Thursday, October 2, 2014

Phantoms of the Lost Dutchman Mine

“The mines men find are never so rich as those lost.”

                                                 --Old saying about gold mines.

Photo: Chris C. Jones
Weavers Peak is said to be a
prominent landmark in locating the mine.
The story about the Lost Dutchman Mine in Arizona is a favorite story told about a lost mine in America.

Modern day prospectors still flock to the Superstition Mountains located 30 miles east of Phoenix in hopes of finding the rich deposits of gold it is said this mine contains.

Many people, unwaveringly hopeful, have bought what they were told was the “real treasure map” that would lead them to wealth and prosperity.

Various versions of supposed treasure maps.
Over a dozen men were killed in the 1800s in pursuit of this gold. It is stated that they may be the phantoms that still protect this treasure today.

Gold Found and Lost

After the Mexican War in 1848 the territory of Arizona was transferred to the United States. But with plans made to build a southern transcontinental railroad to Los Angeles the U.S. discovered they needed the land south of the Gila River.

James Gadsden, the U.S. Minister to Mexico facilitated the purchase of another 45,000 square miles between the Gila River and the present Mexican border.

With the onset of the Gadsden Purchase, a young Mexican man fled his home in Mexico and went into the Superstition Mountains. It is said he escaped a fathers' wrath because he had violated the virtue of this mans’ young daughter.

Superstition Mountains
Supposedly, he found a rich deposit of gold in 1852. He then returned to his village and convinced several of the men to return to the Superstition Mountains to help him remove part of the gold before the purchase of the land was complete.

This group mined a large amount of gold and happily headed home. But they didn’t get far before a band of Apaches ambushed them. All were killed except for two young boys who hid. The Apaches not caring for the gold left it where it fell.

It is said the two young boys then buried the gold and ran for their lives. Years later, these two told their cousin about the gold and the three men then returned to the Superstition Mountains to retrieve the buried gold and reopen the mine.

As they pursued this they unfortunately met up with a German or some say a Dutch prospector by the name of Jacob Walz--sometimes spelled Welz.

Greed and Murder

Jacob Walz
The three Mexican men shared their secret with Jacob Walz, and he then promptly killed them.

Walz then recruited his nephew and two friends to help with the heavy labor of digging into the mountainside to retrieve the gold. After they completed this task, Walz killed the three and buried them deep within the mine.

Several other prospectors who had the misfortune to wander near the Dutchman’s mine suffered the same fate.

When Walz returned to Phoenix, rumors about a rich mine began to circulate. Several men tried to follow Walz into the mountains, but they never returned to Phoenix. It was believed Walz killed them.

When Jacob Walz died in October of 1891 his family found a shoebox under his bed that was filled with gold nuggets. Supposedly this box also contained a map to the mine, but it was written in code, which was never deciphered, so the location of the Lost Dutchman Mine remains a mystery.

Guardian Ghosts

A well-known legend that surrounds the Lost Dutchman states that if anyone comes too close to this mine they will encounter ghosts.

Several witnesses have claimed to be frightened off by the Apache warriors who murdered the Mexican villagers.

Others state these phantoms are the ghosts of the various men murdered by Walz--most often they are said to be the three whose bodies Walz placed deep in the mine.

Jacob Walz in New York
Yet other prospectors have claimed they saw the ghost of Jacob Walz. These stories include tales of Walz drawing a gun on these unsuspecting miners.

So be forewarned modern day prospectors--if the Arizona heat or the Superstition Mountains’ rugged terrain does not get to you-- a ghost or two just might.


Unknown said...

I love the stories you put up here.

Virginia Lamkin said...

I enjoy researching and writing them, thanks.