KC Kern & Greg Pavone feel like they have enough evidence to find the Mormon Cave. But how will the property owner react?
GT: So, this was the same house that a few years before you had knocked on and they weren’t home. Is that right?
Greg: One year before, yes.
KC: Like six, nine months.
Greg: I mean, June 2014 is when we knock on the door, they’re not there. In May of 2015, I return.
Greg: Yeah. So he was very friendly, a very nice guy. We’re still on very good terms to this day. Right off the bat, he’s like, “Yeah, I’ll take you up there.” So, we grab a shovel. I’m wearing a suit. We grab a shovel. We walk up the hill. There’s this huge impression, almost as if, like KC was talking about earlier, that the cave had been detonated and something fell in on itself. So this is a big hill, and then there’s an impression in the hill, almost like a crater hit it. Imagine that. We have pictures posted. Then, in the middle of that impression is a single tree. It’s about that big around. I was like, “Huh, that’s interesting. What is that? What is this on your property?” Then, there’s clearly a tractor trail that somebody had driven a tractor up to this location.
GT: Just one second. Had he heard anything about this cave before you guys said anything to him?
Greg: He had heard. I think so. He had heard. People had contacted him before.
KC: I think he said some sister missionaries came and visited him.
GT: Oh, really?
Greg: Yes. He had heard about it.
Greg: So, I started digging. I had a shovel. I started digging. Unfortunately, you can only go so far. I came to the conclusion very quickly that wearing a suit, carrying a shovel, I’m not going to get far. I’m going to need more firepower. I’m going to need an excavator. I’m going to need to cut that tree down because it’s right in the middle of where we thought it was. I took a picture of it, and when you match that impression with Dan Vogel’s picture.
And how are they going to get time off to conduct an archaeological dig?
KC: We self-funded it. Full disclosure, renting an excavator for a weekend cost about $700. We split all the costs.
Greg: We had to pay the lawyer fees for the contract.
KC: Yeah, we had to pay the lawyer fees, too.
GT: Which was probably $700 an hour, right? (Chuckling)
Greg: It was all well worth it. We’re not rich people. It was definitely worth it for what happened next. I graduated from my program in late August. The Navy training pipeline typically has about two weeks or a month of leave sometimes between your next training. So, I had about a month off. So, now fast forward to September 2015. That’s when we decided this is when we’re going to do it.
KC: I’m in Korea.
Greg: Remember, he’s in Korea.
KC: So, just doing a weekend trip to New York is no small deal. But we had this window of opportunity that was from while after you had graduated, but before you had your next post. Meanwhile, I was on a project that involved some market research in the U.S., and it involved going to various retailers throughout the US, pretty much one meeting one day at a time. We were mainly looking at the pharmacies and drugstores. On Monday, I was at a Walgreens in Illinois. On Tuesday, I was at Costco in Washington. On Wednesday, I was, where did I go? Oh, [I was] in Ohio. Then, the schedule was I was supposed to meet Rite Aid on Thursday, and then Walmart on Friday. The Walmart meeting got canceled, and that pretty much opened it up, because I was planning on being in Arkansas on Friday, and then being able to maybe take some time over the weekend to go fly up to Palmyra. But that meeting got canceled. That left me in Pennsylvania, meeting Rite Aid on Thursday. I was literally, a three-hour drive away from Palmyra as my business trip was ending. It was really just like, whew, the stars are really aligning. We were both busy people.
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