Did Pat Garrett really kill Billy The Kid??

After William H. Bonney escaped from Lincoln County Jail in New Mexico while awaiting hanging for the murder of Sheriff William Brady, the record will tell you that Sheriff Pat Garrett tracked the outlaw, better known as Billy the Kid (above, right), to a residence in Fort Sumner where he shot and killed him. Questions abound, however, as to Garrett’s trustworthiness and the reasons for the prompt disposal of the victim’s body. Even one of his deputies present for the shooting said that the man Garrett shot was not the fugitive they had been looking for.

When a man going by the name Brushy Bill Roberts (above, left) surfaced in Texas in 1950 seeking pardon for the crimes of Billy the Kid, the media took notice. His case was eventually thrown out by the governor of New Mexico, who agreed to meet with him. The Governor did not believe Roberts was Billy the Kid. Roberts died a short time later, reportedly ashamed by the media circus that followed his confession. Jameson, however, is one of many convinced that Roberts was the real deal. “We started out trying to prove Roberts was lying,” he says of his investigation. One by one, though, all of Roberts’ claims were eventually verified. A statistical facial recognition analysis comparing Roberts to known images of The Kid suggested that the two men were actually one and the same. Jameson says that he’s challenged the so-called “traditionalist academics” that hold to Garrett’s official account of The Kid’s death to debate him on the subject, but none have accepted thus far.

For years, every time we so much as touch a toe out of state, I’ve put cemeteries on our travel itinerary. From garden-like expanses to overgrown boot hills, whether they’re the final resting places of the well-known but not that important or the important but not that well-known, I love them all. After realizing that there are a lot of taphophiles (cemetery and/or tombstone enthusiasts) out there, I’m finally putting my archive of interesting tombstones to good use.

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up and meet John Ringling, the “ringleader” of the famous Ringling Brothers. Though there were five brothers that comprised the business (there was also a sister and two other brothers not in the industry), John was the star of the company show, traveling to potential tour towns, booking appearances, and getting the stars aligned for those famous striped tents.


Business was good, and by 1889, the Ringlings were doing well enough to take the show on the road via railcar instead of wagons, reaching a much larger audience. In 1907, the brothers bought their rivals, the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Things continued to go great for the Ringlings until 1911, when Al Ringling died. Otto followed in 1916, and Alfred in 1919, leaving just two brothers to manage their ever-burgeoning empire.


Sometime in 1924, John and his wife Mable began construction on a 30-room beachfront mansion in Sarasota, Florida, where they had been wintering since 1909. When it was completed in 1926, it was deemed Cà d’Zan, “House of John” in a Venetian dialect. Less than a year later, Charles Ringling died, leaving John as the sole showrunner. Even so, things went well for another three years. John added the American Circus Corporation to his holdings, which made him the owner of every traveling circus in America, including Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. That purchase was completed on September 10, 1929. Bad timing for John—the stock market crashed in October.


Like many others, the Great Depression took its toll on John’s finances. Although the circus industry had made him very rich, Ringling had just $311 in the bank at the time of his death in 1936. Knowing that creditors would seize his estate after his death, Ringling willed the entire property and his impressive art collection to the state of Florida. The ploy worked, and John and Mable would be pleased to know that they now eternally rest on the grounds of their beloved mansion. In fact, they’re still there—at least according to some accounts. John sightings are rare, but Mable’s shadowy figure is frequently spotted on the terrace of the house and in the rose garden, proving that the Ringlings really took the old showbiz saying, “the show must go on” very seriously.


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From the collection of William ‘Billy’ Jamieson.

A large wooden hollow African helmet mask, a Makonde mask from Tanzania. The face shows remnants of a previous paintjob, with the carved eyelids, nose, and mouth painted in red and the eyes and teeth painted in white. A bare patch of incised wood on the crown of the head shows remains of previous hair decoration.

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Where is the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine?

It’s perhaps the most talked-about lost treasure in American history, but there seems to be more myth than fact surrounding the gold found in Arizona by German immigrant Jacob Waltz. A party of treasure hunters moved to the Superstition Mountains of Arizona in search of Waltz’s cache shortly after his death in 1891 and, still today, an estimated 8000 visitors travel to Lost Dutchman State Park each year in hopes of striking it rich. It was said that Waltz mined his claim in the Salt River Valley of Arizona every winter between 1868 and 1886, though the source of his ore was never found.

Jameson, who wrote about the missing mine in his book Lost Mines and Buried Treasures of Arizona, suggests that the Lost Dutchman’s Mine was probably not lost at all, but says, “the chances are that the Lost Dutchman Mine was just simply mined out.” So, if you’re planning on searching for a lost treasure of your own anytime soon, it may be best to start somewhere else first.

The museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has three permanent collections, the History of Surgery Museum, the Dental Collection and the Surgeons’ Hall Pathology Museum. One of the grisliest items is not in the pathology exhibit, as you might expect, but the historical one. There, they have his death mask and a tattered book, no larger than a man’s hand and bound in what appears to unremarkable dark brown leather with faded gold lettering. Upon closer inspection, though, one sees that the faint letters read “EXECUTED 28 JAN 1829,” giving a clue to the wholly remarkable source of the “leather.” The book is bound in the flesh of William Burke, the notorious murderer who killed so he could sell bodies to the anatomist Robert Knox. During their trial, Burke’s accomplice William Hare turned on him in exchange for immunity. Burke was found guilty, hanged, dissected and had his flesh turned into a unique, Necronomicon-esque book cover.


We’ve all read stories about finding buried treasures of gold since we were children. For a couple in Sierra Nevada, this fairy tale of sorts actually came true!

An unidentified couple were walking their dog on their property one day in 2013 when they saw the top of a rusty canister poking out of the ground. The canister contained a bunch of gold discs and they took it home.

After brushing the dirt off of the discs, they were almost perfectly preserved $20 gold coins dating from the 1890s.

They hurried back to the location of their find and discovered a total of of eight cans containing 1,427 coins with a face value of $27,980.

The discovery was a coin collector’s dream: A total of 1,373 were $20 coins, 50 were $10 coins and four were $5 coins. The coins were minted from 1847 to 1894. About a third of the coins were in pristine condition and never circulated in the general public.

It is believed this is the biggest hoard of gold coins ever unearthed in the United States and is valued at $10 million.

The couple decided to remain anonymous, fearing treasure hunters would rip up their land.

Coin dealer Don Kagin and numismatist David McCarthy helped evaluate and restore the coins (dubbed the Saddle Ridge Hoard) for auction. McCarthy claimed he worked until his fingers literally bled restoring and appraising the coins for sale. Kagin will sell them on Amazon.com in the near future.

Just how the hoard got buried there remains a mystery. In March 2014, The U.S. Mint stated that “[they] do not have any information linking the Saddle Ridge Hoard coins to any thefts at any United States Mint facility.”


Change of plan folks! The Cabinet of Curiosities is now closed until next week due to Christies Antique Show. We have so many new items that there is absolutely no room to move in the shop!

See you all at Booth D1 with all of our new goodies, along with the Jessica Lindsay Phillips vintage hat collection, and the biggest Billy Jamieson collection outside of, i don’t know where!!

See you at Christies on Saturday!! Booth D1

Featuring an amazing collection of vintage hats from the personal collection of Jessica Lindsay Phillips! This weekend at Christies Antique Show! @theonlyjlp


The Cabinet of Curiosities shop is closed this Saturday and Sunday for Christies Antique Show on Saturday. We will be at booth D1 with the most amazing collection of antiques and oddities you will ever see anywhere!! Featuring an exclusive rarely seen collection from William ‘Billy’ Jamieson, Jessica Lindsay Phillips, and the Niagara Falls Museum.

Do NOT miss this!!