There’s reason to believe you could find a major treasure horde. After all, there are quite a few still out there just waiting to be unearthed! Here are just 4 stories of hidden treasures you can still look for today as long as you have a metal detector.
For most metal detectorists, the thrill of the hunt is the driving force behind their metal detecting. You never know when that signal goes off what you’ll unearth.
The Treasure of Little Bighorn
During the Battle of Little Bighorn in June 1876 in eastern Montana, a steamboat called the Far West was leased by the government and sent up the Bighorn river to resupply General Custer and his men.
It is said that while Captain Grant Marsh had anchored the ship at the confluence of the Bighorn and Little Bighorn rivers to wait for soldiers to come and unload the supplies, two freighters from Bismark, North Dakota stopped and asked him for help. They requested that the Far West take on the $800,000 in gold they were carrying because they had just narrowly averted capture by Native Americans several times and were worried if they didn’t hide the gold somewhere it would be stolen. Although the Captain didn’t want to take on the gold, he did. Then, he continued to wait for Custer’s soldiers to come and unload the supplies.
As he waited, captain Marsh became nervous about having so much gold on board so he headed upriver to a safer anchorage. He then took the gold ashore and buried it.
He then returned to the confluence of the two rivers to see if he’d be able to rendezvous with the soldiers. Unfortunately, instead he received word of Custer’s defeat and was asked to transport the wounded to safety. With this, the gold was forgotten until the Captain contacted the freighting company several years later. He even led them to the place he had remembered burying the gold but, the landscape had changed during the time he’d been away and, that $800,000 in gold hasn’t ever been recovered.
During WWII Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita and his men stole a great deal of gold and other riches from the countries they invaded.
It is also said that even top officials including the Emperor himself participated in looting during the war.
As the story goes, all of the treasure these high ranking Japanese officials found was stored in Singapore, then relocated to some caves in the Philippines. The goal was to then transport the treasure from the Philippines to Japan after the war was over, but that was never accomplished.
Some of the treasure is said to have stayed in the Philippines while other portions of it were lost at sea when the merchant ships it was being smuggled in were sunk by Allied forces. Although many scholars say Yamashita’s treasure is a myth, others believe and they’ve been on the hunt ever since.
Forrest Fenn’s Treasure
Forrest Fenn is a writer and art collector in his late 80’s who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Back in the 1980’s Fenn was diagnosed with cancer. He was lucky though, and he beat it.
When he recovered, he was inspired to hide somewhere between $3 – 5 million of his personal treasures including gold, jewels, and priceless artifacts somewhere “north of Santa Fe” and “above 5,000 ft”.
He then wrote his memoir “The Thrill of the Chase” and in it included a poem he wrote that will lead readers to his buried treasure – if they can decode it.
Since then he’s also published another book titled “Too Far to Walk” that includes a map of the area where the treasure is hidden but doesn’t give away the exact location.
So far, no one has found it, but maybe you can be the lucky treasure hunter.
Civil War Treasure in Virginia
Stories of treasures buried during the Civil War abound. One of the more plausible involves a Confederate Commander named John Singleton Mosby.
In the spring of 1863 Commander Mosby had just finished raiding a Union camp and had over 40 prisoners, one of whom was a Union officer.
The officer had a bag that he had been using to store priceless family heirlooms and artifacts, along with some gold and silver pieces he’d stolen from Virginia families.
Commander Mosby took this bag, estimated to be worth over $350,000, and began heading south with the prisoners back toward Confederate territory in Culpeper, Virginia.
Around New Baltimore, Virginia though, a scout spotted a group of Union soldiers. To avoid them the scout led the group through the woods.
It is at this point that Commander Mosby became nervous about the heirlooms returning to Union hands so, he and Sergeant James Ames buried them between two trees. He then marked the two trees with an “X” and they rejoined the group which successfully returned to Confederate territory.
After some time, Commander Mosby asked Ames to return to the site with six of his best men to recover the treasure.
While there, the men were all captured and subsequently hung.
Mosby never returned to claim the treasure though he did speak about it to friends and family on his death bed, saying he wished he could have recovered the treasure so he could return the heirlooms to the families they belonged to.
As you can see with these four stories alone, there’s enough treasure out there for everyone!
So, grab a professional deep seeking metal detector and head out treasure hunting.
As always, be sure to check the local and national laws before you get started. When metal detecting on private property always obtain written permission from the land owner. You never know what you might dig up – maybe you’ll even find one of these treasures!
About the author
Michael Bernzweig manages MetalDetector.com in Southborough, MA. He has written extensively on the subject of metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He has traveled world-wide in his pursuit of educating, exploring and advising others in the proper use of metal detectors. Outside of the business he enjoys mentoring students, being involved in the community and spending time with his family.