Monday, March 29, 2010

The passing of a friend

It saddens my heart to say that Tom Tudor, better known as Timberwolf to a lot of us, lost his battle with cancer and passed away over the weekend. He was able to go home one last time before he passed.

Our condolences go out to his wife Ragenna and the rest of his family.

Tom will be missed!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Modern day treasure found

Once again I have to thank my good buddy Homer for sending this information to me. He seems to have the inside scoop on lots of treasure information!

Treasure can be found just about everywhere and the definition of treasure is different to a lot of people but in the case of this treasure, I would say it was a jackpot in several different ways. Nobody had to dig any holes to recover this one and if you believe the family, nobody even knew it was there. Hmmmmm.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Behind a family portrait on the wood-paneled basement wall of the suburban home of one of Chicago's most notorious mobsters, federal agents made a stunning find: a secret compartment containing almost three-quarters of a million dollars in cash, 1,000 pieces of stolen jewelry, and seven loaded firearms.
What may prove to be of even greater interest to authorities was the discovery that mob hit man Frank Calabrese Sr., a key figure in the Family Secrets trial, had secretly taped possible "criminal conversations" with other mobsters. Agents found recording devices, suction cups used to monitor telephone calls and about a dozen apparently used microcassettes, including one with the name of a convicted Outfit figure scribbled on it.
Also in the hiding place were handwritten notes and ledgers detailing suspected extortion and gambling activities, authorities said.
The landmark 2007 trial had riveted Chicago with lurid testimony about some of the most notorious gangland slayings in the past four decades. The tales read more like Hollywood scripts, and a mob turncoat — Calabrese's brother — gave chilling inside details of 14 murders.The case took on even more lore with Wednesday's surprising new twist.
A law enforcement source said Wednesday that Calabrese may have taped other mobsters in incriminating conversations to protect himself against later retribution."I have no idea what those recordings are," said Calabrese's lawyer, Joseph Lopez, who was surprised at word of the search of Calabrese's Oak Brook residence. "For all I know, it's Frank Sinatra singing.
"In sentencing Calabrese to life in prison in January 2009, U.S. District Judge James Zagel had ordered him and co-defendants to pay a whopping $27.7 million in forfeiture and restitution.
According to court papers, deputy U.S. marshals and FBI agents with a search warrant in hand showed up Tuesday morning at Calabrese's Oak Brook residence. His wife, Diane, voluntarily let agents in, they said.
Armed with knowledge from the trial that Calabrese liked to use hidden compartments and "stash areas" in his residences over the years, agents searched its nooks and crannies.Agents lifted a frame containing a collection of family photos off the wall in the basement and noticed several screws in the wood paneling. They removed the screws and discovered the hidden compartment and its treasure-trove, authorities said.
Agents found about 15 manila envelopes stuffed with $728,481 in mostly $500 and $1,000 bills. The approximately 1,000 pieces of jewelry were still inside display boxes while bags of loose diamonds and other jewelry still contained store tags, authorities said.
The seven firearms were wrapped in clothing and towels, suggesting to authorities they may have been used in crimes. The wrappings would keep the gunman from leaving any fingerprints, they said.
Before the search began, Calabrese's wife and his son, Frank Jr., denied any knowledge of the cash or weapons, authorities said.
Yet federal authorities are clearly suspicious, citing in the court papers that Diane Calabrese paid for her two children's private schooling with cashier's checks even though she has no known legitimate source of income.
In addition, another $26,000 in bundled cash was discovered inside a locked desk drawer in her bedroom.Lopez, Calabrese's lawyer, said his client hasn't had access to the residence since 1997 because he has been in prison since then for various offenses.
Lopez said the home had been searched by the FBI on a number of occasions over the years, and he expressed surprise that the stash wasn't uncovered in the past."Now that this is coming up, it leads one to wonder what is really going on in this case,'' he said. "I think everyone was surprised who heard of this."For James Wagner, who headed the Chicago FBI's organized-crime unit for years, the landmark trial packed with behind-the-scenes details continues to surprise."I was frankly surprised that somebody was stupid enough to leave all of the things that they discovered in that house," said Wagner, who also once led the Chicago Crime Commission. "It really was one of the dumber things that I've heard them do. They knew that there was seizure and forfeiture. I figured that house would be empty, but, no, all of this wonderful stuff was waiting to be found."
Calabrese is serving a life sentence after the jury and judge found him responsible for 13 of the murders. Testimony indicated he fatally choked, slashed, shot, beat or bombed his victims.
The trial was highlighted by testimony by Calabrese's brother, Nicholas, and his son, who while cooperating with authorities had secretly recorded conversations in prison with his father.
Among the highlights, Nicholas Calabrese recalled how he wet his pants from fear while he helped bury his first murder victim with his brother; heard mobster Anthony Spilotro ask if he could pray before he was killed in a Bensenville basement; and used a rope to strangle another victim as "Strangers in the Night" played on a jukebox in a closed Cicero restaurant.
At the trial, Calabrese's brother and son both had testified that Calabrese often hid proceeds from illegal activities. Last week, Zagel authorized federal agents to search Calabrese's home and any safes, compartments or storage areas, and seize property to satisfy the debt he owed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Metal detectors, are they worth the price?

You would think that the simple answer to that question would be, yes, of course they are but as with life, things just aren’t that simple.

There are several different ways to answer the question and a lot of how you answer the question depends on your definition of treasure hunting. If you are a coin shooter or relic hunter then yes, a good detector is well worth the price. If you are a cache hunter then you have to look at the type of caches you are looking for and who put them in the ground before you can answer the question.

Metal detectors are a lot like guns, there isn’t any single one that will work well in every scenario. You have to have the right machine for the right job and in some instances there is no machine for the job.

In general, if you are hunting for outlaw caches then you can expect the cache to be buried, usually between a foot and four feet deep. This would mean that a coin hunting machine wouldn’t be the ideal choice of a detector to use. You would want to look at something along the lines of a good two-box or even a pulse induction unit. Now depending on the terrain you are hunting in, neither of these machines may be useful because the terrain may not allow you to use the detector at ground level. There are other choices based on what the treasure may be buried in. If it is in an iron or steel vessel then there are some other choices such as a metal locator or a magnetometer.

If you are hunting Spanish caches then they usually liked to put their goodies in tunnels which can be anywhere from three feet to sixty feet or more in length. I know what you are thinking, a three foot long tunnel is a hole and not a tunnel but I beg to differ. I have come across more than one “hole” that was actually a tunnel because it was dug through solid rock. In my mind this makes it a tunnel and not a hole.

If you have a tunnel that goes back into the hillside 30 feet then the depth of the cache from the surface can be the same or even more depending on the angle of the slope of the hillside and the angle of the tunnel. I have yet to find any detector that can penetrate thirty feet or more of dirt and rock.

It has been my experience in hunting both outlaw and Spanish treasures, the more you know about interpreting the signs the better off you will be. Sometimes, it comes down to interpreting the signs to find the hole and no detector will be able to help you. I know it sucks to hear that but that’s just the way it is. Some treasures just can’t be found with an electronic gizmo to help you out. Sometimes you just have to do it the hard way.

The up side to that is it keeps you from having to buy an expensive detector. The down side is it can take a lot longer to find that treasure!

If you are hunting for the elusive KGC mega-bucks depositories then there isn’t a detector in the world that will help you because those depositories just don’t exist! Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

There are some new fangled gadgets out there that have their own very specific uses such as the magnetometer, the electromagnetic induction units and ground penetrating radar but the majority of these are very expensive to buy. They can be rented reasonably however some things like the magnetometer and GPR require a lot of training and use to be able to know what you are looking at. Ground penetrating radar requires the operator to interpret the signal. If you don’t have the experience necessary to properly interpret the data then you end up digging up wet spots in the ground like some of those “professional“ treasure hunters seen on a recent television show.

I guess the whole point of this article is to say that you should do your research on the detectors before you invest your money. I have, over the years, bought just about one of everything thinking they were going to make my life easier, most did not. The majority of the things that advertise unbelievable results are the kinds of things you want to stay away from. Everyone has their own opinions on things such as long range locators and the “miracle machines”. Just remember the old adage, if it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t.

Most of the relic hunting machines will get you to about two feet maximum in ideal conditions. The majority of the two-box units will get you to four, maybe five feet in ideal conditions and with a large target. I know, people advertise ten and fifteen feet of depth with the two-box units but in real life, it just doesn’t happen!

The pulse induction units can get you that kind of depth on a good size target along with some of the metal locators. If you are looking for a void such as a sealed cave or tunnel then the EMI (electromagnetic induction) units are a good way to go as long as the void isn’t more than eighteen feet deep and that is in ideal conditions. Most of the EMI units work well up to 10-12 feet.

Metal detectors can be and for the most part are a fantastic help to treasure hunters however they can be like the fancy GPS units for your vehicle, they can make you real stupid real quick. You begin to rely on the detector to find the treasure instead of your own brain. Relying on technology is never a good thing. Using technology to your advantage is good but you should never try to cut corners with it. Learn to read the signs, do your research and be logical.

The people who left the signs and symbols behind didn’t have a GPS or a metal detector to get back to what they left. Think like the person who put the treasure in the ground, not like someone who makes popcorn in a microwave.

Friday, March 19, 2010

One of our own is sick

For those of you that come to the annual treasure hunter get togethers put on by James or that read the treasure forums, especially TreasureNet, you may know Timberwolf. His real name is Tom.

Tom has recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and is in a cancer treatment center being treated as we speak. He has been hospitalized for several days now due to a worsening condition and will start chemo treatment in the next day or two.

We ask that you keep him in your thoughts and hope that he get's better so that he can be back out on the treasure trail soon.

Tom's wife Ragenna is posting updates on a cancer care site if anyone would like a daily update on Tom's condition.
You have to sign up as a member to view the updates but the membership is free. He may recognize a lot of us by our forum names if you want to create a membership using that name.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Tanks" for the memories

I'd like to thank my friend Rockman for the photos and information for this article.

As we all know, not all treasure is silver and gold. This story would be a good lesson in following up on stories that you here with a little research.

WW II Russian tank with German markings uncovered after 62 years.
WW II Buffs will find this interesting. Even after 62 years (and a little tinkering), they were able to fire up the diesel engine!
A Komatsu D375A-2 bulldozer pulled the abandoned tank from its tomb under the boggy bank of a lake near Johvi , Estonia . The Soviet-built T34/76A tank had been resting at the bottom of the lake for 56 years. According to its specifications, it's a 27-ton machine with a top speed of 53km/hr.From February to September 1944, heavy battles were fought in the narrow,50 km-wide, Narva front in the northeastern part of Estonia . Over 100,000 men were killed and 300,000 men were wounded there.

During battles in the summer of 1944, the tank was captured from the Soviet army and used by the German army. (This is the reason that there are German markings painted on the tank's exterior. On 19th September, 1944, German troops began an organized retreat along the Narva front. It is suspected that the tank was then purposefully driven into the lake to conceal it when its captors left the area.At that time, a local boy walking by the lake, Kurtna Matasjarv, noticed tank tracks leading into the lake but not coming out anywhere. For two months he saw air bubbles emerging from the lake. This gave him reason to believe that there must be an armored, vehicle at the lake's bottom. A few years ago, he told the story to the leader of the local war history club 'Otsing'. Together with other club members, Mr. Igor Shedunov initiated diving expeditions to the bottom of the lake about a year ago. At the depth of 7 metres they discovered the tank resting under a 3 metre layer of peat.

Enthusiasts from the club, under Mr Shedunov's leadership, decided to pull the tank out.
In September of 2000 they turned to Mr. Aleksander Borovkovthe, manager of the Narva open pit company AS Eesti Polevkivi, to rent the company's Komatsu D375A-2 bulldozer.. (Currently used at the pit, the Komatsu dozer was manufactured in 1995, and has recorded 19,000 operating hours without major repairs.)

The pulling operation began at 09:00 and was concluded at 15:00, with several technical breaks. The weight of the tank, combined with the travel incline, made for a pulling operation that required significant muscle. The D375A-2 handled the operation with power and style. The weight of the fully-armed tank was around 30 tons, so the active force required to retrieve it was similar. A main requirement for the 68-ton dozer was to have enough weight to prevent slippage while moving up the hill.After the tank surfaced, it turned out to be a "trophy tank" that had been captured by the German army in the course of the battle at Sinimaed (Blue Hills) about six weeks before it was sunk in the lake. Altogether, 116 shells were found on board. Remarkably, the tank was in good condition, with NO RUST, and alll systems (except the engine) in working condition. This is a very rare machine, especially considering that it fought both on the Russian and the German sides. Plans are underway to fully restore the tank. It will be displayed at a war history museum in the Gorodenko village on the left bank of the River Narv.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Looking for a sunken ship?

From the web:
Pipeline Company Finds Old Sunken Ships in Baltic

(March 9) -- The multinational corporation was on the hunt for natural gas when it came across a different kind of treasure instead: shipwrecks from hundreds of years ago, one of them so old it may be a relic from medieval times.

On Monday, as Nord Stream explorers probed an area off the coast of Sweden, they discovered a dozen extraordinarily well-preserved ships resting on the floor of the Baltic Sea. The Nord
Stream venture, which is majority-owned by the state-run Russian company Gazprom, is working on a 750-mile pipeline from Russia to Germany.
"They used sonar equipment first and discovered some unevenness along the sea bottom ... so they filmed some of the uneven areas, and we could see the wrecks," Peter Norman, a member of Sweden's National Heritage Board, told the Agence France-Presse. "This discovery offers enormous culture-historical value.
"Norman told the AFP that most of the ships are thought to be between 300 and 400 years old and could "tell us a lot about everyday life during that time."More than 3,000 shipwrecks have been discovered in Baltic waters, including the royal warship Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628, Norman told the AFP.The Baltic Sea has been called an "archaeological paradise" because its waters contain so little salt that they don't attract the hull-eating worms that destroy shipwrecks. The sea is also shallow and easier to explore than other bodies of water.
In February, Robert Ballard, the U.S. marine scientist who discovered the Titanic, told CBS News that scientists recognize "the discovery potential of the Baltic given its unique characteristics for preservation of ancient wooden ships."The 12 ships found by Nord Stream are largely intact, though it's not clear yet whether they will be brought to the surface or restored.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

2010 Texas Treasure Show

For those who have the time and can travel this years annual Texas Treasure Show will be March 13th - 14th. It's presented by the Texas Council of Treasure Clubs, inc and will be held at the Maude Cobb Convention Center in Longview Texas. The address is 100 Grand Blvd. For further information you can visit

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wichita Kansas Gold Mine?

This one might rank right up there with trying to find a unicorn or the tooth fairy, but according to a 1757 French map there once was a gold mine in the area of Wichita Kansas. In a book published in 1757 entitled "History of Louisiana". In this book is a map in which the author Lee Page Du Pratz wrote "Mine d' Or," which means gold mine for us none French speakers. The spot indicated is at the junction of the Little Arkansas and Arkansas Rivers.

How many searches for this lost gold mine have been made is anyones guess, but in 1836 Jesse Chisholm led a party up the Arkansas River in search of it. Chisholm later headquarted in this area for years afterward. In 1900 a party of treasure hunters spent nearly two years digging around the wichita area, but nothing was found.

Most likely Du Pratz had heard of the legend of a party of Spaniards who buried their gold after being attacked by indians in the area in Wichita is now located. This treasure was probably buried in the first half of the 1700's and is the true source of Du Pratz Gold Mine.