Brad Meltzer’s new book, History Decoded: The 10 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time, provides fascinating insight into 10 of the greatest conspiracies of all time. From D.B. Cooper to the fate of John Wilkes Booth to Area 51, Brad investigates the claims behind some of the most notorious conspiracies in American history. Brad joined Glenn on radio this morning to talk about some his favorite parts of the book and the most interesting things he learned while putting it together.
After talking about D.B. Cooper and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln last week, Brad decoded the conspiracy behind the Confederate gold.
“This is one of those great stories in history that people just don't know about. And it's really that in April 1865 the Civil War is over and Jefferson Davis says, ‘I'm going to gather the money together. One day is south will rise again and we have to save the money to make it happen.’ He's got $20 million in gold and silver, and they put it in a train, and the train starts heading south toward Atlanta,” Brad explained. “The amazing part is, some people say it was stolen in one fell swoop, some say it was hidden over time, some way a group called the Knights of Golden Circle took it and, not only did they hide it, but they still have it and it still can be found.”
“My first thought was, again, I always approach these things looking not just to tell a story, but show the facts. There's a group called the Knights of Golden Circle, you can look them up – one of the great secret societies of Civil War. And what made them famous is people said that John Wilkes Booth was a member and that they had some famous members like that. Now I'm listening. Now you've got John Wilkes Booth. I want to know if that's true or not.”
Brad got in contact with a descendent of a Knights of the Golden Circle society, Bob Brewer, who has actually found $50,000 of gold and silver buried around Virginia.
“It's not a crazy theory. He showed us what the codes are. So if you go and you see on a tree an H, the H means for heart, so you are looking for something heart-shaped. If you see a ghost figure that means you are looking for a cemetery. If you look for a Number 8, you are looking for a eight-sided thing, like eight-sided bungalow or something like that,” Brad said. “Again, I kind of roll my eyes: Is this real or some guy racing around trying to find carved stuff on a tree? The best part of the story is we go out with him. He keeps helping us, we have to look for the heart… We're in the cemetery and looking for those things. We get the plat of where the cemetery is. And as he opens it up, we see the entire cemetery is in the shape of a heart. And it's one of those moments where you just go oh, my gosh. We brought in thermal sensors. Whatever was there was dug up. We found a pocket that was missing, but man, makes you think where to this day is all that Confederate treasury? It is still unaccounted for, $20 million in gold and silver.”
Watch the entire interview with Brad below: