What's more exciting than watching a movie about a treasure hunt? How about going on one yourself! Yes, there are real treasures out there in the world, and we have all the information you need for what they are and where you can find them.
Keep in mind that these hidden treasures have eluded historians and archaeologists for years, but if you're the type of person who lives for mysteries and adventure, you might just have what it takes to uncover them. What are you waiting for? Plan your next trip with the mission of finding one of these four missing treasures.
Montezuma's Treasure — Southern Utah
You might be thinking, wait, wasn't Montezuma an Aztec emperor? Why would his treasure be as far north as Utah? Well, first, congratulations on knowing your history. Yes, Montezuma was an Aztec emperor, and he met Hernan Cortés in the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan, which was located in modern-day Mexico City. He offered Cortés gold and silver in return for leaving the city and never returning.
Instead of taking his offer, the Spaniards placed Montezuma under what was essentially house arrest. The Aztecs put up a fight against the Spaniards, and Montezuma was killed in the chaos. But, not before warning his people to hide their gold from the Spaniards.
That was in the 1500s. Sometime around 1914 or 1920 (accounts vary), a man named Freddy Crystal traveled to Johnson Canyon in Utah, near Kanab, claiming that petroglyphs found on Aztec structures indicated the treasure was buried near there.
Since then, people have searched the Kanab area far and wide seeking the treasure to no avail. Divers have told harrowing stories of being choked while trying to search the underwater tunnels, adding even more mystique to this mystery. Some now believe that the treasure is buried at the base of White Mountain, which is now, unfortunately, inaccessible thanks to rocks and debris on top of it as a result of the Crystal expeditions.
Blackbeard's Treasure — North Carolina
Blackbeard is an infamous pirate, known for pillaging treasure. His real name was Edward Teach, and he may have actually served during the War of Spanish Succession as a British privateer in the early 18th century, before beginning his short-lived career as a pirate. He and his 40-gun flagship called Queen Anne's Revenge (which was originally a slave ship that Blackbeard commandeered from the French) set sail in 1716. For nearly two years, it sailed the Atlantic Coast of North America and the West Indies, stealing treasure from other ships in the area. The goal was to take the treasure back to Spain.
It was foiled, however, in 1718, when a British naval force finally put a stop to Blackbeard and his pirating ways. The naval force was led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard, who decided killing the pirate wasn't enough. He had Blackbeard decapitated, then hung from his ship's bowsprit.
The pirate may have had his revenge after all, though, as he allegedly told others that he had buried treasure before he died.
Since his death, treasure hunters have been searching the Atlantic coast for his treasure. Archaeologists have unearthed parts of a ship they believe to be the Queen Anne's Revenge off the coast of North Carolina. So far, they haven't found any "treasure," although finding the ship of an infamous pirate that sunk over 300 years ago might be just as exciting a find as any other type of treasure they might come across.
The Fenn Treasure — The Rocky Mountains
Now, here's an adventure if you really want to go searching for a treasure. Be warned, though, that four people have died so far searching for it. So, it's not for the faint of heart. Seeing as the Rocky Mountains is one of the longest mountain chains in the world, there's a lot to cover.
The treasure belongs to art dealer Forrest Fenn, who had a crazy idea back in 1988 when he was diagnosed with cancer. He decided to have some fun with his fortune by hiding it (not burying it, necessarily) somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. The plan was to die next to it. However, he beat cancer and so the dream of dying next to his treasure faded. But he still liked the idea of setting up a treasure hunt. Allegedly, there is a chest full of coins and jewels that add up to millions of dollars somewhere in the Rockies.
Fenn released nine clues in a poem he wrote in his book The Thrill of the Chase. He claims that all the clues people need are in the poem, and, after four people have died taking risks to find the treasure, he has added that he was an 80-year-old man when he hid the treasure and so wouldn't have taken extreme risks.
Fenn is still alive, and he reads every email that gets sent to him. That's how he knows that hunters have been within a few hundred feet of his treasure. Could you be the one who finally finds it?
Elysian Park Treasure — Los Angeles, California
Elysian Park is one of the largest parks in the Los Angeles area. It's also potentially one of the most treasure-laden parks in the country. The story goes that people in the mid-19th century used to hide their valuables all over the park in an effort to prevent them from being stolen during the Mexican–American war.
In 1994, two sisters brought a professional treasure hunter, Roy Roush, to the park to help them search. Roush didn't find treasure, but he did find tunnels and enough paraphernalia (e.g. flashlights and rope) to determine that previous treasure hunters may have already found some of the buried treasure.
The park was featured on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries in 1994, and it has been a beacon for treasure hunters to visit ever since. Keep in mind that you need a permit to dig, so if you plan on actually digging for treasure, you'll need to go through the proper legal channels.