Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Captian William Coe, An Oklahoma Outlaw and the Builder of Robber's Roost

During the 1860’s a group of cattle rustlers led by a man named Captain William Coe operated in an area that today is known as the Oklahoma Panhandle. This group conducted most of their rustling activities just across the border in Colorado and New Mexico but would occasionally prey on travelers using what was known as the “dry route” of the Santa Fe Trail. The gang would change the brands on the livestock and take it to Missouri to sell.

Captain Coe and his gang, which numbered between 30 and 50 men at a time made their headquarters at a spot known as Robber’s Roost, which is just north of Kenton, Oklahoma. Here the gang built a stone headquarters with walls three feet thick that had portholes instead of windows. The headquarters was equipped with a fully stocked bar, a piano and several women, you know, the necessities in life. From the location of the headquarters on top of the mesa they could see the surrounding area for miles and the rock fortress afforded the gang a lot of protection. They lasted at this location for four years.

There are various stories floating around about Captain Coe and his gang but one of the most told stories is that of the army coming to capture the Captain. It is said that in 1867 a detachment of 25 soldiers sporting a six-inch cannon marched into the area of Robber’s Roost and bombarded the stone fortress, killing several of the rustlers. Captain Coe and some of his men were able to escape only to be captured about a year latter by a posse. In 1868 Captain Coe had been captured and was sitting shackled in a jail cell when some very angry citizens took matters into their own hands and broke Captain Coe out of jail. Unfortunately for Captain Coe they weren’t there to set him free, they took him out to a tree and hanged him on the spot. He was buried under the same tree he was hanged from. It seems Captain Coe and his rustlers weren’t making very many friends in the area as the ranchers and the military were loosing a lot of livestock to the gang.

Just before Captain Coe was about to be hanged he supposedly stated; “Between here and Flag Springs arroyo I have buried enough gold to make you all rich”. To this day none of Captain Coe’s gold has been reported found. Most of the searches for his gold have taken place around the immediate area of Robber’s Roost, Black Mesa and Carrizozo Creek Valley. It should be noted that Captain Coe was hanged near Pueblo, Colorado so this statement may have been made at another time that he was caught but able to escape. Captain Coe had escaped his captors on at least two occasions prior to being hanged. That’s why he was shackled while in a jail cell. It’s also possible that the captain’s treasure isn’t where everyone thinks it is. I guess that would be kind of a “duh” since nobody has found it!

Captain Coe was known to move his stolen herds into what is called Blacksmith Canyon where the cattle were rested, the brands changed and the gang’s horses shod. They kept equipment in the canyon that they stole from travelers on the Santa Fe Trail for branding the cattle and working with the horses.

If I was a betting man I would bet there is something hidden in Blacksmith Canyon. At the least you could probably find some pretty good relics that would make your day and even be worth some money.

As a side note, an Indian that rode with Captain Coe and his gang claimed on his deathbed that the gang had stumbled across the remains of a pack train that had been attacked by Indians. Part of this pack train supposedly contained $750,000 of gold and Spanish coins that was scattered about at the site of the attack. The Indian said that the treasure was gathered up and buried in the area of Flag Springs where it was found.

Indians, Cowboys and the Spanish! What more could you ask for?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Dirty Little Coward (and Liar?)

I will start off by saying that this article could be a moot point depending on your beliefs about the death of Jesse W. James in 1882. I will also say that I’m just repeating the information so that anyone interested will have a chance to read it and maybe follow up on it in some way. Should that have been in fine print?

Robert Ford, “the dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard”.

It seems that shooting a man in the back didn’t pay very well or at least not too quickly back in the 1800s. I have found in several newspaper articles of the time that Bob Ford apparently did not receive all of the promised $10,000 reward after he supposedly shot Jesse James. I haven’t found the exact amount that he was paid but It would appear that what ever amount he did receive, he didn’t get it very quickly. On May 4th, 1882 Bob Ford pawned the handgun he used to “shoot Jesse James” with because he needed money. I can only assume he got the pistol out of pawn later but prior to pawning the handgun Bob Ford was made to sign a sworn affidavit testifying to the authenticity of the pistol.

That affidavit read:

“Personally came before me, J.C. Ranson, justice of the peace in and for the county of Jackson, Robert N. Ford, who, having been by me duly sworn, deposes and says that the pistol, NO. 50-432 Colt 45 calibre, here shown, is the same that he, Robert N. Ford, used to shoot and kill Jesse James, at the city of St. Joseph, on the 3rd day of April 1882.
[signed] ROBERT N. FORD

How big was that hole in the back of Jesse’s skull that they exhumed in Kearny, MO? Didn’t they find a .38 caliber round in the coffin?

I think Bob Ford probably made a few extra bucks selling “the gun” that killed Jesse James more than once. In 2003 there was an auction in Anaheim, California where the “gun that killed Jesse James” was up for sale. This gun happened to be a nickel-plated Smith & Wesson single action revolver in .44 caliber made sometime around 1875.

According to the auction house this Smith & Wesson supposedly had “extensive documentation about the origin, or "provenance." And the Jesse James gun comes with an unbroken provenance.”” "Documentation includes a sworn affidavit dated February 1904 that says James gave the gun to Ford days before the shooting. For a while in the 1960s, the gun's whereabouts were unknown after it was stolen from a museum.” They didn’t mention who signed that affidavit though.

The gun had previously been sold to a man in England for $160,000 and at this auction it sold for $350,000! That’s a lot of money for something that may be a fake in more ways than one. If Jesse James staged his own death then the pistol is a fake. If Bob Ford used a .45 Colt then the pistol is a fake. Does anybody need a bridge?

The picture at the top of this article is Bob Ford supposedly holding the gun that he shot Jesse James with. It's definitely a single action revolver and from what I can see of it, it appears to be a Colt but based on the difference in color between the wood grips and the backstrap this gun looks to be nickle-plated. There was nothing in Bob Ford's affidavit about the gun he pawned being nickle-plated but maybe the judge left that out. The only single action Smith & Wesson I'm aware of that was made during that time period was the S&W Schofield #3 or it's variants. That pistol looks nothing like the one in the photograph with Bob Ford.

Just one more thing to add to the pile of stuff that will probably never be figured out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Copper Map

Any treasure hunter in the Midwest part of the United States who has done any reading at all about treasure maps has heard of the copper map. Even many of those that aren’t from the Midwest have heard of it, some know it as the “wolf” map. A name given to it by another treasure hunter a few years back in reference to the "wolf" figure in the center of the map.

If you haven’t heard about it (you should really get out more) the quick run down is that this is a map that was etched onto a sheet of copper and then rolled up, stuck into an iron kettle with several other objects and buried on or around Buzzard’s Roost in Oklahoma. Joe Hunter and another treasure hunter unearthed the kettle back in the 1930s while looking for a Jesse James treasure and the mystery began.

There are a lot of stories floating around about what the map leads to and where it goes and even where it actually came from. Some say the map was made by Jesse James as part of his involvement in the KGC, you can imagine me rolling on the floor in laughter as I wrote that. Others say it was made by Jesse James and is strictly an outlaw map going to one or more of his treasure caches and there are still others that have their own individual theories as to the origin and complexity of the map. I would be included in that last group. Besides the KGC and regular old outlaw map theories there are at least five other theories that I am aware of about the maps origin and how it should be used. One of those theories is that the copper map is part of a series of maps that need to be used together.

If you have read any of the forums you know that Okie and I are both working on this map and we both have different ideas about who made the map, how it works and where it goes. We routinely give each other a hard time about it but we both will jump at the chance to help each other out, all for the sake of solving the riddle (and maybe finding just a little gold in the process!) I personally know of at least six other people who are working on this map and more than one says they have it solved. I haven't heard of anyone digging anything up yet so I would say it's still up for grabs.

There are those that think the map goes to a location in south central Oklahoma and others that think it goes farther north. Some think that it doesn’t go to a location in Oklahoma at all and there is more than one that have some pretty wild ideas about how this map works and how much area it covers. Out of all of the people I know working on this map, the main consensus is that it goes to a location in southern Oklahoma. Does that narrow it down for you?

There are very few good copies of this map floating around out there and to my knowledge there has never been a good clean copy of the map published anywhere. Dwight Traina posted a copy on the Internet many years ago and it is still available to this day. (http://bluewolf.users.50megs.com//cementmap.jpg) Even this copy didn’t have all of the symbols and information on it that I feel tells the whole story about where this map came from and how it should be used.

If you are a connoisseur of treasure maps then this would be a good one to sink your teeth into for practice. There is a lot going on in this map and I’m not sure all of the symbols will ever be interpreted. I don’t think that will keep someone from uncovering a treasure or two using the map, there is more than one treasure depicted on the map in my opinion, and it’s possible all of the treasure locations can be found without interpreting all of the symbols. This may seem a little strange but I believe enough information exists on the map to give the locations of the treasures without having to interpret every last symbol. This is because there are additional symbols and markers in the field that correspond to the map, at least at my location there is!

I believe this map employs several intentional “tricks” and there are others that might be considered tricks but they are more of a style of mapmaking instead of actual tricks. How’s that for confusing.

As you have probably noticed, I have been very careful about what I say about this map. At this point there are several people including myself that are actively working this map and some of those people and I share information with each other concerning our theories and interpretations. I don’t want to inadvertently give away somebody’s information or even mine for that matter so I have kept this article very general in nature.

I would love to post a nice clean copy of this map for all to see but that would get me in trouble with more than one person and besides that, I’m not ready to give away those secrets just yet. With any luck at all you may get to see more of the map when Okie gets his book finished or when I dig up the treasure! :-)

You better save this quick, Okie is liable to delete the post! Just kidding, no big secrets given away today. I did post Dwight’s copy of the map at the top of the article if you are wondering where that copy came from.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Spanish Monuments, The Head

A while back I wrote an article about Spanish faces. This article could be considered a continuation of that article however I will probably contradict a little of what I said in the first article. Am I changing my mind about the way to interpret things? No, I have just come across a variation on the face monument and how it is interpreted so I thought I would share. Remember, as I always say, there are very few absolutes in treasure hunting.

I would also caution you again that these articles are about how certain clues have worked, actually being worked out in the field and not making a guess at what they might mean. The articles are intended to show you how things have worked so you will have ideas on how to work the things you find.

This particular marker, which I have posted a photo of, is a head with one eye. Even though the head can be seen from a distance and from more than one direction, it is meant to be seen from a specific spot. The spot that you should be looking at the head from is a flat area in a wash or gully below the head.

The head itself is giving you three pieces of information. Two of those pieces are telling you where to look and the third is telling you what to look for. This particular marker or monument isn’t telling you the exact location of the hole but it is telling you where to look for the hole at.

When it comes to faces and heads the most obvious thing to do is look in the direction they are looking. In the case of this head, the first and foremost piece of information is how the head is situated. This head is located at the top of a ridgeline and it is looking up. The most obvious thing to do is “look up”. On this head you aren’t looking up in the same direction the head is, the information the marker is imparting is simply “look up” from the spot you are standing at. This can be determined from the fact that if you looked up in the direction the nose of the head was pointing all you would see is sky. There are no hills or mountains close behind you to look up at. So this leaves you with the simple interpretation of “look up”.

The second piece of information is the eye on the head. In this case the eye is on the right side of the head, which would normally tell you to look to the right, but this eye is made with a deep cut and set back some from the nose which gives the impression of looking to the left. Of course this would be to the left as you are standing in the wash looking up at the head. This means you are looking up and to the left from the place you are standing at.

The third piece of information and the most cleverly imparted is the eye itself. The eye is long and deep like a gully or wash. From where you are standing in the wash below the head, if you look up and to the left you will see a wash or gully/ arroyo shaped like the eye (long and narrow) in the side of the mountain. So not only does the eye give you a direction to look but it also gives you a 3D picture of what to look for. This gully is the first gully you come to going to the left of the head and the head is only about 100 yards from the gully.

This large head corresponds with the location on a map I am currently working on and the wash that is the eye is where the map says to look for the hole.

Once winter arrives and I can get back to this spot without all of the snakes, bugs, brush and heat I will have more for you about the other markers on this trail. And hopefully a really nice picture of an empty hole! What? You don’t really think I would post a photo of a hole full of gold do you?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Breton Island, A Really Big Treasure Hoax?

Is it possible that someone would go to all of the trouble to make up a treasure story just to get his or her name in the newspaper? It’s a rhetorical question folks, we all know people would and have. Should I mention some names? OK, on with the article.

This story comes to us from a man in Portland, Oregon, a shoe salesman no less, who claimed to be the only person alive that new the location of sixty-two million dollars of gold bullion. Now that’s 62 million dollars in 1862 money, I haven’t added anything for inflation!

According to L. R. Blackwell, sometime around 1900 he was sailing around the area that today is known as the Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge (conspiracy buffs are grinning right now) when he pulled into a small sandy island to look for game. According to Mr. Blackwell he took a small boat from his sloop to the island and just happened to land at a spot where an iron post was sticking out of the sand six feet high. Mr. Blackwell and his dog stepped onto the island at which time he spotted a rabbit and shot at it with his shotgun. He must have not been that great of a shot because the rabbit took off running to hide under some brush.

In searching for the rabbit Mr. Blackwell crawled into the brush and came across a large stone with some strange markings on it. He had know idea at the time what the markings were but he supposedly made a point of drawing them out and plotting the location of the island before sailing away, apparently without his rabbit. From this point Mr. Blackwell headed for New Orleans where he was going to sell his boat.

According to Mr. Blackwell the man who bought his boat wanted him to pull it out of the water so he could see the bottom of the boat so Mr. Blackwell sailed the boat across a small inlet and beached it on the sand. After pulling the boat out of the water Mr. Blackwell was tired and wondered into a vacant home. Once inside he found several old newspapers lying on the floor and in reading one of those while resting he came upon the story of a British steamship that was marooned during a hurricane in 1862. The steamship was supposedly named the Breton and was not marooned once but twice during two separate hurricanes just a few weeks apart.

According to Mr. Blackwell the steamship Breton was carrying sixty-two million dollars in gold bullion from Mexico to London for reparations to several European nations. Remember, this was supposed to have happened in 1862.

The story goes that the Captain of the steamship Breton knew that bad weather was coming but thought his ship could make it through because it was just going to be a storm. Unfortunately his storm turned out to be a hurricane. I guess he could forecast the weather about as well as the weathermen can today! Once the hurricane had passed the captain and crew, a total of 62 men, found themselves marooned on a sandy island with the ship completely out of water and several hundred feet from the shore. The Captain decided he wasn’t going to be able to get his boat back in the water and for safekeeping; he and his crew buried the gold bullion on this small sand island.

Once the Captain and crew buried all of the gold the Captain sent a group of several men in a small boat towards the closest settlement they knew of. It was supposedly about “sixty miles” away up the canals and bayous of Louisiana. OK, lets re-cap, we have 62 men on a boat in 1862 with 62 million dollars of gold stuck on an island after a hurricane and they are about sixty miles from the nearest settlement. Am I detecting a pattern here?

Sometime along the trip to the settlement one of the men decided he wanted out of the boat because he just couldn’t take it anymore, I know the feeling! This man was found several days later wondering the bayous “crazed with fever”. He was taken to a hospital in New Orleans where after a “couple of weeks in a delirium” he recovered consciousness and told the story of the gold and the others that were still shipwrecked. This very unlucky man died in the hospital just a few hours after telling his story.

Unbeknownst to the man in the hospital a second hurricane came along and washed the steamship off of the first island it was on and onto another island a little over a mile away. A rescue was mounted to save the other crewmembers but none were found. They supposedly found the ship on a sandy island and this is supposedly where the name of Breton Island is said to originate from. The group of men in the small boat that had dropped off our storyteller all supposedly perished.

Several searches were said to have been made on this second island for the massive treasure however it was never found. Apparently nobody looking for the treasure paid attention to the fact there were two hurricanes, one right after another and the second one moved the ship from one island to another.

This whole story comes from Mr. R.L. Blackburn of Portland, Oregon. He said that he hadn’t returned to retrieve the treasure because he couldn’t find a boat crew trustworthy enough to take on such a recovery.

When I first read this story in the Galveston Daily News (September 8, 1907) I thought “holy crap, this is great” but then my logical side kicked in and I started doing just a little more research and thinking. And for that guy in Hutchinson, I didn’t read the newspaper article on September 8, 1907, that’s when it was published. I’m old but not that old!

First, I tried to find mention of a British steamship named Breton. When that failed I looked for any ship, British or not and steamship or not named Breton and couldn’t find one. I also couldn’t find any corroboration of this story in any Louisiana newspapers where Mr. Blackwell said he first read the story. I also wondered just how Mr. Blackwell knew that the ship was moved from one island to another if none of the crew was ever found and the crewman who made it to the hospital didn’t know the second hurricane came along.

Does this treasure really exist? I will leave that up to you to decide. If you are interested in this treasure tale it will take some more research on your part to prove or disprove the story.

Breton Island actually consists of two adjacent islands, north and south. The two islands have a combined length of approximately three miles and they are about one mile wide. The two islands are part of a chain of barrier islands that include Chandeleur Island.

There are several other stories of treasure being buried in this chain of islands, especially on Chandeleur Island, mostly by pirates. It is said that in 1942 a fisherman found a cache of several thousand silver coins on the northern most island in this group of islands. The other stories appear to be a more legitimate than the one of teh steamship Breton.

If you are thinking about searching for any of these treasures you have just a few obstacles ahead of you.

To start with, all but one of the islands is part of a national wildlife refuge. As with most refuges, you can be on certain parts of the property but what you can legally do while there is limited, especially to us treasure hunters. If you are wondering (conspiracy theorists) the chain of islands were turned into a federal wildlife refuge in 1904 to save the nesting areas of several species of birds. Yea, right, who believes that? They just don’t want us getting any of that treasure!

Your next problem will be the islands themselves. They are made up of sand and silt (from the Mississippi River) and they change shape constantly due to the weather and especially hurricanes. Hurricane Katrina really did a number on them a few years back.

After that you have to worry about settling. Burying anything heavy in constantly shifting sands is going to make that heavy (and expensive) pile of metal continue to settle or sink in the sand. How far will it go in a century or two? How long is your probing rod?

There will be several more headaches if you decide to go playing in the sand but I’m sure you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ben Marshall

Muskogee, Oklahoma,
Ben Marshall was one of the wealthiest Native Americans living in the Eastern part of Indian Territory (Oklahoma) before the start of the Civil War. He was a trader, farmer, and had large slave holdings. His plantations lay between two rivers and were very productive and Ben was able to accumulate vast wealth.
At the outbreak of the Civil War Ben and a trusted slave loaded four barrels of gold and silver coins onto a farm wagon and drove off into the night to hide the money in a new location. The family soon moved south until after the war had ended.
Only Ben, his wife, and the trusted slave knew the location of the hidden wealth. Each of them died within a few months of each other and with them the secret location of the four barrels of gold and silver coins went to the grave. The Marshall descendants were never able to locate the money.
An old trapper claimed to have found four barrels of money hidden in a cave. On his visits to Ft. Smith he would produce pockets full of gold and silver coins. With some research I think that a person could find the location of the Marshall's land holdings. A good place to start would be 16N 17E sections 32 and 33. A Mr. N. B. Moore saw Ben and his slave the morning after the left to hide the money. I would try and find were he lived as this might give you a direction of travel.
Good luck and good hunting

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Hoot Owl Trail? Really?

I know I’m going to catch a lot of flak from the KGC people out there on this one but I gotta do what I gotta do! Before you get in an uproar about this article, keep in mind that these articles are meant to stimulate your mind, give you information that you might not otherwise have and show that research is key in what we do if we want to be successful. Hopefully the articles are occasionally entertaining because we certainly wouldn’t want to bore you!

Anyone out there that has done any reading anywhere about the KGC has certainly heard of the “hoot owl trail” and “hoot owl trees”. For those of you that have used your time wisely and hunted treasures other than the alleged billions of the KGC the “hoot owl trail” is supposedly a trail or trails consisting of trees that were intentionally bent or shaped to point in a specific direction and in some cases, supposedly give additional information such as a distance to another point. These trees are supposed to be related to treasure if you believe the KGC myths. I guess at this point I should say that this is my opinion concerning the statement “KGC myths” but if you have been reading the blog you already knew that.

Well, here’s something you probably didn’t know. The “hoot owl trail” of KGC lore seems to be the manipulation of an old saying, using an existing phrase to fabricate something. In this case a marked trail, and by fabricate, I mean changing the information into something that it is not. I wonder where that kind of fabrication could have come from? Maybe from the same place the KGC template came from? Are you getting tired of that yet?

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying these shaped trees didn’t exist. They were most certainly used by the Indians to mark trails but the Indians never called them hoot owl trees. I will also add that I don’t think anyone in the KGC ever used a “hoot owl tree” to mark a trail because it would take years for a tree to be shaped into the pointer it was meant to be. The KGC didn’t use trails in that manner and they wouldn’t have been around long enough to form enough trees to point the way on a trail. Of course, if the KGC never put billions of dollars in the ground then there wouldn’t be anything to make a trail to anyway.

This doesn’t mean the occasional outlaw didn’t shape a tree by cutting off branches or marked a tree in some way but they didn’t bend a tree and tie it down to form a particular shape.

The original name of the hoot owl trail was actually the “Owl Hoot Trail”. There isn’t much difference between the two except in the definition. In researching the phrase I came across an autobiography of Jim Herron. Mr. Herron was the first sheriff of “No Mans Land” in the Oklahoma Territory. Mr. Herron was also a horse and cattle thief but that was after his days as a sheriff. I guess upholding the law didn’t pay very well back then.

According to Jim Herron’s autobiography the “owl hoot trail” was a phrase used to describe someone who was wanted by the law and continually moving around to keep from getting caught. The phrase originated from a saying used in the “old days” that said; “a man had seen the elephant and heard the owl holler”. Jim Herron said that this meant a man “had been around a lot and slept out, maybe hid out when he got tangled up with the Law a bit”. “If he was wanted real bad by the Law, we’d say he was ridin’ the Owl Hoot Trail”.

The “Owl Hoot Trail” had nothing to do with trees, it simply meant you were out on your own, staying away from towns as much as possible and hiding from the law. This phrase seemed to be very prominent among outlaws and was widely known/used by outlaws and men that worked the cattle trails in the 1800s.

It didn’t have anything to do with the bent or shaped trees and in fact, wasn’t even an actual trail. It was used as a description of something you were doing and not as the name of a specific trail or tree or marker. It seems this too may have been another one of those things Dalton and/or Howk twisted a little to fit their needs.

I guess the hoot owl trail has bit the dust.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Graves Creek near Wetumka, Oklahoma

If you are looking for a spot to hunt for a cache or two of treasure and civil war relics all in one then this may be the spot for you. Grave’s Creek in Oklahoma has it’s share of history and yes, the creek gets it’s name from what you imagine although the graves are a bit older than you think.

Graves Creek is located about four miles south of present day Wetumka, Oklahoma and connects to Wewoka Creek. This area is full of stories and legends of battles and buried treasure. The most prominent story is about a battle that took place just after or maybe right at the end of the Civil War. The battle is said to have been between General Ben McCullock’s men and those of Zeke Proctor’s “loyal Indians”. General McCullock and his men were heading from Texas back to Missouri when the battle occurred. The number of deaths during this battle has been estimated between 50 and as many as 150 men.

Strangely enough, Grave’s Creek did not get its name from these deaths. The creek was already known as Grave’s Creek because of the numerous Indian graves along the creek. This was apparently a burial ground for the bodies of the Indians that had died from disease.

According to legend, General McCullock and his men were transporting a “barrel of coins” and buried this barrel just before the battle began. As with most treasure legends, the barrel was apparently never recovered. The battle took place on the east side of the creek so you might want to start your search in that area. Grave’s Creek is located just west of Highway 75. The battle most likely took place either is Section 4 or Section 9 and my bet would be Section 9 but do some more of your own research if you decide to check this one out!

If a barrel of coins isn’t enough to get you interested then maybe the “Twin Hills” overlooking the creek to the west will peak your interest. Different outlaws used these two hills during their time as a look out post and numerous carvings have been found in the area of the Twin Hills. The locals have said the “marks and signs” were known to be from the outlaws and thought to mark their territory. You just have to love the locals!

This is a spot that would be worth a walk through at least, just to see what carvings and marks are still there. You may just be lucky enough to come across a carved map that will lead you to a treasure. I will warn you ahead of time, the name “Twin Hills” is apparently a local name because I couldn’t find them named on a topographical map of the area. These will probably be like the Buzzard’s Roost near Cement, Oklahoma, everyone out there will know where they are but the name doesn’t show up on a map. I’m sure one of those “locals” can point you right to them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More on the Carved Capital H

This article is about a few other ways that I have seen a carved capital letter H used in the field.

The first example is shown in the photo at the top of this article. The capital H is carved inside a circle with a line through the inside of the circle. In this case, the H is saying to look for a hill. Since the H is at the top of the circle it is saying that I needed to go to the top of the hill. Once there I found a circle of rocks that had a step inside it that you can stand on that would have you looking out over the treasure layout where you could actually see some of the topographic features in the rest of the carved map. The line inside the circle is telling you that you have to take a specific line to find which hill the circle of rocks is on. The line was given as a compass heading in another part of the carving. I apologize for the long explanation but I didn’t want to give you the information about the H without explaining what was around it. This H simply said that you are looking for a hill. The location of the H within the carving indicated I needed to be on the top of the hill. The rest of the carving gave more specific information about how to find the hill. I should point out that interpreting the H to mean a hill was fairly simple but until I worked more of the carving I couldn’t find the compass heading that told me which hill to look on. I had a choice of six in the area. The circle around the H was an indication that everything inside the circle had to be worked together. In this case the line or compass heading was needed to find the hill.

The next H was a fairly simple interpretation and it actually led to another carving. This H has a drill hole or dot at the bottom right side of the H. In this case the H also stood for a hill but the drill hole indicated there was something at the bottom right of the hill as you stood looking at the H. As we walked around the base of this hill to the right side on the front of the hill we found a small overhang about three feet above the base of the hill. As we crawled around in the dirt under this overhang we found a carving located on the bottom side of the overhang. If you had a good idea where the second carving was you might not need the H. to find it but the H.carving made it a lot easier to locate.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Winner!

We have a winner! The “dukeofearl” has solved the coded message and won absolutely nothing!

The message reads;

Outlaws liked to carve symbols in rock so that they wouldn’t have to carry around a map that might get lost or stolen.

For those of you that are wondering, this cipher was a monaphabetic substitution cipher. The numbers in the cipher message have no meaning other than to separate the words in the message. The letters in the words in the message are one letter forward in the alphabet of the letter used in the plaintext message. An “a” in plaintext becomes a “b” an “f” becomes a “g” and so on in the coded message.

A hand written message using this cipher method was found in the margins of an 1864 issue of “Colburn’s United Service Magazine”. The coded message was part of an allegorical poem talking about “when Abraham should die”. There were additional coded messages in this magazine using a second type of cipher. One of those coded messages said in part “there were at least eleven members of Congress involved in the plot”.

If you liked the idea of solving a coded message then please let us know either by e-mailing Okie or myself or leaving a comment. If this is something everyone likes we will work on putting together another coded message for everyone to try to decipher.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Coded Message, Enjoy!

Okie has come up with the idea to post something in a code and see if our readers can figure out how to decode it. This seems like it may turn out to be fun, educational and interesting but since I already know the answer I may think it’s more fun than others.

Here is the educational part of the article; codes and ciphers are two separate things. Ciphers generally consist of two types, the transposition and the substitution. The substitution method is pretty self explanatory as the letters and numbers in the plaintext message are substituted with others. The transposition type cipher simply jumbles the plaintext letters and numbers around. Most ciphers employ the use of a “key” which will specify things such as the arrangement of letters within a cipher alphabet or the pattern that the letters in a “transposition” cipher will be shuffled around. A cipher can be monalphabetic or polyalphabetic. The first using only one cipher alphabet and the second using two or more cipher alphabets to substitute the actual plaintext of the message. Ciphers can also include what are known as “nulls”. Nulls are symbols that have no meaning and are simply in the cipher to confuse those who might try to intercept the message.

Anybody confused yet? For simplicity, the first message will be a cipher and not a code. To make this easier we will use a monalphabetic cipher and to keep it treasure related we will only use known ciphers from the time that most treasures were put in the ground. That will give you a time period from about 1400 to 1900. I know, there were treasures before and after those time periods but I figured five hundred years of ciphers was enough for you to look through. I don’t want you breaking into some U-Boat relic somewhere for their cipher machine!

As an even bigger hint I will tell you that the cipher I am using in the first message is known to have been used in the 1860s to encode a message about the assassination of President Lincoln. The cipher itself was originally used long before that time but this might give you a hint on how to solve it. Watch out for the nulls that may or may not be there!

If you can decipher the message then please post the deciphered message by clicking on the “comments” link at the bottom of this article. If you are the first to post the message you will when a new car! Yea, right, you know better than that don’t you??? Maybe we will give you a Hot Wheels car at the next meeting! If you are the first to decipher the message and post the answer you will at least have bragging rights. That will be good enough for now won’t it?

Now for the fun part, the message:

P V U M B X T 5 M J L F E 3 U P 4 0 6 D B S W F 4 T Z N C P M T 5 1 J O 6 S P D L 9 T P 1 U I B U 7 U I F Z 2 X P V M E O U 4 I B W F 5 U P 1 D B S S Z 7 B S P V O E 4 B 3 3 N B Q 6 U I B U 9 N J H I U 2 5 H F U 1 M P T U 7 P S 6 T U P M F O

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Carved Symbols, The Capital Letter "H"

The more you hunt for treasure caches the more carvings you are bound to run into. The more carvings you run into the more you will find different interpretations for the same symbol. This article is about a symbol I have run across on several occasions and each time it has meant something a little different. This is because different individuals/groups were responsible for making the carvings and each used the carving as they interpreted it. They didn’t have a book they carried around that said, “this symbol means this”.

The symbol I am referring to is the capital letter H. Take notice that I said the CAPITAL letter H. The capital letter H and the lower case h can, and generally do, mean something different. In the case of the capital H, I have found it to mean a “tunnel”, a “hill”, the “hole”(and not because of the H, I will explain this later), to look up or “high” and it has been used as a reference for a starting point with no actual meaning other than find the H and start there.

One capital H I came across was used twice in the same trail and had two different meanings. This particular H is carved on a large boulder and the boulder sits in the bottom of a small valley directly below a sandstone bluff about 40 feet above the boulder. In the first use of the H it told me “high” or look up. When I did I saw the bluff and in climbing up to the bluff (a real pain in the butt) I found a carved map. This was a fairly simple interpretation but it was a correct interpretation.

The second time this H was used was in the map itself. About half way through the carved map a capital H showed up and had I been just a little smarter at the time I may have skipped the first half of the map and gone directly to the H because the first half of the map took me all over the valley floor just to bring me back to the H carved on the boulder where I started. You can imagine that at this point I was really cussing the outlaw that made this map! So the second time the H was used was as a marker in the map itself. In the second instance the H didn’t mean anything other than “at the H”.

I have also found that the capital H can mean “hole”, but only in certain instances. In the one situation where I found the H to mean a hole the H wasn’t really an H but intended give you the impression it was an H. Are you confused yet? Yea, me too! This H, I have included a photo for you to see, looks like it had been weathered enough to change part of the letter. At least that was my first thought but I later realized this was a mistake. If you look at this carving closely you will see that the top half of the H looks like a squared off U. This squared off U is a sign I have seen several times and means “hole”. This is simply a picture of a hole in the ground. In this case, the carver was trying to camouflage the symbol by making it look like an H.

See how simple treasure hunting is! Now you know why I don’t have much hair. Between treasure hunting and two daughters it just went by the wayside.