The next assault on Victorio Peak came in 1962, when the Gaddis Mining Company, working with the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe, begin operations. Since it seemed to be a state sponsored research trip, one designed to recover artifacts of archaeological significance, the Army was inclined to permit access to the range and the mountain. On June 20, 1963, a license was granted to the Gaddis Mining Company for a thirty-day exploration.
Using a variety of state of the art techniques, the team tried to map the interior of the peak, searching for large void areas that would indicate caverns. They also built roads to lead to the various important sites, including one to the top of the peak. They were unable to accomplish all this in the original thirty days and an extension was granted. They dug several small test holes in depth from 18 to 175 feet deep. They also dug their own tunnel into the side of the peak, trying to gain access to the caverns, but failed.
I can’t help but draw a parallel to what has been done on Oak Island. Companies formed to search for a treasure that no one seems to have seen, except, of course Doc Noss. They had drilled test holes searching for a large void that would indicate a large, underground cavern where the treasure is hidden. And in all the digging and searching an excavating, nothing of value has been found.
The Gaddis Mining Company is reported to have spent a quarter of a million dollars in their attempts to find the treasure. Another seven thousand was requested by authorities at the missile range for reimbursement of Army funds spent in support of the activities.
As with the Fiege expedition, nothing was found that would suggest that any gold was hidden there and nothing of interest was learned in the sixty days of the Gaddis Mining Company operation. No one seemed to have worried that there was nothing detected to suggest a large stash of metal inside the mountain. If nothing else, it would seem that something would have been detected if there was as much gold and other metals hidden in Victorio Peak.
|Victorio Peak looking toward the east. Photo copyright by Kevin Randle.|
It was during this same period that the Department of the Army asked Ova Noss to sign a consent document allowing the Army to search. What it said was that she waived all rights to sue the Army or the government for “alleged unlawful taking and withholding of her personal property.”
Ova Noss’ attorney, Phil Koury, thought this was a bad idea for her, but she had already signed the document when he learned of it. Koury asked, “Why would the Army insist on such a waiver? It was an indirect admission that there had been unauthorized intrusion into the Noss Cavern by military personnel; so it was deemed necessary to eliminate Ova’s right to resort to litigation to recapture the gold bars.”
There is, of course, and alternative explanation that makes as much, if not more, sense. No actual proof had ever been presented that gold was stored in Victorio Peak. Only Doc Noss had ever claimed to have seen the real treasure. Only Noss had ever brought out any of the gold bars. True, Fiege had claimed to have seen the gold, but the bars were covered in dust, and he admitted that he felt sick at the time.
It would seem that the Army was attempting to guard against the real possibility that once a cavern was opened, that meaning any cavern, nothing would be found in it. Then Ova Noss would believe that the Army or the government had beaten her to the cave and “stolen” the treasure that she believed belonged to her. It would make no difference if there had ever been gold there or not. It would make no difference if the story was a myth or not. Ova Noss would file suit and the Army would be nearly defenseless to protect itself from those claims.
Ova Noss, however, was making some money on the treasure story. Various investment groups, convinced that there was a treasure hidden somewhere in Victorio Peak, would buy a portion of her rights to the treasure. They would then begin to try to force the military to allow them on the missile range to search for the gold.
In 1973, for example, a syndicate from Salt Lake City offered $150,000 for an interest in her rights. They would pay $25,000 immediately and $5,000 a month. They wanted fifty-one percent of her interest but were negotiated down to forty-nine percent.
This time there was a hint of real treasure. One of the men, identified as John Walton, according to Koury, said that he had seen twenty-two gold bars himself and it was estimated they were worth about six million dollars. This was, of course, before the price of gold exploded and in today’s mark, they would be worth many times the six million, if they existed.
Ova Noss received the $25,000 but there were never any monthly payments. Koury eventually notified Walton’s attorney that the failure to make the required payments nullified the contract. The attorney could shed no light on why the payments had not been made.
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