Oak Island is a small island located four miles off the coast of Novia Scotia. It is the home of the infamous “money pit.” For more than two centuries, treasure hunters have attempted to unearth its treasure. Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt participated in one expedition decades before he became President of the United States. Does Oak Island really hold a treasure? And if so, how has it managed to elude treasure hunters for so long?
The Oak Island Money Pit?
In 1763, residents in nearby Chester reported “strange lights and fires” on Oak Island. Then in 1795, a 16-year old boy discovered a circular depression on the island’s southeastern end. With the help of two friends, he began to dig and uncovered a stone platform and two layers of logs. Although they found nothing, they would return to the island eight years later with the Onslow Company. They found platforms of logs every ten feet as well as charcoal at 40 feet, putty at 50 feet, and coconut at 60 feet. At 80-90 feet, they recovered a large stone with strange symbols on it. One translation of these symbols read, “Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.” The group continued to dig but at about 98 feet, the pit mysteriously flooded with seawater.
In 1849, the Truro Company dug a new shaft parallel to the flooded one. This shaft also flooded. In 1851, workers made an astonishing discovery. A nearby beach was fake. Someone had removed the original clay and created a drainage system. Round stones were covered with dead grass and coconut fibres and then topped off with sand. Five drains were connected to the area, leading to speculation that whoever built the pit had also constructed an ingenious flood-trap. The tides caused seawater to flow into the pit while the grass and fibres kept sand from clogging the drains. Bailing the pit out proved useless as more water just rushed in to take its place.
An 1861 effort by the Oak Island Association caused the bottom of the original shaft to collapse into what may have been a natural cavern. Over a dozen separate expeditions would follow, leaving the area around the Money Pit a nearly unworkable mess of mud and debris. Starting in 1967, Triton Alliance, Ltd. used a steel caisson to excavate 235 feet into the ground. Supposedly, workers lowered cameras into a natural cave and recorded images of chests and a human hand. But the shaft collapsed and yet another expedition walked away empty-handed.
What’s Hidden on Oak Island?
Like many treasure stories, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. Early accounts mention marks every ten feet. Later accounts change these marks into wood platforms. The stone with strange symbols on it has not been seen since the early 1900s and the corresponding translation remains highly controversial. Most importantly, after so many excavations, its impossible to tell if structures within the pit were created by the original builders or by earlier expeditions.
Numerous theories abound as to what might be hidden on Oak Island. Everything from pirate treasure to Shakespeare’s true identity to the Ark of the Covenant has been speculated to sit at the bottom of the money pit. And of course, there’s also the very strong possibility that the pit is nothing more than a natural sinkhole which leads to an underground cave (similar geological features exist on the mainland). The flooding, in this scenario, was caused by underground cavities filled with water. Dye tests conducted by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution add support to that theory. However, the artificial beach as well as other clues make it hard to deny the possibility that someone built the pit centuries ago, presumably to hide something within it.
Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis
Recently, Oak Island Tours, Inc. began using electrical resistivity in order to detect underground tunnels. The process involves pulsing current through the ground in order to find unusual structures. According to Rick Lagina, the process has proved fruitful.
“There are interesting anomalies, yes…There are more than several sites that we are very excited about.” ~ Rick Lagina
Lagina and his fellow treasure hunters plan to analyze the data in order to determine promising drilling spots. So, is this just the latest in a long line of failures? Or will Oak Island Tours, Inc. finally get to the bottom of the money pit mystery? Either way, we should know the answer very soon.