There are many outstanding films about thrilling treasure searching. From pirates, Indiana Jones, to Lara Croft, these quests for undiscovered riches usually result in a fantastic and exhilarating adventure. However, you can have your own, hopefully without encountering as much danger. Therefore, grab a shovel and a map because here are the top ten of the biggest mysterious treasures.
10. Butch Cassidy's Lost Treasure
Butch Cassidy, the frontman of the Wild Bunch group in the American Old West, is one of the most legendary criminals. After being heavily hunted by the Pinkerton detective service, he was compelled to depart the United States with Harry Alonzo Longabaugh (the Sundance Kid). The famous couple fled to Argentina and Bolivia, where they were assassinated in a firefight in 1908, although some believe Cassidy survived.
Cassidy is said to have buried his secret riches somewhere in Irish Canyon, located in Moffat County northwest of Colorado. This is allegedly a remote valley where Cassidy and the Wild Bunch would hide when the cops were on their pursuit, and the stash is valued at $20,000. As of now, nobody has discovered the loot, not for the lack of trying.
9. Oak Island Money Pit
Oak Island is a small piece of land just off the coast of Nova Scotia that is famed around the world for the apparently hidden riches that people have been looking for over 200 years. It all started in 1795 when a youth noticed a strange light coming from the island. He discovered a small hole and continued to dig, revealing pickaxe markings and piles of wood at 10-foot intervals (clearly manufactured).
They discovered nothing, but stories spread. Eight years later, the Onslow Company resumed digging and discovered these logs and coconut fibers down to 90 feet (not native to Canada). More clues and excavations have been uncovered, but the deep holes allow the pit to fill with water, necessitating the use of powerful machines to drain it. Maybe it's only a sinkhole, or maybe the legends are true.
8. John Dillinger's Hidden Money
Another outlaw treasure, but this one dates before Butch Cassidy. While the Great Depression in the United States was on, John Dillinger was a well-known gangster who robbed banks and escaped from prison twice. He evaded the authorities for four years until returning to Chicago in 1934, where he was shot and killed by officers. Dillinger is said to have hidden a fortune a few months before coming to Chicago, but he never got the chance to find it.
It is believed that Dillinger buried $200,000 somewhere in Wisconsin, where he resided under a new alias for a few months. According to legend, Dillinger and his gang were hiding out in a lodge in Mercer, Wisconsin, when the FBI discovered them and surrounded the lodge. Dillinger escaped and buried the money in a suitcase a few hundred meters away.
7. The Forrest Fenn Treasures
Forrest Fenn is a billionaire art collector who chose to make a treasure chest of his most prized belongings after being stricken with cancer in 1988. Fen survived cancer, and when he turned 80 in 2010, he opted to hide his riches, estimated to be worth between a million and three million dollars. It was someplace in the Rocky Mountains, and treasure hunters could find hints in his autobiography and a poem embedded inside it.
Many different blogs and groups were keen to find Fen's hidden treasures, which was an exciting mystery. However, to everyone's surprise, Fen's treasure was discovered. After years of speculation, the man who located it revealed himself as Jack Stuef, a medical student from Michigan. That way, this amazing story came to a conclusion.
6. The Treasure of San Miguel
In 1712, Spain was desperate for money during the War of Succession, so they organized one of the richest treasure fleets, consisting of 11 ships. The ships were brimming with goods such as silver, gold, pearls, gems, and much more. They intended to leave Havana just before hurricane season began in the hopes of discouraging pirates and privateers. As it turned out, this was not such a good idea, as the fleet was destroyed by a storm barely a week after departing Cuba.
Thousands of sailors drowned, and the ships and all the valuable treasure were lost at sea. Although seven of the ships were discovered, only a tiny portion of the treasure was ever retrieved. The San Miguel ship is yet to be discovered and is thought to have the most treasure.
5. Lake Toplitz Nazi Treasures
Lake Toplitz is situated in a thick mountain forest in the Austrian Alps and contains no oxygen below a depth of 20 meters. From 1943 to 1944, the shore was used as a Nazi naval testing facility. Near the war's conclusion, they began sinking containers and other goods into the lake. A portion of this was recovered, including millions of dollars in counterfeit cash for the allied countries (Operation Bernhard).
Many suspect they also drowned millions of dollars in gold, gems, art (including Amber Room panels), and other valuables. This theory is acknowledged by the fact that a layer of buried logs has been put within the lake, making vision difficult and diving nearly impossible. Some divers have died while attempting to solve the mystery. However, one claimed to have discovered a sunken airplane beneath the log layer.
4. The Beale Ciphers
In the early 1800s, Thomas Jefferson Beale and his men were in the Rocky Mountains when they discovered a massive amount of gold and silver. They spent 18 months mining this money, and it was up to Beale to bury the treasure so that their families might enjoy the fortune for centuries to come (the fortune is estimated to be worth roughly $63 million). Beale devised three ciphers, one indicating the treasure's location, another identifying its contents, and the third naming the men and next of kin.
He put them in a box and gave them to an innkeeper called Robert Morris, who was supposed to wait 10 years for Beale to return, and if he didn't, a legend to the ciphers would be dispatched to Morriss. It never came, and only the encryption describing its contents was decrypted. While the ciphers were published soon after, the location is still unknown.
3. La Chouette d'Or
Regis Hauser (using the identity Max Valentin) created the treasure hunt in 1993 by hiding a bronze owl someplace in the French countryside. Whoever discovered it would get the golden owl, currently held by a legal guardian in Paris. He gave 11 hints to its whereabouts, accompanied by images by sculptor Michel Becker (easily found online). It was never discovered and may now remain a mystery, as Valentin died in 2009.
In 1997, he reported that someone had come dangerously close to uncovering the owl after seeing disturbed ground near the burial location. There have also been other individuals who have come dangerously near. One overzealous treasure seeker even burned down a chapel in his quest for the owl. It is still the longest unresolved search ever created by someone.
2. The Lost Fortune at Key West
The Nuestra Senora de Atocha (Our Lady of Atocha) fleet of Spanish ships was returning home in 1622 when they were caught in a hurricane off the coast of Key West. The ships were transporting gold, silver, jewels, indigo, tobacco, copper, and other valuables totaling $700 million. The hurricane destroyed most of the ships, and by the time the survivors reported the calamity to Havana, it was too late to save the ships and the treasure.
Using enslaved Indians, the Spanish collected around half of the riches throughout the years, though many died in the process. Mel Fisher, a treasure hunter, discovered a massive amount of gold, silver, and emeralds in 1985. Recently, a ring estimated to be worth $500,000 was unearthed 35 miles from Key West.
1. The Treasure of Lima
Since the 16th century, Spain has ruled Lima after defeating the Incas. Over the next four centuries, the Spanish amassed enormous wealth, which they kept in Lima until 1820. A revolution forced the Spanish to flee and move their treasure to Mexico, which was estimated to be worth between $12 million and $60 million. Captain William Thompson, the Commander of the Mary Dear, was in charge of transferring the riches, but temptation got the better of him.
He and his men assassinated the guards before sailing to Cocos Island, where they purportedly buried the riches. Save for Thompson and his first mate, who consented to show the Spanish where the wealth was concealed, they were all captured and executed. When the two arrived at Cocos Island, they managed to flee into the forest and disappear forever, so the treasure was never discovered.
There are many real-life hidden treasures out there, and many individuals have spent decades trying to uncover these riches with little success. The stories surrounding these artifacts are fascinating, and the prize could change your life forever. Who knows who will get lucky and discover some of these legendary treasures.
What's your favorite legendary treasure? Which treasures would you like to add to the list?
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