A number of people believe that the American Civil War never ended … the hand-to-hand combat may be over but the psychological warfare and the beliefs behind the battles may still be with still us. In 1863, a shipment of Union gold was either lost or stolen on its way to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia where it would have then be used to pay Union soldiers … and has never been found. Or has it? Two men are fighting their own civil war with the U.S. government to claim the gold which they led officials to – and then never heard from again. Now they have new evidence they believe proves the FBI dug up nine tons of gold at the site. Is it time for a 2022 version of Sherman’s March to the place where it’s being held?
If you Google ‘Civil War lost gold’, the names Dennis and Kem Parada come up frequently. The father-son team of treasure hunters call themselves Finders Keepers and the thing they hope to ‘find’ – or have possibly already found – is that 1863 shipment of Union gold estimated to me worth as much as $54 million today. The Paradas believed they found its location at Dent’s Run, about 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, in a government-owned state park. Following the rules (and the laws), the Paradas notified the authorities and their quest for the gold stopped while government entities – especially the FBI – took over. In 2018, an FBI team went to the alleged site with the Paradas, did some secret digging, and left … leaving the Paradas in the dark as to what, if anything, they found. They sued and the FBI stalled until last month when a court order forced the FBI to turn over records from the dig. Records, but not the gold … yet.
“The report, by a geophysicist who performed microgravity testing at the site, hinted at an underground object with a mass of up to 9 tons and a density consistent with gold. The FBI used the consultant’s work to obtain a warrant to seize the gold — if there was any to be found.”
The Associated Press reports that the documents released to the Paradas included a geophysical survey by the consulting firm Enviroscan taken prior to the 2018 dig which showed something looked like and acted like nine tons of gold Following the rule about ducks, the Paradas believe it’s the gold. But that wasn’t all that was in the file.
“The trove of documents turned over to Finders Keepers also included nearly 1,000 photos, in grainy black-and-white, that show some — but certainly not all — of what the FBI was doing at the dig site, according to the treasure hunters.”
After first issuing a one-page statement in 2019 that nothing was found at Dent’s Run and the case was closed, the FBI finally gave the Paradas photos of the 2018 investigation and dig – all the while denying rumors it was done under the cover of darkness to keep them … well, in the dark. While all that the Finders Keepers saw was an empty hole which the FBI said contained no gold, local residents claimed to have seen a convoy of armored trucks and FBI vehicles go in and out of the area at night.
“Many of the FBI photos are seemingly irrelevant, including the hundreds of images of random trees and a woodland road leading to the dig site, while others simply don’t add up or raise additional questions.”
The Associated Press was told this was standard FBI procedure – the photos were to document the site’s conditions before the investigation. Dennis Parada says he suspects the gold was found and removed during the first night, and the second day’s digging was merely a distraction. Which means something is missing from the documents.
“I think we were expecting a couple hundred photos of the night dig, and I think we were expecting pictures of metal coins or bars. I think there were pictures, but they disappeared.”
Disappeared? Is that the modern government word for shredded? To their credit, the Paradas are holding out hope that more FBI documents will be released to them with the pictures and evidence of the gold they believe was removed from Dent’s Run. While they would certainly like to receive a portion of it, it sounds like they’ve reached a point where they’d just like to receive an acknowledgement that the 1863 lost gold was found and it was as a result of them leading the FBI to it. Is that too much to ask?
Meanwhile, the civil war continues.