Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

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Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by cubfan64 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:27 pm

Jim Hatt wrote:Mike,

Do you have a time period for that LaFrance cave of gold bars story?

I've always thought that might be a spin off from the Walter Perrine story about his cave of gold bars.

Best,

Jim
I'll check through my notes tonight too Jim - I think I have the rough time frame for the Bob Brady cave of gold bars and the Harry LaFrance cave of gold bars. There was a reference in Estee Conatser's book about a group of 5 or 6 men who found/recovered a bunch of gold in the 1940's. I've heard the names John Burbridge and Charles Williams in regards to finding gold bars out there as well, but I don't know any of those specifics.

For that matter Jim, I don't know who Walter Perrine was either - what's the story there?

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Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by somehiker » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:48 pm

gollum wrote:Wayne,

Who knows if it was a Priest, Saint Ignatius Loyola, or Larry the Cable Guy. :D Some hiker fell through a cave roof, broke his leg, and passed out. While he was half conscious he thought he saw a priest standing in front of him. From the gist of the story, I don't think the hiker spent any time trying to figure out exactly what it was. After all, he did die the same day.

Best-Mike
Now,now Mike.That wasn't no snark.It was just something that occurred to me while reading the tale.
Sorry if it sounded that way.
Now,about this Larry guy.You don't suppose you could maybe talk him into running some high speed Internet wires out to Jim's place???

Regards:Wayne

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Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by Exploration Fawcett » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:12 pm

Greetings to All from Africa:

Please do not think that I am just sitting by in the stands and absorbing all the great information without making any contributions. I am currently in Africa and my LDM library, all my books, maps, and resources regarding the LDM, Jesuit treasures, and the Superstitions Mountains are in my hometown – Tucson. All I could bring with me to Africa was the biography of Padre Kino, maps of the Superstition Mountains, the most recent book on the LDM, Ted Degrazia’s The Superstition Mountains, Exploration Fawcett, and Brazilian Adventure (another book about Colonel Fawcett). I do not want to shoot from the hip on the many great current topics. Therefore, do not think for a moment that I am not interested in making contributions to this great forum. I shall return to Tucson. Until then.

Very Respectfully
George in Africa – Exploration Fawcett

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Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by gollum » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:16 pm

Jim,

I believe both stories (Bob Brady and Harry LaFrance) happened in the 1970s.

The only two people I know who are familiar with the stories are;

1. Joe Ribaudo: Because his Uncle Chuck was involved with the Harry LaFrance Story.

2. Tracy Hawkins: I don't know him, but there is a whole thread about Brady and LaFrance's Caves of gold bars on Jesse Feldman's LDM Forum. Tracy seems the most knowledgeable. Here are a few quotes:
Chuck, Dale , and Ernie went into the mountains that night he refers to with a chap named Bob Brady---not Harry France. Brady told them a story about finding this cave and had brought out three bars . I hever saw the bars personally but saw the pictures of them taken by , I believve Ernie, this cave was from what I understand , some where in Needle canyon not far from Al Morrows camp.
Harry Franc came into the picture with his tale of finding a cave that we took to be in West Bolder or ols West Boulder canyon. Harry was a long time friend of Bus Bonner and had shown Bus the bar he had and wanted Bus to find a group he trusted to take him back into the mountains to relocate the cave .

Bus came to Dale Howard , Doc LaFave and myself with his story and gold bar ---here I digress a bit but Dale and I recognized the bar as being exactly like the bars Brady had brought out ---this ,of course , gave his story a BIG boost in creditability. Doc LaFave was a medical doctor from back east --around Boston I think--at the time he was on an extended leave and had a place in Whittman Az where he was working some gols ore from a mine north of New River. He was trucking it to his place and working it there--had quite a bit of success too----anyway --Doc had a couple friends back east that he called and they flew out here to hear the story for themselves and to question Harry .

They were so impressed with what they saw and heard they joined with us and put up quite a bit of the money for the expodition--iI do not remember their names but they were both in the medical profession .

The people involved were Harry , Bus Bonner , Dale Howard, Ernie Province, Chuck Rabaudo,Doc LaFave, his two friends and a contractor from Phoenix that Bus knew and three of his workers----I do not at this late date remember their names --its hell to get old

Bob Ward wrote a small version of this tale in his book that I think most of you have read --it is very close to the facts

We spent 90 days out there lookin in the areas Harry could lead us to but had no luck--I do not mean to imply we all spent 90 days continous in the mountains but some of us were in the camp most of the summer --we came out at differant times for supplies and to rest up ----As a writer one said " We found no gold but found the next best thing ---a beautiful place to look for it "
SC
in answer to your questions----The bar Harry France had , I personally held in my hands and examined--Doc LaVave ran a spectrograph on it and determained it was 86& gold with silver and lead. This bar was apx 3inches wide, 3/4 inch rhick and about 5 inches long ---very rough cast in what appeared to be a stone mold ---the top serface was rough and had a black film over it ----in the upper left corner was 5 dots and a groupe of faint lines that had been pressed into it forming a faint outline of a crown --THIS SAME MARK WAS ON THE BARS b BRADY HAD . ( as I said , I never saw Bradys bars personally but saw the pictures.)
To the best of my knowledge the pictures were distroyed in a fire in New River.
TLH
SC
in answer to your questions----The bar Harry France had , I personally held in my hands and examined--Doc LaVave ran a spectrograph on it and determained it was 86& gold with silver and lead. This bar was apx 3inches wide, 3/4 inch rhick and about 5 inches long ---very rough cast in what appeared to be a stone mold ---the top serface was rough and had a black film over it ----in the upper left corner was 5 dots and a groupe of faint lines that had been pressed into it forming a faint outline of a crown --THIS SAME MARK WAS ON THE BARS b BRADY HAD . ( as I said , I never saw Bradys bars personally but saw the pictures.)
To the best of my knowledge the pictures were distroyed in a fire in New River.
TLH
Bob Brady was about 1974 and harry LaFrance was about 1976.

Best-Mike

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Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by cubfan64 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:18 pm

As with everything else related to treasure in the Superstitions, it's hard to pinpoint dates for the Harry LaFrance/France and Bob Brady stories. Tracy Hawkins is the best and probably most reliable source for information as he was involved in the LaFrance search and posted on Feldman's forum as Gollum mentioned.

Gollum is right that the best bet is somewhere in the 1970's (although those are the dates of the searches and not necessarily the time frame that Brady and LaFrance found their gold bars). Based on descriptions of where they believed each man originally found their bar(s), it's likely that they were 2 different locations, although who knows when it really comes down to it. Apparently Tracy said that the bar descriptions however were pretty much the same.

The best I can pinpoint a time frame without digging way deeper into it is that Tracy knew some of the folks (Ernie Provence, Dale Howard and Chuck Ribaudo) who went with Brady to look for his "cave" again. Tracy said it happened about 2 years before the Harry LaFrance/France search - according to the LaFrance/France search, Harry had to be taken out of the mountains in poor health and died shortly after in Prescott - records seem to indicate he died at the Veterans Hospital in 1974, so that would place the LaFrance episode in 1974 and the Brady episode in 1972.

Estee Conatser's story is interesting as well, but she lists no sources other than her word in her book - see page 51 of The Sterling Legend:

"There is a cave in the Superstitions in which a king's ransom in gold was found in the 1940's. This discovery was made by a party of six men. Upon this discovery, the men loaded all they could possibly carry into bags, and, after concealing the entrance to the cave as best they could, they left the mountains. This occurred shortly after WW II. During the following years, the men have made annual trips back ot the cave to retrieve more gold. At the time of this writing only one of the men is still living and he now makes the trips alone. Naturally the location of this cave is a carefully guarded secret; it still contains a considerable amount of gold. The only information concerning the cave that can be divulge is the fact that it is shaped like an hour-glass, with one chamber above the other.
"There is not one shred of doubt in this writer's mind about the authenticity and accuracy of this report. Whether or not this cache was the source of Walzer's gold is not known. But, if not, Walzer sure missed a good one."

Interesting stories all of them

Jim Hatt

Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by Jim Hatt » Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:25 pm

Mike,

Walter Perrine is the Grandson of a full blooded Chiricahua Apache Squaw (Lydian Perrine) born at the base of Weaver's Needle in 1860.

According to Walter his Grandmother told him about a cave with gold bars in it, on her deathbed in New Jersey, sometime in the late 50's.

In the early 60's Walter came to Arizona to look for the cave. He believed it to be somewhere on the side of Blacktop Mesa, and at one time had 14 people up there helping search/dig for the opening.

Some of the names of the others with him were. Ray Snell, Carl Boderick, John Combs, Jim Hammerick, Bob Posey, Fred Hammil and the Travis brothers.

I have a tape of an interview I did with Walter back in 2008 that I will dig out, and post the entire story as time permits, after I refresh my memory.

I'm not sure of the exact year Walter was digging, but I remember him saying it was several years before MaGill was on Bluff Spring Mtn.

That predates the LaFrance story by enough time for the LaFrance story to be a spin off of Walter's story.

Best,

Jim

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Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by cubfan64 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:42 am

Jim - I don't really see much similarity between the Walter Perrine story and either the Bob Brady or Harry LaFrance stories to be honest - at least not enough for either of them to be a spinoff from it.

I'll check my notes tonight again, but if I recall, the Harry LaFrance cave was somewhere around West Boulder Canyon - I'm not sure where the Bob Brady one was supposed to be, but I know it wasn't in the same place as the LaFrance search.

In both the Brady and LaFrance stories, a gold bar was seen and held by more than one person - one of whom was Tracy Hawkins who posted now and then on Feldman's forum and recounted the story to the best of his recollection. In the Perrine story you mentioned, it sounds like there was a search for a cave without the evidence of a gold bar to go with it - other than the word of Perrine's mother.

Jim Hatt

Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by Jim Hatt » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:50 am

Morning Paul,

I never knew any of the primary characters involved with later stories about the cave of gold bars except Bob Ward, who also had a story in his book, about a stack of gold bars found in a cave, that could never be relocated.

I do know that Bob Ward and Walter Perrine were friends back in the 60's, and that Ward knew the story about Walter's cave of gold bars, at that time.

It is always hard to have blind faith in stories of "first hand" accounts of stories about people finding gold, and never being able to get back to it again, unless you have a close personal relationship with the individual telling the story, when there are no photographs or actual gold to show.

I am not challenging the validity of Mr. Hawkin's story. I can only say that I have never met him, or talked to anyone that was close to him, and have no idea about what his level of credibility would be. That leaves me personally unable to form any conclusions, about the validity of the story.

What I find odd, is that there were no stories (that I know of) about caves with gold bars in them going around, prior to the early 60's when Walter Perrine came on the scene, and then several more stories surfaced, in the next decade.

Although I met Walter in 2008, and spent a entire afternoon talking to him, It was not enough time for me to personally testify to his level of credibility either. But... I did become completely convinced, that he believed 100% in the validity of the story his Grandmother told him, and the existence of a cave with gold bars in it, somewhere on the side of blacktop mountain.

I will get the story he told me typed up, and posted in the True Stories - Chasing the Legend forum before the the day is over, and everyone can form their own opinions about it.

Best,

Jim

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Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by cubfan64 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:12 am

I agree that it's always "fishy" when you hear these stories about someone finding gold bars (or any treasure for that matter) and then seemingly being unable to find their way back again, especially when there's no photos taken and no physical evidence of anything.

One thing I do keep in the back of my mind though is that I suppose if there were any stories of people finding things and actually being able to go back and find them again, I doubt THOSE stories would ever make it into the public :).

Another thing to keep in mind is that in both the Bob Brady and Harry LaFrance stories, most of the information is coming from people that went along on the searches for them (Tracy Hawkins and Chuck Ribaudo - through Joe), not the actual people who supposedly originally found the gold bars. That means, all you're really believing or disbelieving is the story of the searches and what the searchers were told by Brady and/LaFrance.

In essence, it's a lot like your comment about Walter Perrine - you came to believe that he was 100% convinced of the truth of his mother's story. It's quite likely that Chuck Ribaudo and Tracy Hawkins were 100% convinced of the stories they were told as well - it could well be true that NONE of the gold bar stories are true - who knows. Heck when it comes down to it, even if someone produced a gold bar or a photograph, I'm not sure I'd be willing to bet my life it wasn't a hoax.

I think "The Sterling Legend" originally came out in the early 70's - I don't know if her comment about the gold bars being found in the 1940's was in the first edition or not, but even if it is, you're right that it would still have been after Perrine's story - even though her claim is that the men found it in the 40's.

Looking forward to hearing Walter's story.

Paul

Jim Hatt

Re: Jesuit Treasure in the Superstitions

Post by Jim Hatt » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:09 am

Exploration Fawcett wrote:Greetings to All from Africa:

Please do not think that I am just sitting by in the stands and absorbing all the great information without making any contributions. I am currently in Africa and my LDM library, all my books, maps, and resources regarding the LDM, Jesuit treasures, and the Superstitions Mountains are in my hometown – Tucson. All I could bring with me to Africa was the biography of Padre Kino, maps of the Superstition Mountains, the most recent book on the LDM, Ted Degrazia’s The Superstition Mountains, Exploration Fawcett, and Brazilian Adventure (another book about Colonel Fawcett). I do not want to shoot from the hip on the many great current topics. Therefore, do not think for a moment that I am not interested in making contributions to this great forum. I shall return to Tucson. Until then.

Very Respectfully
George in Africa – Exploration Fawcett
Hello George,

Good to see you are still following the discussion, and jumped in to let us know you are still interested, even if you do not have anything to add to it. I know you have done a lot of research on De Grazia. Maybe an opportunity to for you to jump in on that subject will present itself.

He was an interesting character for sure, and sometimes I think he knew a lot more about the history of the Superstition Mountains than he was revealing publicly.

Best,

Jim

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