Sunday, January 30, 2011

Zerelda Cole James Samuel / The mother of Jesse James Photo on Ebay

Up for bid on Ebay is what could be a rare photo Zerelda samuel who was the mother of Frank and Jesse James. Compare the known photgraphs of her and decide for yourself. She appears to be in her 50's in the photo. The date written in pencil on the back could be July 1884 which would make her 59 years old and would have been two years after Jesse was killed. This may be why she is wearing the black dress. Her right arm appears to be fake and must have been added by the photographer. She lost that arm in 1875 thanks to a Pinkerton bomb. Note the large left eye, shape of the nose, parting of the hair, and down turned corners of her mouth. These are the same characteristics Zerelda has in other photographs.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jesse James in Texas


One of the benefits to having this blog is the number of different people we have the chance to talk with. Betty Dorsett Duke is one of those people and she has an interesting story to tell. Betty is the author of "Jesse James Lived and Died in Texas" and "The Truth About Jesse James". She makes a compelling argument that her grandfather was really Jesse James and has recently acquired a photo off of Ebay that seems to be of a wedding party and may change history. Zerelda Samuels is easily identified in the center row of the photo and it is possible that Frank James and Betty's grandfather may be in the front row. To get the full story please go to her website . I think you will find it interesting.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Bridge to Far?

Sometimes in life there seems to be places that just seem to have bad energy circle them. Place’s that just seem to have a history of almost being a cross roads in life for bad things to happen. The stretch of cold steel that makes up the Rock Island rail road in-between Dover and Kingfisher Oklahoma is just such a place. It’s had its fair share of troubled times. Everything from having its trains robbed to its trains washed away. I’ll begin with the train that was robbed.

On April 3, 1895, the Doolin Gang along with the most of the “Wild Bunch” gang boarded the Rock Island train near Dover, Oklahoma. Their goal that ill fated day was to empty the safe aboard the trains baggage/mail car that contained $50,000 of army payroll. The safe proved to be a bit more of a challenge than the gang would have imagined so they set their sights on robbing the express car passengers of cash and jewelry. As the train neared the bridge just south of Dover the gang prepared for their departure as it crossed the Cimarron River. They let out with over confidence and leaving a almost taunting trail for the law to follow. Within two hours, Chief Deputy Marshal Chris Madsen arrived at the robbery scene with six deputy marshals. They gave chase to the notorious outlaws, tracking them west then back across the river north. About two o’clock that afternoon, the posse caught up with them at a camp near Ames “Tulsa Jack” Blake was killed and “Little Bill” Raidler was seriously wounded, losing several fingers. Bill Doolin, Red Buck, Bitter Creek Newcomb, Charlie Pierce and Dick Yeager escaped, riding their separate ways to safety. The loot was never recovered. Does it still lay somewhere in hiding between Ames and the bridge? The bridge holds more than just a starting point of a outlaw trail, it is also the deadly end to a ill fated train.

On a dark and dreary rainy September night in 1906, the Cimarron river began to swell. It soon became a roaring river of death and carnage as it carried debris down river, creating extreme pressures against the train bridge between Kingfisher and Dover. As the Rock Island train No. 12 northbound, crossed the river, the bridge collapsed. The engine tender, baggage/mail car, smoker and day coach all where immediately thrown into the violent waters of the river. The baggage car sank for an instant. The smoker half floated, with one end above water, the couplings between it and the day coach broke, and, submerged, it was carried down the river at least 400 yards. The baggage/mail car was seen a little further down river at a smaller bridge crossing before it caused that bridge to collapse as well. Due to high waters and quick sand none of the train’s contents or the train its self where recovered. Many of the passengers perished in the crash so it is anyone’s guess what may have been in the baggage/mail car.

This bridge as well as the stretch of train track it connects across the Cimarron has a checkered past. It could hold the beginning of the treasures of your future. As a matter of fact I believe that this is such a great search area I almost didn’t write this for you to read. I was going to keep it for my own searches, but in the end you the reader are more important to me. Please if you do go looking though remember that this area could hold your end as well. There could be hidden dangers of quick sand and quickly rising waters. Maybe even a few modern day outlaws waiting for someone to come along. What I can tell you that if you live in Oklahoma this bridge is not “to far”.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Florida Lawmakers getting involved with the Black Swan Treasure

This is an update to the wikileaks story about the Odyssey Marine Treasure salvors and good Ole Uncle Sam trying to screw them over. Once again, Homer has supplied us with this story fro the web.

Members of Florida's congressional delegation this week called on the U.S. Department of State to withdraw the nation's support of Spain's claim to the $500 million Black Swan treasure.
In a two-page letter dated Jan. 20, six Republican lawmakers said ownership of the sunken treasure found by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. should be determined by the courts without the U.S. government's intrusion. Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor sent a letter the same day, voicing her concern to the State Department about the U.S. government's backing of Spain.

Odyssey and Spain are battling in U.S. courts over claim to the sunken treasure found in 2007.

The U.S. government filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case in support of Spain.

Documents posted by WikiLeaks showed that the U.S. government's involvement in the case appeared to be related to other discussions with Spain.

In exchange for helping with the Black Swan case, the U.S. government wanted assistance from Spain in retrieving a French painting owned by a U.S. citizen that is currently in a Madrid museum.

Republican lawmakers said the U.S. government's support of Spain in the case "is ceding our sovereignty to foreign entities."

Odyssey already has asked the federal courts to strike the U.S. brief from the record.

The U.S. government opposed Odyssey's motion to strike the brief, arguing it has "substantial interest in the proper interpretation of maritime and international laws that protect sunken vessels, both as to ships owned by the United States and as to those owned by foreign sovereigns."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Superstition Mountains claim three more

A while back I wrote an article about three treasure hunters who disappeared in the Superstitiion Mountains of Arizona while looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine. Thanks to Homer we have an update to that story. All three of the men have been found dead in the mountains. Here is a story from the web that was sent to me by Homer.

PIMA, Ariz.(ABC 4) - Just over a week ago, Pima Country Sheriffs Deputies discovered the skeletal remains of two of the three missing Utah men in the mountains of Arizona.

Searchers now believe they have found the remains of the third man.

Officials say they found the wallet of Curtis Merworth along side human remains on Saturday in the Superstition Mountains.

Merworth was in a group of three men that were reported missing last July after they set out on a gold mine hunt.

His mother tells ABC 4 she is saddened by the news but relieved that the long, painful wait is over.

"We are happy because it's been six months and we've been under a lot of stress," said Carol Merworth.

Pima County Sheriff Officials believe they found the remains of Ardean Charles and Malcom Meeks last week.

The Pima County Medical Examiner will identify the remains.

I have said it time and time again, BE PREPARED, you never know what might happen and it's always better to have something and not need it instead of not having something and needing it badly. That extra five or ten pounds that you don't want to carry could be what saves your life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jewels, Jewels and more Jewels

Are you the adventuresome type who doesn’t mind a little danger in your treasure hunting? If so, then you might want to try your hand at looking for more than 100 million dollars in stolen jewelry.

This heist is a modern day robbery and was pulled off by some very well trained people who didn’t mind cracking a few skulls in the process.

In December of 2008 four individuals entered the Harry Winston Jewelry store in Paris, France. All four were men however three of the men were dressed liked women to help them gain entrance through a locked door that you had to be “buzzed in” through.

Once inside the men pulled out a hand grenade and a handgun and started barking orders at the employees, even calling some of the employees by name. In less than fifteen minutes it was over. The bad guys were gone and after smashing several display cases and banging up a few of the employees Harry Winston of Paris was short more than ONE HUNDRED MILLION dollars worth of jewelry.

As of the date of this article there has only been a few of the jewels from this robbery recovered however they have made some arrests. Those arrests were of other men that are said to be part of a gang consisting of more than 200 men, all ex-military and all from a small town in Serbia. The gang is known as the Serbian Pink Panthers. They have been robbing jewelry stores in several places including Dubai, Switzerland, Japan, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Monaco.

At least four of the gang members have been arrested and sent to jail. One of those was cooperating with authorities, giving them details on how the gang operates but to date, they haven’t found all of those jewels.

So if you don’t mind traveling to Europe, possibly being shot at by ex-military guys with some pretty big guns and competing with Interpol and several other law enforcement agencies then this just might be for you!

I would like to thank Susan, one of our readers, for this information. If you are interested in more robberies like this one, possibly for clues to some modern day treasure then you might want to check out the link she sent me:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On the trail to Spanish treasure?

Once again our good buddy Homer has saved my bacon by giving me yet another treasure story to post for our readers. Thank you Homer!

This one takes us to Mexico and the 1930's. It is being researched/hunted for by some underwater archies from Mexico.

Maybe it's just me but I'm thinking that if any great treasure is found in Mexico it will never make it where the archies think it should go. We may never hear of it again except in rumors or government documents that show up many years later.

From the web:

Mexico City – Starting from a watch dial, Mexican researchers are following a number of clues to find a purported treasure from Spain, while also hoping to find a survivor of that story that goes back to the 1930s exile of Spanish Republicans to Mexico.

The 7-centimeter (2 3/4-inch) watch dial was found Nov. 20 by divers from the underwater archaeology division of Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute, at the bottom of a lake in the crater of Nevado de Toluca volcano, at 4,200 meters (13,770 feet) above sea level.

The watch is related to other objects, including a locket and some boxes bearing the name of the Spanish bank Monte de Piedad de Madrid, which were found in the same lake in the 1960s by members of Mexico's Hombres Rana (Frogmen) Club, who kept them in a private collection.

The pieces might all be related to a treasure said to have been brought to Mexico in 1939 by Republican Spaniards who brought them from Monte de Piedad de Madrid - a savings bank now known as Caja Madrid - and from the Spanish central bank to help support the exiles.

The story remained literally submerged for the following decades until this year a group of archaeologists, led by Roberto Junco, climbed Nevado de Toluca volcano and descended to the bottom of Lake of the Sun, which has a depth of 12 meters (39 feet) and a water temperature of 5 C (41 F).

After several days of searching they found a watch face that is now being restored and studied.

Junco, who knew the story of the divers' club that in the mid-20th century found several objects in that lake, met one of them two years ago, who showed him photos taken at the time the discovery was made of pieces that might reasonably have belonged to the "Spanish treasure."

The story goes back to 1939, when Gen. Francisco Franco defeated forces loyal to the Spanish Republic.

That year the ship Vita set sail from a French port with Spanish Republicans aboard, who were apparently carrying objects of value packed in 120 boxes that are said to have been worth $300 million at the time.

That "treasure" is believed to have been amassed by the Spanish socialist politician Indalecio Prieto, a man on good terms with then-Mexican President Lazaro Cardenas, who welcomed the Republicans and their children, from then on known as "the children of Morelia."

Historian Flor Trejo said that the Republican Spaniards are believed to have stripped the gold from watches and other pieces and then threw the mechanisms and dials into the volcanic lake.

On that point, Junco cited some researchers who say that Mexico's central bank bought the melted-down gold from valuable jewelry and coin collections, but he warned that this has not been documented and so falls within the realm of speculation.

Trejo is in charge of pursuing the clues provided by the watch dial and the pieces that the divers found in 1960.

She believes the watches came from Swiss factories and plans to ask for help from those still in business.

The idea is also to find some Spaniard or descendant who knows the history of this shipment, Trejo said, while Junco adds that an attempt must be made to "get to the individuals behind the objects."

Junco said that there is no certainty that the objects found at the bottom of the lake are part of the purported treasure - this is just one line of investigation, because there is another theory that a group of thieves came to the lake to get rid of part of their haul.

The research could take years, since according to Junco, "it has to be done as seriously as possible."

"This is one of those great mysteries that perhaps will never be solved. Maybe someone left a statement that tells all. The goal is to find somebody who owned one of these watches, to reconstruct the journey of those objects that somehow came to Mexico, some of which were dumped in the lagoon of a volcano. It's a story that seems taken from a detective novel," Junco said.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A dispute over Pirate Treasure, Arrrrrrg!

This story comes from our good buddy Homer who is always on the look out for treasure.

The story was originally posted on the web December 24, 2010 but as usual, I'm a little behind.

A FAMILY staking its claim on land in San Salvador where it is believed billions of dollars worth of pirate treasure is buried secured a consent order in court yesterday that will bring excavation efforts on the disputed property to a temporary halt.

Dennis Bethell and his family are contending that the land being excavated at Fortune Hill, San Salvador belonged to their ancestor Nimrod Newton by way of a Crown grant dated August 8, 1876.

The Newton tract encompasses 47 acres on Fortune Hill and includes an area of the 23 acres owned by Dorothy Black-Beal who has reportedly started excavation on the disputed tract of land.

Mr Bethell contends that Mrs Beal's property was erroneously mapped over a portion of his land to encompass the cave in which the treasure is believed to be buried.

Rumours of treasure buried on the land have been circulating in San Salvador for years.

Mrs Black's attorneys agreed during a closed court hearing before Justice Bernard Turner to a consent order to stop excavation on the land for 14 days as the claim by Mr Bethell and his family is investigated.

Mr Bethell said that he had initially come to court to seek an injunction to have the excavation works stopped and viewed yesterday's outcome as somewhat of a compromise.

"I am quite certain that when they do what they have to do they will realise that they were wrong," Mr Bethell told The Tribune.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

100 once gold nugget found

This story was posted on a treasure forum I belong to so I am stealing it from there.

It comes from the web and was originally posted by a California newspaper.

By Carlos Alcala

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 - 12:00 am
Page 1A Last Modified: Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011 - 4:56 am

Imagine a gold nugget the size of a small fruitcake.

Fred Holabird, a mining geologist, doesn't have to imagine, because a gold prospector brought one into his Reno office in 2010.

Holabird remembers shouting, "Oh, my God!" or something similar, but unprintable in a family newspaper.

"I made some exclamation that was very, very loud," Holabird said Tuesday.

Holabird will auction what is now dubbed the Washington Nugget in March.

The stunning piece of gold was literally turned up from the ground near the town of Washington in Nevada County. It weighs nearly 100 ounces.

Current prices would make that gold worth about $135,000, but Holabird believes that the intact nugget is the biggest California nugget in existence and could be worth as much as $400,000.

That's a fruitcake that won't be regifted.

To understand how it was found requires a little background.

The gold in this lunker – as large nuggets are known – was formed in the same way as the little flakes that panners find. Gold was created as part of the underground processes that created the Sierra, and gradually was eroded out and washed downstream.

The Washington Nugget was part of an ancient riverbed with rocks that eventually cemented together, including the bones of prehistoric rhino- and hippo-like mammals, Holabird said.

Hydraulic miners took all the gold they could out of those deposits 150 years ago.

"This ended up being a little piece that got missed," said Holabird. "This was a chance thing."

Early last year, after storms eroded tailings off the cemented conglomerate, a property owner – his name is not being revealed – went out exploring.

"They got a huge reading on the metal detector," Holabird said.

It took heavy equipment to knock the nugget out of the ancient bed.

The nugget's discovery has been known in prospecting circles, but it hasn't produced any rush akin to that of the 1850s.

"It's like winning the lottery," said James Hutchings, president of the local chapter of Gold Prospectors' Association of America. "They (prospectors) realize they're probably not going to get the big one."

The rise in gold prices has prompted a few people to go out and try to find the bits of gold that are still out there.

"They don't realize looking for gold is hard work," said John Clinkenbeard, California's program manager for mineral resources.

The mining companies that do that hard work aren't going to spend huge amounts on the slight odds that they might find such a lunker.

"It truly is not one in a million," Holabird said. "It's one in a billion."

The Washington Nugget's finder brought the lunker to Holabird for his assessment. He researched the nugget's origin and that of others like it.

"I tried to find out if any of the big ones still existed, and they don't," he said.

It's not that this one, at just over 6 pounds, is any kind of record. Nuggets with far greater weights – as much as 25 pounds – have been reported, though most are gold quartz rocks, not true nuggets, which have eroded out.

Nuggets bigger than 100 ounces exist from other countries, too, such as Australia.

However, any true nugget that big from California has been melted down to bullion or coins, Holabird believes.

Holabird considers it his job to preserve Western mining history.

To that end, he once helped the Sacramento Public Library's archives acquire a handwritten letter from John A. Sutter, owner of the land where gold discovery set off the big rush.

"Fred, when we talked, he said, 'I'd really rather have this go to an archive library,' " recalled Clare Ellis, then the librarian in the Sacramento Room.

Holabird gave the library enough time to raise the $7,500 to buy the rare document. And, shrewd businessman that he was, he sent it to Ellis to hold until the money was raised.

"Once I had it in my hot little hands, I had to have it," she said.

Anyone desiring to have the Washington Nugget in their hot little hands will have to wait until March 15, when it's auctioned. The auction site, when determined, will be announced on Holabird's website,

It is on display at a Florida coin show this week, and in Long Beach in February, Holabird said. If he can find a suitable place in Sacramento before March, he will display it here, as well.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thinking out loud on Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper or "D.B. Cooper" as he is better known has been an enigma since the hijacking of the Northwest Airline jet in 1971.

I will be the first to tell you that I know less than I should about this mystery and for this article I am truly just thinking out loud. With that said, what if Dan Cooper never really left the plane when he was supposed to have jumped out? No one was in the back of the plane when this was supposed to have occurred. The man known as Dan Cooper did have a lot of knowledge about the plane and flying and apparently a few different airports including a military base not far from where the jet landed to refuel.

Is it possible Cooper knew enough about the jet (maybe an airline employee) that he could have stowed away in a space that the F.B.I. wouldn't have looked in? Is it possible the F.B.I. didn't really search the plane all that much because they assumed he jumped? This latter scenario seems extremely possible to me based on the art of misdirection and the possibility of it turning into a cluster ---- once the plane landed.

Maybe the man known as Dan Cooper never left the plane until after it had landed and after the F.B.I. finished collecting their evidence. We know from experience that investigative techniques and the collection of evidence changes over time as criminals get smarter and/or more daring.

To this date I think there is only one individual that has been named that could even be considered a possible suspect and that is a man named Kenneth Christiansen. You will here more about him tonight on Brad Meltzer's Decoded but based on what I have read, he is the only one that seems to have the right kind of background and who, from interviews of friends, had some pretty suspicious activities going on before and after the hijacking. I am told there was a man here in Oklahoma that could have been Cooper but that's another story for someone else to write. :~)

If this story interests you I would suggest doing a little more research into Mr. Christiansen. There was a book written about him and his possible connection to the hijacking which is bound to have more information than you will get from a one hour show on the History Channel.

Besides solving a mystery, there is still a little less than 200 grand that has never been accounted for. Could someone have spent the money without the F.B.I. ever knowing it?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The history of D.B. Cooper

There has been a lot said over the years about who D.B. Cooper was and if he survived the jump from the plane with the cash in hand. The F.B.I. has updated their own theories and have even found some new evidence but as of this date, they still don’t have a real suspect or any clue as to what happened to the money.

As almost everyone knows, a small portion of the cash was found several years after the hijacking and parachute jump but since then nothing else has turned up. There have been a couple of men come forward in the past claiming to have been D.B. Cooper but they have been ruled out by the F.B.I. The new evidence the F.B.I. has been working with is DNA. They were able to remove some from the tie D.B. Cooper was wearing at the time and left behind on the plane before he jumped.

The F.B.I.’s current theory is that D.B. Cooper was not an experienced jumper and never survived the jump from the plane. I personally am not so sure about that. It would be my opinion that if his chute opened and he didn’t survive the jump then they would have found him and/or the chute long ago. The only viable explanation if he didn’t survive the jump is that his chute did not open and he drilled himself into the ground. If this is the case then the spot where he “landed” would be very difficult to find. I would also think that if this was the case the paper money that was in the cloth duffel bag would have decayed and faded away over the last 30 years. There still might be a few remnants of the cash since it was bundled but for the most part, there would be no money to be found.

Does that mean it’s not worth finding? Absolutely not! Finding D.B. Cooper would be an amazing feat, all be it one that would get your name and face plastered all over the news.

The F.B.I. has given their own synopsis over the years, twice actually. I have reprinted the two F.B.I. articles here for our readers along with posting two of the photos available from the F.B.I.

Article number 1:

On the afternoon of November 24—35 years ago Friday—a non-descript man calling himself Dan Cooper approached the counter of Northwest Orient Airlines in Portland, Oregon. He used cash to buy a one-way ticket on Flight #305, bound for Seattle, Washington. Thus began one of the great unsolved mysteries in FBI history.

Cooper was a quiet man who appeared to be in his mid-forties, wearing a business suit with a black tie and white shirt. He ordered a drink—bourbon and soda—while the flight was waiting to take off. A short time after 3:00 p.m., he handed the stewardess a note indicating that he had a bomb in his briefcase and wanted her to sit with him.

The stunned stewardess did as she was told. Opening a cheap attaché case, Cooper showed her a glimpse of a mass of wires and red colored sticks and demanded that she write down what he told her. Soon, she was walking a new note to the captain of the plane that demanded four parachutes and $200,000 in twenty dollar bills.

When the flight landed in Seattle, the hijacker exchanged the flight’s 36 passengers for the money and parachutes. Cooper kept several crewmembers, and the plane took off again, ordered to set a course for Mexico City.

Somewhere between Seattle and Reno, a little after 8:00 p.m., the hijacker did the incredible: he jumped out of the back of the plane with a parachute and the ransom money. The pilots landed safely, but Cooper had disappeared into the night and his ultimate fate remains a mystery to this day.

The FBI learned of the crime in flight and immediately opened an extensive investigation that lasted many years. Calling it NORJAK, for Northwest hijacking, we interviewed hundreds of people, tracked leads across the nation, and scoured the aircraft for evidence. By the five-year anniversary of the hijacking, we’d considered more than 800 suspects and eliminated all but two dozen from consideration.

One person left on our list, Richard Floyd McCoy is still a favorite suspect among many. We tracked down and arrested McCoy for a similar airplane hijacking and escape by parachute less than five months after Cooper’s flight. But McCoy was later ruled out because he didn’t match the nearly identical physical descriptions of Cooper provided by two flight attendants and for other reasons.

Or perhaps Cooper didn’t survive his jump from the plane. After all, the parachute he used couldn’t be steered, his clothing and footwear were unsuitable for a rough landing, and he had jumped into a wooded area at night, a dangerous proposition for a seasoned pro—which evidence suggests Cooper was not. This theory was given an added boost in 1980 when a young boy found a rotting package full of $20 bills ($5,800 in all) that matched the ransom money serial numbers.

Where did “D.B.” come from? It was apparently a myth created by the press. We did question a man with the initials “D. B.” but he wasn’t the hijacker.

The daring hijack and disappearance remain an intriguing mystery—for law enforcement and amateur sleuths alike. To read more about the NORJAK investigation, see the files on our Freedom of Information Act website. Fair warning: you might get hooked on the case!

Article number 2:

On a cold November night 36 years ago, in the driving wind and rain, somewhere between southern Washington state and just north of Portland, Oregon, a man calling himself Dan Cooper parachuted out of a plane he’d just hijacked clutching a bag filled with $200,000 in stolen cash.

Who was Cooper? Did he survive the jump? And what happened to the loot, only a small part of which has ever surfaced?

It’s a mystery, frankly. We’ve run down thousands of leads and considered all sorts of scenarios. And amateur sleuths have put forward plenty of their own theories. Yet the case remains unsolved.

Would we still like to get our man? Absolutely. And we have reignited the case—thanks to a Seattle case agent named Larry Carr and new technologies like DNA testing.

You can help. We’re providing here, for the first time, a series of pictures and information on the case. Please look it all over carefully to see if it triggers a memory or if you can provide any useful information.

A few things to keep in mind, according to Special Agent Carr:

Cooper was no expert skydiver. “We originally thought Cooper was an experienced jumper, perhaps even a paratrooper,” says Special Agent Carr. “We concluded after a few years this was simply not true. No experienced parachutist would have jumped in the pitch-black night, in the rain, with a 200-mile-an-hour wind in his face, wearing loafers and a trench coat. It was simply too risky. He also missed that his reserve chute was only for training and had been sewn shut—something a skilled skydiver would have checked.”

The hijacker had no help on the ground, either. To have utilized an accomplice, Cooper would’ve needed to coordinate closely with the flight crew so he could jump at just the right moment and hit the right drop zone. But Cooper simply said, "Fly to Mexico," and he had no idea where he was when he jumped. There was also no visibility of the ground due to cloud cover at 5,000 feet.

We have a solid physical description of Cooper. “The two flight attendants who spent the most time with him on the plane were interviewed separately the same night in separate cities and gave nearly identical descriptions,” says Carr. “They both said he was about 5'10" to 6', 170 to 180 pounds, in his mid-40s, with brown eyes. People on the ground who came into contact with him also gave very similar descriptions.”
And what of some of the names pegged as Cooper? None have panned out. Duane Weber, who claimed to be Cooper on his deathbed, was ruled out by DNA testing (we lifted a DNA sample from Cooper’s tie in 2001). Kenneth Christiansen, named in a recent magazine article, didn’t match the physical description and was a skilled paratrooper. Richard McCoy, who died in 1974, also didn’t match the description and was at home the day after the hijacking having Thanksgiving dinner with his family in Utah, an unlikely scenario unless he had help.

As many agents before him, Carr thinks it highly unlikely that Cooper survived the jump. “Diving into the wilderness without a plan, without the right equipment, in such terrible conditions, he probably never even got his chute open.”

Still, we’d all like to know for sure, and Carr thinks you can help.

“Maybe a hydrologist can use the latest technology to trace the $5,800 in ransom money found in 1980 to where Cooper landed upstream. Or maybe someone just remembers that odd uncle.”

If you have any information: please e-mail our Seattle field office at

Monday, January 3, 2011

Oklahoma Sunset

Not all Oklahoma treasures are gold or silver. Our state has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.

Clues to a Spanish Mine

I was going through my files the other day and came across several things I have been holding on to in the hopes I might have the chance to work them myself. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, I have so much stuff that I want to work myself that I will never have time to get it all done.

This description is said to have come from "an old Spanish document" and the story was originally published in 1950. This is the description and directions to a large Spanish mine. Pay close attention to the description of how deep the tunnels are.

“Follow straight ahead through the pass of Los Janos to the south about three leagues from the Guadalupe mine, which is one league from the big gate of the Tumacacori mission to the south, to another gateway or pass called The Gateway to Agua Hondo (Deep Water). To the south from this pass runs a creek that empties onto the desert near the old town of Santa Cruz.

The mine is to the east of the pass. Below the pass on the bank of the creek there are twelve arrastres and twelve patios. At the mine there is a tunnel 300 varas (835 feet) long that runs to the north. About 200 varas from the portal of this tunnel a crosscut is yellow and is one half-silver and one-fifth gold. Fifty varas from the mouth of the mine in a southerly direction will be found planchas de plata (slabs or balls of silver) weighing from 25 to 250 pounds each. In the rock above the tunnel is the name La Purisima Concepcion, cut with a chisel. The mouth of the tunnel is covered by a copper door and fastened with a large iron lock”
Hmmm, a copper door fastened with a large lock, this sounds familiar doesn't it?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A different kind of treasure

This one comes from another one of our readers, Thank you Rob!

I'm a little late in getting it on the blog and the story is a few weeks old. They may have to design a detector that will only find clay!

Bellagio casino in Las Vegas robbed of $1.5m in chips

An armed man stole at least 1.5 million dollars in casino chips from a craps table at the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas before escaping on a motorcycle, police have said.

The suspect entered the casino at 0350 local time wearing a motorcycle helmet and walked directly to the table.

The man may have robbed the Las Vegas Suncoast Casino last week, police said.

Strict controls over Las Vegas casinos may make it difficult to cash in the chips anywhere other than the Bellagio.

Chips are generally unique to specific casinos and are typically not interchangeable.

"Casino chips are not like cash - at some point they must be redeemed," MGM spokeswoman Yvette Monet told Reuters news agency.

MGM Resorts, which owns the Bellagio, captured video footage of the suspect.

Police said that if the same culprit was responsible for the Las Vegas Suncoast Casino robbery, he may have netted less than $20,000 in chips during that heist.

The incident at the Bellagio was the 10th casino robbery in Las Vegas this year.