Sunday, October 07, 2018

Is There Gold in the Superstition Mountains?

The Superstition Mountains

As he seeks shelter from the unrelenting Arizona sun at Apache Junction, local resident, Keith, says, “There is no gold in the Superstition Mountains.  Never has been.”  Despite the skepticism of some, the lure of gold has brought thousands to the Superstition Mountains for over a hundred years, all in search of the Lost Dutchman Mine. 

This, one of the most sought after treasures in history, is still definitely in the lost column. Legend tells of a fabulous mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains. So alluring is the prospect of unlimited wealth that it said that hundreds have died searching for the lost mine.  Some of the dead were so close that they may have been murdered, but treasure hunter Walt “AZ” Guenther tells a different story, “They’re mostly easterners.  Come out here unprepared.  No hats.  Not enough water.”  “AZ” dismisses stories of bushwacking, and being a seasoned outdoorsman, laughs off other desert dangers like rattlesnakes, scorpions, gila monsters, and mountain lions, “No, the big killer out here is the sun…and not enough water.  If somebody offers you water…you take it.”


The entire story began in 1748 when the Peralta family began mining silver and gold. According to family records this wealthy family operated eighteen silver and gold mines in the Superstition Mountains. With the Mexican War of 1848, law and order disintegrated in the area and the Apache Indians grew increasingly hostile, attacking the miners almost continuously. Disaster finally overtook the Peraltas in September 1848 with a general massacre by the Apaches. Following this massacre the Apaches controlled the Superstition Mountains until 1865.

Stone map found in the desert.

Spanish armor found in the Superstition Mountains

Jacob Walz, the “Dutchman” enters the picture in 1871 with his partner Jacob Weiser.  The two immigrants purchased a map drawn by the original Peralta family and located the mine “within an imaginary circle whose diameter is not more than five miles and whose center is marked by the Weaver’s Needle.”

Weiser soon vanished...the victim of either, Indians, desperados, or Walz. The Dutchman continued working the mine, carrying the secret of its location to the grave with him in 1891.

Supposedly after the massacre of 1848 the Indians filled the mine shafts and disguised the remains. That there are eighteen mines once owned by the Peralta family in the Superstition Mountains is historical fact; their richness is legendary; their location, still a mystery.  

Looking out toward the ominous mountains, “AZ” says knowingly, “Oh, yes.  There is definitely gold out there.” 

The history of Virginia told through treasure tales about pirates, Indians, Revolutionary War heroes and Civil War raiders. The full text of the famous Beale Treasure cipher is included along with some sixty other legends. 

A lively history of the Civil War sprinkled with tales of over 60 buried treasure in sixteen states. History buffs and adventure seekers will enjoy this work.

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