When I came across a group of amateur treasure hunters, they had shown me their actual site. Upon surveying it, I had discovered multiple danger signs giving warnings about presence of booby traps. But when I told them about it, I was surprised that they were already aware about it and even knew the meaning of the signs. However, I noticed that they don’t seem to care so I asked them why.

According to their main reason, they believed that booby traps or any kind of mechanical traps no longer works today. It’s because many years have already passed since the Japanese Imperial Army had set them up which means that, they all probably got rusted thus they are no longer functional or working. Unfortunately, this is a “wrong notion”.

You have to know that the Japanese Imperial Soldiers were highly trained and knowledgeable at setting up their booby traps. In short, they were experts which mean that they had already considered all possible factors such as “corrosion” that may affect the functionality of their booby traps. Base on my experience, the Japanese Imperial Soldiers had used “cosmoline” to prevent their mechanical traps against rusts. Cosmoline is a thick type of grease which can effectively prevent metal from corrosion.

How to deal with booby traps?

Dealing with booby traps will first start by interpreting signs or markers particularly on your digging spot. If it happens that you encountered a danger sign indicating presence of booby trap then you need to proceed with extreme caution.

Flower Booby Trap Sign

What we do when we encountered booby trap as warning sign is that, this is the time where we put our metal detector to good use.

Let’s have an illustration. Assuming that we dug a certain deposit spot with a booby trap warning sign, we are going to scan that layer with our metal detector. Let’s say that our metal detector can accurately penetrate 8 feet deep down into the ground. What we have to do is to continue digging for 4 feet before we stop to perform another scan. We repeat this process for every advancement of 4 feet depth until our metal detector can pick up presence of metal underneath.

On this illustration, let’s assume that our metal detector had picked up the booby trap 4 feet below the layer of our hole. At this point, only one of our diggers who are already experienced at dealing with various Japanese Imperial Army booby traps will proceed with the digging and to safely disable it. We are really proud of him because he is willing to risk himself alone in dealing with the booby trap. You may be surprised know about what drives him to handle such risk even though that he is a family man. He actually trusts us that when something happened to him, he knows that we as his crew will take good care of his family. That is how close our relationship to each other as a team.

What if you do not have someone on your team who has knowledge and skill at disabling booby traps?

Learning how to disable booby traps can be very complicated and it is best learned through actual experience and must always be accompanied by a good mentor for safety reason. And unfortunately, it is a skill that many amateur treasure hunters do not have. But, don’t lose hope because there are some possible methods that can still be done.

Some booby traps are setup by the Japanese Imperial Army halfway from the treasure deposit. But most commonly, they are setup near or close to the item.

Let’s have another illustration. Let’s say that you have encountered a danger sign about presence of booby trap halfway from the treasure deposit in your diggings. What you have to do is to search for other signs around the corners. It’s because usually, there will be signs or markers that can give you some clues on how to safely avoid the booby trap.

Basing it on some of our previous treasure hunting operations; we often encounter signs that gave us proper directions towards the hidden item. So on this illustration, there could be a sign giving a hint to dig on the left side. Then go downward for a few feet and then go horizontal towards the hidden treasure deposit.

If there are no other signs that can be found, try to continue to dig down until you can uncover the booby trap. You do not have to uncover it entirely. The moment that you see some sorts of wirings then you should immediately stop. What you have to do next is to dig on the side, go down a bit just good enough to pass the layer of the booby trap before going back to your original spot.

What if the booby trap is attached to the treasure deposit item?

If the booby trap is attached to the item then you definitely need someone who can safely disable it. However, there is a group of treasure hunters who shared me about their story on how they handled their encounter with the booby trap on their project. They do not have someone on their team who can disable the booby trap so what they did was that, they used a rope to intentionally trigger the booby trap. According to them, the entire hole that they dug got collapsed but it was okay for them to dig it all over again because they can safely recover the treasures without risk. Although, they just have to collect them in their small scattered pieces form.

Moreover, there are many different clever designs on how the Japanese Imperial Army had setup their booby traps that even a so called expert at disabling them can still commit a mistake. Thus, there is no assurance to your safety when it happens that you came across a certain booby trap. Anyway, if you want some further and more technical discussion about disabling booby traps, then I will have to talk to my crew member responsible for this task and extract information from him to share it to you.  

6 Comments to “Booby Traps of the Yamashita Treasures”

  • Thanks for all the information. Where can I buy for the concrete to dissolve or break it?


    • Just ask for concrete demolition agent in the black marker.

  • Sir Elmo good day, I’m digging below 3 meters and I found a body of tree that have a sign of letter Y marking by the tree. I saw a marking using by ax. Can you help me to identify what it means?

    • It could be referring to an old creek nearby with intersection.

  • Hi I live in the states of New Jersey just want to ask of a sign located in the province in the Philippines if can help me know what it means I’ll really appreciate it. Contact me thru my email so that I can send you pictures ok it.

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