By Michael H.
Saturday, August 19, 1989, is the day that was possibly the beginning of a new era in treasure hunting. By that, I mean, a new, more effective method of locating and recovering treasure was introduced to the world-wide hobby. The method is not infallible, but it does work.
I drove 700 miles in an effort to disprove what I thought was a hoax or a theory. But after viewing the Electroscope® in action, testing it myself and observing the finding of more than one cache through its use, with the help of a metal detector, I have to admit this is a method that needs to be investigated by all interested treasure hunters.
Here is a breakdown of my trip to Oregon Hill, Pennsylvania, to attend the Treasure World Hunt, in which approximately $100,000 in prizes, buried coins and preparations were expended, sponsored by the Electroscope® Corporation, whose president is a man named Thomas. A friend, Rod Jenkins, and I arrived at Oregon Hill at approximately 12:00 Noon, Friday, August 18th, and checked into the Treasure Village Lodge, then registered for the activities. While Jenkins visited with other treasure hunters, Thomas took me on a tour of the field where the main event (this is where the Electroscope® and Metal Detectors were used together) was to be held the next day, Saturday, August 19th.
In this field were eighteen major caches, miniature safes, chests and strongboxes, each holding seven ounces of silver, plus 39 small jars each holding two ounces of silver. The field was approximately 68 acres in size.
After my tour, I joined in the usual activities of other treasure hunters such as setting up tents or campers, visiting, and getting ready for the tune-up field (there were as many coins buried in this hunt as there are in some complete week-end hunts I have attended) which lasted from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m., Friday evening.
Saturday, August 19th, everyone awoke to a slow, very cool rain which certainly slowed down and complicated the hunts. However, through ingenuity (raincoats and plastic bags), and determination, the 225 hunters taking part managed to clean the field in the first conventional hunt, call the "Claim Jumper's," held from 9:00 to 10:00, in record time.
The second conventional hunt was called the "Finders Keepers" and lasted from 10:30 to 11:30 in a different field from the first one. All contestants lined around the field and when a signal was given, each hunter chose his or her own area to search.
In conventional hunt number three, the hunting area (again, held in a different field) was left to the individual. No time limit was set, and each contestant searched at his or her own pace.
Because of adverse weather, rules had to be changed as the hunts progressed. I took part in Conventional Hunt #1, then attended the Electroscope® and Metal Detector Hunt (which had been delayed).
At the time the conventional hunt #2 was taking place, the Main Event Hunt (Electroscope® and metal detectors) was going on in a separate field. By conducting the two hunts in this manner, there was no conflict between the two types of hunters.
The Main Event field was one-half mile from the Conventional Hunt fields and no scoper was allowed to see it before the hunt. It was held in waist-high grass, and it was impossible for anyone to have seen a target or any indication of where one was hidden.
I picked a "scoper" at random, Murlin Triplett of Ray, Ohio, a total stranger to me, and joined him in his search. (There were 25 different people in the hunt and none of them were allowed to leave their square until the had received a "hit". They then left the Electroscope® in the square, took their metal detector and made the recovery.) I stood in his square and watched as he made a sweep with his Model 301 Electroscope®.
The first "hit" was non-productive (remember, I said the Electroscope® wasn't infallible) but there was no question about the second "hit". When the Electroscope® made a definite "hit" to the right of the square, I took it from Triplett and made three sweeps, all of which "hit" to the same spot.
I returned the Scope to Triplett, who then followed the hit approximately 15 steps out into the almost waist-high weeds, and "boxed" the target into a small circle by sweeping from several different angles. He then returned to the square, gave the Electroscope® to me, took his conventional detector, walked back to the target area, and after a few minutes of detecting, recovered a jar containing two ounces of silver. As Triplett continued to Scope for other targets, I moved on in different directions to observe other "Scopers" as they made their recoveries.
When the hunt was over, I was told that over 73% of all targets had been recovered through the use of both an Electroscope® and a metal detector.
(Author's Note: I make no attempt to explain how the Electroscope® works and it is not infallible. There are "bugs" that need to be worked out, but I do think it has great potential, and that metal detector manufacturers need to give it more thought and possibly work with Thomas in an effort to improve treasure hunting through the use of both the Electroscope® and metal detectors.)
The fields were "reseeded" after Saturday's activities and were opened to all participants at 8:00 a.m. Sunday. Metal detectors were used and the hunters were allowed to search until ? and keep whatever they found. It was called the Scavenger Hunt.
Despite the rain, it was a profitable hunt for those who attended. The amount of money was buried and prizes given that were advertised prior to the hunt. I circulated among contestants and have to admit I heard no adverse comments concerning the Electroscope® instrument and the hunt in general. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, but that was no one's fault.
During this, the first, and possibly history making event, Treasure World Treasure Hunt, mistakes were made (that will be corrected next year) as in any "first", but my overall opinion of the event is "EXCELLENT!"
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