I opened my e-mail and was very excited at having been declared the winner of an all expense paid trip to one of the USA’s most incredible treasure troves - the Tesoro del Alma Treasure (TDA-6). I would go along with expedition members as an observer to the Caballo Mountains of New Mexico, approximately 12 miles east of the Rio Grande River and the city of Truth or Consequences (TOC), New Mexico.
I am an amateur treasure hunter from Laughlin, Nevada. I have searched for a few treasures in my time, one being the Lost Pegleg Black Gold in the Borrego Desert of southern California. No doubt that it exists. (I visited Coral Pepper at “Desert” Magazine in Palm Desert, who showed me a sample of the gold found; that was one of my greatest thrills - to hold a nugget in my hand.)
I also searched for the Planchas (slabs) of silver in the Pajarito Mountains of southern Arizona, but greatly doubt the treasure exists. It was confirmed as such to me by a well-known treasure hunter (who did a program for Bill Burrud Productions in Hollywood) when I visited him at his treasure store (Old Town) in San Diego, California.
I have plans to search for a lost mine located southeast of Ruby Lake, Nevada, and west of Cherry Creek Township. There isn’t any doubt that it does exist. (I researched it and the facts are unblemished.)
One other buried treasure I will be searching for is in the vicinity of Crescent, Nevada, east of Nipton, California, and west of Searchlight, Nevada. (Actual facts substantiate this buried treasure.)
However, now I have been to the biggest treasure hunt of them all, being conducted by Nick Fleming, a professional treasure hunter known as the most famous of all unknown treasure hunters. Nick is a diligent treasure seeker with tremendous patience and a keen legal mind.
The trip itself started out in Bakersfield, California, Nick’s hometown, on a Thursday. Having picked up a friend, Dan Rowe, Nick then drove to Reno, Nevada, to pick up Lynn Spaugy, a consultant. From Reno they headed south to Las Vegas, where they spent the night, and then arrived in Laughlin to pick me up.
Traveling south through Blythe, California, we caught I-10 east. Arriving in Lordsburg, New Mexico, in the evening, Nick decided we would spend the night there.
Next morning we drove on through Hatch, New Mexico, toward TOC and the treasure site. At the site, Nick noticed that the 4 in. x 4 ft. white plastic pole marker that indicates the entrance to the treasure trove tunnel/shaft had been disturbed and the claim paperwork storage canister was missing.
Meanwhile, I was observing the general layout of the area. I was imagining the Spaniards working the Indians, who provided all the labor for the mining operations, down in the mine, which is 100 to 200 ft. below ground level.
I had observed an Indian face that was pointed out to me by Dan while on our way to the treasure trove site. It was at the northern terminus of the Caballo Mountains. Within 40 ft. of where I was standing, an iron door cover (with lock) lay flat on two eight ft. long horizontal I-beams spaced 36 in. apart and running perpendicular to each other. This was the entrance to the trove.
Nick unlocked the door, disclosing a vertical 36 in. diameter pipe going down approximately 100 ft., and serving as the access to the trove. Nick, having done some mental calculations as to what was to occur during the next two weeks, informed us that it was time to head back to TOC.
Arriving in TOC, we checked into our motel, which was to be base camp for the duration. Here we were on an expedition, staying in a heated/a-c room instead of sleeping on the ground with rattlers, bugs, and scorpions, etc. Now that is my type of expedition. Lynn and I were assigned as bunkmates, as were Nick and Dan.
I was privileged in getting to know both Lynn and Dan. Dan turned out to be knowledgeable in the art of acquiring monies through card playing. He was the “do it” man while Lynn was a thinker, had a tremendous sense of humor, and a slight case of the famous “show me” attitude.
Nick, as I mentioned before, is a professional and no nonsense individual. He was only able to join us one evening for card playing, as he had to keep the expedition organized well in advance, which meant he had to get up at 4:30 a.m. daily
On the third or fourth night we switched bunkmates and that is when I was able to take note of Nick’s treasure expedition work ethics.
On Saturday, we took a trip to Las Cruces, New Mexico (the second highlight of the expedition). We drove to the home of local author John (Jack) Staley who showed us his “war” room with many research books, plus his writings, references, etc. He informed us he is almost finished with the final in a trilogy of books he is writing based on the Victoria Peak Legend, myths and facts.
In TOC, I met Charles McFarlin, another expedition member from Nunn, Colorado. Charlie is an actual member or investor in the TDA expedition. He is level headed and detail orientated and capable of building and repairing items in the field. Later I would find out he would be undertaking the construction of a winch lift to facilitate entry to the treasure cave.
This expedition’s purpose or mission was to scan the treasure site, which was to be conducted by John Casey and his assistant, Rob, who is also John’s brother (www.geoscaninc.com).
On Sunday, we started our way to the treasure site. In order to get to the east side of the Rio Grande and into the Caballo range of mountains, we had to first drive south from base camp, then go east, cross a small bridge and on towards the site. Traveling on our way south towards that bridge we stopped at a local campground where I met two more expedition members. Dave Cameron, a former helicopter pilot in the service, now retired, from Helena, Montana. Throughout the treasure expedition’s mission, Dave was very security minded and carried a sidearm (for snakes, of course). He pitched in readily whenever any work had to be performed and often gave his candid opinion of what was being scanned.
Mike Kellar, here from Germany, has a great interest in searching for treasures or antiquities. He has quite a bit of knowledge in this area and in reading treasure symbols.
Nick consulted with Dave and Mike in private. In other words, I was not allowed to eavesdrop.
After their conversation, we headed once again to the site. Arriving around 9:30 a.m., Nick discussed the testing to be done. He concluded that three locations in and around the main treasure site were scheduled to be tested for possible other access tunnels to the treasure. The locations were the treasure site itself, another spot about 3 miles northwest, and the final scanning site would be a hill 3-1/2 miles away where there is an old 12 ft. x 12 ft. x 8 ft. high wooden shack with a shaft in it.
Nick then had Dan do a “small” job that in reality was a job for one with strong legs. He asked Dan to paint the top of the TDA-6 boundary markers to make it easy to see the markers from the site itself.
Dan gathered his equipment and within 10 minutes was at one of the corner markers doing the work as requested. The terrain slopes 6 to 8 degrees with different types of brush 3 ft. in height, so I was amazed at how fast Dan got from one corner to the other.
I then took notice of Noah’s Peak 2 miles southeast from the treasure site and of Granite Peak approximately 1/4 mile northwest.
In all we were at the site for three hours. Leaving, we traveled south, passing Apache Canyon (hint of how it was) then traveled west for about 1 mile, and then south alongside the Rio Grande.
Back at TOC, we discussed Monday’s plans. At that time I met two more expedition members. One known only as Cousin John (CJ) from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Ryan Corley, also from Oklahoma.
On Monday it looked like rain and did start up on our base camp departure, but we could see clear sky to the east (our destination).
There were four vehicles in the convoy - Nick’s truck, Charlie’s truck, Dan Corley’s vehicle, and John and Rob with their SUV. There was concern as to whether the SUV had the clearance necessary to reach the site via the dirt roads and gullies we had been using.
Two miles from the site (at a fork in the road), the convoy stopped to finalize the approach. It was decided that the convoy would proceed directly north for 2 more miles and park the SUV in an area the expedition was intending to scan late in the day.
Arriving at the treasure site, Nick informed the scanners what needed to be done. John and Rob prepared themselves and began their work. This is the tedious part of the expedition’s mission. We all had to just observe and wait.
CJ meanwhile had a few combat stories to keep us occupied from when he was a young man and in Vietnam.
The scanning continued for five hours. John was operating the scanning equipment with Rob as assistant. The scanner pinpointed two box shaped squares underground. John and Rob were not able to indicate what the two squares represented. They were approximately 100 ft. to 150 ft. from the known treasure trove.
This was the highlight of my trip. Here was Nick Fleming and the others, cool as cucumbers, and here I was more excited than a one-armed paperhanger. Confirmation of the treasure trove, plus an unknown discovery - all in a day’s work.
We all speculated on the two box shaped squares - perhaps additional treasure. My opinion was the boxes could be old Spanish mining equipment or a storage location. I surmised that while working 100’ to 200’ underground, equipment and supplies still were needed and had to be stored somewhere in the tunnel (s) or cavern. Only time will tell.
The next day, scanning was done to confirm that an underground cavern/tunnel did run from west to east, from the starting point of the present tunnel/cave access, approximately 120 ft. in length.
The next morning, the plan was to scan from an adjacent property (3 miles from the site) to research another possible tunnel to the treasure site. This plan was scrapped and more scanning was done on the treasure site itself (in and around).
Mike Kellar asked if I would be interested in going to a canyon north of us, an approximate 11-mile round trip, to see markers he thought were trail or treasure symbols (to become the future Luna-Kellar treasure site). Off we went in his quad to a spot about 5 miles and two canyons away from Granite Peak.
Arriving at a man-made point of reference, we proceeded another 140 ft. Mike led me 40 ft. in a northeasterly direction to a rock symbol. It lay on top of a clump of rocks (each 3 ft. in circumference). On top of the uppermost boulder was a 4 in. x 4 in. x 18 in. cylinder shaped rock. It lay at a 6-degree angle, as if to point out something.
Mike pointed out another marker’s location, however, he just showed me where it lay when he observed it, for I was not able to view this particular symbol because of an overlay of dirt. Mike described the symbol as a heart with a lightning bolt in it.
Mike’s opinion was that the first marker was a trail marker that pointed towards a logical trail through a passage between two low-lying hills about a mile away. He also conducted a “wand” test and, at a certain point, the wands would touch each other.
I looked around and found a previously undocumented slab of rock 30 ft. from the lightning bolt marker in a southwest direction on the side of a small, deep wash (gully). This slab of rock was also in the shape of a heart, minus the lower quarter.
As we started back, Mike decided to take a shortcut, but could not find it. I got off the quad and informed Mike I would hike up the wash we were in to get our bearings.
I got to the end of the wash and knew where I was in relation to the TDA-6 treasure site. I hollered to Mike to go around and pick me up. Little did I realize he was unable to hear me. I started walking and got on the man made, graded dirt road that led back to the treasure site.
After walking 5 miles I saw Charley McFarlin in his 4-wheel truck approaching about 1 mile from the treasure site. Charley, with a smile, informed me of everyone’s concern for my whereabouts.
On Thursday, we met a gentleman at the treasure site by the name of Joe who is a producer for Light Hart Entertainment out of Hollywood. It is his intention to document the TDA-6 treasure story via film. This was an all day of scanning the site.
Friday I spent the entire day in TOC. Nick had confirmed that an expedition member and another spelunker would enter the treasure cavern that day and wanted the least amount of personnel at the site, so Dan, Lynn and I stayed behind.
We were invited by Rob’s wife on a trip to historic TOC where we visited the local museum, had lunch, viewed the various quaint hotels with their hot mineral baths, and then returned to base camp.
On Saturday more scanning was done at the site and conversations were held by Nick and others about the previous day’s cave (mine-cavern) exploration. Now it was time to conclude the scanning, certifying it had been a complete success up to this point.
John and Rob would fly back east and make a full report to Nick, which would confirm all the speculation that had occurred during the past few days. With the scanning completed, the treasure expedition mission was also complete, so we prepared to return home.
Nick is working towards getting permits and handling other legal matters and will then begin to recover the treasure itself. I want to thank him for being a great host and wish him all the luck in the world.
You can read all about the treasure itself at www-tesoro-del-alma.com
The only question remaining on my behalf is, will I ever return to the Luna-Kellar speculative treasure site, the third highlight of my trip? I can only reply with “Quen Sabe.”
Author’s personal experiences.
Interviews with Nick Fleming and other members of the expedition.