Re: Jerry Freeman Dies 3/20/01 Hiked into Area 51 and lived to tell about it.

Message posted by whiskey3 on April 05, 2001 at 20:43:20 PST:

Jerry Freeman died on 3/20/01. I will greatly miss him. I had several conversations on the phone with him about his hike into Area 51 to recover the lost 49er's inscription in Nye Canyon. I grilled him about every detail of his trip. He even told me when he was across from the Papoose mountains at nighttime he saw a bright light come on at the bottom of the mountains for about 20 minutes or so.

He was a great guy and his story deserves to be remembered as one of the infamous tales into Area 51 lore.

Read about the story here, it's pretty incredible:

Here is the article about his death that appeared in the Antelope Valley Press.

From our THURSDAY, 03/22/01, edition.

Controversial adventurer dies at home

Valley Press Senior Writer

PEARBLOSSOM -- Jerry Freeman, a Pearblossom historian,
adventurer and businessman, died at his Pearblossom home
Tuesday, March 20.{cq day/date} Diagnosed with prostate cancer 5
1/2 years ago, Freeman remained extremely active until it was
discovered that the cancer metastasized into his spine in

Freeman is best known for his research of the Lost '49ers
expedition of 1849-50, and the several expeditions Freeman
embarked on to retrace the trail taken by the ill-fated travelers.

He is survived by his wife, Donna; daughters Holly and Jennifer
Freeman; grandchildren Vincent and Destiny; brother Doyle E.
Freeman and his wife, Pat Freeman, all of Pearblossom.

In 1989, Freeman and Lee Bergthold hiked from the lowest point in
the contiguous United States, Badwater, to the highest point,
Mount Whitney. The trek, from 280 feet below sea level to
Whitney's peak at 14,495 feet above sea level, took the duo 14
days to complete.

"It was without question the most difficult thing I've ever done,"
Freeman said several days after returning from the trek. "It seemed
like every day had something that was grueling."

But not as grueling as retracing the trail of the Lost '49ers and the
aftermath of finding a trunk filled with artifacts reportedly left in a
cave by William Robinson, a pioneer with the lost expedition.

Retracing history

In November and December of 1996, Freeman and the members of
his '49er Expedition Team, which included daughters Holly and
Jennifer, Allan Smith and videographer Clay Campbell, spent 33
days and covered 300 miles following the path of gold-rushing
emigrants who sought a shortcut from Salt Lake City to Los

The wagon party got lost and wandered the deserts of southern
Nevada and eastern California for four months. Several members
died, including Capt. Richard Culverell, 48, who died about 10 miles
south of Furnace Creek.

Upon exiting Death Valley in 1850, one of the pioneers wrote,
"Goodbye Death Valley," in a journal she kept -- and the name

Freeman's team began walking from the town of Enterprise in
southwestern Utah, following a meandering route over the rugged
mountains bordering Nevada. They used pioneer journals and
historical research to retrace the little-known trail.

The only part of the trail they didn't cover was a 75-mile stretch that passed through Nellis Air Force Base and possibly super-secret Area 51. In spring 1997, Freeman took an unauthorized hike into the forbidden zone and
covered 50 miles of the trail before running out of water.

Last leg

In December 1998, Freeman formed his expedition team once
again and they forged ahead to cover the final 200 miles of the Lost
'49ers' journey, from Furnace Creek to Barrel Springs in Palmdale.

Along the way, the team recovered Robinson's trunk, which
Freeman actually discovered during a scouting trip the previous
month. Inside the round-topped trunk was a manifest of its
contents dated Jan. 2, 1850, and a haunting letter to someone
named Edwin.

The items inside the trunk included included a "grub stake" of
$52.75, a short gun, a looking glass, three bowls, a shroud, a
hymn book, a law book, a canteen, an Indian basket, two
photographs, powder horns, a cornhusk doll and a pair of leather
baby slippers.

According to pioneer journals, Robinson died 26 days later at the
first sizable water supply found on the south end of the Antelope
Valley. Historians believe it was Barrel Springs.

Cutting the final expedition short after bringing the trunk out of the cave in which it was found, Freeman and team members had a memorial service for Robinson at the trail head of Barrel Springs trail.

However, tests conducted by National Park Service archaeologists and other experts cast doubt on the authenticity of the find.

It was reported that glue found on an item in the trunk, or on the trunk itself, included 20th-century polymers. A term used in the manifest supposedly wasn't coined until the end of the Gold Rush era. The photographic pr
ocess used in two photos found in the trunk wasn't patented until 1856. Also, a stamp on one of two ceramic bowls the Park Service said were in the trunk was not used until after 1914.

Freeman said he didn't dispute the Park Service's test results.

"They say they found glue and some things that couldn't have been from that time period. I can't argue with them," Freeman said.

"All I did was find the box. I wish I'd never walked into that cave. My
reputation is in ruin. All I can do is fade away here."

A memorial service for Freeman will be at 5 p.m. Friday, March 23,
at Desert Winds Community Church, 2121 East Palmdale Blvd. in

Attached link: Wolf Video


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