Buried Treasures in North America Cocos Island Part 2

About buried treasure in North America, history of Cocos Island, account of previous searches and locations.


Cocos Island

A German named August Gissler, using an old treasure map which supposedly had belonged to pirate Benito Bonito, searched Cocos from 1889 to 1909. Though he found no treasure, he did find clues--for instance, a stone carved with a K (for Keating) and an arrow pointing to a hollow tree under which there was an iron cable attached to a hook. By the time Gissler gave up his search, he was so enamored of Cocos that he settled there and started a palm plantation and a trading business with whalers. He liked to greet treasure hunters by saying, "My name is Gissler. I assume you have come to look for the treasure!"

In 1897 Adm. Henry Palliser, commanding two English cruisers, put into Wafer Bay and spent three days treasure hunting. Palliser and his 330 sailors so damaged the island during their search that the Costa Rican government lodged a formal protest with the British. The admiral later got hold of Keating's treasure map and tried again, but with no success.

Between 1902 and 1920, there were several expeditions to the island--30 Australians, some of them mountain climbers; a millionaire and a treasure hunter, with a 100-man crew, who abandoned their search when the millionaire was hit by a flying rock during a blasting operation; several shareholding companies, at least one of which was a swindle.

Allegedly, pay dirt was struck in 1932 when Col. J. E. Leckie, using the services of an electrical engineer and a metal detector called a Metallaphon, unearthed some of Bonito's gold. This stimulated a wave of treasure hunting on the island, much of it heavily capitalized and highly mechanized, but nothing more was found.

Through the years, many famous people have visited Cocos, primarily to hunt for treasure--among them, British racing driver Sir Malcolm Campbell, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Count Felix von Luckner (who said he had a Cocos Island treasure map tattooed on his right thigh) aboard his ship Sea Devil. In 1888 Dr. Etienne Deschamps, an American dentist, tried to locate the treasure with the help of a medium, whom he murdered; he died in the electric chair for his crime, muttering "Cocos Island."

How to Get There: Cocos Island lies 400 mi. off the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica at latitude 5 deg. 32'57" N and longitude 87 deg. 2'10" W. It can be reached only by chartered boat.

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