$2,000+ in a Shovelful of Dirt (Part 3)
(The Mojave Desert is one huge chunk of hostile territory. But many parts of it are highly mineralized.)
It's time to move forward again on Earl Dorr's strange tale of a river of gold thousands of feet beneath the ground in the Mojave Desert. In this post I'll continue with selected passages from Earl's signed affidavit which purportedly confirms his find.
As a brief intro here, Earl Dorr mentions the Paysert brothers in his affidavit. The three Paysert brothers (Oliver, Buck, and George) were friends that Dorr had known since childhood. They explored the caverns after Earl had told them about his fantastic find. Anyway, here we go:
The Paysert brothers confirm our reckoning. When the tide is out there is about 100-150 feet of black sand exposed on both sides of the river which the Paysert brothers report is very rich in placer gold. They report that the black sands on the river's shores to be, on average, about eight feet thick.
(J.R.: At this juncture let me pose a question to all of you (my readers). When was the last time you saw black sands sitting on the surface lining the banks of a gold-bearing river? Black sands are heavies and, as such, tend to move downward like gold. Sure, small pockets of black sands may be seen in select locations along a wash or stream or are sometimes visible in bench gravels as layers. But lining the banks of a river to a depth of eight feet? Sorry, but my miner's knowledge and experience has me shaking my head in disbelief at this outlandish claim. Also, what's with the tidal flow thing? Again, I've never seen a river hundreds of miles inland influenced by the tides. That said, Ma Nature can do some pretty weird things when she sets her mind to it. Quien sabe?
(Black sands are heavies and not typically abundant on the ground's surface.)
Additionally, if I found a river unbelievably rich in placer gold the last thing I'm gonna do is start blabbing away about it to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet I know. Geeze Louise! The first rule in treasure hunting [and gold mining] is to NOT shoot your mouth off about exceptional finds. The bigger the circle of those "in the know," the greater the chance your great find is going to be jumped or taken away from you through legal action of one sort or another. Trust me on this issue. I know.)
There are numerous ledges above the canyon 10-40 feet wide and covered with sand. Morton and I personally explored the ledge sands for a distance of more than eight miles and found little variation in their depth or width. And wherever we examined them, the ledge sands were fabulously rich in placer gold.
(J.R.: This passage implies some sort of natural flooding of the underground river takes place. That's a lot easier for me to believe than tidal flows, but even that begs a question or two. Eight miles underground is a lot of humping on foot sampling all the while, but I guess if I found extremely rich placer ground like Earl's purported find I'd be energized to the point of craziness! Still, that's a lot of ground to cover.)
I've known the Paysert brothers intimately from my boyhood and have discussed these caves with them repeatedly and thoroughly. George lost his life in the cave. Buck and Oliver say that he was killed while diving in the river on the floor of the canyon. Buck and Oliver say he was killed instantly when he struck an unseen rock. They have reported to me repeatedly their own mining experiences and say they mined the beach sands of the river a total of six weeks, during which time they recovered more than $57,000 in placer gold (at $20.00 an ounce). They sent their gold directly to the U.S. Mint and banked the returns in banks in Needles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
(J.R.: I'm wondering if George's death was reported to the appropriate authorities. Granted, in the 1930s things were a lot different than today in terms of bureaucracy, but it seems like they'd have to do this. But with a potential Solomon's treasure at hand, this might not be their smartest move. If I was a conspiracy nut (which I'm not, for the most part anyway) I'd be wondering if George's death was an accident. Maybe the brothers had a falling out or crazy greed took hold of Buck and Oliver. Anything can (and does) happen when huge fortunes are at stake. Hell, people have been known to kill others, including their own family members for a whole lot less. But this is pure supposition on my part.
Now I present to you an important fact to consider. In 1933 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Feds implemented Executive Order 6102 which essentially outlawed the "hoarding" of gold in the United States. This questionable law included a $10,000 fine and five-10 years imprisonment for violators. Those of you who think FDR was the cat's meow can now see he was a petty tyrant in this regard, acting at the behest of the big banks and financiers of the day. Can you imagine the assholes in Washington, D.C. today telling you you can't own sizable amounts of gold? Hmmm...with the current administration (Obama and his ilk) I guess that wouldn't be too far-fetched would it?
(FDR's order confiscating people's gold.)
Anyway, here's the bugaboo. Dorr says the brothers sent their placer gold to the U.S. Mint. How did they do that? U.S. Postal Service? Pony Express? A shipper? They hand carried it to the Mint? This leaves a small amount of doubt in my mind, although where there's a will there's a way. My issue here is that the Feds would be sniffing around to find out where the boys got their gold, knowing how the guv'ment works (or fails to do so). But Dorr says the Payserts were paid at $20.00 a troy ounce. Nope. Couldn't be brothers and sisters. FDR and the Feds had upped the ante for gold at $35.00 a troy ounce when Executive Order 6102 was made law in 1933. Dorr's fabulous find was made in 1934, unless my memory fails me. Is this discrepancy a simple oversight on Earl's part or is it another clue that his tall tale is suspect? I'll leave that point for your consideration.)
That's it for this round. Stay tuned for more of Earl Dorr and a river of gold in the California desert.
Peace to all.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org