Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 249/365 Oak Island Mystery

This pastoral little seaside setting is none other than the Money Pit on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. Misleading in its isolation and apparent state of disrepair, this is one of those all-consuming mysteries that hasn't been solved by modern treasure hunters.

Lots of details and twists and turns (and tunnels) in this story, but the basic facts are this:

1795 - Three young hunters catch sight of a ship's block and tackle hanging from a tree. Directly underneath is a large circular depression. Of course they begin to dig, having grown up with tales of pirates and treasure. Two feet down, they encounter a man-laid layer of flagstone. Ten feet down they run into a layer of oak logs, and another layer at 20 feet, and stil another at 30 feet.

Returning in 1803, they resume the dig, finding an oak layer every 10 feet, until they reach a depth of 90 feet. In addition, at 40 feet, an additional layer of charcoal is found, at 50 feet an additional layer of putty, and at 60 feet, an additional layer of coconut fiber.

At 90 feet, an inscribed stone is found:

Claimed translation: "forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried"

After the digging past the 90 foot oak layer, the ingenious design of the pit was revealed. A booby trap, if you will. As the shaft is dug out, deeper and deeper, side tunnels intersect. Side tunnels that are filled with water supplied by the sea surrounding around the island. Think of it this way:
Nobody's stealing this treasure. In fact, the search was abandoned for 45 years. Later various parties would try their hand, even drilling a parallel shaft to drain off the flood water. Didn't work. The relief shaft flooded too. But while it was being drilled, it encounted metal shards and wood that have been carbon dated to 300 years.

Over the years, various famous folks have shown up. Including Franklin Delano Roosevelt (above with the pipe) - like he needed to find treasure.

Various other attempts have included drilling for core samples. At 98 feet a layer of spruce was encountered,then a 4 inches of oak, then 22 inches of small bits of metal, another 8 inches of oak, 22 inches of metal, another 4 inches of oak, and another layer of spruce. Some speculate that this was the actual treasure and the drill went right through it (several small bits of gold link came up with this sample, but no one seems to know where they went).

At this point there have been numerous shafts drilled all over the island, each encountering buried man-laid layers of foreign materials: rock, gravel, fieldstone, oak, spruce, metal, etc. The beach has been discovered to be artificial, with two dams built at some point long ago, one with submerged logs engraved with Roman numerals and secured with wooden pins.

The most interesting discoveries came in 1976 when a 235 foot shaft was dug and cameras were lowered. Supposedly images came back of several chests, a severed human hand, tools, wooden shoring, and a human body. None of those claims have been independently confirmed, and the shaft collapsed, and was abandoned.

Visitors to the island have even produced photos with orbs, and when the photos are enlarged, the orbs appear to have a maze pattern in them. (For my non-ghost-hunting friends, orbs are spots of light, sometimes visible to the naked eye, but usually appearing in photos. Some opinions hold that orbs are light reflecting off dust, or light reflecting off bugs, or just light reflecting. Many are debunked. A select few aren't. Those are the ones of interest. But I've never heard of any orb having a maze pattern....)

So thanks to my BFF Cathy, I've found a new all-consuming mystery. Fortunately I don't have a million bucks to sink into this one like the others before me.

'Cause you know I would.


  1. You do find some interesting stories to share!

  2. What an interesting history. I'm surprised that someone with a million bucks hasn't gone all the way with this. what if it's Atlantis or something? How cool
    peace n abundance,