Get your shovel! (5 still hidden treasures)
Everyone loves a good treasure hunt, right? It’s the thrill of the chase and the fortune that can be had at the end. And who couldn’t use a few extra bucks in this economy? There are many stories of people who have dedicated their life to find treasure, only to go broke and never find that proverbial (or in this case actual) pot of gold. Even if they find the treasure, there will likely be a lengthy battle over who owns it. A few years ago an expedition found a treasure in a sunken ship worth as much as $500 million. It didn’t take long for Spain to put in a claim on it because they said the treasure had initially been stolen from their country.
So even if you find it, there’s no guarantee that you will keep it and reap the rewards. But as I said before, it’s all in the thrill of the chase. Or so they say. Well, if you have any inkling about going out and finding treasure of your own, these may be a few good places to start.
Captain Kidd’s plunder
Possible sites: Connecticut River, Block Island in New York
William Kidd was a Scottish sailor who was a privateer (read: pirate hunter) who allegedly turned to the very act he was supposed to stop. After amassing quite a fortune, he was arrested on his return from the Indian Ocean in 1699. He was tried and executed in 1701. What was never found were most of the riches that would have proved his exploits. One of his hiding places was uncovered on Gardener’s Island in New York and sent to England to be used against him in his trial. The belief that he had other hiding places for his plunder was never substantiated, but it is this belief that sends people out with their shovels to this day.
The most talked about location of Kidd’s treasure is up the Connecticut River somewhere on Clarke’s Island. Rumor has it that the gold has to dug up by three people, in complete silence, during a full moon with the moon directly overhead. There’s a legend that three men once followed all these directions to the very end. But once the treasure chest started to be uncovered, one of them yelled “You’ve hit it”. Upon hearing a direct violation of the rules, the chest promptly sank into the sand and out of reach.
Better than Al Capone’s vault
Treasure: $7 million cash
Possible site: Phoenecia, New York
Schultz (born Arthur Flegenheimer) was a mobster in New York in the 20’s and 30’s. During his criminal career, he amassed quite a fortune from his dealings. The government continually tried to take him down for violent crime but were unsuccessful. They finally had to go the Al Capone route and charge him with tax evasion. Schultz, thinking he was going to go to jail, decided he needed to make sure he would have some cash when he got out.
He took $7 million in cash and buried it in a hidden location in upstate New York. The only two people who knew the location were Schultz and his bodyguard. Unfortunately, they were both gunned down before he went to prison. The bodyguard was killed, and Schultz lasted a while until an infection took him as well. Although there is no proof that either man revealed the location to anyone before their deaths, some say Schultz’s ramblings as he was dying points to a forest in Phoenecia Park. It is said that many of his rival gangsters spent the rest of their lives looking for the treasure, Lucky Luciano among them.
Calling on Rainman
Treasure: 2900 pounds of gold, 5100 pounds of silver, lots of jewelery
Possible site: unknown
Robert Morriss, an innkeeper in Virginia, was approached by a man named Thomas Beale in 1820. Beale gave Morriss a box and asked him to keep it until somebody came to get it some time in the next 10 years. Morriss was told that if nobody came in that time period, he could keep the box for himself. No one ever showed. After twenty year, Morriss finally opened the box and pulled out three pages of nothing but numbers.
It was a code, and Morriss spent years attempting to decipher it. After his death, a friend of his who ended up with the box and reported that he deciphered the second page using the the Declaration of Independence. The page said that the treasure contained 5,100 pounds of gold, 4,900 pounds of silver, and thousands of dollars in jewelery. But the page said nothing of the location. It is assumed that the location is revealed in page one or three, but nobody has been able to decipher those two pages to this day. You can check it out for yourself here.
Once a pirate, always a pirate
Treasure: Jewels, gold
Possible sites: Cocos Islands, Coastal Peru
In 1820, Peru was near revolt. The viceroy wanted to transport the country’s wealth away until things calmed down. He tabbed Captain William Thompson to lead the 11 ships full of treasure and take it to Mexico. Unfortunately, it was in the days before background checks. Thompson was once a brutal pirate, and this was too much of a temptation. As soon as he left port, he killed the Peruvian guards and sailed to the Indian Ocean.
The Mary Dear, Thompson’s main ship, was captured shortly afterwards and the crew sent to trial. Everyone was convicted and they hanged all but Thompson and his first mate. Those two cut a deal agreeing to lead officials to the site of the treasure. They sailed to the Indian Ocean, towards Cocos Islands, but slipped away onto an island and disappeared into a jungle. Neither one was ever seen again and the treasure was never recovered. Many expeditions, up to 300 over history, have set out to locate the treasure. Most of them centered on the Cocos Islands, but newer expeditions have also concentrated on several islands just off the coast of Peru. They think Thompson could have unloaded the treasure before going across the Pacific.
There’s gold in them thar hills… maybe
Possible site: Ohio
In the 1700’s, when the French still occupies U.S. territory, they knew a battle with the British was coming. In anticipation of this, they thought it good to move their riches to a safe place. Ten men were selected to move the treasure of gold and silver. They used the Great Trail, a Native American route, to move everything. At some point, sensing an ambush, they buried it. The attack did occur, where all but two of the men died. They did not disclose the location of the treasure.
Years later, a relative of one of the men found some pages talking about the treasure. They described the location of the treasure as being “between two natural springs, with the landmark of a tree that had a deer carved into it, and another tree with a rock in the branches”. The relative, among others, searched but came up empty. Some time later, both trees were found along with shovels and muskets that were left behind by the French troops. The location is near Minerva, Ohio but the treasure has yet to be uncovered.