What We Can Learn From Others – OBN

 

OBN, as he is known in the forums, the godfather of modern Excal upgrades and supreme old gold hunter. Perhaps few understand the true limits and potential of the Excalibur as well as OBN, even fewer yet knowing how to exploit those limits and that potential with maximum efficiency and results. While others are chasing recent drops OBN is off somewhere on his own in pursuit of gold by other method, the end results a very strong testament to the consistent success he experiences. So what is he doing differently and what can we learn from it?

OBN has figured a few things out that make a huge difference, those main differences being that he has learned how to locate promising areas and then he has figured out how, and when, to access the gold that is still deeply hidden in these ares. These are just two of the reasons why he is so efficient and why he experiences consistent success, his understanding of the Excalibur and his personal skills with it raising the bar even higher. He is just one of the hunters I have quietly studied in recent years, the bits and pieces of information he provides being slowly absorbed and taken to heart and it HAS made a noticeable difference in my own hunting success. But what, exactly, have I learned from OBN?

Actually the list of things that I have quietly learned from OBN is rather long, some of it technical and some of it strategic, all of it priceless knowledge gained from typically quiet observation and the process of simply putting it to the test time and time again. It’s the process of failure after failure eventually leading to success. It takes time, period!

So last evening I experienced it again, what I have come to call, “an OBN moment.” I can best explain this by simply telling you that this hunt was one of many in recent weeks where I was only looking for those same type of potential areas that OBN routinely seeks, quaint isolated locations that have been covered over in time and that haven’t been hunted to death. Finding these locations is difficult enough but accessing them can be even harder, and yet, they are out still out there for those who are willing to take up the challenge and to learn the required skills.

A hundred years ago people were swimming at this isolated beach, this activity slowing over the years to little more then a trickle, the hard clay and stony bottom now covered in silt with a scattering of encroaching weeds, targets still laying everywhere. Trashy? Yep, a lot of it, but also more good tones then I could keep up with even with the stock 8” coil. But this alone wasn’t that OBN moment, many tones under my coil being purposely passed over for now in search of a select few. That first Mercury dime providing me that first OBN moment, then came a few wheaties and I knew I had found one of those very promising areas. No doubt there will be old gold here and other worthwhile recoveries, this first short hunt and confirmation now allowing me to form the best strategy possible for my return visits. This is just some of what I have learned from OBN in my quiet study of the man and his methods. And it’s not the first time this year that I have found such locations, that amount and quality of targets driving home the reasons why he chooses to hunt in the manner that he does.

(I had to clean a couple of coins for this image as most are too black to see any detail, as is typical with coins recovered from old beaches.)

The Thomas Beale Mystery’s Last Hope

Ok, before we get started let me say that much of this research and information I have already shared over the years in the various forums, various articles, and various internet and TV productions. However, there are some new things here that I have not previously referenced. Let me also say that after many years and a great deal of research that this theory remains as the only possible hope that there might be some measure of truth in the Beale tale, all others having been thoroughly researched to the point of total discharge. But this one, despite all of my efforts to the contrary, it still survives as the last and final practical and reasonable possibility. So here you go, the basic theory that you asked for;

The Beale Pamphlet’s Last Remaining Hope

In the early 1800’s arrest warrants were processed through the office of the “register”, this being an official position within the government process that handled certain types of duties and processed certain types of official documentation.

In 1815, in New Orleans, an arrest warrant (poster) was issued for Pierre Lafitte, Jean’s younger brother. This poster was issued through the Register’s Office and it was signed by one, Thomas Beale.

Keep in mind that this is just two years prior to the alleged forming of the Beale party and also during a time when the Lafitte brothers, through their attorneys, were bartering for official pardon in connection with their vital role in the defense of New Orleans during the Battle of New Orleans. Also keep in mind that it is during this same period the United States is experiencing raised tensions and diligent negotiations with Spain over the vital boundary disputes in the west as a result of the Louisiana Purchase.

So what were the exact conditions of the Lafitte’s pardon? In 1816 we see a sudden change in leadership at Galveston Island, also known as Island of the Serpent and St. Louis Island, the Lafitte’s now assuming command. At this same time we see the sudden issuing of land for the French refugees at what would be known as the Vine and Olive Colony, and then from here in extremely swift fashion and under ex-military leadership these refugees are likewise transported to Galveston Island to found their new colony, Champ D’Asile, in the disputed territory. All of this suddenly being financed through wealthy and politically connected, yet private, channels. So what were the terms of the Lafitte pardons?

From Galveston Island, or the Isle St. Louis, Spain starts to experience massive disruption and loss in their shipping efforts in the gulf and straights as privately owned privateers commence to the unprecedented seizing of Spain’s ocean-going commerce, all of these looted cargoes being funneled back into the US and elsewhere. All of this financial loss bearing more strain on Spain’s political position and negotiating prowess in regards to those disputed western borders, vital borders for the US that would finalize the Louisiana Purchase and grant the expanding US clear overland and undisputed passage to the Pacific. So, what were the exact terms of those negotiated and conditional Lafitte pardons?

All of this raises several important questions, and they are; Why would so much illicit US trade from this Galveston Island operation still be allowed to flourish despite all of the complaints and evidences of its existence? Why did the US wait until after the Adams Onis Treaty had been signed and ratified before taking action to stop it? Why did the US take this action at Galveston Island at all given that this new treaty gave this island and effected territory to Spain and not to the US? Why didn’t Spain take this action since the island and the effected territory would now be under their full jurisdiction and not the jurisdiction of the US? Why, at the very signing of the treaty, did President James Monroe send the American banker, political troubleshooter, and once Secretary of War, George Graham, to Galveston Island on “secret mission?” And last, but not least, at the closing of the treaty why did the US send the USS Enterprise and Captain Kearny to Galveston Island to serve prior notice and then again to finalize the evacuation under the public illusion of hostile military measures when the actual visits were friendly and even extended, even including formal dinners? And the really big questions, why are there no official records of the extended conversations and proceedings that took place during Graham and Kearny’s visits? So once again, what were the exact terms of those conditional Lafitte pardons? Perhaps the following letter will help to explain;

In reality, the promise of pardon was the dangling of the carrot that that quite possibly lead to the tale in the 1885 Beale narration, all of this gathering it’s beginning when that arrest warrant was issued for Pierre Lafitte in 1815, the one signed by Register of Wills, Thomas Beale. Now here is the letter I previously referenced, the one that very likely outlines everything; (Read all of it very-very carefully, especially what I have underlined near the end.)

Poindexter, who served as a volunteer aide de camp with Major General Carroll at Chalmette, took time away from his role as a judge at Natchez, Miss., to assist Jackson in defending New Orleans from invading British forces. This is the text that he later sent to President Monroe in protest of the pardons that General Jackson was requesting; (Jackson was the man who had enlisted the help of the Lafitte’s in New Orleans.)

Even a band of pirates was drawn into our ranks who were under prosecution of their crimes, and who had been invited to join the British while they occupied the Island near Lake Barataria. You will I hope sir, pardon me for stating to you, the manner, the circumstances of their transition from piracy to Patriotism, in the notorious Lafitte and his banditti. Edward Livingston, whose character is better known to you than myself, had contrived to attach himself and one or two of his adherents to the staff of Genl Jackson, as Volunteer Aids DeCamp (sic). The pirates had previously engaged him as their counsel to defend them in the District Court of the United States at New Orleans, and were by stipulation to give him the sum of twenty thousand dollars in case he succeeded in acquitting them. Knowing as he did that the evidence against them was conclusive, and that an impartial jury necessarily convict them, he advised the leaders of them “to make a tender of their services to Genl Jackson” in case he would come under a pledge to recommend them to the clemency of the Executive of the United States. Their services were accepted, and the condition acceeded to. How far the country is indebted to them for its safety it does not become me even to suggest an opinion. It is, however, a fact perfectly well known that their energy has been drawn by Mr. Livingston, their counsel; and there can be but little doubt that everything of an official stamp which is presented by the government respecting them, will emanate from the same source. If they are redeemed from Judicial investigation of their crimes with which they stand charged, his reward will be twenty thousand dollars of their piratical plunderings.


What the practice of Civilized Governments has been on similar occasions I am not fully prepared to say, nor do I remember an instance where pirates falling into the Country and under the power of one belligerent, have been offered protection and pardon of their offences, in case they would take up arms against the other belligerent. They are considered as enemies alike to both belligerents but I have thought it a duty incumbent on me as a good citizen to state the facts which came within my knowledge, as to the motives which led to the employment of these men, without intending them to have any other, than the weight which is your Judgment they merit.

It would seem to be an obvious inference from the past conduct of this band of robbers that if Louisiana should be again invaded, and they are enlarged, they would be restrained by no moral obligation from affording facilities to the Enemy. I indulge the hope that you will pardon the freedom with which I address you on the present occasion, from a recollection, that when I last had the honor of an interview with you in Washington, you were so good as to allow me the liberty of writing to you confidentially. In that light, I wish you will view this communication, in so far as it may conflict with the wishes and opinions of General Jackson, relative to the grant of a pardon to the pirates, whom he has thought fit to employ in our service.”
Signed, George Poindexter

What employ? The battle of New Orleans was long over, a treaty with the British had been reached and already signed, the war was over. So, what further “employ” was there at this time, and where? Speculation? Hardly, given who penned this letter and when. And at this time we also know exactly where the Lafitte’s are at and exactly where they are headed and exactly what their activities involved. So in essence, the above letter confirms that the Lafitte’s were in the employ of the United States Military during their time while changes were being made at Galveston Island. “This can no longer be disputed.” And, due to that Pierre Lafitte arrest warrant, we also have a Thomas Beale in connection with all of these makings, though perhaps, not directly.

However, what we do have is a very damning time line of events in regards to the dates offered in the Beale Pamphlet and the actual events surrounding Galveston Island and that vital Adams Onis Treaty, and they are;

The two Beale deposits are said to have been made in November 1819 and December 1821.
In The Beale Pamphlet, Morriss claims that Beale’s two visits at his hotel took place on January 1820 and January 1822. Both of these dates fall “exactly” eleven months behind the dates of the signing and the ratification of the Adams Onis Treaty.
Treaty signing date: February 1819
Beale’s first visit: January 1820
(11 months)
Treaty’s Rat. Date: February 1821
Beale’s second visit: January 1822
(11 months)
Going a step further it’s interesting to note that both deposit dates fall closely in order between the dates in the above table, nine and ten months respectively.
Treaty signing date: February 1819
(9 months)
First Deposit date: November 1819
(2 months)
Beale’s first visit: January 1820
(11 months)
Treaty’s Rat. Date: February 1821
(10 months)
Second Deposit date: December 1821
(1 month)
Beale’s second and last visit: January 1822
(11 months)

Pretty darn curious, isn’t it. Add to this that President Monroe sent George Graham to Galveston Island in October/November of 1818, just as soon as he got word that the treaty singing was a sure thing and very close at hand. Now here’s the deception in all of this, at this time the US was fully aware that it was going to lose Galveston Island to Spain so why, as was the public portrait, did he send Graham into the region to evaluate its coast, island settlement, etc.? And if this was the true nature of his business then why did George Graham spend all of his time in the region only at Galveston Island? And also, at this point Graham wasn’t even the official Secretary of War anymore, just a banker who continued to work closely with the US government. In fact, “George Graham was president of the Washington branch of the Bank of the United States from 1817 to 1823.” So in essence, George Graham was President of the Bank of The United States throughout the entire Beale period of 1817-1822. Imagine that. Who better to make advanced arrangements for large shipments of secret military wealth? Very clearly, the Poindexter letter confirms that the Laffite’s were still in the employ of the United States Government/Military while at Galveston Island.

Now then, there are a few facts that people have to realize about all of the above, so let us begin with the privateering business so you can better understand the very principles behind that business, this then making all of the above much easier to understand.

First it is important to note that the privateering business is privately held business enterprise, though often encouraged and made possible by government actions, such as the issuing of Letters of Marque, which gives privateers the legal avenue to take up the business against targeted nations. From the government side of things this automatically increases their military presence and strength without actual government spending and an actual military presence. In short, the whole logic allows these enlisted privateers to loot a targeted nation’s commerce and infrastructure, this gained wealth of commerce and ships and supplies then being seized and strategically used against those same targeted nations that provided it. This is how privateering enterprises begin with only a few ships and minimum finance and supply only to end up with entire fleets, abundant supplies, and wealth. This is why Lafitte, per example, was able to supply Jackson’s forces at New Orleans with so much weaponry, men, etc., all of this having come from British and Spanish commerce, or those targeted nations. This is what was taking place at Galveston Island during the Lafitte’s occupation of that island, an unofficial military operation and strategic base for those unofficial “privateering” operations that were so seriously weakening Spain’s resolve.

Wealth, what do you do with an abundance of seized wealth in the form of silver and gold and jewels when you’re existing operation is on an isolated island, these goods arriving to your shores in routine but by random fashion? Obviously you must store them somewhere since you can’t risk trying to sneak them through customs or putting them back into harms way on the often volatile and unpredictable high seas. Add to this, all the more risky once everyone is aware that you’re being evicted from the island and that you’ll be carrying that accumulated wealth with you when you leave. How nice it might be to have advanced plans in place for such an event, so now let us examine our time line of events again;

George Graham’s secret mission to Galveston Island: Oct/Nov 1818.

(3-4 months later)

Treaty signing date: February 1819
Beale’s first visit: January 1820
(11 months)
Treaty’s Rat. Date: February 1821
Beale’s second visit: January 1822
(11 months)
Going a step further it’s interesting to note that both deposit dates fall closely in order between the dates in the above table, nine and ten months respectively.
Treaty signing date: February 1819
(9 months)
First Deposit date: November 1819
(2 months)
Beale’s first visit: January 1820
(11 months)
Treaty’s Rat. Date: February 1821
(10 months)
Second Deposit date: December 1821
(1 month)
Beale’s second and last visit: January 1822
(11 months)

And now here are some other issues with the possible transporting of said wealth that many don’t realize, this having to do with the agreed terms in the Adams Onis Treaty itself. Let us speculate for a moment that a great deal of this wealth was bearing Spanish mark, such as would be the case with gold and silver plate and gold and silver coin, etc. as part of the agreed terms in the treaty it was basically agreed that “all Spanish possessions were to be return to Spain.” That’s right, and even today this same agreement has seen many lost treasures returned to Spain due to the decisions of the courts that these terms were still in place. And if you don’t believe this then simply do a quick investigation regarding sunken treasure recoveries in recent years in US waters. What you’ll discover is that Spain is still very aggressive in seeking the return of these items after they have been recovered, and also winning most of those cases. So what to do with all of that accumulated and identifiable gold and silver that was taken from Spanish commerce prior to the treaty? If the Beale story is indeed connected to these events in some way and if it is true that Beale worried about third parties possibly impersonating his interest then no doubt that this issue formed part of that legitimate concern.

The named share holders, or those who are allegedly identified in C3, who are/were they? Well, there are several possibilities. First, and perhaps the most obvious, these identities could be the men who actually transported the alleged wealth. However, these identities could also be the men who financed the Galveston Island venture. These identities could also be organizations, various government offices and/or officials, etc. So the possible field here is quite large if in fact there is any measure of truth to the Beale tale and if in fact C3 bears any intelligible clear text at all?

As for C1, and again, only if there is some measure of truth to the tale and only if it actually contains an intelligible clear text, after many computer analysis of the cipher it appears that the only possibility of an intelligible clear text existing in C1 is if the 19 four digit codes in C1 represent something other then letters, such as entire words, names, etc. Per example the three digit entry of 1164, 1496, 1817 is consistent with the period in which the party was allegedly first formed, in 1817, this perhaps being a possible clue that this three four-digit entry is perhaps in relation to an event, person, and date? Something else worth noting that also lends itself to this possible word placement is the fact that the author’s presented key only goes up to 1322, so in this there exist four digit codes in C1 that exceed this count. Per example, 2906, this greatly exceeds the key count offered by the author and 2906 is the same number of pillars in King Solomon’s mine, so it could be that 2906 is to be replaced with “gold” or “vault” or some other related word? Such application in ciphers was a common practice during the period and if this is the case then this also drastically alters the results of those computer analysis referenced before, thus making the chance of a possible intelligible clear text more likely, rather then all but impossible.

But even with all of the above readers should realize that there still remains many inaccuracies and deceptions in the Beale narration that render it highly suspect as being nothing more then just a simple work of fiction, these being too numerous to get into at this time other then to explain that they do indeed exist. Also, there are so many unknowns in this tale that these same unknowns are what make all of these vastly different theories possible, this complete absence of fact placing few, in any, limits on individual imagination and fantasy. So there you go, the very best and most reasonable and practical theory in regards to the Beale tale. Where you go from here is up to you should you decide to take up the mystery for yourself. Cheers….and as always, good luck and be safe out there!

PS: It’s worth mentioning here that one needs to use caution when reviewing many of the claims in regards to the many Beale theories out there as most are just manufactured theories without any true bases other then personal want and desire. What you choose to believe or to buy into is up to you.

Times Are Changing!

In recent years there has been a noticeable decline in the amount of modern gold recoveries at the beaches and this has most hunters placing all the blame on the competition, however, the economy is also playing a HUGE part in all of this.

In recent years the middle class has been getting slowly phased out while the cost of living continues to rise, tungsten and titanium now taking the place of gold and silver and with good reason, not only is it cheaper but it also last and if it ever gets lost it can be easily and cheaply replaced. Today these tungsten and titanium rings are all too common recoveries for these very reasons.

Old gold hunters and hunters who have access to those upper scale tourist beaches, these hunters are seeing little change in the amount of gold and silver recovered each year, the current economic situation not being as much of a factor. But for everyone else this decline in gold and silver recoveries is becoming all-too obvious, the competition only adding to the declining prospects. So what to do?

Recent drops, this is what most hunters are pursuing and this is also the pursuit that is feeling the economic decline with the greatest impact. So where is the economic decline having the least amount of impact? Unfortunately the answer is pretty obvious, the old gold has been there for years and the upper scale tourist beaches are still seeing, well, a lot of folks who can still afford to wear silver and gold.

So if you’re one of those hunters who is suffering the effects of this economic downturn then maybe it’s time to change strategies and hunting locations? Just some food for thought that you may want to consider. I know I’ve been forced to make the change.

Yep, it’s true, many of the beaches I use to frequent with success up here in Indiana have become all but pointless to hunt, mostly kids, teenagers, and struggling families at these beaches now. The upper class are now beyond the ropes enjoying their ski-jets, boats, and those pricier privately owned beaches. Up here in Indiana this social and economic divide is becoming the norm, that critical link called the middle class no longer there to fill in the gap.

Of the last 40 rings that I have recovered from these once productive Indiana beaches only three have been silver, no gold at all, everything else being copper, aluminum, tungsten, stainless steel, plated pot-metals, and titanium. This ratio is WAY out of balance, in years past at least a third of these rings would have been precious metals. The other day I recovered an 18K plated earring from one of these same beaches, the base metal being silver, and I felt fortunate because sadly, I was. Mike recovered a tungsten wedding band on the same evening and he was thrilled by the recovery. Not too many years ago these two recoveries would have been utter disappointments. This is how bad things have gotten at these beaches in recent years.

It’s never easy to tell some of your old and trusted beaches goodbye but clearly these beaches no longer hold much promise, the current economics and recent social divides now clearly in control of the situation. I have glass jars full of the jewelry items that I have taken from these beaches this year, rings, bracelets, charms, pendents, necklaces, you name it, kool and neat to recover but all of it junk, the ratio of gold/silver VS junk entirely dismal, at best. So it’s clearly time to say goodbye to these old and trusted hunting grounds. It’s time for new strategies and new hunting grounds. It’s time to either go to where the gold and silver is being worn and lost, or, to go to those locations where it’s still lost. Times are changing and so must our hunting.

Hope this article helps, and as always, good luck and be safe out there!

GOLD & The VDI Quandary

Gold jewelry, it’s at the top of everyone’s treasure recovery list and while it’s elusive it’s also more commonly deposited in some locations then in others. Over the years many hunters have targeted this specific treasure, many still do, and yet the actual targeting of gold jewelry isn’t as easy as targeting coins and other common items, and for several reasons.

First, gold jewelry isn’t nearly as common as many other items like coins, the vast majority of it being limited to the upper and middle class. Second, gold is very dense so whenever it is lost it tends to sink very quickly and quite a bit deeper then those liter items of comparable shape and size, like coins, this being especially true on those sandy beaches. And last, gold isn’t consistent in its composition which virtually eliminates any measure of trust in target ID.

You see, unlike sterling silver, silver coins, and even modern coins, gold isn’t consistently alloyed with other metals, the very reason why gold is marked 9,10,14, 18, and 22K. Per example, a 10k gold ring is only .385% gold, the other “dominate alloy” making up the other .615%, and – this other dominate alloy can be in the form of nickel, silver, copper, etc., all of these alloys having different conductive properties then the .385 gold that is in a 10k piece of jewelry.

If you watched my video on Masked Targets & Pass-Through (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irsssGy6cM4) then you know that whenever two items are making contact that the machine will see these multiple items as one item and then it will attempt to produce an average VDI rating for those multiple items. This is the same thing that takes place with gold jewelry, the machine returning an average VDI rating of the gold and the other alloy that it is mixed with, and remember, these other alloys aren’t consistent as they can be nickel, copper, silver, and others. On top of this the actual gold content can vary quite a bit depending on the “k value” of the gold content. All of this is why gold jewelry has such wide VDI scale and it’s also why VDI should never be trusted when trying to identify this gold jewelry. So as the old saying goes, “When in doubt, dig!”

Hope this article helps, and as always, be safe and good luck out there!

Freshwater Beach Fringe Work

Four beaches and 200 miles later and I was finally back home, and it was mid-night. I’d started my day at 10:00am, the sudden urge to risk the scattered thunderstorms in favor of some relaxing time in the water. Originally I had only intended to drive 50 miles so I could hunt two small county beaches but during these hunts Mike had called and asked if I would be interested in driving another 50 miles west where there were two slightly larger beaches laying in wait. Of course, I said, “Sure!” I met Mike at the first of these last two beaches at 7:00pm.

Old beaches, yet heavily hunted beaches, this is what we were hunting and we knew this before we ever got started. If you find a few pennies scattered about in the main part of the beach you should consider yourself lucky. On top of this, these beaches don’t attract wealth, at least not anymore. Back in the day these beaches were “the place” on the lake but in today’s economy these beaches are simply cheap entertainment sites, free access to the water and sun, picnic tables and cast iron grills. By comparison few adults even enter the water here anymore, these beaches being primarily beaches for the kids and teenagers, there is very little tourist traffic, not exactly they type of crowds donning silver and gold and having expendable wealth.

BUT, these beaches have also been here for a very long time, they have survived all the economic and social changes that have taken place over the years, at least for now anyway. While the opportunities for quality recoveries are slim at these beaches there still exist some opportunity if you’re willing to work for it. However, that opportunity it’s going to come easy. In fact, you’re going to have to endure a lot of junk, weeds, and silt. The easy hunting is over at these beaches unless you’re content with a little modern pocket change and an occasional piece of costume jewelry.

Weeds and silt, over the years it has generally encroached onto the fringes of the beach, places that were once sandy and active now completely avoided by the masses, including detectorist. In fact, many of these areas have grown over and been avoided for years, and in some cases even long before water machines were even available. Think about that for a moment, consider just how much good stuff might still be laying hidden on these lake bottoms? People use to swim here, they use to enjoy the water here. These places, areas that were quite often too deep for children, use to be the summertime social hotbeds of adult activity.

These overgrown fringes is where Mike and I spent the majority of our time during this latest metal detecting adventure. Sure, we always check the main beach area just in case but seldom to do we find anything beyond a few modern coins, if that. The truth is that most of the remaining targets are beyond where others are willing to hunt, there in those weedy and silted and trashy fringes, that area of the beach where the elements have encroached onto the sand and swallowed it up. This is where we spent most of our time, using small coils and proceeding very slowly.

Rings, knives, wrist watches, toys, old tokens & coins, and the list goes on and on. You just never know what might pop out of these avoided treasure troves next. On this day we didn’t hit anything of real value but we certainly weren’t lacking for targets. 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s…..the range of dated recoveries is often very broad, indeed. This was the third time I’ve hunted these same fringes and the targets just keep coming. Hunting these fringes just might be a tactic you’ll want to try on your area beaches. You might just be surprised by what, and how much, you recover? Hope this article helps, and as always, be safe out there!

What Mike recovered from the fringes.)
(What I recovered from the fringes.)

 

A Perfect Mid-Night Hunt

It was mid-night when I slipped into the warm flat water, headlight on standby should I be so lucky. A few inches of sand, then a layer of rock and stone and gravel before turning into a final layer of extremely dense clay. This is Indiana water hunting, the recent drops come easy, the deeper and older targets more difficult.

A state of contamination, the deteriorating metals laying stranded in the rock and in the surface of the clay, there are no tidal currents to flush them away, no deep sand so they can be drawn deep into that abyss. There is no getting away from it on the beaches that I typically hunt.

Awesome! Chest deep and standing in complete awe, my eyes taking in all the reflections from the shoreline lighting, magical hues of blues, yellows and reds, streaks and banners of reflected light slightly breathing of life with each tiny ripple, silhouetted mallard ducks happy to accommodate. Still and silent, the shoreline and flat surface of the lake are fast asleep. If not for the headphones I could hear a pin drop.

It was 90 degrees earlier in the day, still in the 80’s as I slowly make my way through the the comfortable water. And speaking of headphones they are alive with the tiny chirps and bleeps from the contaminated matrix, fine grains of iron and steel, tiny bits and pieces of lead, tin, aluminum and copper, rust halos clinging to the clay and rock, it’s sad to know that the human race has been so carefree, destructive, and careless.

Wait a minute, I like careless, after all it’s why I’m out here, isn’t it. Carelessness, the very reason the chain and pendent was entangled in the rock, the very reason why the wheaties and other old coins were discovered within the surface of the clay, the very reason why liter and more recent goodies can be found resting in the sand. I wish more humans were careless, I suppose.

Silt, additional inches of overburden on top of the layers of sand, rock, and clay, just more added space between the coil and potential targets. I use to avoid these areas but not anymore unless this silt exceeds ankle deep. In the darkness of night it’s a little unnerving at first, the thought of leeches and even other non-existing creatures laying in wait in that silt, vampire turtles, perhaps? Venomous snails and clams and mussels, perhaps? Slithering silt and moss wrapping around your ankles and slipping between your toes in the pitch-black night, “Freaky…..,” at first, but I quickly get over it because there are often good targets here.

Another, “awesomer” moment! I’m not sure what these small stones are but they are a frequent occurrence in the bottom of my scoop when attempting to retrieve deeper targets. The rocks themselves are usually a chocolate or caramel brown, the web-like steaks within them a deep rich blue. They look neat when dry but when wet or polished they’re like candy for the eyes. Is the blue a type of turquoise? I have no idea. Maybe one day I’ll research this a bit as they would make some awesome looking jewelry.

No gold this trip, no silver, no rings or fantastic old relic to show for my efforts, just a fair amount of clad, a teaser necklace with pendent, and a few older coins. But damn, it was another perfect evening

anyway. ………Cheers!

 

Masked Targets & Pass-Through – Minelab Excalibur

Checkout the video at below. Keep in mind that this was done in a controlled environment (perfect world) where even the selected targets could be controlled. Obviously we can’t control a lot of these things out in the real world. However, the information is worth knowing:

 

 

Those Bottle Caps That Aren’t

Those Bottle Caps That Aren’t:

We all know that sound, a choppy whoop-whoop that keeps breaking in and out, the tale-tale response of those annoying bottle caps, right? Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.

In the last two hunts I went ahead and scooped up several of those bottle caps, on three different occasions, however, the prizes weren’t bottle caps. Instead, one was a large silver ring and the other two were dimes. These targets serving a constant reminder that the masking effect can produce a lot of bottle cap fakers.

Here’s what usually happens, the good target is either laying above, of next to, a dominating source of iron. The end result is that the processor can’t quite get a good fix on the good target because both targets are moving through the search field at the same moment. So in its best effort to identify both targets the processor will often respond with what is often mistaken for the classic bottle cap response. It happens more then you know as this is something I experience quite often at many of the trashier locations that I hunt.

Despite all of its attributes the Excal isn’t very good at separating targets when in discrimination mode, this being a by-product of its design and its BBS technology, this condition still remaining even as one moves completely around the masked target. This problem is only compounded when hunters are running a lot of discrimination, the signatures of each target actually being even bigger, or wider. So no real way to try to separate these targets in disc mode unless at some point in the hunter movements an angle is settled upon that creates more space or separation, something that is an extremely rare event, indeed. So what to do?

Switch to PP mode. Targets generally only have two edges, a leading edge and a trailing edge, so as we move around the target while keeping the target centered we should only get two very fast and very sharp PP responses, the leading edge and the trailing edge, get three or more “edges” and you’re likely dealing with a masked and/or multiple targets. Also, on small targets or deep targets the signature can sometimes be very small, this only allowing for one noticeable edge. However, as we change angles on the target this edge will sometimes respond differently, perhaps showing more then one edge, and if this happens then you’ve likely got multiple targets passing through the search field in the same pass.

Another indication of multiple targets is when “in disc mode” the “leading tone” changes whenever the coil passes over the target in opposite directions, this being due to whatever alloy the search field contacts first. Sometimes you’ll only get a response in one direction, sometimes just a “full null” in only one direction, perhaps a momentary chirp or broken response in the other. This is when you should switch back to PP and listen for those “edges”. I realize this process sounds long but once you’re accustom to it then it all takes place rather quickly when armed with a remote PP switch.

Keep in mind that coil size can hold great influence in the results of the techniques described above, smaller coils always producing much better results due to the smaller search field and the quicker recovery times when in disc mode. Hope this helps, and as always, good luck and be safe out there!

(Just a few of my recent masked recoveries that at some point maintained that tale-tale bottle cap response. I’ve also recently recovered numerous modern coins that responded in like fashion.)

Excalibur & Sovereign Ring Tones

It’s crazy! The four rings in the accompanying picture sounded nothing alike. From left to right was mid tone (32), a high tone (33), a high mid tone (34), and then an extremely high tone (35). Ring 32 is sterling, ring 33 is sterling, ring 34 is brass, and ring 35 I have no idea, especially since it is so encrusted and pitted? Seems I’ve recovered rings all through the entire tonal range since moving back to Indiana, no doubt the variety in soil conditions and even depth playing a bigger part in these responses, the position of the ring in the matrix also a contributing factor.

However there are always a couple of constants, a nice tight signature and also very pronounced and repeatable returns once the processor has gotten a good lock on them, which often requires removing some overburden or disturbing the matrix enough that the ring shifts its position. Rings are tough to come by here in Indiana, especially true on land, and even much less likely when the ground is contaminated with deteriorating iron and other scattered metals, the masking effect often being too much to overcome.

So, “when in doubt always dig!” If for no other reason then do this to see if you can get the target to shift its position, or perhaps move some of the masking materials out of the way with the hope of creating a larger and cleaner window for the coil and search field. A lot of very old long lost rings have been recovered this way. The worst thing a hunter can do is to place too much trust in his machine. Hope this helps, and as always, good luck and be safe out there!