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Friday, March 20, 2015

The Gold Cavern of the Breña


To start off, let me say... I would not expect one soul to believe the following...

It was in the late 1500's, a small group of Banditos banded together for the purpose of cutting off the supplies of Gold and Silver to Spain, in hopes that it would cause these unwelcome strangers of their land to leave for good. Over the next two hundred years the number of banditos grew, Captains of the Gangs came and went, each leaving behind their written version of their experiences and handed down to their posterity. At some point, these Mexican Indians set a goal, to fill their cache site being a natural cavern, with gold only… I am sure it was a joke at the time, However they put only Gold into the cavern and the silver in another location. There is also the overflow location when they finally reached their goal in the late 1700’s.

There was at one point in the early 1900’s a cache of 4 million (Value in that day and much to small) naming the items that was found, and it was imagined to be one of the many caches of these banditos, and very well could have been one of the many sites mentioned, however although there are still some who seek these sites today and look to far south for reasons I cannot give, the information they seek in order to find the right place, and they have not known of… is here in my hands.

It was some time in the mid-1970s that a somewhat well-known treasure hunter in Utah, who we will refer to as Jim, was investigating an off-shore treasure off the east coast of Mexico to the north of the city of Veracruz. Jim became somewhat well-known by the locals and while enjoying some free time in a small coastal village, an elderly Mexican gentleman approached him and asked him if he would be willing to take a look at some very old documents handed down from his ancestors. The old man explained the documents in summary and it became very clear to Jim that this was no small treasure story.

Now the old man had traveled far from his inland village for whatever reasons, yet Jim arranged to travel to the old village asking the old man if he would like to accompany him. It was necessary to travel to the village of the old man’s birth as this is where the documents were kept and were never taken from. Arrangements were made to view the old documents which Jim studied intently having a fair understanding of Spanish. It was quite clear that Jim’s suspicions were correct; he had never read anything quite this fascinating. It was as compelling as such stories as the alleged lost Aztec Gold of Arizona or Utah; this was clearly one of the big ones.

After reviewing the documents in the company of family members and descendants of the document’s author (who was a Captain of the Banditos in about 1770); Jim, trying very hard to keep his composure, asked if he could make a copy of the document. To his surprise, they said that he could. The problem Jim had was that the nearest Zerox machine was nearly 20 miles away and to take the document away from the village was unheard of, but it was agreed that two of the people from the village would accompany Jim to the town with the Zerox machine to make copies.

After this part of the story, I only have bits and pieces of what Jim did in the years to come. A few years later in about 1980 Jim befriended another man whom we will call John. John and Jim shared many adventures over the next ten years, but as it often happens there was a bit of a falling out where the two separated as friends and kept in touch but no longer shared in their adventures. While John and Jim were working together, Jim showed John all the details of the story including the copied hand-written document which John also studied from time to time as they wanted the best English translation they could get. Jim never gave John a copy of the hand written document but he did share with him copies of the English translation, a copy of the hand drawn map which came with the original hand-written document and Jim’s maps that he used to try to locate the many cache sites mentioned in the documents, but especially the main location or main cache which is 3 separate sites.

The biggest problem Jim had according to John is that the place names were only known by a few locals in the vicinity of the main site area. It would be another 16 years or so before the equivalency of the United States topographical maps were made in the area; something Jim did not have access to. In 1909 a newspaper article emerged telling of a wonderful treasure which was discovered in the area, the article said that it was found near a key place name mentioned in the old original document. This occurrence is one of the reasons why so many have discarded the story as being found and possibly why so many have been led to look in the wrong place.

As a result of my personal research pertaining to similar topics and those research topics which are somewhat unrelated to Spanish Treasure Hunting, I met John in about the year 2001. John, although one of the nicest guys in the Spanish lore game that I had ever met, was not a very trusting soul and was very slow to share information and he was also very cautious as to whom he shared it with. It would be another 3 years before John would share the information with me.

Shortly after meeting John, another friend whom I will call Mark approached me with a document which would later prove to be Jim’s English copy which (unknown to Jim) was copied when Jim took it to Mark in the 70s to ask for help in unraveling the mystery of it. Apparently Jim took his eyes off the document 10 minutes longer than he should have. When Mark brought the story to me, it was clear that he knew he could not unravel the mystery of the location; if he had thought for a moment that he could, I am certain he would have never brought it to me. He asked me to take it home and read it and see what I thought, hoping to get my insight on the details.

As I read the story I was absolutely amazed at what I was reading, often envisioning what this massive hoard must look like. Never at this time did I ever think, expect or imagine that in a few short years that I would actually find it. I was so taken in by the story and being a real sucker for a mystery, I just couldn't leave it alone. I almost immediately began the research process in order to discover the end results. I knew it was unlikely but I knew it was possible and I thrive on the challenge. Within just a few short weeks I had ordered the topographical maps mentioned earlier and I was well on my way to unraveling this mystery.

In about late 2002 or 2003, I met John as a result of part of my research. I was taken in by John; yes he was secretive but he was different than many others that I had met. There was a real genuineness about him; it was a hit and John has been my good friend ever since. I believe it was sometime in about 2004 that John brought to me a story he wanted me to review. By this time, John and Jim were no longer working together and Jim had almost forgotten the enormous cache site precisely 1066 miles south of his home which he had never found. Jim passed away in October of 2012, may he rest in peace.


Now going back a few years, I had received the 1: 50,000 scale Topographic maps of the area in question that were created in 1986 and before opening them I decided to take them with me to work to study them hoping to find the place names. While at work, I was waiting for the sub-contractors to show up so that I could pay them. The sub-contractor who was coming to get paid that day I had not yet gotten to know very well and so when he came in I asked him where he was from to strike up a conversation. He told me that he was from a city near to the area of the cache sites. Of course that information raised an eyebrow and so I asked him if he knew one of the place names in the old document, he responded telling me that it is where he grew up. Ok now things were getting… coincidental as I call it but I do not believe in coincidences. I asked him if he knew some of the other place names which he did. So then I asked if he wouldn't mind looking at some maps, and he responded in kind and said he would be glad to. I went out to my truck and brought the map tube in and pulled out the maps. Upon unrolling the main map which I suspected of having the majority of the place names from the old document, the sub-contractor said, “Hey, I used to work for the company that made these maps before I came to the United States.” He explained to me that his job was the field checking of place names and features largely because he was very familiar with many of them. Unbelievable I thought, we proceeded to go over some of the place names of which he would point to the places I had asked about. Now what I didn't know and wouldn't notice for another few years was that a majority of the names I had asked about and he had pointed at were in fact on the map, but the writing was so obscure that I had never noticed it; not even when he pointed at it. In about 2010, I discovered that I could download the same maps of a 2001 edition in pdf format wherein all layers were very well defined and it wasn't until nearly five years after I had discovered the main cache location, that I could see the names and they were right where I had supposed they should be based on the very old but descriptive document.

To be continued... In Part Two 

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