Friday, February 03, 2023

The Victorio Peak Treasure Part Four


Jim Eckles, writing in the White Sands Missile Range newspaper, reported an interesting confirmation to one point in the rather long and convoluted story. An old-timer, living in El Paso, told him that Noss would buy copper bars in Orogrande, New Mexico and take them to El Paso to have them gold plated.

The San Andres Mountains and Victorio Peak on the White Sands
Missile Range. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle

Although Ova Noss had visited the Denver Mint to learn if Milton “Doc” Noss had made any deposits at the Mint between November 1937 and March 1949. Remember, Noss had claimed he had taken some of the gold to the Mint worth, according to him $90,000 but the Mint had confiscated it. There were no records that there were any deposits of gold made to the Mint in that time frame by Noss. Other records showed that Ova Noss had written the Mint in 1939, explaining they had a map showing the location of gold bars but said nothing about knowing the exact location. She was told to notify the Mint immediately if they found anything.

That one aspect of the tale seemed to break down, but there was another aspect that bears directly on the suggestion of “faked” gold bars. Charles Ussher of Santa Monica, California submitted a gold bar to the U.S. Treasury for analysis. Ussher said that he had bought the bar from a man named Grogan for two hundred dollars. The analysis showed there was about ninety-seven cents worth of gold in the bar. Grogan, it turned out, was Doc Noss, according to a Secret Service investigation.

Other stories tend to corroborate some of this. Noss, as he tried to sell the gold, often arrived at the meetings with gold painted bricks. He said it was because he didn’t trust those who were buying the gold. He wanted to see the money before he produced the real gold. In all his dealing with these individuals, he never produced a solid gold brick, though he did show people small amounts of gold and gold bars that could have been gold plated.

Michael Webster, in an article published on May 17, 2021, reported that “an old timer from El Paso calls me periodically to talk about Victorio Peak. He claims he knew Noss and that Noss used to buy copper bars in Orogrande and have the electroplated with gold in El Paso. When asked why he doesn’t tell the story to the press, he says he doesn’t think they would care. It would spoil the story.”

Webster also wrote that another old timer who ranched near Victorio Peak said Noss used to salt the sand at the springs around the base of the peak, meaning, of course, adding gold to the sand. When investors showed up, Noss would be panning flakes of gold out of that sand.

Even with all the confusion, the Denver Mint was interested in solving the mystery once and for all. The Secretary of the Army asked General Shinkle, then commanding the White Sands Missile Range, for his position. The general responded that he would deny entry to the base unless he received permission from the Army to allow a search. He didn’t want to set a precedent that would haunt them in the future.

On August 5, 1961, Fiege and his group were allowed to enter the range and work at Victorio Peak. For five days Fiege and his partners tried to enter the tunnel that he had sealed in 1958 but failed to do so. General Shinkle eventually had enough of it and told them to cease operations.

On September 20, General Shinkle notified the Secret Service he would allow Fiege back on the missile range. He would be restricted to the tunnel he found and not allowed to begin any new excavations.

Work continued periodically for the next five weeks under the surveillance of Captain Swanner; an officer stationed at the missile range. In late October, according to the records at the missile range, two men were caught trespassing. Swanner ordered them from the area, but not before they had demanded a piece of the action.

The men told Ova Noss that the Army was working on Victorio Peak. Noss accused the Army of trying to steal her treasure and, in December 1961, Shinkle shut down the operation and excluded all who were not engaged in actual missile research from the range.

It should be noted that Jim Eckles, in his reports on the story, made the fine distinction between what has been reported and the facts that had been spread. The Army was not engaged in retrieval operations. They allowed a group onto the range who had made a claim. Given the laws of the land, Fiege’s claim was as valid as that of Ova Noss.

The continued search coming up in Part Five

Thursday, February 02, 2023

UAP Analysis, The Enigma Lab and Sightings

I think that I’ve made it very clear that I’m critical of the latest in government investigations into UFOs, I mean UAPs. I have noted that any time they wish to change and challenge our perceptions, they change the nomenclature of the phenomenon, as if to erase the past history. We all knew that UFO didn’t mean alien spacecraft exclusively but any unidentified object. Now we’ve weakened the term UAP to Unidentified Anomalous Phenomenon that could mean anything from an alien spacecraft to an encounter with a ghost…

We are still locked out of the real UAP study because it is classified but this is the same excuse they have been using since 1947. Although the Condon Committee at the University of Colorado announced in 1969 that there were no national security issues, here we are being told that some of the information is being withheld because of national security. I suppose that if the UAP is of foreign manufacture rather than alien, and that UAP is observing our military on maneuvers or overflying military facilities that are engaged in classified work, then national security is an issue. It doesn’t help us resolve the question; it just obscures the problem.

Here is some proof of that. A company, Enigma Labs, is wanting to use machine learning to search for patterns in UFO sightings. Okay. However, they are in business with the DoD. Again, okay. 

Here’s the problem. They want the public to ignore the National UFO Reporting Center and MUFON, and report sightings directly to them. Which, again, is okay. The problem is that they do not make their database publicly available. Or, in other words, they are attempting to syphon off the UFO sightings from other organizations and then provide no data on them. Something like the classified reports being collected by the DoD with no avenue to share the data with the civilian population.

I did look up Enigma Labs and read their mission statement. It said:

To advance progress on UAP using cutting-edge technology and social intelligence. Only through thoughtful, open-mined study of unidentified phenomena can we get answers. We are focused on building and keep our team low profile for privacy.

It sounds good, or looks good, and is almost meaningless. It provides nothing of value in attempting to understand who they are, other than the claim to be open-mined and that they want to keep a low profile. I am bothered by their continued reference in other parts of their website to UAP. They have adopted the current lingo, but I’m not all that sure they actually understand the subtleties of the whole UFO phenomena. That leads us to another part of their explanations which said:

There are individuals who have dedicated their lives to researching UAP. We are indebted to them and stand on their shoulders. Yet UAP remains a mystery. That is why Enigma adopted a fresh approach taking advantage of modern tools, business models and skillsets. In order to attract the brightest minds and build for the long term, we formed as a private company. We take the mission seriously and embrace the complexity. We are a team of full-time professionals from many backgrounds – data science, machine learning, aerospace, citizen science, consumer product design, particle physics, sailing, visual arts, finance, journalism, military service and public policy, to name a few. We are grateful to everyone who has supported us so far.

Without a little more data, I’m not sure what expertise they bring to the table. They mention military service, and while there are certain military specialties that would be beneficial, there are many that are not. An infantry soldier has no special skills that would help in identifying UFOs. Journalism would be helpful, unless the journalist spent his or her career attending local political meetings or covering feature stories.

I will note, apropos of nothing really, that there are job offerings at the website which pay in the low six figures, up to a quarter of a million annually. Since I have no engineering background, though I do have experience in security and intelligence, I’m really not qualified. The real point is that they are offering these high paying jobs which suggests a rather substantial financial position. You can access their website here:

The last thing to say, I suppose, is that I’m reminded of the To The Stars Academy from a couple of years ago. They too, seemed to have some astonishing financial support and they too were going to take UFO research, back when we could talk about UFOs rather than UAPs, in a new direction. That soon fizzled out.

The problem here might be the alleged connection to the official investigations, and the call for sightings to be reported to them. It could have an adverse effect on overall UFO research and could stymie communication among the various players in the field today.

This could be much ado about nothing because we don’t have an overload of information. I just think that this doesn’t bode well for overall UFO research. Sure, we need to wait and see, but in the meantime, access to sighting data might suffer.

Even with all this there are still interesting UFO sightings that are not being collected by the DoD and stored in vaults hidden from public view. What has been called the first UFO photo of 2023, and they, not I, used the term UFO, was taken in Venezuela on January 7.

The picture was taken by Ricardo Monzon, in the San Antonio de Los Altos area. Journalist Hector Esclanate, said that he thought it might be a reflection of the street light but said the object had light and shaded areas and was a different shape than the street light. He also suggested that the orientation of the UFO didn’t match up. Here’s the link to the photograph:

In keeping with the international flavor, the witness in Didcot, Oxfordshire, England, reported five lights in a low cloud on December 21 of last year. The witness thought the lights, which were moving in a random circle might be a laser display, or maybe drones. The lights were in sight for about two minutes, were bright but not blinding. The five balls of light flew over the car and the radio began to act up and was filled with white noise, which, of course, is suggestive of something other than a laser or a drone.

The lights passed over the car, about a hundred feet in the air. Apparently, they turned, and passed overhead twice more. They eventually disappeared. Not an exciting sighting except for the possible EM Effect on the radio. 

The Victorio Peak Treasure Part Three


With the death of Doc Noss, Ova Noss became the force behind the attempts to recover the treasure. Others who believed the tale and who believed they had some sort of a claim to it or part of it also came forward. One of those was Noss’ second wife but Ova dismissed that claim, saying that her divorce from Noss was not valid which made the marriage to Violet Noss invalid. But Violet Noss was inquiring about the legality of the permits held by Ova Noss and was attempting to have them switched to her. This was something of a minor distraction.

The real problem was the U.S. Government and the U.S. Army were now standing in the way. Not long after Doc Noss was killed, the Army entered into a lease agreement with Roy Henderson for the land where Victorio Peak is located. In other words, much of the disputed land didn’t belong to the Noss family but to someone else.

A search of the records in 1950 showed no existing mining claims. On November 14, 1951, Public Land Order No. 703 was issued, which withdrew all the White Sands Proving Ground (later White Sands Missile Range) from prospecting, entry, location, and purchase under the mining laws and reserved them for the military.

The White Sands Missile Range with the San Andres Mountains in the background
Photo copyright by Kevin Randle

New Mexico state officials claimed that they leased the surface of the land to the military. The underground wealth, in whatever form it took, belonged to the state, or to the holders of the various types of licenses. If there was a treasure on the land, it didn’t belong to the Army. In fact, a good case could be made that it belonged to the Noss family, if there was anything there.

Ova Noss contacted the two New Mexico senators and enlisted their aid. In December 1952, Senator Dennis Chavez wrote to Brigadier General G. G. Eddy, about the White Sands Proving Ground. Ova Noss also succeeded in convincing Senator Clinton P. Anderson to write to Eddy as well. The general, however, ruled that no further operations would be allowed on the Proving Ground because the paperwork was being prepared to transfer all mineral rights to the government.

The dispute was settled in a federal court that worked out a compromise of sorts. The Army had the right to use the surface of the land, and no one would be allowed on the Proving Ground without Army consent. But like so much else in similar circumstances, that didn’t resolve the matter. Ova Noss refused to leave Victorio Peak. All she wanted, according to various documents, was to recover what her late husband had discovered inside the mountain.

It all came to a temporary end during the summer of 1955, when federal marshals escorted her from Victorio Peak. But that didn’t mean she was going to give up the fight. For the rest of her life, she would engage in activities that would enable her to return to the peak so that she could continue in her effort to recover the treasure she believed belonged to the family.

Within months, a group led by Gordon Bjornson petitioned the Land Office, suggesting they had the financial backing to find the treasure. General Eddy, the White Sands commander, agreed to let them on site for two inspections. Then, however, the group couldn’t decide whether to dig out the shaft at the top of the peak that had been found by Doc Noss or search for another entrance rumored to be hidden at the base of the mountain.

Bjornson did write to the Land Office expressing his faith in the story told by both Doc and Ova Noss. He even mentioned that Noss removed eighty-six bars of gold, a statue of pure gold and relics of Spanish origin. Of course, none of that has been found.

Bjornson obtained permission from the state to begin his operation. But the White Sands commanding general issued a denial of permission. The general said that he was afraid of allowing Bjornson onto the range would set a precedence that would allow others to petition for entrance and make the similar claims. That would hinder the Army’s mission, which was missile testing and not treasure hunting.

Captain Leonard V. Fiege Finds a Treasure

All that legal maneuvering in the civilian world didn’t stop military personnel from exploring portions of the range. Victorio Peak, which is now on land controlled by the Army, was a popular attraction. In 1958, four men, two on active duty with the Air Force at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, which it in close proximity of White Sands, found what they believed was an entrance into the caverns that Noss had located about twenty years earlier. Captain Leonard V. Fiege, in an affidavit signed later, claimed that he had entered the cavern. He said that it was dark and dusty and hard to breathe. Fiege said he sat down on a pile of rocks to catch his breath and noticed that they weren’t rocks. According to him, they were bars of smelted gold about the size of normal house bricks.

In the flashlight beam, he saw other stacks of similar bricks. Some of them were visible out in the open while others were lost in the dimness of the cave and all the dust hanging in the air.

Fiege returned to the opening to find his friends. He was sick and dirty, but once he told them what he had found, they were all interested in returning for the gold. Two of the men were too big to slip through the opening into the main part of the cave but Fiege and Tom Berclett continued on until they came to the stacks of gold. The other two, identified only by their last names, Prather and Wessel, remained outside.

While in the cave, Fiege and Berclett talked about what they should do. Neither was familiar with the laws governing the discovery of treasure on a military reservation, nor were they aware that the White Sands command did not hold the mineral rights to anything found on the range. In any case, neither Fiege nor Berclett carried any gold from the cave. Or, at least, Fiege later claimed that they had not removed anything. This seems to be a little strange. No one who claimed to have seen the gold bars ever brought out one or two of them… or rather Noss did removed some of the gold bars, but he buried them elsewhere and no one actually saw them.

Fiege said that they did their best to seal off the passage that led to the gold chamber. Fiege told several people that he had caved in the roof and walls to make it look as if the tunnel came to a dead end.

Unlike some of the others, Fiege did show a certain intelligence. He went to the JAG Office and at Holloman and conferred with Colonel Sigmund I. Gasiewicz, who, in turn, called the Land Office in Santa Fe. Gasiewicz told Oscar Jordan, a land office attorney, that an officer at Holloman, an air force facility had found a gold bar on the White Sands Missile Range which was an Army post. Jordan suggested that the gold be sent to the Department of the Treasury or to the Secret Service office in Albuquerque. It was Jordan’s belief that the gold had been taken to the JAG office, which would have established a solid claim about the treasure.

Both Gasiewicz and Fiege denied this. Instead, they decided to form a corporation to protect Fiege and what he had found. They would contact the various government agencies to make sure that they violated no federal or state laws or violated any military regulations. They would then make a formal application to enter White Sands for a search and retrieval of the gold.

It took them three years to work their way through the maze of red tape in both the state governments and Washington, D.C. In May 1961, Fiege and his group began to seriously petition for permission to enter the missile range to search for and claim the treasure. Fiege met with Major General John Shinkle, then the commanding officer at the missile range. Fiege explained that they merely wanted the opportunity to recover a few bars of gold. Shinkle denied the request.

Of course, that wasn’t the end of it. Fiege and his group visited the director of the Mint to ask for his permission to recover the gold. The director wrote to the Secretary of the Army asking that permission be granted, not because he believed there was gold to be found or that there was any treasure hidden on the range at all, but because the Mint had been bothered by so many requests for additional information. The Secret Service said that there was a real possibility that nongold bars had been place in the cave by Doc Noss in some kind of scam or con game.

Next up, Questions about the Reliability of the Information Part Four

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The Victorio Peak Treasure - Part Two

With the destruction of the original passage into the treasure vault, the gold was now just beyond Doc Noss’ reach. Oh, he knew it was there because he had seen it many times and according to him, he had carried dozens of the gold bars out to be hidden elsewhere. There are conflicting accounts, but it seems that no one else ever really saw the gold in the cave with the possible except of a couple of military men two decades later. He did show metal bars to others and in a deposition that was an outgrowth of later legal proceedings, Ova Noss would say she had seen a large number of the bars. She had not seen the gold in the cave which is a somewhat fine distinction.

About ten years after Noss claimed he found the gold, Noss said that he had traveled to Denver where there was a government mint. He thought he could sell some of the treasure but because he was vague about where he had obtained the gold, the officials in Denver confiscated it. They gave him a receipt saying that they had $90,000 in gold they had taken from him. Noss would tell family that he had the receipt in strong box, but after he died, no one could find the receipt. Ova Noss even made her way to the Denver mint but there was no record that Noss had ever been there or that the mint had confiscated any gold from him.

Some suggest this is just another example of the government covering up that they had “stolen” the gold from Noss in the 1940s. It was Noss who told the story, and it was Noss who claimed to have a receipt to prove the tale. Neither he nor his family were ever able to produce the receipt, according to Phil Koury, Ova Noss’ attorney. Koury would become a player in the tale sometime later.

Gene Ballinger, who took an interest in the story because of the proximity of Victorio Peak to where he lived, later wrote in The Courier (the Hatch, New Mexico, newspaper) that the receipt was in the possession of the Ova Noss Family Partnership, but again, they have failed to produce it. That receipt would have been valuable in proving to the Army, which now controls Victorio Peak, that the treasure really did exist. Such proof would have erased the poor relations between the Army and the Noss family and the arguments over control of the gold.

The Courier office in Hatch, NM. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle

It is interesting that the receipt story is similar to the tale of a stone tablet allegedly found deep in the excavations of the Money Pit at Oak Island. There are tales about the tablet, a translation of the strange symbols that were on it, but no photographs of the actual tablet and no real evidence that it ever existed.  Here there are claims of a receipt but there is no evidence that it existed.

There is another parallel to the Oak Island story. The Laginas, who had leading the search for treasure on Oak Island, have produced several bits and pieces that suggest a possible treasure, none of which are particularly valuable. These items hint that there is something. Noss, in a similar fashion, did produce a few artifacts hint at the treasure. These included a sword of French manufacture that dates to sometime between 1798 and 1803, two iron cross stirrups of Spanish design and thought to be unique to Lancers de Vera Cruz. It does make you wonder how he managed to retrieve these items rather than some of the gold and silver artifacts reported to be hidden in the cave.

Noss spent years attempting to gather capital to reopen the treasure cave. He showed treasure in various forms various people. In an affidavit held at the Land Office in Santa Fe, New Mexico, B. D. Lampros claimed that he visited Noss and was given a chunk of gold ore that assayed to over $5,000 in gold per ton which is extremely rich. Note, however, that it was not gold ore worth five grand, but a sample that suggested a rich vein of ore existed and when mined would produce the five thousand for each ton of material processed.

There were other affidavits about gold that suggested witnesses had seen in Noss’ possession. Some saw a bar or two, while others were shown ore. Noss apparently carried a great deal of treasure from the cave but had never been able to successfully sell any of it to finance his recovery operations. Remember too, that not all the treasure was gold, but also artifacts that could have been turned into cash without violating the laws in force at the time as mentioned earlier.

Sometime after his discovery, during the Second World War, Noss deserted Ova. Although the documentation is somehow hazy, meaning there is a question about the authenticity of it, Noss was granted a divorce from Ova in Pulaski County, Arkansas. Two years later he married Violet Lena Boles. All of this would, quite naturally, complicate the ownership of the treasure rights.

During this time, Ova Noss kept the various land applications and mining claims in force, signing and renewing them as necessary. Ova, sometimes with the help of her sons, tried to clean out the shaft that had been ruined in 1939 by Montgomery, the alleged explosives expert. They were unable to find a way back into the treasure chamber.

At the same time, apparently with no permits and therefore no legal rights, Noss was searching Victorio Peak for another entrance into the cave. He believed there had to be one simply because the entrance he had originally discovered would have made it nearly impossible to carry gold and other treasure into and therefore out of the cave. At least that seemed to be his thinking on the situation.

Charles Ryan and the Death of Doc Noss

In 1948, Noss met Charles Ryan, a Texas man involved in drilling operations and oil exploration in the Permian Basin in West Texas. Noss told Ryan about the treasure, and they worked out a deal to recover it. Ryan would buy some of the gold from Noss for $25,000 and Noss would allegedly use the money to open a new path to the gold vault. Ryan was to fly to New Mexico where the bars were hidden so they could make the exchange. Noss would produce the gold and Ryan would produce the money.

When it came time for the exchange, Noss demanded to see the money first, but Ryan said he wouldn’t show the money until Noss showed him the gold. According to the story, they drove into Hatch, to a house rented by Ryan. Several witnesses saw Noss run from the house, followed by Ryan, who had held a gun in his hand. Ryan fired one shot, apparently a warning shot and ordered Noss away from his pickup truck. Noss didn’t obey the order and Ryan, fearing Noss was going for his gun fired again. This time he aimed at Noss who was struck in the head. Noss collapsed at the front of the truck, dead.

Ryan ordered one of the witnesses to call the sheriff. When the deputies arrived, they arrested Ryan. Ryan told the sheriff it had been self-defense. Noss had threatened him, and Ryan knew that Noss had a pistol in his pickup.

During the trial, evidence was presented suggesting that Noss was a violent man. Noss had bragged that he had killed before. Because of those stories, Ryan said that he was convinced that Noss was going for his gun. Ryan fired a warning, but Noss had ignored it.

The interesting part of the trial wasn’t about the actual shooting but about Noss’ background. Ryan had financed Noss, buying him the pickup and then traveling to New Mexico to obtain the licenses and permits that Ova Noss had kept in force. Ryan had bailed Noss out of jail and paid off several bad checks that Noss had written. Altogether, Ryan had spent about five thousand dollars to help out Noss. Ryan also learned that Noss had swindled others over the years.

Ryan, called to the witness stand, told of a plan Noss had devised. He wanted to form a corporation to sell stock in a venture to recover the treasure. Ryan believed they could raise, rather quickly, about fifty thousand dollars. That would give then the money to operate but Noss suggested that he and Ryan split the money fifty-fifty rather than invest it in a recovery operation. Ryan said it was at that point he realized that Noss was crooked.

Just prior to the shooting in Hatch, Noss told Ryan that he had a chance to make nearly a quarter of a million dollars selling gold bars to a man in Arizona. To make that work, Noss needed some seed money, but Ryan refused to give it to him. Why Noss couldn’t have taken the gold bars to Arizona which meant he would need no extra money was never explained. It was after that argument, in Ryan’s rented house, that Noss ran for the truck, screaming that he would get the money from Ryan, or he would kill him. Ryan, fearing for his life and having been told tales of Noss’ violent nature, shot and killed Noss. Apparently, the jury believed him, and Ryan was acquitted.

The treasure was rarely mentioned in the trial, though it did provide clues about Noss. As mentioned, Noss had claimed to be a doctor, but he had no formal training. Searches of the records of the hospital where Noss said he had been on the staff, failed to verify the tale. Noss had written bad checks. And, he had been in and out of jail on several rather minor charges. His history was not sterling, which is not to say that the tale of the treasure is untrue. It does, however, create some doubt.

Coming up next “Ova Noss vs the U.S. Government.” 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Victorio Peak Treasure

Like the treasure stories from Oak Island, the exact location of this treasure is well known. According to the legend, it is hidden deep in a cave in the San Andres Mountains north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, on what it now part of the Army’s White Sand Missile range. The exact location is in a mountain known as Victorio Peak.

Victorio Peak. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle

There had been rumors of a large cache of gold bullion hidden in the San Andres Mountains for decades. A Jesuit priest, Father La Rue, who was working in the area around 1800, learned from a sick Spanish soldier that there was a huge vein of gold some two days from what was then Paso del Norte and now known as El Paso, Texas. Apparently, La Rue, working with the local indigenous population, set up a mining operation in the Organ Mountains, which border White Sands and are just south of Alamogordo, New Mexico, which is north of El Paso. For two years La Rue mined the gold, stockpiling it nearby.

As with most such stories there are slight variations to the myth. La Rue discovered that the Spanish were about to send soldiers to learn what happened to him. Or the story of the massive wealth that La Rue had acquired found its way back to the Spanish in Northern Mexico. Nothing stirs the fires of the Spanish conquistadors in the New World like tales of massive wealth and stacks of treasure. An armed expedition was sent north to find La Rue and what he considered his gold.

To prevent the Spanish from taking the treasure, La Rue hid all traces of his mining activity, hid the gold he had refined into crude bars in a cave and then sealed the cave’s entrance so that others would not find it. Although there was talk of his mining the Organ Mountains, it seems more likely that the mine was in the San Andres Mountains. It was here that the treasure was concealed.

Before La Rue could escape, the Spanish expedition arrived and attacked. La Rue and those with him were captured. He was tortured but refused to reveal the location of the gold. Sometime during the process, La Rue died, and with him, the exact location of the treasure was lost. All those with him were also killed without revealing the location of the gold. With La Rue dead, and without a map to the treasure, the Spanish soldiers returned to Mexico empty-handed. Although there were those who thought that a proper expedition, with the resources for a long search would produce results, no one ever returned to make that search.

Doc Noss and the Cave of Treasure

Milton Ernest “Doc” Noss, who claimed he was two-thirds Cheyenne, was born in Oklahoma and worked throughout the southwest during his life was the man who originally found La Rue’s lost treasure. Although called “Doc,” he had no medical degree and was reported to have been arrested in Texas for practicing medicine without a license. That wasn’t his only trouble with the law or the truth.

Jim Eckles, who began working for the Public Affairs office at the White Sands Missile Range, told reporter Carl Knauf, a staff writer for the Albuquerque Journal, that he had he’d dug into Noss’ background and learned “quite a bit about Doc Noss.” He had traced Noss from Oklahoma to New Mexico and said that Noss had been arrested for various crimes. Noss was not exactly the most reliable of sources.

White Sands Missile Range located near Victorio Peak. Photo
copyright by Kevin Randle

It was in 1937, Noss, and his wife, Ova (sometimes called Babe) were living in the vicinity of Hatch, New Mexico. He spent his time hunting and prospecting in the area around Victorio Peak, which was not yet part of a government reservation. During one of those hunting and prospecting trips, Noss was caught in a cold Spring shower and sought shelter under an outcropping of rock near the summit of Victorio Peak.

This was a place that had been used for centuries by other indigenous hunters, not to mention the Spanish, Mexicans and Americans. Noss saw the evidence of those earlier hunters but didn’t know if they had lived there long or were just camped there for the temporary shelter. Sitting there, waiting for the rain to stop, he noticed a stone that looked as if it had been worked in some fashion. Noss reached down but at first, couldn’t budge it. He tried digging around the edges. Given he had nothing better to do, he kept at it until he could work his fingers under it and lift it.

What he found was a shaft that descended deep into the darkness of the mountain. Now he was curious about the shaft, but it was too late in the day to do anything about it. He was not equipped for a reconnaissance. The next day, he returned with a flashlight, rope, and a canvas bag. He was unable to probe very deep into shaft, but he found enough of interest that he wanted to come back.

In a slightly different version of the story, R.L. Coker told Los Angeles Times columnist, Robin Abcarian, that he had been with Noss when he made the initial discovery. He said that he and Noss were at the top of the Victorio Peak hunting deer. Coker said that Noss knew where there was a spring that the deer would approach looking for water. Noss said that he felt a breeze that he first thought might have been a snake, but realized it was coming up from under a rock. Moving the rock aside, Noss found the entrance into the cave. Apparently, they didn’t explore it then and I must mention that Coker’s name didn’t come up in the original tale told by Noss.

In the days and weeks that followed, Noss returned to the shaft whenever possible. He did reach the bottom, but his flashlight was inadequate for the task of lighting the way once he was deep inside the mountain. Eventually, he found an underground stream but couldn’t see the other side and was initially afraid to cross it without proper preparation.

On another trip into the mountain not long after that, he did cross the stream while Ova waited for him above him. She kept herself busy making coffee and sandwiches as he searched the cave far below her. Hours later, when he emerged from the shaft, he had his canvas bag with something heavy in it. He tossed a black bar on the ground near her, but like Noss, she thought it was nothing more than lead brick.

Years later there would be another minor controversy about that bar. Ova, giving a deposition about the first entry into the cave, said that she was the one who scraped at it, discovering it was gold. Noss said that he discovered it was gold while sitting around the fire after having brought it to the surface. Although it makes no difference today who first found that it was gold, you have to wonder why he would have carried a lead brick out with him given the descriptions of the various types of treasure he had found in the cave.

Noss told Ova there were stacks of the bars in the cave eventually suggesting there might be as many as 16,000. He said that he had also found uncut gems including rubies, Spanish coins, and religious artifacts such as a gold Virgin Mary. There were other manufactured artifacts including swords. He found chests that held clothes and Wells Fargo strong boxes. He was telling Ova that he had found a huge treasure, much of it, though not all of it, gold bullion, which is an interesting point that has often been overlooked.

Noss was smart enough to know that any news about the find would fill the area with other treasure hunters, prospectors, con artists and government officials who would claim the treasure for the United States. There would also be trouble with the law. In 1937, it was illegal for a private citizen to own gold bullion. If the word got out about the gold bars, Noss might find himself in jail on federal charges. He cautioned Ova that they could tell no one about the treasure because of the real consequences.

But he didn’t bother to heed how own advice. He showed a gold bar to a friend in what is now known as Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. When asked if he had found it in the Caballos Mountains, Noss said, “That’s right.” It wasn’t long before those mountains were filled with the people Noss had feared would arrive, but he didn’t care. The Caballos were far from the true site in Victorio Peak.

Noss was convinced that he had found a huge treasure that would make him one of the richest men in America. It was difficult to get at the gold and even harder to drag it out. Some of the bars weighed eighty pounds according to the legend. Still, he, according to the tale, hauled dozens of smaller gold bars out. He hid them around the area, telling no one where these bars were stashed. He was trying to think of a way to convert the treasure into money without violating the law or alerting others to the location of the gold.

Here was the real dilemma to the Noss story. He found immense wealth that it would eclipse the fortunes of the richest men in America, according to what Noss told Ova at the time. There were coins and jewels that would be of great value to collectors, which could have been sold to those collectors without violating any federal law. There was silver bullion hidden in there as well. There were legal means of disposing of the wealth without mentioning the gold, but Noss avoided all those. He apparently never consulted with anyone who could have helped him legally, preferring to enlist the aid of outside investors. He was willing to spread the wealth around, if he could get his hands on it with their help.

He complained that one passage into the treasure cave was so narrow that he had to crawl forward carefully, his shoulders scraping on the rough stone walls. In 1939, he hired an explosives expert named Montgomery to widen the passage. Montgomery, of course, used too much explosive and collapsed the tunnel, filling it with debris. Access to the treasure room was now impossible by the original route, but who cared? Noss had already removed enough of the gold to make him wealthy, if he could just figure out a legal way to convert the gold into cash.

More coming in the next installment… “Gold Bars and Tales of Treasure.” 

Friday, January 27, 2023

A Photographic Conumdrum


Going back to check dates and photographs, I have found something of a conundrum. The following sighting is found in the National UFO Reporting Center data base on December 18, 2022. According to the information, the daughter of the witness was on the outside deck in Stevensville, Montana, when she spotted a set of triangular lights. She called the witness but the lights were gone. Both witnesses watched the area where the triangle had been and after a few seconds saw a bright blue flash just before the lights reappeared. The lights rapidly disappeared into the south. Although the witnesses took a photograph, it was obscured by smoke and lacked detail. The sighting lasted about a minute.

Not a particularly interesting sighting except for one thing. They noted that the object they saw looked like photographs taken in the same area on August 30 of last year in Great Falls, Montana.

According to details, the witness was standing on the porch. An object that was flashing was overhead. The witness thought it was a star or satellite but stepped off the porch to get a better recording. The object moved slowly, flashing red top and bottom every second. While recording the witness heard a loud whirring sound. The triangular object was in sight for four or five minutes. Here is the photograph for that object.

As I was looking for the photograph to post to my blog, I found the following information from August 30, 2022, also from Stevensville, Montana. It just noted that the object or lights were triangular and that the daughter had taken “and underexposed picture and inadvertently caught the image of the lights. The sighting was brief. Here is that photograph.

Now, the question becomes, was this just a simply mistake on the part of the webmaster, thinking that the December picture, which mentioned the August picture, were taken on the same date. Was this an attempted hoax and when the first attempt failed to get attention, a second was attempted?

Anyway, we now have both pictures for comparison, and I’m more than a little concerned about the legitimacy of the sightings. Could be nothing more than a simple mistake, but still, I have to wonder. And yes, when I get the chance, I'll try to straighten this out.

Friday, January 20, 2023

AARO, MADAR and an Australia Video

A couple of weeks ago, I reported that Sean Kirkpatrick of AARO, had said that they were going to investigate UFO sightings going back to 1997. Not long after that, Christopher Mellon said that the investigation was going to begin with sightings in 1945. I believe the difference is that Kirkpatrick was talking about the official DoD and DNI investigation and Mellon was referring to the NASA end of the probe. Not exactly contradictory statements, just a difference in the investigative philosophy of two separate but parallel investigations.

I have also heard that originally the idea was to investigate reports back to 1947 when the flying saucers were reported in the United States. There had been sightings prior to Ken Arnold’s of June 24, 1947, but they had gone unnoticed by the press and the general public. Arnold’s sighting captured the attention of the country and after that the newspapers were filled with reports from around the country and around the world.

The 1945-time frame came, according to some, to take the investigation back to the Foo Fighters of World War II. These sightings were never explained and when the war ended the imperative to find an explanation disappeared. That was also cover the Ghost Rockets seen over Scandinavia and then northern Europe in 1946. Again, no solid explanation has been offered for those sightings.

The classic Foo Fighter photograph. There is some controversy about the
reliability of this picture, but it represents the basic description.

As I have said, there are many good reports being made today. On September 4 of last year, the witness in Montara, California said that he saw a large, cylinder-shaped object at the top of a mountain. He said that it was close to a man-made structure. He thought it was some sort of parking garage because there was a cork screw pattern on one side. It was tall and smooth and had a black stripe on it. At the top were several smooth, silver cylinders and to the right was a structure that hung over the edge of the mountain.

The primary witness didn’t get a good look at the structure, but the secondary witnesses did. The object was in sight for one to two minutes. As they rounded the mountain, they looked back up but the object, whatever it was, had disappeared. There was a corresponding spike in the magnetometer at one of the MADAR Node sites providing a secondary chain of evidence.

A much better sighting occurred on August 11 of last year near Willimantic, Connecticut. According to the witness, two objects were seen flying side by side. They were triangular shaped and had a series of lights on them. The UFOs passed directly overhead, flying low with no noise. The objects moved straight up and disappeared.

According to Fran Ridge, there were three important points. A specific time was given. The witness said, "they then moved straight up quickly,” indicating a vertical ascent. And finally at Newington, Connecticut, which is only 27 miles west of the sighting area, MADAR Node106 had a noticeable increase in the magnetometer reading. The onboard compass had varied for 3 minutes and the sighting lasted three minutes.

From Sydney, Australia, comes a video taken by a woman identified only as Tanya on January 18 of this year. She was sitting on the balcony when the UFO caught her attention. She thought it might be a meteor, but then realized that it had stopped to hover. She said that it then shot off at high speed.

The UFO is a bright, white object seen against a blue sky. The motion seems to be the result of the object’s motion, though the camera does move. There doesn’t seem to be a break in the filming, based on the time code with the video. You can see the video here:

Ross Coulthart, who investigates UFOs and who watched the video, said that it moved too fast for a drone, though he couldn’t rule that out completely. He said that it didn’t move like other aerial craft, such as a balloon. He did say that it would help if there were other witnesses. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Chasing Footnotes - The Kevin Randle Edition (Sort of)


Well, this isn’t exactly chasing footnotes but it comes close. Curt Collins sent me an email about a photograph that had accompanied a magazine article that I had written in the 1970s. This was a time when there were half a dozen magazines that were devoted to UFOs and I was writing articles for them to, at first pay my college bills, and later to earn a living. Curt wrote:

I'm hoping you can answer a question, hopefully an easy one. Your article, "The Truth about the 1957 UFO Flap," Official UFO, March 1977, labeled as being by Kirby. 

Your article, "The Truth about the 1957 UFO Flap," in Official UFO, March 1977, labeled as being by Kirby. I suspect this is a photo from somewhere else, but if it is from Kirby, can you verify it and tell me where you found it?


Two of his photos were submitted to the Air Force, and as far as I know only one has ever been published. I came across an ad that stated there were 6 photos by Kirby. So, if this is one of the others, I'd love to know about it.


I looked at the picture and had no memory of having submitted it. I did recognize some of the other pictures with the article. They had come from the Project Blue Book files. I believe now that the editor of the magazine, or one of the other staff members, had found the picture and included it with my article.

The magazine picture that began the hunt.

I did remember, however, that I had seen the picture before. In my mind, I could see that it was on the cover of a magazine. I don’t know why I had such a clear memory of it and it took me about ten minutes to find the magazine. It was in a file of random UFO magazines, meaning simply that I only had an issue or two of the magazine, rather than the number I have for others such as UFO Report or UFO.

I scanned the cover and emailed Curt a copy of the cover and the title page that provided information about the publisher, which, I suspect, was of little help. Other than learning that the picture was in a magazine for 1968, this did little to make an identification.

Not long after that I received an email from Curt that said he found the original story. It said:

RCAF pilot Childerhose Canada 1956 Photo over the Canadian Rockies near Ft. MacCleod, Alberta by Canadian Air Force pilot R. J. Childerhose.

A Royal Canadian Air Force pilot while flying in a 4 plane formation at an altitude of about 11 km on 27-Aug-1958 [sic], saw and photographed a bright disc, that was remaining stationary between the clouds.

From a letter to Philip Klass: “I had the object in good view for upwards of 45 seconds. It was stationary, with sharply defined edges. Looked like a shiny silver dollar sitting horizontal. The light emitted was much brighter than the existing sunlight and overexposed the film causing the blurred edges in the picture… It neither moved nor changed shape while I had it in sight.”

From a letter to Dr. James McDonald: “the photo of the bright object doesn’t represent quite what appeared to the naked eye. When I first saw the object it appeared as a very bright, clearly defined discoid, like a silver dollar lying on its side. The photo makes it look like a blob of light, the result of light intensity. It appeared much brighter than that (sic) of the sun which, of course, was setting behind the clouds up ahead. What appears in the Kodachrome slide is a disappointment, really.” It was in good view for some minutes because I looked at it trying to figure out what I was seeing and I called the attention of the formation to it before remembering that I had a camera in my leg pocket.”

That wasn’t the end of it for me. Curt supplied the photographer’s name and provided the information from a story about the picture. I used that and learned more about Childerhose. It turns out that the pilot held several aviation records and was a respected airman. Dr. Bruce Maccabee investigated the photograph several years ago and published a paper about what he had learned. You can read the paper here:

Included in that paper was an affidavit completed by Childerhose about the event. Rather than retype it here, following is that affidavit.

I will note that this is an interesting case now that we have more information about it. It’s the sort of case that AARO would investigate if it happened in today’s environment. And think about it. A multiple witness sighting that has a photograph for additional support. Information could be derived from the photograph that could improve our overall knowledge.

Anyway, I will note that the cover of the magazine doesn’t provide us with the best look at the photo, but it does give us a clue about the case. Given that the picture was taken nearly 70 years ago, there isn’t much we can do with it today. And had it been taken today, there is so much more we could have done with it. Here, however, is the journey I took to get to this point, sparked by Curt Collins and my memory of seeing the magazine cover.