
    ... John, please, did you buy me the hotel for a million?. . .I'll get you the cash out of the box. . .there's enough in it to buy four-five more

    Other clues to consider are the area road systems in 1935, (hint: you can find a map online), the speed and distance of a 1935 car and with Satan getting multiple mentions in the last words, the area has several landmarks with the word devil in them. Oh, and the fact they were city boys and would likely bury it not too far from the road, but far away enough from a town.

    For a primer watch the documentary 'Digging for Dutch' documentary and be remember to follow local and state ordinances on digging and respect private property.

    The Beale Ciphers

    The Would-Be Treasure: John Beale's (and neighbors') Hidden Money
    Estimated Value: $42 million gold, $1 million silver, unknown jewels (today's prices)
    Possible Location: Near Montvale, Bedford Co., Va.

    The Legend: It seems most buried treasure is buried due to the outcome of an unforeseen circumstances (e.g. shipwreck, thievery, untimely mob hit) and that's the case with the Beale Ciphers, three cryptograms written by Thomas Beale that when deciphered will show where the X marks the spot of gold buried in Virginia. Some doubt the existence of the gold since no record of Beale exists and most of the information about him and the treasure's mysteries are from a 1885 publication, 60 years after the treasure had been buried.

    The story goes that Beale and a group of men came across some treasure in New Mexico and brought it back to Virginia and buried it for safekeeping. He created three cryptograms that show inventory the contents of the treasure, its location and the list of owners. He entrusted the ciphers to a Lynchburg tavern owner and went on another expedition, never to return.

    The Clues: Of the three ciphertexts, only the second, noting the treasure's location, has been solved. Ciphertexts use strings of numbers and the solver must use some other writing as a key to crack the case. The number 227 for instance would refer to either the 227 word or letter in another document. For the solved ciphertext, the Declaration of Independence was used.

    Here are highlights of the solved message:

    I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford's, in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles, belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three, herewith:

    The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold, and thirty-eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited Nov. 1819. The second was made Dec. 21, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight of silver.

    The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.

    The cracked code notes a general location with an inventory of the treasure, but also notes that the first cipher gives the exact location. Which, if you solved that, it would be like knowing the lottery numbers before their picked ... JACKPOT!

    If you want to take a crack at it, search for the Beale Ciphers and get started translating the long lists of numbers.

    The Infamous D.B. Cooper

    The Would-Be Treasure: Infamous hijacker D.B. Cooper's loot
    Estimated Value: Less than $200,000, $24.6 million (auction value)
    Possible Location: Near Lake Merwin, Wash.

    The Legend: By treasure standards, $200,000 isn't that much. Sure, if you discovered it and you're not independently wealthy, that's some nice change, but just like 'Who wants to Be a Millionaire' made everyday prize money on previous game shows seem small, so too does the gold hordes with a current market rate of $900 an ounce makes D.B. Cooper's ill-gotten $200,000 seem smallish.

    In 1971, a man travelling under the name Dan Cooper (the media would later call him D.B.) hijacked a plane that was on a relatively short flight from Portland to Seattle. He demanded a ransom of $200,000 in $20-dollar bills and two sets of parachutes, which the FBI gave him in exchange for the passengers, not the crew, at the Seattle airport. Once he had his loot and chutes, Cooper had the crew take off again en route to Mexico. Somewhere over Lake Merwin, Wash., Cooper lowered the cargo doors and jumped with his cash into the cloudy storm, undetected by the military jets accompanying the airliner.

    No one is sure if he survived the jump or not. The man has never turned up, although some of the money has been found. The FBI microfiched all of the bills before giving them to him so they have solid records. D.B.

    Cooper and most of the money vanished, literally, into thin air

    The Clues: The plane was traveling slow and low per Cooper's instructions and a light signaled the pilots when the cargo doors were open which places Cooper around Lake Merwin. However, the FBI gave him one set of non-functioning teaching chutes which were not left behind so there is doubt he survived the jump. Interesting worth noting that the FBI released info in 2007 that the functioning was used to secure the money bag so even if Cooper, didn't survive, it seemed the money may have.

    In 1980, a young kid found found almost $6,000 of the bills at a picnic on the Columbia River. He was allowed to keep 143 of the bills ($2860) and last year auctioned off 15 of them for $37,000, which would give an auction value of the loot in the $24 million range. There was debate how the money got to the Columbia River, some say it was the natural flow of waterways from tributaries and others speculate a 1974 dredging project.

    In 2007 a property owner in Amboy, Wash. have claimed to have found the parachute, but forensic scientists doubt the nylon is the same.

    The FBI as recently as last year have been sending the bills in their possession to 'CSI' style labs where scientists are working to determine the exact location where the bills touched the ground from the residue on the bills. Early theories place the location significantly south of Cooper's traditional landing spot.

    Gold on Padre Island

    The Would-Be Treasure: John Singer's Gold
    Estimated Value: unknown
    Possible Location: Padre Island, Tex.

    The Legend: Padre Island has been known to take a man's money for centuries. From the disastrous series of shipwrecks where one storm and the island claimed three Spanish treasure ships to the modern 'Girls Gone Wild' type of Spring Break destination.

    It is the gold from the hundreds of years of shipwrecks where the story begins. John Singer of the famous sewing machine family shipwrecked on Padre Island with his family before after Texas Independence. They fell in love with the island and decided to stay. Upon exploration of the island and beaches, he reportedly found gold and jewels There was so much of it in fact he started burying it in a sand dune. He started cattle farming, but when the Union forces showed up during the Civil War, his family fled the island leaving the treasure behind.

    Upon returning after the war, the Union soldiers had destroyed most of what Singer had built and subsequent storms had redistributed the landscape so it was impossible for Singer to find the location of his sand dune. Reportedly, Singer died a pauper.

    The Clues: Probably not a good idea to bury that much gold in a shifting sand dune, but hey hindsight is 20/20, right? With the demolished dunes and destroyed homestead, the clues are hard to come by -- just like any good mystery. The Singer family left Port Isabel, Tex. and the storm hit soon thereafter so they should have waited out the storm somewhere closer to South Padre Island. The island is really narrow and really long theoretically the money dune could be on the west or east of the island but probably not that far north.


  • #2
    Oak Island Money Pit

    The Would-Be Treasure: Two-million pounds of gold
    Estimated Value: $29-billion (today)
    Possible Location: Somewhere under Oak Island, Nova Scotia

    The Legend: In the 1700s, in an area known for pirate hiding places, a big bonfire on Oak Island attracted the attention of locals. Four nosey neighbors went to the island and two disappeared and the surviving two described a scene with men digging. in 1795 a boy on a hunting expedition on the island and noticed a large depression near a big tree that had strange pulley marks on it. Convinced something lay underneath, he returned the next day with two friends.

    They started digging and every 10 feet found a man-made layers of wood which seemed to prove they were on the right path. After 30 feet, they realized they were in over their head, literally so they left to get help. It took 9 years for them to return with an investment to continue digging. They uncovered early promise in the re-dig effort when they found a non-native stone inscribed with the statement "Forty Feet Below Two Million Pounds Are Buried." They kept digging and digging and only found more wooden layers. Soon after, the pit flooded with water and repeated schemes to drain the pit failed and so this effort came to an end.

    Later excavations brought in machinery with similar results. Below the water level, they've found man-made caves and cement vaults, flood tunnels and a severed hand. When they reached 230 feet down, the clues ended and somewhere, all of this money is still there, unless of course it slipped into the Earth's core. It could be a wild goose chase, albeit an elaborate, labor-intensive one, but for $29 billion of gold, it's worth the hunt.

    The Clues: Oak Island is privately owned so you have to get permission to visit it, but there are periodic 'Island Days' where treasure fans can visit the island and plans are underway to start regular tours of Oak Island. The current company excavating the pit is planning on continuing digging for the treasure in 2009 as their 2008 permit expired and is in review with the Nova Scotia government. For more, clues, check out Oak Island investor Bill Milstead's site for photos, DVDs and more

    Maximilian's Millions

    The Would-Be Treasure: Mexican Emperor Maximilian's Gold
    Estimated Value: $5 million (1864ish)
    Possible Location: North Mountain area near El Paso, Tex.

    The Legend: Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, there lies the gold of Max-i-mil-ian. That goes really nice if sung to the tune of Marty Robbin's 'El Paso,' but I digress. This treasure story starts when the Austrian Maximilian was made Emperor of Mexico as part of some European political maneuvering by Napolean III. When he leaves Europe for Mexico, Max takes all of his massive wealth with him. Max was not well liked by the peasants who saw him as an outsider and there were constant threats of revolution. In 1867, with real threats pending on him and his wife, he sent his wife back to Europe and made arrangements to have his gold, $5 million worth in the 1860s, shipped back as well.

    Max just couldn't call up Fed Ex or send on a royal wagon since the peasants would find out and aggressively procure the treasure. He hid the loot in flour barrels and hired some extra security to escort his own men to take the treasure through Jaurez, into the border neighbor El Paso and then on a long trek to a Texas port.

    The only problem is that this was one of the most lawless areas at the time. Finally, the hired guns were curious why flour needed so much protection so they looked at the cargo and found the treasure. They killed Max's guys and claimed the gold. They buried it near Castel Gap around El Paso for safe keeping lest they find the same fate as their Mexican employers, but all of them died in various methods before they got back to enjoy their windfall.

    The Clues: The last living outlaw shared the location with his doctor on his deathbed and the doctor got some men and the map from the dead outlaw's instructions and headed off to Texas. They never found it, but landscapes change over decades and the map didn't fit the current terrain.

    Landscape integrity is a common theme in lost treasue and subsequent hunts for said treasure. That's why old cartoons used to use paces as measurements and maps with Xs. If only Bugs Bunny were real, he could probably find Maximilian's millions.


    • #3
      I just spend 5-10 mins searching the house for my wifes purse.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kevin View Post
        I just spend 5-10 mins searching the house for my wifes purse.
        You didn't read the disclosure! :ohman:

        ...some practical advice first. Check local ordinances before digging, picking or otherwise tinkering and respect private property.