Hunt for 9 Tons of Lost Gold Leads to ... a Long Story

There are facts, but they may not point to actual lost treasure
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2022 9:10 AM CDT
If the FBI Stole 9 Tons of Civil War Gold, They're Not Telling
An FBI tent is seen at the base of a hill where investigators were conducting an excavation for Civil War-era gold in Dents Run, Pa. The FBI was ordered to speed the release of info about the 2018 dig for lost gold by U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta on Monday, April 18, 2022.   (Bridget McClure/WJAC via AP, File)

There are some verifiable, undeniable facts in this winding story about an alleged lost hoard of Civil War gold. First there's the document describing it, titled "The Lost Gold Ingot Treasure," in the archives at the Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. It tells of a Union caravan that vanished in 1863 while transporting 26 ingots (or bars) of gold. Treasure hunter Dennis Parada thinks he located it on land controlled by the state of Pennsylvania and met with the FBI to discuss it. He also thinks the FBI—who in 2018 staged a two-day excavation at Parada's spot—made off with the gold in the night and told Parada nothing was found. Parada has been telling his story ever since, and the Atlantic’s Chris Heath dug about as deep as anyone possibly can.

Heath writes that Parada's research led him to a cave near Dents Run, in a state forest. For years, he dug with Pennsylvania’s blessing, but eventually they banned him. He convinced some FBI agents to get involved, and their metal detectors pinged gold-level readings. Moreover, their geophysical scans suggested there was something with the density of gold and a mass of nine tons buried there. Parada wasn't permitted to observe the bulk of the dig (the FBI did show him the empty hole at the end), and the FBI has been extremely slow to release information about it. Then again, Heath turned up some fascinating holes in the story's historical record and reveals that Parada originally struck on the Dents Run location when a traveling psychic pointed to it on a map during a demonstration of "extrasensory perception" at a department store in the 1970s. (The wild story is absolutely worth a read in full.)

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