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The deserts of the American southwest have long been the discussion of lost mines and buried treasures. For hundreds of years, man has scoured the desert floor searching for any signs of the countless tales of lost riches. Some have claimed to have found the elusive treasures but only to be lost again, while others grew old or died trying. None the less, the legends live on as they are passed down from generation to generation. Maybe you will be the lucky one...

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Treasure of the Mission San Diego De Alcala
By Richard Taylor

From page 57 of the March 1976 issue of Lost Treasure magazine. Copyright ©1976, 2001 Lost Treasure, Inc.

“Dadre! Come quickly! The Indians are upon us! They are attacking the mission in great force! We must hide the church treasures in the tunnel before they reach the chapel!”

The Spanish soldier continued to shout as he beat on the heavy wooden door, attempting to awaken the’ priest inside. Angry shouts and cries from the approaching mob echoed into the dark cobblestone courtyard of the Mission San Diego de Alcala as Padre Luis Jaime arose slowly from his hard bed, rubbing the sleep from his tired eyes. Walk-ing across the room, he opened the heavy door and an armed Spanish guard rushed in.

“Come quickly, Father! We must get into the tunnel before they reach the chapel!”

A blazing torch burst through the window and the soldier hastened to stamp out the flame. In the courtyard below, a battering ram crashed into the heavy chapel door.

By then the gaunt padre had fully awakened and stood calmly, survey-ing the situation below his darkened window.

“I cannot understand what has happened,” the priest said quietly. “Surely it must be a mistake. Our people have no cause to rebel. I will go down and speak with them. God is with me and they will be calmed when they see me coming.”

“No, Father!” the soldier pro-tested.

“Yes, my son. I can take care of this. They will not harm me. When they see me coming they will know and remember that I have shown them God’s love and under-standing. They will cease this re-bellious action.”

Crashing through the heavy wood-en doors below with their log bat. tering ram, the shouting, frenzied Indians poured into the chapel, their blazing torches lighting up the laby-rinths of its domed interior.

Offering boxes were torn from the entrance. Statues of the saints set with precious gems were sent crashing to the floor. Precious gold and silver candelabra, chalices and other treasures were being hastily removed from their places at the altar when the Padre appeared in his robes.

“My sons! Stop in the name of God!” he cried, his arms out-stretched in supplication.

As if it were a signal, the howling mob converged upon him, beat-ing him mercilessly, then thrusting their knives and spears into his body again and again. Now he lay quiet, a mass of torn and bleeding flesh.

Thus, on November 5, 1775, the Mission San Diego de Alcala, moth-er of the great California mission system, was attacked and destroyed by a large force of rebellious Indians. This attack brought about the mission’s first martyrdom and gave birth to vet another lost treasure story.

After thoroughly looting and ravaging the mission and killing those of the small garrison of Spa-nish soldiers who couldn’t hide or escape, the Indians set fire to the great mission. It blazed into the night, a huge, fiery monument to their anger at having been subdued by the Spanish and their strange religion.

Satisfied that they had at last rid themselves of their hated oppres-sors, the Indians returned to their village.

The morning sun was rising, a blood-red ball in the east, when they trudged wearily back to their homes, laden with exquisitely wrought gold and silver treasures from the mis-sion.

Perhaps because they knew the great value that the Spanish put up-on such items, they quickly buried them somewhere near their village.

At this point the story ends. Al-though the San Diego Mission has been rebuilt several times and has become a popular tourist attraction, no one has ever recovered the price-less gold and silver treasures taken from it during the Indian uprising of 1775.

If you would like to try your luck, take Highway 94 from San Diego to a place called Jamul. There, inquire about the direction to a small hamlet called Jamacha (Ham-a-sha). This is the approxi-mate site of the Indian village of the 1770’s.

Excellent pottery and other arti-facts have been found in this area, but no ancient church treasures have been discovered yet. Perhaps with a good detector, a lot of patience, some good luck and proper authori-zation, you or I will find the long lost treasure of the Mission San Diego de Alcala—

-Richard Taylor