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Treasures of Faras Hidden in the Desert Sands

Treasures of Faras Hidden in the Desert Sands


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The only collection of mediaeval Christian paintings from the Nile Valley in Europe, the Faras Gallery is to be re-opened at the National Museum in Warsaw. Culture.pl’s camera looks behind the scenes of the exhibition’s formation, to the conservation lab, taking part in the difficult process of hanging the paintings in the gallery. Stefan Jakobielski, an archeologist, speaks about the moment of the paintings’ discovery in the 60s during an expedition he undertook.


Where’s the gold? Here are 5 California lost treasures

Lost treasure has been the focus of countless books, myths, and movies for as long as we’ve been telling stories. History is full of tales about stashes of treasure left behind by pirates, scoundrels, and thieves, and lucky for us, some of that fortune is still up for grabs. Here are five undiscovered treasures, along with a few other stories of lost treasure in California.

1.) It was 1851 when Joaquín Murieta, (known as the real-life Zorro) and his gang raided several camps in the mountains east of Chico, California. It was the heyday of the gold rush, and the “Argonauts” or forty-niners had been pouring into both the Mother Lode (ie, the Sierras east of Sacramento) as well as the northern mines. Joaquín Murieta and his gang were often known to hide their stolen loot in the area of their robberies. On one occasion Murieta and his right-hand man, Manuel Garcia, known as “Three-Fingered Jack,” robbed a stagecoach along the Feather River. The strongbox was said to have contained some 250 pounds of gold nuggets worth $140,000 at the time. Allegedly, the pair buried the strongbox on the banks of the Feather River, in a canyon a few miles south of Paradise, (present Butte County). According to Wells Fargo officials, the stolen gold has never been recovered.

Other caches of Joaquín Murieta, or one of them, anyway, is said to lie in the Eastern high desert region of the northern mines. Murieta is believed to have another stash that he had to bury somewhere between Burney and Hatcher Pass, close to Highway 299. That treasure has never been found. Another treasure that remains lost is Murieta’s treasure of $200,000 in 1860s dollars, which is believed to be between Susanville and Freedonyer Pass. This is close to what is known today as Highway 36.

2.) Richard Barter, also known as “Rattlesnake Dick” and Dick Woods, was born in Quebec, Canada, the son of a British officer around 1833. Though little is known of his early history, he was said to have been a reckless sort of boy.

In March 1856 seven men proceeding with a mule train over Trinity Mountain en-route from Yreka to Shasta were held up by a gang of five masked bandits and robbed of $25,000 in gold. The gang buried the gold in several places on the mountainside, and then fled.

They were rounded up a few days later. The notorious “Rattlesnake Dick Barter,” the Pirate of the Placers, engineered the crime, though Barter, nabbed while stealing mules to be used to carry off the loot, was unable to take part. About $15,000 of the gold was recovered in a ravine 12 miles from Mountain House, on the headwaters of Clear Creek. The melting of the snow and the coming of spring changed the look of the terrain. Attempts to find the rest of the loot failed, and $10,000 (now several times in value by today’s gold price) still lies somewhere on the mountain.

The final heist occurred when Rattlesnake Dick hooked up with the Skinner boys. He decided to avoid his old haunts of the Mother Lode and concentrated on the rich spoils of the northern diggings. The robbery was flawless, but the Wells Fargo organized posse was hot on their tails. The gang split up. George Skinner was suppose to meet Rattlesnake Dick and the rest of the bandits at Folsom, however, the gold was too heavy to bring down the mountain pass and George decided to bury half of the loot in the mountains.

No one has been able to find the remaining $40,000 worth of gold bullion buried on Trinity Mountain even Rattlesnake Dick couldn’t find where George had buried the treasure.

3.) On May 1892 one of the most famous gold heists made the new town of Redding famous throughout the state. The Ruggles Brothers held up the stage to Weaverville, just west of Redding, in what is known today as Middle Creek road, and made off with the strong box loaded with gold. As soon as the stage headed around the turn the younger brother Charles jumped out of the Manzanita chaparral with his shotgun aimed, ordering a halt. The driver complied, but unbeknownst to the Ruggles, the stage had an armed escort, Buck Montgomery of the Hayfork Montgomery clan.

In an effort to save himself and his brother, John told the authorities that the stage guard, Montgomery, was in cahoots with them. He also revealed where he had hidden the gold, telling authorities that he had hidden it in Middle Creek. Attached to the strong box was a floating device that came within a foot of the top of the water that would help him in finding the stash later.

The two boys were lynched in Redding July 24, 1892. The mob took the two from jail, led them to a tree on the northwest corner (Redding Blacksmith shop at the time) where Shasta Street met the railroad tracks, the ‘backyard’ of the current Paul Stowers Garage business. Even on the improvised gallows, John Ruggles refused to divulge where he stashed the loot.

Authorities went back and scoured the area, and even found the express bag pouch (with letters intact) in the Lower Springs area, but the $5,000 in gold coins still remains undiscovered, though over a century of seekers have tried.

The place to begin is along the unpaved section of Middle Creek Road between Iron Mountain Road and the Shasta Transfer Station in Old Shasta.

4.) Located in the barren, sun scorched desert of southern California is an enigmatic and somewhat unearthly sight a lake sprawled out amidst the parched, baked earth, ringed by wind blasted ghost towns and with beaches of crushed fish bones rather than sand. This is the Salton Sea, a shallow, saline lake that lies along the San Andreas Fault.

Of all the legends about lost and found, and lost again treasures in the Southwest, there is none more mystifying than the enduring tale of a large sailing vessel which lies, full of riches, somewhere in the restless sands of California’s Salton Sea basin, toward the northern end of the Sorora Desert.

Emigrants have reported such a ship, prospectors and other travelers who claim that she lies with her bow buried deep and her richly carved stem raised high above the sands.

In the 16th century, the Salton Basin was flooded very much like it is now, with a huge lake lying exactly where the current Salton Sea is found. This lake was called Lake Cahuilla. It was an enormous body of water that was the size of the state of Delaware and connected to the Sea of Cortez, which in modern days is known as the Gulf of California. It is here that the story of a lost Spanish Galleon loaded with pearls and gold coins comes in.

The story goes that the galleon ran aground on a sandbar or landslide, after which the crew were forced to abandon it and escape overland through the desert, leaving the ship and its cargo of gold and pearls behind. Over time, the lake disappeared and it is said the ship sank beneath the sands.

Is there an ancient sailing craft lying half-concealed in the sands of the Colorado Desert?

5.)In the early 1900s train robber and gunrunner, (and I would add escape artist to his titles) Roy Gardner, began his career of thievery in Arizona and California. On April 16, 1920 the curly-headed young man stole $78,000 in cash and securities from a mail truck in San Diego, California. Though it was a smooth job, the outlaw was arrested just three days later. Soon his name would become as well known to the lawmen of California as Jesse James.

On May 19, 1921, Gardner boarded the mail car of a Southern Pacific train, tied up the clerk and fled the train in Roseville, California, with $187,000 in cash and securities.

Two days later Gardner was arrested again while playing a game of cards in a Roseville, California pool-hall. Attempting to reduce his long sentence, he offered to lead the lawmen to the money. However, he must have changed his mind when, after leading the officers on a wild goose chase of the surrounding hills, he announced, “I guess I’ve forgotten where I buried that money.”

After many escapes from other prisons he was later moved to Alcatraz to complete his sentence. Gardner made several futile appeals for clemency, but was not released until 1939. He ended his own life in a small hotel room in San Francisco, explaining that men who served more than five years in prison were doomed and that he was old and tired.

Thus ended a criminal career and somewhere, an estimated $250,000 of his loot still remains hidden. Gardner had neither the time nor the opportunity to spend his ill-gotten wealth, nor partners to share it with.

Legend has it that he hid $16,000 in gold coins in the cone of an extinct volcano near Flagstaff, Arizona before he was captured during a train robbery in 1921. But, where is the rest? California?

This pot of gold coins was found by a couple in California while walking their dog.

Not all lost treasures of California are related to the Gold Rush. During the wild and wooly days of Prohibition, a German whiskey smuggler named Carl Hause was doing a brisk business. Hause’s operations were located on Point Reyes Peninsula, at the edge of Drake’s Inlet just south of Inverness. The whiskey smuggler was said to have buried approximately $500,000 in gold-backed currency somewhere between…

Inverness and the old Heims Ranch. However, the liquor entrepreneur would not live to retrieve his ill-gotten gains as he was found shot to death in his car. The currency has never been found.

In 1862, the sheriff of Trinity County was not only responsible for upholding the law, but was also tasked with collecting taxes. On one occasion as he was traveling through the area, his saddlebag was filled with about $1,000 in gold coins and $50 gold slugs. As the sheriff and his horse were cautiously crossing a stream, the horse stumbled and the saddlebag filled with gold was dropped and washed down the creek. Though the lawman made an immediate search of the area, he was unable to find the bag. Soon, the county offered a reward of $250 for the recovery of the saddlebag, but despite diligent search efforts, including damming up the creek, it was never found. In those early days of California, assayers and private mines often minted gold slugs. Today, in addition to their gold value, they have also become major collectible items, and if the treasure were to be found today, some estimate it could be worth as much as a million dollars. The creek was located near Weaverville, California.

Pioneer Peter Lassen, became a very wealthy landowner and rancher in the 1820s and amassed thousands of acres along the south bank of Deer Creek. He is known to have buried his gold coins and dust in iron pots on his property near his home, at the confluence of Deer Creek and the Sacramento River at Vina, or along the Lassen Trail, which follows Deer Creek. Indians killed Lassen at the age of 30 and his treasure hoard was never found.

A stagecoach carrying 2 boxes of $50 gold slugs worth $128,000 was held up at Weed in 1859. A posse from Mt. Shasta came upon the scene less than a 1/2 hour later and took off after the outlaws. They came upon 2 pack animals on the western slopes of Mt. Shasta with empty saddlebags. Three miles beyond this point, they overtook the bandits and all were killed. It was reasoned that the gold, too heavy for a fast getaway, was buried and part of the posse searched the area for a week, but failed to locate the treasure.

The Eskridge outlaw gang buried the loot taken from two successful stage robberies near the Upper Bear Creek Crossing in 1881. The treasure has been estimated between $50,000 and $120,000 and has never been recovered.

John Ellison Trueblood came to California in 1852. He settled on a farm on the outskirts of Red Bluff. He buried his money, 100 to 200 rare octagonal $50 gold slugs, in an iron pot somewhere on his farm. He was killed in an argument over the Southern Pacific RR coming on his land and the secret of his hidden gold died with him. This cache is worth between $500,000 and $1 million today.

The Langley family operated a paying gold mine at (GT) Cherokee in the 1860’s in the Cherokee Hills. In their workings they found a sizeable quantity of raw diamonds and had accumulated quite a large amount of gold dust and nuggets. The Langley’s hid 2 saddlebags filled with their raw gold and diamonds about 1/2 hour’s horseback ride up the creek above their camp for safekeeping. Bandits attacked the family and the brother who hid the treasure was killed. Not knowing exactly where the cache was made, the family never recovered the treasure. The remains of a washout dam mark the location of the old Langley campsite today.

LOST GOLD MINES IN CALIFORNIA

Whether these tales of lost mines are fact or fiction, their legends are still alive for hopeful prospectors of California.


Treasure chest worth $1M found hidden in the Rocky Mountains after a decade of searching

The search is over! After a decade-long treasure hunt, someone finally found $1 million-worth of gold and jewelry in the Rocky Mountains. Buzz60

A treasure chest full of gold, jewelry and other valuables worth $1 million was found in the Rocky Mountains, according to the man who hid it there more than a decade ago.

Art dealer and author Forrest Fenn confirmed that "the search is over" in an announcement on his website Sunday. Fenn said he didn't know the person who claimed the treasure, but a poem in his book led him to its hiding spot.

“It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago," Fenn said. "I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries."

The 89-year-old told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the treasure was found a few days ago by a man from "back East" who did not want to be named. Fenn said the discovery was confirmed with a photograph.

According to Forrest Fenn, this treasure chest contains gold dust, hundreds of rare gold coins, gold nuggets and other artifacts. (Photo: AP)

Fenn inspired thousands of treasure hunters when he announced years ago that he had hidden the chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The treasure was said to be north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and many deciphered clues from Fenn's writing, including a 24-line poem published in his 2010 autobiography, "The Thrill of the Chase."

The hunt proved deadly over the years. In 2019, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office in Montana warned that at least two people died, two were rescued near death and others had run-ins with police as they searched for the treasure near Yellowstone after a man was injured searching for the prize.

In 2017, a body was found in New Mexico that appeared to be Paris Wallace of Grand Junction, Colorado, a pastor who went missing while searching for the treasure. The year before, the body of Randy Bilyeu, 54, was found months after he disappeared while looking for the treasure along the Rio Grande.

Fenn said on his website that more information and photos will come soon. When asked how he felt now that the treasure has been found, Fenn told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “I don’t know, I feel halfway kind of glad, halfway kind of sad because the chase is over."


Contents

In modern times, the mystery of the lost city of Atlantis has generated a number of books, films, articles, web pages, and two Disney features. [2] [3] On a smaller scale, Arabia has its own legend of a lost city, the so-called "Atlantis of the Sands", which has been the source of debate among historians, archaeologists and explorers, and a degree of controversy that continues to this day.

In February 1992, The New York Times announced a major archaeological discovery in the following terms: "Guided by ancient maps and sharp-eyed surveys from space, archaeologists and explorers have discovered a lost city deep in the sands of Arabia, and they are virtually sure it is Ubar, the fabled entrepôt of the rich frankincense trade thousands of years ago." [4] When news of this discovery spread quickly around the newspapers of the world, there seemed few people willing or able to challenge the dramatic findings, apart from the Saudi Arabian press. [5] The discovery was the result of the work of a team of archaeologists led by Nicholas Clapp, which had visited and excavated the site of a Bedouin well at Shisr (18° 15' 47 N" 53° 39' 28" E) in Dhofar province, Oman. The conclusion they reached, based on site excavations and an inspection of satellite photographs, was that this was the site of Ubar, or Iram of the Pillars, a name found in the Quran which may be a lost city, a tribe or an area. [6] [7] [8] Sir Ranulph Fiennes, another member of the expedition, declared that this was Omanum Emporium of Ptolemy's famous map of Arabia Felix. [5]

A contemporary notice at the entrance to an archaeological site at Shisr in the province of Dhofar, Oman, proclaims: "Welcome to Ubar, the Lost City of Bedouin Legend". [9] However, scholars are divided over whether this really is the site of a legendary lost city of the sands.

In 1930, the explorer Bertram Thomas had been approaching the southern edge of the Rub' al Khali ("The Empty Quarter"). It was Thomas' ambition to be the first European to cross the great sands but, as he began his camel journey, he was told by his Bedouin escorts of a lost city whose wicked people had attracted the wrath of God and had been destroyed. He found no trace of a lost city in the sands, but Thomas later related the story to T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), who regarded Ubar as the "Atlantis of the Sands". Thomas marked on a map the location of a track that was said to lead to the legendary lost city of Ubar and, although he intended to return to follow it, he was never able to. [10]

The story of a lost city in the sands became an explorer's fascination a few wrote accounts of their travels that perpetuated the tale. T. E. Lawrence planned to search for the location of a lost city somewhere in the sands, telling a fellow traveller that he was convinced that the remains of an Arab civilization were to be found in the desert. He had been told that the Bedu had seen the ruins of the castles of King Ad in the region of Wabar. In his view the best way to explore the sands was by airship, but his plans never came to fruition. [11]

The English explorer Wilfred Thesiger visited the well at Shisr in the spring of 1946, "where the ruins of a crude stone fort on a rocky eminence marks the position of this famous well." He noted that some shards found there were possibly early Islamic. The well was the only permanent watering place in those parts and, being a necessary watering place for Bedouin raiders, had been the scene of many fierce encounters in the past, [12]

In March 1948 a geological party from Petroleum Development (Oman and Dhofar) Ltd, an associate company of the Iraq Petroleum Company, carried out a camel-borne survey of Dhofar province. Like Thesiger, the party approached Shisr from the south, along the Wadi Ghudun. Their first sight of Ash Shisur was a white cliff in the distance. As they drew closer, they could see that the cliff was in fact the wall of a ruined fort built above a large quarry-like cave, the entrance of which was obscured by a sand dune. [13]

The fort had been built from the same white rock as the overhanging cliff, giving the impression of a single structure. One of the geologists noted: “There are no houses, tents or people here: only the tumble-down ruin of this pre-Islamic fort.” The geologists, without the benefit of modern satellite analysis or archaeological equipment, were unimpressed by the ruin. Shisur, like Ma Shedid a few days before, was a ‘difficult water’ and their escorts spent the best part of their 3-day stay trying to extract water for their camels from the well. [13]

In 1953, oil man and philanthropist Wendell Phillips set out to discover Thomas' track but was unable to follow it because of the heavy sands which made further travel by motor transport impossible. [14]

Some 35 years later, Clapp and his team reported uncovering what they described as a large octagonal fortress dating back some 2,000 years beneath the crumbling fort, and described a vast limestone table that lay beneath the main gate which had collapsed into a massive sinkhole around the well. This, some concluded, was the fabled city of Ubar, which was also known as Iram, or at least a city in the region of Ubar, once an important trading post on the incense route from Dhofar to the Mediterranean region. [7]

Some pointed to religious texts to support the theory that the city was destroyed as a punishment by God. Iram, for example, was described in the Qur'an as follows: "Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with 'Aad - [with] Iram - who had lofty pillars, The like of which were not produced in (all) the land?" (Surat al-Fajr: 6–8) [15]

Dhofar Edit

Bertram Thomas' guide pointed to wide tracks between the dunes and said: “Look, Sahib, there is the way to Ubar. It was great in treasure, with date gardens and a fort of red silver. It now lies beneath the sands of the Ramlat Shu’ait.” [10] Thomas also wrote, "on my previous journeys I had heard from other Arabs of the name of this Atlantis of the Sands, but none could tell me of even an approximate location." [16]

Rub' al-Khali Edit

Most tales of the lost city locate it somewhere in the Rub' al Khali desert, also known as the Empty Quarter, a vast area of sand dunes covering most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including most of Saudi Arabia and parts of Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

St. John Philby (who preferred the name "Wabar" for the lost city) was an English adviser to Emir Aziz bin Saud in Riyadh. He first heard the story of Ubar from his Bedouin guide, who told him about a place of ruined castles where King Ad had stabled his horses and housed his women before being punished for his sinful ways by being destroyed by fire from heaven. [17]

Anxious to seal his reputation as a great explorer, Philby went in search of the lost city of Wabar but, instead of finding ruins, discovered what he described as an extinct volcano half-buried in the sands or, possibly, the remnants of a meteorite impact. Modern research has confirmed an ancient impact event as the cause of the depression in the sands. [17]

Geologist H. Stewart Edgell observed that for the "last six thousand years the Empty Quarter has been continuously a sand-dune desert, presenting a hostile environment where no city could have been built." [18]

Shisr Edit

Nicholas Clapp claimed that the discovery of the remains of towers at the Shisr excavation site supported the theory that this was the site of Ubar, the city of 'Ad with "lofty pillars" described in the Qur'an. [5] [7] Thomas dismissed the ruins at the well of Ash Shisur as a "rude" fort which he took to be only a few hundred years old. [10]

Omanum Emporium Edit

Ranulph Fiennes, explorer and adventurer, was a member of Clapp's expedition and speculated that Ubar was identified on ancient maps as "Omanum Emporium". This was a place marked on a map of Arabia compiled by Claudius Ptolemy in about 150 AD. [5]

Others Edit

When the explorer Freya Stark consulted the works of Arab geographers, she found a wide range of opinions as to the location of Wabar: “Yaqut says: "In Yemen is the qaria of Wabar." El-Laith, quoted by Yaqut, puts it between the sands of Yabrin and Yemen. Ibn Ishaq… places it between "Sabub (unknown to Yaqut and Hamdani) and the Hadhramaut". Hamdani, a very reliable man, places it between Najran, Hadhramaut, Shihr and Mahra. Yaqut, presumably citing Hamdani, puts it between the boundaries of Shihr and Sanaʽa, and then, on the authority of Abu Mundhir between the sands of B.Sa'd (near Yabrin) and Shihr and Mahra. Abu Mundhir puts it between Hadhramaut and Najran.”

“With such evidence,” Stark concluded, “it seems quite possible for Mr. Thomas and Mr. Philby each to find Wabar in an opposite corner of Arabia.” [19]

Nicholas Clapp's search for Ubar began after he read Thomas' book Arabia Felix. Clapp had just returned from Oman, having helped to stock an oryx sanctuary on the Jiddat al Harassis, and was inspired by Thomas' references to the lost city of Ubar. He began his search for Ubar in the library of the University of California in Los Angeles, and found a 2nd-century AD map by the Alexandrian geographer Claudius Ptolemy which showed a place called "Omanum Emporium". He speculated that this might be the location of Ubar, situated on the incense route between Dhofar and the Mediterranean region. Aware that Mayan remains had been identified from aerial photographs, Clapp contacted NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and obtained satellite images of Dhofar. These helped to identify ancient camel tracks hidden beneath the shifting sands of the desert which in turn might identify places of convergence such as wells and ancient cities. [7]

After Clapp's team had visited a number of possible sites for Ubar, they found themselves drawn back to the crumbling ruin at Shisr. Although the fort had been written off as being no more than a few hundred years old by the earlier explorers, Clapp's team began to speculate that the fort had been rebuilt in the 1500s on the remains of a far more ancient site.

Under the direction of Dr. Juris Zarins, the team began excavation, and within weeks had unearthed the wall and towers of a fortress dating back more than 2,000 years. Clapp suggested that the evidence was "a convincing match" for the legendary lost city of Ubar. The city's destruction, he postulated, happened between A.D. 300 and 500 as the result of an earthquake which precipitated the collapse of the limestone table but it was the decline of the incense trade, which led to the decline of the caravan routes through Shisr, that sealed Ubar's fate.

Zarins himself concluded that Shisr did not represent a city called Ubar. [8] In a 1996 interview on the subject of Ubar, he said:

There's a lot of confusion about that word. If you look at the classical texts and the Arab historical sources, Ubar refers to a region and a group of people, not to a specific town. People always overlook that. It's very clear on Ptolemy's second century map of the area. It says in big letters "Iobaritae". And in his text that accompanied the maps, he's very clear about that. It was only the late medieval version of One Thousand and One Nights, in the fourteenth or fifteenth century, that romanticised Ubar and turned it into a city, rather than a region or a people." [20]

In a more recent paper he suggested that modern Habarut may be the site of Ubar. [21]

By 2007, following further research and excavation, their findings could be summarised as follows: [22]

  • A long period of widespread trade through the area of Shisr was indicated by artefacts from Persia, Rome, and Greece being found on the site. More recent work in Oman and Yemen indicated that this fortress was the easternmost remains of a series of desert caravanserais that supported incense trade.
  • As far as the legend of Ubar was concerned, there was no evidence that the city had perished in a sandstorm. Much of the fortress had collapsed into a sinkhole that hosted the well, perhaps undermined by the removal of ground water for irrigation.
  • Rather than being a city, interpretation of the evidence suggested that “Ubar” was more likely to have been a region—the “Land of the Iobaritae” identified by Ptolemy. The decline of the region was probably due to a reduction in the frankincense trade caused by the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity, which did not require incense in the same quantities for its rituals. Also, it became difficult to find local labour to collect the resin. [23] Climatic changes led to desiccation of the area, and sea transport became a more reliable way of transporting goods.
  • The archaeological importance of the site was highlighted by satellite imagery that revealed a network of trails, some of which passed underneath sand dunes 100 m tall, which converged on Shisr. Image analysis showed no further evidence of major undocumented sites in this desert region, which might be considered as alternate locations for the Ubar of legend.

The Saudi Arabian press was generally sceptical about the discovery of Ubar in Oman, with Dr. Abdullah al Masri, Assistant Under-Secretary of Archaeological Affairs stating that similar sites had been found in Saudi Arabia over the past 15 years. In Ashawq al Awsat he explained: “The best of these sites was when, in 1975, we uncovered more than one city on the edge of the Empty Quarter, in particular the oasis on Jabreen. Also the name of Ubar is similar to that of Obar, an oasis in eastern Saudi Arabia. We must await further details but so far we have far more important discoveries at Jabreen or Najran.” However, Professor Mohammed Bakalla of King Saud University wrote that he would not be surprised if Ad’s nation cities were found underneath the Shisr excavation or in the close vicinity. [5]

More recent academic opinion is less than convinced about the accuracy of Clapp’s findings. One reviewer noted that Clapp himself did not help matters by including a speculative chapter about the king of Ubar in his book, The Road to Ubar, which in his view undermined his narrative authority: “its fictional drama pales next to the gripping real-life story of the Ubar expedition recounted in earlier portions of this volume.” [24]

The case for Shisr being Omanum Emporium has been questioned by recent research. Nigel Groom commented in an article “Oman and the Emirates in Ptolemy's Map” published in 2007, that Ptolemy’s map of Arabia contained many wild distortions. The word “Emporium” in the original Greek meant a place for wholesale trade of commodities carried by sea, and was sometimes an inland city where taxes were collected and trade conducted. Thus the term could be applied to a town that was some distance from the coast. This, Groom suggests, may have been the case with Ptolemy’s ’Omanum Emporium’. He suggested that the Hormanus River, the source of which is marked on Ptolemy’s map as being north-east of Omanus Emporium, was in fact the Wadi Halfrain which rises some 20 kilometres north east of Izki in modern-day central Oman. Thus, Groom concludes, Omanum Emporium was likely to have been located at Izki, possibly Nizwa, or in their vicinity. [25] [26]

H. Stewart Edgell contended that Ubar is essentially mythical and makes arguments against any significant historical role for Shisr beyond that of a small caravanserai. Edgell suggested that the building was small and used by a few families at most. He believed that all the “discovery” of Ubar showed was how easily scientists can succumb to wishful thinking. [18]

In an article on the Shisr excavations [27] Professor Barri Jones wrote: "The archaeological integrity of the site should not be allowed to be affected by possible disputes regarding its name." A 2001 report for UNESCO states: "The Oasis of Shisr and the entrepots of Khor Rori and Al-Balid are outstanding examples of medieval fortified settlements in the Persian Gulf region." [28]

Writing about 'Wabbar', Michael Macdonald expressed doubts about the "discovery" since the site was known for decades and Sir Ranulph was stationed there. [29]


A Pyramid beneath the sand

Finding a pyramid is really a big deal. Most of the history of ancient Egypt lies hidden deep beneath its golden sands. We can’t possibly see what’s beneath it, but technology can help us explore potential sites that have been buried since time immemorial.

Saqqara is believed to have served as the necropolis for ancient Egypt’s Memphis capital and is home to many pyramids, including ancient Egypt’s oldest pyramid, the Step Pyramid of Djoser.

Located around 40 kilometers from the world-famous Giza pyramids, Saqqara may hide more secrets than it has revealed until now.

Archeologist Dr. Vasko Dobrev has been studying the site for more than three decades, and during Channel 5’s documentary “Opening Egypt’s Great Tomb,” he revealed some of his research. More precisely, Dr. Dobrev is hunting for a new pyramid, and details of his work were revealed in the documentary.

The Egyptologist argues that a new Pyramid may lie buried beneath the sand in the area of Saqqara South known today as Tabbet al-Guesh, north-west of the mortuary complex of Pepi I.

“Pyramids here spanned six centuries of Egyptian history, but one dynasty of pharaohs, in particular, chose to build their magnificent tombs in Saqqara,” explained Tony Robinson from Channel 5’s documentary.

Dr. Dobrev explained that numerous undiscovered pyramids could remain buried beneath the sand.

“There are about 120 [pyramids] all around Egypt. Pharaohs built pyramids here because Saqqara is exactly in front of Egypt’s capital, Memphis,” revealed Dr. Dobrev.

The archeologist who has surveyed Saqqara believes that hidden beneath the ground are the foundations of the Pyramid of Pharaoh Userkare, an ancient Egyptian ruler that did not reign for more than three of four years.

Egyptologists argue that Pharaoh Userkare could not finish a 52-meter-high pyramid in three years. “He may have only had time to create the pyramid base. We are on a good height, we discovered that all the pyramids that are in Saqqara, they are on the same level,” explained Dr. Dobrev.

Scan of the desert where a possible pyramid exists buried beneath the sand. Image Credit: Channel 5.

But without evidence, this is pure speculation. Luckily, Dr. Dobrev has data to back up his claims. Speaking to Robinson during the documentary, the Egyptologists revealed that beneath the sand is a structure that was most likely not naturally made. It’s a kind of buried square, measuring 80 meters by 80 meters, precisely the dimension of a pyramid spanning back to the period when Userkare reigned.

“So there is a kind of pyramid level, and we have his father to the north, his son is just there, and his grandson is behind us. But we have something else, new technology, geophysics, shows something with right angles,” said Dr. Dobrev during the documentary.

In addition to Dr. Dobrev, astrophysicist Giulio Magli maintains that the (buried?) pyramid of Userkare is to be found midway between the Pyramids of Pepi I and Merenre Nemtyemsaf I, at a position that would make the three pyramids create a line parallel to the one formed by the pyramids of Sekhemkhet, Unas, Djoser, Userkaf and Teti to the North.


Lost Treasures of the Old West

Credit: AGE Fotostock The Lost Dutchman&aposs Gold Mine is rumored to be located in Arizona&aposs Superstition Mountains.

The American West is vast, and its treasures elusive. From the first Spanish explorers to cross the plains and deserts, the quest for the West’s rich lodes of silver and gold has been unceasing. And over the centuries, thousands of —stories some more fantastical than others—have surfaced around hidden riches, buried loot, and disappearing mines. Here is a handful of folktales of some of the most popular lost fortunes to have tantalized and eluded seekers for generations.


Pirate treasure

What could be more traditional than stories of buried pirate treasure? And what pirate more likely a subject than the notorious Jean Lafitte? According to legend, Lafitte buried his swag—some 20 sea chests of treasure formerly belonging to the Emperor Napoleon—in several locations along the coast of Texas and Louisiana. Now and then, a few gold coins come to the surface, serving to keep alive the stories of Lafitte and his fabulous chests of riches.

Cavalry gold
In addition to the many legends that have surrounded Col. George A. Custer and the Little Big Horn, there have grown persistent rumors of lost treasure. As one version goes, the captain of the steamboat Far West—in order to lighten his load𠅋uried some $375,000 in gold that he was safeguarding for miners, to better accommodate the battle’s wounded troopers. The gold still lies buried along the banks of the Bighorn River. Or not….

Outlaw loot
Many of the West’s most desperate outlaws have been credited with hiding the proceeds of their robberies. Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and their ubiquitous Wild Bunch are reputed to have buried countless thousands of their stolen dollars in Irish Canyon, a small, remote site in Colorado’s Uintah Mountains. Which begs the question: With a life of ease hidden away within easy reach, why travel all the way to Bolivia to start life over as bandits?

Desert treasure ship
Just what is a Spanish treasure ship doing stranded and buried in the sands of the Mojave Desert? Incongruous though it might seem, folklore has the galleon swept inland by a freak tidal wave, stranding it and its doomed crew𠅊long with tons of Spanish gold (in some stories, the ship holds a fortune in pearls)—on the shifting sands. Over the centuries, the sand has covered it, but perhaps one day the wind will reveal a skeletal mast….

Lost mines
The most common stories of fabulous hidden treasure swirl around the lost mines. Such claims as Arizona’s Lost Dutchman and Lost Adams have been luring gold-hungry prospectors and treasure hunters for nearly a century and a half. Some have perished, their fates merely enhancing the mystique. Hollywood has exploited the legends with such films as McKenna’s Gold, in which Gregory Peck finds, then loses, the Lost Adams, and Lust for Gold, featuring a villainous Glenn Ford as the fabled 𠇍utchman.” 


Economics

Aside from the usual food and weaponry exports, the Lost Desert has a good trade in treasure. Countless lost temples lie beneath the sands, and adventurers often set out into the dunes to seek their fortunes.

A lot of fruits native to the desert are used in cooking in these parts. Dishes containing Queela and Qando are common in Qasala. In Sakhmet, mummified food has become a novelty, and sand based dishes are frequently seen.


The most important food group: Sand.


Arabian Desert Surrenders Queen Of Sheba’s Secrets In Yemen

Researchers from the University of Calgary are participating in an American Foundation for the Study of Man project to unlock the secrets of a 3,000-year-old temple in Yemen. Archaeologists believe the temple could prove as significant a discovery as the ruins of Pompeii, the pyramids of Giza, or the Acropolis of Athens. The Mahram Bilqis – pronounced Mah-ram Bill-kees – (or Temple of the Moon God) lies buried under the sands of the southern Arabian desert in northern Yemen and is believed to have been used throughout the reign of the legendary Queen of Sheba. According to University of Calgary archaeology professor Dr. Bill Glanzman, the project’s field director, the sanctuary was a sacred site for pilgrims throughout Arabia from around 1200 B.C. to 550 A.D.

“The sanctuary is packed with artifacts, pottery, artwork and inscriptions, opening a new door to the ancient civilizations of southern Arabia,” says Glanzman. “We’ve probably excavated less than one per cent of the site, with many of its treasures still buried far beneath the sands. This is the largest and one of the most important pre-Islamic sanctuary sites in Arabia.” (so far)

Eight limestone pillars remain standing at the front of the temple, half-buried by the desert sands. Behind the site’s peristyle hall, a wall of heavy limestone blocks (around 3.5 metres thick), covered in ancient inscriptions, surround the 70-90 metre-wide sanctuary. While the top six metres of the wall are exposed, sub-surface surveys of the area indicate the temple’s foundations still lie 9-10 metres below the sands. Glanzman estimates it will take another 2-3 years before the excavation of the walls is completed.

“The ancient builders of this temple used extremely advanced engineering techniques,” says Glanzman. “To reconstruct it, we first have to understand how the original stone masons carved the blocks and then teach the Yemeni masons these skills. We’re hoping to rejuvenate crafts and masonry skills that have lain dormant for more than 1,400 years.”

That is a bit of an understatement. As you can see in the photo above, the precision of the joints in these mortar free walls is astonishing, and rivals some of the finest work seen anywhere on the planet, including ancient Egypt. Examination for tool marks by engineers would be useful, as well as finding out where the quarry is local? Or far away? This could be far older than 3000 years.

My book above, available through Amazon offers compelling evidence that many of the famous sites in Egypt predate the dynastic pharaohs by thousands of years…

Join us in Egypt from March 8 to 21, 2015, and we will show you the evidence HERE


Beauty and Wonder Above and Below

High ancient sea ledges, deep rocky canyons, flowering cactus, and desert wildlife—treasures above the ground in the Chihuahuan Desert. Hidden beneath the surface are more than 119 caves—formed when sulfuric acid dissolved limestone leaving behind caverns of all sizes.

Reservations Required to Enter Cavern

Click calendar image above for reservations or call 877-444-6777. No reservations available at the park.

First-Time Visitors

Important information for first-time visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Plan Your Visit

Directions, hours, fees, things to do, and more.

Plan Like a Park Ranger

Top-10 tips for visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Download the NPS App

Download the NPS App to plan your visit to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Learn About the Park

Nature, history, culture, photos, publications, and more.

Gift Shop, Eating, and Sleeping

A variety of options are available.

Bookstore

The bookstore is operated by our non-profit partner that provides a variety of educational products.


The Mystery of the $30 Billion Treasure Part IFrom Freedom Magazine, June 1986

In one of the most closely guarded crimes of recent history, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tons of gold bullion were secretly and illegally removed from caverns on White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the beneficiaries allegedly including former President Lyndon Johnson and individuals connected with the U.S. Army, the Central Intelligence Agency and organized crime.

The caverns are located in and around Victorio Peak, in a remote, rugged section of south-central New Mexico.

The peak, named after a 19th century Apache war chief, apparently served as a repository for immense quantities of gold mined centuries ago by Spaniards and Indians and smelted into tens of thousands of crudely formed bars.


Between 1937 and 1939, Milton Ernest “Doc” Noss (left) and his wife, Ova (right), working with family members and trusted associates, reportedly removed up to 350 gold bars from the depths of Victorio Peak.
An investigation by Freedom has probed the history of that region, particularly the nearly 49 years since gold bars were first found in that area in November 1937 by a man named Milton Ernest “Doc” Noss, as fascinating a character as ever held a six-gun.

Background research into the enormous wealth contained in the caverns of Victorio Peak revealed many eyewitness reports of the gold.

In 1937, the peak was miles from nowhere. Its occasional visitors included hunting parties, and Doc Noss and his wife, Ova, were on one such expedition in search of deer. They had trekked in from Hot Springs, New Mexico, a town since renamed Truth or Consequences.

According to accounts from members of the Noss family, Doc bagged no deer, but he found something that whetted his appetite for the area — a shaft near the top of Victorio Peak which led into the bowels of the mountain. Doc mentioned nothing of his find to the group, choosing instead to return to the site a couple of days later with Ova.

Using ropes for support and guided by his flashlight’s wavering beam, Doc Noss descended a series of interconnecting chambers which led downward for 186 feet.

Years later, in 1946, Doc discussed his exploration with Gordon E. Herkenhoff, field representative of the New Mexico State Land Office. 1

In a four-page confidential report entitled “Field Examination of Noss Mining Claims, Hembrillo District,” Herkenhoff recorded a description:

“Dr. Noss claims that beyond the 186-foot depth, there is an incline downward at 45 degrees for 72 feet. Beyond that there is supposed to be another incline upward at about 30 degrees for some distance (40 feet as I remember it) where entrance is gained to a cave some 2700 feet long which contains many evidences that the cave was occupied as living quarters by a large group of humans for many years.”

The group evidently had some grisly practices, for the first thing Doc Noss encountered was a row of skeletons, 27 in all. Each skeleton had its hands bound behind it to a large wooden stake driven into the ground. Doc later brought one of the eerie things out. 2

Doc’s object at the time of discovery, of course, was more than old bones. Passing through the large cavern, he came to a series of smaller caves — “rooms,” he called them. In one “room” he discovered a large stash of old swords and guns, papers and letters from the 19th century, and a king’s ransom in jewels and coins.

Returning through the main cavern, he noticed an immense stack of metal bars off to one side. There were thousands of them, covered with old, dusty buffalo hides.

After he got back to the surface, Doc told Ova what he had seen, and almost as an afterthought mentioned the long row of metal bars. He also told his wife that there were “enough gold and silver coins to load 60 to 80 mules.”

Ova convinced Doc to return to the big cave and bring one of the heavy bars back up. Begrudgingly, he did so.

After scraping a small section of the bar clean, she exclaimed, “Doc, this is gold!”

Letha Guthrie, Ova’s eldest daughter from a previous marriage, described the next few years as a very happy time for the Noss family, one of simple, hard work with a bright, limitless future. Deferring to Doc’s belief that the gold would all be taken by the government should his find become too broadly known, the work force was confined to the immediate family and a couple of handfuls of trusted associates.

Ova Noss, her two sons, Harold and Marvin, and her two daughters, Letha and Dorothy, helped Doc in the strenuous task of removing the bars, one at a time, from the depths of the peak. Letha told Freedom that she herself handled 12 to 15 of the bars, “and I even put one up and hid it for four days.”

Six men who worked with Doc in removing the gold — C.D. Patterson, Don Breech, Edgar F. Foreman, Leo D. O’Connell, Eppie Montoya and B.D. Lampros — later signed sworn affidavits regarding their experiences.

Lampros, for example, described having his photograph taken with Colonel Willard E. Holt of Lordsburg, New Mexico each held an end of a bar while it was being sawed in half.

Joe Andregg, an electrician from Santa Fe, New Mexico, reflected on the days when he worked with Doc Noss in the late 1930s. “I was just a kid, about 13 or 14 years old,” he told this writer. Asked about the bars, he said, “I sawed one in two with a hacksaw.”

One person who worked with Doc Noss inside the cave was Jose Serafin Sedillo of Cuchillo, New Mexico. He told this writer that the gold bars in the cave were “stacked like cordwood.”

The bars that Noss and his crew removed from Victorio Peak were, in general, crudely formed, indicating the use of primitive smelting processes.

Estimates vary on the number of bars removed, ranging up to 350 or so.

According to members of the family, there would have been more, but Doc’s work was abruptly and unexpectedly brought to a halt in August 1939 when a dynamite blast, set to enlarge a narrow passage, instead caved the passage in, sealing off the main cavern.

Doc Noss spent the next 10 years in intermittent efforts to regain access to the hoard, in vain. He worked with a succession of partners, the last of whom, Charlie Ryan of Alice, Texas, shot and killed Noss in an altercation in Hatch, New Mexico, on March 5, 1949.

The night before his death, perhaps sensing that a business deal was going sour, Doc enlisted the aid of a cowboy named Tony Jolley to shuffle the locations of various stashes of the bars. There were 110 gold bars moved that night, according to an affidavit obtained by this writer and sworn to by Jolley.

The affidavit states, in part: “In March of 1949 I handled 110 rough [sic] poured bars of gold in the area which is now White Sands Missile Range which is now the area of Victorio Peak. On the night of March 4, 1949, I went with Doc Noss and dug up 20 bars of gold at a windmill in the desert east of Hatch, New Mexico, and reburied them in the basin where Victorio Peak is. We took 90 bars . stacked by a mine shaft at Victorio Peak and reburied them 10 in a pile scattered throughout the basin with the exception of 30 bars that we buried in a grassy flat near the road we came out on.”

After the death of Doc Noss, Ova and her family continued efforts to regain access to the big treasure room. The U.S. Army, which gained control of the area when it was converted to a bombing range during the Second World War, refused her request to bring in an excavation firm and ultimately ordered the Nosses to stay out of the area.

Word of the Doc Noss treasure spread, and keeping people out of the area was no easy chore. In November 1958, a team of four weekend gold seekers rediscovered the hoard.

Led by U.S. Air Force Captain Leonard V. Fiege, the four had done extensive research on Victorio Peak, poring over old documents and records, and even traveling south into Mexico to check stories there regarding a man who has often been linked with the origin of the gold, Padre Philip La Rue.

All four men — Fiege, Thomas Berlett, Ken Prather and Milleadge Wessel — were, at the time of their find, employees at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. This writer conducted extensive interviews with Thomas Berlett. According to Berlett, the four men proceeded down a fault into the peak for about 150 feet, at which point their progress was stopped by a large boulder. They dug under it, and Berlett and Fiege moved past it for another 100 to 125 feet, coming eventually to what Berlett described as a small cavern, approximately eight feet wide by 10 or 12 feet long.

In the room were two large stacks of gold bars, each roughly six feet high, three feet wide and eight feet long. A third, smaller stack, pyramidal in shape, stood about three feet high.

Berlett and Fiege had found a different passage into Victorio Peak, leading into a different chamber.

The room had been undisturbed for so long that the dust, according to Berlett, lay several inches thick. The slightest movement stirred up a cloud. Nearly choking, the two men hastily marked their claim and made their exit.

Before leaving, both men had observed an old wooden cross on one of the walls. Berlett viewed this as substantiation for the theory that Spaniards had been responsible for stashing the gold.

In September 1961, Berlett and Fiege swore to the specifics of their discovery in detailed affidavits provided to federal officials. They also were given — and passed — lie detector tests.

Among those who attested to the accessibility of the peak’s treasure was Lynn Porter, a businessman now residing in San Diego, California.

On the night of September 1, 1968, Porter drove to the peak with a friend and a civilian security guard from White Sands Missile Range named Clarence McDonald. The three men had been on a hunting party when McDonald, who reportedly had imbibed several cans of beer, began talking freely about a huge stash of gold. Porter and his friends were amused at his story and McDonald, to prove that what he was saying was true, took the two other hunters on a moonlit drive to Victorio Peak.

A narrow passage through rocks kept the bulky Porter from following the other two men into the depths of the peak. He stood guard while McDonald and the other man descended into a large cavern, returning with a crudely formed gold bar roughly 2 1/2 inches wide by 7 inches long.

The gold, Porter’s friend stated breathlessly, ran in a tremendous stack along one side of the cavern — stretching for approximately 200 yards. The two men told Porter they had taken one of the smaller bars from the stack because they felt it would be easier to handle than one of the large bars in moving through the long and sometimes difficult passage.

After some discussion, the men decided that Porter should take the bar to a close friend of his who worked in the provost marshal’s office in nearby Fort Bliss, Texas. Possession of gold was against the law at the time, and the men reasoned that the bar would provide evidence to bring about an authorized, legal expedition to remove the vast quantity of gold. The men believed that Porter’s friend was in a good position to help arrange an official government expedition to claim the gold.

Porter subsequently brought the gold bar to the close friend, who was an Army major.

The major took the bar and told Porter to check back with him in a few days. He did, only to find that in the short, three-day interim the major had been whisked away, transferred to the Pentagon. His wife and his two school-age children had also abruptly left.

The gold bar had disappeared without a trace. No one in the provost marshal’s office to whom Porter talked would admit to knowing anything about the gold, and he was warned by the provost marshal that any future “trespassing” would be dealt with severely.

There is evidence to indicate that many gold bars were removed from Victorio Peak a short time after Lynn Porter brought the bar to the Fort Bliss provost marshal’s office.

Going public with information about the gold stored in Victorio Peak or removed from it, however, is something that people familiar with the subject are generally reluctant to do. And for good reason.

Chester Stout, for example, a retired Army sergeant, traced the removal of two large truckloads of gold from Victorio Peak, but later had to move out of New Mexico his life was threatened because, as he was told, he “knew too much.”

In all, eight persons told this writer they had received direct threats against their lives or against the lives of their families. Sam Scott, for example, a retired airline pilot, was warned in 1977 to keep clear of anything regarding Victorio Peak for at least five years under pain of having his home firebombed and his wife and daughter killed.

The sources of this threat, according to the man who relayed the threat to Scott, were two agents of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

The daughter of another man, Harvey Snow, died from a gunshot wound in the head after Snow had disregarded repeated warnings in regard to the peak.

Thayer Snipes of El Paso, Texas, swore to an affidavit regarding another death. The affidavit states:

“I, Thayer Snipes, first being duly sworn, on my oath state:

“That in the latter part of 1972, I had stopped by the Airport Chevron Station at the corner of Airway Blvd. and Montana Ave. in El Paso, Texas, to visit with a friend, Frank Foss, owner of the station.

“That while visiting Foss, a man we both knew, E.M. Guthrie, drove in to the station in a late model Ford Thunderbird.

“That I had known E.M. Guthrie for about three years prior to this meeting and knew him to be the husband of Letha Guthrie, stepdaughter of Milton Ernest ‘Doc’ Noss.

“That I knew E.M. Guthrie had taken an active personal interest in the fate of gold located in Victorio Peak by Doc Noss.

“That I walked over to E.M. Guthrie on this occasion in 1972, greeted him, and invited him out to dinner with myself and Frank Foss.

“That he seemed very disturbed, nervous and agitated, and refused my invitation to dinner, saying, ‘I’m running for my life.’

“That he also said, ‘The Mob is after me.’

“That three or four weeks later Frank Foss told me that E.M. had called him and said he was in Central America.

“That about a month after that, I heard E.M. had been beaten to death in California.

“That after he had been beaten to death, according to the information I received, his body was put back into his car, the car was doused with kerosene or gasoline, and then set aflame.”

Another source confirmed the manner and the circumstances of E.M. Guthrie’s death, noting that “it was listed as just a natural death, but he’d been worked over with a baseball bat.” This source said that he had hired a team of experienced investigators to dig into Guthrie’s death and more than 30 other deaths in connection with a massive, continuing cover-up of the removal of gold from Victorio Peak.

Bill Shriver, an international dealer in precious metals who proved very helpful in the initial stages of this investigation until his death, brought the total still higher. According to a close relative interviewed by Freedom, Shriver was “murdered.” The relative said that Shriver “was beaten up in California, beaten about the kidneys and the head” and subsequently died from his injuries.

The cloud of death shrouding Victorio Peak has reached far.

Edward Atkins of Decatur, Illinois, had been a claimant to the peak’s gold and was vigorously pursuing that claim via attorney Darrell Holmes of Athens, Georgia, when Holmes died under mysterious circumstances.

According to Atkins’ son, John, Holmes possessed key materials which were being used to press the Army into allowing Atkins and Holmes access to Victorio Peak. These materials, including tape-recorded sessions wherein Lyndon Johnson discussed the disposition of some of the gold bars on his ranch, disappeared from Holmes’ office at the time of his death in February 1977.

Edward Atkins himself died, reportedly of a heart attack, in April 1979 while returning to Illinois from El Paso on a matter pertaining to his claim. At least one close relative was convinced that Atkins’ death was not accidental and that it was directly related to his getting too close to the true story of Victorio Peak.

Lyndon Johnson’s name loomed large in the information that Freedom uncovered, with various sources claiming that the president was instrumental in the planning and execution of the removal of the gold. The charges concerning LBJ’s involvement included the following:

According to this same source, Victorio Peak “was just like a private vault to certain high-ranking people.” They would “go in periodically and get what they wanted. They would have the proper persons on guard duty.”

Possession of gold by private American citizens was illegal under federal law throughout the period of the Johnson presidency. In addition, Victorio Peak lay on land owned by the state of New Mexico, and removal of gold without permission of the state violated New Mexico law. 4

A number of sources also independently named Major General John G. Shinkle, the commander of White Sands Missile Range from June 1960 to July 1962, as knowing about the movement of tons of gold from Victorio Peak. Reached for comment in Cocoa Beach, Florida, General Shinkle adamantly denied any knowledge of the gold and refused to comment at all on the story.

Large movements of bullion from the peak went on for nearly a decade, with the largest single removal of gold occurring in 1976, according to Bill Shriver. This was shortly before a much-publicized expedition, entitled Operation Goldfinder, took place at the site in March 1977.

Shriver estimated the total amount of gold removed from Victorio Peak at 25 million troy ounces, of which 10 million came out in 1976. The gold, he said, was removed and “smelted into old Mexican bars, 50-pound bars.” The gold in its new form, he noted, had no marks to identify its origin.

The gold was then shipped to Switzerland and sold in a new form in Zurich. “The buying entity was a Middle Eastern principal,” Shriver said.

The actual movement of the gold in this last, largest shipment, Shriver said, was “done by [U.S.] military aircraft.” Independent of Shriver, another source traced a number of large removals from Victorio Peak. He estimated the total amount of gold coming from the peak at a staggering 96 million troy ounces, worth, at $320 an ounce, nearly $31 billion.

Army spokesmen have consistently dismissed all reports of Victorio Peak gold as “rumors.” An apparent propaganda campaign, in fact, has been conducted for many years by the Army in order to dispel these reports and to keep treasure seekers away from the missile range.

Part II: The bizarre history of Victorio Peak continues to unravel as the Army, the Treasury Department and the Secret Service authorize a top secret operation aimed at locating and bringing out the gold.

Ova Noss, Leonard Fiege and others don’t listen when they are told to “shut up” — and they pay the price.


Watch the video: Treasures of Faras Hidden in the Desert Sands (July 2022).


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