Written by Luke and Laura Higgins
This months meet the detectorist will be a Q&A with Patrick White , founder of a metal detecting group with a difference – The Vulcan Treasure society plant treasure for others to find !!
Archmd: Patrick, First off could you tell us a little about yourself ?
PW: I was born and raised in the deserts of Southern California. As a young child in Palmdale I remember the SR-71 Blackbird creating sonic booms almost everyday at school. We moved to Indio where I graduated high school then joined the US Navy as an Aviation Ordnanceman and served in F-14 Fighter Squadron VF-103 where we crossed Mommar Quadaff’s “Line of Death.” in 1986. I somehow wound up in central Texas.
Archmd: Wow, so a military man , do you think that was some of what attracted you to detecting ? Here in the UK a lot of veterans seem drawn to metal detecting ?
PW: Here is the truth Luke and Dave. I wanted a hobby that would get my butt off the couch and away from video gaming and something that had the possibility of being lucrative so I chose gold prospecting but quickly realized it was really hard work I was not prepared for but while researching equipment for prospecting metal detectors kept popping up because they are related so I invested in a Fisher Gold Bug and was terrified at the thought of someone seeing me with it and asking questions.
Archmd : So when did you get the idea for the VTS , what or who was your inspiration ?
PW: Here is a wild story. I don’t want to go off on a tangent but I also don’t want to leave out important details. Before getting my detector I looked for a social group to teach me how to use it because it was intimidating and found a local club called The Tri-City Gem and Mineral Society that has monthly meetings, I was so busy I forgot to attend the first meeting I could have attended.
I live next to a school for tiny people where there is an attached playground so I was on the corner and had put down a quarter, dime, nickel and penny to see what numbers I got. It was a beautiful cool Sunday morning with no cars and no people. However while trying to make sense of the target ID numbers a man came walking by who I would get to know as James Kelley and as he was walking by said “It’s been a long time since I swung one of those.” We talked for a while and as he talked my mind began to race because he was talking about gold and when he did his face lit up. He was a prospector and was telling me about testing minerals for gold with chemicals. I began to wonder if this man was an angel because what are the odds I would meet somebody like this so I looked at him carefully to see if he might be some kind of ghost. He told me that metal detecting was the greatest hobby you could possibly have and that once I found my first silver coin I would be hooked. I told him hey I found a group The Tri-City Gem and Mineral Society that is having a meeting in 2 days and he says ” I am a member.” Now you tell me what are the odds of the only guy on the street being the most important guy I needed to find. He mentioned he attended this school when he was a little boy before going on his way. I then turned my metal detector back on and went inside the playground and got what sounded like a good tone so for the first time ever I broke out my digger and pulled up a 1992D dime. I could not believe it and smiled as I looked around for him but he was gone. To be honest I half expected to show up at the meeting for them to tell me James passed away back in 92 but he was there and is an incredible prospector.
Archmd: wow , thats a great story Patrick but what first inspired you to put treasure in the soil as opposed to taking it out as Metal Detectorists generally do ?
PW: I was at a local park here in Temple Texas when it became obvious someone had been there digging with a metal detector and I was a little ticked off thinking the area had already been fished out when I thought of an idea to ensure a place is never fished out, whenever I took an item from the ground I thought I could start to replce it with something else !! So that’s where the idea hit me but to be honest I entertain the possibility of guidance from angels and I will tell you why. I got this urge out of nowhere for no reason and went with it. Then months later I hear about the man Forrest Fenn who buried a treasure box worth 2 million somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. That is no big deal but the fact is he is from Temple Texas and lived a few hundred feet from where I buried my first treasure box and where his parents and family are buried.
Archmd: The Forest Fenn story is an interesting one. I love the idea, as detectorists we take from the land potentially leaving little for younger generations to find. VTS seems a little like geocaching for detectorists , Are you aware of geocaching and could you ever see yourself incorporating a GPS element to VTS ?
PW: At the moment I don’t have a place for geocaching but that could change. For now I rely on the unwitting dupe who thinks he has found a quarter but pulls up a box instead. I am open to any creative ways people want to contribute to the VTS.
Archmd: So what happens when someone finds the treasure, How do you know they have found it ?
PW: I put in a card in the burial box with the details to the Vulcan Treasure Society facebook group and ask them to post a report on the treasure they find with photos. One difficult thing to deal with is that some scumbag might find your treasure and never report it. I am still learning how to deal with this.
Archmd: What kind of things do you bury Patrick ? Is it expensive to plant VTS treasures ?
PW: As far as the expense here is the real deal, I have nothing of any real monetary value however I have things that are better than a clad quarter and those are the things I bury. Just take 2 steps back and think of all the bull squat you have dug up or all the stuff you have that you really have no use for. In one way or another it just does not make the cut but for someone else might be the best thing they have ever found. So please just gather all that stuff and scatter it like a bird all over the place.
I guess the bottom line is to just plant what you can stand to part with which can be a difficult thing because we have been conditioned to gather but so much of what we gather is like dust that needs to be cleared out. If all you can afford to plant is a crusty zinc penny then do it, just don’t forget the note asking the finder to post to VTS. I have only started what I hope will grow into something much greater where people will eventually dwarf my burials. I have little money or actual treasure I just make it look good with a nice camera and so can you. I look forward to the great things others will post.
Archmd: As well as being the founder of VTS you are also a part of the GDA team , quite an honour , how long have you been with GDA for ?
PW: I discovered Global Detection Adventures while researching metal detectors found Dave DiNatale’s on the V3i and the rest is history. Perhaps the greatest group of metal detector enthusiast’ of all time.
Archmd: You have already had numerous burials in the United States as well as Germany and the UK , Where do you see the Vulcan Treasure Society being in say 5 years ?
PW: To be honest in the end I have unrealistic hopes for the VTS. I want this to be more than an American movement and I want it to become more than global. If you watch my video you will see I want this to spread to every planet in our solar system and beyond.
While I can only attempt to explain it there is something huge happening and you need to go way back in my timeline on facebook to see it all but it is there. Go ahead and see for yourself.
Archmd: Patrick its been great to speak to you and I know I for one will be making a Vulcan Treasure Society burial sometime soon here in the UK !
to visit The Vulcan Treasure Society Facebook group.