Exclusive: ‘Mystery At Blind Frog Ranch’ Geologist Eric Drummond Talks Season Two’s Bizarre Twists

One of the best hybrid treasure hunt-meets paranormal series on Discovery is Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch, now in season two. The series is becoming more mysterious and complex in the finds and the events that stack up as Duane and Chad Ollinger. 

Their crew tries to excavate a water-filled cavern that holds a strange box that turns out to be from the time of Montezuma, the ruler who allegedly hid gold away from the Conquistadors in the Uintah Valley of Utah.

A vital component of the show’s integrity comes from the expertise and logical analysis of geologist and prospector Eric Drummond. 

He spoke to TV Shows Ace extensively about the finds, the new season, and his take on the Ollingers and their hunch that this ranch—near the infamous Skinwalker Ranch— is paranormal and possibly a treasure repository.

After the winter freeze ceased operations last season, the Ollingers and Drummond, ranch security Charlie Snider, and investigator Jamie Dube return to Blind Frog Ranch to continue their quest for Montezuma’s alleged stash of Aztec gold. 

When attempting to remove the box from the cave results in a near-death experience for the team; Eric finds that the large rocks inside the box are bored and hold cylinders of gallium that liquefies at room temperature. Why would someone go to the trouble to do this and then bury the rocks in a box in a remote water-filled cavern?

Eric is world-renowned for several important gemstones and mineral finds around the world. His expertise will help discern what is valuable, an anomaly, and potentially dangerous element located at the site. Someone is trying very hard to surveil all of their activities in this place. 

They are operating on the knowledge that in and around 1520, Montezuma allegedly buried gold in Utah to keep the Spanish from seizing the metal.

If you are watching, you know that the underwater box wood sample was carbon dated and identified as Yellow Pine circa 1510-1555 

Drummond is now heavily involved and trying to unravel the perplexing secrets—Aztec gold, military helicopters buzzing over the property, gun-wielding intruders, and a murder investigation—adding to the second season’s action as he focuses on the science.

Exclusive interview with Eric Drummond

Mystery At Blind Frog Ranch, Eric finds iridium discovery. Pic credit: Discovery

Duane Ollinger and his crew will pull out all the stops – and heavy machinery – to find the treasure buried beneath Blind Frog Ranch, even if the land fights them every step of the way. Drummond illuminated the new season.

April Neale: Eric, you’re from New Jersey originally?

Eric Drummond:  Yes, that’s correct. I graduated from high school in Clark, New Jersey, central Jersey. And then—went to college at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.

AN: You went from the private sector to now TV production, and I know that this show is not your first. What made you back away from the corporate aspect in applying your education to television production work?

Eric Drummond: Most of my 40-year geology career was exploring minerals, gems, oil, things like that. And so, in 2012, I had this opportunity that came out of the blue to try out for a TV show, and the show was called Ice Cold Gold. 

So one thing leads to another, and I found myself as one of the cast members of that TV show. So that was an opportunity. And from there, other TV shows.

AN: How did Blind Frog Ranch owner Duane Ollinger find you?

Eric Drummond: I believe it was Chad [Ollinger] who found me, and I think it was through social media. And he contacted me, and I eventually went out and visited with them at the site. And Duane told me all about his project that he’d been working on for years.

AN: What was your initial reaction to the place? What are your impressions now, and how have they differed, if they have?

Eric Drummond: Well, we have made some discoveries, and some of the stories that Duane has told me, they’re turning out that they’re true. And initially, there were stories of the treasure aspect and then the exploration for that, but also UFOs and the paranormal. 

So some weird things are going on out there. I’ll leave it at that. We did make some discoveries, and we’re on our way to making some more. I won’t go into great detail on that. I will say that I’ve seen some strange things in my career, and not all of them I can explain.

AN: What was the strangest thing you encountered when you went to the Blind Frog Ranch?

Eric Drummond: Well, for me, it was, I think, the discovery of an element called iridium in the soil and pretty decent concentrations, and Iridium is a relatively rare element than it’s more common in space than it is on earth. 

And so there is that sort of extraterrestrial aspect to that. So that was just one of the interesting facts. The other one was gallium, which we found in rocks within the cave. And so, gallium is a scarce element, and it has some relatively modern-day uses. And, there are many questions surrounding that, how did it get there? Who put it there? What uses was it for, and how did they even make it? And so there are lots of questions surrounding that.

AN: What’s your best scientific guess as to how it got there?

Eric Drummond: Well, I think the gallium was put there by human beings. And again, how we found it in the rocks did not appear to be a naturally occurring element. The Iridium, on the other hand, I have to kind to think that maybe it was associated with a meteor impact. 

And so we do know that the extinction of the dinosaur, there’s the thing called the CT Boundary when a giant meteorite hit the earth. And it was thought to have caused massive extinction. 

They found a layer corresponding to when that meteor right hit, and it has very elevated levels of Iridium in it. So, that’s the theory at this point. So, we’re still investigating that.

AN: Chad is hell-bent on finding Montezuma’s gold. He has said he did not sign up to be a rare elements miner, but you’re a scientist. And from a scientific point of view, are you more excited about finding these rare elements than gold?

Eric Drummond: Yes. I’ve spent my career looking for things gold, diamonds, rubies. And so when you come across something this rare, with relatively good value, it’s very exciting. 

The good thing about treasure is if you find it, it’s already processed. So, there’s a historical value to it, and there’s just an intrinsic value. So, there’s no processing required. And so it’s all fascinating to me.

AN: There are two elements to the new season that I find perplexing. One is the suicide woman, the mysterious EMTs that took her away, and the squirrely element. I feel like you’re not involved in that. The other is the surveillance discovered. Talk to me about that discovery and what you surmise is going on?

Eric Drummond: Duane had told me the story of the dead woman at the gate from the first time I met him. So he said to me that story and told it to me repeatedly, so I have to believe that’s true. 

Then the camera. We were scanning the horizon with the binoculars, and I believe it was Charlie or Chad who noted something a bit odd up on the Ridge, and sure enough, we got up there, and this was an elaborate setup. It was creepy. And so somebody had set that up and had been spying on us.

AN: Does NASA still own or have an interest in this land? They found a NASA metal cap dated 1985, so what is your estimation that NASA’s scientists used that land as a base to observe things?

Eric Drummond: Yes, it’s possible. Honestly, I’ve got my hands full with the exploration aspect. I leave a lot of that research up to Jamie and the guys. And it’s possible that NASA was conducting experiments there.

AN: You employed LIDAR, which is a very exacting 3d imaging. It is costly and hard to get your hands on LIDAR, too. In the pursuit of mapping the interior of the underground cavern, what was your initial reaction when you saw its shape and the placement of this particular box?

Eric Drummond: It was very revealing. LIDAR has been used to map mines and to map cavern systems. So it’s a potent tool, and it worked well for us. 

That image was just so detailed and there right in the middle of it was the box. And so, we’re using LIDAR and other techniques that I would use, in exploring for other things, geophysical methods, for instance. So it was very impressive.

AN: Talk about what was inside the box and the core samples?

Eric Drummond: Yes, we found gallium within the rocks inside the box. And the gallium appeared to be put in cylinders and placed in the rocks by man. 

There were small cores of it in these rocks. Why was it put in there, what uses were they using it for, and how did it get there? Who put it there? These are all questions we will be looking at moving forward.

AN: What does your gut tell you if someone went to the trouble to put this box inside this wooden crate structure, were these contents were just so dangerous to humanity that it was buried so deeply away? What is your feeling about that?

Eric Drummond: Well, I think they were hiding it for some reason or another, and we’ll be looking into that. But obviously, they didn’t want anybody to find it for whatever reason. 

And again, this might go back to why and what use they had for it? It has got some interesting modern-day uses, but how old is it? When was it put there? Those are all questions we need to look at further.

AN: What do you make of each of your Blind Frog castmates?

Eric Drummond First of all, they’re all terrific guys. When you work on a project like this, you bond with the people you work with, and we’re working some long hours. The excavation season is short, so we work into the night, and you form sort of a bond, and you’re taking risks together. 

Duane is just a wonderful person. He’s a hard worker, and they’re all good, hard workers. We occasionally have our differences, but we work them out as men do. And so they’re all good, good guys. They all bring something different to the table, and it works for us as a team.

AN: What is Red Ice Gem?

Eric Drummond: Yes, that’s a little startup deal when I worked in the country of Greenland on that first TV show I was involved. It was a discovery of some large Ruby crystals, some of the largest in the world. 

And so that was a little startup I did to help this Greenland geologist promote, process, and sell them. So, he’s taken over that aspect of it himself. He’s a sharp geologist. So that was a company that would promote small-scale, artisanal mining in Greenland in a manner that’s both culturally and environmentally responsible. And the color gemstones, and then the diamond trade, there are often these slave labor type situations like blood diamonds and things like that.

So this is just doing the opposite of that. And it was a way to promote Greenlandic rubies. And, at this point, my partner in Greenland has taken over that aspect of it. But it was an excellent project. 

I ended up working in Greenland after the TV show was canceled. I’ve worked there the past eight of the last ten years exploring on my own, for things like diamonds and rubies and gold. Unfortunately, COVID shut it down. But I look forward to returning to Greenland and exploring.

AN: Where in the world or place maybe you’ve been to, perhaps you haven’t, that is the most rewarding from an exploration point of view?

Eric Drummond: Wow, that’s a that’s a good question. There are so many areas, I do a lot of work in Arizona searching for gold, and that’s wonderful. I’ve been to Africa for gold and diamonds. But Greenland would have to be right up there. And, some places in Greenland where the ice has melted are so remote that I’m looking at areas where no human has probably even stepped before. 

So there’s that aspect. And then there’s Utah. I’ve worked in Utah before in the oil industry and, the Uintah basin and the mountains are very interesting, very remote. 

And so it’s all good. That’s part of geology. You get to go to some fantastic places. South America is incredible, so it’s all part of it. And you see some exciting things. You also see and meet some wonderful people, and you’ve got to deal with some difficulties too, but that’s all part of it.

Mystery At Blind Frog Ranch airs Fridays at 10 PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel.


April Neale

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *