What do the FBI, Pennsylvania State officials and members of the treasure hunting group Finders Keepers have in common? Up until recently probably nothing, but local legend has dozens of FBI agents, along with state officials on a dig with a treasure hunting group in a rural area of Pennsylvania. A dig that grew out of folklore.
For the amount of digging going on and the number of government officials on site, you would never think the gold bars buried in a remote Pennsylvania location were the talk of only folklore. The 155-year-old legend has a shipment of gold buried in that neck of the woods, which is about 135 miles outside of Pittsburg, and it certainly has the attention of the FBI, reported Fox News.
It was a shipment of gold that went missing after it was ordered by President Abraham Lincoln and bound for the Philidelphia Mint back in 1833. It never made it to the mint, but the legend has those 50-pound gold bars buried somewhere near Dents Run site in Benezette Township, Pennsylvania.
There’s a discrepancy in this legend of just how many gold bars were in this shipment. One story coming out of this legend has 26 gold bars in all in that shipment and yet another claims there are 52 gold bars in total that are now buried in the rural area of Pennsylvania.
This gold went missing during the Civil War around the time the Battle of Gettysburg took place. Lincoln had ordered the gold shipment to be used as payment for the Union Army soldiers, or so the legend goes.
The folklore dates back to a man named Sgt. Jim Connors, who was known for telling a story when under the influence of a few too many drinks. In the summer of 1863, Conners was in charge of a special Union detachment that was transporting 26 gold bars from West Virginia to Philidelphia’s U.S. Mint.
That story spun into a legend with one version having Conners the lone survivor of an ambush staggering into Lock Haven in Pennsylvania’s north-central territory. The gold was gone, according to Philly.com.
The story or legend picks up again in 1975 with a map. “It began when someone gave someone else a map back in 1975,” describes Philly.com. Apparently, that map led Finders Keepers to the site. This group searched the area of Dents Run for years, and they did come up with artifacts.
The folks from Finders Keepers claim that the state’s government officials were not interested when the group presented this information to them. The Finders Keepers group was told by Pennsylvania’s Historical and Museum Commission that the legend of the buried gold is nothing but a myth.
This week, the treasure hunters, FBI agents, and state officials have descended upon an area off Route 555 in the Dents Run section of Benezette Township, which is only 9-miles from the place that Connors said the shipment of gold bars was ambushed back in 1863.
According to WJAC-TV, a local station, FBI spokesperson Carrie Adamowski told them that the FBI agents were there “conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity. Finders Keepers, a treasure-hunting firm that claimed it had located the gold, was on the scene as well, the station reported, but members said they weren’t allowed to comment.”
While there were no comments given, the Finder’s Keepers website held detailed information over this legend of the gold.
Finders Keeper’s owner Dennis Parada said that this legend was proven true once they used high power metal detectors. On their website they wrote the following.
“We believe that we found the gold at the Dents Run site and that the state is doing everything that they can to stop us from telling our story.”
On their website, they also posted a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) which is “addressed to the district forester at Elk State Forest in 2005, where Parada, of Clearfield County, had apparently been digging. The letter stated that Parada could not dig on state land,” according to Philly.com.
Prada’s “obsession,” which is what the Pittsburgh Post Gazette called his hunt for the buried gold bars, was documented in a newspaper article from back in 2008. He told the reporters how he wouldn’t give up on finding this gold until he died. He also said he passed that sentiment along to the DCNR as well.
If he dies, his kids will pick up where he left off, Prada told the newspaper, “There’s something in there and I am not giving up.” He wouldn’t elaborate on “the map” saying he had to leave the “good parts” for the movie.
Historians have dismissed this legend and told the story of how Connors was interrogated, and they sent Pinkerton detectives to search for the gold back in the day when the gold went missing. They came up with nothing. But the legend remained intact even after Connors died in a “western outpost.”
According to Philly.com, “Now, approximately 155 years later, the feds may have found their loot.” If that gold is found, as some are speculating today, the 26 bars would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $27 million. If the other version of the legend is correct and there are 52 gold bars, then they are looking at about $55 million today, according to Fox News.
One thing is for sure; the federal and state government are saturating the dig area with plenty of representatives. Would a legend really constitute that much manpower?