> In 1937, Hedden and his contractors returned to Oak Island. This time the company would encounter intriguing findings. Burrowing down one of the many auxiliary tunnels pock marking the island, the team stumbled upon a number of fascinating items including a miner's oil lamp with whale oil and unexploded dynamite at 65 feet.
Where on earth did those come from? Are the pirates supposed to have brought dynamite with them a century or two before? This suggests to me that (1) all the previous expeditions and drillings have littered the island with all sorts of equipment and junk, and hence nothing found after the first expedition means much of anything or (2) the flood tunnels and other geological oddities move debris around and that is responsible for the dynamite, in which case there may never have been anything to explain in the first place.
> It appears far too simple to dismiss the efforts of respected lawyers, businessmen, doctors, actors and even an esteemed president.
Does it now.
Why nobody would notice you is that it's 1600- or 1700-something and you're somewhere in the woods of what will be Canada one day.
What I don't get is why someone would play an elaborate prank, knowing that they probably won't be around to watch people's faces who try to find the treasure. No, it was no prank: this was a real pirate cache site.
I think that treasure had been there before, but it had been removed by the time those boys discovered the site. The encrypted sign was left behind, that's all.
I believe the encrypted sign was originally at the surface, perhaps not buried at all. Heck, maybe that sign had been put up in a nearby tree or whatever. The pirates used that sign so they can return to the site and recover the treasure. The treasure was 40 feet below that. When the pirates (or whoever) removed the treasure, they just threw the sign deep into the hole and buried it. So then the idiots who came later thought that the sign pointed down another 40 feet from there. (Why would anyone do that, doh!)
Pirates often left themselves clues to find their caches, like encrypted signs and such. Think about it: thousands of miles of ocean and coast-line (all of it self-similar) in a world without GPS navigation.
A couple of things are hard to dispute, square cut timbers don't just "appear" underground, so someone put them there. But it could be for much more mundane reasons (like gold mines in the Sierra Nevada Mountains)and it makes for a spicy tale to through in pirates.
Everything you say is true, and it could all be one giant hoax by some land owner who said "I know, I bet if I make up a great story I can sell this worthless land for a few bucks!" What I did, and its useful for any story, is to make a "Charitable Assumption" which is to converse on the topic with the assumption that the other party is being as truthful and/or as accurate as they can. By doing so we can engage in conversation and perhaps learn new things. The trick is that one can make a charitable assumption and continue the conversation without believing that the assumption is "true" in the literal sense. It is sort of like a temporary stipulation for the purposes of discourse.
If we take the story at face value then the existence of non-natural artifacts, both timbers and other things, are considered "true" during our discussion. Then we can explore alternative reasoning (or even carry the existing reasoning further down the path) as to how or why that came about. What is important here is that there is no compulsion, either explicit or implied, in that sort of discourse that "forces you to believe" something which you don't.
The thing about a good story is, it's hard to resist the urge to make it even better.
Those last two accept that people are "being as truthful and/or as accurate as they can", but also recognize that people are imperfect observers and imperfect interpreters. As your charitable assumption doesn't allow for something that we know happens frequently, I think it's fair to say it's a non-realistic assumption.
For example, astronomers from Schiaparelli to Lowell said there were canals on the surface of Mars. Some made quite detailed maps. There was no hoax, only a combination of wishful thinking and optical illusions.
At some point we have to stop being charitable in the way you mean. But we can still be charitable by saying that people are imperfect. This path, which gwern took, also leads to learning new things, though about human psychology and not putative pirate treasure.
Joe Nickell wrote a rather nice article proposing that idea for Skeptical Inquirer a while back: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/secrets_of_oak_island/
Supposedly, the diggings were noticed as they went on. From the very start of the article:
> By most accounts, the story of Oak Island's Money Pit begins in the summer of 1795 when a teenager named Daniel McGinnis saw strange lights on an island offshore from his parent's house. According to author Lee Lamb, upon investigating the island for the source of the lights, McGinnis noticed a peculiar circular depression approximately 13 feet in diameter on the island's forest floor (2006).
Personally, I find the encrypted sign pretty suspicious. There were a lot of people very desperate to find any scrap of evidence to indicate that there was buried treasure once they had committed themselves (and of course, the landowner at any time had incentive to stoke flames of speculation); how convenient that a stone with easily-deciphered crude ciphers which could have been manufactured and thrown in by anyone just happened to show up, despite the complete lack of any more concrete evidence (if you'll forgive the term) like some gold...
Because it's funny. I think you are right, the stone was probably on the surface or the tree, after someone collected the treasure they dropped the stone down there. thinking, wouldn't it be funny if someone dug up the stone and kept digging? Those idiots will waste their time while we spend all this loot on girls and booze!
There's money buried in that pit, alright, and it's the money, time, and effort of dozens of fruitless and unintentionally self-replicating expeditions. The zeal to uncover a money pit has become, in and of itself, a money pit. That this zeal ensnared the imaginations of respected lawyers, businessmen, doctors, actors, and a future president speaks volumes about human nature.
That's a simple enough argument to reason around: when pirates buried the treasure there was no flooding. Remember, flooding didn't start until partway through one of the expeditions: this could be explained by shifting geological patterns in the rock in the island. All it would take would be for a crack to form in or current to erode a protective stone barrier which was previously keeping water out. Pirates unencumbered by water might have had a much easier time burying (and, they thought, retrieving) treasure.
The fact is, regardless of difficulty, someone did dig down that deep, and it seems like a lot of work, even without the water, to do as a prank or diversion. So I do think there is probably treasure there, or at least there was at one time.
However, as the many attempts show, the excavation is a very risky endeavor to undertake for treasure that May or may not still be there.
EDIT: And for the record, I think the treasure theory is the only plausible part. Kidd makes some sense, as do Vikings or naval treasure, but that's all speculation unless some real evidence is found. The "vi" bit is completely useless, and the Templars/masons/Shakespeare ideas are an embarrassment to the people who came up with the ideas.
It's kinda like a reverse-proof-of-work. It takes you a constant amount of time (probably a few weeks of work for a crew working on digging the ~100 foot pit and leaving a few fake clues). Then, once you tell someone else about it, it has the potential to occupy years of their life attempting to discover the "treasure" you told them about.
You mean that really important stone which somehow got misplaced—or put into a fireplace—and so we have this replica "for reals you guys"?
On a total tangent: People used to just hack up important monuments all the time if they thought they could use them.
> In the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods, locals destroyed many of the standing stones around the henge, both for religious and practical reasons. The antiquarians John Aubrey and William Stukeley however took an interest in Avebury during the 17th century, and recorded much of the site before its destruction.
> The majority of the standing stones that had been a part of the monument for thousands of years were smashed up to be used as building material for the local area. This was achieved in a method that involved lighting a fire to heat the sarcen, then pouring cold water on it to create weaknesses in the rock, and finally smashing at these weak points with a sledgehammer.
This also probably requires a map. Carving it in stone is probably the best (memory fades, paper burn), but here I would use caution again and would not write everything on a single stone.
Their design challenges were both to hide loot from outsiders and to make it difficult for any smaller group of band members to return to the scene without alerting most of the others. This elaborate arrangement could have been designed to buy time for the rest of the group to hear about excavations and return to claim their share.
From having only read the article, my theory is that the band had discovered a naturally occurring shaft part-filled with sea water. They somehow blocked the base of the shaft then drained it with lowered buckets. It is feasible that their skin-divers were able to work from air pockets in the cavern below. Also, that the divers may have discovered a swimable route to open water.
With an empty shaft, they now needed to shore up and back-fill several times to make looting from below difficult and dangerous. They'd have been concerned about one of their number draining all the back-fill and treasure into the cavern using gunpowder. Hence they built many layers, each of which would have been very risky to tunnel into, even for someone who knew the design. The depth of the earth layers, partial air gap and strength of shoring materials might have been calculated to be particularly unstable, when not supported from below.
Since the treasure was be recovered from the top, it is most likely that the pit had worked exactly as intended. The treasure was already long gone before anyone else noticed the pit. Its trappings were left in place and made generations of greedy people the poorer. The message stone, if it existed, was a wind-up. Its spirit suggests it was done at the time of recovery. Pleased as they were to find everything as they'd left it. This had cost almost no effort for a lasting glow of satisfaction.
The pit itself had not been tremendously difficult to make either. So there is no reason to believe it had ever hidden more than just ordinary wealth.
This theory is not flawless. Nevertheless, I believe it makes sense to consider design parameters around building an untrusted network.
It´s not difficult to see the fascination that a "mystery" like this can have on men, to the point of fueling the actual belief themselves, for opportunistic reasons or simply for not being seen as fools (another famous example, Rennes Le Chateau).
People ended up investing tons on money in the project, I wouldn´t be suprised if many of these reports of "coconut fibers", "timber platforms" were actually made up by the people making a living out of it, and not wanting the financing money to dry up.
The "undecipherable" tablet that perfectly translates to current English with a basic substitution cipher is particularly laughable.
Yup. Didn't you know pirates have the ability to transcend space and time? Captain Kidd regularly traveled to the late 19th century in his tricked-out DeLorean to score all sorts of goodies for his crew. Not just dynamite, but also souvenir coconut monkeys (they make great gifts) and clean-tasting pasteurized lager beer.
(I accept my downvotes with dignity.)
Ask Alestorm, who wrote several songs about that.
This is an obvious point which the OP does not entertain at all. Dynamite was invented by Alfred Nobel in the mid 19th century, so pirates in the 17th century would not have been able to bring dynamite to the site. It must have been left by excavators from the The Oak Island Association or by other excavators trailing them.
Assuming the money in question came in the form of 18th century British gold coinage, we're talking somewhere in the area of 10 or 15 tonnes of loot. To propose that people would use human power to lower that much gold into a pit over 100 feet deep is. . . optimistic.
OTOH, assuming it was wasn't in the form of precious metals, then by now it's in the form of compost.
So if a crew of pirates|Incas|freemasons|French Royalty spent the effort to dig elaborate tunnels and traps, where are the remains of their campsites? The middens? The cooking fires? All infrastructure to support a huge constriction project, all with hand tools?
Everywhere else from that era you find the garbage that gets left behind - ashes, clay pipes, lost tools, buttons.
These particular mysterious builders were not just super skilled, they were also the tidiest contractors known to history.
Sadly, the whole story is a mishmash of charlatans, myth, and a lot of basic geology. There's no mystery.
It's far from the last great unsolved mystery, though, as claimed in the title: I would definitely put (i) deciphering the last part of Kryptos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kryptos), (ii) deciphering the Voynich Manuscript (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voynich_manuscript), and, if you insist on adding treasure to the equation (iii) the Beale Ciphers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beale_ciphers) on any list of unsolved mysteries that fuel the imagination.
It was recently added to unicode, and we don't even know what the characters mean.
Quite tantalizing to have a ton of artifacts belonging to that civilization, along with seals having specific imagery (like a bull); and then not being able to decipher the what the symbols next to the script mean.
Voynich and the Money Pit are mysteries where none of these are true and many questions besides the solving procedure are still open.
(Though, to be honest, i strongly suspect that Voynich is the same thing as Kryptos and the last Fez puzzle: An artifact straddling a weird line between riddle and troll.)
Feel someone should mention the Taman Shud Case  as another one of those preplexing mysteries.
He has a surprisingly interesting idea that the shaft of periodic wooden panels may be an ancient viking ship buried vertically.
My own vote is for sinkhole + telephone game/hype machine.
Here are some pictures of Viking longships. It looks like they are not strongly longitudinally segmented, which is against the theory.
Any chance of recovering that video?
Personally I thought of something like Nemo's underground/underwater base. Unfortunately by simply smashing through layers of timber treasure hunters most likely flooded/collapsed entire tunnel system.
Regardless of what it actually belonged to -- even a ship's manifest -- that parchment would have been valuable, and it's destroyed forever now.
It would not have been logical for these educated Masons to have left the treasure below the water table where the destruction and deterioration of it could occur from salt water.
I believe what was located at Borehole 10X was a cavern created by the Masons off of the main treasure tunnel to locate an underground ``Burial Site``.
After their return from Havana and losing thousands of their comrades to sickness, it was inevitable that deaths would occur on the island and In order to keep their location secret, they could not bury them in the ground or at sea, but placed the bodies in caskets made from the ship's wood and put them in the cavern.
What was seen from the camera lowered into Borehole 10X were the remnants of this.
I believe the parchment material found with the letters VI was a piece of the King James VI Bible, placed within a casket.
The printing of this bible was done by a John Baskerville a printer, Freemason, and good associate of both Grand Masters – Benjamin Franklin and Washington Shirley.
In 1757 John Baskerville had invented a woven cloth paper which he used to print his Bibles.
He was only explaining popular theories that have been proposed. Not claiming there is any truth to them. This is like saying wikipedia isn't reliable because they list the exact same crazy theories and even some other ones in their documentation of the site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_Island#Treasure_theories
This pit is like that only with less light at the end of the tunnel.
>The appearance of a man-made pit has been attributed partly to the texture of sinkholes: "this filling would be softer than the surrounding ground, and give the impression that it had been dug up before", and the appearance of "platforms" of rotten logs has been attributed to trees or "blowdowns" falling or washing into the depression. An undetermined pit similar to the description of the early Money Pit had been discovered in the area. In 1949, workmen digging a well on the shore of Mahone Bay, at a point where the earth was soft, found a pit of the following description: "At about two feet down a layer of fieldstone was struck. Then logs of spruce and oak were unearthed at irregular intervals, and some of the wood was charred. The immediate suspicion was that another Money Pit had been found."
Disclaimer: I'm a Freemason.
Disclaimer 2: No, I don't know where any treasure is buried. It's really not that sexy.
I've found that nobody likes to make fun of Freemasonry and all the conspiracy theories surrounding the organization more than us Masons ourselves. :)
Then you ought to know the difference between a disclaimer and a disclosure. (But don't feel bad, almost no-one else here does either...)
No fringe conspiracy theories, just good adventure fiction. It's one of their non-Pendergast books that worth the read.
Oh, and at the bottom of the pit in the book? (rot13)
n fjbeq bs qnzbpyrf-yvxr eryvp, znqr bs enqvbnpgvir vevqvhz sebz n pbzrg. Vg jnf ohevrq gb orpnhfr ybbxvat ng vg rkcbfrf lbh gb rabhtu enqf gb xvyy lbh.
The Shakespeare guy was actually really interesting. A little nutty, but he did turn up several more signs on the stones.
I'm hoping this comes back for another season and would love to see these guys finally solve the mystery. I think they have several good leads and have pushed closer to a solution than anybody else.
Its a touristy area already its close to Peggy's cove and Lunenburg.
I grew up a few hours away from there, I remember hearing about the 1980s efforts on the news at the time and finding it fascinating as any pre-teen boy would. I also feel like we're due for some recent maniacs to come along and start the whole fiasco over again.
The Oak Island Money Pit was constructed by the “powers that be” that were and still are to this day, the secret force that controls the course of mankind on earth.
This organization is known as - The “Freemasons”.
The story of The Oak Island Money Pit begins in the 1760’s
It was conceived by a number of Britain’s high ranking naval officers, who were also Masonic degree members of the Freemasons and belonging to the Masonic “Premier Grand Lodge of England”.
These Masons were members of the Whig Party opposed to the next successor to the throne, the unstable King George III.
These members were:
Washington Shirley, 5th Earl Ferrers – Vice Admiral - Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge – Premier Grand Lodge of England
George Anson, Baron Anson – Admiral of the Fleet
George Keppel, 3rd Earl of Albemarle - Commander-In-Chief
Augustus Keppel, 1st Viscount Keppel – Rear Admiral – Brother to George Keppel
William Keppel – Lieutenant-General – Brother to George Keppel
George Pocock – Admiral – Commander of the Invasion of Havana
Benjamin Franklin – First Grand Master of Pennsylvania who met in 1760 with the Grand Master of England to discuss their plan.
The Mason’s plot originated after King George III’s destruction of the Whig’s political power with his redirection of this power to the Tory Party, and the Mason’s concern of the imminent invasion of England, during the Seven Years’ War, by the joint forces of France and Spain. Spain outlawed all forms of secret organizations, including the Freemasons.
The Mason’s plan was to redirect a fortune to the “New World” (North America), to enable the transfer of the Masonic organization, if and when these fears materialized.
Their plan entailed the capture of Havana in 1762.
Havana’s Morro Castle was the Fort Knox of Spain, holding the South and Central America’s gold supply prior to its shipment to Spain.
The invasion of Havana was under the command of George Keppel, with Admiral George Pocock and Keppel’s two brothers Augustus and William Keppel, commanding the actual attack. They were successful with the capture of Havana and Fort Morro and its unprecedented amount of treasure. They also captured a number of the Spanish Fleet, which was needed to accomplish their plan. Accordingly, Admiral Pocock returned to England with the main English fleet carrying a portion of the treasure, while Augustus and William Keppel along with their crew and Masonic engineers all sworn to secrecy, manned the 8 Spanish Galleons and the 2 British Man of War. This treasure was diverted to a small island off the coast of New England and Nova Scotia now called Oak Island.
At Oak Island the treasure was buried based on the Masonic “Royal Arch” (Enoch’s Temple) consisting of nine arches going down nine levels by way of a main shaft (The Money Pit) which was dug down to the bedrock. From the ninth level another tunnel was constructed which ran back up to a point above the known water level, roughly 20 feet underground and at this point an enormous cavern was built to hold the treasure. The treasure was carted down the main shaft and placed up into this cavern. To conceal their plot they had the 8 Spanish ships dismantled with all the wooden parts not used in the construction of the shaft, tunnels and cavern burnt and all the metal parts (canons, anchors and bolts) were placed at the bottom of the main shaft. Flood tunnels were built out to the ocean to booby trap any treasure seekers attempts to follow down the main shaft. A large stone was placed at the air lock (8th level) as bait to activate the flooding. This stone had strange engravings on it to entice any unworthy treasure seekers to pause and take the bait (stone) away for deciphering, thus allowing time for the tunnels and main shaft to fill with water and be destroyed forever. The Masons knew exactly by their calculated mark above ground where the treasure cavern below ground was located, and could access it by digging down 20 feet.
Once the treasure was secured in the cavern and all the evidence was hidden from the island, it was documented that the Keppels sailed back to England with 2 ships and a small portion of the treasure. They claimed that the remainder of the fleet had sunk in a hurricane on route.
The Masons left several markers on the island to relocate the treasure.
1 large triangle or more precisely a crude Sextant
2 drilled holed stones
1 large stone cross
These combined markers along with the Star Map are used to cross triangulate and a set degree on the sextant point to the “X” where the cavern is today located.
Is the treasure still in this cavern?
I believe it was removed in 1795
One of the three original discoverers of the Money Pit was Daniel McGinnis, who stated he was drawn to the island when he noticed strange lights appearing on the island just prior to his discovery.
These lights were made by the Freemasons when they returned for their treasure.
This Masonic party was headed up by George Washington, President of the United States – acting Grand Master of the Washington DC Masons.
The treasure’s vast fortune was used, as planned, to further the power of the Freemasons in their new world, with them becoming “The New World Order”.