6 Objects You Won't Believe People Managed to Lose

#3. The San Jose

In 1708, old adversaries, the British and the Spanish, were fighting the War of Spanish Succession. One fateful day in the Caribbean, the Spanish ship San Jose was going back to Spain when passing English ships casually blew it up off the coast of Cartagena, Colombia, and continued on their way.

Via Wiki Commons
They probably just wanted to see the awesome explosion.

What the British didn't know was that the San Jose was carrying six years of accumulated treasure on board the ship, including 344 tons of silver and gold, 116 chests of emeralds and pretty much the entire life savings of the Viceroy of Peru. All in all, it is worth about $2 billion in today's market, and some estimate that collectors might cough up as much as $10 billion to secure it. Despite many desperate searches in the area they're pretty sure it went down, nothing has been found.

As the years have passed, more and more people have been trying to find this elusive treasure. By the 1980s, actor Michael Landon and former Nixon aide John Ehrlichman got in on a few expeditions to find it. But since 1984, legal expeditions have dropped dramatically ever since the Colombian government dropped the finders share slightly, from 50 percent to, well, five percent.

And if 70s television star Michael Landon can't do it, what hope is left?

However, there is one imposing nonlegal hurdle to all this: We still don't know where the hell the wreck is. The Colombian government doesn't really allow things like SONAR and other remote methods of searching, so all treasure hunters really know are vague descriptions given by a few British sailors who helped deep six the boat, as well as a few murky videos from 1982 that may or may not be the San Jose. So the $2 billion is still out there, waiting to be rediscovered.

"Once we find that ship, we'll be filling our oxygen tanks with caviar."

#2. The 18 1/2 Minute Gap in the Watergate Tape

Via Wiki Commons

If there is one thing that defines the Nixon presidency, it's the Watergate Scandal.

If there were two things, it would be that and getting to meet Tom Hanks.

Richard Nixon resigned as president in 1974, after it was discovered he kinda knew and approved of breaking into and bugging democratic party offices. This was due in part to the fact that Nixon was so chronically obsessed with bugging things that he recorded all his own conversations to later be used in his memoirs. The tapes were then listened to, and evidence piled up, including one tape where Nixon asked his aides to tell the FBI to stop its investigation, which for those of you who don't know, is obstruction of justice -- a severe criminal offense.

Via Wiki Commons
This is the most innocent we've ever seen Nixon look, and we're still pretty sure that piano is filled with strangled puppies.

While the taped evidence sealed Nixon's fate, there were several noticeable missing gaps in the tapes, including an almost 19 minute gap in a tape of Nixon talking to his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman. His same chief of staff who helped orchestrate the break-ins and who was later arrested and imprisoned for 18 months.

Via Wiki Commons
No word what his hair got.

When the commission in charge of the case asked why over 18 minutes had been erased, many weak excuses were given, including putting the blame on Nixon's secretary. Since the tapes were probably not "accidentally" erased, it is generally viewed that something unlawful was recorded. But what was it? Nixon giving the orders to bug the offices? Nixon ordering an assassination? Nixon telling Haldeman to follow the clues to lead him to the treasure? We'll never know, as they are lost to history.

Via Wiki Commons
We're forced to assume it was the location of the San Jose treasure.

Or maybe not. While the exact words are still lost, they may not be for long. The National Archives is currently trying to find the exact point in the tapes where it was erased and, with the aid of future technology, maybe restore it. Several attempts have already been made. They know where it is, but not how to find it. Someday, we may get to hear what Nixon did not want us to hear.

#1. Nuclear Bombs

Via Wiki Commons

Militaries are very good at hurling bombs at each other, but not so good at cleaning them up. This is why, for instance, 90 years after WWI over 900 tons of unexploded bombs are still being found around Europe. Even with today's advanced remote-sensing technology, many bombs are not found until a farmer clips one with a plow. And because bombs sank into the soil over time, they appear each spring after the frozen earth pushes them back to the surface. This is what the locals call the "Iron Harvest," as each year brings a new "crop."

Via Simon Farr
WARNING: Do not stir-fry.

And these are not the simple "hit them and they explode" bombs, either -- many of them contain mustard gas and other dangerous chemicals that can murder you from a distance. The bombs are still so dangerous that sometimes entire towns have to be evacuated. But still, you know, it's not like there are nukes laying around out there.

Via Wiki Commons
Are we the only ones who think this would make a badass kitchen table?

Ah, about that ...

The United States has officially acknowledged 11 nuclear weapons lost over the years, while the Russians have had several weapons just go missing, with hundreds of attempts to steal weapons from their facilities. But according to several watchdog organizations, including Greenpeace, there are about 50 nuclear weapons currently unaccounted for, most of them at sea. That's basically misplacing an apocalypse.

Via Wiki Commons
"So ... should we just keep this thing in Steve's storage shed, or what?"

In case you are thinking of making an expedition to find one of these, most of them are in areas that humans cannot easily get to. One such place is in British Columbia, where a bomb was lost on the way to a simulated strike of San Francisco. Another bomb, accidentally lost when a U.S. Air Force B-52 crashed in 1968, is in the middle of Greenland, so we can't find it until global warming kicks in.

But then, a lot of these missing bombs, lovingly termed "broken arrows" by the U.S. military, are lost at sea and eerily close to civilization. One bomb was lost in 1965 when the jet it was attached to simply rolled off the loading elevator into the ocean, only 80 miles off the coast of Japan. Then there is the case of the hydrogen bomb lost in 1958 in the ocean less than half a mile off the coast of Georgia. As in the U.S. state of Georgia.

Via Wiki Commons
Odds are, a few of you live within miles of this bomb.

But not to fret, the military powers that be say that most do not have sufficient material for a nuclear blast. So don't worry, most won't explode probably!


For more things lost to the ages, check out 7 Insanely Advanced Weapons History Somehow Forgot About and The 6 Most Important Things Humanity Just Plain Forgot.

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