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Lost Lemon | TheRockies.Life Staff

The Legend of Lost Lemon Mine

Many have searched for the mine, few have returned alive

Once upon a time, two men by the name of Frank Lemon and Blackjack were panning for gold in Crowsnest Pass. It was the 1870s, and many men from the United States had come to the Rockies to make their fortune in the gold rush.

The pair followed shimmers of gold upstream and discovered a ridge rich in gold. As the story goes, the two argued about whether they should mine as much as they could now or come back in the spring with more supplies. But without the right tools for the job, Lemon and Blackjack decided to call it a night. 

But only one of them woke up the next morning.

Lemon murdered Blackjack in his sleep. Why? Did he want all the gold to himself?

Well apparently he couldn’t quite live with his decision. He went mad with panic and fled to the United States and confessed his crimes to a priest. Lemon went on to live with his brother in Texas until he passed away.

Since then, many have set out to find the ridge. Few have returned with their lives. Some say that the ridge is cursed, causing the untimely deaths of those who seek it. 

The priest Lemon confessed to was one of these people. In 1872, the priest put together a team of miners. Kind of like the Avengers but with more booze and less superpowers. Well, no superpowers actually.

John McDougall, who had found the gold ridge and buried Blackjack’s remains, was assigned to lead this team. On his way to Crowsnest, McDougall stopped for whiskey at Fort Kipp. Little did he know, it would be his last drink.

Instead of whiskey, McDougall consumed rot-gut pseudo-whiskey, which is just as dangerous as it sounds. McDougall ended up drinking himself to death that night.

But the curse of Lost Lemon Mine doesn’t just go after those looking for the mine. It also hunts down those who would reveal its location. 

On the night of Blackjack’s murder there were two witnesses. One of these witnesses was William Bendow, a Stoney Indian. He knew of the mine’s location but was sworn to secrecy by his chief who feared a gold rush on Stoney land. 

During the winter of 1912, Bendow broke his promise and agreed to lead a party to the mine. It had been 40 years since he’d witnessed Blackjack’s murder. During the expedition, Bendow mysteriously died one night. On the night of their return, Bendow’s son-in-law also died in the same way. Coincidence or curse? 

These are just a few examples of the Lost Lemon Mine’s curse. But one thing is for certain. The curse goes after anyone connected to Lemon or the mine. 

If you would like to search for Lost Lemon Mine yourself, the Lost Lemon RV Park, Campground and Cabins is open year-round in Blairmore. It’s probably much more comfortable than Lemon and Blackjack’s camp.

Will you test your luck?

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