Does the Lost Custer Treasure Really Exist?

Thanks to all of you who watched me on last week’s America Unearthed episode, “Custer’s Blood Treasure.” Recently, I’ve seen a few questions bouncing around about the exact nature of the lost Custer treasure, including several from my friend Scott Wolter himself. Some people have even doubted its existence all together. So, I thought I’d add in some details from four primary sources as well as some reporting by Kathryn Wright, who originally broke the Custer treasure story back in 1957. Perhaps this will shed a little light on the exact nature of the Custer treasure as well as how the story originated.

Where did the Custer Treasure Come From?

Two Moon Vault and supposed storehouse of lost Custer treasure (Constructed by W.P. Moncure)

Two Moon Vault and supposed storehouse of lost Custer treasure map (Constructed by W.P. Moncure)

The lost Custer treasure consists of about four months back pay given to the Seventh Cavalry more than a month prior to Custer’s last stand. Contrary to popular opinion, it wasn’t stored in a pay wagon and taken to the battlefield but rather, was carried into battle by the individual soldiers themselves. After the fighting was over, the Indians stripped the dead soldiers of their belongings, including their various monies. This hoard of harvested pay and other trinkets, in total, makes up the lost Custer treasure.

So, the first question we must answer is whether or not there is evidence that Custer’s men were paid prior to the Battle of the Little Bighorn. And fortunately, there is. On June 22, 1923, Sergeant John M. Ryan, who was with Major Reno during the battle, published a first-person narrative entitled, “The Narrative of John M. Ryan” in the Hardin, Montana-based Tribune. In it, he states that the Seventh Cavalry marched out of Fort Abraham Lincoln on May 17, 1876. Upon arriving at the Big Heart River, they camped for two days. Around that point, probably on the evening of May 17 itself, “the paymaster joined us under an escort of infantry, and enlivened the boys’ hearts with about four months pay.” Ryan goes on to state that, “if (the paymaster) had paid at the fort some of the troopers would undoubtedly have deserted.”

Was the Lost Custer Treasure really worth $25,000?

So, we know the men went into battle carrying a substantial amount of back pay. But how much money were they really carrying?

Ryan adds no further details about the evening. But according to Private Peter Thompson, “the blood sucking sutler (arrived) with his vile whiskey, rotten tobacco, and high priced notions. It was plain to be seen that he would reap a rich harvest on this expedition.” So, we know the sutler (who went by the name of John Smith) took at least some of the pay given to Custer’s men, including the payment of old debts, when he left the next morning.

So, how much was left? As far as I’m aware, the sole account on this score belongs to Sergeant Daniel Kanipe, who was also with Major Reno during the battle. On April 27, 1924, Kanipe wrote a first-person narrative entitled, “The Story of Sergeant Kanipe, One of Custer’s Messengers” for the Greensboro, NC-based Daily Record. In it, he states what he saw after the battle had concluded: “In all this pile of men, not a one had a stitch of clothes on. The Indians had taken it all. They must have gotten about $25,000 in money off of them, too, for we had just been paid at Powder river camp before we left on the campaign and there had been nothing to spend a cent for.”

So, that’s the origin of the “$25,000″ figure that is bandied about amongst treasure hunters. Admittedly, it’s highly undependable since it’s based on one soldiers’ estimate of how much money his fellow troops collectively carried into battle fifty years after the fact. How does that $25,000 hold up under a little bit of scrutiny?

We know 268 U.S. troops (including scouts) were killed at the battle. In order to match Ryan’s $25,000 figure, each deceased soldier would’ve had to be carrying about $92 apiece, which breaks down to an average monthly pay of about $23 (this assumes none of the deceased had spent money with the sutler). It also excludes the value of any personal objects or additional monies carried by the troops into battle.

According to Private Charles Windolph’s book, I Fought with Custer, he was paid $13 per month in those days. Of course, that reference is from 1947, a full 71 years after the fact. But it matches up with what privates were paid at the beginning of the Civil War so it’s probably pretty accurate. Officers, of course, made much more money than privates. For example, a Lieutenant Colonel (General Custer’s official title) would’ve pulled in $181/month at the beginning of the Civil War. So, at first glance, an average monthly pay of $23 per deceased soldier seems reasonable to me. And if that’s the case, the treasure could very well have been worth $25,000 in total.

Was the Lost Custer Treasure just Currency? Or did it include Gold & Silver Coins?

So, we’ve established the lost Custer treasure existed. And we’ve also established that it’s value in 1876 dollars could’ve been around $25,000. But what form of currency did it take? Was it paper currency? Or were there gold and/or silver coins as well?

Ms. Kathryn Wright is the reporter who first investigated the story of the lost Custer treasure. She sought out an answer to the currency question in her original article, Indian Trader’s Cache, which was published in the Winter 1957 issue of Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Here’s what she had to say on the subject: “Not all of it was in currency. Army regulations covering 1876, which were checked for me by Raymond P. Flynn, archivist at Washington, D.C. at the request of Chief of Air Staff General Nathan F. Twining, show that the troopers were paid in gold, silver, and U.S. treasury or bank notes.”

David Meyer’s Analysis

Well, that’s all for now. I hope this clears up some of the many questions regarding this interesting treasure-based side note to one of history’s most infamous battles. Unfortunately, as is often the case when dealing with treasure stories, the details are murky and open to many questions. This is especially true since various primary sources crafted their reports decades after the Battle of the Little Bighorn had ended. Regardless, it seems likely the Seventh Cavalry carried a fairly substantial amount of pay into battle on June 25, 1876. Although the exact amount is in question, it very well may have matched Ryan’s estimate of $25,000. And that pay was probably in numerous forms, including gold, silver, and currency.

The bigger question is what happened to the hoard after the battle. And that brings us to the mysterious envelope which W.P. Moncure had once stored inside the Two Moon vault (pictured above). In her article, Wright reported seeing a couple of sentences typed on the envelope about its contents, including this one: “Hiding place and location of money and trinkets taken from dead soldiers on Custer battlefield.” Assuming the envelope still exists, it may be the only known reference to the final whereabouts of the lost Custer treasure.

 

David Meyer’s Wild West Coverage

Custer’s Blood Treasure (America Unearthed)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

David Meyer at "Custer's Last Stand"

David Meyer at “Custer’s Last Stand”

Date: 12/03/2014

Bestselling author David Meyer makes television debut on Custer’s Blood Treasure

David Meyer teams up with the #1 hit show America Unearthed for Custer’s Blood Treasure.

On Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 9pm EST, bestselling action/adventure author David Meyer will team up with world-renowned forensic geologist Scott Wolter in the world premiere of Custer’s Blood Treasure, the latest episode of H2’s #1 hit original series, America Unearthed. David Meyer is an adventurer and creator of the Cy Reed Adventure series. In Custer’s Blood Treasure, he helps Wolter unravel the mystery behind a legendary treasure dating back to one of America’s most infamous events, Custer’s Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

David Meyer is the international bestselling author of the Cy Reed Adventure series. Praised for relentless pacing and thrilling, twisty plots, his books—Chaos, Ice Storm, and Torrent—have taken readers on unforgettable journeys into ancient ruins, secret bases, and lost worlds.

Official Website: http://www.DavidMeyerBooks.com

Follow David Meyer on Social Media:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GuerrillaExplorer

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DavidMeyer_

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David Meyer’s Wild West Coverage

End the Fed: Cyprus vs. the Federal Reserve?

"Federal Reserve Board with bankers.

“Federal Reserve Board with bankers. Front: Warburg; Williams; Hamlin; Delano. In rear is large group of governors and bankers.” (1914)
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

The government of Cyprus is dominating the headlines at the moment, thanks to an audacious scheme to seize the savings of bank depositors. Many Americans are aghast at the situation. But is it really all that different from what the Federal Reserve does to U.S. depositors on a daily basis?

The Cyprus Conspiracy?

Cyprus isn’t the first European Union government to find itself in financial straits. However, the approach to dealing with those straits is unique. Usually, the EU provides immediate bailout money to such countries. In exchange, those countries agree to cut costs, raise taxes, and restructure debts.

This time, the EU required Cyprus to raise 5.8 billion Euros in order to receive a 10 billion Euro bailout. In order to pay for part of the bailout, the Cyprus government is effectively confiscating money from bank accounts worth more than 100,000 Euros (roughly equivalent to $129,000). Losses on those excess deposits might be as high as 40%…or perhaps even higher.

The Federal Reserve Conspiracy: Revisted?

The Cyprus seizure is theft by government, plain and simple. Ordinary Americans may find it hard to imagine this sort of thing ever happening in the U.S. But is the Cyprus Conspiracy all that different from the Federal Reserve Conspiracy? Not at all. Here’s more from Thomas Sowell at The American Spectator:

The U.S. government is very unlikely to just seize money wholesale from people’s bank accounts, as is being done in Cyprus. But does that mean that your life savings are safe?

No. There are more sophisticated ways for governments to take what you have put aside for yourself and use it for whatever the politicians feel like using it for. If they do it slowly but steadily, they can take a big chunk of what you have sacrificed for years to save, before you are even aware, much less alarmed.

That is in fact already happening. When officials of the Federal Reserve System speak in vague and lofty terms about “quantitative easing,” what they are talking about is creating more money out of thin air, as the Federal Reserve is authorized to do — and has been doing in recent years, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a month…

(See the rest at The American Spectator)

The Comics Code: Tyranny Based on Lies?

Cover of "This Magazine is Haunted" (# 5): A typical example of horror comics that led to the War on Comics & the Comics Code

Cover of “This Magazine is Haunted” (# 5): A typical example of horror comics that led to the War on Comics & the Comics Code
Attribution: Cover by Sheldon Moldoff
Source: Wikimedia Commons

New findings shows the research that lauched the War on Comics and the Comics Code was based on omissions, fabrications, and outright lies. That’s right, Dr. Fredric Wertham was the comics equivalent of Mike Bellesiles. We like to think of scientists and academics as impartial experts, who are only concerned with knowledge. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s more on the faulty foundations for the Comics Code by Dusty Rhodes at the University of Illinois:

Behavioral problems among teenagers and preteens can be blamed on the violence, sex and gore portrayed in the media marketed to them – that was the topic of televised public hearings held by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 to address the scourge of comic books. The hearings, which resulted in the decimation of what was an enormous comic book industry, had been inspired in large part by the book “Seduction of the Innocent,” by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, based on his own case studies.

Wertham’s personal archives, however, show that the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general “played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics,” according to an article by Carol Tilley, published in a recent issue of Information and Culture: A Journal of History.

“Lots of people have suspected for years that Wertham fudged his so-called clinical evidence in arguing against comics, but there’s been no proof,” Tilley said. “My research is the first definitive indication that he misrepresented and altered children’s own words about comics.”

(See the rest at the University of Illinois)

The Comics Code & the War on Comics?

Cover of "This Magazine is Haunted" (# 5): A typical example of horror comics that led to the War on Comics & the Comics Code

Cover of “This Magazine is Haunted” (# 5): A typical example of horror comics that led to the War on Comics & the Comics Code
Attribution: Cover by Sheldon Moldoff
Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the early 1950s, a wave of hysteria raced through America. Comic books, according to the psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, were turning kids into monsters. The media, as reactionary then as it is today, demanded a Congressional investigation to (what else?) protect the children. Faced with government regulation, the comics industry created the Comics Code, which essentially ended horror comics and led to hundreds of people losing their jobs.

Today the War on Comics seems ridiculous. I wonder what future generations will think about the modern wars on obesity, drugs, etc.  Here’s more on the Comics Code and the War on Comics from The Christian Science Monitor:

In his 1953 novel “Fahrenheit 451,” named after the temperature at which paper catches on fire, Ray Bradbury painted a picture of a society beset by book-burning. In his vision, the censors didn’t bother to throw comic books on the pyre because they just weren’t worth worrying about.

Not so in mid-century America. For more than a decade, countless parents and teenagers made bonfires of comic books, reducing everyone from Captain Marvel to Archie to ashes.

It wasn’t so much Superman & Co. that drove the book-burnings, although even the Man of Steel had his critics. Instead, psychiatrists, politicians, and editorial writers feared the most extreme comic books – filled with crooks, monsters, and voluptuous women – would drive innocent children into the clutches of juvenile delinquency.

(See the rest at The Christian Science Monitor)

How well does Congress reflect the People it “serves”?

Federal Hall, where the First Congress met in 1789

Description: Federal Hall, where the First Congress met in 1789
Attribution: Steel engraving by Robert Hinshelwood (1855-1859)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

How well does Congress reflect the people it “serves” (“rules” might be a better word)? Not very well, it turns out. How else could lawyers make up 37% of the U.S. Congress, both now and in 1789? Not to pick on lawyers either…out of the 209 “businesspeople” in Congress, how many do you think are clerks, bakers, entrepreneurs, electricians, etc.? I’m guessing the answer is a big fat zero. So much for James Madison’s dream of the House of Representatives being a lower house for “the people.” Here’s more from Constitution Daily:

With that in mind, the staff of Constitution Daily compiled a comparison between the First U.S. Congress and the current one, looking at the occupational breakdown between their members. The results were, in some ways, predictable, but there were still a few surprises. (Who knew there was a comedian among their ranks?)…

Although the First Congress had a limited variety of professions, the general make up of both are relatively similar. As you can see, from the time the First Congress met, law has been a top profession; in both bodies, about 37 percent of the members are lawyers. It makes sense–the people writing the laws need to have a deep understanding of how the legal system works. But do lawyers make the best politicians?

(See the rest including the breakdown at Constitution Daily)

The Sound of a Nuclear Bomb?

On March 17, 1953, the U.S. military detonated an experimental nuclear weapons test. This test, part of Operation Upshot-Knothole, was designed to calm public fears about such weapons. The raw footage of this test was recently discovered. What does a nuclear weapons test sound like?

What does a Nuclear Weapons Test sound like?

What does a Nuclear Weapons Test sound like?
Description: Operation Upshot-Knothole, ANNIE EVENT (March 17, 1953)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

What was the Operation Upshot-Knothole Nuclear Weapons Test?

Operation Upshot Knothole was a series of 11 nuclear weapons tests conducted in Nevada during 1953. The March 17, 1953 test was called Annie. It was an “open shot” test, meaning reporters were allowed to view it. The purpose was to “calm public fears about weapon testing.”A secondary purpose was to study the effect of a nuclear blast on houses, cars, and bomb shelters. Researchers concluded people inside a car with open windows could survive if they were at least ten blocks from ground zero. They also decided a basement could protect people at 3,500 feet while the home itself could remain standing at 7,500 feet (assuming no flames).

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

You’ve probably seen videos of nuclear weapons tests in the past. Most of those are dubbed, probably with stock footage, so the detonation and its resulting noise occur at the same time.However, the speed of light travels at 671 million miles per hour. The speed of sound is much slower, just 768 miles per hour. Thus, we would expect to see the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion well before we actually hear it.

The video below comes from the National Archives. It’s the raw footage of the 1953 Annie test and was filmed about 7 miles away from the detonation. The explosion takes place at 2:37. You can see the mushroom cloud starting at 2:42. The sound doesn’t appear until 3:09, a full 32 seconds after the initial white light.

“The audio is what makes this great. Put on some headphones and listen to it all the way through — it’s much more intimate than any other test film I’ve seen. You get a much better sense of what these things must have been like, on the ground, as an observer, than from your standard montage of blasts. Murmurs in anticipation; the slow countdown over a megaphone; the reaction at the flash of the bomb; and finally — a sharp bang, followed by a long, thundering growl. That’s the sound of the bomb.” ~ Alex Wellerstein, The Sound of the Bomb (1953)

What is the Dead Man’s Hand?

On August 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok was playing poker in Deadwood, South Dakota. Suddenly, a pistol fired. Hickok died instantly. His hand at the time, “aces and eights,” has become known as the Dead Man’s Hand. But is that a legend? Or is it real?

James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok
Date: Unknown
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Wild Bill Hickok

James Butler Hickok was originally known as “Duck Bill,” apparently due to a large nose and an upper lip that jutted out from his face. Eventually, he grew a mustache and in 1861, adopted the moniker, Wild Bill.

His exploits in the Old West were legendary. He was a skilled scout and an expert marksman. He fought and killed a bear with his bare hands, suffering severe injuries in the process. He killed Davis Tutt in the first known “quick draw duel.” He acted in a play called Scouts of the Plains with Buffalo Bill Cody and Texas Jack Omohundro. Calamity Jane, the famous American frontierswoman, claimed to have married him.

In July 1876, Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane arrived in Deadwood, South Dakota via wagon train. Some say he had a premonition of sorts regarding his impending death.

“Well, as to that, I suppose I am called a red-handed murderer, which I deny. That I have killed men I admit, but never unless in absolute self-defense or in the performance of an official duty. I never in my life took any mean advantage of an enemy. Yet, understand, I never allowed a man to get the drop on me. But perhaps I may yet die with my boots on.” ~ Wild Bill Hickok to Mrs. Annie Tallent, Several months before his death, Pioneer Days in the Back Hills, John S. McClintock

On August 2, 1876, Wild Bill Hickok entered Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon No. 10. He usually sat with his back to the wall. However, the only available stool required him to put his back to the door. He sat down and started to play five-card-draw. But he was uncomfortable with the arrangement and twice, asked another player named Charles Rich to switch stools with him. Rich refused.

Dead Man’s Hand

During the game, a former buffalo hunter named John McCall strode into the saloon. He parked himself a few feet away from Hickok and drew his pistol. “Take that!” he shouted as he fired it. The bullet careened through Hickok’s skull and Wild Bill died instantly.

According to popular legend, Hickok held two black aces and two black eights at the time of his death. The fifth card, or kicker, is a source of mystery. Some claim it was the queen of clubs. Others say it was the nine of diamonds, the jack of diamonds, the five of diamonds, or the queen of hearts. Still others say no fifth card ever existed, suggesting Hickok was in the middle of drawing a new card when he was murdered.

But what about the “aces and eights” part? Is that accurate? Well, no contemporary sources exist that indicate what cards Hickok was holding at the time of his death. “Aces and eights” was provided by Frank J. Wilstach in his 1926 book, Wild Bill Hickok: The Prince of Pistoleers. Wilstach quoted “Doc” Peirce, the town barber, who was asked to serve as an “impromptu undertaker.”

“Now, in regard to the position of Bill’s body, when they unlocked the door for me to get his body, he was lying on his side, with his knees drawn up just as he slid off his stool. We had no chairs in those days — and his fingers were still crimped from holding his poker hand. Charlie Rich, who sat beside him, said he never saw a muscle move. Bill’s hand read ‘aces and eights’ — two pair, and since that day aces and eights have been known as ‘the dead man’s hand’ in the Western country.” ~ Ellis T. “Doc” Peirce, Wild Bill Hickok: The Prince of Pistoleers

This account was published 50 years after Hickok’s death. It has yet to be collaborated by any outside source.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Take

If Peirce was right, then aces and eights was known as the dead man’s hand in “the Western country.” However, newspapers from that location and period tell a different story. The first known mention of a Dead Man’s Hand, a July 1, 1886 article in the Grand Forks Daily Herald, not only disagrees with the Hand itself but also its origin.

“I was present at a game in a Senator’s house one night and saw him win $6,000 on one hand. It was the dead man’s hand. What is the dead man’s hand? Why, it is three jacks and a pair of tens. It is called the dead man’s hand because about forty seven years ago, in a town in Illinois, a celebrated judge bet his house and lot on three jacks and a pair of tens…When his opponent showed up he had three queens and a pair of tens. Upon seeing the queens the judge fell back dead, clutching the jacks and tens in his hand, and that’s why a jack-full on tens is called the dead man’s hand.” ~ Grand Forks Daily Herald, July 1, 1886

Later accounts show different versions, including jacks and eights, tens and treys (threes), and jacks and sevens. Regardless, none of these articles connect the Dead Man’s Hand to Wild Bill Hickok.

At this point, the definitive origin of the Dead Man’s Hand remains an unsolved mystery. If the Wild Bill Hickok story could be proved by contemporary sources, it would be the oldest known version of the legend. For those of you in the New York area, consider taking a trip down to the New York Public Library. That’s where Wilstach’s papers are located. Perhaps there’s some additional information in “Doc” Peirce’s letter. Or maybe, just maybe, there’s some other evidence waiting to be found. If you find anything, let us know and we’ll cover your discovery right here on Guerrilla Explorer. Who knows? You just might solve one of history’s most puzzling unsolved mysteries!

 

Guerrilla Explorer’s Wild West Coverage

Student Loans: Crisis…or Conspiracy?

Over the past few months, reports of a “student loan crisis” have erupted throughout the United States. But is this really a crisis? Or a student loan conspiracy of epic proportions?

Warren Burger: Did he start the Student Loan Conspiracy?

Chief Justice Warren Burger: Did he help start the Student Loan Conspiracy?
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Student Loan Conspiracy?

We first visited the student loan issue back in October 2011. To put it simply, the high cost of college and a difficult job market has “created a generation of heavily indebted students with few means to pay back their loans.”

Now, we have some new information to kick around. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average student holds $23,300 in student loan debt. Breaking it down, about 43% of all students have loan balances less than $10,000. The rest owe more than $10,000. Amazingly enough, 27% of eligible payers “have past due balances.”

There are two pieces to this conspiracy. First, why is college so expensive? And second, why do so many people spend so much money pursuing college degrees? We talked a lot about the first question in October. So, we wanted to focus more on the second one this time around.

Why is College so Popular?

America’s intense pursuit of college degrees in a curious phenomenon. Not only are degrees ultra-expensive, but students appear to get poor value for their money. According to Richard Arum’s and Josipa Roksa’s book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, 36% of U.S. college students show “no significant gains in learning” after four years of college. Even worse, there seems to be a mismatch between the skills acquired in college and the skills required for navigating the real world.

So again, we must ask, how did we get into this situation? Why are high school graduates spending money they don’t have in order to obtain college degrees that do shockingly little to prepare them for the real world?

The answer, in our view, is Griggs v. Duke Power. During the 1950s, Duke Power restricted black people from working in all departments except for the low-paying Labor department. In 1955, they started requiring high school diplomas for certain positions.

After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Duke Power ended its race-based hiring policies. Instead, it instituted IQ tests. At the time, black people were less likely to hold high school diplomas. They also performed worse on the IQ tests. Thus, they were selected for Duke Power positions at a far lower rate than white candidates.

I won’t go into the particulars here. But eventually, a man named Willie Griggs filed a class action lawsuit against Duke Power Company. The case made its way through the legal system. In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled against Duke Power. In doing so, it prohibited the use of general IQ tests when screening applicants, regardless of whether there was an actual intent to discriminate. In order to pass muster, IQ tests were required to be a “reasonable measure of job performance.”

“…in 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling (Griggs v. Duke Power) saying that if companies use aptitude testing to screen potential employees, they must be prepared to show that their tests are precisely calibrated to the needs of the job. Otherwise, they will be guilty of employment discrimination if their tests screen out minority workers who might have been able to do the work. Rather than face discrimination suits by the federal government, most employers started using a less precise but legally safe method of screening applicants—college degrees.” ~ George C. Leef, Why on Earth Do We Have a Student Loan Crisis?

Griggs vs. Duke Power had far-reaching impact. It largely ended the practice of aptitude tests. But companies still needed a way to screen job applicants. So, they turned to college degrees, “even for jobs that could easily be learned by anyone with a decent high school education.” As a result, college enrollments (and student loans) exploded.

“In 1940, just 10% of high school graduates went to college. By 1970, that number was at 40%. And by the 1990s, it had risen to 70%. That’s because a college degree has become little more than a ‘signaling game.’ By attending college, students “signal” to potential employers that they’re smart, hard-working, and easily trained. The ability to send that signal to employers, which was once accomplished via aptitude tests, is the sole reason that most students attend college in the first place.” ~ David Meyer, The Student Loan Conspiracy?

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

General aptitude tests aren’t perfect. In fact, they’re heavily flawed. In Griggs vs. Duke Power, it was discovered that those who’d passed aptitude tests and held high school degrees performed their jobs at the same level as those who’d failed the tests and didn’t hold degrees.

So, why don’t employers just create new aptitude tests that are “reasonably related” to individual jobs? The biggest reason is the threat of lawsuits. Even a well-crafted aptitude test could backfire in this respect. It’s far easier to just use college degrees as a screening mechanism and avoid the lawsuit risk altogether.

And that’s unfortunate. Aptitude tests hold significant advantages over college degrees. They’re cheap, quick, and can be tailored to fit individual jobs. College degrees are ultra-expensive, ultra time-consuming, and ultra-unfocused. So unfocused in fact, that the 1971 ruling should have invalidated college education screening as well.

“Recall that the problem in Griggs was that the specified requirements for job applicants were not clearly and directly related to the actual demands of the work. If challenged, could employers who have set the college degree as a requirement show that it has anything at all to do with the ‘business necessity’ of the employer or are ‘job-related’? That is very doubtful. Employers have grown to rely upon a new credential that is imperfect and probably rules out many qualified candidates. If the EEOC and the courts were to scrutinize the college degree requirement, they might well conclude that it has a ‘disparate impact.'” ~ Bryan O’Keefe and Richard Vedder, Griggs v. Duke Power: Implications for College Credentialing

The Student Loan Conspiracy isn’t a deliberate one. But the unintended consequences of Griggs vs. Duke Power have been highly destructive all the same. Many people waste years of their lives and accumulate thousands of dollars in student loan debt just to be eligible for basic jobs.

Companies will always need a way to screen potential employees. We here at Guerrilla Explorer don’t favor aptitude tests or anything else for that matter. We just think companies should be allowed to screen in whatever fashion they choose rather than fearing discrimination lawsuits. Without that lawsuit risk, however, we think many employers would switch to specifically-designed aptitude tests. Perhaps then, the Student Loan Crisis would finally come to an end.

Killing an Ancient…Vampire?

Vampires might be mythological beings. But for centuries, people from across the world have feared them. So, how did ancient people deal with suspected vampires?

How did ancient people deal with suspected vampires?

How did ancient people deal with suspected vampires?
Description: Le Vampire Engraving
Attribution: R. de Moraine (1864)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

How did Ancient People deal with Suspected Vampires?

Generally speaking, vampires are mythological creatures who feed on the blood (the essence of life) of living individuals. They’ve been scaring people for centuries, perhaps all the way back to the prehistoric era. Recently, archaeologists excavated numerous skeletons dating back to the Middle Ages. They were found near Sozopol, Bulgaria. Curiously enough, the skeletons’ chests had been pinned down with iron rods.

“These two skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice common up until the first decade of the 20th century.” ~ Bozhidar Dimitrov, Head of the National History Museum, Sofia, Bulgaria

Apparently, more than 100 similar corpses have been discovered in Bulgaria. While belief in vampires was common across many ancient cultures, individual groups of people developed their own ways of dealing with them.

Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis

Staking was fairly common, although the choice of stake and its placement varied. In this case, iron rods were hammered into the chest bones (the heart was probably the most common placement elsewhere, with the mouth and stomach being other popular targets). Most likely, the chest was chosen so the rod would deflate the corpse as it started to bloat into a vampire.

Nowadays, vampires have become a significant part of the horror genre. But many centuries ago they were regarded as much more than mere fiction…they were a horrifying reality…a reality that could only be stopped by the most extreme measures.