The case of missing Civil War gold some believe the FBI dug up in a remote western Pennsylvania field took another twist when newly released documents verified that scientific analysis done for the bureau may have showed a buried treasure trove.
An analysis by a geophysicist using a technique called microgravity showed an underground object with a mass of up to 9 tons at the site. The FBI used the report to obtain a warrant to dig for the gold, but claims its 2018 excavation turned up nothing. A father-son treasure hunting duo called “Finders Keepers,” however, believes the FBI swooped in and took their treasure.
“There’s been a pattern of behavior by the FBI that’s been very troubling,” Anne Weismann, Finders Keepers’ lawyer, said in January. She questioned whether the agency is “acting in good faith.”
Weismann is suing the FBI on behalf of Dennis and Kem Parada. The study done for the FBI had been reported before, but it was verified by the court-ordered release of the geophysical survey.
The father and son believe the gold was part of an 1863 shipment of Union gold that was intended for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. The gold, if found, has a current estimated value of $55 million.
The Paradas have spent years hunting for the legendary gold cache, and eventually led FBI agents to the site, about 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, hoping to earn at least a finder’s fee.
Proof of the technical survey data collected by geophysical consulting firm Enviroscan backs up the Paradas’ contention about the site, and appears to have convinced the FBI to excavate in a massive, secretive operation 2018. The Paradas traveled with the FBI to the site in Dents Run, Pennsylvania, with the FBI. But agents made the Paradas wait in their car while they dug, according to reports. The FBI agents claimed they found nothing.
According to the January affidavit filed by Finders Keepers, “A few days after the FBI completed its dig at Dents Run, an off-duty Pennsylvania police officer told the Paradas and Mr. Getler that he had witnessed two ‘Brinks’ type armored trucks supported by two Humvees and a black SUV with satellite communication antennae.” Other residents also witnessed the vehicles in the area.
John Louie, a geophysics professor at the University of Nevada-Reno, unconnected to the dig, reviewed Enviroscan’s report at the request of the Associated Press and said the firm’s “methods were very good,” and “their conclusions represent a physically reasonable hypothesis” that gold was buried at the site. But he said it was not conclusive.
“Thus, it is also entirely reasonable that the FBI did not find anything at the site, because there was not really any gold there,” he told the outlet via email.