Discovery of the Peralta Stones
The Stone Crosses & The Latin Heart
The Trail to the Lost Dutchman Mine
Are these stones maps to the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine?
by Jim Hatt
Lost Dutchman Maps
Maps to buried treasure and lost mines in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona are not at all uncommon. Most of the local residents of Apache Junction, Arizona who’ve lived there for any length of time can go to a desk or dresser drawer in their home and pull out a handful of maps they have collected over the years from newspapers, magazines, books, and even from various websites on the internet. These maps, when followed correctly, are supposed to lead to some long lost and forgotten cache or natural deposit of gold somewhere in the Superstition Wilderness or nearby.
Unfortunately, many of these maps have been redrawn to fit specific areas with landmarks that could be found, when the original area shown on the map could not, the intent being to dupe an investor into financially backing a quest for a lost mine or buried treasure. Others have been deliberately altered and surreptitiously circulated by greedy individuals of low moral character whose intent was to cast doubt on a map that they themselves believed to be of great value.
Peralta Stone Maps
Without a doubt the most fascinating of all of these maps is a set of stone slabs, each of which measures approximately 18 inches wide, 12 inches high, and 2 inches thick. The slabs feature beautifully carved symbols of a Trail, a Horse, a Dagger, and a Priest, and one has a recessed area for another stone that is shaped like a heart, as well as numerous wavy lines that appear to be topographical features. These stone slabs, or maps, have come to be known as the “Peralta stone maps” because the names “Pedro” and “Miguel” are carved on them, leading to the reasonable conclusion that these names refer to the same two men that are spoken of in well-documented stories concerning a Pedro and Miguel Peralta. They are reported to have descended from mining families in Sonora, Mexico who worked mines in what is now as the state of Arizona.
Reportedly, the stone maps were found sometime in the late 1940’s by a police officer from Portland, Oregon named Travis Tumlinson. By Tumlinson's account, he was passing through Arizona on a trip and pulled off to the side of Hwy 60 east of Apache Junction to take a stretch break, and while walking around stumbled over the corner of one of the stones sticking up out of the dirt. In 1995, Al Reser, a longtime resident of Apache Junction and a lost mine hunter, took me to a location on Hwy 60 just west of Florence Junction where he pointed to the spot that a man named Charlie Miller, who had been a close friend of Tumlinson’s brother, told him was the spot where the stone maps had been found.
Unlike their paper counterparts, the stone maps remain unmodified by the passage of time, but they do not escape the haze of mystery, suspicion, and doubt that surround all so-called “Treasure Maps.” Clay Worst, another longtime resident of Apache Junction and lost mine hunter, took me to a different area where the late author Bob Ward had personally shown him the exact spot where someone other than Travis Tumlinson had found the stone maps. I also read another account that stated that yet a third individual claimed he found the stone maps on the south side of US 60, several miles east of Florence Junction. According to this account, both men claimed to have sold the stone maps to Tumlinson for the meager sum of $100.
Recorded history as well as simple logic does not back up their claims. If either of the other men had found the stone maps, surely they would not have sold them before first trying to establish their monetary value. In the process of seeing what the market would bear, they would have had to have shown the stones to a good number of individuals. Nobody, to my knowledge, has ever said that they saw anyone in possession of the original four stone maps prior to the date that Tumlinson claimed to have found them. Furthermore, why would they sell them to an individual from out of state (Tumlinson) who was just passing through when there were any number of financially healthy and well-known local treasure hunters who, I am sure, would have shelled out a lot more than $100 for the maps if they had been offered to them.
Personally, I believe Travis Tumlinson found the stone maps right where Al Reser showed me. Every scholarly individual who has examined the stone maps has been unable to conclude when, or where, or by whom, the maps were created. One consistent conclusion they come to, was that there were definitely two different authors using two different methods of making inscriptions on the faces of the stones. The first author was a master of his craft and very consistent in the depth, width and style of his carvings, while the second author lacked the skill of the first author, and his carvings are little more than scratchings on the surface. Apparently someone that knew how to read the maps, or had actually been to the area they applied to, was giving verbal instructions on how to use them to someone else that was informally scratching these instructions on the face of the stones.
For more than 50 years the Peralta stone maps have been the subject of controversy and debate. Over this time period those who’ve studied the maps have remained firmly divided into two separate camps of believers and nonbelievers.
Except for the maps themselves, the believers have little to nothing in the way of physical evidence to support their arguments that these maps are authentic records of a one hundred or more year old mining operation in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona.
The nonbelievers have even less evidence to support their arguments that these stone maps were created as part of some fraudulent scheme to extort money from unsuspecting investors. Interestingly enough, even the nonbelievers are as irresistibly drawn to any discussion or article about the stone maps as the believers are! These maps possess some inexplicable quality that grips the imagination and does not let go whether a person believes them to be authentic or not.
The carvings on the stone maps suggest that they are Spanish or Mexican in origin; and the names Pedro and Miguel carved on them, suggest they may have been created, or at least once owned, by the Peralta family of Sonora, Mexico. As is well known, the Peralta name is indelibly etched into the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine, because Jacob Waltz himself stated on several occasions that his mine was an old Peralta mine.
One puzzling aspect of the original four stone maps found by Tumlinson, which the believers have had a hard time explaining since the day they were found, is that they just don’t seem to lead you anywhere specific. There is no clearly defined starting point and no obvious landmark of any kind that lets you know when you have reached the end of the trail. For those who claim to know how to read them and who have succeeded in working their way through the mountains to what they believe is, (based on their interpretations of the maps) the end of the trail, there is never anything there that can be directly linked to anything on the stone maps or that can be used to verify that they have arrived in the right place.
Until now, no one has been able to identify the end of the trail because they have failed to study all the pieces of the stone map set together. The set includes not only the Horse/Priest, Heart, and Trail maps, but also the lesser-known Latin Heart, found in the same general area as the other four pieces but many years later.
The key to the Peralta stone maps is the Latin Heart. Once you understand how to use it, it provides the information that can be used to verify that you have reached the end of the trail. Only after that has been verified, can you begin to understand the information on the Priest/Horse map.
About The Author
Jim Hatt first heard the story of the Lost Dutchman Mine, which he believed is one of the locations on the Peralta stone maps, from his great-grandfather Earl Arthur Hatt in 1956. Earl had personally known members of the Petrasch family who were among some of the earliest searchers for the lost mine of Jacob Waltz (the Dutchman). Earl maintained little more than a casual interest in what eventually grew to be one of the most famous legends in the history of lost mines in the entire Southwest. The story smoldered through four generations of the Hatt family until it fell upon Jim’s ears and burned into his soul.
Jim dreamed of going to Arizona and searching for the lost mine all of his life, but it was not until 1989 when his children were grown and starting living separate lives of their own, that he felt free to pursue his own dreams. Jim left a full time lucrative career in commercial nuclear power and began living on intermittent consulting contracts in the nuclear field, and odd jobs around Apache Junction, Arizona in order to dedicate more and more time to chasing the legend. It was a decision that he never regretted in the years that passed since.
In 1998 Jim was selected as one of five men to be profiled in a documentary filmed for A&E about the search for the Lost Dutchman Mine. Also profiled in the documentary were Tom Kollenborn, Bob Corbin, Clay Worst and Ron Feldman. One day of filming was dedicated to an interview of Senator John McCain, filmed in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains, where as a younger man he had also left his footprints along the rocky trails in the land of legends.
“If someone is surreptitiously working the Lost Dutchman Mine, and it is in the Superstition Wilderness Area, they are breaking the law, and they are making lots of money while they are doing it. You interrupt them . . . and their main goal is going to be to keep you quiet!” --Jim Hatt
The above quoted from Jim Hatt in the documentary THE LOST DUTCHMAN MINE filmed by Greystone Communications for A&E on location in the Superstition Mountains in 1998.
Jim D. Hatt, 61, of Apache Junction passed away October 12, 2011 in Mesa, Arizona. In 2009 Jim set up and managed DesertUSA's forum on the Lost Dutchman and the Peralta stone maps. He always looked for the truth, and ran a controlled forum so that only accurate information got posted.
Jim found out he had lung cancer in November 2010, and worked hard to control it and to stay involved in the things that were most important to him. The cancer took his voice, and speaking became difficult for him. Jim Hatt's input and experience will be missed on DesertUSA's forums.
Copyright © 2005-2012 by Jim D. Hatt All Rights reserved, No part of this document may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or retrieval systems without the written permission of Jim D. Hatt.
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