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Critical Thinking - The Treasure Hunter's Most Important Skill  


My 2 cents


“My journey into the world of treasure hunting began as a lad in Arizona, when a schoolmate told of a place in the Superstition Mountains. It was a mine…a lost mine. Lost because the owner of the mine guarded his secret with death. His name was Jacob Waltz, but locally he was known as The Dutchman. The Dutchman jealously guarded his mine from anyone and everyone. So much so, that even today if you tried to approach his mine, his skeleton would rush out of the mine and kill the intruder. The mine became known as The Lost Dutchman Mine.My 2-cents


This story both scared me, and intrigued me. It started me thinking, “If the mine is so lost, how does anybody know where it is to try to go into it. If someone did try to go into it, and the Dutchman’s skeleton runs out and kills the person, who lived to tell the tale? Something didn’t fit. But, I couldn’t let it go. I decided then that I wanted to see this for myself.”


The above excerpt from my book “CACHE! Stories of Buried Treasures and Hidden Wealth” tells of my beginning into the world of Treasure Hunting. It also outlines one of the most important skills a Treasure Hunter can develop…that of CRITICAL THINKING.


Stories of treasure buried or lost can become distorted over time. Sometimes intentionally, other times not. But it seems that the more distant the telling is from the time of the actual event, the more chance there is that “facts” are added, changed, left out, or embellished to make the story more attractive to the listener (as often the teller is trying to sell something and needs the listener to buy it).


So, the Treasure Hunter must look the information related to a story and do some basic critical thinking about the “facts.” Here is a quick ‘fictional’ example:


The year was 1885. The train robber took the $100,000 in gold he robbed from the safe in the express car, loaded the gold onto his horse, and galloped away. He buried the gold by Smith Creek, about 20 miles away, for when the posse caught up with him the next day, he had already buried the gold.


Let’s separate out some "facts":


1) The year was 1885
2) The robber took $100,000 in gold
3) Loaded it onto his horse and galloped way
4) Buried it 20 miles away on Smith Creek


Is it possible that the above could have happened as described?


1) The year was 1885. Did a train robbery at the date and location occur? What is the supporting documentation (newspaper, other historical record).


2) The robber took $100,000 in gold. Does the historical (documented record) confirm $100,000 in gold was taken? If not, what was?


3) Loaded it onto his horse and galloped away. How much did $100,000 in gold weigh in 1885? Gold was priced at $20.67/ounce. $100,000 in gold would have weighed 4,838 ounces (over 403 pounds!) Could a horse carry a full-grown man, saddle, and over 400 pounds of gold, and then gallop away?


4) Buried it 20 miles away on Smith Creek. How far can a horse gallop with over 600 pounds of man, saddle, supplies & equipment, and gold? How long would it take a man on horse under those conditions to go 20 miles?


If in fact the posse caught up with him the next day over 20 miles away, something doesn’t fit. Not that much gold was taken; Not that far a distance; More time elapsed between robbery and capture; the gold was buried MUCH CLOSER to the robbery site.


Each of these deductions must be parsed out and either validated or discarded. But the intent is to get to the TRUTH of the story.


Critical thinking will save countless hours of chasing a fictional account of an otherwise real event, and increase the probability of recovering the actual item(s) being sought. Each aspect of the story should be subjected to this process, including possible/probable routes traveled, as he DID travel from the robbery site to where he was captured, and somewhere between the two…along the traveled route…he buried his loot.


With the above example in mind, apply this process to your own quests. See if the facts bear out with critical thinking. Increase your chances of finding your quest, and get out there and find it!



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Full Disclosure: The supplies, equipment, tips, techniques, and procedures I recommend are based on my evaluation and experience. I link items I recommend to companies I have an affiliate agreement with (or to The Rocker Box Catalog) from which I receive a small percentage of sales if sales are made during your visit to their website. The recommendations are mine, and mine alone. I use any proceeds to pay for The Rocker Box website, and to generate future articles and activities. I thank you in advance for your patronage and support to further the great recreations, hobbies, and vocations of treasure hunting, gold prospecting, metal detecting, ghost town hunting, and rock hounding.


30-Second Bio: I am a retired soldier of the US Army Special Forces (aka Green Berets),The Author: Mark Prewitt serving for over 25 years. My specialties were communications, medicine, operations and intelligence, with extensive cross training in weapons and demolitions. I was a paratrooper, jumpmaster, combat diver, combat dive supervisor, combat dive medic, sniper, and pathfinder. I’ve been deployed countless times to locations on four continents, and have participated in operations in open water, riverine, jungle, mountain, desert, arctic, and urban environments…but I’ve been a “treasure Hunter” since I was eight. The End.