Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pirate treasure in Maine

That’s right, I said pirate treasure, Arrrrrrrg!!

Washington County, Maine may hold one of the greatest pirate treasures ever hidden in the United States. This one was put together by to pirates who were partners in crime, Samuel “Black” Bellamy and Paulsgrave Williams.

These two pirates had such a prosperous outfit that during 1716 they built their own place to refit their ships. Along the Machias River near where present day Highway 1-A crosses the river in Machias Township these two pirates constructed their own town and several fortifications that were located on both sides of the river.

While having the town and fortifications built the two decided it would be a good idea to also build a vault to store their plunder in. The vault was built underground near the fort on one side of the river. It is supposed to be a complex underground structure that they hoped would prove difficult to find and get in to by anyone but them.

The inventory of this vault is said to be 180 fifty pound bags of gold, a large “store of gold ingots”, silver coins, jewels and ivory. Some of this treasure was supposed to have come from the captured ship “Whidah”.
Did the pirates come back for their loot and leave an empty vault behind? History says the swashbuckling pair and their crew were all killed during a storm that sank both of their ships.
If you’re still not sure the vault may still be there untouched by it’s original owners you might keep this in mind, back in the 1960’s treasure hunters dug up an iron kettle filled with treasure on the banks of the Machias River at Simpson Island where Black Bellamy and his partner had their fort and stockade.

Now grab your swords, eye patches and shovels and see what you can find! OK, I guess you could probably leave the swords and eye patches at home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More info on stolen gold bar

Homer has stepped up once again and sent us some more information about the gold bar stolen from the Mel Fisher museum in Key West, FL.

From the internet.

Key West, Florida (CNN) -- For more than 20 years, the bulletproof museum case housed a small piece of yesteryear: A gold bar recovered from a sunken Spanish galleon. Today, its case is broken, littered with black fingerprint dust. The treasure is gone. Stolen. The two thieves were caught in the act by the museum's security cameras.

"This is a special piece," said Melissa Kendrick, the executive director of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida.

"All the pieces have an incredible historic value, but this is the piece that was shared with the public in a whole totally different way," she said.

It was different because you could touch it. By reaching into the specially designed display case, more than 6 million people have touched the 74.85 ounce bar, valued at more than $550,000.

"They're touching something that belonged to someone in 1622," said Carol Shaughnessy, the author of "Diving into Glory."

"Ordinarily people don't get to touch something like that. You can't touch an Egyptian mummy. This is a hands on connection to history," she said.

But now, what does a thief do with a priceless, high-profile artifact? Is there an underground market that will pay $550,000 for this almost 400-year-old piece of solid gold? One expert says no.

"That's why these crimes don't make a whole lot of money for the criminals," said Robert Wittman, a former FBI agent who once headed the FBI's Art Crime Team.

"It doesn't make sense to do it," he said.

Wandering through the museum, the thieves can be seen in security video trying to open museum doors. The video is incredibly clear. First, they appeared to be targeting a display case of gold chains. Then, after a security guard left this part of the museum, a man can be seen reaching into the case housing the gold bar and placing the little piece of history into his pocket before exiting the museum.

"We're getting information and following leads," said Key West Police Chief Donie Lee.

"Unfortunately we haven't got the best lead, which is, I know that person and we go out, and it's a positive ID, and we're able to go out and pick those guys up," he said.

What makes the crime so shocking, police said, is that the thieves were able to snap the glass at its edges. It's not just any glass, but three-eighths inch thick bulletproof Lexan glass.

"By designating this as a handling object, it brought certain risks to the bar," said Kendrick.

"But after your first five, and your next 10, and when you get to 25 years, you start to get to the point when you think that it's never going to happen," she said.

The solid gold bar was recovered from the wreck of the Santa Margarita in 1980 by treasure hunter and salvor Mel Fisher. Fisher and his team had been searching for the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, and instead found her sister ship, the Santa Margarita. Both ships had gone down in a hurricane off Key West shortly after leaving Havana, Cuba, in 1622.

The ships were headed home to Spain with a cargo of gold, silver and coins from the new world.

The Atocha would be found by the team several years later, in 1985. The stolen bar is one of dozens of gold and silver bars retrieved from the bottom of the sea.

Experts say about 90 percent of stolen art and artifacts is eventually recovered, but it often take years to find. The FBI has recovered more than 2,600 items of cultural property valued at more than $142 million. The items range from Colombian artifacts to Rembrandt paintings.

Former FBI Agent Wittman is the author of "Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures."

Wittman said the market is incredibly small for these high-profile objects. He said thieves often steal the items and then try to figure how to sell them.

"We recovered paintings and artifacts that were missing for many years. Ten, 15, sometimes 20 years, because the thieves couldn't get rid of them," he said.

"They kept them in their closets. They were white elephants. They made no money out of the deals. They were stuck," he said.

In 1990, thieves entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum in Boston, Massachusetts, and stole 13 works of art, including three Rembrandts painted in the 1600s. None has been recovered. Federal agents are now using DNA to try to find the perpetrators.

Wittman said no legitimate collector would take the risks associated with buying stolen goods.

"They don't buy stolen property, because ... they can't show it, they can't enjoy it ... It makes them into criminals, and the last thing they want to do is spend a lot of money for a painting or for an artifact, whether its gold or whatever, and have it seized by the police and go to jail," he said.

Key West authorities said they believe the thieves were not locals and that they are probably long gone. The museum's insurance company is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the return of the bar.

Police remain hopeful that they will solve the crime, but just hope they can recover this golden piece of history.

"This is going to end up in somebody's house probably, used as a paperweight," said Lee, who is leading the investigation.

"Other than melting it down, which is the worst-case scenario for everyone. We're just hoping that they will come to their senses somehow and return this back to the museum."

For my two cents, (you were asking weren't you?)  if you have never been to the museum in Key West this should be something you put on your bucket list. As treasure hunters you will probably never see the kinds of things that are on display in this museum any where else, unless of course you are lucky enough to work a Spanish map to it's end. Even if you can no longer handle a gold bar from the 1600's the museum is still worth the trip.

Key West makes a nice little long weekend get away with several things to do besides going to the museum. I will have to say that the museum and sunset on the pier are the two best the place has to offer. If you get there after a big storm you could even have a chance of finding some gold or silver on the beaches with a metal detector.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Treasure in the news

Once again I'd like to thank our good buddy Homer for sending me this info. I love it when somebody makes my job easier! This is another story from the web.

Gold Bar Stolen From Florida Treasure Museum

On Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 thieves were able to steal a $550,000 gold bar from a treasure museum in Florida. The gold bar was found by Mel Fisher and his crew from the wreck of a Spanish galleon.

The 11 inch, 74.85 ounce gold bar was kept on display at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida. The gold bar was kept in a plexiglass case that has an opening where the visitors could reach in and touch and hold the bar.

However, two thieves who can be seen clearly on the museum's security camera footages were successful in getting away with the gold bar.

The footage has been taken into custody by the FBI, which is investigating the theft.

The museum's insurance firm has announced a reward of $10,000 for the gold bar's safe return.

The gold bar was recovered in 1980 from the wreck of the Spanish sailing vessel by the name of Santa Margarita.

As a side note, I have been to Mel Fisher's museum and handled this very same bar. And much to the dismay of my wife, I spent several minutes of my own seeing if there was a way to turn this bar and take it out of its case. What can I say, you just have to try!
The case is a thick plexiglass case with a hole in it so that you can reach in and pick up the bar. The case is designed so that the bar cannot be turned sideways or in any direction at too much of an angle to keep people from getting an end of it through the hole. The hole itself is just big enough to get your hand in providing you don't have a really big hand.

I don't know how they did it but I hope they catch the guys that did. The only thing worse than stealing from another treasure hunter is the government stealing from a treasure hunter. Yea, I know, I tried to get it out of the case too but I wouldn't have walked off with it. I might have peed my pants if it came out but I wouldn't have walked off with it!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Central Tire Inflation

For those desert rat, rock crawling, mud bogging treasure hunters we've found a really helpful new tool for you. Central tire inflation will give you added traction and reduce bruising and cutting of the tires. While mainly for commercial use these systems can be adapted for 4x4 vehicles. There are two companies with cti systems on the market. By far the better quality and lower priced one can be found at http://aircti.com/1_cti_4wd.html or you can e-mail Dan Little at airctiusa@hotmail.com for more information. He is the exclusive dealer for the U.S. There are plenty more benefits to be had using these systems and if you have one already in use please leave a comment as I would like to hear more about them. I've seen videos of how these systems can help but I'd love to hear from actual owners. As always we are looking for  helpful tools and gadgets to aid treasure hunters. If you happen to manufacture or sell such items we would be more than happy to test them out for you and give an honest review. Hint, Hint!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Treasure in the news

This story was sent to me by our good friend Homer. He makes my life as a blog writer really easy sometimes. Thank you Homer!

From the internet:

Treasure within treasure: Cannon found off Sebastian contained hidden gold, silver coins

SEBASTIAN — Dozens of gold and silver coins hidden nearly 300 years ago were found Friday when a cannon recovered July 11 from a wrecked Spanish ship was being cleaned for preservation, salvagers reported this week.

Divers from the salvage boat “Gold Hound” brought up the ship’s bronze swivel cannon, a rare find in itself, in less than 20 feet of water between Wabasso and Vero Beach, said Anne Kazel-Wilcox, a spokeswoman for 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels, a private salvage company based in Sebastian and Jupiter.

The heavily-encrusted cannon was taken to the Mel Fisher’s Treasures facility in Sebastian for preservation, Kazel-Wilcox said, “and as workers were conserving it, the cannon became unplugged and coins were found inside.”

In addition to 22 gold coins found near the cannon, 25 gold coins and 63 silver coins were found inside, worth an estimated $500,000 or more.

“This is an amazing historic find,” Greg Bounds of Fellsmere, captain of the Gold Hound, said in a prepared statement. “We found treasure within the treasure. This is right out of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ except this is the real thing. For centuries there has been talk of treasure possibly hidden inside of cannons, but up until today that was only pirate lore. Now it’s the real deal.”

The wreck was part of a fleet of 11 galleons and war ships laden with gold bars, coins, diamonds, emeralds and pearls bound from Havana for King Philip V of Spain. The cargo included the so-called “Queen’s Jewels,” a 74-carat emerald, pearls and diamonds meant for Philip’s new bride Elisabeth, who reportedly said she wouldn’t consummate the marriage until she received them.

The ships sank in a hurricane off the Treasure Coast on July 31, 1715.

Last month, 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels, a private salvage company, acquired salvage rights to the fleet from the heirs of treasure hunter Mel Fisher, whose family had retained the fleet’s U.S. Admiralty Custodianship of a 300-square-mile stake off Indian River County that extends from the low-tide mark into the ocean. Together with subcontractors such as Bounds, they are searching for a mother lode estimated to be worth $900 million.

By law, the state gets 20 percent of the haul and gets to pick the pieces it wants first. The rest is split 50-50 between 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels and the subcontractors who found it.

Bounds, one of about 15 subcontractors who have worked with Mel Fisher Treasure and continue to work with 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels, uncovered more than $12.9 million worth of gold chains, pearls, coins, swords and other artifacts in 2007 from the 400-year-old Santa Margarita site in the Florida Keys.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

That face!

I guess James isn't the only squinty eyed pressure cooker of treasure secrets!

Based on what we have found so far this face is most likely Spanish in origin and is telling you to look "this way". It's my opinion based on how the face is made, with one eye appearing to be closed as if it is aiming or sighting down a line, that is is telling you to do just that. There is another marker very close to this one that gives you a fairly precise line to sight along.

This particular marker is classic in it's Spanish design since it is using some shadow to highlight the features of the face like the two eyes and nose. As a general rule these types of shadows will appear or show how the marker was designed to look between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Keep in mind the Spanish did not use daylight savings time.

As another general rule, a marker such as this face is only designed to be recognizable from one direction so you have to be following a marked trail to see it as it was intended to be seen. Or you could just wonder around the countryside until you come across something like this and then follow it to the next marker. Trust me, I am speaking from experience, it happens more often than you think!

I guess the face could just be looking for the group of treasure hunters that are coming to the annual meeting  at the Jesse James Museum in Cement, OK. in September.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cement, Oklahoma, a playground for outlaws

Is he squinting like the face in the rock?

Come on, you do see the face in the rock don't you??

Cement, Oklahoma has been written about many times in books and magazines and now here in this prestigious blog. That wasn’t too much of a shameless plug was it?

If you are from Oklahoma then you have no doubt heard of and maybe even driven to Cement to take a look around. For some of us, we have looked a little closer and will continue to look thanks to a series of private contracts.

With that said, I thought I might let our readers who haven’t heard of Cement, OK in on one of the worst kept secrets in Oklahoma. The area around Cement, Oklahoma was well known to many outlaw gangs including the infamous Frank and Jesse James. Frank James himself spent time in the area during the early 1900’s looking for treasures that he and Jesse had hidden and he even recovered a couple. It also looks like he left a few behind for us!

The now famous copper map or “wolf map” as the KGC people like to refer to it, was found near Cement along with some small gold bars, a watch, a few coins and some other items. If you have been to any of the previous annual meetings then you have undoubtedly seen this watch since the owner comes every year and is gracious enough to share this gem with us. It was found on a small hill known as Buzzard’s Roost. A hill that we all may get to visit during this year’s annual meeting providing the weather is right and the oil fields cooperate.

There are treasure signs galore in this area including those left behind by the outlaws and also the Mexicans and Spanish before them. From the clues in this area you can be lead southwest to even more clues near and in the Wichita Mountain range. There have also been clues found in the mountain range that will lead you to the area around Cement. It’s just one big circle of treasure clues!

I have included a few photos of some of the things that can be found in the area but unfortunately, since these came from treasure sites we are actively working I cannot disclose the exact location of where they are. You understand don’t you? :~)

Sometime in the near future we hope to write more about this location and some of the things that have been and are being found.

Did you remember that this year’s annual meeting is going to be held in Cement, OK?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Just a reminder

We would like to remind everyone of the upcoming get together in September. It will be held at the Jesse James Musem in Cement, Oklahoma on September 18, 2010. The meeting will start at 10:00 a.m. and everyone is welcome.

If you have something you would like to bring as a show and tell type deal then please do. Everyone always likes to see different things from different locations. Please do not feel obligated as we know some treasure hunters are more secretive than others but if you have a photo or six of different treasure signs you have found in the field and would like to share, please bring them along.

The lunch for this event will be catered so it would be nice if you could e-mail James and let him know if you are planning on attending so we can have a good head count for the food. His e-mail address is okietreasurehunter@msn.com

The food this year will be BBQ and hopefully there will be a little something that everyone likes, well, if you're a vegetarian then it might not be as bountiful as for the others but we'll try.
As usual, there will be a few door prizes and plenty of things to see. If you are a treasure hunter or just interested in treasure hunting please make plans to attend. There will be plenty of people to talk to and even ask questions of if you are so inclined.
It looks like we may have two or three authors of different books there this year including Steve Wilson again.
We look forward to seeing everyone in Cement!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Cocos Island

After posting the article about the treasure hunters going to Cocos Island we received an e-mail from on of them. I decided to post the e-mail for our readers.


> I stumbled upon your blog while doing a little bit more research about Cocos Island, and I see that you mentioned our little story.
> I thought you might like to know that the photograph does not do Mike justice, he does like the odd tipple but is certainly not the type to slaughter the crew and make a run for it!

> And to be honest, we're not too concerned about the trustworthiness of the Cost Rican government. In the first place, we realise that there is only the tiniest chance of finding anything, and secondly the authorities have been very helpful and if they simply allow us to carry out our search on the island we'll be happy. It's not about making it rich, just enjoying the adventure - and maybe a realistic trial of our "eco-friendly" treasure hunting tools.

> Best wishes

> Shaun Whitehead BEng CEng FIMechE

> Scoutek Ltd

They seem to have the right idea about treasure hunting, it's about "enjoying the adventure" more than it is about getting rich. This is something all treasure hunters should feel.

I hope Mr. Whitehead is right about Mike Munrow, we wouldn't want to read in the news about a new "pirate". LOL Just kidding! Really! I've been told that my sense of humor is a little "different" so I hope Mr. Munrow didn't take offfense at my pirate comment in the first post.

We wish these intrepid treasure hunters nothing but the best in their endeavor to search for, and hopefully recover some treasure. We will watch for any updates in the news about this expedition and hopefully they will contact us again when they get back. It would be interesting to know how well the new treasure hunting tools performed.

These new tools may be something treasure hunters all over will be interested in.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

First Impressions

I woke up yesterday morning to what I would consider a strange e-mail. It reminded of the e-mails you get from ongo-bongo or some other place I have never heard of saying they are holding fifteen million dollars in funds that I can have ten percent of if they can just use my bank account.

This e-mail was apparently sent out as a bulk e-mail to all of the members of one of the more popular treasure forums. In the event you aren’t a member of that particular forum or didn’t get the e-mail I have included it for you to see.

A major television production company has asked me to forward this to our members - this is a VERY serious casting call, and I wish you the best if you are interested. I would LOVE to see a TNet'r become a star!

Marc Austin


Major TV Production Company is ISO Passionate and Proven Treasure Hunters

Do you make your living traversing the country in an RV scavenging for artifacts from centuries past? Are you a family of metal detectorists who heads out to the local Civil War battlefields on the weekends to find your loot? Or a colorful character who pores over antique maps to find long lost relics?

If so, we want to hear from you. We are a major TV production company looking for our next big TV talent. You should be passionate about what you do, knowledgeable in a wide range of artifacts and time periods, but ultimately an amateur doing what you do because it's what you love. Ideal candidates include families who travel around the country - or even deep into their own backyards - searching for hidden treasures, a dynamic duo who hits the road in search of precious metals or Revolutionary War remnants to pay the rent, a unique individual who goes to great lengths to find long lost relics - or any combination in between.

If you think you have what it takes to be our next TV star, send us a video of your treasure hunting team telling us why we should pick you. Quirky personalities welcome.

Submission Guidelines
Please send a video (preferably a quicktime video) telling us who you are and why you want this gig. Video of yourselves in action is a major bonus.

In the body of your letter or e-mail, please answer the following questions.

1) What is your most astounding find to date?
2) What are your favorite types of finds?
3) What are your most frequent finds?
4) What do you do with your finds?
5) What regions of the country/world do you cover?
6) What methods/equipment do you use?

Please send the above materials with your contact information to Series.Inquiries@gmail.com. We will be in touch if we're interested. Thank you for your time, and GOOD LUCK!

Normally I would assume that the person sending out this e-mail has vetted the company that is requesting such information since it is coming from their web site but I don’t know this for sure.
I really hate to sound like one of those conspiracy nuts on some of the forums but when I read the “casting call” e-mail my spidey senses were tingling.

As I read this e-mail the red flags were popping everywhere. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for more shows about treasure and treasure hunters but when an unnamed “major TV production company” starts asking about who I am, where I hunt, what I have found and what I do with those finds then my suspicious side goes into overdrive.

Again, this is just my opinion and for all I know Marc Austin can vouch for this company but all of the casting calls I have ever seen always name the company and give a phone number and a physical address where they can be contacted instead of just some generic and probably untraceable gmail e-mail address. They also have links to a web site so that you can download the proper forms for submitting your information. Why would a production company looking for new "stars" not want to give their name? Why would they do everything by e-mail?

A "normal" casting call usually involves a specific application that has information about the program, exactly what is required of the individual and the eligibility requirements however this offer has none of those.
I don’t want to discourage anyone from following their dreams of being on TV and I would love for this to be the real deal but something just doesn’t seem right about this. I would think the old adage of “buyer beware” might apply here.

I will offer my apologies in advance to Mr. Austin if I offend him with my opinion but I thought I would throw in my two cents worth on this thing. To me, this just doesn’t seem like the way a “major TV production company” would go about doing business. Maybe I’m just being “quirky”.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ebay Treasures

Do you have a hankering to own a piece of history? Well if you buy into the theory that Jesse James lived and died in Texas  Ebay has just the thing for you. For a cool $1,000,000 each you can own a either a treasure map http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&Item=170521557854Category=77&_trkparms=algo%3DLVI%26its%3DI%26otn%3D2  or
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&Item=170522700632Category=13712&_algo%3DLVI%26its%3DI%26otn%3D2  an old tin type photo of "Jesse James" .

I might be one of the few who actually believe Jesse was killed in 1882. There hasn't been enough verified information to surface to prove otherwise in my humble opinion. I know of at least four families who claim Jesse James faked his death and that they are direct descendants. None of these families are related to one another as far as I know.

While I might have my own reservations about these items being of Jesse James origin I have taken a look at the treasure map and believe that it is a copy of a real treasure map, of course the only problem with a treasure map is that you never know if the gold is still there.

If by chance you do have an extra million bucks burning a hole in your pocket contact me and I can arrange for an authentic treasure hunt or two.