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How the Project Evolved- Part One

     I hope everyone is doing well, enjoying this wonderful summer and celebrating all the good things our great country has given us and the world.  I want to thank each of you that read my posts and following this adventure.  I appreciate your support so much.
     Through many of the postings recently I have spent a great deal of time relaying background information about the geology, history and general information associated with the Swift legend and on occasion some random topics.  It occurred to me  I've never really explained my book project, the background and what it really is about.  With such an obvious omission in mind, I will attempt to bring interested readers up to speed on this project, including progress reports and some of the issues I am dealing with as a new unpublished writer.
     First, the subject of the famous legend has been of interest to me since I was a child growing up in the Red River Gorge country of Eastern Kentucky.  Even as early as a little boy, I recall treasure hunters from all over the country showing up from time to time in the region, thinking they have the sure fire solution to the lost treasure.  You can read a little more about that at my very first posting, "about the legend."
Michael Paul Henson, 1995
     Fast forward a few years (more than I care to mention) and while employed by the Kentucky Department of Parks, one of my duties was to produce entertaining and educational programs for park visitors across the state. One such program that I produced was a multi-media slide presentation that offered one version of the legend.  I spent a great deal of time photographing strange looking rocks, researching and producing the program.  Utilizing the book written by my cousin Michael Paul Henson, I wrote a script and eventually with good narration and music soundtrack, came up with a decent little presentation that was shown in perhaps as many as seven state parks during the summer.
     Now you can read my entry about Paul in the link above, but I need to tell you, that Michael Paul Henson probably contributed more to keeping the legend alive and promoting interest than any person in the last hundred years.  For it was through his series of books, including the one specifically about the legend, and his unequaled promotion of the idea of treasure hunting in general, that sparked renewed interest.
First and last page of lawsuit over allegedly publicized location of Swift mines 
     The program received many good comments and apparently was enjoyed by many park visitors.  As it became more popular in the parks, I became known as someone who both had knowledge of the legend and a blood relative to the proclaimed "dean" of treasure hunting all across the country. I was even invited to speak to groups and attend special events concerning the lost silver mines.  But one day the most amazing thing happened. One could not even begin to dream up what happened as a result of that little slide program.  To put bluntly, a lawsuit was filed against the Commonwealth of Kentucky because of my photographs.  Yep, I had managed somehow to get the state sued!. The lawsuit alleged that the slide program divulged the location of the real John Swift Silver Mine!  I had taken all the precautions, so I thought, of obtaining proper permissions of people, photographs from books and music soundtracks.  The general photographs of rocks and landmarks, were just random shots that anyone on a drive through the gorge or a hike on some of the trails could just as easily have made. The suit was properly dismissed from Franklin Circuit Court but it goes to show you just how serious and to the extreme some will take the issue. So, I would say I have a long, colorful and sometimes tortured history with this legend.  More to come in part two!


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