Skip navigation

Category Archives: Emily Blogs

Blog posts by Emily about Apache Junction lore.

Okay, I can practically hear Morgan’s eye-rolling from here. And Abby might even be a little annoyed at this topic. But I’ve got a duty to cover any and all things with this. And it has been a suggested theory, albeit one that basically everyone has ignored, that the energy of the mountain might have something to do with our missing girl. And by energy I mean these things a lot of people out here seem to believe in called vortexes.

I’ll give you a minute to get your laughs out. Vortexes are a huge part of the New Age culture out here. Thanks to crystal shops like the ones practically blanketing Sedona up north. But I’m giving you another thirty seconds to get your chuckles out before we continue…

Time’s up.

So, let’s start ley lines since they’re more broad. What are these suckers? Well, they’re basically like invisible alignments between places of geographic importance. For example, several manmade monuments might sit along a straight ley line several to hundreds of miles apart. One more concrete example is in England where a ley line is said to run through the ridge of Malvern Hill, through several natural springs, and into a well. It doesn’t sound that impressive, but it’s believed that these alignments follow a spiritual energy and our ancestors knew something about that.


So what about vortexes? These are believed to be pockets of energy that can be the result of magnetism in ley lines. The really hardcore believers look at vortexes and think of them as places where the laws of physics won’t apply because the energy is that intense. Obviously that makes, like, zero sense given the Hawking definition of our universe means nothing can break the laws of physics (which is the reason backwards time travel isn’t a thing). But, if we humor this idea for a minute, many people believe vortexes can also be portals to another place.

This might have a little more grounding in reality, weirdly enough. There’s this thing called the many worlds interpretation that sounds like total science fiction, but a lot of scientists actually believe it’s possible. Basically, think of that episode of Doctor Who, “Turn Left” when Donna turned right instead of left and this whole other crappy alternative reality happened as a result. That’s the butterfly effect, that says one decision can alter the course of history. The many worlds interpretation says that there exists an infinite number of universes where you’ve made every choice you possibly could. If you got Qdoba for dinner last night there exists a world where you made the infinitely better choice and got Chipotle instead. Or McDonald’s. Or didn’t eat. Or maybe you died. For every option in life, there exists a version of you that took it.

So, our vortexes. Right now, it’s not possible to interact with these alternate realities (though some sci-fi writers think black holes might be a way to access them). But let’s say for a minute the gravitational effects of vortexes were true and it’s because there’s some kind of tear in spacetime (I know I sound super high right now guys), then it might be possible to find yourself trapped somewhere familiar but not the same at all.

Am I saying Rose got sucked into an alternate dimension through a ley line vortex? No. But I’ve given you the backstory on the more historical stuff, it was time to get a little out there when looking at theories.


So, at a certain point in history, you can say “okay, this is the thing that put this on the map.” There’s certain stuff that just wouldn’t be remembered today if that one thing hadn’t happened. Like the 20th century frenzy over Anastasia possibly surviving the Russian Revolution because one woman in 1921 came forward claiming to be her, and a slew followed. For the Lost Dutchman’s mine, and perhaps all the Superstitions, that one incident is the disappearance and tragic end to Adolph Ruth in the 1930s.

Adolph Ruth was an experienced hiker, not unlike our Rose, and was a well-known treasure hunter, capitalizing on the remnants of the Gold Rush era. The story begins with Ruth’s son, however, back in 1912. Ruth’s son, Erwin, was a lawyer who offered legal advice to a man named Pedro Gonzalez, who, in return, told Erwin about the mine and gave him to heirloom maps to the location as Gonzalez claimed maternal descent from the family. Erwin passed it on to his father who took great interest in another conquest for lost treasure in the wilderness.


In the early summer of 1931, Ruth, elderly and walking with a cane, set out on a two week journey into the mountains to follow the map. Ruth met many oppositions to his trek from friends, noting that at 66 years old and somewhat handicapped, it was a perilous feat. But, ever the adventurer, Ruth journeyed on. Two weeks passed and there was no sign of Ruth (is this starting to sound familiar?). Several search parties were dispatched but no trace of hims turned up as summer ended and fall brought nothing as well.

And then December of that year hit. A human skull was founded in the Superstition Wilderness. It was examined by respected anthropologist Dr. Ales Hrdiicka who compared the skull to Ruth’s dental records and several photos.

He positively id’d the skull as Ruths. The chilling part though, is what Dr. Hrdiicka discovered that did not match any picture of Ruth: two bullet holes in the head from a high powered rifle. The doctor noted that the wounds indicated the weapon had been fired at point blank range. By January 1932, it only got more bizarre.

More human remains were discovered that month, the body missing its head. The scattered remains were identified as Ruth’s by the personal effects and the pins in the hip which matched the ones Ruth had that forced him to walk with a cane. Also discovered was a journal and a pistol, with no missing shots. The map was missing. Within the journal was contained a handwritten message on Ruth’s checkbook claiming he found the mine along with the message: “Veni, vidi, vici.” Ruth’s death was ruled accidental, the result of heat or hunger, but that didn’t satisfy many in the town, especially his family.

What we can conclude from this is that Ruth did not kill himself, despite one assertion by authorities that that was the case. Even if Ruth had someone managed to reload his own pistol after shooting himself in the head (to account for the lack of missing rounds), it doesn’t explain that the wounds match that of a much more high powered gun. And how exactly did he go about removing his own head after doing so? To this day, most reject the theory that he died of any sort of suicide or natural cause in the desert. The story made national news after that and remains a mystery of history.

So, what do we glean from this? At the very least, people have been willing to kill for their belief in this mine. I have no doubt Ruth was murdered, like prospectors of old, for gold. We also have the most recent story of the Peraltas from a somewhat direct source thanks to Pedro Gonzalez. This fabled map, is still nowhere to be seen almost a hundred years later and the mysterious murderer, still anonymous. But Ruth’s story strangely preludes Rose’s own–at least I hope it doesn’t end the same way.

This is something that should probably also be a two parter, all things considered. But, the Peralta Stones are separate and we’re still on a Lost Dutchman kick. So, this week’s post is all about the stranger and headache inducing clues we’ve got staring back at us from the bowels of history. I’m not even sure you could classify these as “clues” since they raise a lot more questions than they answer, but with the advent of Google Maps and Siri, there might be some new ways of going about it. After all, I doubt Waltz could have predicted GPS or our ability to take photographs from the sky. Many of the clues listed below are my own abridged version of Waltz’s own clues and notes from previous treasure hunters.


So…here we go. It’s daunting to even start so I’m sorry if this post is coming off a little choppy, but it’s not like I’m getting points taken off for articulation….

Clue #1

It lies within an imaginary circle whose diameter is no more than 5 miles from Weaver’s Needle, which is its center. Go to the first gorge on the south side of the west range until you find a trail that will lead over the ridge and down to Sombrero Butte. Follow the canyon to the north until you hit a tributary canyon, along the canyon you will find a cave. If you hit Red Hills, you’ve gone too far. A second entrance is farther up the canyon from the cave, identified by an old house made of Spanish stone.

Clue #2

You can watch the military trail from the mine, but you cannot be seen from the mine.

Clue #3

The westward setting sun will shine into the shaft and upon the ore.

Clue #4

From the mine you can look upon Four Peaks and see it as one.

That’s about it for the clues I was able to translate into human speak. A lot of the stuff is repetitive. The hardest part is trying to make sense of it the way Rose might have. Though it’s not difficult to figure out words like canyons and gorge, it gets tougher when that’s laced in with counts of paces up from “gulches” and pinnacles. Mostly, I’m posting this in the hopes that someone else out there maybe has a better understanding than me. I’ve considered bringing it to Jenn, Rose’s hiking partner we interviewed but it’s hard not to feel silly chasing stories like this.

But Rose did seem to believe this stuff, which makes it important. So those are the most decipherable clues I could gleam from research. Not even help from the curator at the Lost Dutchman Museum could really lend a hand in figuring this out. But, what else is a century old mystery for? So if you think you can crack this code at all, give us a shout, otherwise look for our next update and my next blog post!


Hey there! So, last we left off our legendary Dutchman had passed away at a ripe age after catching a serious bout of pneumonia thanks to a freak flood in the valley. But, like all good tales, that turned out to only be the beginning. During his life, Waltz was said to boast of his hidden gold in the desert, so much so that he was often followed by would-be thieves. Well, he took the secret of the location to his grave…or did he?

Waltz had one confidant at the end–well, technically two. Julia Thomas was an innkeeper at an establishment Waltz frequented and was with him in his final days. It is said that it was to her and Dr. Walker, who attended him during his illness. He did this in the form of a crude map and cryptic clues (which we’ll delve into later). Turns out Julia and the doctor could not make sense of the clues and map and ultimately sold the artifacts for $7 and let the matter become lost to the pages of history.

And then there’s the soldier’s story. Depending on the source, this story could be dated before the time of Waltz’s death or after. But the story goes two army troopers came into town proclaiming they’d found a wealthy vein of gold in the desert. When their story was challenged they ventured out into the desert to relocate the gold and return with proof. However, they missed the mark on the returning part and were never heard from again. This is one of the earliest accounts of people gone missing in the hunt for gold, accounts that will only get stranger and stranger as time goes on, I assure you. Now, Morgan has sent me notes and insisted I include her own little tidbit below…

The story of the two soldiers is another account stolen from other parts of the southwest. I know it’s super tempting to think of this story as true, wanting to believe in the spooky aspects, but it should be noted stories like this were common elsewhere. In fact, the story of the soldiers is actually related to the true story of Dr. Thorne I talked about before. Like a lot of rumors, it got twisted and morphed to match the narrative and is now taken as fact. I hate to sound blunt about it, but it didn’t happen. But, as we’ve said, Rose probably believed it did. So it’s important.

…Anyway. There’s something of a gap in history after this. Without Waltz there to tell people all about his mine, and with the clues passed around and followed to no avail, the mysterious gold in the desert became a relic. And with the end of the American gold rush, diehard interest in getting rich quick off gold began to die off. In my next post we’ll examine the very cryptic and crazy clues a bit more closely since they’ll require some serious explanation (if there is any truly to give).

But, that’s the bulk of the original story of Jacob Waltz, our Lost Dutchman. From this point on, things only become stranger and stranger, so check back for more guidance down this crazy rabbit hole.

I’m back folks! And I’m here with another two parter but this time it’s going to be all me on both. This is the one all our posts have been working towards: the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine. For those of you who live elsewhere in the world, you should know this legend is like the lifeblood of this place. It’s one of those things that I don’t remember being told but I’ve just always known about. It’s so much part of the culture that museums and parks were named after it. So whether you think the story I’m about to tell you is real or not, the thing to remember is that a lot of people do. And a lot of people are willing to do crazy, crazy things because of that belief. So, here we go.


So, we know mining in this part of Arizona was a thing since the 1700s. We also know that the region had a penchant for the occult thanks to the spiritualism of local tribes. Also, the mountain just looks stupid weird, right? Like it juts up and right out of the earth in a freaky way. But that aside, this is where German-born immigrant Jacob Waltz enters the story (“Dutchman” is kind of a misnomer by modern standards). He landed in New York earlier in the 19th century and after some business ventures, decided to make his way out west to chase gold, like everyone else. We have documentation that he became a citizen during this journey somewhere in the American south/midwest region.

That’s another thing too, this part of the story is factual. There was a real Jacob Waltz who owned land in this part of Arizona and claimed to have struck it rich. Whether his tales are to be believed is the another story.

So, Waltz gets to Arizona and begins working in mines. His prospecting didn’t lead to much real success and he bought a farm around the Phoenix area. The story goes that he bought land, once owned by the Peralta family, where he and his partner, Jacob Weiser, stumbled upon a rich deposit of gold. Two different versions of events exist for what happened next. In one tale, Waltz murders his partner for his share of the gold and to protect the location of the mine. In another, Weiser dies of natural causes, leaving Waltz as the only living person with knowledge of the gold. Either way you slice it, Waltz ends up solo on this gold venture.

So, for a couple years he’s mining, coming into town, bragging about it, and heading back out to do it all again. Naturally he gets followed a few times but to no avail as those who went after him into the desert never returned. Another point of historical fact is how Waltz died. In the 1890s there was massive flood in the valley and Waltz’s farm was among the many places it hit. As a result, he contracted pneumonia and died shortly thereafter.

Now, this is one of those stories where the pieces become more and more famous after the death of our protagonist in question. With the exception of the possibility of murdered gold snatchers, Waltz lived a fairly typical and even boring rags to riches story that many people hoped to have happen during their hunt for gold. It’s what came after his death that truly put this mine and all its treasure on the map–or, maybe not? Puns. Anyway, that’s the topic for my next update. See you then!

Hey there guys. It’s me. Likely branded your local party pooper. But I’m the other person on this team of cultural research and I’ve got my own take on some of this stuff. I know it’s really easy to romanticize it, because who doesn’t love stories of cowboys vs. indians and buried treasure and mysterious, marauded bodies out in the desert? It’s great stuff for movies and books, but we’re also dealing with real life. Not to get super preachy on you, or anything. But Rose is still missing and, yes, I’ll admit the fact that she believed this stuff does make the fictional stories relevant, but I don’t want to run the risk of sensationalizing this and losing sight of things. So, in an effort to make the playing field as factual for our efforts as possible, here’s the real story behind the Peralta family.

First of all, you should know that there’s actually been at least four accounts of “Lost Dutchman’s Mines” in the southwest. Two of them, including ours, is said to be in Arizona. One’s supposedly in Colorado and the other is located in California. All huge mining areas during the 19th century. The very first Dutchman’s Mine was located over a hundred miles from the Superstition Mountains in Wickenberg where supposedly the miner was found dead in the desert next to his saddlebags full of gold.This could be the origin of the folktale, and it’s not the only outstanding legend that probably inspired the others.

Dr. Thorne, who was mentioned in part 1, apparently never existed. At least not the way people think. There was never a “Dr. Thorne” in the army at any point during the 1800s but there was a private practice Dr. Thorne in New Mexico who claimed to have been kidnapped by Navajos. During his captivity, he claimed they took him to a rich vein of gold. When he got free, he told the story to anyone who would listen and several people went looking for this gold vein but never found it. That’s a story I believe. And likely one that inspired the tale of our fictional Dr. Thorne.

Now, about those Peraltas. You heard me mention on the podcast that the only known Peralta family wasn’t even in Arizona, and, for the most part, that’s true. The governor of New Mexico was Pedro de Peralta and likely the source of the name. We have no historical evidence to back up the claim that the Peralta family had any kind of land grant from the king of Spain or that they ever owned and/or settled land in the area of the Superstitions. Miguel Peralta existed but his mine was in California and the mining rights Peralta owned in southern Arizona were sold off to someone else when the mine became unprofitable.

So, who were the Peraltas? No one, really. Various people with the last name Peralta did exist but not at the same time or same location. And this is a perfect example of how folklore gets built from fragments of truth. It’s like when you’re at camp, telling a story about some serial killer on the loose and everyone fights over “No, I heard it this way.” Which is all well and fun, but we’ve got a missing girl. What she believed is important, but keep your feet planted on the ground because we’ve got a shot at finding out what happened. Don’t know if Emily’s going to let me back on her blogs after this, but you’ll see (hear) me on the podcast soon. Adios pals.

So this week we’re switching things up a bit…yaaaaay….Anyway. As a way to fulfill her duties as our other cultural expert, Morgan will be making a guest appearance in the second half of this blog post to “balance out” the content. Which I am totally for and support because local legends and American folklore can be tricky stuff and we could use all the angles. This post’s topic du jour is the family that started it all: the Peraltas.

For those of you new to this story, and those of you super familiar with it, the Peraltas are a name that will likely be intertwined with any Lost Dutchman story. They were a prominent family in the area generations before our fabled Dutchman ever set foot on the shores of America and held onto their wealth with a fantastic mine. The family came from Mexico and settled in the area that would one day become Apache Junction and the Superstition Wilderness. And there, they struck gold. Now, I mentioned before that the geographic make up of the mountain makes it unlikely that these enormous veins of gold could truly be there. However, the area surrounding the mountain and other places in Maricopa County are well documented sites of gold deposits (see my previous mention of known mines in the area). So, one theory I’ve come up with, and many others have as well, is that the mine and the Lost Dutchman’s were not one in the same. Most people, at this point, reason the Dutchman’s mine must have been a cache hidden somewhere in the mountain.

Regardless, the Peraltas seemed to have stumbled onto something bigger than themselves when they began discovering gold. The story goes that Miguel Peralta, patriarch of the family, stumbled upon the gold and began mining to return it to the family’s ancestral home in Sonora, Mexico. One day, he and his men were ambushed and massacred by local Apache natives on a site that is known to this day as Massacre Grounds. Miguel escaped and the Apaches then buried the gold and hid the location.


This has lead many to believe the land and the gold it hid were not only known to the local tribes, but revered and protected. Some refer to accounts that the Apaches believed the mountain to be the home of a thunder god and therefore, sacred.  Another account is that of Dr. Thorne, an army doctor who healed a wounded Apache and, as reward, was blinded and taken into the wilderness and inside this vast cache of gold. He was told he could take as much as he could carry before he was blindfolded again and dropped back in town now several pounds heavier in gold. He was never able to relocate this mysterious cave of wonders.
Eventually the Peralta family sells the rights to this land to a wary immigrant named Jacob Waltz, and returns to Mexico. From there, the story takes another turn entirely. But, that’s information for later updates. For now I’ll hand it over to Morgan, who’ll give an opposing (read: cynical) version of these events and the histor

Welcome back friends! Hope these blogs end up being helpful and not a bore. But there’s got to be some Willow types out there itching for the research side of things, right? This week might not prove my point though since it’s going to be less of a campfire story and more of a history lesson. As every red blooded American has had shoved down their throat since grade school: there was this thing called the gold rush. And that’s our focus this week because the gold rush plays an interesting part in the history of these mountains.

Most of our European ancestors actually came to this country long ago on some voyage to look for gold (when they weren’t looking for religious freedom). Jamestown, Virginia, our first town, was the result of a gold hunt and much farther down south, Cortez famously tore the native empires apart trying to find the fabled City of Gold. Little did he know all he would have to do is wait a couple hundred years for rumors to circulate that the largest cache of gold in North America was hiding somewhere up in these mountains.

Alright, time for some nerd shit (don’t tell Eve). You ready? Gold is actually thought to have been born during the collision of neutron stars and basically as old as the solar system, if not older. I’m sure this expensive star dust origin doesn’t dissuade the people who come to town claiming to see aliens in the sky, but scientifically speaking, stars are the result of some crazy nuclear reactions in the heart of stars, not unlike us. Pretty much all the gold that was here at the beginning probably sank right down and into the earth’s core. The flakes and motherlodes people still find today were brought here by asteroid impacts. Now, later we’ll talk more specifically about our fabled “mine” but you should know that the geography of the mountains suggests it’s likely a cache. Gold was present in this area, hence the Mammoth Mine which produced the ghost town of Goldfield. But the mountain itself would be hard pressed to produce as much gold as legend says.

So, the first deposit of gold in the United States was found in the late 18th century in Virginia. And just at the turn of the century on a farm in North Carolina, gold hysteria hit critical. Johanne Reidt found a 16 lbs gold nugget on his property and after being made aware of its value by a local jeweler, started a mining operation on his farm. Fast forward another forty years after Reidt died wealthy and the California Gold rush began in 1848. Jumping back in time again, gold mining in Arizona goes back to the late 18th century with the Spanish settlers setting up shop. But most of the miners answered the call of gold in California and left in the 1840s. Some notable mines that popped up in our area though were Mammoth Mine, Vulture Mine, and Oatman Mine. It’s all very Stand By Me.



Why was this important? Well the lust for gold is not only going to figure into some later blog posts. Obsession has been the fall of many in this wilderness, as we’ll see soon. How does this relate to Rose? Well where she was hiking and why could very well be related to some things I’ve got coming up on a local mine I haven’t mentioned yet…Clues for that will be coming up but what I can point out is Rose’s direction would likely be in tandem with Weaver’s Needle, which figures heavily in a very interesting local legend we’ve hinted at and will be diving into soon. This outcropping literally sticks out like a sore thumb and very likely was a focal point in Rose’s hike.

Hey guys! Today, I thought I’d introduce you guys to some of the older mysteries surrounding this area. Everyone has their local lore, but this stuff is ancient. And I mean like antediluvian old.

First things first: the science. Basically the dating in this big old hunk of rock goes back almost 20 million years to a time of crazy violent volcanic activity. As a result of the composite of the mountain, most people believe our fabled goldmine would actually have to be a cache of gold, but that’s something we’ll go into detail in later. But, the first people to attach crazy stories to this place were the Pima tribe who lived in the area.

One of the big ones that comes from the Pima peoples is that the top of the mountain housed a gaping hole that was not only the source of all the winds of the world, but the entrance to their underworld. Not spooky enough for you? Well try this creepy coincidence on for size: the Pima tribe, located thousands and thousands and an entire ocean away from the peoples of the Cradle of Civilization, had a flood myth. Most of us will know the idea of a “flood myth” from stories in the Bible and a forced reading of the Epic of Gilgamesh sometime during your high school career.

Flood myths are another animal entirely and traverse basically every known culture. There’s even some level of historicity with them, at least in a case by case sense. Whether or not these great deluges actually happened or not is a discussion for someone else’s podcast, what I have for you is a tale fairly similar to the one we all know of dear Noah but with a much more macabre ending. This story takes several faces of the years and has, unfortunately, likely been the victim of some cultural appropriation and unfortunate tampering but here’s the bare bones of how it went down:

Like all flood myths, the peoples in this were being punished for their actions or lack of fealty to their deities. As punishment literally rained down, a group of Pima tribe members made an escape to the top of the Superstition Mountain. Once up there, trapped by the risen water level, they were petrified–whether this was a punishment for escaping the flood or a tribe shaman did it sometimes changes on how people retell it. But from this petrification, they became the dangerous looking rock pinnacles on the top of the mountain. Take another look at them (or your first look, depending on where you live) and you might find they actually are strangle statue shaped.

Beyond this there is also talk of the Apache thunder god taking up residence in the mountain, among other stories. Essentially, this place lives up to its name. Which is going to make it some serious fodder for crazy media junkies but, it’s better to get the weird out before we delve into the real, right? Check my blogs for more supplemental updates and thanks for reading (and listening!)


Hey there listeners–or, readers, in this case. I’ve decided to put together some supplemental information that didn’t have time to make it into our updates/would have bored you to tears to listen to for 45 minutes. So, these might have a chronological order or a logical order. Or it might just be relevant to what we discussed that week.

As promised, my inaugural blog post is going to provide you some statistical information on Rose’s current state based on hiking norms and all that jazz. It’s not exactly the most riveting stuff, but that will be coming later. For now, I wanted to provide you with some background info that would have bored you to tears on the podcast. Who knows, maybe it’ll bore you to tears now, but you can’t say I don’t keep my promises.

First things first, a girl in her late teens needs to be drinking nine cups of water a day. And that’s if you’re doing nothing but binge watching Netflix all day. Rose is a super athletic person which means basically everything going in her body is being used up a lot faster than the rest of us couch potatoes. But, if she was a good hiker, which we know she was, she likely prehydrated so she didn’t have to lug heavy amounts of water with her. Generally speaking, during the hike, you should be consuming a pint of water every hour and then finish off with a liter of water at the end of the day. Especially in the Arizona desert. Based on the police report of items missing from her room, she did take enough water bottles to account for that much water.

Rose was prepared, so we can (hopefully) rule out dehydration. Rose brought supplies and likely knew of any watering holes in the area of her hike. She was also an expert at detoxifying the water since she pulled out this fancy kit one time in chem class that boiled water twice as fast as an open flame. She was something of a nut about things like that. But it worked in her favor.

As for food? For a normal hike, 2,000 calories a day is the suggestion. But for more mountainous terrain, like the Superstitions, you need to bump that up to 4,500. This is especially true for someone like Rose whose metabolism probably runs at double the normal rate for a teenage girl. Again, according to the manifest of her items, she had several packs of granola, trail mix, and chia bars with her. Like I said, this girl was not just going for a Snow White walk in the woods to hang out with some wildlife, she took this seriously.

Why is this important? Well I’m building you a character profile on our missing girl since in the next several blog posts we’re going to be departing a focus on Rose to look at the wilderness she’s found herself lost in. That’s a history that’s going to take several weeks to map out for you in detail. So for now, that’s some info on what we know about Rose’s preparations for her hike. Next time I’m on here I’ll begin your newbie’s history to the very ominous world of the Superstition Mountains.