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10 Mysterious Buried Treasures

Updated on March 28, 2016
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10. The Spanish Treasure Fleet

Way back in 1715 twelve ships packed full of treasure set sail from Cuba heading to Spain. They were carrying tons of gold and silver, worth a whopping 14 million pesos. But, a week after their departure, a massive hurricane wrecked all but one of the ships. Around 1,000 sailors perished and most of the treasure was lost off the coast of Florida. While $180 million worth of loot has been found since, including $4.5 million located by divers in 2015, there’s more than $200 million still left out there.

9. Mosby's Lost Treasure

During the US Civil War Confederate John Mosby was renowned for lightning-quick raids, often stealing cash before disappearing. One such raid took place in 1863, when Mosby got his hands on $350,000 in metals and jewels from a Union courthouse. Things didn’t go entirely smoothly for Mosby though. After hearing reports of nearby Union troops, he was forced to bury his loot in Virginia and carved a mark into a tree to remember the location. Worth several million dollars today, Mosby never returned to collect the treasure - despite having decades after the war to do so. The only other man who knew the location died during the conflict. It still hasn’t been found.

8. The Fenn Treasure

After being diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cancer, art dealer Forrest Fenn decided to bury a lifetime’s worth of treasure. His chest full of gold, antiques, and jewels is worth well over $1 million. To help would-be treasure hunters, Fenn even created a poem listing several clues as to its precise location. After surviving his illness, Fenn was forced to hire a police escort to ward of stalkers looking for info, while some particularly morbid gold diggers exhumed his parents’ graves hoping to land the cash. The loot is still out there.

7. William Reed's Treasure

$200,000 was buried on a California ranch back in the 1840s by a family who were brutally murdered. William Reed had turned the ranch into a lodge and only took payment in gold. But, with no banks nearby, he took to burying his riches on nearby land. Unfortunately one night a gang of thieves came to stay and demanded that they be taken to the gold. When Reed refused, he was killed. In a rampage trying to find the cash, the gang massacred Reed's wife, children, and servants - leaving everyone with knowledge of the gold’s location dead.

6. Lost Confederate Gold

Realizing they were on the brink of losing the US Civil War, the Confederate army is thought to have stashed away huge amounts of gold and silver. The idea was that it would be dug up when the South regained its strength, but this never happened. Rumors abound as to the whereabouts of the gold. Reportedly $100,000 was stolen and buried in Danville, Virginia, by an officer who disappeared. $500,000 is also said to have been buried on an Indian reservation in Florida, and a whopping $30 million is rumored to be stashed beneath the grave of a Confederate general in Savannah. While these examples might be myths, in 2015 two divers claimed to have found a Confederate shipwreck in Michigan thought to be worth around $2 million.

5. The Treasure of La Noche Triste

Back in 1520 famous Conquistador Hernán Cortés stole an Aztec treasure trove worth hundreds of millions of dollars. When the Aztecs rebelled, they forced the Spanish to flee the city of Tenochtitlan and leave most of the treasure behind. However, they still managed to get away with more than 8 tons of gold and jewels. Weighed down by the loot, many of the Spanish men fell into the nearby Lake Texcoco, with 600 losing their lives. When Cortés returned a year later, the remaining treasure was gone, reportedly buried in the lake and its surroundings. Today, Mexico City sits on top of the rumored burial site, making treasure hunting difficult.

4. John Dillinger’s Buried Treasure

Somewhere in the state of Wisconsin lies a small fortune buried by infamous outlaw John Dillinger. Back in 1933 Dillinger went on a year-long crime spree, robbing 20 banks and accumulating a fortune thought to be worth $7 million dollars today. When the FBI raided Dillinger’s hideout at the Little Bohemia Lodge in Mercer Wisconsin, he jumped out the back window and buried a cool $200,000 a few hundred yards away. It’s still not been recovered – and nor have several other stashes he’s thought to have buried across the USA.

3. The Treasure of Lake Guatavita

Over 500 years ago, the Muisca people of Colombia were led by the Zipa, a man who was coated in gold dust. He would throw precious treasure into Lake Guatavita to satisfy the gods. After hearing these legends, Spanish explorers managed to drain the lake in 1545. They discovered hundreds of pieces of gold - apparently weighing 18kg and worth up to $700,000. Even more gold was reportedly found 35 years later. When the lake was briefly drained again at the start of the 20th century to just one meter, only $750 worth was uncovered. But the remaining gold might have been hidden in the mud and slime left behind.

2. Thomas Beale's Ciphers

A $65 million fortune is thought to be buried in Virginia, and the exact location could be revealed by solving three codes. The loot is said to belong to Thomas Beale and his crew, who dug up 3 tons worth of precious metals and hid it in a 1.8-meter-deep vault that they made in the ground. Beale devised three numeric codes to remember the location and left them with a local hotel owner, but he never returned to collect his booty. One code was cracked, giving Bedford County as the general locale. But the other two, said to reveal the precise location and the names of the men who own the treasure, remain unbroken.

1. Lake Toplitz

At the end of the World War Two, SS troops were seen dumping metal boxes into the waters of Lake Toplitz in the Austrian Alps. They were hoping to the hide the contents from the fast-approaching Allies, and what was in the boxes remains unknown. The lake is frozen over for around 5 months each year and treasure hunting without permission is strictly forbidden. But rumors persist that the Nazis dumped $4.5 billion worth of gold in the icy waters, and over 20 divers have died searching for it. One US Navy diver drowned in 1947 after becoming caught among the many submerged logs in Toplitz.

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