But after two years of on-and-off searching, there has been no gold — just a lot of headaches. Last year, rumors about corruption and stolen artifacts hit the headlines, and the government suspended his right to search. His two foot ships remain stuck in the bay of Isle a Vache. Some experts say that Haiti should steer clear of treasure hunters unless they can be closely supervised. Victor Mastone is an archeologist who supervises underwater exploration for the state of Massachusetts.
Greg Brooks warns that shunning professional treasure hunters like himself would open the doors to modern-day pirates. Brooks says he is still holding out hope of signing another deal with the newly-elected Haitian government.
Skip to content. Marketplace Staff Jan 9, Share Now on:. Share this Story. Mythic accounts of buried treasure and lost mines had been circulating amongst desert prospectors for years. Author John D. Mitchell nor the 'Desert Magazine' would attempt to defend the authenticity of this tale. By fall of , an equally fantastic account of long-forgotten Hollywood photographer and desert explorer A. Plummer noted that he was not the original discoverer of the caves -- Native Americans and Spanish explorers had long known about their existence -- but that he was the first to postulate that these were part of an immensely linked cavern system spreading across the American Southwest.
Variations of the account made attempts to unravel an accurate story and factual chain of events extremely complicated. Kokoweef Peak is composed of Mississippian and Pennsylvanian limestone, which can slowly be dissolved in acidic rainwater, snow melt and percolating groundwater. The waters that dissolved the limestone followed fissures along faults of late Mesozoic age. Although the limestone formations are between million years old, the actual dissolution to form caverns started much later, probably in the Ice Age, only a million years ago.
After purportedly exploring several miles of serpentine labyrinth interspersed with deep vertical karst and vast limestone ledges, to the brothers' amazement, an enormous underground river materialized. More astonishing was how the black sand beach was rich in placer gold. After liberating as much of the gold-laden sand as they could carry on their backs, the three began their ascent out of the cavern -- but not before tragedy struck when brother George plunged into the river to his death. Distraught but determined, the two brothers made their way back to civilization, traded in their extremely profitable discovery to the U.
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Kokoweef Peak lies in a verdant Joshua tree woodland accessible by car from the Bailey Road exit off Interstate Heading east on Bailey, drivers will pass the blue and white beacon signaling the way to Kokoweef, Inc. It is here where this larger-than-life legend continues to play out, captivating treasure hunters, hungry investors and curious thrill seekers for well over 80 years now.
As mentioned earlier, extensive cave systems do exist throughout the Mojave Desert. Kokoweef Peak in its own right has three considerable, nearly vertical caverns named Kokoweef, Crystal and Kin Sabe -- a misspelling of Quien sabe? And, true, a rich diversity of mineral wealth is centered in the region. Standard Mines Company shipped thousands of tons of copper ore rich in gold and silver from here at the turn of the century, and telltale signs of early Spanish mines can be discerned on ledges and rock outcrops throughout the area.
The mining facility operated by Molycorp, Inc.
To confuse matters more, there are at least two affidavit versions floating around -- kokoweef. Suspiciously, these crucial details were added after the November 16 version. From the mouth of the cave we descended about feet. There, we found a canyon, which, on our altimeter, measured about to feet deep.follow link
The Lost Ship in the Desert
We found the caverns to be divided into many chambers, filled and embellished with the usual stalactites and stalagmites, besides many grotesque and fantastic wonders that make the caverns one of the marvels of the world. On the floor of the canyon there is a flowing river which by careful examination and measurement by triangulation we estimated to be about feet wide and with considerable depth.
The river rises and falls the tides of the sea -- at high tide, being approximately feet wide, and at low tide, approximately 10 feet wide and four feet deep. When the tide is out there is exposed on both sides of the river from to feet of black beach sand which is very rich in gold value.
The sands are from 4 to 11 feet deep We explored the ledge sands for a distance of more than eight miles, finding little variation in the depth and width of the sands. This great stalactite is perpetually washed by water flowing over it and falling into the dark canyon depths. The huge glistening white crystal is feet longer than the Eifel Tower, and challenged us with amazement and wonder.
Dorr goes on to state within the December affidavit that his last conversation with Oliver and Buck Peysert was at his home in Pasadena on November 10, -- six days after the first affidavit was notarized. Finally, both affidavits declare that the 2. The story shatters into a multitude of versions at this point. Some accounts propose that Dorr set a blast charge sealing the passage before or even just after coming up to the surface and encountering the two men.
Others have Dorr returning at some later point to do so in his effort to conceal from claim jumpers. William Halliday, found "DORR" ominously smoked with a carbide lamp onto the ceiling in two locations during their November caving exploration. The group additionally noted "DORR" at a deeper location above a pile of flowstone rubble with the ghosted black line suggesting that a blast charge could have been set here previously.
Although not stated in either affidavit, later published accounts would state that while exploring the cavern for some length Dorr and Morton observed a fissure allowing daylight to stream in, signaling the possibility of another portal entrance. This partially suggests why Dorr purportedly blasted the Crystal Cave entrance shut, gambling that he would later, and perhaps effortlessly, locate a secondary access point after the dust settled down. The problem was he could not find this elusive entrance.
To make matters worse another miner, Pete Ressler rumored to have run with the Butch Cassidy gang , held most of the claims in and around Kokoweef peak so Dorr was not able to stake a claim at this original Crystal Cave entry point.
Lost Ship of the Desert - Weird California
That same year the syndicate formed Crystal Cave Mining Corporation. Undeterred, the outfit attempted another linkup from Kokoweef Cave, but in the process discovered something else -- high-grade zinc ore. Sometime in the mid-to-late s, Dorr began independently tunneling a possible connection to the illusive portal at one of his area claims in the Mescal Range near the old U. Highway 91 now Interstate 15 -- oddly located about five miles north of Kokoweef and Dorr peaks.
To what extent, we will never know. But these endeavors often end in folly. In , a near shootout erupted at Kokoweef between drill workers hired by Emmett J. Culligan, of water softening fame, and Charles O. Thompson, a former Corona high school track star residing in Llano, California, who had at the time leased a mining option with a group of investors from Crystal Cave Mining Corporation.
Meanwhile, Culligan was busy drilling 12 miles south of Kokoweef at Cima with a traditional water-drilling rig, but upsized to an oil drill rig that he had purchased and brought over from Long Beach. Army did not to provide him with the chemical for private use.
Mojave Desert Lost Ship
In , after investors revolted over embezzlement allegations, a new company formed, Legendary Kokoweef Caverns, Inc. Under their direction, a horizontal foot tunnel under Crystal Cave, along with a foot inclined raise sited upward, were completed allowing them to vigorously clean out debris from the bottom of the cave network.
Thompson who just happens to have graduated from the same high school as I did in Kent, Washington, five years before me. Ralph Lewis, working today as a union electrician, caught the Kokoweef bug in just after his honorable discharge from the Army. Lewis had planned to spend only two weeks visiting the site, but ended up staying on for two years as a volunteer worker. Lewis stated that over the past 45 years at least 20 tunnels, shafts and raises of varying lengths totaling well over a mile have been completed inside the private holdings at Kokoweef Peak.
Lewis became close friends with Willard Dorr Jr. However, he still holds out on the possibility that Dorr or others found ingress to the purported cavern system at a different area location. He did locate Peyser headstones here, but learned that these particular ancestors were likely of European descent and definitely not Native American.
One Peyser was said to be a mining broker and the other a wealthy jeweler.