The more productive ore zones typically occur as narrow pay streaks or layers of fine-grained, disseminated gold, locally on top of basement rock or clay or caliche lenses within gravel deposits. There are four major stories on the treasure's origin, said Mr. 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. The world's first atomic bomb was detonated here on July 16, 1945. The soldiers, Airman First Class Thomas Berlett and Captain Leonard V. Fiege said they had found approximately 100 gold bars weighing between 40 and 80 pounds each in a small cavern. Lifting the rock, he found a hole that led straight down into the mountain. In 1981, a construction worker discovered the gold bar, weighing 4.25 lbs. Though the gold bar was. ", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Victorio_Peak_treasure&oldid=1133710645, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, This page was last edited on 15 January 2023, at 04:22. While Babe looked on from above, Doc inched his way down the narrow passageway into the mountain nearly 60 feet. The Victorio Peak treasure (also seen in print as the Treasure of Victorio Peak or Treasure of San Andres) describes a cache of gold reportedly found inside Victorio Peak in 1937 in southern New Mexico . Dozens of people claim a piece of the actionthat is, gold bars and treasure said to be hidden on the missile range, and worth from a few million dollars to $1.5billion. Some believe that Doc Noss found the Casa del Cueva de Oro, Spanish for the House of the Golden Cave. Patterson, Don Breech, Edgar F. Foreman, Leo D. OConnell, Eppie Montoya and B.D. They insisted they were photographed, finger printed, harassed and not al lowed to go near the search area. Article content. Finally reaching the bottom, Doc stepped into a chamber the size of a small room. The room had been undisturbed for so long that the dust, according to Berlett, lay several inches thick. He was barely able to lift one, much less think of carrying it back to the surface. Becoming desperate for cash, Doc and a man named Joseph Andregg transported gold bars, coins, jewels, and artifacts into Arizona, selling them on the black market. is also on Facebook, New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources, Notice of Right to Inspect Public Records, Stephen Wells Bright Star Scholar Program, National Uranium Resource Evaluation database (NURE), Stacy Timmons interviewed for "Searchlight New Mexico" article, New paper published on the timing of small-volume eruptions and related volcanic hazards at Valles caldera. Native gold and electrum occurs with quartz, magnetite, ilmenite, amphiboles, pyroxenes, pyrite, zircon, garnet, rutile, and a variety of other heavy minerals. The dispute was finally worked out when a federal court issued a compromise of sorts, which stated the Army would continue to use the lands surface, but no one would be allowed on the property without the Armys consent. Acquitted on grounds of selfdefense, Mr. Ryan testified that Doc had promised him 51 bars of gold in return for his $27,000 investment. General Shinkle finally had enough and ordered everyone out. 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. Anyone can read what you share. Montgomery, the two went into the mountain to blast out the shaft. Victorio knew how much the white man valued gold and had little use for it himself; he amassed vast amounts of treasure by attacking the white settlers. In November 1937, Doc, Babe, and four others left on a deer hunt into the Hembrillo Basin. Gold bars, silver, and jewels were reportedly buried by a spring under the big rocks of Cabello Canyon. Three days later the Nosses went back, and in the months that followed, Noss hauled gold bars, one at a time, with enormous effort up the narrow passageway, according to Mrs. Noss's daughter, Mrs. Letha Guthrie of Clovis, who said she was also there part of the, time. A new scientific analysis of a large gold bar found decades ago in downtown Mexico City reveals it was part of the plunder Spanish conquerors tried to carry away as they fled the Aztec capital . All attempts failed, leaving him an embittered and angry man, which caused problems in his marriage. Becoming even more complicated, a search of mining records failed to turn up any existing claims including that of Doc Noss. But even the nicest people we'd take in, they'd see gold and go berserk.. In 1797, when the work of the Spanish missionaries had almost come to an end, there was an old Spanish soldier who was at his death bed. Mr. Delonas said the legend of the buried treasure obsessed the family for generations. Known placer gold deposits were found along the southern and eastern flanks of the Ortiz Mountains; however, there could be additional placer gold deposits along the western flanks of the mountain range. Case Current environmental and permitting restrictions also have hampered recent production in the New Placers and Jicarilla districts. 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. Additionally, the actual land where Victorio Peak is located was not owned by the State of New Mexico but rather by a man named Roy Henderson, who had leased it to the Army. 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. Nearly choking, the two men hastily marked their claim and made their exit. See the article in its original context from. Lack of water has hampered mining in many districts and new technology, which minimizes water usage, may stimulate activity. Leon Trabuco's Gold A Mexican businessman buries 16 tons of gold in the New Mexico desert and then dies before telling anyone where it is. Too much evidence supports the treasure, including photographs, affidavits, and relics held by the Noss family. But the legend of the hidden gold was fueled again during the Watergate hearings in 1973. Legend says he sent a palace full of valuables to the United States to be hidden. Later, Fiege would take a lie detector test, which would allow Fiege back on the missile range. When he reached the surface, he told Babe, This is the last one of them babies Im gonna bring out. However, when Babe rolled the bar over, she noticed a yellow gleam where the gravel of the hillside had scratched off centuries of black grime. Because of this natural concentration, some placers are richer in gold than the original lode deposits. On each trip, Doc would retrieve two gold bars and as many artifacts as he could carry. The reports of the massive treasure would consume his marriage and eventually his life, and mysteries around the treasure persist to this day (via Legends of America). WHITE SANDS, N.M. Lost treasure stories are a dime a dozen in the Southwest. He said he often grew angry that his grandmother was ignored or ridiculed for her efforts. 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. When it began to rain, Doc sought shelter under a rocky overhang near the mountains summit. Noss divorced her, charging desertion. If the treasure was real, Noss had poor timing. Porter subsequently brought the gold bar to the close friend, who was an Army major. However, Noss demanded to see the money before revealing the new hiding place. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. We are a research and service division of: Placer gold deposits were an important source of gold in New Mexico prior to 1902, but placer production after 1902 has been minor. Most placer deposits in New Mexico had been discovered by 1900. 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. No one in the provost marshals 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. But before that happened, he must have hauled 500 or 600 bars of gold out of there and hid them, contended Mrs. Guthrie. The Legendary Treasure White Sands Missile Range, https://www.nytimes.com/1973/10/13/archives/the-legendary-treasure-of-the-white-sands-missile-range-gold-bars.html. Mr. Koury asserted that the General first denied the search was on but admitted it later when sworn statements from the spies were produced. Mrs. Noss believes Mr. Bailey's clients to be mili tary officers and perhaps some of her husband's old partners. The NMBGMR is conducting a research project examining the origin, occurrence, trace element composition, and resource potential of placer gold deposits in the state. Today, the Armys official position on the whereabouts of the gold remains cautious, maintaining that the burden of proof rests with the accusers. All Rights Reserved. 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. [b], A 1961 search by the U.S. Armythe peak lies within White Sands Missile Rangewas stopped following a request to state officials by Noss's first wife, Ova. Word of the Doc Noss treasure spread, and keeping people out of the area was no easy chore. But in a dispute over the treasure in 1949, the business partner, Charlie Ryan, shot Mr. Noss to death. In March of 1949 I handled 110 rough poured bars of gold in the area which is now White Sands Missile Range which is now the area of Victorio Peak. [a] While there have been multiple documented expeditions to the peak, no gold has been officially recorded as being recovered from the site. 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. Later, the wealth in the cave would be calculated to be worth more than two billion dollars. The reported treasure and efforts to find it have been covered in books and on television, including: On this Wikipedia the language links are at the top of the page across from the article title. Within moments he found more skeletons, most of them bound and secured to stakes like the first. Four. It is estimated that 662,000 oz of gold have been produced from placer deposits throughout New Mexico from 1828 to 1991. Theories spread over how 16,000 gold bars came to be stashed away in a random cave in New Mexico. Another source, who asked to remain unidentified, stated that he had personally interviewed several men who had brought a large load of the peaks gold to Johnsons ranch. Passing through the large cavern, he came to a series of smaller caves rooms, he called them. ): GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA, Luterbach, T. and McLemore, V.T., 2016, Trace element analysis of placer gold samples: Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, 2016 Annual meeting. Only four districts have each yielded more than 100,000 oz of placer gold production: Elizabethtown-Baldy (DIS019), Hillsboro (DIS197), Old Placers (DIS187), and New Placers (DIS186). 2003-2008 Church of Scientology International. It was on Nov. 7, we had 11 families on a hunting trip and I was doing the cooking, she said in an interview at her daughter's home in Clovis, N. M. She said her husband, called Doc, had come back, to the camp that night and secretly told her of lowering himself with ropes down a crevice on Victoria Peak into caverns laden with coins, jewelry, guns, swords, letters, 27 human skeletons, and hundreds of metal bars that turned out to be gold. He was overcome with joy that they might be gold. Lucky Gold Miners hit it Big in Downieville. A gold bar found in a Mexico City park in 1981 was part of the Aztec treasure looted by Hernan Cortes and the Spanish conquistadors 500 years ago, a new study says. A small town was built near the place In 1963, the Army, consented to another search by a Denver mining company sponsored by the Museum of New Mexico. Moon, said that he was from the White House Secret Service detail and he showed the officer a green, laminated card which stated Secret Service, Division of the White House. Another man, an engineer named Dick Richardson, told the officer that he was a boyhood friend of Lyndon Johnsons and that he had personally counted 18,888 gold bars in one stack in a cavern at Victorio Peak, each bar weighing about 60 pounds. Another woman, now Mrs. Violet Yancy of Fort Worth, says she married Noss in 1947, that she is his legal widow, and that he gave her 76 per cent interest in the treasure. The major took the bar and told Porter to check back with him in a few days. However, the Army placed a two-week time limit on the group, and they had hardly started before they were forced to leave, without finding anything. Then, in 1942 or 1943, she isn't sure, he tried to blast the tunnel bigger in order to haul up more gold bars at one time. They even brought in their own security guards, he added. The whole truth will probably never be known, but there is no doubt that a treasure existed. 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. Forrest . White Sands is the nation's largest military installation, about the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. For Trademark Information on Scientology Services. In 1979, he sold a small mail-order business to devote full time to the search. They believe that sophisticated equipment like devices to take soundings showing whether there are underground caves will help this search succeed where other ventures failed. After determining the accuracy of the two mens reports, the entire area was placed off-limits until an official investigation could be conducted. Congress had just passed an act outlawing the private ownership of gold, meaning he had no buyers for his supposed stash (via Unsolved ). 'Like Any Other Client'. Ferdig, adding, The trouble with treasure stories is that there's always a little truth in them.. In 2019, evidence to support the theory that the gold never left Mexico was revealed when archaeologists confirmed that a gold bar found in 1981 was from Montezuma's treasure. The answer could be worth billions of dollars. 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. However, the business often passes the tax onto the consumer by adding it to the selling price. Its occasional visitors included hunting parties, and Doc Noss and his wife, Ova, were on one such expedition in search of deer. The peak is riddled with a network of tunnels. 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. Doc Noss was born in Oklahoma and traveled all over the Southwest, seeking excitement. There were 110 gold bars moved that night, according to an affidavit obtained by this writer and sworn to by Jolley. Lyndon Johnsons 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 cast of characters ranges from John W. Dean 3d to Geronimo and the vocabulary is marked by double as a prefixas in doublecross, doubletalk and doubledealing. Before leaving, both men had observed an old wooden cross on one of the walls. Claimants charge the Army purposely boobytrapped the area with the shells, yet almost weekly a few fevered treasure hunters sneak through helicopter and horsemounted Army patrols to search. Meanwhile, Tony Jolley, now a 69-year-old rancher living outside Boise, Ida., never forgot those bars of gold he helped bury in 1949. This has led to charges that military officers have stolen, are stealing, or are preparing to steal the treasure for themselves. While waiting for the rain to subside, he noticed a stone that looked as if it had been worked somehow. In 1963, the Army allowed a group of searchers, including Mrs. Noss, to search for the gold. However, Terry Delongas stated, Were not accusing the military of stealing the gold, but I do feel that the Department of the Army in the 1960s treated my grandmother unfairly However, weve worked very hard over the years to establish a working relationship with the military, and were certainly not going to jeopardize that by accusing them of theft.. 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. Estimates vary on the number of bars removed, ranging up to 350 or so. The skeletons hands were bound behind its back apparently, the person had been deliberately left there to die. In 1939, he hired a mining engineer to try to open a wider passage into Victorio Peak, but the attempt was disastrous and there was a massive cave-in. He supposedly told his wife: "We can make John D. Rockefeller look like a tramp. 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. Mrs. Noss now says she never heard about the divorce and as serts that she is his legal widow. As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Mr. Noss returned in the late 1940's with a new wife, and a business partner. Now, researchers say the bar was. Parts of White Sands are sometimes leased by private corporations and foreign governments for experiments. After the death of Doc Noss, Ova and her family continued efforts to regain access to the big treasure room. 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.. Shriver also said that he had copies of other presidential messages, several initialed by LBJ, dealing with the clandestine, illegal removal of the gold. Even though the military refused any of Babes efforts to work her claim, it did not refuse other military personnel from exploring portions of Victorio Peak. Over the weekend, he said, someone found the chest he had buried with gold nuggets, coins, gems and artifacts. 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. Ova Noss, Leonard Fiege and others dont listen when they are told to shut up and they pay the price. Kathy Weiser-Alexander/Legends of America, updated November 2021. Four major groups of claimants accuse the oothers of trying to cheat them out of it. "We're treating the gold searchers just like any other client," said Jim Eckles, a spokesman for the White Sands range. He carries in his wallet a photograph of gold bars and old coins next to a flashlight he provided. Another source confirmed the manner and the circumstances of E.M. Guthries death, noting that it was listed as just a natural death, but hed been worked over with a baseball bat. This source said that he had hired a team of experienced investigators to dig into Guthries death and more than 30 other deaths in connection with a massive, continuing cover-up of the removal of gold from Victorio Peak. One group of claimants took the flashlight and provided the photo as evidence that they knew the location of the treasure. Two local ranch workers stumbled upon the search and notified Mrs. Noss. This is a digitized version of an article from The Timess print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. 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 gold was supposedly removed from the cave and sent to Fort Knox. She called her lawyer, Philip Koury, of Kansas City, who phoned General Shinkle. I've heard that story at least 500 times. Discovered by a . Doc thought that he had discovered an old abandoned mineshaft. Subsequently, he also filed several mining claims on and around Victorio Peak and a treasure trove claim. His main source of income cut off, and his marriage to Babe already deteriorated, Noss was desperate to sell his remaining gold bars on the black market. From that moment onward, every attempt of Babes to clear the rubble from the plugged shaft met with a military escort out of the area. Recreational mining continues intermittently in the White Oaks, Pittsburg, Hillsboro, Orogrande and Jicarilla districts to the present day. Doc was trying to obey the law but they grabbed our gold, Mrs. Noss said, He blew up. 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. However, Terry Delonas, her grandson, continued the family tradition and formed the Ova Noss Family Partnership. Howard, E.V., 1967, Metalliferous occurrences in New Mexico: Phase 1, state resources development plan: State Planning Office, Santa Fe, 270 p. Johnson, M.G., 1972, Placer gold deposits of New Mexico: U.S. Geological Survey. Neither man being familiar with laws governing the discovery of treasure on a military base, Fiege went to the Judge Advocates Office at Holloman Air Force Base to confer with Colonel Sigmund I. Gasiewicz. The higher gold values occur near the base of alluvial gravel deposits where the gold is trapped by natural processes such as riffles in the river bottom, fractures within the bedrock, along bedding or foliation planes, and/or structures that are transverse to the river flow. In December 1961, General Shinkle shut down the operation and excluded anyone from entering the base who was not directly engaged in the missile research activities. Peering into the darkness, Doc saw an old man-made shaft with a thick, wooden pole attached at one side. Reportedly the military was able to penetrate one of the caves and inventory the contents. It could finally solve the mystery. The charges concerning LBJs 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. But the expedition soon went broke, and the Army declared that it would allow no more searches. After three years they were given permission to go back to Victoria. Rare Gold Nuggets. Published historic reserves exist for only two districts: Jicarilla with 5.4 million yd3 of 0.043 oz Au/yd3, or approximately 230,000 oz Au in place and Pittsburg with 2 million yd3 of 0.01 oz Au/yd3, or approximately 20,000 oz Au in place in 1936. The earliest reports of placer mining were in the 1600s along the northern Rio Grande. Our Mineral Museum A new scientific analysis of a large gold bar found decades ago in downtown Mexico City has confirmed it was part of the plunder Spanish conquistadors abandoned as they beat a temporary. The flamboyant lawyer F. Lee Bailey once said he represented 50 unnamed clients. This theory explains the thousands of gold bars, antiquities, and artifacts dating more than 100 years later. Doc mentioned nothing of his find to the group, choosing instead to return to the site a couple of days later with Ova. A retired U.S. Army officer said that while on duty at the provost marshals office on White Sands Missile Range during the period of LBJs presidency, he was visited by four men in a late model Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham who sought permission to drive to Victorio Peak. Leon Trabuco brought Mexico's gold to the US He buried 16 tons of gold bars in New Mexico CASE DETAILS Farmington, New Mexico, 1933. Maxmillian was assassinated in 1867. And, on March 4, 1949, the day before Doc was shot, a small plane crashed near Victoria Peak killing the pilot and severely injuring Marvin Beckwith, son of the, first Mrs. Noss. 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. Theories spread over how 16,000 gold bars came to be stashed away in a random cave in New Mexico. Mr. Bryan, The Albuquerque Tribune writer, said he had gone through a chunk of Mr. Johnson's memorabilia recently and found both the censored and uncensored drafts of the report. I was just a kid, about 13 or 14 years old, he told this writer. Ova Noss took up the search, without success. Though the military confirmed that Swanner had served at White Sands during this time, they claimed there were no documents to support an investigation into the mine nor the removal of the gold bars. 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