Pennsylvania Treasure Hunters Sue The FBI Over Civil War Era Gold Discovery – And It Definitely Sounds Like They Have A Case!

By on January 12, 2022 in ArticlesEntertainment

Attention @NicolasCage, I may have just uncovered the plot of the next "National Treasure." I'm happy to write the screenplay. All I ask in return is an Executive Producer credit and 5% of the gross revenue points on what will surely be a massive blockbuster. DMs are open…

Step into my Delorean and travel with me back to the summer of 1863.

In the preceding year, Confederate General Robert E. Lee had been on a brutal win streak, with crushing victories at the Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

Lee's rampage made the Union Army Generals nervous. The Confederates were wracking up victories in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

At some point just before the July Battle of Gettysburg, the Union Army became extremely concerned about the vulnerability of a large cache of gold that was being stored at an outpost in the town Wheeling, West Virginia. If Lee was successful at Gettysburg, they would never be able to protect Wheeling.

According to legend, the cache of gold consisted of between 26 and 52 gold bars, each bar weighing 50 pounds.

Assuming it was 52 gold bars, that's 2,600 pounds of gold. At today's rates, a single pound of gold is worth $21,476. Therefore, 2,600 pounds would be worth approximately…


The Union generals would sleep much sounder if that gold was sitting safely in the vaults of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.

So in the weeks before Gettysburg, Union Army Generals sent a team of soldiers in Wheeling on a very important mission. Their mission was to transport that large cache of gold bars – by Wagon train – from Wheeling, West Virginia to Philadelphia.

Below is what their route would look like today if mapped on Google:

Back in the summer of 1863 the direct route you see above would have been dotted with Confederate brigades for basically the entire journey. So, following orders, the soldiers set their course due north from Wheeling.

Their plan was to head north of Wheeling towards Pittsburgh. They would make the journey through the thick woods of the Allegheny National Forest in northern Pennsylvania then shoot down to Philadelphia via Scranton and Allentown.

We know the shipment left Wheeling. That's the dot on the far left of the blue line in the map above.

We know the shipment made it through Pittsburgh.

According to legend, the shipment disappeared in a tiny unincorporated community in northern PA called Dent's Run. Here's a map showing the walking route between Wheeling and Dent's Run:

Fast Forward 100 Years

Over the last few decades, countless treasure hunters have been drawn to the woods of Dent's Run hoping to locate a literal treasure trove of long-lost Civil War gold bars.

Two of the most-determined treasure hunters are a father-son duo named Kem and Dennis Parada. Kem and Dennis operate the appropriately-named "Finders Keepers" treasure hunting outfit.

Using sophisticated high-end metal detectors, Kem and Dennis have dedicated their lives to finding this treasure. And believe it or not, they may have actually found it.

One fateful day back in January 2018, one of their metal detectors "lit up like crazy," as they would later describe to the Associated Press.

Perhaps they were trying to be good, patriotic citizens (but more likely because they wanted to follow all proper procedures that would ensure their right to the gold) the Paradas alerted the FBI to their potential find.

The FBI then hired a third-party company to perform an underground scan using a device called a gravimeter. According to the Paradas, the government's scan indicated there was indeed a large metallic mass with the density of gold just below the surface. The Paradas would later claim that the gravimeter detected much, much, more than 50-ish gold bars. They claimed that the government's scanner detected a mass that indicated 7-9 TONS of gold.

There are 2,000 pounds in a ton. So if it was 9 tons, that would be 18,000 pounds of gold. A single pound is worth $21,476. So 18,000 pounds would be worth…


Three months after their initial find, on the morning of March 13, 2018, the FBI called Dennis and Kem back to the site to watch the excavation. In legal filings, the Paradas would later claim that the FBI assured them that they could watch the entire excavation. Unfortunately, the agents forced them to stay in their car, which was parked fully out of sight of the spot where a backhoe spent the next six hours digging.

In the afternoon, the Paradas were finally allowed up to the excavation spot where they watched the digging proceed for one more hour. At 3pm, the digging was called off by an agent supposedly because the temperature had dropped, the sun was setting and the team was hungry.

Dennis complained to the agent that they were only three feet away and there was at least two more hours of adequate sunlight. The agent shut it down.

What happened next would soon become the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by the Paradas against the FBI.

According to the Paradas, on the second day of the dig they were once again forced to sit in their car for the first 5-6 hours of digging. In the afternoon they were apparently escorted up to the excavation site where they were greeted by what they claim was a large, empty hole.

According to Kem Parada:

"After my years of experience here using equipment, there was something here, something here of value, some kind of precious metal. And whatever it [was], it's gone now. And that's what I want to get to the bottom of. What was in that hole?"

Kem and Dennis sulked away feeling certain they had been robbed.

But this story is not over.

Not surprisingly, the failed excavation was the talk of the town. One of those townspeople, a woman named Cheryl Elder, soon came forward with two shocking claims:

#1) Remember how the digging on that first day supposedly stopped at 3pm because it became too cold and the team was hungry? Cheryl claimed that she heard what sounded like a backhoe and a jackhammer going strong until AT LEAST 2AM. She would later claim that the noise was loud enough to keep her awake which was frustrating because she had to be at work early.

#2) Cheryl also claimed that after Dennis and Kem sulked away defeated on the second day of digging, she saw a half-dozen black SUVs pull up to the site. Elder says she witnessed these SUVs pull-up next to some ATVs and transfer something from the ATVs to the SUVs.

And if you think Cheryl is just spinning a tale, there's more evidence of the FBI's shadiness.

Another neighbor, this one a local mom named Heather Selle, claims she was getting her kids ready for school on the morning of the second day of digging when she spotted a "convoy" of FBI cars speeding passed her house. Included in this convoy?


Fast Forward to the Present

For several years after the March 2018 dig, the FBI staunchly claimed that they came up empty. Yet, at the same time the FBI has been suspiciously resistant to providing information on the dig.

In addition to a lawsuit, the Paradas filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the federal government which they hoped would force the FBI to come clean. At first the FBI claimed it had NO FILES AT ALL related to the dig. Then, wouldn't you know it, after being ordered by the Department of Justice to conduct a more thorough investigation… of their investigation… the FBI suddenly claimed YES it had lots of files on the dig, but they were exempt from public disclosure. After being pressured further, the FBI finally admitted it had more than 2,400 pages of records and 17 video files related to the dig but that it would take many years for them to be able to make them public.

Thou doth protest too much…

After a request to expedite the FOIA request was just recently denied, this week a lawyer working or the Paradas released the following statement:

"There's been a pattern of behavior by the FBI that's been very troubling… From the outset, it seems as if the FBI is doing everything it can to avoid answering the question of whether they actually found gold."

Look, if the government keeps dragging its feet, I think we all know who needs to step in and solve this mystery once and for all. That man's name is Nicolas Cage.

Did we make a mistake?
Submit a correction suggestion and help us fix it!
Submit a Correction