The Mysterious Sunken Treasure of the Salton Sea (Swancer) Located in the barren, sun scorched desert of southern California is an enigmatic and somewhat unearthly sight; a lake sprawled out amidst the parched, baked earth, ringed by wind blasted ghost towns … For millions of years, the waters of the Colorado River cut deeper and deeper into the Grand Canyon and then flowed into the Sea of Cortez, carrying tons of silt and creating a huge river delta. "All archeologists are wreck hunters," he told me. It was early March, so the desert would have been in bloom, its washed-out yellows and grays beaten back by the riotous invasion of wildflowers. Lost Galleon of the California Desert; COLD CASE, Phantom Ship of the Gulf of California (Ives), The Mysterious Petroglyph of Pinto Canyon (Grasson), Elmer Carver Finder of the Lost Ship of the Desert? The Lost Ship of the Desert is the subject of legends about various historical maritime vessels having supposedly become stranded and subsequently lost in the deserts of the American Southwest, most commonly in California's Colorado Desert. Ancient Lake Cahuilla And Shipwrecks Of The Desert. We stood for a moment, watching the white bird pass. His license plate is DEZERTMAG, because he was once editor of Dezert Magazine, which was the short-lived successor to The Desert Magazine, which was published from 1937 until 1985. It took Jakie quite some time to get through all the sand, but when he did he found a small chest full of gems. In early December, there was another search, by another production company, using LIDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging. This is what Grasson believes. Experts believe that the Colorado river flooded and created lake Cahuilla which soon flooded as well and connected the sea and the lake.-Mojave Desert Lost Ship But the meeting never took place, and Grasson came to doubt the armor was from the ship. Carver asked her about the ship. To get to Imperial, you skirt the western edge of the Salton Sea and head through the unnaturally fertile Imperial Valley. Most of these do not return to search for ancient treasure ships. Inflow at Lake Cahuilla balanced evaporation, thus maintaining the freshwater lake. But these are not the things Grasson has chosen to do. Bailey might not have many more facts than Grasson, but he has does have the force of conviction, annealed by the passage of time. Most-often buried under the sand, the vessel has remained there for over four hundred years. What was deposited on the rocks is not coral, but tufa-solids left behind on the rocks as the water evaporated. This would explain why sightings of the desert ship began in the 1870s, by which time the abandoned boat, exposed to the elements, would have come to look like an ancient vessel. The shoreline extent of Lake Cahuilla is not known, making the exact location of the shipwreck rather nebulous. But this is nothing new for this vast desert sink that was once covered by Lake Cahuilla, a huge body of water five times larger than the Salton Sea. Those "round metal disks"—the superior comals Santiago promised his wife—suggest a Viking ship that would have sailed through the Northwest Passage, down the coast of Canada, around Baja California and up the Colorado River, which before a modern-day diversion flowed into the Gulf of California. The explorers may have thought the lake was a strait, since California was believed to be an island into the 18th century. Recounting the episode later, Botts said she and her husband saw the ship but couldn't reach it, so they vowed to return the following day, better prepared for a rugged hike. He declared he knew where he could get her a better one. As related in “The Wanderling,” Myrtle Botts of Julian, and her husband, Luis, claimed they found the Viking shipwreck in 1933, while camping at Agua Caliente Springs in the Anza-Borrego Desert, just west of the Salton Sea. One pearl ship under the command of Juan de Iturbe made its way into the Colorado River, and then into Lake Cahuilla. His point was that knowledge can only take you so far. Like many others who lived in or near Los Angeles, Grasson found real-estate prices pushing him East, into Riverside County and beyond, ever deeper into the desert, until he ended up in Banning, where he has lived for the last 11 years. The land is featureless except for the brown jags of mountains that squat on the horizon. Legend states that somewhere in the Mojave desert there is a shipwreck with a huge cargo of gold. The stretch of wash by the golf course is now closed so you need to follow the route in the hills. One pearl ship under the command of Juan de Iturbe made its way into the Colorado River, and then into Lake Cahuilla. There are many tales speculating on the fate of the cargo of pearls, and the location and sightings of the ship. Traveling to San Bernardino, Evans came into a valley that was "the grim and silent ghost of a dead sea," presumably Lake Cahuilla. Other evidence of the ancient lake’s existence includes shoreline deposits of water-worn pebbles, seashells, sand bars, salt-encrusted playas and travertine (freshwater lime) deposits. They also told stories of the existence of a strange ship buried in the sand, having a snake’s head at one end and round wooden objects (shields) on the sides that indicated it was a Viking longship. The weight of the water in Lake Cahuilla caused the surface beneath the lake to sink by about 0.4 metres (1 ft 4 in). This could be a reference to a Spanish ship. The recording is authentic, he says, and Carver was likely "the only man alive to have ever seen and touched the Lost Ship of the Desert.". In the parking lot of a small Indian casino where we stopped for lunch, Grasson pulled from the back of his Jeep a copy of The Last of the Seris, a 1939 book by Dane Coolidge about the indigenous people of Tiburon Island, in the Gulf of California. Confronted with facts that pummel his theories—or the lack of facts to back up his beliefs—Grasson retreats into an uncertainty he thinks benefits his cause. Three CDFW hatcheries in the eastern Sierra and Southern California have had to be depopulated due to a bacterial outbreak. During its early years, Salton Sea attracted vacationers, fishermen and boaters, and in the 1950s, several small resort towns and businesses sprouted up around its shores. In 1933, she was hiking with her husband in the Anza-Borrego Desert, not far from the border with Mexico. With one ship remaining they sailed up the Gulf and eventually up the Colorado River and into the Salton Sea (or the Blake Sea or Lake Cahuilla as it may have been called long ago). There are other legends of a lost pearl ship in the same region. known as "Lake Cahuilla"; which was once much larger than the present-day Salton Sea. Researchers believe this cycle happened many times, as indicated by the levels of ancient wave cuts that are visible on nearby mountain slopes. Since the period following the American Civil War, stories about Spanish treasure galleons buried beneath the desert sands north of the Gulf of California have … John Grasson’s long, dogged pursuit of the Viking ship (or was it Spanish?) Evidence shows that Leif Erickson led them to Newfoundland in 1000 AD, almost 500 years prior to Columbus arriving in the New World. "This guy from Skeptoid is grossly misinformed," Grasson says. We pulled off the highway, drove through town and toward a farmhouse shaded by a line of trees. He became an avid visitor to TreasureNet.com, an international clearinghouse for those seeking Jon Swift's silver mine deep in the Appalachian Mountains or a vault made by the Knights Templar on an island off Nova Scotia. The legend includes a history of California from Cortez to 1695. "I tell you something strange," Santiago said to his wife. Located in the barren, sun scorched desert of southern California is an enigmatic and somewhat unearthly sight; a lake sprawled out amidst the parched, baked earth, ringed by wind blasted ghost towns and with beaches of crushed fish bones rather than sand. When we'd spoken on the phone, I'd gotten the impression he thought the ship was of Spanish origin, which made more sense, as there were Spanish conquistadors in Mexico in the early 1500s, whereas there is no solid evidence of Viking settlement on the West Coast. Jacobsen promptly left for Los Angeles, and his wife invited Carver to stay in the main house, because she was afraid of a "crazy Swede" who was prowling the area. There has changed many times, dotting the landscape of the Colorado Desert with visions of a ship that never quite docked at the port of reality. Here there's some slight departures in the story. To make a living, Grasson sold carpet. Fed by the Colorado River, it dried up sometime before 1700, following one of the repeated shifts in the river's course.In 1905 a break in a levee created the much smaller Salton Sea in the same location. He prefers to be called an "explorer of legends and lore," not a treasure hunter. "The moon threw a track of shimmering light," he wrote, directly upon "the wreck of a gallant ship, which may have gone down there centuries ago.". On page 461, there is an entry about Kane Springs, a speck on the western edge of the Salton Sea: One of the most prevalent of local myths concerns a Spanish galleon that sailed into the northernmost arm of the prehistoric Gulf of California, to be abandoned there with its fabulous cargo of gold. He also read Philip A. Bailey's Golden Mirages, a compendium of desert lore. Historians tell how the Vikings, led by Eric the Red, were known to have begun their westward sea exploration about 985 A.D., at which time they landed their longboats in Greenland. The State of California has vowed to invest $80.5 million to make sure the Salton Sea doesn't dry out, mostly because of toxic sediment that could blow all the way to Los Angeles. Today's Lake Cahuilla is a terminal reservoir of the All-American Canal. But in Imperial, the search turned up nothing. The schooner Rouse Simmons is one of the most legendary shipwrecks in the history of Lake Michigan commerce. If Lake Cahuilla formed today, it would flood many towns in the area, including Indio, El Centro and Mexicali. Those willing to see the place for what it is are few in number, since what's readily visible doesn't seem like much. Like the Viking ship, it may have become grounded or disabled in the shallow lake and had to be scuttled. The lake was almost 100 miles long by 35 miles across at its widest point. Audiences appeared to agree. In the rugged Colorado Desert of California, there lies buried a treasure ship sailed there hundreds of years ago by either Viking or Spanish explorers. He is an expert in legend, which skews far more toward imagination than fact—too far, for most. Required fields are marked *. You could argue that Grasson is wilfully blind to some facts, but we all practice the same kind of selective history-making. Imperial is a sad, low town eternally under a hot, low sun. This paper presents an archaeological interpretation of newly discovered rock alignments on the south end of Lake Cahuilla. T he only addendum to this lost treasure story comes from a 1775 story of a DeAnza expedition herder on his way to the mission at San Diego. We drove on an unmarked road to a striated formation of rock, a neat horizontal line dividing the cliff face into light and dark sections, as if it were an expertly layered ice-cream cake. Death Valley Jim, who has written a dozen books about desert lore, agrees. Now Grasson wants to head back with a Geonics EM-61 MK IIA, a kind of ground-penetrating radar used on The Curse of Oak Island, a History Channel show about 140-acre plot of land off the Canadian coast that has hosted even more mysteries than the California desert. Lake Cahuilla Veterans Regional Park is a beautiful 710-acre park set amid expansive lawns and picturesque mountain views, making it a spectacular day or overnight destination. Others have also seen this vessel, but much farther south, in Baja California, Mexico. According to Spanish records, in the year 1612, three ships were commissioned by the governor to be built in Acapulco and used to harvest pearls in the coastal waters of Mexico. The ship could easily have then run aground, because Cahuilla was created by the natural damming of the Colorado River (lots of silt) and thus given to periodic drying up. He then told Petra he'd been exploring the mountains north of the border when, in a "narrow box canyon," he saw "a boat of ancient appearance—an open boat but big, with round metal disks on its sides." The shipwreck … That's not what Einstein meant, however. He is also driven by a slight sense of grievance, a conviction that academics are errant in their near-unanimous assertion that there is no desert ship. But even so, there has always been just enough to keep going. He knows they look down on him, but he also thinks he knows more than they do. In it, he claims, Carver describes an incident in 1907, when he was invited to work on the farm of Niles Jacobsen in Imperial, a town about 15 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. A veteran of the Mexican-American War, Clusker, then 60, was a lifelong adventurer who had come to California years earlier in search of gold. If they are lucky, their "treasure" might be steady work in the shadows. And if there was a ship on the desert floor, where did it go? The L.A. Daily News reported in August 1870, that Col. Albert S. Evans sighted the ship in 1863, buried in the sand near Dos Palmas at a location now beneath the Salton Sea. Which is the more fantastic tale? Experts believe that the Colorado river flooded and created lake Cahuilla which soon flooded as well and connected the sea and the lake.-Mojave Desert Lost Ship But when he tried to lift the chest out it fell completely apart." This could explain the encounter with the Seri tribe on Tiburon Island, from where they took their shallow-draft longboat north, into the Colorado River and eventually into Lake Cahuilla, where the ship became stranded or damaged and had to be abandoned. Most of the hunting that goes on here has nothing to do with Spanish galleons or Viking longboats. The possibility that there is no ship at all, he simply won't entertain. (Grasson). That wasn't to be, because, several hours later, there was a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in the waters off Huntington Beach, in Southern California. "The beauty with legend," he says, "is that you're never wrong.". Given the podcast's name, and the pleasure its host takes in debunking popular legends (Hitler escaped the fall of Berlin, the moon landing was faked), it is not surprising Dunning took apart the desert ship plank by plank. There were also impressions on its flanks where shields had been attached—all the hallmarks of a Viking craft. But many years ago, Lake Cahuilla was a place occupied by the Cahuilla, Kumeyaay and Cucapa tribes, who came there to catch fish, trap waterfowl, harvest salt for curing meat, gather tulles for building shelters, and collect mesquite beans, seeds and desert herbs. The Map below is where it has said to been buried underneath the sand. The last leap has to be into something beyond fact. The road to Vallecito Stage Station and then Borrego Springs is long and lonely. Lake Cahuilla is the ideal nature getaway with 91 individual and group campsites, and other outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, horseback riding trails, and swimming in the pool. Carver gave his audio testimony in 1964; it subsequently passed into the hands of "private collector" whom Grasson won't name. Grasson hasn't been there, but won't discount the possibility. By then, the wreckage was partially buried and badly weathered by sun and sandstorms, and only circular depressions remained where the shields had once been. Waters (1983) offers evidence of four intervals, while others have suggested a fifth event (Dominici 1987; Laylander 1991, 1994; Schaefer 1986, 1994). The Jacobsons eventually divorced and left Imperial. See why nearly a quarter of a million subscribers begin their day with the Starting 5. With one ship remaining they sailed up the Gulf and eventually up the Colorado River and into the Salton Sea (or the Blake Sea or Lake Cahuilla as it may have been called long ago). "Could a ship pass through here? We cannot subsist on faith alone, but can we subsist without any faith? Botts claimed it dislodged rocks that buried her Viking ship, which she never saw again. This is, Coolidge wrote, "a record of the old Norsemen who visited the west coast of Mexico long before the Spanish came. Charles S. Price The 504-foot, 6,322-ton steel bulk freighter Charles S. Price was built in 1910 by the American Shipbuilding Company of Lorain, Ohio. But others must be allowed to live, because without such nourishing nuggets of wonder, life can shrivel up into an endless series of tasks, captured and measured, posted on social media, forgotten. Let us banish forever all traces of wonder from our lives. In 1996, Grasson moved out to Orange County, because it was cheaper to live there. One story says that Rosales's ship was sunk in a terrible storm. The Salton Sea is an inland sea, situated in a desert basin 236 feet below sea level and lying directly on the San Andreas earthquake fault in Imperial County. It stayed for a long time and the bird’s wings fell off and the sand covered it up.” Other accounts describe how Charlie Clusker, a prospector, found and lost the ship near the mouth of San Felipe Creek, and how Nels Jacobson, an El Centro farmer, found the shipwreck and some treasure, and used the old timber to build a pig shed. John Grasson picked me up at the Palm Springs International Airport in mid-November. Eventually, the delta built up so high that it dammed the river flow, and the course of the river was diverted westward, where it began flowing into the Salton Sink, creating a huge freshwater lake. And I am glad he said it, for it would have been deflating to have his search voided by a single paragraph in an 80-year-old book. Like Bailey many years before, he refuses to consign the desert ship entirely to the realm of fiction. His faith may be strange, but it meets several hallmarks of a religion, right down to the prolonged sojourn in the desert, as well as a convoluted and improbable origin story whose artifacts are at once valuable and irrecoverable. Cahuilla dried out centuries ago, but water returned here in 1905, after a dam broke on the Colorado River. Grasson does not think the desert ship is in Canebrake Canyon, where Myrtle Botts claimed to have seen it in 1933. As a result, floodwaters from the Colorado River rushed into the Salton Sink and created a flood that lasted two years before engineers could make repairs. Some say this is legend; others insist it is fact. It's only as his work has become better known—he was on Myth Hunters, on the American Heroes Channel, the History Channel filmed an episode for a show about unexplained phenomena (he isn't sure when it will air), and he recently shot a pilot for another show, which could air on a major channel (Grasson asked me exclude details of this last production) —that he has gone out there more and more, as a field guide to and custodian of the desert ship myth. When knowledge is sparse, he has to let his imagination do the work. "I don't think that has anything to do with the lost ship of the desert," Grasson says. Again, no desert ship. "Those who hold to this theory as the only solution of the mystery insist that almost all the exciting tales that come out of the desert are due to mirages.". Grasson thinks that was because only a small segment of the Jacobsen property was searched. The Los Angeles Times concluded there are plenty of craft at the bottom of the Salton Sea, but it reported that they were all attached to the nearby U.S. Navy test base. As in a good television mystery, there are clues everywhere. Dane and Mary Roberts Coolidge, in their book “The Last of the Seris,” wrote how the Seri tribe of Tiburon Island in the Sea of Cortez told the tribal legend of “giants who once visited their island in longboats, They described, as translated, “The beautiful wife of the captain who had long braided red hair and how the strangers remained on the island for a year and a half and then sailed away to never return.”. "If you gotta guy who spends 10, 15 years looking at one particular story," Grasson said one day over breakfast, "and you got an academic who spent maybe a summer or two—you gotta realize who really knows more.". Waters (1983) suggests that the most recent Lake Cahuilla … It measured 2,000 square. If not, they may end up in a mass grave in Holtville, where many undocumented immigrants who've died during the border crossing are buried. Grasson pointed to a passage about "Came From Afar Men—the strange whalers who cooked whale meat in an enormous iron pot, ate it and drank the oil." At the same time, he spends more time pouring over documents than trekking through the desert. The men noticed ducks and other animals commonly seen around fresh water. The leap Grasson wants to make is especially parlous. Grasson is convinced his ship is buried on a farm near the sad, parched town of Imperial, but won’t say more because he doesn’t want the area to be overrun by “a bunch of idiots wrecking private property.”, while working on a story about desert conservation, Meet Death Valley Jim, California Desert's Best Hope, WWII-Era Tunnel Unearths Story of Lithuania's Jews, The 'Hole' is 12 Feet Below Street Level and About A Century Behind the Rest of New York, Camel Hair Was the Glamour Garment of the 1930s, Rikers Island Guard Guilty in Beating Death of Prisoner, New Bridge Reveals How Little South Africa Has Changed, How Endangered Species May Fare Under Trump, Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Was Smarter Than We Thought, Why Trump Won't Move the U.S. Embassy in Israel, Inside the War Between Trump and the Media, Trump is Standing on the Wrong Side of History, Beijing Is Becoming the Global Champion of Free Trade, he said on the Death Valley Jim Radio Program.
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