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Chris Gholson

Grenades, Toenails & Search Coils - What's Next?

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Hi All,

 

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever found with your metal detector??? That was the question I was asked last night at my lecture with the Mesa Gold Diggers. A group of us were standing around shooting the breeze about our detecting experiences. Of course the usual questions came up such as, what’s the biggest nugget you have ever found? What are the most nuggets you’ve ever found in a single day? What’s the deepest piece of gold you’ve ever hit? Then someone asked, “What is the weirdest thing you have ever dug up while detecting?”

 

Hmmm, good question – what was the weirdest thing I’ve ever found? I had to really go back into the ol’ database to answer this one. Could it have been the empty money clip, the pair of eyeglasses, an old skeleton key, or the top half of an exploded grenade? No, not weird enough. How about the toenail clippers I dug out of a bedrock crack at Rich Hill? No, still not unusual enough. Ahh, then it hit me. Okay fellas, here is a story for you and it is absolutely true.

 

About four years ago while out hunting along the eastern flank of Arizona’s Bradshaw Mountains just outside of Cleator, I made quite possibly the most unusual discovery of my entire detecting career. I was working a juicy little hillside gully picking up a heap of lead and the occasional nugget. As I reached the lower end of the gully it made an abrupt turn and then emptied out onto flatter ground. The quick change in direction had caused a large sand and gravel bar to form towards the inside of the bend. It looked like a good spot for gold to drop out, but then again it also looked like an excellent place for trash to deposit as well. Normally I would have passed and continued working the beautiful exposed bedrock, but on this particular day I was feeling a bit more adventurous and decided to wade through the rubbish in hopes of snagging a bigger nugget at depth.

 

As I came within about 3 foot of the bar with my coil the machine started to give off a distinct down signal. With each step I took the signal got louder and louder. Eventually it was to the point of a virtual overload. Just as I figured – the bar was full of trash! In fact, this target seemed be at least several feet in length. “Probably a rusted metal pipe, or a big strand of barbwire,” I thought. I had already come this far and committed myself to digging the thing out, hoping that it had protected any potentially “good” targets beneath. I scratched away about of foot of gravel and she really started to scream. Then something really strange happened. As I clawed at the soil with my fingers I hit upon something that almost felt like plastic. I few more quick sweeps with my hand and there it was right in front of me – a search coil!

 

What in the world was a coil doing buried in this gully? I grabbed hold of it, but it would not budge. I latched onto it with both hands and really gave her a tug. To my absolute amazement an entire metal detector emerged from beneath the soil! It was an old Minelab GT 16000, and from the looks of it the thing had been lying in the ground for some time. The handle and shaft assembly where unlike any I had seen before and where obviously a homemade creation. The machine was in really poor nick, but what an incredible and unusual discovery. I had actually detected a detector!

 

On my way home from the goldfields I stopped by to see my friend Richard Doherty at his prospecting shop in Rock Springs and show off the days find. When I pulled the GT out of the back of my truck he stared at it intently then began to laugh. “You won’t believe this, but I know who that machine belongs to,” he said. “I’d bet that display case of nuggets in the window that this is Bud’s detector.” A few moments later Richard was on the phone and I could hear him chuckling out loud. He appeared from the shop door and said, “Well, that machine is definitely Bud’s. It went missing from his garage about 2 years ago and he hasn’t seen it since.” The next morning we met at the Rock Springs café and I returned the machine to its’ rightful owner. He was so excited just to have it back in his hands, even if it would probably never work again. The only thing we could figure was the someone stole it from the garage, took it out to the hills, became frustrated when they didn’t find a few pounds of nuggets in the first hour, and tossed it into the gully.

 

There you have it, the weirdest thing I have ever found with my metal detector – and it’s 100% true. Certainly not your typical target, too bad I couldn’t have traded her in on a 3-foot long nugget! :D How about hearing from someone else. What’s the weirdest thing you have ever found???

 

Chris Gholson

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Hello Chris,

Mine is pretty disgusting to say the least.

I was up detecting the hillside back towards 3 lb patch and got a signal so as the pic went into the ground the dirt removed easy and the next thing I know out comes a bloody rag (Kotex) on the end of my pic, needless to say I dug no further to find out what was giving the signal . :blink:

 

Mike

 

AZ4AU

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That’s a wild story Chris, how’s this for an eerie tale!

 

Years ago we were camped with some friends about 80 kilometres out of Nullagine, not far from Mozzie creek. My mate is a real guts ache when it comes to gold, so after tea off he trots swinging his coil like a turbo-charged whipper snipper (lawn trimmer). Frieda and I plus his wife stayed in camp like sensible normal human beings. We could hear him out there crashing into things, clunking his coil on rocks and scaring poor marsupials which clattered off in a state of fright.

 

Anyway about an hour goes by, when all of a sudden he stumbles into camp looking like he has seen a ghost. "What the hell is wrong with you" I ask, but he can't talk. It takes probably five minutes before he can settle down enough to tell us he found a signal out there somewhere and that he thinks he has exhumed a dead body. This really gave us the heebie jeebie’s, still gives me goose pimple thinking about it all these years later. Suddenly the peaceful night is no longer so peaceful, all the shadows seem to be lurking just waiting to grab one of us. Finally I get up the nerve and say "We better go and have a look at it I suppose, if it is a body we'll have to go get the police.”

 

Surprisingly he was able to lead me straight back to the spot (it turned out to be very near the camp), the ladies were calling out to confirm if everything was alright (they were scared too, too scared to accompany us and too scared to stay in camp). As we were walking over to the scene I asked how he knew it was a body. He said he’d heard a good signal and had just started to dig when all this decomposed matter came out of the hole along with the leg of a pair of overalls. Apparently it was a metal button on the overalls that had given the signal. I asked if it stank, and he replied that it had a real funny stench, earthy but not putrid.

 

Putting the torch onto the hole when we arrived revealed a horrible putrefying mess that could only be one thing, a deceased person! As far as I was concerned it was a dead body, stink and all. Trying not to gag I grabbed the end of the overalls and gave a big tug; the rest of the clothing came out of the ground with a horrible sucking noise. Getting the torch I saw a large white looking object in amongst the rags, "Christ it’s a human skull, what are we going to do!"

 

Moving the rags around a bit with the toe of my boot, I was able to shift some of the stinking ooze away from the skull to get a better look. Then I started to laugh my head off, I laughed and laughed and laughed! My mate thought I had gone bonkers and was just starting to line me up for a smack in the mouth, when I recovered enough to inform him there was nothing to worry about.

 

"Nothing to worry about!" he says "We have a dead body on our hands here and you say nothing to worry about!" The girls are nearly in hysterics by this time calling out into the pitch black checking if we are OK. "It's all right" I reply "nothing to worry about", and then turning to my mate I positioned him so that he could see. There in the light of the torch was the disgusting unmistakable shape of a BLOODY OIL FILTER!

 

Some bugger had dug a hole in the ground and let all the oil out of the sump of his vehicle, then when finished had dumped the rags he was using and the spent oil filter into the hole as well, covering it all with dirt. My poor mate was a mess; I was a mess from laughing. We returned to camp to have a much needed cup of coffee and to reassure the poor girls everything was alright. Getting to bed early that night was out of the question, when I did finally get to sleep I dreamed of dead men with oil filter shaped skulls oozing black viscera, moaning and groaning from the bowels of the earth!

 

© Jonathan Porter 2003

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That was a hilarious story Jonathan,you realy have a talent for writing!

 

Regards...Bob

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Jonathan,

 

What a riot - absolutely hilarious! It's funny how the mind can start playing tricks on you, especially at night. I can only imagine how you guys must have felt. Almost like the Twilight Zone episode when the cowboy goes to the grave of his arch enemy on a dare. His knife falls from its' sheath and pins his coat to the ground. Poor bugger thinks the dead guy has reached up from the Earth and grabbed hold of him and has a heart attack on the spot!

 

Speaking of body parts, a buddy of mine back in High School made a rather digusting discovery in the desert. He was out hunting when he came across something that resembled a shoe. Turns out it was a shoe, but a leg was still attached to it - nasty! :blink: He called the cops, but I don't think they ever found the rest of the body. Can't say I envy his find!

 

Chris Gholson

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