Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised to find tales of pirate treasure hunters in the New York Times Magazine, with illustrations that appear to be straight out of Treasure Island, but I was. Here’s an excerpt:
An old Frenchman turned up at Eastport, Me., about thirty years ago. He set about fitting out a little Digby schooner for a mysterious trip. The Frenchman was ignorant… but he had an idea, and a paper which he carefully guarded, and this schooner and this expedition were the culmination of a life dream, and the investment of a life’s hard savings…
A few months later the old Frenchman returned to Eastport, alone and broken-hearted. His schooner had been wrecked… He survived and so did his curious map which, out of the bitterness of his heart, he showed several sympathizers.
It was the map of an island shaped like a spread eagle. Between the wings, on the back toward the neck of the bird, was a circle designating where a great treasure was supposed to be buried. The Frenchman had had this map in his possession for sixty years, and his father and grandfather had had it before him. It had been his dream to save enough to buy a schooner and search for the island that looked like a bird. Now his dream was shattered.
Of course, modern day treasure hunters use GPS, sonar, and other technology, to avoid such fates. And if you don’t happen to have a treasure map, you can always try your hand at geocaching. There’s even an app for that.
THE SEASON OF THE TREASURE HUNT IS ON: Searchers for Buried Loot of Pirates Follow the First Signs of Spring Weather (PDF)
From April 17, 1910