Prepare to delve into one of the most mysterious, haunting, and incredible treasure stories ever told. Let us travel to Oak Island, a seemingly innocuous piece of land off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Nova Scotia is one of the easternmost parts of Canada, and was one the first parts of North America that was colonized by the West, via the Vikings. Oak Island has drawn people from all corners of the Earth who are intent on breaking open its mystery. But what is hidden in this island? As legend has it, there is a priceless treasure trove hidden deep in the soil of this island. It is unknown who buried this treasure, but it is clear to many researchers and treasure hunters that something is down there.
The main treasure theories revolve around a "depression" that was found in the late 1700s by locals. On a hunch, they started to dig down into the ground, and found some very disturbing things. Since then, evidence has started to pile up that humans beings were doing something on this island hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years ago. Strange carvings are scattered on rocks all across the island. Some say that it's a pirate treasure. Others say that it has something to do with the Freemasons and the Knights Templar. The most shocking thing about this story is that it's mostly based on fact, and that the mystery surrounding it still hasn't been uncovered...
15 Marie Antoinette's Jewels
One theory about the island involves Marie Antoinette. This was the queen of France during the French Revolution, and all members of royalty were brutally slain by the rioting and furious French people. Legend has it that Marie Antoinette gave a large number of her most precious jewels to someone that she trusted, possibly her housekeeper. The housekeeper is said to have hidden the jewels in her clothing and fled the country, eventually fleeing to the west. These jewels would be priceless today. The most intriguing part of this theory is that Marie Antoinette's main collection of jewels was never actually recovered and remains lost to this day.
As the story goes, the housekeeper or whoever it was managed to escape to Canada, in an area that was actually named "Acadia" by the French who first discovered it. She presumably found people who were sympathetic to her cause, or she was put into contact with them by those who were still loyal to French royalty. Those who believe in this theory think that the Oak Island Money Pit was constructed to hide this precious jewels many years ago.
14 The Pirate Theory
One of the most popular theories surrounding the Oak Island Money Pit is that it holds a pirate treasure. Many different pirates have been attributed to the treasure. The most common one is Captain Kidd, a Scottish sailor who turned to piracy in the mid 1600s. Other theories propose that Blackbeard, the most legendary pirate, buried his treasure here. He famously said that his treasure was buried "where none but Satan and myself can find it."
Another theory states that the island was used to store a large amount of treasure taken from a British Galleon by the Spanish. The proponents of this theory say that this happened during the American Civil War. What's undeniable is that there were pirates operating in the seas close to this island, and that they most certainly could have set foot on the island, possibly using it for a base to store ammunition or treasure.
13 The First People Stopped Digging Because Of "Superstitious Dread"
The first settlers of Oak Island brought with them strange stories about Captain Kidd's alleged treasure, which was supposedly worth two million British pounds. As the story goes, the first ever settler of the island, known only as "McGinnis" discovered a depression in the ground when looking for an area suitable for a farm in 1799. He immediately thought that this was the treasure of Captain Kidd that had been talked about so widely, and he started to dig. He employed the help of two other men, and the deeper they dug, the more strange things they found.
According to the story, they only had to dig two feet before they started to find "flagstones;" or stones that are supposed to mark a specific spot. They started to dig deeper, and they began to find more of these "markers," which included tool marks and other signs of digging. These signs were found every 10 feet or so. But after they had dug 30 feet, they suddenly abandoned their work. No reason was ever given, except for the fact that they stopped due to "superstitious dread." Something happened all those years ago that made these three men stop in their tracks...
12 Strange Inscriptions Found
Not even 8 years later, a new team of excavators decided to tackle the pit in the 1800s. This was a new group called the Onslow Company, who sailed to Oak Island with the specific goal of recovering the treasure that was rumored to be buried in this so-called "Money Pit." They took their work much more seriously than the three amateur diggers that came before them, and continued their work until the hole was 90 feet deep. Once again, "markers" were found every 10 feet, including coconut fiber that was recovered and dated much later to the 1600s.
But by far the most shocking thing this team recovered was a large, strange stone bearing puzzling inscriptions that no one has yet been able to translate. What's more is that no one knows what happened to the stone today. It was taken and built into a nearby house's chimney, taken to Halifax, and then was lost completely. The images we have now of the stone are all replicas, based on people who claim to have seen the stone but can provide no evidence. What's clear is that the symbols were never deciphered.
11 Booby Traps
The Onslow Company abandoned their excavation when the pit flooded and would not stop, no matter how many times it was bailed out. This leads us to our next disturbing fact about the Oak Island Money Pit - the fact that there seems to be a sophisticated series of booby traps in this hole. All of these booby traps are water-based, and supposedly designed to incapacitate and even drown those who are digging in it.
Many people say that the booby traps are linked with the sea through an elaborate drainage system. This system links up with a beach called Smith's Cove, and this beach also has signs of human activity. There is one theory that the Oak Island Money Pit is merely a decoy, and the water traps are designed to waste years of treasure hunters' lives while the real treasure lays elsewhere. Another theory is that the Money Pit doesn't hold the treasure, but instead a clue that leads to the actual treasure. Only those who prove themselves worthy of overcoming the water traps can find the clue.
10 The First Man Who Died
In 1861, a new company decided to take a stab at uncovering the fabled treasure of the Oak Island Money pit. This was the Oak Island Association. They approached this challenge with a unique tactic. Instead of drilling and digging straight down, they elected to come at it from an angle, in order to avoid the booby traps. Things started to go wrong right away. The bottom of the pit actually collapsed while they were constructing this side angle shaft, and the excavators claim that the treasure chests at the bottom fell into an even deeper void much deeper than before. This was allegedly yet another set of booby traps.
Even though the side shaft was designed to avoid the water, it actually flooded in the same way as the main shaft had. This was such an inconvenience that the company brought in a massive boiler engine to power a pump that withdrew the water. There was only one problem. The boiler engine exploded, killing a man nearby. This would be the first of 6 lives that the Oak Island Money pit would claim. The company gave up soon afterwards.
9 Maynard Kaiser Fell To His Death
In 1896, another company arrived to try their luck against this hidden treasure. This company's name was never revealed, but it is known that they came well-equipped to deal with the potential challenges that the Pit posed. They brought with them heavy drills and steam pumps to deal with the water, but once again it could not deal with the rising water triggered by the so-called water booby traps. But this company managed to take borings of the bottom of the pit. Supposedly, these borings retrieved sheepskin with fragments of letters on them written in India ink.
The company then went a little overboard and started chucking dynamite into the flooded bottom of the pit, which caused massive explosions. Their aim was to prevent any further booby traps, but to most people this seemed rather stupid. They seemed to run the risk of destroying any messages or clues at the bottom. Tragedy struck when a man named Maynard Kaiser fell to his death.
8 Four People Died In The 60s
There were a few more attempts at finding the treasure in the early 1900s, but all of these were unsuccessful. The pit laid undisturbed for many years until 1965, when a new group of people attempted to uncover the truth of this pit. It seems that many people were starting to believe that nothing ever good could come of digging up this pit, as it had already claimed two lives. The newest adventurers didn't care about this, although in retrospect they probably should have been more careful...
Robert Restall came to the island in 1959, and got to work on the Oak Island Money Pit after signing a contract with the land owners. In 1965 they were attempting to seal off a flood tunnel that led to Smith's Cove. While Robert was down at the bottom of the shaft, he was rendered unconscious by the carbon monoxide fumes by a gasoline engine that was placed at the top of the shaft. His son went down to help him, but also lost consciousness. Then three other workers went down. All three also lost consciousness. A visitor to the site managed to lower himself down with a rope and save one man, but the other four men died. These were the last men to lose their lives while excavating this site, and they serve as a dire warning to future treasure hunters.
7 The Connection To Freemasonry And The Templars
One of the most surprising things about the Oak Island Money Pit, and the entire island in general, is its strange connection to the Freemasons, the Knights Templar, and the so-called Rosicrucians. Many people think that the way The Money Pit is set up is very similar to similar Freemason "vaults," and it shares a deep connection with the Freemasons rituals involving buried treasure. There are many theorists who believe that the entire island was actually a Freemason base started by the Knights Templar.
The details of this theory also point to a variety of stones found throughout the island, both close to the Oak Island Money Pit and far, that have Masonic symbols. One such stone, pictured above, is said to depict a symbolic Masonic "G" character. What could the Freemasons have been trying to hide down there? Many people think that it was not actually treasure, but books, documents, and ancient knowledge dating from as far back as the library of Alexandria.
6 Sir Francis Bacon Connection
An offshoot of the Freemason theory involves Sir Francis Bacon. Sir Francis Bacon was a famed leader of the Rosicrucians. The word "Rosicrucian" literally means "Red Cross," and has been linked heavily with the Freemasons and the Knights Templar. It was an esoteric society that had the expressed goal of seeking hidden knowledge. In 1610, Sir Francis Bacon was granted land in Newfoundland. This puts him very close to the area of Oak Island geographically.
Sir Francis Bacon is considered by many to be the true identity of Shakespeare and possibly Marlowe. He was very experienced in preserving parchments using mercury. Mercury was one of the substances found in the Oak Island Money Pit more recently, and parchment has been found there in the past as well. But according to many theorists, there are actually clues to the treasure's location in Nova Scotia hidden within Shakespeare's plays themselves.
5 Stunning Images Found In The 70's - Possibly A Severed Hand
Shortly after the tragedy that befell the Restall family, a new company inevitably came forth to see if they could succeed where others had failed. This company was Triton Alliance, Ltd., formed in the late 60s. This company won the support of the locals, many of whom became shareholders in the company, and in the early 70s they constructed a massive shaft that reached far into the ground. The 235-foot shaft was called Borehole-X, and was well supported and stable. This was deeper than any other shaft had reached.
First they lowered a camera into the shaft. The pictures were blurry and unclear, but some claim that they are pictures of a severed hand, treasure chests, and digging tools. These claims were never verified, but the pictures remain in circulation to this day. Divers were also sent to the bottom of the shaft - something that had never been done before, but they came up empty-handed. The shaft later collapsed, and after a string of financial and legal problems, the effort was abandoned.
4 More Strange Stones Found Throughout The Island
The inscribed stone found in the Oak Island Money Pit is hardly the only strange stone that was found on the island. We've already mentioned the supposed Freemason symbol found on one of the stones, and there are plenty of others found throughout the island with very strange symbols carved into them. Why are there so many of these stones found here? Is it just pranksters trying to stoke the flame of this conspiracy? Or were these inscriptions left by the same people who built the money pit? If so, how old are these inscriptions?
There have been many people who have admitted to carving these stones in recent years. Many wanted to create a hoax and fool people, and a lot of them did it as teens. But there are other stones that have been dated to many years ago, and are confirmed as real. Other stones seem to have Templar symbols on them, which is strange since the people of Oak Island originally believed that the treasure belonged to Captain Kidd, not the Templars... There is also the case of a Roman sword being found off the coast of the island, which has been confirmed as authentic.
3 The Last Resting Place Of The Holy Grail?
One of the most far-fetched theories again has to do with the Templars. People who believe this theory say that Oak Island is actually the last resting place of the famed Holy Grail. For those who aren't familiar with the story, the Holy Grail is the cup that Jesus is said to have drunk from during the last supper. Others believe it is an object with supernatural powers, and is much more than just a mere cup. What's obvious is that the grail has been sought after for thousands of years by many groups.
It is believed that the Templars were responsible for hiding the grail, and to be honest Oak Island would have been an ideal place. At the time, it was at the other end of the world, known by few, and reachable only by those who had access to a ship capable of long voyages. There are some who say that the pit might also contain the long lost Ark of the Covenant, or some other form of legendary artifact. There are many who say that these holy artifacts are actually remnants of advanced technology left behind by an antediluvian civilization.
2 The Oak Island Curse Still Has One More Life To Claim
The so-called "Curse Of Oak Island" is probably one of the most talked about parts of this legend. You've already seen that the Money Pit has claimed the lives of 6 people, mostly due to strange circumstances and freak accidents. People have drowned, suffocated, and fell to their death while trying to get to the bottom of the pit. But the Curse of Oak Island is supposedly for seven deaths, not six. Which means there is still one more life left to claim for this legendary place...
There have been a huge number of close calls since the last man died here. One man was almost crushed when he was trapped inside Borehole-X when he was working for Triton Alliance. And of course there is the superstition that surrounds the Money Pit. Ghosts, glowing orbs, and other supernatural events have been regularly reported by the locals. Is this just the locals trying to hype up the area so that more tourists will visit? Or is there any truth to the "Oak Island Curse?"
1 It's Probably Just A Sinkhole
In the end, mainstream science has concluded that the Oak Island Money Pit is probably just a regular, run-of-the-mill sinkhole. Sorry for the disappointment. The hole shows every sign of being a natural formation. The tools and other evidence of human activity found in the hole can easily be attributed to the fact that many different teams have tried to excavate this hole thus far. And inevitably, they leave some of their tools behind. The "loose dirt" that was noted by the very first diggers at this site can also be attributed to a sinkhole, as can the presence of logs and wood. Sinkholes suck everything down into the hole, including trees.
Furthermore, mainstream researchers have concluded that the tunnels linking the sea to the hole from Smith's Cove are also natural formations. So much for the "elaborate water booby trap theory." But don't dismiss this just yet. Just because the formation is a natural one does not mean that there's no treasure buried inside. Whoever buried the treasure could have come across the sinkhole and thought, "Great! Here's a perfect place to bury my treasure, and it even has natural water traps that are already built!" You never know... I guess the only way to find out what's at the bottom is to keep digging...