Did this Man Break the Curse and Find the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine?
Gold-related curses are by no means, strange. They can be found all across the world in every period of human history. The precious metal takes humal toil and suffering to harvest and involves considerable damage to the environment on the sites where it is extracted. These curses emanate from that suffering. An old curse involving a secret mine somewhere in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona is believed to be related to the deaths of at least a dozen men over the last 3 centuries. Ron Feldman believes he can break the curse and find the mine.
1.- How did it all begun
The mines and subsequently the curse, derived its name from a pioneer called Jacob Von Walz, a Prussian. When Germans arrived to America and were asked where they were from they would generally reply “Deutsch” which means German in their own language. They would also sometimes approach someone and say “Deutsch? “ to ask if someone spoke German? Of course the German word that refers to the language and the people of Germany “Deutsch” pronounced “doitch” is quite similar to the much more familiar English word “Dutch” which is meant to convey the language and the people who come from the Netherlands. Considering that both Germans and Dutch look pretty similar and sound almost the same to someone unfamiliar with either language, it came to be that in America people who came from Germany in those days were wrongly referred to as Dutch.
2.- Dutch Jacob
Jacob Von Walz’s, was apparently a mining engineer who studied in the University of Heidelberg and came to America drawn by stories of gold in California. He served briefly in the confederate army and after the war traveled West in the company of another Prussian by the curiously similar name of Jacob Weiser. One day they entered a tavern and helped out a Mexican who was being beat up. After a couple of bourbons it turned out the Mexican was none other than Miguel Peralta and his remarkably wealthy family had been mining for gold in Arizona since it was part of the Spanish empire, over 600 years ago. Peralta was eager to tell stories of gold and both Jacobs eager to listen. It wasn’t long before he narrated how his father died along with his older brother and a number of miners at the hands of the apaches after having found a rich mine hidden deep in the superstition mountains.
3.- The cursed mines
The place was already notorious because countless Spaniards since the 1500s sought the mine and never returned. When bodies were found these were always decapitated and/or dismembered.
The Apaches were always aware of the location of the mines but caring little for gold and in awe of the God of Thunder whom they believed inhabited these mountains considered the whole area sacred and pretty much off-limits to white men. Miguel told him how his father might have tortured some Apaches who eventually told him where the mine was. He gathered a party of 148 miners and lead the way along with Miguel’s older brother.
It’s not clear if someone survived. As they were leaving the mountains they were ambushed by Apaches. His father and his older brother were found decapitated along with most of the rest of the party and the animals. It seems the animals were slaughtered for food whereas the men were slaughtered for fun. The gold was all over the ground scattered after the massacre. The Apaches wouldn’t have anything to do with it. The bones of some animals who escaped the Apaches have been found years afterwards still bearing bags full of gold.
The bodies were found by Ramon Peralta, his remaining brother who described what he found to Miguel. Ramon made a map of the location of the mine and returned. To this day it is unknown if he brought back some of the gold that lay among the corpses on the desert. He passed the map to Miguel because he wouldn’t have anything to do with these cursed mines.
4.-One good deed deserves another: The Peralta Map
Miguel either happened to have this map on his person or perhaps knew the exact location by heart. It might have been the bourbon or perhaps he was genuinely grateful… Most likely he had no intention of ever going to this mine! He gave the map to the Jacobs and bid them good luck. The Jacobs took it and in the morning left in search for the gold.
It turned out that the Peralta map was accurate and the Jacobs found the mine. It was being exploited by 6 Mexican miners who were using the Spanish method – which in the case of Mexican mines consisted of swinging a long crowbar weighing north of 20 pounds, sometimes up to 30 against the neatly stratified rock. It was very hard work and we can only assume they were very keen on it when they met their deaths at the hands of both Jacobs, though to be fair… If the Jacobs hadn’t killed them they would have died at their hands instead.
Having disposed of the Mexicans the Jacobs brought all the gold they could carry back to Tucson where an asseyer valued it in $60.000 which inflation-adjusted would be something in the neighborhood of 8.5 million dollars today. They sought Miguel and gave him half.
It’s not known how much time passed before they returned to the mine. Much if not all of the events surrounding these mine and the Jacobs are undocumented. But they eventually returned to the mine. Jacob Von Walzer claims one day he found the other Jacob murdered by Apaches.
5.- Dutch Jacob dies
Eventually Jacob settled in 1875, after spending a while in Pima County, with a woman called Julia Thomas, bought some land in Phoenix and mysteriously disappeared sometimes bringing back gold ore. He told Julia of having killed several men, including two Mexicans who once followed him and two American soldiers who wanted to become partners. There was an Earthquake in 1887 and Jacob was never able to find the mine afterwards. He died 1895.
6.- The legend of the Dutchman mines:
These events have never been truly documented, and several versions remain in existence. There’s even a theory about the mine being complete fiction, made up by Dutch Jacob to cover up illegal activities and legitimize its profits. The only solid documented fact is Walz death. Even his last name seems to have several versions: Von Waltz, Waltz, Waltzen… His first name though, Jacob appears to remain constant throughout as well as the fact of him receiving the whereabouts of the mine from another man – in some tales Miguel Peralta himself, on others a member of the expedition who survived. The area where this mine is presumed to have been located, comprises 150 miles of trails, with inherent dangers that required no curse to bear the fruit of death to the many who subsequently tried and failed to locate it. There was even a Lost Dutch Mine Corporation established in Phoenix Arizona on 1920. They claimed to have found the mine and found investors. The legend wouldn’t have lasted so long were it not for the death of Arthur Ruth in 1931 and its press coverage at the time.
7.- Arthur Ruth: His death and its press coverage at the time
Arthur Ruth was an adventurer known at the time as a treasure hunter. He went in search of the mine and vanished during the summer of 1931. Six months later, a human skull was found on the Superstition Mountains. It was believed to belong to Ruth and it had 2 massive holes produced by either a powerful rifle or a shotgun at point-blank range. The remains of Ruth’s body were only found months later almost a mile away from where his head was found. No map but a notebook where it seems he described having found the mine. The curse took another victim and this time the story became of national interest perhaps because the press wouldn’t let it go or it might have been because it remained unexplained. This was the dawn of the great depression and a story of a hidden gold mine curse or not, offered a viable escape to the dire news of the day.
8.- James A. Cravey
In 1940 James A. Cravey went in search of the mines and never returned. His headless body was found months later.
9.- Barry Storm
Barry Storm via Desertdaily
He went 5 years after Cravey looking for the mine and barely made it out alive after a sniper tried to kill him. He wrote a book about it called Thunder God’s Gold using the pen name John Griffith Climenson.
10.- Several more die looking for the lost Dutchman’s mine
During every decade since, even as soon as 2010, people have met untimely deaths looking for the lost Dutchman’s mine. The last victims appears to have been murdered in a manner consistent with the Lost Dutchman’s mine curse. Curtis Merworth, Ardean Charles and Malcolm Meeks went in search for the mine and never returned. On July 2011 the remains to three men were found… It’s unclear if their heads were attached or not.
11.- Ron Feldman and the end of the curse
Ron Feldman has devoted most of his life doing research on this mines. He’s read everything he’s been able to get a hold and after years of study was able to find the widow of a man who personally knew Waltz. His name was Ted Cox and he told his wife he had found the mine but died before he could profit from it. The widow told Ron everything she learnt from her late husband and armed with that information he was able to find
Feldman found a tunnel which archaeologists believe was exploited at the time of the Spanish conquistadores. He’s asked help from the government and is now taking his time, doing things carefully. Ron believes he will find the Lost Dutchman’s mine if it still exists. He does believe it does – we’re sure.