A TREASURE hunter searching for a legendary lost goldmine said to be worth billions believes he is closer than ever after a major breakthrough.
Adam Palmer has spent 23 years hunting for Slumach’s lost mine, searching the wilderness north of Pitt Lake in British Columbia, Canada, for its bounty of gold.
According to legend, Slumach – an indigenous man – would bring huge nuggets of gold to nearby New Westminster, spending his wealth without revealing its source.
But Slumach was hanged for murder in 1891, and purportedly cursed anyone who tried to find his gold with his last words: “when I die, the mine dies”.
It has all the hallmarks of a tall tale, and the so-called treasure has never been proved to exist, but now a promising lead has been found – a lost mine.
Mr Palmer, from Chilliwack, said: “In the mountains north of Pitt lake, a gold mine worth billions is said to exist.”
He continued: “The old mine we found last year was collapsed under a landslide, but we dug it open.
“We haven’t been able to fully examine it yet – we’re waiting to go back inside with more gear and equipment to get through the blockage, and further down into it.
“Now we’re waiting to hear back to find out how old it is, based on evidence we found inside.”
It’s not the first clue Adam, 43, has found.
He said: “Every year we discover something we have never seen before.
“We found an old prospector’s cabin that had mining tools in it, and an ancient rock shelter cave with pictographs painted on the walls from hundreds of years ago.
“We found an ancient trail system that has been archaeologically dated to have been used for thousands of years for trade between the First Nations.
“We believe all this evidence is connected somehow and the secret lies within the history and culture of the area.”
A strange-shaped boulder located by Adam could be another clue.
Various historic newspapers have reported that a prospector located the mine in 1901 before he fell ill and died.
In a letter quoted by one local newspaper in 1915, the prospector described golden nuggets “as big as walnuts” and said he’d buried some under a “tent-shaped rock”.
Adam thinks his boulder could be the rock in question.
But he believes another prospector is even more important – Robert “Volcanic” Brown.
“To me, he is the only real, proven account of someone who went looking and may have found it,” said Mr Palmer.
“Unfortunately, he disappeared without a trace in 1931, and to me that is even more mysterious than the lost mine.
“I always say ‘if you find Volcanic Brown, you find the gold’.
“I’m either going to find him first, or the lost mine, but I think if you find one or the other they will both be in the same location.”
‘WE’RE GETTING CLOSE’
He added: “We’re getting close.
“We’ve narrowed down the search to an area that was known as the location of Volcanic Brown, and we found some evidence there that may lead us in the right direction.”
For some, the whole Slumach saga is just an elaborate hoax.
Speaking in 2019, local historian Fred Braches told CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, that there was no evidence for most of the story.
He said that Slumach himself was real, but speculated that his mine was invented by locals looking to attract more prospectors to the area.
A 1965 geological survey of the area took the time to address the legend too, stating: “Pitt Lake is not favourable for gold-quartz veins, and even less so for the placer gold of the legend.”
It also found “no mention of a gold mine” in contemporary newspaper accounts of Slumach’s hanging, and said he “died without comment”.
Nonetheless, the allure of the mine continues to draw treasure hunters into the wilderness.
For Adam, finding it would be the realisation of a childhood dream – and no curse will dissuade him.
He said: “I first heard about the legend of Slumach’s Gold when I was about 12, going through my great uncle’s books.
“I became fascinated with the idea that somewhere in the mountains close to where I live, there could possibly be all this lost gold waiting to be found.
“I swore that as soon as I got old enough to drive and go out on expeditions, I would be the one to finally solve these mysteries – or at least try to.”
He continued: “The only curse to worry about is our horrible winters of rain and snow.
“The weather is the curse – our summers are way too short!”
Mr Palmer’s hunt for the gold is documented in the TV series, Deadman’s Curse, which will debut its second season shortly.