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Jim Thomas sued me over the Treasure Scope Test article! Read all about the lawsuit in this report, including Jim's cowardly retreat the day before the hearing!

Treasure Scope "Raven" Report

by Carl Moreland

Fig. 1: Treasure Scope "Raven"

First Look

In April, 2000 I attended the Texas Treasure Show where I met Jim Thomas, owner of "Treasure Scope" long-range locators. Mr. Thomas had a booth set up for selling his LRLs, and even gave a one-hour seminar on long-range locating. It was quite interesting, and you can read more about it in the Treasure Scope Test article. Not long after the treasure show, I obtained a model called the "Quad," and wrote a report on it.

At the Treasure Show, Mr. Thomas was displaying three models: the "Night Hawk" ($995), the "Raven" ($1595), and the "Oro Grande" ($1995). This report covers the "Raven." Shown in Figure 1, the Raven consists of a control box with a swivel handle, and 3 antennae protruding from the front. The control box, shown in Figure 2, has a power switch, battery test button, a small knob marked "Discrim.", and a large vernier control that is labeled "Frequency Select."

Fig. 2: Controls

The control box is a typical experimenter's project box, and has a battery compartment on the bottom that accepts a standard 9v battery. On the back of the box there are labels indicating the settings for gold, silver, diamond, and paper money. See Figure 3. These labels, plus the ones on top, are from an office-type thermal label maker. The handle appears to be a bicycle grip, and has a smooth ball-bearing pivot.

Fig. 3: Settings

The instruction manual that comes with the Raven is fairly short, and describes the basic methods of using the device. Most of the illustrations are crudely drawn. It is interesting to note that nowhere in the manual is there any mention as to what the Raven is supposed to do. For example, the "Specifications" on last page includes:

Programmed items: Gold
U.S. paper money

but makes no mention what this "programming" is for. It is common practice in the LRL industry to avoid making any claims that LRLs actually do anything — like locating gold, for example — and Jim Thomas carefully follows this practice with the Raven, at least in the owner's manual.

However, the Raven came with a video tape which shows Mr. Thomas demonstrating the features of two other Treasure Scope devices. The quality of the video is extremely poor — it appears to have been taped at a public park, with some excessive background noise, and the recording quality indicated that it was at least a third or fourth generation copy.

The video covers the "Model II" and the "Quad". The Model II, which looks very similar to the Raven, has a main antenna and two side antennae, making the scan "narrow side-to-side but broad vertically", about +/- 70 degrees we're told. It is made to use with a metal detector. The Quad adds two more "parasitic" antennae which, as Thomas explains, focuses the scan in the vertical direction, so that pinpointing can be achieved without a metal detector.

In the video, Mr. Thomas shows how to select the desired target mode, by setting the vernier control to the number indicated by the label on the back of the box. He also explains that the center antenna should be fully extended, with the "parasitic" antennae mostly extended. The device is swept just like other swivel box -type dowsing locators (such as the Electroscope), and the user should feel a "hesitation" as the antennae sweep by a desired target. He claims that 2 silver dollars have been detected at a range of 1/4 mile.

Closer Look

To the uninitiated, a first glance at the Raven (as well as the other Treasure Scope models I saw at the Texas Treasure Show) gives the impression that it is a technical piece of equipment, mostly because of the control knobs. Externally, it has the appearance of being home-made, not having quite the "polish" of a device that is professionally manufactured. This is largely due to the homemade stick-on labels, some of which were slightly askew, and the control box is a common experimenter's box.

Fig. 4: "Tamper-proof" Screws

Fig. 5: Inside the Raven

Like several other LRLs I've seen, the screws that secure the Raven's control box are filled in, to prevent casual inspection of the interior. See Figure 4. With the tamper-proofing and screws removed, the inside of the Raven appears as in Figure 5. Unlike the "Quad" that predates this device, construction is sloppy, with wires strung all over the place, some which have been spliced together. Also unlike the Quad, the Raven does not have a custom-made circuit board. Rather, the circuit board seen in the photograph is from a common pocket-type AM radio. The Raven's three antennae are wired to the AM radio's loopstick antenna. The "Disc" control is a 250k potentiometer connected across the two outer antennae, and when the Disc knob is set to "0" the potentiometer effectively shorts the outer antennae together.

There is nothing unusual about the AM radio, nor is it modified, so it there is no reason to trace out its circuitry. It's just an AM radio. I connected a speaker to the radio board and it picked up AM radio stations with no problem. Since the AM radio runs off 3V, the 9V battery is connected to an LM317 voltage regulator which provides the necessary 3V for the radio.

Fig. 7: Radio Shack AM Radio

Figure 7 shows an AM radio sold by Radio Shack, and its interior. This appears to be identical to the AM radio circuit used in the Raven. Figure 7 also shows a catalog page from a 1994 Radio Shack catalog, showing the same model AM radio, called the "Flavoradio." The price of the Flavoradio was $6.99. I obtained a Flavoradio off eBay and verified that the AM radio used in the Raven is, indeed, identical to the Flavoradio.

The Claims

I have found very little in the way of print advertising for Treasure Scope, just a couple of ads and a feature in the "What's New" column of Lost Treasure magazine. In fact, the first time I saw this brand of LRL was at the treasure show. At the show, both at his booth and during his seminar, Mr. Thomas made specific claims about his devices, including the capability of locating gold, silver, and other items at a distance. He also gave demonstrations at his booth in locating a gold-and-diamond ring, as well as paper money. The Raven was used in some of those demonstrations.

Fig. 8: Treasure Scope Ad & "What's New" feature

The manual for the Raven opens with the following paragraph:

Thank you for purchasing the RAVEN by TREASURE SCOPE. It is a high technology, long range instrument that can detect at a distance through most any container or barrier. It receives a frequency that is the same as the resonant frequency of the object you are looking for. It has good depth and can detect objects of approximately one quarter of a mile distance, depending on size and length of time buried.

This paragraph makes only a generic claim that the Treasure Scope can detect "objects" up to a quarter mile away. Nowhere does the manual ever state that the Treasure Scope can actually locate gold, or silver, or any of the other "elements". This paragraph is almost identical to the opening paragraph of the Quad manual, except that the Quad claims to transmit a frequency that is the same as the resonant frequency of the object you are looking for. The transmitted frequencies for the Quad were measured to be between 9kHz and 13kHz, well below the minimum detectable frequency of an AM radio, which is 540kHz. This further discredits the claim of detecting a resonant frequency.

In his video, Mr. Thomas describes how he has used his Treasure Scope in a test situation at treasure clubs, and also related this story at the treasure show seminar. He said he takes gold, silver, diamond, and paper money samples, and club members can "wrap them up in foil, they can put them in a steel box and shut the lid, and from across the room I'm able to detect what's in the box with 100% accuracy." This, of course, is a highly testable claim.

Besides pitching his wares at treasure shows and detecting clubs, Mr. Thomas also sells the "Raven" ($1595) — as well as a model called the "Thunder Stick" ($895) — through a dowsing rod salesman named Bob Fitzgerald ( His web site states that the Raven does not transmit a frequency, but "is an electronic RECEIVER ONLY that detects undisturbed resonant frequencies that the locator is precisely tuned to. Furthermore, Fitzgerald includes the following paragraph on the Raven:

The Raven gives you your choice of precise settings, which will detect and pinpoint gold, silver, diamonds, and paper currency. Range on the Raven is approximately 50 - 100 yards on small items, (coins, jewelry, etc.) and one mile or more on larger targets depending on the terrain.

These are very specific (and highly testable) claims. Furthermore, Fitzgerald states, "Silver Round is also included for a practice target." A common excuse for avoiding tests of LRLs (especially from Fitzgerald) is that they will only detect "long-time buried" objects; that is, objects that have been buried for many years. But including a silver target for practice only makes sense if the device is capable of detecting the target. Therefore, from Fitzgerald's web site, we have not only specific claims that can be tested, but also the very target that can be used in such tests.

The Truth

The Raven claims to be "an electronic RECEIVER ONLY that detects undisturbed resonant frequencies that the locator is precisely tuned to." It is true that the Raven contains a receiver — an AM radio receiver, to be precise. But detecting "resonant frequencies that the locator is precisely tuned to?" Mr. Thomas would have to be really, really dumb to believe an AM radio will "detect and pinpoint gold, silver, diamonds, and paper currency." No, Mr. Thomas, it will detect AM radio stations.

The claim that "it receives a frequency that is the same as the resonant frequency of the object you are looking for" is false. The concept of a buried treasure emitting frequencies on its own is nothing but pure fantasy, and the general claim that a dowsing device can detect any kind of emination, from buried treasure or otherwise, is nothing but a delusion. The claim that "it has good depth and can detect objects of approximately one quarter of a mile distance, depending on size and length of time buried" implies that it can detect buried objects about a quarter mile away, which is false. The specific claim that the Raven can detect "small items, (coins, jewelry, etc.)" a distances of "approximately 50 - 100 yards" is false. The Raven cannot detect buried objects at all. It can, however, detect AM radio stations from many miles away.

At the Texas Treasure Show, I saw Mr. Thomas performing a demonstration of the Raven, using it to "detect" his gold ring, which was laying in clear view on his table. I asked if he could still detect his ring when he could not see it, and did not know where it was. He said he could, so I challenged him to a simple test using paper cups to conceal the ring. He was highly reluctant to do this, but finally agreed. Although he had been demonstrating his LRLs during the treasure show with 100% "success", when we did the paper cup test, he failed to locate the ring even once in six attempts. This is explained in more detail in the Treasure Scope Test article.

My own tests of the Raven failed to produce any response whatsoever. The device gave no indication for a 10-ounce gold bar, a 10-ounce silver bar, and a stack of 20 one-dollar bills, even when the targets were very close, and plainly visible. However, because operator skill might play a role, the best test is one in which an experienced user demonstrates the device. Generally, the most experienced user should be the manufacturer himself, and so I offer my $25,000 prize money to Jim Thomas, if he can successfully demonstrate that one of his LRL devices works. Since prior knowledge of target locations could influence the response a user feels, demonstrations should always be performed using a double-blind protocol, which will closely replicate field conditions, where target locations are completely unknown.

Jim Thomas has already refused my prior offer of $10,000 for a successful demonstration, and has also refused James Randi's offer of $1 million for the same.


The Treasure Scope Raven is nothing more than a $7 AM radio slapped inside in a dowsing rod. This particular unit was sold for $1300, and current pricing is $1595. That's quite a mark-up on an AM radio.

Total material cost on the Raven is around $30. The other Treasure Scope models I've personally seen — the Quad, Ore Grande, and Nighthawk — are also dowsing devices, and I suspect that all the other Treasure Scope devices are dowsing rods as well. Externally, the Raven has a homemade look to it (as do the other Treasure Scope devices), of about the same quality as other LRLs I've seen. Internally, it was also about as sloppy as other typical LRLs.

The AM radio circuit has no real physical function in the operation of the device. The only purpose of the circuitry is to make an ordinary dowsing device look "technical", in order to justify a ridiculous price. The instruction manual and video are of poor quality. The operational theory of the Raven is bogus. The claim that the Raven will mechanically lock on a target, is false. The claim that the Raven will detect any "object", is false. The only "things" the Raven is capable of detecting, are AM stations, gravity, and strong wind. The Raven is complete and utter nonsense.

Copyright © 2010 Carl W. Moreland, all rights reserved.