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The Tales of the Superstition Mountains in Arizona

Updated on April 4, 2011

Superstition Mountains

Superstition Mountains

The Superstition Mountains can be found near Apache Junction in Arizona. These mountains were dubbed the name “Superstition Mountains” by early settlers who discovered the many legends that surround them.

The peak of the mountain sets at about 5,024 feet.

The Superstition Mountains in Arizona have many tales to be told. The mountains echo tales of the prospectors risking and losing their lives trying to find gold.

The Superstition Mountains are considered by the Native’s to be sacred land, and many human skeletons have been found in them. Aside from the hunting's, and "The Lost Hitchhiker", you have probably heard the tales about "The Lost Dutchman", and the "Lost Dutchman’s Mine" that is hidden somewhere in the Superstition Mountains.

The chilling truth is, many of these tales, are not tales at all. Some are based from facts, and some from fiction. So much has happened in the Superstition Mountains, that it is hard to decipher.

The Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction Arizona

Jacob Waltz aka “The Lost Dutchman”

A man named Miguel Peralta discovered a mine deep within the Superstition Mountains, and began mining for gold. It is said in about 1850, he was attacked by Geronimo’s Apache tribe.

About ten years later, a man named Jacob Waltz was traveling around the area looking for gold. He stumbled across the Superstition Mountains, and decided to buy a claim of land from the Peralta Family. Jacob is known today as The Lost Dutchman. He got his name because of his German Heritage.

The Lost Dutchman spent his entire life in those mountains. He looked for gold, worked every day, and lived a poor life. He finally died in 1889, at the age of 80. It was shocking when forty-eight pounds of gold ore was found beneath his bed, by his caregiver Miss Thomas.

After his death, Miss Thomas decided to gather a group of prospectors to help her in her search for the mine.

She set fourth trying to find the gold, and when she did not succeed, she sold maps for seven dollars each. This tale is the very reason many others have stepped foot on the Superstition Mountains.

Many have lost their lives to head wounds. It is believed the mine is either cursed, or protected by enigmatic guardians who wish to keep the location a secret.


The Superstition Mountains

Adolph Ruth

Following the tales of the Lost Dutchman, a man named Adolph Ruth decided to take a leap into the unknown in June of 1931 in the midst of The Great Depression. Was it the mystery, greed, or the depression that lead the man on the journey? No one knows for sure what lures anyone to those mountains. Carefully guarded on his side were secret maps of the treasure in the Superstition Mountains. There were three searches for the man before his remains was discovered: one by Maricopa County Sheriff, one by Pinal County Sheriff, and one by a fellow acquaintance, and gold miner Tex Barkley.

The twist? While Ruth's camp was in Maricopa County, his skull and remains were found in Pinal County. Yet, it was Maricopa County that issued the official death certificate.


The "Death Sign" at the Superstition Mountains

Many More Truths and Tales Haunt the Superstitious Mountains

 Several years later it was 1945, and written in a book about the Lost Dutchman's mine, Barry Storm claimed to have narrowly escaped from a mysterious sniper he dubbed "Mr. X". Storm further speculated that Adolph Ruth might have been a victim of the same sniper.

There are many truths to the tales and mysteries that surround the Superstition Mountains. However, the mysteries that are told will remain mysteries, and are buried with the very ones who died in the attempts to discover gold in them.

Men continue to lose their lives to this day on journeys through the Superstition Mountains. It takes courage to set foot upon them. Is it the hunting's that lure a person to them? Or is it the thought of gold that makes a person set foot upon them?

The mountains still catch the attention of the public’s imagination. It is estimated that about 8,000 people go to the Superstition Mountains each year, looking for The Lost Dutchman’s gold.

We do know:

To get to the mine you have to crawl through a hole.

You can see the Old Military Trail from the mine, but you cannot see the mine from the trail.

You can see Weavers Needle in the Superstitions by climbing up a short distance.

The sun sets on the gold in the mine.

There is a face looking up at the mine.

What we don’t know is if any of the maps leading to the treasure are real, since anyone that came close, remains a mystery.



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    • sarclair profile image

      sarclair 6 years ago

      Thank you. You can still do a hub about the mountains. would love to read it.

    • svenster profile image

      svenster 6 years ago

      Wow. Sweet idea for a hub. I love the superstition mts. and all the mystery and lore surrounding them. I seriously wish I would have thought of doing a hub about all the tales.