I’ll be traveling to Arizona in March to an RWA meeting, where I’ll be speaking, and thinking of Arizona reminded me of — well, I guess it’s a ghost story or maybe a treasure hunt story — a true one — one whose drama took place in the superstitious mountains. It was this very true story by the way, that served as the inspiration for one of my books, LONE ARROW’S PRIDE.
Here’s the original art work that was done for this book — originally published by AVON/HarperCollins Publishers. Now, my husband and my brother-in-law were at one time miners, and when they told me this story, I knew it would find it’s way into a book — and it did. The story of LONE ARROW’S PRIDE doesn’t take place in Arizona, however. I brought the story instead to the Wyoming/Montana area — to the Bighorn Mountains and to America’s “Stonehedge,” which sets up atop a 10,000 foot mountain. But back to the true story of the Superstitious Mountains.
As I’m sure you know, in Arizona there is a mountain range called the Superstitious Mountains, which sits just outside of Phoenix. Some of you might be familiar with the legend of the Lost Dutchman’s gold mine. Some may not. But bear with me.
There are many, many miners who go into the Superstitious Mountains today, hunting for the Lost Dutchman gold mine. Many years ago stones were found, upon which was written some hieroglyphics thought to be part of a map. Many of these stones were discovered all over the Superstitious Mountains and all of them were thought to be part of a map that would lead others to the Lost Dutchman’s gold mine. Today those stones are on display in a bank where all can see them and try to discern where the gold mine is.
What is not generally known, however, is that many hundreds of years previous, there were Jesuit priests in these mountains. They befriended the Indians, and managed to get the Indians to bring them gold from these mountains, whereupon the Jesuit priests made artifacts out of the gold. Many, many artifacts.
There priests were recalled to Spain. Most of them refused to go and so Spain sent an army into the Southwest to drive the priests home. The priests got word of the oncoming army and, deciding not to let the army get their gold, nor take the gold back to Spain where it would most likely be claimed by the king, they hid their treasure. It was the Jesuit priests who etched the map on the stones in hieroglyphics and left these stones in fairly inconspicuous places, thinking to come back and collect the gold at a later date, perhaps.
Recently miners have found, after using the stones on display, and digging about twenty-two feet deep in these mountain, two crosses with more hieroglyphics on them.
To date, neither the Lost Dutchman’s mine, nor the stash of gold from the Jesuit priests has been found. Added to this is the fact that the Indians believed that the Thunder God lived in the Superstitious Mountains and in fact, up until the late nineteenth century, no one was able to go into the mountains and mine the gold without great risk to their lives. Any white person found in the mountains was at once killed.
Another interesting fact is that earlier on, two brothers got word of the mines in those mountains and were mining one that they had found. They made two succesful trips into the mountains and obtained a great deal of gold. On the third trip they were discovered by the Indians. And so the brothers loaded up all of their gold and put it into bags, which they tied onto their mules.
Of course, these two brothers were found and killed by the Indians, but the mules were let go, still carrying the bags of gold. The last bag of gold to be found was in the 1920’s or 30’s (I forget which), and contained gold to the amount of approximately $12,000 at that time — today the find would have been close to half a million dollars.
So the question is: Has anyone ever found the Lost Dutchman’s Mine? Not to my knowledge.
Has anyone discovered the gold that was hidden by the Jesuit priests? Not that we know of. But I would have to ask you this question. If you were there and you found it, would you tell anyone?
I’m not too certain that I would. Would you?
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the new ebooks, LAKOTA SURRENDER and LAKOTA PRINCESS at: http://www.samhainpublishing.com/retro-romance.htm