FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—More than a century after Slumach was hanged for murder, the legend of a lost gold mine and alleged curse continues to enthrall audiences.
June 2022 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the bestselling book Slumach’s Gold: In Search of a Legend (Heritage House, $14.95) by Rick Antonson, Mary Trainer, and Brian Antonson. Co-author Brian Antonson continues to be sought out for talks and presentations about the tale and was recently interviewed by the production team from the History Channel’s Deadman’s Curse, premiering on September 11, 2022.
Slumach’s Gold: In Search of a Legend tracks the intriguing tale surrounding the Salish man and his rumoured gold mine, one of North America’s top five lost treasure tales. The book offers an in-depth examination of the legend, additional theories and research, as well as the stories of contemporary gold seekers, searching out the truth behind Slumach’s life, and his hanging for murder. As evidenced by the production Deadman’s Curse, this mystery and the gold it promises continues to attract treasure hunters to this day.
Deadman’s Curse, distributed by Corus Studios, follows four explorers who join up to solve the legend of Slumach’s lost gold mine—prospector Kru Williams, mountaineer Adam Palmer, Indigenous explorer Taylor Starr, and her father Don Froese.
First published in 1972, Slumach’s Gold presented the true story alongside the embellishments that had been added to the legend over countless retellings. Newspapers, photos, interviews, and contemporary documents were closely examined, and no research stone would be left unturned.
In 1891, when Slumach was tried and hanged for murder in the then-capital of BC, New Westminster, he supposedly whispered a curse while standing on the gallows. Addressed to those who would seek his fortune, Slumach allegedly said that no one would ever find it and live; “Nika memloose, mine memloose” meaning, “When I die, mine dies.” In one version of the legend, people already had their eyes on Slumach due to his bouts of lavish spending with gold nuggets “the size of walnuts.” But he refused to tell anyone where the mine was, even to his death. This story and rumours of a lost mine captured the public’s imagination and launched multiple quests undertaken by both professional and armature gold-seekers for more than a century—some still search for the mine today.
In 2007, Heritage House published an updated edition of the book, in which the authors included more theories and clues that had been uncovered in the thirty-five years since the original publication. The late Chuck Davis said Slumach’s Gold was, “a fresh new look at one of British Columbia’s enduring mysteries,” and BC BookWorld claimed it “qualifies as a British Columbia classic.”
Rick and Brian Antonson’s lifetime fascination with the lost gold mine was begun with a tale told to the brothers around a campfire when they were young boys. The “story gripped [their] imagination in a particular way,” and the childhood desire for treasure hunting would turn into a research project to separate fact from fiction that they would undertake as adults with their friend Mary Trainer. In addition to co-authoring Slumach’s Gold, the trio also co-authored Whistle Posts West: Railway Tales from British Columbia, Alberta and Yukon, published by Heritage House in 2015.
Authors Rick Antonson (Vancouver, BC), Brian Antonson (Mission, BC), and Mary Trainer (Summerland, BC) continue to keep an open ear for any new developments and gather additional information in anticipation that the next document or photo could lead to the elusive gold mine.