Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: Buried Treasures of the American Southwest

Buried Treasures of the American Southwest
Legends of Lost Mines, Hidden Payrolls, and Spanish Gold
W. C. Jameson
Publisher: August House
224 pages
ISBN-10: 0874830826
paperback $14, e-book $10

If there's a lesson in this book, it's "Don't hide things too well."

In 1649, bandits robbed missionaries and hid the loot. They gave a description of the hiding place mentioning trees, rocks, etc. that changed over the years before anyone could return. In southeast Arizona, a huge cache of gold bars, nuggets, and a Spanish parchment was found in 1941. A cave-in and flood buried the treasure before it could be excavated. According to legend, millions if not billions of dollars of stolen or mined treasure lies hidden in secret caches throughout the Southwest.

Native Americans had a different reason for hiding all signs of gold or gold mining – they knew that gold made white people crazy for their land. At least when Indians hid something, they did not want it to be found again. Did they really leave ghosts to guard the gold? Some treasure hunters have claimed to see strange lights and her mysterious sounds coming from underground.

Neither poor directions nor ghosts  stop those determined to find treasure. In the early 1800s, a defrocked French priest headed a murderous bandit gang. He apparently buried 500 gold bars near a spring in western Oklahoma. V-shaped stones are supposed to point out directions. Some treasure hunters have tried hot air balloons to search for the markers. No one has found the treasure yet… but it is only a matter of time, according to the hopeful.

This book includes more than 35 treasure tales from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Simple maps at the beginning of each section give a rough indication of where each treasure is supposed to be. Some of these stories are also included in Jameson's other books, such as Legend and Lore of the Guadalupe Mountains.

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance involving outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. The Mad Monk’s Treasure follows the hunt for a long-lost treasure in the New Mexico desert. In The Dead Man’s Treasure, estranged relatives compete to reach a buried treasure by following a series of complex clues. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. Read excerpts at or visit her Amazon page.

The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends—a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider.

When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

Just how far will Erin go to find the treasure and discover what she’s really made of?

“The story has it all—action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship....”



   Erin could hardly believe what she was seeing. Could this be it? After all this time waiting, searching, had she finally, finally, found what she was looking for?
   She forced herself to sit back and take a deep breath. Don’t make assumptions. Don’t rush into things. She wanted to leap up and scream her excitement, but years of academic training held. Slow down, double-check everything, and make sure you are right!
   She leaned forward and ran her fingers over the grainy photograph. With that one image, everything seemed to fall into place. This was the clue. It had to be.
   She fumbled in her desk drawer for a magnifying glass and studied the symbols in the photo more closely. At a glance, they looked like your standard Indian petroglyphs. You could find them throughout the Southwest, tucked away in caves or scattered among boulder fields.
   But this was different.
   If she was right—and she had to be right—these symbols were a map. A map that could lead her to one of the greatest caches of buried treasure ever.
   She reached for the phone. In a few seconds a voice said, “Yeah.” Erin could hear the sound of some tool on metal in the background.
   “Camie? I found it!”

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