The Lost Phantom Mine

1. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is where this story occurred. Metal Detecting within the boundaries of this Park is absolutely forbidden without the express written consent of the Park Rangers (I don't know of anybody that has gotten permission to Metal Detect in the Park). BE VERY CAREFUL! If you are caught metal detecting in any of California's State or National Parks, your metal detecting equipment can be confiscated, along with your vehicle. The state can also obtain a search warrant for your home and/or business (because they are working under the assumption that you are stealing archaeological treasures), where they can and will take your computer and any research materials to assist them in making a case against you. DON'T BE THAT PERSON!

borrego badlands

This place looks rugged enough in the photograph, but if you can imagine that you can drop a three story building into many of these canyons, and have it disappear, RUGGED takes on a whole new meaning!

There is a lost placer gold mine somewhere in the area between Borrego Springs, Salton City, and Ocotillo Wells, Ca. The mine is absolutely known to have existed. It was worked by the local Indians long before the Spanish arrived in the area. It was still producing nuggets on demand (for one person) into the early 1800s at which time it was lost after the death of the one person who knew its location. The kicker is, it may well be guarded by a spirit! It comes in the form of an eight foot tall skeleton carrying a lantern in its' chest cavity. Really?

It is actually just a story about associations. The supposed area of the Phantom Mine is in the same locality the Skeleton was supposedly sighted in. No real connection, other than locality, but here goes:

The first man to relate the story was named Charley Arizona. He was prospecting in the area between Borrego Springs and Ocotillo Wells. One night he was awakened by his mules snorting and jumping around nervously. When he went out to investigate, he first heard what sounded like bones being clacked against each other. Then, he saw what he described as a skeleton, about eight feet tall, that had a bright light inside its' rib cage. He stated that it was shambling along awkwardly, all the while the rattling of its' bones could be heard. It walked over a small hill and disappeared.

Several instances of this type have been reported in the last hundred and thirty years. It has even been shot at (it didn't even seem to notice the shots).

Is the mine there? Absolutely! Is it guarded by the ghost of some long lost prospector? Who knows? What I do know is that the Borrego Badlands are named that for a very good reason! It is a desolate place that is VERY difficult to find your way in, and VERY easy to get lost. The temperatures in the area range from low freezing nighttime to 120 degrees plus in the day. If you do choose to go in there, YOU HAD BETTER take along MORE than enough water. Also bring along GPS, ropes, a signalling mirror, a loud whistle, and a ghost catching kit ;-)

This is the mine that Adolph Ruth was looking for in the 1920s, before he went to Arizona and was murdered in 1931 while looking for the Lost Dutchman. He wandered off one evening, fell down into a gorge, and broke his hip. It was only by the grace of God that he just happened to find the first car to drive into Borrego Springs that drove him into town. I wouldn't count on being that lucky if I were you!