The Silver Madonna and Other Tales of America’s Greatest Lost Treasures, by W.C. Jameson, Taylor Trade Publishing, Boulder, Colo., 2013, $16.95
Tales of buried treasures and lost mines have fascinated mankind since the dawn of civilization and prolific author W.C. Jameson for not quite that long. The author is, among many other things, a professional fortune hunter who has written Treasure Hunter: Caches, Curses and Deadly Confrontations and about 30 other books in his Buried Treasures of America series. In his latest offering Jameson relates tales of two-dozen treasures that remain lost—14 of them west of the Mississippi River (mostly in the Southwest), eight in the Southeast and one (the inspiration for the title of the book) in New Hampshire. The best-known cache to Wild West fans might be the Lost Dutchman Mine, somewhere (of course, Jameson cannot draw a map that pinpoints the mine—actually mines) in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains. Lesser known, though equally intriguing, is the tale of Civil War veteran “Pecos Bill” Shafter and a fortune in gold lying beneath a dry lakebed in west Texas. “With recent advances in metal detecting and related technology occurring every day,” Jameson suggests, “it may be just a matter of time before Shafter Lake yields Pecos Bill’s long-lost treasure.” Well, it’s true there is no natural law that says a lost treasure must stay lost. And there’s no rule that says you must be a serious treasure hunter to enjoy this book. Even poor couch potatoes will find riches within its pages.