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Synesthesia and Al Capone's Buried Treasure

Ginette Lucas uses her bonus senses to find the loot.

 Courtesy Ginette Lucas.
Louis Matacia and Ginette Lucas.
Source: Courtesy Ginette Lucas.

Ginette Lucas was lecturing on dowsing with her father, decorated United States Army veteran Louis Matacia, in Chicago circa 1990. Dowsing is an ancient art of divination used to locate water, lost objects, and even people using a pair of rods or a pendulum. It is said to have been practiced by the biblical Moses. Even Albert Einstein had an open mind about it, writing a letter in its favor. When the talented father and daughter finished speaking, a pair of fortune hunters approached Ms. Lucas.

The husband and wife team told her they admired her work finding missing persons and objects, including buried treasure.

"They met me in the conference room with lots of survey maps for thousands of acres of farmland," she told me recently. "They related a story about Al Capone's right-hand man, Frank Nitti, who had hidden loot he stole from Capone, and that he had buried his spoils on land depicted on one or more of these maps, also called plats."

Just a few years earlier Geraldo Rivera opened an Al Capone vault live on television and all they found were dust bunnies. Thirty million people tuned in to that fiasco.

When Ms. Lucas saw all of the plats, she felt like she was sinking because she was completely overwhelmed by the size of the property. "I decided to put each map separately on the table, and I put my hand above the maps within five inches. I knew I had the ability to feel a funny feeling in my teeth when I found treasure, and I also saw a bright red cherry color, or bright fluorescent Kelly green or emerald color. I saw letters or numbers in the colors, too. I call this unique method 'the equation'. It's like the protocols a doctor would use. It's my personal code and it comes from my synesthesia."

She hurriedly put her hand over the maps. "I then felt a burning feeling on my hand, and saw emerald green with letters when I got to a certain plat. I knew right away these treasure hunters had found the right plat that had hidden treasure. So I selected a map with the multiple acres, and said this is your treasure map."

After about 10 jubilant minutes with those gathered, she repeated the method to home in further. "I pinpointed an area where I had the treasure hunters create a 10-foot by 10-foot area where they could use ground-penetrating radar."

The treasure hunters went to the site about four hours south of Chicago and had a team get to work.

From the cover of his coveted book Finding Treasure.
Louis Matacia with one of Al Capone's silver bars.
Source: From the cover of his coveted book Finding Treasure.

"After finding a pickup truck hood from 1932 two feet underground, they felt frustrated, and told me by phone nothing was there. Again, my heart sank. But I got off the phone and suddenly saw fluorescent letters and numbers and it was flashing in my eyes telling me they should continue. I got back on the phone, dialed the hunters, and screamed, 'Get back in there and dig up the truck hood!' The guys used the GPR again, and the equipment screamed louder than before. The hunters dug and suddenly hit something hard. Finally, standing in the hole one hunter picked up what he thought was a brick... yes it was a brick; a brick of solid silver. After digging for hours they found over sixty bars of silver stolen by the Al Capone Gang and hidden by Frank Nitti, and found by little ol' me, Ginette, a female treasure hunter."

Why hasn't this story been told beyond being described in her father's book, above -- now rare and selling for hundreds of dollars among enthusiasts?

"Most real fortune hunters do not seek publicity," Ms. Lucas explained to me.

I first learned of Ms. Lucas' astonishing work when she recently appeared on the popular overnight radio show Coast To Coast with George Noory.

I reached out to find out more.

What is the most prominent missing persons case you've worked on?

GL: My work on the Caylee Anthony Case—the missing toddler whose mother was quite aloof, pretty, and a party girl in Florida. This case brought me worldwide attention, due to my unexpected pinpointing of the location of the toddler's remains, on a street called Suburban. The case, started around June 2008 when the toddler disappeared.

Her grandmother phoned the police about a suspicious smell in the trunk of a car, which smelled like a dead body. Later that month I told a retired FBI Agent, who called me, that the victim was down the street, deceased, and I gave details, which turned out to be highly accurate. Several months later I repeated my assessment, on the location of the missing toddler. In October both the media and the police department finally took action to find her remains and test the DNA to make a positive identification.

Typically people don't want to believe that missing people are deceased, they truly believe they are alive. This is one of the many things which I assess before taking my first step toward finding the missing; I ask myself is the victim alive or dead. Using my odd skills, there are times, when I see colors, i.e. for alive victims, I see pink or blue, or even white. When the victim is deceased I see black, yet I also see white or white items with and without numbers, symbols, and objects, to help with the assessment.

What forms of synesthesia do you experience? Can you list a few of your color associations for letters, numbers or other things?

GL: Well, when I work on treasure hunting, I use colors, numbers, and objects to help me to locate the missing treasure. I write down a list of the numbers that would be linked to the treasure or write down the objects i.e., round, square, wood, metal, tape, rope, etc. If the objects are with the colors, that tells me about the accuracy of the find, which is good. If I see certain colors, I am thrilled with the location, but if the color is red or black, in my mind it means stop! It could also mean that I cannot trust the client I am working for on a specific project, or that the treasure will not be found, or that we are in the wrong location, etc. There are a lot of variables when I use my personal system using colors, numbers, and shapes.

Do you identify as a mirror-touch synesthete or an empath who can literally feel other people's specific pain or pleasure physically?

 Courtesy Ginette Lucas.
Ginette and twin, Sara.
Source: Courtesy Ginette Lucas.

GL: Great question, Yes, but first I have a twin, and we are mirror twins. Second, she and I communicated growing up with codes, and patterns, and extensive feelings receptive to each other's pain (and emotions). For example, my twin had her toe operated on when we were in middle school. The pain I felt was both emotional and actual pain, i.e. pinpricks or cutting; the experience was awful. In time, I learned to decrease the pain sensation and control the receptivity of the pain.

On homicide cases, I can typically tell whether the victim is assaulted, cut, shot, hanged, drunk, or even fine/happy, etc., due to my receiving the pain through synesthesia. I have learned to label these receptivities so I can define what kind of weapon we are looking for i.e., gun, knife, rope, or even ice cream, candy (in a live child), etc.

You train some of the nation's best intuitives on your Dream Team. How can parents and educators cultivate intuition in young children?

GL: Personally, I would introduce the basics of shapes, colors, etc., to help children understand and cognitively to know that this is round, a box, a rectangle, or this is orange, this is red, etc. I truly believe you have to match what you see in your mind's eye to an item like red matches red, or fluorescent green matches fluorescent green.

For example; if you go to the playground and see a red flag (in your mind) and the number 8 (again in your mind), that would signify danger. Red meaning stop, and the number 8 with it, which signifies to me the ball number 8; which means you typically lose a game. Hence red and 8 together in your mind can be 'stranger danger.' This is just one possible example of the pattern children with this unique ability can put together to understand their perception, of what is going on.

Please also tell parents to pursue various reputable organizations that help kids with their unique abilities, i.e., dream work: IASD - International Association for the Study of Dreams, or the Edgar Cayce Foundation, or ASD; The American Society of Dowsers.

People can be taught these methods.

Courtesy Ginette Lucas.
Dream Team Member Jim Perc.
Source: Courtesy Ginette Lucas.

Regarding the psychics I train, some of the psychics are experts in their field, yet they are adding on to their skills by learning how to do true crime, like finding missing persons, treasures, etc. Additionally, there is one student, who I truly respect and in whom I have seen tremendous growth since studying with me: Jim Perc, from Florida. He has incredible psychic skills, and he started out with just the standard training, but he now dowses well, he was trained in remote viewing, and he is also on my True Crime Dream Team. His perceptions have jumped drastically due to using my equation process or protocol, and we are seeing great things from him. Just a little training makes a big difference in confidence.

How can people find out more about you and reach you if they need help?

GL: My website: or in the U.S. 571-358-1444 or internationally, 804-539-8415. I live in Virginia (Eastern Standard Time).

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