Oak Island

Ch 10:  Oak Island
Toronto, Canada

Our Story:

A few years after the death by hanging of the notorious pirate Captain Kidd, three of his former crew members return to Oak Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, to claim buried treasure. The way is treacherous, a storm is mounting, and the men have only each other to rely upon – a difficult situation for the former and would-be thieves. But one of them has been entrusted with a secret by the Captain himself, a secret which will make him a rich man, if only he can find the key before time runs out…

The Real Story Behind Oak Island

The “Money Pit” of Oak Island, Nova Scotia, has captured the imaginations of several generations of treasure-seekers. No-one knows what exactly is buried there — if anything — but there are a number of more or less plausible possibilities: some believe that either Captain Kidd or Blackbeard buried their pirate booty there; others believe that the island may have become the last resting place of Marie Antoinette’s lost jewels, and still others think that the treasure might consist of important records rather than gold. Whatever it was, it must have been important, if indeed it was stashed away in a virtually impenetrable hiding place.

The first published reports of the Oak Island Money Pit date to about the mid-19th century, so it is difficult to assess their accuracy in relating the story of its initial discovery. The story claims that when a teenaged boy named Daniel McGinnis first stumbled upon the site in 1795, he saw a circular shallow depression filled with loose earth, above which a tackle block hung suspended from an overhanging tree branch. McGinnis put two and two together and brought two friends to help him dig out the hole. Their suspicions apparently were confirmed when they found a layer of flagstones a few feet below the surface and logs at intervals of every ten feet or so; they also noted that there was a clear difference between the looser soil of the fill and the surrounding harder clay, and they discerned older pick-marks along the pit’s edges. Nevertheless, their simple equipment permitted them to go down only to a depth of 30 feet.

The three men returned almost a decade later, now with financial backing, and as they descended further, they found more layers of oak logs, clay, and coconut fibers. At a depth of about 90 feet, they reportedly found a non-native stone inscribed with strange symbols, and they were convinced that they would find a treasure immediately below it. Unfortunately, there was only another layer of wood underneath; and when the group returned two days later, the pit had filled up with seawater to a level about 30 feet below the surface. The following year, the same group endeavored to dig an adjacent shaft into which they could divert the seawater, but the second pit also flooded and caved in. The original diggers then gave up completely.

The next attempt to reopen the pit came in 1849, when a group of investors cleared out the previous depth of about 90 feet, at which point the pit flooded again. This group then used a drill to bring up samples from below the bottom of the shaft: move evidence of wood, perhaps an open cavity, and some bits of metal. With the advent of pumping technology, the shaft was dug deeper and deeper over years until it reached the extraordinary depth of over 130 feet, and a total of six people have lost their lives working on the pit. Unfortunately, the most promising finds — like the inscribed stone and perhaps some small gold links — can no longer be found and verified, and the treasure-seekers tend to keep their best bits of evidence to themselves.

The most recent scientific research on Oak Island has shown that the continual filling up of the Money Pit with seawater is not due to a man-made system of channels coming from the nearby shoreline, as was previously thought, but is rather the result of tidal pressure on the underground water table. Drillings have suggested that there might be water-filled natural cavities below the shaft’s bottom, and indeed the island’s geology should produce a number of caverns at a depth of about 150 feet. When one such cavern was penetrated in the nearby Borehole 10X in the early 1970’s, some murky video footage of its interior showed what appeared to be a chest, a log structure, and a human hand, but the cavern collapsed before it could be analyzed further.

Some have become convinced that the Money Pit is just a natural sinkhole. But the tantalizing pieces of evidence accumulated over the years have persuaded many that there is still something of value hidden on Oak Island — but where, and by whom, we may never know.

The Chapters: 12 Lost Treasures

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