Another month has passed us by and to finish it up I am also finishing with my last haunted place in Arizona. At least for a while. This place holds a significant connection with me and my writings, maybe you’ll figure it out later. This place has gained popularity in folklore, history and modern day treasure hunting in the West. Of course, if you haven’t already guessed it by reading the title, I am talking about the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.
The Lost Dutchman:
To figure out the mystery behind the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine you probably have to know a little bit about the Lost Dutchman himself.
There are many tales claiming who the Lost Dutchman truly was but most people do believe he was in fact Dutch or German. The story that I feel holds the most weight is that the Lost Dutchman was a gentleman names Jacob Waltz. A German immigrant who came to this country in the first part of the 19th century and went looking for gold. Although he was not very successful. His land was all but consumed by a flood in 1891 and shortly after he fell ill and died.
The story of Waltz that has transcended down from the generations goes a little something like this.
There was a second German immigrant by the name of Weiser who ventured into the Superstition Mountains looking for gold and prospecting. Either an attack from Apaches occurred or Waltz’s greed got the best of him Weiser returned to town wounded. Before he died he shared information with the doctor about a huge gold vein in the mountains. Or some similar type of gold discovery, it varies from the type of gold, the location, and as we are discussing the story of its discovery.
Another tale believes the mine was once discovered by a doctor who treated an injured Apache who revealed the location of the mine. Later one the family of the doctor took to mining the area. There was also a massacre on a mining party of the alleged family by the Apache. Perhaps that is what ended the mining career. As of 1975 parts of the family mine were still standing so as far as we know that location is not the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.
So know we know a little bit, or at least parts of the two main stories of who the Lost Dutchman was or the story came to be. Now we need to figure out the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, or at least try to zero in on the location.
The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine:
Where is it? Well most people believe it is located somewhere in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. Just next to Apache Junction in many cases. However, many don’t know that there are claims that it is in another location in Arizona, closer to Wickenburg. That leads to another tale of how the Lost Dutchman came to be.
A German Prospector was found dead with his saddle bags full of gold. Maybe?
But there are also two other mines that claim the famous name. One is in California, or at least the search is there, and the other is in Colorado.
I know right. The area for a gold vein or buried treasure just grew enormously. Yet, people have been looking for the Lost Dutchman’s Mine since 1892. Almost 8,000 people search annually.
Maybe? If any place has some tears and sweat and misery it could be around the Superstition Mountains where most believe the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is. Many people have died or gone missing looking for it in those beautiful jagged mountains. They really are quiet magnificent the way they rise above the desert in that part of Arizona. Like a monument of sorts.
A monument protecting a haunted treasure.
People have been chased off and terrorized by other people searching for the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. People have even hurt each other, shot at one another, and perhaps even killed each other. All because they feel they are moving in on their lead to the treasure. Whether this be some carved rock, known and a “Peralta Stone” named after the mining family.
In the 1940s a headless corpse was found believed to be a prospector named James A. Cravey. Why headless is what gets me. In 2012 the body of Jesse Capen’s was found three years after he went missing. In 2010, three hikers went missing and were never found. They were presumed dead until in 2011, three decomposing corpses were found that they believed to be the missing hikers.
There are other stories that go further back. A group of Conquistadors making a trek through the mountains were slaughtered by the Native Apache. Perhaps they got to close to the Apache Gold. Maybe just the trespassing was enough. Maybe…there was something more they were trying to prevent the Spanish from discovering.
There is the legend of the “black hand” that the protectors of the area will leave in your path or by your campsite if you infringe to close to their area.
If you think that the area isn’t haunted with all that has been going on and not one person saying, “Hey…it isn’t here.” Then maybe you just don’t believe in haunting. I have to wonder how many died in those mountains before it was recorded. Perhaps the unrecorded tales of people that others never even knew ventured in there.
I’m sure when the sun starts fading among the rocky slopes of the Superstition Mountains, casting and eerie chill to the sun scorched earth, reflecting its weird shadows across the painted rocks that resembles animals of the desert. I bet just then, just when that eerie chill creeps up your spine. That you are being watched. But not by anything of this world.
Ahhhh. Did I mention the enormous amount of UFO sightings that go on in this area as well? Perhaps another time.
Thanks for Reading,
Joshua Crane Dowidat