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Posts Tagged ‘Treasure’

  1. The Atocha

    February 27, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross


    Pirates. Hurricanes. Treasure. Royal fleets. Sounds like a telling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, Treasure Island. Although I

    would absolutely love to talk about my love of the old world novel, this story requires us to jump forward a few centuries from the time of Jim Hawkins to the more recent period of Mel Fisher. Have you heard his name before? Maybe you have. He’s a world famous treasure hunter. But unlike most treasure hunters these days, he definitely hit the mother lode.

    Off the coast of the Florida Keys, about 55 feet under water, lies the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha. If Mel Fisher doesn’t ring any bells, does that? The Atocha was a Spanish Galleon, a huge ship that transported gold, silver, and other pricey royal goods from the new colonies of the Americas back to Spain. Way back in the year 1622, this galleon met with the rest of it 28-vessel Spanish fleet in Havan, Cuba, carrying goods with a total worth of about two million pesos. With several unexpected delays and a report of an enemy Dutch fleet nearby, the Marquis of the fleet was forced to split his fleet into two groups and begin sailing back to Spain with a heightened fear of pirate raids and in the heart of hurricane season.

    Well, you can imagine what happened next. The fleet took a beating by a hurricane soon after leaving port. Twenty of the fleet’s twenty-eight vessels pushed past the hurricane and were thrown out into clear, calm water, where they continued on their way home. The other eight weren’t so lucky, among which was the Atocha. Being thrust into the dangerous reefs of the Florida Keys, the Atocha was ripped apart.

    Over $700 million of treasure was laid to rest in the hull of the Atocha alone. That is, until about 363 years later, when the location of the wreck was found. This brings us to our famous treasure hunter, Mel Fisher. In 1985, after over fifteen years of searching, starting each day with his famous optimistic motto “today’s the day”, Mel’s “Golden Crew” hit the mother lode. His website paints a picture of the discovery: “Thousands of artifacts, silver coins, gold coins, many in near mint condition, period and earlier amazing Spanish objects and wares, exquisite jewelry set with precious stones, gold chains, disks, a variety of armaments and even seeds (which later sprouted!) were recovered.”

    Mel Fisher’s determination and lifelong dreams inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island had finally paid off. With the work he contributed, up to his unfortunate passing in 1998, and the continuing work of his crew and business mainly run by his children, over $400 million of the $700 million has been salvaged and preserved from the Atocha.

    1715 Fleet 8 Reales Silver Coin, Grade 2 with 14K Mount $2,025.00

    1715 Fleet 8 Reales Silver Coin, Grade 2 with 14K Mount

    With that said, over $300 million of the gold awaits to be discovered at the bottom of the sea off the coast of the Florida Keys.

    Spread out over a 50-mile stretch, the treasure can still be salvaged today. If you are an experienced diver and want to take a shot at finding sunken treasure, the Mel Fisher crew offers to take people out on the wreck to help find the treasure yourself! Or, if you’re a little less sea-going, but still love the history, there’s a variety of coins from the wreck for you to purchase online through their website.

    Someday, maybe I’ll get my dad to teach me how to scuba dive. I’m sure the thrill of finding sunken treasure is something to experience!


    Works Cited:

  2. Forrest Fenn’s Treasure

    February 19, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    If you knew for sure that there was a chest full of ancient valuables worth upwards of three million dollars just lying around the mountains of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and there were nine clues given in a poem to lead you directly to it, would you go look for it?

    Forrest Fenn's Treasure

    Forrest Fenn’s Treasure

    What if it looked like this? —————————————————————–>

    Yep, that’s the treasure a man named Forrest Fenn left in the mountains, tempting everyone and anyone to go out a find. Why, do you ask? Well, it’s a pretty great story.

    It all started when he was 9 years old, walking a newly plowed field, and coming upon an arrowhead lying in the dirt. Thrilled to think that the arrowhead had awaited thousands of years for him to pick it up right at that moment, his passion for hunting for treasure was ignited. Over the next few decades, Mr. Fenn traveled the world and collected as many treasures he could find, from relics in Pompeii to rare gold coins, jewelry to gold nuggets. He and his wife even opened an art gallery in Sante Fe, which came to be a huge success.

    His good fortune took a turn for the worse, however, when in 1988, Mr. Fenn was diagnosed with cancer and about to lose a kidney. His doctors told him he only had a 20% chance of living another three years.

    Deciding to continue his reputation of being anything but ordinary, Mr. Fenn  collected all of his most prized possessions, reported by the Huffington Post to be “265 gold coins, hundreds of gold nuggets, some weighting more than a troy pound each, prehistoric gold fetishes, a 2000 year old necklace made of carved quartz crystals and other semi-precious stones, hundreds of rubies, diamonds, emeralds, two Ceylon sapphires, and two ancient Chinese carved jade figures.” Having packed all these relics into an old, ornate, bronze chest (pictured above), he drove out into the mountains above Santa Fe to a spot he claims is extremely special to him, and left the 42 lb chest lying there for anyone to find.

    It’s not even buried treasure. It’s just lying there!

    Now, Mr. Fenn didn’t expect everyone to just go searching blindly for his treasure. He published a book aptly titled “The Thrill of the Chase” which included a poem, found on the right of Mr. Fenn’s webpage here, with nine clues that are supposed to lead you straight to the prized chest.

    So, has anybody found the chest yet?

    Nobody knows! It could still be there, or maybe somebody found it and hasn’t made the discovery public. The only way to find out, is to go looking for it yourself!

    Having overpowered the odds and beaten his cancer into remission, Forrest Fenn has no regret for hiding away his treasure and continues to hold his silence about the exact location. Currently spending his time happily and peacefully excavating the site of an old pueblo residence in Santa Fe, Mr. Fenn is still searching for treasure, and enjoys watching everyone else hunt for his! In a short documentary (here), Mr. Fenn says he wishes that whoever finds the chest, even if that’s 2000 years from now, that they will donate it to the Smithsonian for everyone to see. What a great story that would make.

    With new clues hidden in his brand new book “Too Far to Walk,” will somebody finally find the treasure?

    Will it be you?




    This Youtube documentary

  3. Oak Island Treasure – The Money Pit

    January 31, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    Have you ever found yourself fascinated with a story of adventure? A story of mystery? One that spans years and years and even has taken the lives of people who have previously tried to look for that treasure, to solve that mystery?  These adventures, these real life treasure hunts are so exciting to me, and so I’ll devote my new set of passion posts to searching for these famous tales of buried treasures and mysterious clues. I’m not sure what I’ll find, but I do love a good real life mystery.

    The other day, I stumbled upon the inspiration for this series of passion posts: The Oak Island Treasure. A small island in Nova Scotia, Oak Island is home to a mystery over two centuries old. In 1795, a teenage boy named Daniel McGinnis was exploring Oak Island when he spotted a circular depression in the ground by a tree. Having heard old rumors of pirates in the area, he returned the site with two friends and they began digging. Now, this is a mystery, and a really old one at that, so keep in mind that different sources report different findings. According to one source, upon reaching 10 feet deep, the boys hit a layer of oak logs laid in the earth. Other sources report that it was in fact a layer of slate. Nonetheless, people seem to agree that there was some sort of layer of items slowing down the boys’ dig.

    After removing the logs, I’m sure the boys were excited, first thinking that their intuition of something being buried there had been true and, second, that the treasure or whatever it was was right below this obstacle. But they were wrong. As they kept digging, the boys hit another layer of some obstacle, whether logs or slate. Once past, nothing again. Ten more feet, down 30, and the boys hit some sort of clay layer. Realizing that they were in way over their heads, quite literally, the trio gave up.

    Diagram of Money Pit

    Diagram of Money Pit

    Years later, they returned, this time with professional help, with the goal of finally excavating the treasure they envisioned their since they were young. There was still no success. To this day, the cumulative efforts of over two centuries of treasure hunters still have not recovered the “Oak Island Treasure”.

    Years and years of excavating the “Money Pit” have resulted in some astonishing discoveries. Every ten feet, a new layer of some sort of obstacle is unearthed. The treasure hunters have reported finding oak logs, clay, slate, charcoal, and coconut fibers. One of the things I find most interesting is a set of “booby traps” that were set up by the pit’s creators. At around 100 feet down, and again later on, a tunnel was dug from the nearby beach to the pit, where, once struck, the pit would flood by up to sea level. Among other things, some of the most substantial claims of findings over the years have been slates with unknown etchings and even human remains.

    The most ironic part, though, is that nobody even knows what they are searching for. So far, treasure hunters have reached around 200 feet down, and yet, the search continues. What could be down there? Who, prior to 1795, designed and had the tools and ingenuity to create such a pit? Maybe one day we’ll find out…


    Oak Island Treasure Information:

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