Chief John Wabasis' Lost Treasure still waits unclaimed in his secret burial spot. Many have searched by day and with lanterns at night within the confines of Wabasis Lake Park and Campgrounds, the ancestral home of Wabasis and family. Men with glistening eyes don't come as frequently, but when they do come they bring the most sophisticated metal detectors and small digging tools. Some bring flashlights, lanterns and shovels hoping to find the lost cache that someone else missed.
Anyone who has ever dragged out metal detectors for any length of time knows that no matter how expensive the unit you still find lots of junk. Treasure hunting isn't for everyone and certainly not for couch potatoes who suddenly go wild over something they saw on TV. Treasure hunting can be exciting, but do some homework whether buying metal detectors or researching possible treasure cache sites. Treasure hunting is an excellent hobby for those who need to get outdoors and exercise, but it can also be physically challenging depending on what it is you seek. Beachcombing is wonderful to take in the sights of beauty - not just coins, but sea girls and boys, too, but do it from behind sunglasses dark enough so the girlfriend, wife or husband doesn't catch you staring distantly too long.
Treasure hunting can be an exhilerating sport that pits machine against man. Having good treasure hunting equipment and vehicles means little if you aren't physically capable, too, to handle the rigors of walking, climbing and digging getting your hands dirty. Be aware, too, the fact that it is important for you to be current on tetanus shots since you will encounter many rusty nails, metal, etc. Not everything a metal detector finds is worth money at a pawn shop or artifact swap meet. For most relic hunters it's a never ending battle to find something that others missed in a park. Depending on where modern age relic hunters prospect go to find artifacts it is important to understand that some sites require the hunter to show respect; namely old battefields and cemeteries. Tread carefully on cherished ground. To thoughtlessly litter or disgrace the landscape is nothing short of desecrating hallowed ground especially if that ground has been stained by human blood from dying soldiers and Indians. Indian cemeteries and graves are hallowed ground. Act human and tread lightly. It is when we get caught up in the excitement of the hunt that we sometimes get careless and forgetful.
Be wary of your surroundings while you listen with detector headphones. Be careful where you step because some of the biggest finds are where you don't expect them. Wabasis was a smart, jovial Indian, who listened to his own gut feelings when traveling. It wasn't until after his death in May 1863 that incoming settlers; farmers and lumbermen began to hear about Wabasis' lost treasure at Wabasis Lake. For more than twenty- four years they couldn't fathom what Wabasis had done to local Indians to make them so mad as to banish him for life to live at Wabasis Lake. Not all Indians hated Wabasis - just those who claimed Wabasis was stealing their treaty monies, but these were those Indians that were not recognized as worthy by the Great Chiefs and Indian superintendents. The Indians were required to maintain certain standards of which Chief Mucktasha didn't abide by, but rather scorned both government and incoming settlers.
Most treasure hunters search by daylight, while some of the most nocturnal use metal detectors, EMF recorders and infrared photography hoping to find a ghost hovering above or in the vicinity of a treasure cache. Hunting for ghosts is not for the squeamish or those afraid of paranormal activity. Ghost appearances do turn off relic hunters and there are those treasure hunters that have hunted for Wabasis treasure who say he protects the treasure. Even after Wabasis' death the Indians who searched for the lost treasure report Wabasis' spirit haunted their best attempts to locate the gold and silver cache. His spirit's energy field won't tempt you into hunting longer, and so, too, he won't give you the key to finding his treasure.
"All of us have an energy field (magnetic) within us... (or that surrounds of every being). Ghosts are energy forces left behind. The main reason for a ghost's existence is a traumatic or violent death. The spirit stays behind to continue doing what it did when it was incarnated in a body, replaying the death scene, perhaps in a robotic way, or resolving some conflict at the time of death," said Norm Gauthier, founder and director of the Society for Psychic Research.
Do ghosts exist? Wabasis' ghost reportedly exists? It's been seen in the Wabasis Lake Park on dark nights. Rarely is a white ghost form seen in moonlight, but those who report they've seen his spirit are sure he protects the treasure cache from those lantern holding treasure and relic hunters. Wabasis' spirit legend has deep roots acquired from those who have searched in vain and found nothing. Just because you've never seen the treasure doesn't mean it never really existed and just because you've never seen Wabasis' ghost does it doesn't it mean it doesn't exist. Wabasis' ghost, the spirit of his dead body continues to rise and haunt the living who search for his treasure or could it be just the foggy mists of Wabasis Lake hovering above the trees on cooling nights?
Spirits can be good or evil. Ghosts have been on earth since the days when Brutus and Cassius plotted the assassination of Caesar and Brutus was later haunted by Caesar's ghost (44 b.c.) as he was making battle plans against Anthony and Octavian (Augustus when emperor). Brutus was sitting alone in his tent when a spirit of horrifying gigantic proportions with a pale, emaciated face startled him saying 'I am your evil spirit' and said, 'You will see me again at Philippi'. This evil spirit Brutus saw again the night before he died on the battlefield at Philippi. The Holy Bible is no stranger to ghost sightings for even Job was nerve-wracked when a ghost appeared in front of him in which he said "Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake... as the spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up.' He might have seen the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit.
Paranormal researchers believe those who die violent deaths leave in imprint on localities caused by strong emotions experienced. The spirit or ghost is seen as a echo of the past that can last for years or centuries. This is why ghosts are associated with sightings where there has been a lot or misery, violence and murder. Wabasis lived all three threats for twenty-four years so theoretically his spirit was recorded somewhere in space and those who say they've seen his ghost have fallen into a momentary time-warp, which allows those who've seen him a quick glimpse of his past (pre-recorded on film). Want to find Wabasis' treasure?
Simply get some infrared film and EMF recording equipment and enjoy the park on the darkest of nights. His ghost has never been described as evil - just haunting those who search for his possible treasure cache of gold and silver. Wabasis was killed in Section 5 of Cannon Township and his spirit today hangs out in Section 29 of Oakfield Township (Kent County) Michigan. Wabasis might have died seven miles from Wabasis Lake, but unknown if any sightings of his ghost or spirit exist in the Leach Swamp region of Cannon Township and Barkley Creek glacial canyon in Plainfield Township. Unknown is where he hid the bulk of his treasure between Michael Smith's residence near the mouth of the Rogue River to where Wabasis was killed.
What physical feature existed in the 1840's that still hasn't been found today? That I believe is the key to finding Chief John Wabasis' Lost Treasure. Is it lost in Leach Swamp or Barkley Creek region. The stream's headwater is Lake Bella Vista. Maybe it's your time as a treasure or relic hunter to skirmish with Wabasis' ghost.
As a steward of history it is important to keep the history of our area and the people who live there ALIVE for the generations to follow. Legends never die, but sometimes legends get so big it becomes hard to understand what is factual or fiction. Whatever you do show some respect for the dead and study hard and take the time to reason with others and listen with a straining ear what others report. This concludes "The Legend of Chief Wabasis' Lost Treasure."