13 Hidden Treasures Rumored to Be Somewhere in the United States
Tales of hidden treasure are always thrilling, but even more so when the treasure in question might just be right in your own backyard.
Forest Fenn’s deadly Rocky Mountain challenge
About a decade ago, 85-year-old Forest Fenn allegedly hid what experts estimate as $5 million worth of gold, jewelry, and artifacts in a small bronze chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. In a cryptic poem, The Thrill of the Chase, Fenn dropped clues as to the whereabouts of this hidden treasure and inspired thousands of adventurers and treasure-hunters to go searching. Sadly, some have even died trying. So far, the treasure has not been located and even inspired an April Fools story this year.
Ted Binion’s Nevada stash
Wealthy casino heir Ted Binion has been dead for two decades, but his legacy lives on in the form of a silver collection said to be worth several million dollars that’s rumored to be buried somewhere on the property of his Pahrump, Nevada ranch. Binion was allegedly murdered in 1998 at the age of 55, by his girlfriend and a collaborator. While the duo was acquitted of murder on appeal, they were convicted on charges related to silver theft, the motive being his collection of silver items worth several million dollars at the time (now worth far more). Some believe all the silver has been recovered, but others think a buried fortune remains somewhere on (or under) the property. Find out the strangest unsolved mysteries from your state.
The Old Ozark Treasure Cave
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In one of the Ozarks’ biggest mysteries, The Old Spanish Treasure Cave in the northwest corner of Arkansas is believed to hold treasure buried by Spanish conquistadors fleeing the Native Americans over 350 years ago. The supposed treasure, itself, has not yet been found, but artifacts from the time period (helmets, weapons, armor) have, so there is still hope yet.
Somewhere in Virginia lies Mosby’s sack
In 1863, Confederate ranger John Singleton Mosby and his band of guerrilla raiders were able to sneak ten miles into Union territory and capture more than 40 Union troops at the Fairfax, Virginia Courthouse—all without firing a single shot. Mosby reportedly left with a burlap sack stuffed with what was then valued $350,000 worth in gold, silver, jewelry, candlesticks, and other family heirlooms, all of them taken from the homes of local plantation owners. On the way back to the Confederate line, Mosby was warned that Union soldiers were nearby and opted to bury the sack between two trees, marking the spot with his knife. Later, he sent seven of his men back to retrieve it, but they were captured and executed. As far as we know, Mosby never went back, so the loot could still be out there.
Blackbeard’s Atlantic Coast treasure trove
From 1716 to 1718, the pirate Blackbeard steered his ship around the West Indies and Atlantic Coast of North America, attacking ships laden with gold, silver, and other treasures from Mexico and South America on their way back to Spain. Blackbeard is said to have boasted about his buried treasure but never trusted anyone enough to divulge the secret location. He was finally defeated and executed in 1718. Treasure hunters have been searching for it ever since, seeking clues everywhere from Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay to the Caribbean and Cayman Islands. Unlike Blackbeard’s loot, these incredible underwater treasures have actually been found.
The east Idaho stagecoach robbery
“Somewhere in east Idaho is a bloody treasure worth millions of dollars [in gold]…at least that’s the legend, anyway,” writes the East Idaho News. The Overland Stage Line in 1865, carrying gold in its cargo, was held up by the Picket Coral Gang, a pretty prolific stagecoach robbery syndicate from back in the days. Now if the robbery took place—and it’s not a foregone conclusion that it did—the gang probably hid it in the Portneuf Canyon. Here’s why it was called a “robbery” and not a “burglary.”
Hawaii’s Palemano Point
Palemano Point, an exposed reef break off Hawaii’s Big Island, may contain over $5 million in buried pirate treasure in the form of silver and gold said to have belonged to Captain Thomas Cavendish, an English privateer who lived in the 16th century, according to Hawaii’s Unsolved Mysteries. Modern-day explorers have tried and failed to locate the treasure (and the ship, itself). But who knows what tomorrow will bring?
King Kamehameha’s Burial Chamber
Hawaii’s King Kamehameha died in 1819 and was supposedly buried with millions of dollars’ worth of gold and jewels. But Kamehameha’s burial chamber has never been located, at least not yet. Some believe it’s on the Na Pali coast on Kauai. This isn’t the only ancient mystery researchers still can’t explain.
Oregon’s Spanish shipwreck
In yet another tale of lost Spanish loot, when a Spanish ship sunk off the Oregon coast in 1705, it supposedly left behind gold and other treasures. The mere fact that it might exist is enough to drive real estate in the area. “If you thought you could buy a second home on the coast but knew it would stretch your budget, the tipping point might just be, ‘Oh my God, there’s 500 pounds of gold somewhere up there,’” Gary Albright, executive director of the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, remarked to PDX Monthly.
Oklahoma’s secret space(s) for Jesse James’ loot
Somewhere in Oklahoma and most likely somewhere in the vicinity of Robbers Cave in the Wichita Mountains, there is said to be over $1 million worth of hidden treasure left behind by Jesse James and his band of outlaws back in the 19th century. There are literally hundreds of tales all ending essentially the same: “He left that treasure behind in the Wichitas, and it’s never been seen again.” What we do know is that Jesse James is the most notorious criminal from Missouri—find out who earned the dubious honor in your state.