Friday, April 3, 2009

Googling a three billion dollar treasure

The information in this article was submitted to me by one of our readers. It’s a little wild that people actually think this way but I guess it takes all kinds.

A musician, from California no less, fancies himself as a treasure hunter after watching one of the National Treasure movies and reading a book. I guess you have to start somewhere but apparently this man thinks he has solved the puzzle on at least one treasure.

Nathan Smith, the musician from California, read a story about a ship that was trying to outrun a hurricane in 1822. According to the story the ship didn’t quite make it and ended up in a muddy bog in south Texas. At this point the story gets really interesting.

Did you know that there were cannibals in Texas in 1822? According to Mr. Smith, the “barkentine” ship headed up a creek from the gulf and became land locked near Refugio, Texas. It is said that half of the sailors on the ship died during the trip up the creek. Do you think they had a paddle? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!

OK, so half of the crew died on the voyage up the creek and the other half were stuck at the site where the ship ran aground. This spot was supposedly inhabited by a tribe of cannibals who eventually feasted on the remaining sailors who left behind a “pot of gold and silver”.

After the sailors had all perished the story says a group of Comanche Indians wondered into the area and found the gold and silver. The Indians took some of the treasure and hid the rest somewhere around the wreck of the old ship. The Indians apparently fled the area fairly quickly because of the cannibals.

Fast forward to 2009 and the age of the computer. Nathan Smith, from his home in Los Angeles, used Google Earth to locate a spot on a creek in Texas that appeared to have the outline of a ship near the old creek. A ship that sank in the mud 187 years ago. The spot is supposed to resemble a large shoe print in the ground and is located in a flood plain of the creek. Mr. Smith, convinced he had found the ship, drove to Texas with his metal detector and began searching the area. According to Mr. Smith, his metal detector continually gave readings of gold and silver in the area where he says the wreck is and stopped giving readings when he walked out of the area. No, this wasn’t some fancy detector you have never heard of, just one of the regular over the counter detectors with a meter on it to tell you what is there.

Nathan Smith attempted to get permission to recover the treasure however the landowners denied his request so Mr. Smith chose to sue in federal court. Mr. Smith’s attorney is claiming that the wreck lies in “navigable waters” and not on private property. If the court finds for Mr. Smith then he will be free to lay claim to and recover whatever may be there without needing the landowner’s permission providing the federal court and the Army Corps of Engineers grants him permission.

All of the documents submitted in the trial have been sealed to protect the location of the property. While on the stand Mr. Smith stated there was nothing to confirm the folklore about this ship or the treasure but he believed it to be so since he read it in a book.

We’ve all read enough treasure books to know that you can’t rely solely on what you read and in some instances, you can’t believe anything you read.

The remains of the ship, and I would assume half of the crew, is supposed to be located on property that was once owned by Marie O’ Connor Sorenson somewhere in Refugio County, Texas and according to Nathan Smith, the treasure is worth three BILLION dollars. How do you get three billion dollars of gold an silver in a “pot“? I wonder if Mr. Smith ever spent anytime on Willie Nelson’s tour bus? It sounds like he may be missing a few brain cells.

Do I sound harsh? I don’t mean to be, OK, maybe a little but it seems as though Mr. Smith has found more than one treasure with his search methods and hasn‘t recovered anything.

According to Mr. Smith, during his three years of treasure hunting he has looked for “the Lost Dutchman’s gold mine, Belle Star’s Iron Door, the Lost Peg Leg gold, the Franklin Mountains treasure and numerous others”. He claims to have found “the” Jesse James treasure in Oklahoma but he “thinks there is a death trap in the form of a teetering rock half the size of the courtroom just outside the entrance”. Does any of this sound familiar?

Mr. Smith’s court battle continues on. He hasn’t said how he plans to fund his excavation but I guess like research, that’s not important to him now.

I might mention that the barkentine style ship that was supposed to sail up the creek in 1822 had not been designed until the 1830’s. The family who owns the property where Mr. Smith wants to dig has stated they don’t believe there is a ship there and they don’t believe in the folklore of the ship and it’s treasure. They also pointed out in court that the stories about this ship routinely puts the location of the mystery ship more than twenty miles away from their property.

Is there a ship full of treasure just below the ground in a flood plain somewhere in Texas? Could be. Can you find it with a quick search of Google Earth and one drive out to the possible site with a coin detector? Don’t we all wish it was that easy?


simone michelle said...

This story above is not a story about logic. It is a story about "dreams". Each day, we wake up, eat, work, sleep. What is our life without silly dreams? When I heard Mr. Smith's story I was intrigued, then I found out he was a musician and I was skeptical. I know that musicians are a little cooky at times! I am one! But he also gave me the dream that MAYBE there could be something there. If not, what an exciting adventure to find out! I applaud Mr. Smith for following his dreams and not letting the large possibilities of there being nothing there knock him down. He isn't hurting anyone, as far as we know, so I say...LETS DIG! I, myself will enjoy following this story and fully support his dream. It is his opportunity to really be a treasure hunter after all these years of reading about it and dreaming of it. You have to give him credit for not giving up and following his heart!

Anonymous said...

Funny thing...this same Mr. Smith just appeared on the news in downtown L.A with a huge questionable nugget he claims he found in the desert.
Now this makes two times in 2 years, almost to the day, he has come forward with fantastic tales of gold.
Years and years in the desert and I have never seen Mr. Smith out there.
Take anything this guy says with a grain of salt. Pretty sure it's more "look at me" than "look what I found".
He openly admits he is trying to fund his music/movie career so I would say it's up to you to decide where the truth starts and the fiction ends.
Pretty sure this won't be the last we hear from Mr. Smith.