Many people grew up hearing stories of hidden riches, pirate maps to find the loot, and tales of wild adventures. From ancient artifacts that have been symbols of peace during a war to great big ships filled with gold, silver, diamonds, and other mouth-watering gems, these treasure hunts are legit. Many men have tried and failed to look for this buried treasure. Treasure does exist, and some people have made their fortunes because of it. Like a good whodunit, a real life treasure hunts stories can be the ultimate.
Below are 10 real life treasure hunts, some of which have been found and turned up millions, even billions in spoils, while others remain hidden.
- Oak Island
Oak Island also called the “Money Pit” was first explored in 1795. The 18 year-olds digging found a layer of flagstones and then layers of logs every 10 feet. Eight years later, the Onslow Company continued digging and found log layers every 10 feet for 90 feet, plus layers of charcoal, putty, and coconut fiber (confusing, since coconuts are not native to Canada). At 40 feet, they allegedly found a stone with markings translated to mean: “forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.” Then the excavation flooded, and they gave up. In 1849, another company, another set of wood, metal, clay, etc. layers and other flooding.
In 1861, another association tried excavating, but the thing collapsed into either a booby trap or a natural cavern. The mysterious stone with symbols describing the treasure was last seen some time in the early 20th century. It could have ended up in a fireplace. It could be the doorstep in a bookstore, who knows! Some say it’s pirate treasure. Others that it’s Navy treasure or Marie Antoinette’s jewels. So many theories, including that it’s just a natural sinkhole.
- 2,000-Year-Old Menorah
When the Romans pillaged the Temple of Jerusalem, they stole a valuable menorah. Many people don’t know what happened with the menorah due to the fact that there was a fire at Rome’s Temple of Peace over 100 years ago.
- The Imperial Seal
The Imperial Seal of China was a gift created for Qin Shi Huang in 221 BCE. In the 900’s, the seal vanished and there hasn’t been a trace of it since. Many people doubt its existence. One man tried to bring what he believed to be the stone to a ruler named King Li, but the king doubted its authenticity and had the man’s feet cut off.
- 500 years old valuables in Kathmandu
The Hanuman Dhoka, Kathmandu’s royal palace, was hit by an Earthquake in 2015, and according to Lonely Planet, the damage done to the structure was substantial. But four years before this incident, the palace made headlines for another reason; a treasure that was uncovered. According to The Independent, when workers were renovating a part of the 16th-century palace, when they uncovered a treasure of coins, as well as gold and silver ornaments (weighing more than 300 kgs) believed to be more than 500 years old which adds to list of real life treasure hunts.
- Mojave Desert Treasure
The legend goes that there is a treasure from a sunken ship in the Salton Sea. Although there is no proof that the treasure was ever found, in 1870, the LA Star published a story about a man named Charlie Clusker who supposedly found it, but because there were no other stories published on the matter, many people believe the treasure is still out there.
- Discovery of the tomb of emperor Qin Shi Huang
Emperor Qin’s tomb (Qin Shi Huang Di, the First Emperor of Qin) was found by workers outside of the city of Xi’an in China, in 1974. And the contents that lay inside were priceless because it was one of the “greatest archaeological discoveries in the world,” National Geographic reports. Among the objects that were included in the Emperor’s tomb was a terracotta army i.e. thousands of clay soldiers positioned to rank, all with unique details as well as chariots, and weapons such as swords and arrow tips.
- 63 Million Hidden in Bedford County
The story goes that in 1816, while mining, Thomas Beale and some fellow workers found a huge amount of gold and silver worth a total of $63,000,000. All of the men decided that if they should die that their next of kin should get the money, so Thomas Beale created 3 ciphers. The first cipher said where the treasure was buried. The second cipher said what the treasure was, and the 3rd cipher was a list of all the men and their next of kin. Beale then gave the ciphers in a box to a Robert Morris with instructions to wait 10 years before opening the box, and if Beale didn’t return for the box, then a way to figure out the cipher would be mailed to him. That way never came and Morris was only able to figure out the second cipher.
- The Knights Templar Treasure
According to Ancient Origins, the Knights Templar were a secret society, although the missions that these individuals carried out remain shrouded in mystery. What we do know, is that the society is believed to have been one of the most powerful organizations of their time, and there have been hundreds of their former Templar sites located around the world, which the publication notes are a testament to their strength and reach at the time. Their treasure is believed to have been hidden, but no one knows the exact location of this real life treasure hunts.
- Forest Fenn Hidden Treasure
An 87-year-old Vietnam veteran and art dealer said he buried a treasure chest filled with a fortune, about 1,000 miles between Santa Fe and the Canadian border. Thousands of people have gone out looking for it, but still, haven’t discovered it. Even Fenn’s wife doesn’t know where the treasure is hidden. He did, however, leave a clue, hidden in a 24 line poem, that he wrote in his memoir.
- The Flor Do Mar (Flower of the Sea)
The Flor Do Mar was a massive ship in Portugal that wasn’t very safe on the seas, but because it was so large it was considered the pride of Portugal. While traveling the ship was said to have numerous amounts of gold, but it sank, and the ship and the gold are out there waiting to be found.