Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Zerelda James Samuel???

Is this an early photo of the mother of Frank and Jesse James? On the back written in pencil are the words Jessie & Frank James Mother and what looks like July -18 4- 258. Note the corners of her mouth, shape of her nose, and the size differences of her eyes. Also the part of her hair. I tried to find an early picture of Zerelda to compare with but all I have come up with are pictures of her later in life. If anyone out there can help to verify this photo one way or another please contact us.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Outlaw Markers Part IV

Here are the final two photos in this series. These two markers were only about twenty feet apart and were meant to be worked together but you really had to have your thinking cap on to figure this one out. Something I occasionally forget to bring.

This first marker would appear to be fairly obvious. The carved map indicated I would find a circle that I should take a straight line from. When I first saw this drill hole in the rock with the straight edges on the left and the bottom it seemed obvious to me that I would take my line off of one of these two edges. This turned out to be a big mistake on my part and I spent the next two months trying to figure out why.

The cirlce and straight line that was on the carved map turned out to be this rock. This particualr rock is about one foot in diameter and about two inches thick. There is only one straight edge on the entire rock (on the upper left side) and it turned out this was what I should take my straight line off of. How did I find this rock?
That was the trick in this equation. A really sneaky trick I might add! If you look back at the first rock with the drill hole in it, pay attention to the shape of the rock. That particular rock was located on the side of a small hill. The rock was shaped exactly like the side of the hill I was looking at.
When you stood on this hill at the location of the rock with the drill hole in it all you could see was one specific part of the hill and that part of the hill was shaped like the drill hole rock with the left edge of the rock being the starting point.
This drill hole rock turned out to be a mini map of it's own, giving me a picture of the side of the hill (the only part of the hill you could see from this rock) and the drill hole told me where to look within that section of the hill for the next clue, which was the round stone with the one straight edge. So the carved map I was working lead me to another mini map within the trail which was meant to throw you off of the trail, since you wouldn't be expecting another map within the map.
Once I figured this out, found the second rock and followed the straight edge of that rock I was back on the trail and went right to the next clue, kicking myself in the ass all the way!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Outlaw Markers Part III

Here are a few more photos of some different outlaw markers I have found.

This is another upright rock that was placed next to a tree. It had been there so long that the tree had grown over part of the rock.

Many of you may have seen this one before. This is one of the few ACTUAL metal clues I have ever found. This knife was placed inside a tree. The outlaw had bored a hole into the trunk of the tree and placed the knife inside. The tree grew closed around the knife. It took a chain saw to cut open the tree and retrieve the knife. In this case, the knife was pointing on a specific compass heading that when added to another compass heading in the map made a 90 degree "corner".

This is yet another upright rock used as a clue. Are you sensing a pattern here? This one was used as a "you are here" type marker just to mark a point along the trail on the map.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Outlaw Markers Part II

This is a directional pointer. With this one you had to follow the line off of the top of the rock. This line took you up hill and to the right. This type of pointer could also very easily point you in a straight line.

I have also seen this used with Spanish trails where the slant of the top of the rock ending in a point also indicates to travel in that direction and that it could be uphill.

This is another "simple" pointer designed to send you in a specific direction.

This is a simple pointer, giving you a direction to go. This was a symbol on a carved map that I couldn't understand until I actually found the rocks and then it made sense.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Outlaw Markers, Part I

I thought I would post some photos of different outlaw markers I have come across in my searches instead of writing an article. I will do this in a few different posts to show the different kinds of things you can run into when working an outlaw map. Some of these had actuall meaning such as pointing me in a direction and others were simply saying "you are here" when following the map. These are by no means the only types of clues/markers you will find. Outlaws were pretty slick with some of their ideas on what to use for markers.

This "hole" is a simple "you are here" marker along the trail.
This upright rock marked a spot along the trail and also gave you a line to follow by using the upright edge as a line. Of course you had two different directions you could go but the map gave additional information that indicated I should take the uphill direction.
Another upright rock ( I have run into several of these in my searches for outlaw loot). This one is about two inches thick and acted as a "you are here" marker. This one did not give any additional information and the direction to go from this one was in the map.

This one is a very obvious pointer. At this spot you would go in the direction of the big point. Since this direction is somewhat subjective, meaning you cannot get an exact compass heading from this type of point, the distance traveled from this clue to the next was fairly short in distance, about 40 feet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Documenting a Treasure site

We have all gone onto that one treasure site, OK, maybe two or three, and didn’t bother taking notes or even photos thinking we would always remember exactly where that clue was or what it looked like.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I have found that to be a mistake over the years. The longer I treasure hunt the more sites I go to and that leads to confusion and brain farts. If you aren’t planning on returning to a site or sharing any information with anybody else in the world about it then it won’t matter. But on the slight chance you will get back to that site, or maybe your children will, you should always be prepared to document what you find in a couple of different ways.

I try to always carry a small notebook and pen with me so that I can write down notes about what I find. I keep a notebook for each site I work on so my notes don’t get lost or confused with some other site. I also try to carry a GPS where ever I go and write down the coordinates and a description of any clues or possible clues I run across. After that I photograph just about everything. With digital cameras coming into the market there’s not much reason not to take a photo now.

In the past I have used a cheap “this will do” camera and although it took photos, they weren’t the greatest photos in the world. Granted, they were better than nothing but I have found that with a better camera you get better photos. Better photos will allow you to do more with them and see more detail if necessary, depending on what you are photographing.

Having a topographical map and satellite photo of the area you are working in is a great idea also. I use a mapping program that gives me both for any area I work in and I try to plot the different clues/markers I find on the map and satellite photo and then PRINT THEM OUT! I’ve had two bad computer crashes in my life and with the first I lost so much information that I didn’t have saved anywhere else I will never get it all back again. I keep things on my computer, on a separate external hard drive and on CD’s and DVD disks AND I print them out. If it is something I consider to be really important I laminate what I print. Yea, I know, sounds a little anal but you just never know!

You would think that with all of the precautions I take I could go right to anything I was looking for but my filing system sucks! I have boxes and boxes of stuff in the basement, two filing cabinets full of stuff and a whole closet with even more stuff and that doesn’t count the computer files. But, I know that I will eventually find that note or photo I need, it just may take me some time!

In this hobby life happens more than the hobby does so always document what you find in a way that will help you get back to it several years down the road. It could be that the one photograph you take will be the only evidence that the clue or maker ever existed. It could be invaluable to yourself, a friend or family member or even somebody rummaging through your stuff at a garage sale when you have gone to the great treasure-hunting site in the sky!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Treasure Found?

I know I am going to regret putting this on the blog but I guess I’m just feeling sorry for the KGC hunters out there. It’s been a cold and dreary winter and I wanted to cheer you guys (and gals) up a little. Ain’t I nice?

Back in 1977 there were rumors floating around about a large stash of old cash that was found in New Mexico. The money was described as being U.S. currency from the Civil War that had been a part of the Confederate Treasury. It was said that the money was “worth” $100,000 but I don’t know if that was the face value or the numismatic value of the bills.

Now we can get into several discussions here about why the South would have had U.S. currency and not Southern currency or even “hard” currency such as gold or silver. We could discuss why it was in New Mexico and where that much cash would have come from and on and on and on but for the sake of this story, we won’t. I’m sure that will make some of you very happy!

I will also say that I haven’t been able to verify this story in any way but that in itself doesn’t prove it’s validity since treasure hunters rarely give out information on such things. I would also wonder what kind of condition paper money would be in after being buried for 100 years but as you know, I’m a skeptic so I have to ask these questions.

OK, back to the story, this stash of cash was supposedly found in Hidalgo County in the Chiricahua Mountains along the New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico borders. The story relates that the cash was being moved from Texas to California after the Civil War by none other than the Knights of the Golden Circle but for some unknown reason they decided to hide the cash in the Chiricahua Mountains and not continue on to California as planned.

Just as with most alleged KGC caches, there are more questions than answers. This is all of the information I have on this treasure and I can’t really say that there is enough information to draw a real conclusion about the treasure.

A better story of treasure found would be that of a cave filled with Spanish gold coins that was located in the same area.

Back in 1973 there were rumors of this gold being found by treasure hunters. The treasure was described as “Spanish gold coins piled knee deep” in a cave located along the “exact” border of New Mexico and Mexico.

The cave was found once before by an old Apache Indian in the 1950’s who had removed several hundred of the gold coins from the cave before he died unexpectedly in an automobile accident.

The treasure hunters who located the cave in 1973 may have been using some of the information from the old Apache’s family to relocate the cave.

KGC or Spanish or maybe even something else, it would seem that occasionally, somebody is digging up some treasure. With any luck, one of these days we will all be able to add our names to the list of treasure finders. You know that list, the one that doesn’t really exist and the one we really wouldn’t want our names on for everybody to see but we would still like to be added to it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

200 Tons of Treasure?

In southeast Arizona there are pervasive legends and Indian traditions that tell of a massive treasure left behind in 1767. And I mean MASSIVE! The legends have it that when the Jesuits were expelled from the region they left behind gold and silver worth millions. You may or may not believe in what the Jesuits are said to have done throughout history but when you look at legends and stories from the past almost all will have at least some grain of truth.

This story takes us to a series of mines worked by the Jesuits, possibly located in the Santa Rita Mountains. The Jesuits were said to have mined 2050 mule loads of silver bars and another 905 mule loads of gold bars from the mines before they placed all of the bars into an abandoned mine shaft and covered it over. I don’t care who you are, that’s a lot of treasure! You can figure the average mule load would be between 130 and 150 pounds so the small side estimate would put this treasure at more than 380 thousand pounds or 192 TONS of gold and silver!! Besides this massive amount of ingots there is also supposed to be “valuable relics” from the missions in with the bars of gold and silver and a few other viable mines in the same area.

Now even I have a hard time believing there is that much treasure in one spot but I’m just repeating the story, and daydreaming, just a little.

The Jesuits were supposed to have made a map to the location of the covered mine shaft and included a complete inventory of what was in the shaft. This map and inventory along with a few crosses and some other smaller religious artifacts were placed into a copper box and given to a group to be taken to the Alter Mission. While in route to this mission the group with the copper box came across a padre that informed them that the Alter Mission was under attack by Indians and going there would be hazardous to their health.

The group apparently buried the copper box at the exact spot that they ran into the padre and then took off for safety. No one knows the spot where the copper box was buried but there are some clues to where this massive treasure is hidden.

According to an old Spanish document that was found years later the treasure may be located in the Santa Rita Mountains. This document said that there is a rock just north of the mine with CCB/TD carved on it. Just south of this carving is a “monument of rocks” directly over the mine.

Other clues say that the treasure is located under a headstone shaped rock with a cross carved on it. This rock is supposed to be at the base of a large pile of rubble located on the east face of the Black Hills.

Even more information places this huge treasure about eleven miles west of Arivaca Junction or another location is supposed to be about four miles southwest of the Tumacacori Mission.

The one thing all of these stories have in common is that the treasure is buried under tons of earth and rock. The Jesuits are said to have placed the treasure in the old mine shaft and then covered it over with dirt and rock. Once it was covered they transplanted some of the local foliage on top of that to further camouflage the spot. Moving tons of gold and silver and then placing tons of earth and rock on top of that would have taken months of work.

There is a good possibility that an infrared photo of these areas might give you a little more insight into what activities may have taken place there so long ago. You might even be able to identify the trails into and out of the Alter Mission, which might give you an idea of where the copper box is buried. Finding treasure is always easier with a map!

If you go looking for this one, don’t forget to take your camera. We’d love to see photos of a tunnel full of gold and silver bars! You would share wouldn’t you?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Outlaw Loot in Arkansas

Cache hunting can be frustrating at times but it can also be very rewarding if you have a little luck on your side. These days, with gold prices hovering in the $900 an ounce range, a cache of any size containing gold is worth finding.

With that in mind, here is a story of a “small” cache that would bring a smile to just about anybody that happened to find it. Back in 1899 three intrepid men took on the daring task of robbing a train just east of Forest City, Arkansas. The three outlaws liberated $12,000 in gold coins from the express car and then headed west from the bridge at Cow Creek. It didn’t take long before a posse was formed and set out after the bandits.

Knowing that they were being pursued the three bandits stopped at the forks of the White River and Cypress Bayou to hide their loot and separate to confuse the posse. Each bandit took a handful of gold coins from the $12,000 and then they buried the rest. Once the loot was safely hidden they headed off in different directions.

Two of the bandits were found and subsequently killed within six days of the robbery and the third was captured and sent to prison. Ten years later the third bandit was released from prison and made a beeline for the treasure. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for us) the terrain of the area had changed during his ten years in prison and he couldn’t relocate the gold coins. The old outlaw died in 1931, never recovering this cache.

How did he know where to look? The gold coins are supposed to be buried 45 paces due south of “an old oak tree”. The old oak tree was “about 400 feet” due south of the forks of the White River and Cypress Bayou.

There is a chance the oak tree is still there but I am sure the forks of the river have changed over time. Looking at some old topographical maps and a satellite photo of the area might help you determine where the fork was in 1899 and from there you should be able to come up with a good idea of where the general area is for this cache.

The story didn’t say anything about any marks being left behind but a lot of outlaws like to mark trees like the old oak in some manner. Maybe a railroad spike in the tree, or a few bullets shot into the tree or maybe just a large blaze on one side. Just because the story didn’t mention any marks, don’t think that there might not be any.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Geronimo and the Skull and Bones

June 1829 Goyathlay was born into the Bedonkohe band of the Apache near Turkey Creek in New Mexico. History knows this great warrior as Geronimo. This name was given to him by Mexican soldiers.

Geronimo married into the Chiricahua Apache Band and went on to become a great leader of this band. It wasn't until September 1886 that he surrendered to General Miles in Skeleton Canyon Arizona. He was moved to Fort sill, Ok. in 1894. He passed away in February 1909 and this is where our story begins.

If legend holds true there were six members of the Yale secret society know as the Skull and Bones who were serving as volunteers at Ft. Sill during World War 1. Among these men was Prescott Bush. Yes, the same lineage as our two former presidents who were also Skull and Bones men as well.

It seems that these young men wanted to take a few souvenirs back home when their time at Fort Sill was over. What better prize than the skull of such a great warrior as Geronimo! Legend says they stole Geronimo's skull, femur bones, and a prized silver bridle.

The only problem here is that at the time Geronimo's grave site wasn't marked. This was done at a later time. Two elder Apache women were used to verify the grave. Rumors have since ran rampant about grave robbery and even a lawsuit or two have been filed.

The story doesn't end here though. We wouldn't be good treasure hunters if we couldn't add a twist to the story. This last bit of information comes from a good friend of mine. Ray got his information from a man named Wells Blevins who got his information from local Native Americans. The wife of Wells was herself a Native American and alive during the time of Geronimo. What's the twist? Geronimo isn't buried where his current grave site is located. It seems that he was moved to another location. He was also supposed to be buried with a large silver buckle.

The odds on verifying this story are slim to none since getting permission from Ft. Sill to search for the new grave site would be near impossible. Thus, history loses again. Do I have an idea of where the new site is? Of course I do, so if anyone out there has the kind of pull it takes to get all of the legal paperwork in order to find Geronimo contact us.

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More on Carved Outlaw Maps

When you are dealing with outlaws, and some other groups, you will occasionally run across a carved map that just looks like a jumbled mess. When you first see these maps you think to yourself, “now just how in the hell am I supposed to know what that means?”

First off, you have to decide if it is really a map or did some clown get bored and start carving on a rock. Once you have decided it is a map you need to determine which direction to look at it from. Is it mirror imaged? Is it split? Do I read it from left to right or right to left? There are several questions you have to ask and they will change with each map. Each map will have it’s own complex issues and tricks, and there are always tricks!

The best thing to do when interpreting a map is take it one symbol at a time. Don’t try to get ahead of yourself by interpreting symbols you haven’t gotten to. You will find that a lot of the symbols won’t mean what you thought they would mean once you actually see what they are showing you in the field. Sometimes what is carved is exactly what you see.

In the case of the carved map I posted with this article you will see that there is the letter “H” in the carving. There are several meanings that an H can have but in this case it was just the letter H.

This particular carving was high on a bluff above a small valley floor. In the valley floor was a boulder with the letter H carved on it. Everything in this carving up to the point of the letter H was to take you off of the bluff, down into the valley floor and to the H. It just so happens that this H in the valley floor was the clue you needed to find the carved map in the first place. The first time you see the H you are in the valley floor below the carved map. The map is 30-40 feet above you on the bluff and cannot be seen from the ground. If you interpret this H as meaning “high” or “hill” and look up you will go to the only bluff above the H and find the map.

The carving then takes you down the side of the valley, around a small knoll and back to the H carved on the rock in the valley floor below the carving. I always like being run in circles by some outlaw, it’s not like I don’t do it enough on my own!

If I had been trying to interpret this map without actually being in the field the first thing I would have thought was that the H was meant to depict a tunnel or a box canyon. This would have been completely wrong and would have cost a lot of time and exercise looking for something that doesn’t exist.

Unless the map tells you to work a set of symbols together, always work them one at a time. How do you know if symbols are to be worked together? Most of the time it will be fairly obvious. Those symbols will be grouped together rather obviously or they might have a box carved around them or a circle enclosing them, they could be underlined, etc.

I can’t stress enough how much common sense comes into play when trying to interpret carved symbols. It’s all about what is around you at the time you are interpreting the symbol. As you move along the trail depicted by the map you will see things that are carved in the map. Most maps will have an instruction that takes you to a point, usually an obvious point such as some type of man made marker or it will take you to something that is depicted on the map right after the instruction as in “go this way, make a turn and see this”.

There are no set rules with outlaw maps, they were all made to fit the terrain and the mindset of the outlaw at the time he or she made the map.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Osceola County, Michigan

Here’s one for those northerners who have to wait until July for the ground to thaw.

In Osceola County near the town of Harrison lived a retired saloonkeeper who had become very wealthy offering libations to his patrons. His retirement fund consisted of a large amount of gold coins that he kept buried on his property. It seems he didn’t trust banks and felt that his money was safer in the ground.

In 1895 some men trying to get at his gold murdered the old man. The saloonkeeper was found the day after his attack, barely alive. Before dying he was able to identify his attackers and told the person who found him that they were trying to get his gold. The saloonkeeper was proud of the fact that he never told them where it was. He died shortly after that and never told anyone where his gold was. There haven’t been any reports of this treasure ever being found.

Where did he hide his treasure? The saloonkeeper had a cabin between Harrison and Meredith about three miles off of the Meredith Grade. It was thought he might have buried the treasure in the floor of his old cabin and if not there then on the property very near where the cabin stood.

This could be a nice find if the ground would thaw out long enough for you to dig!

As a side note, I would like to thank our readers, first for continually coming back to the blog and second, for some of the information submitted. From time to time we receive e-mails requesting we write an article on a specific subject and other times we are sent information that really should be an article so we write about it.

When we receive information that we turn into an article we like to give credit to those who supplied the information however, since we are treasure hunters and it is a hobby that by nature is a little secretive, some individuals prefer to remain anonymous for various reasons. By request, we don’t mention their names when we are given information to write about but I would like to take this opportunity to thank those anonymous individuals for their contributions. You know who you are!

Thank you!!