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GhostMiner

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  1. For me the fun is in the hunt. Don't get me wrong, the main goal is always to find gold. Steve knows I have a real company as I gave him that info way back. Nearly all of our claims are leased out. When we do the exploration either by hand or with an excavator & trommel that is always a thrill. Going back in where the oldtimers worked and breaking new ground and finding gold. Trying to prove the ground. Camping off grid in the Sierra Nevada. It just doesn't get better than that for me. Looking at the hole where Jed Stevens (his real name was Stevenson) removed over 1000 ounces in 1936 was really something. And then he was murdered after the strike. All true.
  2. Many thanks for all the support & encouragement you have given this year. This journal is an outlet for me as well. I used to write short stories in school & my English teacher would read them to the assembly of students. He told me I should keep writing but life got in the way. So now I am taking some time to post here. It is almost as much fun as performing music and singing in front of a crowd.
  3. Flak gave me a lot of encouragement on my writing earlier this year. He is genuinely a good soul. Many, many, many thanks.
  4. May 11 1937 Part One Last night Sarge woke me up. He said he saw a light from either a lantern or flashlight up on the ridge above us. I got up but let the crew sleep. Ben was standing there with the Thompson pointing up in that direction. Sarge said he had a bad feeling that something was up. I decided to wake the crew. Once up we put out the campfire and grabbed our rifles. We took positions in a circle around the camp. Ben worked his way up the mountain towards the ridge and Sarge took a position of cover on the opposite direction in case they were coming on the east side of camp. I wasn’t sure if they knew we had armed security with heavy weapons but if they tried something they would find out in a hurry. I saw a lantern light up on the mountain and there was a crack of a branch. They were circling to the north of us. Or at least some of them were. For all I knew they could be all around us. Then it got stone quiet. There was no moon and it was completely dark. I think that’s what they had been waiting for. Then I heard Sarge holler out. TO BE CONTINUED .....................
  5. May 10 1937 Yesterday we pulled out our third chest. It was nearly identical and contained another 160 small bars of gold. They weighed half a pound and seemed to be all the same. No markings at all and no idea where they came from. We are thinking there could be more buried gold. The only way to know for sure is to dig up the entire area around the rocks down to 20 feet or so. It is looking like we will be camped here for some time. Ben has now joined us at our treasure camp as we call it. I feel it is better to have as much security here as possible. We haven’t seen any sign of the five men from the other day and perhaps it was just a coincidence. Sarge and Ben think otherwise and so does John. I’m just not sure. The gold is hidden in three separate locations. We had a good breakfast of bacon and beans and I made Jed’s favorite hot water corn bread. Jed would have been jumping for joy with this discovery as would Whiskey Jack. It’s a real shame they aren’t here to see this. We got a late start to the digging but were hard at it by 10:00 AM. The plan was to dig a circle as close to the rocks as possible and widen out as we went. We would go down to 20 feet. The distance from the rocks would be 50 feet. Everything we had found so far was close to the rocks. We broke for lunch after about four hours of hard labor. Sarge told us he thought he had seen someone up on the ridge above us earlier but wasn’t sure. Ben decided to hike up there with his Thompson and have a look around. He was up there a good half hour and when he came down he was holding several cigarette butts in his hand. They looked to be fresh. Sarge said we are being watched. I did not want to hear this. John said it's just a matter of time before we have trouble. We dug until dusk and broke work for the night. We found nothing but rocks. We’ll get a good night’s rest and be back at it in the morning. TO BE CONTINUED ...................
  6. It seems as though the mining crew has made a significant treasure discovery. The question is now how much gold and other treasure is buried at the site. And how many bodies are buried along with it? Not a place I would want to camp at. And who were the five men with rifles who were watching them? I see red flag warnings flashing all around them.
  7. May 9 1937 When we pulled the chest out of its resting place we saw that it was slightly larger than the first and seemed to be a bit heavier. It appeared to be made of the same kind of wood and the lock was the same as what secured the first chest. It was slightly rotted and we cradled it as we took it to the surface. John pried off the wood at the bottom and we flipped it onto its side. He let out a curse and the rest of us just stood there dumbstruck. It was full of small gold bars. They were identical to each other and I carefully set them on a blanket as I counted them out. There were 160 of them. They had been placed on an old cloth inside the box. There was nothing else in the chest. We were hoping for a note or drawing or some clue as to who the original depositors were. John assumed Spanish Conquistadors. He said the treasure probably came from South America or Mexico hundreds of years ago. We were all amazed. Now we were wondering if there could be even more. I said we should go deeper in the two holes where we had found the treasure. Perhaps they had buried more in the same place but at a greater depth. We covered the gold bars with the blanket and Sarge kept a sharp eye out while we went back to digging. I was working the first treasure hole with Hudson carrying out buckets of dirt. By late afternoon I was down another eight feet in depth and hit something once again that had a dull thud sound to it as opposed to the ringing echo of shovels hitting rocks. I scraped back the top material and used my hands to pull away the last of it. I hollered out to the crew to come take a look. It was the top of yet another chest. And laying beside it was the skeleton of the man who had buried it. TO BE CONTINUED ...................
  8. May 8 1937 We decided on a place to hide the treasure. Once that was taken care of Sarge and the crew headed up to the location to do some digging. We all carried rifles and Sarge had his BAR and would be our security while we worked. Ben would guard the main camp. When we got up to the treasure spot we realized that someone had been digging last night. We should have guarded the area. Our temporary camp had been ransacked as well but there wasn’t much up there. We would now need to stay here at night and guard the sight as well as our main camp below. We were getting stretched thin. Whoever had been up here last night was digging holes on the east and west side of the rocks. They’d only gotten down about three feet or so. Maybe something had scared them off or they were waiting for us to do the hard work and then rob us. It was stone quiet and we went to work with the shovels. We were professional diggers by now and could outwork most men. We continued to dig the holes that the unknown people had started. We dug down about eight feet with nothing to show but rocks. After a quick lunch we went back at it. The hole on the west side facing the mountain was getting pretty deep. I was working it along with Will. I’d say we were down about twelve feet or so. We had cut a walking slope onto the end of the trench to haul out buckets of gravel. Then I hit something that sounded different than rock. I scraped away the loose material and saw what looked like the top of a wooden box. I let out a whoop and Hudson came over from his side to have a look see. We had found another chest. I told Sarge to keep an eye peeled because it was looking like we were about to pull out more treasure. TO BE CONTINUED .................
  9. May 7 1937 Part Three I looked up towards the side of the mountain and suddenly got an uneasy feeling. There was a ridge up there about 200 feet above us. I could see five men with rifles and they appeared to be looking down on us. Then they disappeared from view. We needed to get the chest back to camp where we had more protection. I flipped the treasure chest on its top and used it for the base. Then we secureded everything that had come out and placed the items back inside the chest. I told the crew we needed to get this back to camp where we would have more security. We took turns carrying the treasure chest back down the mountain and into the security of our camp. Will drove the truck up to the dig site and brought Ben down to camp while John got Sarge. We told them about the five men we had seen on the mountain. Sarge didn’t like it. Then we sat the chest down on a blanket and I began removing its contents for all to see. Each item was placed on the blanket one at a time. There were four small idols made in gold and decorated with jewels. There was gold and silver jewelry decorated with jade and turquoise. Then I brought out the gold bars. There were 25 solid gold bars measuring about 5 inches by 2 inches. John set one on the scale and it weighed nearly 2 pounds. I continued to unload the box. There were 5 larger gold bars measuring nearly 10 inches by 3 inches and weighing nearly 4 pounds. We all just sat there speechless. This was plundered treasure sitting in front of us. Hudson said there might be more of it still buried up there. Sarge told us that he thought the crew was under surveillance by an outside group. He said there were too many people who knew we had a successful operation and would always be in danger. He said that if the group of men had seen us carrying something down the mountain we may all be at risk. They also had seen where we were digging and may go there to dig themselves or lay in wait to jump us or attack our camp. We needed to guard the treasure sight in case there was more buried treasure up there. We need to make a plan and fast. TO BE CONTINUED ...................
  10. May 7 1937 Part Two John was in the hole and carefully working his shovel around a wooden chest. He had the gravels surrounding it cleared away and used his hands to remove the gravels closest to the sides. And there it was, a wooden chest measuring about 30 inches long by 15 inches wide. John got his hands under the bottom and carefully began to lift it out of its resting place. He said the wood looked to be pretty much intact except the bottom was weak. John also told us it appeared to be made of walnut. It was quite heavy for its size and I hopped down in the hole to help John lift it up to the surface. When we got it out it was all intact and there was an old lock holding a stout clasp in place to keep the lid closed. The lock was some kind of ancient springed padlock and was rusted. The lid was just slightly curved. We decided to roll the chest onto its side and used an abundance of care. Then John pried away the slightly rotted bottom. When he did this some of the contents slid out towards the opening and onto the ground. I asked the crew if they were seeing what I was seeing. This couldn’t possibly be happening. The crew was in shock and there were no words spoken. We all just looked at each other with disbelief. TO BE CONTINUED .................
  11. May 7 1937 Part One Our temporary camp is now in place. In the afternoon we began our search for hidden treasure. We have nothing to go on other than a circled X on a boulder. We decided to dig down close to the two rocks and work our way out and into the mountain. We figured that the depth of excavation should be down to ten feet if needed because there may have been some slides off the slope of the mountain over the years. The rocks are about 150 feet from the bank of the creek and on a bench about 20 feet in height. We got the picks and shovels and went to work. Everyone was guessing what, if anything, might be buried up here. John was working the north side of the rocks and after several hours he had a pretty good hole going. It was around six feet deep and four feet wide. I was on the other side of the rocks when I heard him say he had found something interesting. Then I heard Hudson and Will holler out. I dropped my shovel and went around the rocks to see what all the excitement was about. When I looked down in the hole I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I asked myself if this could be real. John was laughing out loud and Will sank to his knees by the side of the hole. Hudson just stood there staring down. We were all stunned. TO BE CONTINUED .......................
  12. May 6 1937 Part Two We continued on through the day and found all the markers including the last one that would lead us to the treasure markers. Will stayed on the east side of the creek while John, Hudson, and I crossed over to the west side along the base of the mountain there. We marched north as I counted off my paces. About half way through the count we saw two huge boulders sticking out of the mountain not too far ahead of us. They had to be over fifteen feet in height and stuck out from the side about twenty feet or so. They were partially buried from years of slides and there was no way to know how deep or far into the mountain they went. Will came charging across the creek, He said that they must be the treasure markers. John and I helped hoist him up on the side of the rock and he could see a faint X near the top just like all the others except there was one difference. This X had a circle around it. We eased Will back down on the ground and began to talk about what to do next. Everyone was beyond excited and had completely forgotten that we had a gold mine to operate. I couldn’t blame them. I told the crew that we would need to station a guard up here now. Seeing as we wanted to keep Sarge and Ben at their posts we would need to divide our time and do it ourselves. John brought up the idea to set up a temporary camp here at the treasure sight and we could just stay here and look for the treasure. I agreed and we began the job of moving part of the camp. I have no idea what kind of digging or exploration we will need to do but having the entire crew up here is a good idea. TO BE CONTINUED ....................
  13. May 6 1937 Part One I woke up early before any of the crew and stoked the campfire for making coffee. I was disappointed with our search yesterday. We all thought it would be easy but the markers are not easy to find. They might be buried depending on how close to the creek they are but the ones we found were quite a distance to the east and easy to spot once we found them. The rest of the crew was up soon after me and everyone was talking about buried Spanish treasure. I told them not to get too excited as there may not be any treasure to find. After breakfast we headed up the east side of the creek and fanned out. Everyone kept a keen eye out for the next marker. I counted off my paces just to try to get in a vicinity of the next rock. The ones we had found were huge and sticking up out of the gravels about seven or eight feet. The X was marked on the south side of them and near the top. It was carved deep but if you weren’t looking you would easily walk right past them. We criss crossed one tight area after another in the general area and after a good hour I heard Will holler out. He had found the next one. Now we were hell bent to find that treasure for sure. TO BE CONTINUED .............
  14. May 5 1937 Part Five We spent the rest of the day and finally found what I think was the second marker. Darkness was approaching and we called it a day. No gold and no treasure. At camp we sat and ate our supper and talked about our options. This was definitely a distraction from our quest for gold but we all agreed to give the treasure search a few more days. If there was something to this map it deserved a look. Besides, I don’t think anyone here would be able to sleep until we gave it our best shot. We know we have gold waiting for us and it isn’t going anywhere. Let’s see what happens. TO BE CONTINUED ..................
  15. May 5 1937 Part Four When we got back to camp Will and Hudson were talking and I could tell they were upset. John and I showed them what we’d found. I told them it looked like a treasure map. It was a bit hard to read and was written in Spanish anyway but the drawings looked to fit our creeks. John and I figured we ought to try to figure out if the X was indeed on our mountain. Will and Hudson wanted to explore with us so I drove back up to the dig area and told Ben to stay on watch. I showed him the map. Then I went back down to camp and filled Sarge in on our discovery. He was amazed. We started down at the area where the north/south creek met the east/west creek and stepped off to the first northern distance marker. Each distance location was marked with a rock and X. I found the first one easily. It was the only large boulder on the east side of the creek and it had a faint marking on it. I came up with 300 paces. All of the markers looked to be large boulders marked with an X and were all on the eastern side of the creek. The final treasure marker indicated it was located on the west side of the creek against the mountain. There were six markers all equally spaced and then the three rocks equal in distance to one more marker spacing to make a total of seven to the supposed treasure. I continued to pace out the distance as best I could. There was no way anyone could do this accurately but it would at least put us in the ballpark of each marker location and eventually to the treasure if there was one. TO BE CONTINUED .......................
  16. May 5 1937 Part Three I was out of the drift when I heard John holler out he had found something in the pocket of rotted old clothing worn by one of the dead men. He came out of the tunnel holding a small leather pouch. The murderers must have missed it or weren’t concerned with it. John opened it up and inside was some kind of old rag or linen paper folded into a square. It looked to have survived time quite well. John carefully opened it up and there were writings and drawings that were somewhat legible. What we immediately noticed were two lines intersecting. One ran north/south while the other ran east/west. The drawing matched up with the intersection of our two creeks on the claims. Then northward on the north/south creek was an X circled. This was on the west side of the creek against the mountain there. There were some faint markings spaced evenly on the way up to the X which John said may be distance indicators. There was also a drawing just south of the X which looked to be three rocks or boulders. We got in the truck and took this discovery down to our camp. TO BE CONTINUED .................
  17. May 5 1937 Part Two The day had started out well enough and the sun was starting to shine but as John and I got up to the mining area the clouds rolled in and a cold wind started to blow. Then it began raining. At first it came down soft but soon it was a freezing downpour of water and ice. We got back in the truck and waited it out. It was a good hour before it started to let up but the cold wind remained. We grabbed our flashlights and went into the opening of the tunnel. John saw the two skeletons. There was an old knife clutched in one of the hands of the first one. Old torn clothing remained on them. John said they looked to be from way back in the olden times and may have been Spanish explorers digging for gold out here. It was real creepy. We did a little careful digging around the skeletons but didn’t find much of any interest. I think they may have been murdered and buried here hundreds of years ago. Their boots were gone. John said whoever killed them probably took them. It was time for me to convince Will and Hudson to get back to work. TO BE CONTINUED ....................
  18. May 5 1937 Part One What the weigh brought was once again quite impressive. There were three ounces in the pan. We went off to work with a plan to go deeper into the very first drift we started fifty feet from the old timer's collapsed tunnel. As Will and Hudson began the pick and shovel work I dragged in a set of timbers to brace the opening adit. I heard Hudson cry out and Will said he couldn’t believe it. I crawled into the low area of the drift and was shocked. There was a human skeleton. Then to the side of that was another one. Will and Hudson backed out and said they refused to go back in there. I drove them down to camp and told John what we had discovered. I told Hudson and Will to stay in camp and John and I would do some investigating. I thought to myself that this place was cursed. TO BE CONTINUED ....................
  19. May 4 1937 Yesterday’s test run totalled 290 buckets. When John presented our results I was stunned to say the least. There was five ounces of gold in the pan. Besides showing us the channel continues west it also tells us the channel is rich. I’m talking very rich. I am beginning to wonder if we are following an east/west fault. I can’t understand why the old time mining company pulled out of here unless there was more to the story that Whiskey Jack told us. Anyway you cut it, the channel shows all the signs of a strike. I had a meeting with the crew before we started work. I told them to clam up about this discovery. If word of this gets out we will have every prospector, miner, and rif raf out here giving us grief. Everyone agreed to keep their mouths shut. I decided to move another fifty feet and cut into the hill left of our previous dig and continue to attempt to find the end of the channel or fault. We worked hard all day and brought John 320 buckets of gravel. My test pans all showed gold so I think these rich gravels may run quite a way. I can only imagine what gold we will produce once we start a real drift into the mountain. TO BE CONTINUED ......................
  20. May 3 1937 There were four more ounces at the weigh this morning which surprised me as some of the buckets contained overburden. It also tells me the channel is wide as we moved a good 50 feet and got good results. I decided to stop bucking logs today and join the dig. We will move yet another fifty feet to the left or west and see if the channel continues laterally. If it does we are on a massive strike that could be very steady and possibly take us past last years results. Will, Hudson, and me got to digging bright and early. We worked into the hill past the overburden and stayed low and close to country rock gravels. After two hours of intense work I stopped and took a pan of the gravel to the tub. It was full of course gold. Whiskey Jack was right. The company he worked for back in his day made a big mistake moving to another location but all the better for us. We’ll take what they didn’t get with a big thank you and a smile. I noticed we were in some heavy gravel with lots of rounded river rock. If this channel is much wider we could simply keep digging along the side in a lateral direction to the hill and never have to go in deeper with timbers for support for quite awhile. Also, if the channel continues north into the mountain like I think it does there are millions of dollars of gold waiting for our picks and shovels. By the end of the day the three of us were exhausted. We are still soft from the winter rest and do not have our mining bodies at the ready. We are sore and our hands are blistered but I will beat the crew into shape. The gold will make us strong and give us power. Down at camp tonight we sat around the fire after supper with a few Lucky’s. I told the crew I was proud of them and we are once again coming together as a ruff and ready team of miners. We will watch out for each other and work like devils on this mountain of gold. TO BE CONTINUED .....................
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