Thoughts on "100 Tons of Gold"
In this post I'll be sharing my thoughts on a major treasure legend right here in New Mexico, my "adopted" state. As you may already know, even the most bizarre treasure tales have a kernel of truth to them, but this legend is one I have full faith in. Why? Read on and perhaps you'll find out.
David Leon Chandler
I was first introduced to this treasure tale about 40 years back when I was just starting out in my small-scale gold mining "career." A friend gave me a used paperback copy of the late David Leon Chandler's book, 100 Tons of Gold. The book was first published in 1978, just about the time I was getting seriously interested in mining and treasure hunting. Now Chandler was no slouch...he was a Navy veteran and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist with a sterling reputation as a writer and investigative reporter. Why he chose to write about the vast gold horde found and then "lost" inside Victorio Peak in Southern New Mexico is still a mystery. But I like to think that he, like myself, was intrigued by the possibilities this particular treasure tale held close to its core telling. In fact, the legend of the Victorio Peak treasure holds more real truth to it than any other similar legend I've read about, studied, or otherwise come across, including the Lost Dutchman Mine, which I think holds as much real air as a flat tire (that statement should bring some heat my way from Lost Dutchman true believers!). I also think that Chandler was caught up by the amazing cast of characters who are central to understanding the Victorio Peak treasure legend, some of whom I've exchanged e-mails and phone calls with over the years. They've also been gracious enough to send me personal notes, diary excerpts, photos, maps, and other "inside" materials related to this treasure tale, so I know much more about the Victorio Peak legend than the average person, just so you know.
No, to protect their privacy, I won't name these individuals. But let me say this about them. They aren't wing nuts, conspiracy theorists, or crackpots in any respect. They are real people who are as down to earth as you and I, and who were caught up in the last "allowed" treasure search at Victorio Peak. I have nothing but the highest respect for these folks and, to a great extent, other figures who are at the core of this legend despite their personal faults or weaknesses, or how they were perceived by others at the time. In the end, however, all of those who worked so hard to recover that 100 tons of gold were left high and dry. In fact, they were royally screwed. Some of them were screwed by the times they lived in and some by their own penchant to say too much or act impulsively...a big "no-no" when tons of gold and valuable artifacts are concerned. There are a couple of important lessons to be learned from the screwing these earnest treasure hunters got in the end for all their efforts. You know, the usual: 1) Keep your mouth shut and your finds on the down low. 2) Trust no one, least of all your own government. As I've said many times before, it doesn't take much gold to gain a person's interest and when tons of the yellow are at stake all bets are off. Theft, murder, and other dirty deeds by nefarious sorts, including governmental bureaucracies, are bound to rear their ugly heads. But I can't fault those who are at the core of this treasure tale. Who knows what any of us would do or say if we stumbled across 100 tons of gold? What I do know is that everyone involved in trying to recover that vast treasure was screwed, blued, and tattooed in the end. And the original finder of the treasure? Well, he ended up dead.
Questions and More Questions
There are undoubtedly some questions running through your minds right now. Things like: "Well, is he going to tell us the whole story of Victorio Peak?" Or "Why does he think the Victorio Peak treasure was real?" And finally, "What really happened to the treasure and who took it?" Well, pards and pardettes, I'm NOT going to tell you the story of Victorio Peak as I know and understand it. I laid out the whole tale some years back in my now defunct Treasure Trove Dreams blog (I know that doesn't help you now...just saying) and if you are truly interested in the Victorio Peak treasure legend may I suggest you first read David Leon Chandler's 100 Tons of Gold. Despite the fact Chandler's book is quite dated now, it's an excellent primer for learning the central story and its themes. Plus, it's a very interesting read. You can flesh out this treasure tale by doing a bit of research online (but don't believe everything you read or hear by some of the "hacks" out there). Or, you could read a more recent book on the final search to relocate the horde inside Victorio Peak. It has its pluses and minuses, but try reading What Men Call Treasure by David Schweidel. The book was published in 2008 so it's fairly recent and a number of the individuals named in it are those folks I mentioned earlier and who have sent me materials on the treasure and their part in trying to find it. In a number of ways they were forced to let go of their designs on recovering this vast trove and have moved on with their lives to the extent they can. But I guarantee you they haven't forgotten Victorio Peak and the stacks of gold it once contained. I would also guess that most of them don't look too kindly on the powers at be of the time.
Why do I think the Victorio Peak treasure was real? For any number of reasons which are too lengthy to lay out here. I am fortunate though...I am in possession of certain things (no, not a gold bar!) that contain facts that are hard to refute. Additionally, I will say there are a lot of other commonly known facts backing up its existence, probably many more than other big treasure legends that are comparably well known. Did I say existence? Well, that's probably an unfortunate choice of words. Perhaps if you spend a bit of time reading about and researching this tale, you'll know why "existence" no longer applies to Victorio Peak. But the facts are out there that strongly suggest this vast trove was once real, when it was still in situ inside the Peak. And therein lies the rub. Even when the last and final civilian search of Victorio Peak took place it's my contention that the treasure was already long gone. That's only my opinion, of course, so make of it what you will.
So if it can be construed that I think the Peak's trove was removed by someone or something, who or what might that be? I can't give that answer with 100% finality, but let's just say that powers far beyond those of the finder, his relatives, and those who joined the search later were ultimately involved. You see, Big Brother does not always have your best interests in mind, despite what you've been taught in school or in church. Moreover, he feels no qualm about creating laws, regulations, and off-limit lands to inhibit anyone's interests in recovering a vast fortune in gold. You see, Big Brother is greedy...he wants it all. And if some poor, deluded fool (or con man as some still believe) were to stumble upon riches that defied those of old King Midas, you can damn well bet that lowly peasant and his family are NOT going to be allowed to take it home with them, bar by golden bar. No sir or madam. That treasure will be snatched away from them faster than you can cry "Foul!" So as much as I respect those treasure hunters who were involved in the last and final search for Victorio Peak's treasure, I think they'd already been had. And I think Big Brother was just going along for the ride, smiling like a Cheshire cat all the while.
But who really knows? Maybe those vast stacks of gold bars still reside deep in the bowels of Victorio Peak, covered in ages of dust, just waiting.
If so, we've all been had...
(c) Jim Rocha 2019
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org