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Lost Dutchman Mine - Page 4

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In the Superstition MountainsIn 1945, a book about the Lost Dutchman Mine was written by Barry Storm, who claimed to have narrowly escaped from a mysterious sniper. Storm speculated that Adolph Ruth might have been a victim of the same sniper.

In June 1947, a prospector named James A. Cravey made a much-publicized trip into the Superstition canyons by helicopter, searching for the Lost Dutchman Mine. The pilot set him down in La Barge Canyon, close to Weaver’s Needle. When Cravey failed to hike out as planned, a search was started and although his camp was found, Cravey was not. The following February, his headless skeleton was found in a canyon, a good distance from his camp. It was tied in a blanket and his skull was found about thirty feet away. The coroner’s jury ruled that there was "no evidence of foul play.”


In 1949 a man named James Kidd disappeared in the Superstitions.


In February 1951, Dr. John Burns, a physician from Oregon, was found shot to death on Superstition Mountain. The "official” ruling was that the death was accidental.


In early 1952, a man named Joseph Kelley of Dayton, Ohio was also searching for the lost mine. He vanished and was never seen again. His skeleton was discovered near Weaver’s Needle two years later. The shot in his skull was ruled an accidental shooting incident.


That same year, two California boys, who were hiking on Superstition Mountain, also vanished. Unfortunately, for these two, nothing was every found of them.


In 1955, Charles Massey, who was hunting with a 22, was found shot between the eyes by a heavy-caliber rifle bullet. The coroner ruled it an accidental death resulting from a ricochet.


In January, 1956, a man from Brooklyn, New York reported to police that his brother, Martin Zywotho, who he believed was searching for the Lost Dutchman Mine, had been missing for several weeks. A month later, the missing man’s body was found with a bullet hole above his right temple. Although his gun was found under the body, the death was ruled suicide. 


In April of 1958, a deserted campsite was discovered on the northern edge of the mountain. At the campsite were a bloodstained blanket, a Geiger counter, a gun-cleaning kit, but no gun, cooking utensils, and some letters, from which the names and addresses had been torn from. No trace of the camp’s occupant was ever found.


In 1959, two men by the names of Stanley Hernandez and Benjamin Ferreira, thought they had found the "jack-pot.”  However, what they actually discovered was pyrite, more often called "Fool’s Gold.” But, these two were sure they had found the elusive mine. Whether out of greed or, some kind of dispute over how they would handle their new found wealth, Hernandez killed his friend Ferreira.


That same year, Robert St. Marie, who was attempting to drill a hole all the way through Weaver’s Needle, was killed by prospector Edward Piper. Two months later, Piper was found dead. The cause of death was said to have been a  "perforated ulcer."


Two more men who were hiking in the Superstitions that year became involved in some kind of dispute. Lavern Rowlee was shot by Ralph Thomas, who reported that he had been attacked by Rowlee and shot the other man in self-defense.


In October 1960, a group of hikers found a headless skeleton near the foot of a cliff on Superstition Mountain. Four days later, an investigation determined it belonged to an Austrian student named Franz Harrier.





Five days later, another skeleton was found, which was identified the next month to be that of William Richard Harvey, a painter from San Francisco. The cause of death was unknown.

In January, 1961, a family picnicking near the edge of the mountain discovered the body of Hilmer Charles Bohen buried beneath the sand. Bohen was a Utah prospector who had been shot in the back.

Two months later, another prospector from Denver named Walter J. Mowry was found in Needle Canyon. His bullet-ridden body was removed to the coroner’s, who ruled it a suicide.

Five days later, another skeleton was found, which was later identified as William Richard Harvey, a painter from San Francisco. The cause of death was undetermined.

In the Fall of 1961, police began searching for a prospector by the name of Jay Clapp, who had been working on Superstition Mountain on and off for a decade and a half. Clapp had been missing since July. After a thorough search, the hunt was called off. Three years later his headless skeleton was finally discovered.

In 1963, a man named Vance Bacon, also working to tunnel through Weaver’s Needle, fell to his death. Allegedly, there were rifle shots and indications of foul play.

The follow year, brothers, Richard and Robert Kremis, were found dead at the bottom of a high cliff. That same year, an elderly couple was found murdered in an automobile.

In 1970, a seasoned prospector named Al Morrow was killed by a boulder that fell into a tunnel that he was digging.

In 1973, Charles Lewing shot Ladislas Guerrero at a mountain campsite. Lewing claimed self-defense.

In 1976, a prospector named Howard Polling was found dead of a gunshot wound. The following year another man named Dennis Brown, was also found dead of a gunshot wound.

In 1978, a man named Manuel Valdez was murdered in the Superstitions.


Two years later, in 1980, the skeleton of a man named Rick Fenning's was found.


In 1984, a prospector named Walt Gassler, who had been searching for the Lost Dutchman for most of his life, was found dead in the Superstitions. In his pack was gold ore, later discovered to be identical to that of the rich ore Jacob Waltz had found earlier.


Are these many deaths part of the old Apache curse? Does the Lost Dutchman Mine really even exist, or is it nothing more than a "tall tale” perpetuated throughout the years? Scientists say that the Superstition Mountains don’t contain the type of mineral deposits that produce gold. So, if any of the earlier tales of gold founds are true, where did it come from? Some historians believe that any gold found in this rugged terrain was probably hidden there, perhaps even having been the fabled lost Aztec treasure.


There are literally dozens of different variations of the lost mine tale, and almost as many reports of people actually having found the mine, leading to it being the most found and lost again mine ever. These many variations and tales; however, only add to the intrigue of the "Lost Dutchman” enticing hundreds treasure-hunting hobbyists, as well as seasoned prospectors, to continue to search for the elusive gold.


Weaver's Needle

Weaver's needle in the Superstition Mountains,

 photo courtesy Relic Hunter


Goldfield, Arizona

The superstition Mountains can be seen behind these  old buildings in nearby Goldfield,

Arizona. April, 2007, Kathy Weiser.

This image available for photographic prints and  downloads HERE!


The Superstitions are now a federal wilderness area and Arizona State Park, so even if the gold were found it would have to be surrendered to the government. This does not deter the many seekers – the search, itself, is simply to intriguing.

The lost mine is thought to be located somewhere near Weaver’s Needle, the main landmark of the Superstition Mountains, even though the area has been diligently search by hundreds of people. Jacob Waltz said the mine was a large funnel shaped pit. 


The Superstition range covers approximately 160,000 acres of desolate, rugged terrain, so arid that only a bit of desert vegetation and a few sparse strands of Ponderosa Pine are all that grows.


Be well prepared if you plan to join the thousands of others who have searched for the lost mine, as conditions can be harsh in this rugged terrain. Temperatures during the day can easily climb to more than 100 degrees and at higher elevations can drop into the freezing temperatures at night. Searchers should never enter the wilderness area by themselves, should take plenty of water, and pack lightly in order not to overexert themselves.


If these many tales of intrigue are not enough, yet other reports suggest that the area is haunted, most likely by the many who have died there of mysterious deaths.




© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated April, 2017.



Also See:


Bronco Bill Loses to Wells Fargo

Canyon Station Treasure Near Kingman

Flagstaff Outlaw Cache

Ghost Town Treasure Tales

Lost Opata Mine

Outlaw Roy Gardner's Buried Loot

Outlaws Steal Outlaw Loot

Prescott Treasure Tales

Red Jack Gang in Arizona

Sierra Estrella Buried Gold

Treasure Troves in Flagstaff

More Arizona Treasures


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