A Lost Girl and Lost Gold in La Paz County Arizona

Dear Readers,

Missing gold is always exciting! The mystery of the kidnapped Belle McKeever was never solved and neither was the mystery of the lost gold mine that bears her name. Read more about this weird and convoluted tale of lost and found and lost again.

La Paz County Mountain possibly the site of the lost gold mine?

The McKeever family settled down to a life of ranching in 1869 in the area which is now Gila Bend, AZ. One day Abner and his daughter, Belle, were placer mining quite a distance from the ranch, further west it would seem from the story. As the duo mined their claim, Apaches rode in and scooped up Belle and rode off with the hysterical child, not harming Abner.

Abner immediately rode to Fort Yuma to get help from the soldiers stationed there. Soldiers were dispatched and chased the Apaches. However, the Indians split up, and as a result, the soldiers were forced to split up as well. It was impossible to see which group of Indians had the girl. One detachment consisted of Sergent Crossthwaite and two privates, Eugene Flannigan and Joe Wormley. They followed the Indians northwesterly but soon lost the Indians and found themselves quite lost as well, in a hostile environment.

Food and water gave out first and then two of the horses. The three men wandered on foot in search of water. Forget about looking for the girl. They eventually came upon a spring believed to be in the Granite Mountains, part of the Harquahala Mountain, near Salome now part of La Paz County. The men were able to catch and kill small game for food. Crossthwaite was astonished to find gold nuggets while washing off in the spring. The men knew to look for a quartz vein above the spring, and found two veins. They dug into the veins with pocket knives, digging out about 50 lbs. worth of gold. The men loaded the gold on the surviving horse and set off in the direction of the Gila River, but remember, they were lost, a bad place to be in the desert around Yuma.

The return trip went badly. Once again they ran out of water. The horse collapsed and died one day before getting to the Gila River. Soon Crossthwaite was down and then Flannigan. Wormley staggered on, reaching the river where he found aid. By the time the rescue party figured out what happened and went back, Crossthwaite was dead and Flannigan near death. They found the dead horse with the 50 lbs. of gold. The gold later assayed at $50 to the ton.

Flannigan recovered but refused to return to the area. Wormley organized several searches to look for the spring and lost gold, but was never successful in finding it.

Belle McKeever was never found and the mine that bears her name wasn’t either.

Madam X sends her regards. She is still hiking the southeast trails of USA, following the trail of Mostly Harmless, that hapless hiker, that was found deceased in his tent in Florida. Read about ML here.

Thank you for reading!

Jaja for Madam X

If you like this story, read more at this great website – Legends of America

and this book:

Dig Here! By Thomas Penfield

The Legend of Tahquitz Lives On – Bigfoot or Demon?

Hello Gentle Readers,

We are venturing off our usual diatribe of bizarre desert weirdness to discuss the legend of Tahquitz up on the San Jacinto Mountains. Bigfoot, Goatman or Crazy Demon? Indian legend gone haywire? You decide.

Why are we straying off our beloved desert to go up to high country? Well, it’s because we have been receiving several unsettling reports of a hairy hoofed creature spotted in the general vicinity of Tahquitz Canyon. It seems to be something of a cross between Bigfoot and Goatman. And we are always suckers for a good Indian legend. Native Americans just know how to tell a scary story.

Tahquitz Peak on San Jacinto, Legendary Home of the Evil Tahquitz Demon


Amy from Victorville writes:

We had been hiking up on San Jacinto all day and it was getting late in the day so we were coming down. But we were still pretty high up. It was getting dusk and we were hurrying down before it was dark. My partner and I stopped for a minute to rest and drink some water when we spotted what looked like a hairy stooped over Bigfoot. No lie! We were shocked as he looked at us for about ten seconds and then sprang off on goat-like hooved feet! He must have been about 50 feet away from us but we know what we saw.

This creature was hairy and would have been about six feet tall if he had stood up straight but he was all stooped over like he was old maybe or had a deformity of his spine. I don’t know. It was weird and strange. He was making a low, guttural noise. It didn’t sound like he was happy to see us at all. I don’t know what we would have done if he had come toward us.

We hot footed it out of there after that and have not been back. Has anyone else seen this creature?


My brother and I were hiking on Mount San Jacinto in the early fall, 2020. We were trying to escape the pandemic and get some sanity by being back in nature. We were about two hours in the hike when we saw what appeared to be a bear about twenty yards away from us. So naturally, we were quite alarmed and started backing off.

It suddenly straightened up (sort of). He looked right at us with these beady red glowing eyes, making a loud, rough growling sound. It was still rather hunched over and not perfectly straight but it was big! Scared us you know what! We high tailed it back down the mountain. I don’t know what it was but it wasn’t a bear and it wasn’t human. It was pure evil.

We won’t go back without pepper spray or a gun, scared us to death. I have hiked for thirty years and never saw anything like that in my life.


What is it about an Indian legend that we love? According to the local legends of the Cahuilla, Kumeyaay, and Luiseno Native Americans of Southern California, Tahquitz is a spirit who makes his home on Mount San Jacinto. The legends vary somewhat but all seem to focus on the fact that Tahquitz is a bad spirit indeed, evil even. Most stories paint him as a devil or spirit of death who steals people and possibly even their souls. It is said that he even eats his victims up there on the mountain.

You might find Tahquitz in the form of a meteor or lightning bolt if you venture up San Jacinto. He can also be seen as a green fireball on the mountain at times.

Tahquitz Canyon is on the Aqua Caliente Reservation. It is an important area to the native people so be respectful if you go there.

Here is the Cahuilla Version of Tahquitz

Mukat, the Creator, formed Tahquitz to be the first shaman. As we know, shamans are the equivalent of physicians and healers in Indian tribes. As the main shaman, Tahquitz was to use his power for good and not evil. Tahquitz was the guardian spirit of all shamans, mentor if you will to ALL shamans, and his job was to give similar power to the Native American tribal shamans to do good and to heal.

However, Tahquitz started using this power for evil, even harming the people that he was supposed to help and protect. Naturally, the Cahuilla people were mad about this and so banished him to a canyon now called Tahquitz Canyon. Tahquitz climbed high up the San Jacinto Mountains and found a cave to live in, high up on a rock face that is now known as Tahquitz Peak.

His spirit still can be found in the canyon, sometimes as a streaking green fireball or as lightning bolts across the sky. He can be heard deep inside the San Jacinto Mountains, rumbling and vibrating, causing rock slides, and all manner of destruction.

If you are brave enough to hike the Canyon, go to the Cahuilla website and look for the details on hiking Tahquitz Canyon. It is on the reservation and you will need to pay a fee and have permission to hike there.


Well, we don’t quite know what to say about Bob and Amy’s encounter, if this was from the Indian legend Tahquitz himself, or just some hairy misfit, living out his pandemic days on the mountain.

What is your take on this? Let us know what you think and if you have seen similar stuff.

As Always Filling in for Madam X,