The Mystery of Oak Island

I've started to write this post several times. In fact when I was thinking about writing a blog, Oak Island was one of the posts I thought would be interesting to write about. I was wrong. It's not interesting at all. Even the photos are boring. 

It's not even on the interesting side of Nova Scotia which we all know is the Bay of FUNdy

Recently Bones did an episode (The Man With The Bone, I didn't see it) which featured a story line based on the same archaeological features mirroring those of Oak Island. After the show aired, local radio personalities commented they were unaware of Canada's famous Oak Island Treasure story - really?! - and it occurred to me that there may be one or two other people out there who are also unaware of Oak Island so, paraphrasing wiki from the article found here, here is the story for the two of you.

Booth: Treasure! Bones: Why must humahns embark on futile quests for [blah blah]

Daniel McGinnis, an impressionable youth of 18, saw lights coming from the island one night. Lights being a sign of suspicious activity in 1795, he went to discover what was up and found a circular depression on the southeastern end of the island. No word on whether he found the source of the lights. There was a tree beside the depression with a tackle block (since lost) on an overhanging branch. (since lost).

He went and got friends and started excavating and discovered evidence that someone had intended to create a pit there. Pick marks and flag stones a few feet down being the main evidence. They continued to dig and found a layer of logs every 10 feet but abandoned the digging at 30 feet.

This will be the most interesting thing about my Oak Island post

This launched what has now become the longest quest for treasure and the deepest archaeological excavation site ever in the history of mankind in our galaxy, probably. 

Eight years after Daniel McGinnis, another company began excavations and found charcoal, putty and coconut fibre every ten feet down to 90 feet. It is claimed that at 90 feet they found a stone (now lost) with strange symbols which were translated as saying "forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried" but we'll see later that someone else has a theory that it doesn't say that at all.

Symbols on the stone found at 90 feet where they would have us believe
the code is a simple letter substitution cryptogram...yeah right

And then? The pit flooded with sea water up to the 33 foot level. No amount of bailing reduced the amount of water in the pit and it was abandoned once again.

The pit was re-excavated back down to the 86 feet where it flooded again. Next they drilled into the area below the bottom of the shaft and passed through: "a spruce platform at 98 feet, a 12-inch head space, 22 inches of what was described as "metal in pieces", 8 inches of oak, another 22 inches of metal, 4 inches of oak, another spruce layer, and finally into clay for 7 feet without striking anything else.

That right there sums up the whole Oak Island Treasure Hunt experience. Lots of digging and drilling and finding foreign materials at regular intervals all leading up to a great big huge nothing. Or water filling the entire excavation again. That happens a lot too.

Here lies water and a lot of nothing for which men have died

In 1861 another attempt was made which resulted in the collapse of the bottom of the shaft into a natural cavern (probable) or booby trap (fanciful theory) down below. This excavation attempt was marked with the first of six deaths relating to the Oak Island Treasure when the boiler of a pumping engine burst.

Further excavations were made in 1866, 1893, 1909, 1931, 1935, 1936, and 1959, none of which were successful.

It is interesting to note that when red dye was poured into the flooded pit the dye exited at three different points around the island. But is this the work of an engineering genius with treasure to hide or a sink hole due to the natural formation of caverns and channels below the surface and is found all over this area?

Various parties through the years have tried their hand at excavating the pit and all were unsuccessful. Often the company involved just ran out of money.

According to wiki:

It was announced in April 2006 that partners from Michigan had purchased a 50% stake in Oak Island Tours Inc., for an undisclosed amount of money...The Michigan group...has said it will resume operations on Oak Island in the hope of discovering buried treasure and the mystery of Oak Island.
In July 2010...the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources/Tourism, Culture and Heritage had granted them a temporary Treasure Trove License, allowing them to resume activities until December 31, 2010. After December 2010, the department repealed the former Treasure Trove Act and replaced it with a new "Oak Island Act". The new Oak Island Treasure Act came into effect as of January 1, 2011 and allows for treasure hunting to continue on the island under the terms of a licence issued by the Minister of Natural Resources.

So what's happening on Oak Island now? According to this update permits were acquired and digging was planned for this past summer. There has been nothing in the news about treasure being found but I, for one, am not surprised.

There is one person who has another theory. He believes the Oak Island site is a decoy and the markings on the stone tablet found in 1804 do not say "forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried" but are directions to the actual treasure on nearby Birch Island.

Interestingly, Birch Island also looks like a peace symbol.
I hope that's not a sign

Birch Island has a strange triangle on it. That's gotta mean something! 

I'm sure there is some sort of mystery around Oak Island. Where do the coconut fibres come from, for example? 

What treasure is down there, if any? Information on who really wrote Shakespeare's works (Francis Bacon)? Pirate treasure? Marie Antoinette's jewels? It's become more than just fun to speculate, it's become a business. A serious business that has taken lives. In the end, whatever is found, I don't think it will have been worth it.



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