There's buried treasure out there, somewhere, perhaps

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Most stories of buried treasure go back more than 30 years, but this one netted $108,000 for someone who took it seriously.

Hearing stories that Atari had buried thousands of slow-selling videogame cartridges in the New Mexico desert, Joe Lewandowski had a film crew follow him while he started digging.

Sure enough, he found piles of "E.T. The Extraterrestiral" cartridges, selling 881 of them for $108,000 on eBay recently.

The game, developed in only 34 days to cash in on the film's popularity in 1982, is notorious as the worst video game ever created, and helped sink the Atari company, according to some observers.

Lewandaski also found more popular titles such as Asteroids, Missile Command, Warlords, Defender, Star Raiders, Swordquest, Phoenix, Centipede and Super Breakout. He's holding on to 297 games until he decides what to do with them.

Another buried treasure of a more somber note was also in the news this week, although it has not officially come to light.

A top Polish cultural official said he is convinced that a Nazi treasure train that two men claim to have found recently actually exists.

Rumors of the train, filled with gold and gems stolen from Jews and others, have existed since the end of World War II, when it reportedly went missing as the Red Army advanced to the Walbrzych, Poland, region.

The official warned that the train was likely rigged with explosives, which would be highly unstable after 70 years underground.

One doesn't have to go as far as Europe or even New Mexico to search for buried treasure, however.

The Internet abounds with stories right here in Nebraska.

Among them:

* Jesse James supposedly buried treasure on the Catron Miyoshi Fruit Farm three miles southeast of Nebraska City. His gang also used Robber's Cave as a hide-out along the Missouri River near Macy, and may have buried treasure there.

* A 1930s bootlegger reportedly buried about $10,000 in gold coins and $25,000 in paper currency near the Plattsmouth Bridge.

* Soldiers and gamblers buried valuables at Dobytown, located outside Fort Kearny, before the fort was closed down and Dobytown became a ghost town.

* Buffalo Bill Cody supposedly buried $17,000 in gold coins near the Scouts Rest Ranch at North Platte.

* A band of outlaws robbed a stagecoach of 400 pounds of gold bars along the Sidney-Deadwood road, and supposedly buried it along Lodgepole Creek just east of Sidney.

* A cache of treasure was reportedly buried about 200 paces behind the old jail in Ogallala during the cattle drive days.

* In 1855, blacksmith Al Medley supposedly buried $2,000 in gold coins on his property in Peru before going to Missouri on a buying trip from which he never returned. Some believe it was buried near an old mill Medley often visited on Camp Creek.

* David Colbert "Cobb" McCanles made a fortune charging travelers to use his toll bridge at Rock Creek along the Oregon Trail in the 1800s. He buried $50,000 to $100,000 in gold coins in a blackened iron kettle near Rock Creek Station, but was killed by Wild Bill Hickok before he could dig it up.

Of course, you can't simply take your metal detector and shovel on private property or government land to start your own search. Know federal, state and local law before you try to make your dream a reality.

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