A treasure hunter searching for a legendary lost gold mine said to be worth billions believes he is closer than ever to a major breakthrough.
Adam Palmer has spent 23 years searching for Slumach’s lost mine and scouring the wilderness north of Pitt Lake in British Columbia, Canada for gold deposits.
Legend has it that Slumach – a local man – brought huge nuggets of gold to nearby New Westminster, spending his fortune without revealing his origins.
But Slumach was hanged for murder in 1891 and reportedly cursed anyone who tried to find his gold with his final words: “If I die, the mine dies.”
It has all the hallmarks of a great story, and the existence of the so-called treasure has never been proven, but now a promising clue has been found – a lost mine.
Mr Palmer, of Chilliwack, said: “There is said to be a gold mine worth billions in the mountains north of Pitt Lake.”
He continued: “The old mine we found last year collapsed due to a landslide, but we opened it.”
“We haven’t been able to fully examine it yet – we’re waiting to go back in with more gear and equipment to get through the blockage and deeper inside.”
“Now we are waiting to hear back to find out how old it is based on the evidence found inside.”
It’s not the first clue that 43-year-old Adam has found.
He said: “Every year we discover something we’ve never seen before.”
“We found an old gold mining hut containing mining tools and an ancient rock 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 trade between First Nations for thousands of years.
“We believe that all of this evidence is somehow connected and the secret lies in the history and culture of the region.”
An oddly shaped boulder found by Adam could be another clue.
Various historical newspapers have reported that a prospector discovered the mine in 1901 before becoming ill and dying.
In a 1915 letter quoted by a local newspaper, the prospector described gold nuggets as “as big as walnuts” and said he had buried some under a “tent-shaped rock.”
Adam believes his boulder may be the stone in question.
But he believes another prospector is even more important – Robert “Volcanic” Brown.
“To me it’s the only real, verified report from someone who went searching and may have found him,” Mr Palmer said.
“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’.”
“Either I’ll find him first or the lost mine, but I think if you find one or the other they’ll both be in the same place.”
“We are getting closer”
He added: “We are getting closer.
“We narrowed the search down to an area that was known to be the site of Volcanic Brown, and we found some clues there that could 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 itself was real, but speculated that its mine was invented by locals who wanted to attract more prospectors to the area.
A geological survey of the area in 1965 took the time to look at the legend as well and stated: “Pitt Lake is not favorable for gold-quartz veins, much less the placer gold of the legend.”
Additionally, contemporary newspaper accounts of Slumach’s execution found “no mention of a gold mine” and said he “died without comment.”
Nevertheless, the charm of the mine continues to lure treasure hunters into the wilderness.
For Adam, the discovery would be the realization of a childhood dream – and no curse will be able to stop him.
He said: “I first heard of the legend of Slumach’s Gold when I was about 12 years old, looking through my great uncle’s books.
“I was fascinated by the idea that somewhere in the mountains near where I lived there might be all this lost gold waiting to be found.
“I swore that I would be the one to finally solve these mysteries – or at least try to, once I was old enough to drive and go on expeditions.”
He continued: “The only curse to worry about is our terrible winters of rain and snow.”
“The weather is the curse – our summers are far too short!”
Mr. Palmer’s hunt for gold is documented in the TV series “Deadman’s Curse”, the second season of which is about to begin.