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The Digger :Your Metal Detecting Newsletter
May 30, 2022

A Memorial Day Thanks!

To all the veterans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the FREEDOM we enjoy in America, you are not forgotten.

Where Can I Metal Detect?

Not a week goes by where I do not receive an email or a question at my website that is this:

"Where is a good place in my state to metal detect?"

When I receive this kind of question, my first thought is, "if this person has no clue where to search in their state, then they will not last long in the hobby."

My next thought is, "I’m in a different state than where this person is located. How would I know where to search in that state?”

And then I think, “my website,” which this person just visited, has 400 pages of information that answers that question. So “why not search out the answer there?”

Look, I tell it like it is because I know better. I’ve been involved in the hobby for fifty years. Unfortunately, people that are too lazy to find where to metal detect in their area will never last in the hobby. To be successful at metal detecting/treasure hunting, you need to be what I call O.C.E., which is observant, curious, and energetic.

The following story highlights what I’m talking about.

An Old Picnic Grove Proves To Be A Honey Hole

“The sounds of the picnickers could be heard as they frolicked in the stream deep within the ravine.”

The above sentence appeared inside an old local history book that my metal detecting partner John had been reading.

The sentence jumped out at him as he read the words. Within minutes, he was on the phone telling me what he hoped he had found.

John, like me, loves to research areas to metal detect. We both understand that research is critical to your success when detecting. If you want to get out of those parks that everyone else has detected for years, then you need to look for other areas of metal detecting opportunities. This is why research and being observant, curious, and energetic are important to your metal detecting success.

John was reading the old local history book that he had purchased in a used bookstore. He was reading for interest as well as for research. John’s book, dated 1901 told a story about a ravine located an hour’s drive from his home. As he read the above passage, he became aware of a possible old picnic grove within the hollow.

So the following Saturday, John and I headed to the area where the old grove might be located.

We were about to embark on a metal detecting adventure that took us three years and miles of walking through thick scrub brush, climbing up and down hills, and wading through knee-deep water, looking for the old grove.

Years of vegetation had covered up any signs of the once-upon-a-time hideaways.

Our first three or four trips to what we thought were the correct locations left us feeling tired, frustrated, and empty. Empty because we had been metal detecting the entire time as we hiked through the rugged terrain, looking for anything that would help us locate the old grove, but except for an occasionally spent shotgun shell, we came up with no exciting finds.

This fruitless search forced us to go back and forth to our topos and re-evaluate our approach.

We kept asking each other.

“Are we in the correct area?”

“Did we miss signs, such as old trees down due to old age or from a wind storm, or perhaps we were not close enough to the creek?” Large trees for shade and a swimming hole are always signs that an old picnic grove could be nearby.

Finally, because of determination, after three years and miles of hiking, John and I discovered the old picnic grove.

Was it worth the effort? Yes, it was!

Did the research and being O.C.E. observant, curious, and energetic payoff? It sure did.

We found hundreds of silver coins, Indian Head Cents, old jewelry containing both gold and silver, and a silver pocket watch. And for years, that area continued to produce for us every time we went back.

So if you are tired of searching hunted out parks and schoolyards, and you don’t know where to detect next, perhaps the above story will help you step beyond your comfort zone by becoming more observant, curious, and energetic.

Research Periodicals

As I indicated in the above article, to become good at metal detecting/treasure hunting, you must become O.C.E., observant, curious, and energetic. All three of those components involve the ability to research possible areas to search. When you’re researching, you are encompassing all three aspects of O.C.E.

To help you find possible areas to metal detect/treasure hunt, I am listing old publications that I have used during the many years in the hobby. The following list consists of periodicals that are most likely out of print. If not, and the addresses I’ve listed have not changed, drop them a note and ask if they have back issues for sale. Also, ask them if they publish a list of past publications. You can scan through the titles and pick the ones you want to read. If you can find any of them, they offer a wealth of information to help you gather ideas for metal detecting or searching out buried or lost treasures.

You can also find many of these publications in used book stories, flea markets, estate sales, or even garage sales. So keep your eyes open for the following:

Adventure Bulletin, Exanimo Establishment, Segundo Colorado 81070

Argosy, Popular Pop., Inc. McCall St. Dayton 1, Ohio

Civil War History Magazine, Close Hall, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52240

Desert Magazine, Palm Desert, CA, 92260

Exanimo Express, Segundo, Co, 81070

Frontier Times, Western Pub, Inc., P:.O. Box 3668, 1012 Edgecliff Ter., Austin Texas, 78704

Golden West, 33 S. Grove St. Freeport N.Y. 11520

Journal of Folk Lore Institute, 714 E. 8th St. Indiana University, Bloomington In

Mineral Industries Bulletin, Colorado School of Mines, Golden Co, 80401

Mineral Information Service, Division of Mines & Geology, Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, Ca

Old West, Western Pub., Inc., P.O. Box, 3668, 1012 Edgecliff Ter., Austin Texas, 78704

Popular Mechanics, 575 Lexington Ave, N.Y. 10022

Real West, Charlton Pub., Inc., Division St. Derby Conn

Treasure Magazine, 7950 Deering Ave, Canoga Park, Ca 91304

Treasure Hunters Newsletter, Box 1438, Boulder Co, 80302

True, Fawcett Pub., Fawcett Bldg., Greenwich Conn

True West, Western Pub., Inc., P.O. Box 3668, 1012 Edgecliff Terrace, Austin Tx

Western Treasures, Ames Pub Co. 5428 Reseda Blvd., P.O. Box 866, Tarzana CA

It’s important to remember that the above publications are just another tool to help you find a search area and should not be considered as an end-all to uncovering a treasure or a location to search. Further research should follow any story you find in any of the above periodicals.

A Piece From The Past

“In April, 1972, federal agents dug up $978,100 cash from the backyard of a convicted heroin dealer, and located another $100,000 hidden in a basement wall. The money was recovered at the Bronx N.Y. home of Louis Cirillo, and was reportedly the largest cash haul ever made by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Mrs. Cirillo watched while ten agents, armed with a search warrant, dug up a wooden box containing the $978,100, mostly in $50 and $100 bills, Cirillo was in jail at the time, awaiting sentence.”


A.T. Evans, Treasure Hunters Yearbook

I present the following story as a sidebar to the above “Piece From The Past” story and as another testament to how important it is to pay attention to your surroundings and be O.C.E., observant, curious, and energetic. Understand that I am not professing that you should follow the path of the individual in the following story, which could get dangerous, but that you pay attention and step outside of your regular metal detecting/treasure hunting routine.

Drug Dealers and Mafia Loot

A good friend of mine, who has since passed away, spent many years searching for and locating caches hidden by convicted drug dealers and longtime mafia members. For reasons I hope you understand, I will not use his real name but instead will refer to him as Ken.

Ken was treasure hunting right up until a few days before he died. He passed away at age 86 about twelve years ago. Ken had more energy at his age than most men who were much younger. I spoke with him in at a local diner about his recent searches a few weeks before he died. Of course, Ken would never divulge where he was finding those treasures, but he did give me a lot of information regarding how he went about locating them. One of the most interesting facts that I had taken away from our talks that I felt was so important to be successful in the hobby is, Ken never searched for any of that buried loot more than fifty miles from where he lived. He told me many times that most of his finds were located within twenty miles of his home. And on that day we talked in the diner, Ken said to me that his latest discovery was ten miles from his home.

A few miles from where Ken lived was infested with drug dealers which allowed him to search and find hidden drug caches close to his home. Many years earlier, Ken and I grew up in that same area that old-time mafia members once populated. We both went to school with family members of those individuals. We grew up hearing stories about certain families hiding money. But at our young age, the word mafia never meant much to us. The only stories that excited us were the stories of hidden money in our neighborhood.

Although Ken was much older than I am, he used his charm and wit to gain information from the family members of the mafia. A few of the mafia members living in our neighborhood were interviewed by the FBI after the JFK assassination. Ken knew many years ago that where we grew up was the perfect opportunity to research and locate caches that no one else was searching for. Ken told me that his first cache was found in the early 1970s.

As I mentioned earlier, Ken often talked to me about what he was searching for and how he would go about locating the caches. His research was meticulous, and he had cultivated many connections with very important people that were a key to finding drug money caches and mafia hidden loot. To say that Ken had connections is an understatement. But to be successful at treasure hunting, knowing the right people is a plus.

Although Ken never told me what he was finding or had found throughout his many years of treasure hunting, I knew that Ken did well in finding them. Ken did not have a job, and he kept a very low profile. He was unassuming and charismatic, which helped him gain the trust of many people in powerful positions that allowed him to gain access to the information he needed to find those caches successfully.

Ken never married and was a loner. I also know that Ken did not like banks, and he paid for most items with cash. He died alone in his home. With no known relatives, I often wondered, since Ken's passing, if Ken himself practiced what those drug dealers and mafia members did with their money. Did he hide his cash in his home or his yard?

I’ve always chosen carefully where I would treasure hunt using my O.C.E. skills. So thinking about searching around my old friend's home for a possible cache of his made me uncomfortable. But not long after Ken died, the city tore down his house and a few adjacent ones to make a parking lot for local businesses.

Anyway, Ken was brave, but he was also a consummate follower of O.C.E., observant, curious, and energetic.

If you’re not actively looking for new places to search, your metal detector will be a dust collector.

Metal Detector Couple Unearth Rare 14th Century Coins Worth £15,000

“A couple in their 70s came across some medieval treasure while out with their metal detectors in one of their favourite fields. Phil and Joan Castle discovered five rare gold coins dating back to the 14th Century which could fetch £15,000 at auction.

Metal detector couple unearth rare 14th Century coins worth £15,000

Schoolboy, 12, Finds Bronze Age Gold Ribbon Worth £1,000 With Metal Detector

“Patrick Hooper took up the hobby of searching for treasure with his metal detector three years ago. He regularly visits remote country fields with his dad, hoping to make some great discoveries." Schoolboy, 12,

Class of 2002 Ring Found and Returned

“Holland Patent resident Michael Parker was metal detecting near where the school field hockey team practices and plays. One of his finds was a 2002 girl’s class ring." Class of 2002 ring found and returned

Boy, 10, Finds Rare Monastic Seal While Metal Detecting

“A 10-year-old metal detectorist has found a rare monastic seal while searching a field.” Boy 10

FBI Forced To Reveal Study Showing Possible Civil War Gold Cache

In Case Against Treasure Hunters

“The case of missing Civil War gold some believe the FBI dug up in a remote western Pennsylvania field took another twist when newly released documents verified that scientific analysis done for the bureau may have showed a buried treasure trove.” FBI Forced To Reveal Part 2

We Want Your Stories and Pictures

One of the excitements we get from metal detecting is seeing what kind of “stuff” others are finding. Not only do we enjoy seeing the items found, but many of us like to hear the stories about how those finds were located. So, let’s see your “stuff.”

Many have posted pictures and brief stories of their finds at my website. It’s easy to do. You basically create your own webpage with a picture or pictures, and a brief story of how you found the items. Once your page is posted, others will be able to view your page, and make comments. You will also have your own url link to the webpage you built. Use that link to post to Facebook, Twitter, or Pintrest and share with others.

So show your “stuff.” We want to see the goodies! Stories About Your Finds

Back Issues

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