Legend says that on Oak Island in Nova Scotia, there is a 200-year-old buried treasure. It is believed that hidden on the island are treasures that were once owned by Marie Antoinette, religious royalty, and William Shakespeare. This legend has kept explorers on the hunt for the treasure for many years. Chasing the treasure isn’t as simple as you would think. This is because the area is laced with hidden surprises and booby traps that have been proven deadly. Trying to find the treasure has cost many explores everything over the years and even their lives.
Hunting or buried treasure has become so popular that the History Channel has created a show about the island. It is called, The Mystery of Oak Island, and the show documents a group of explorers trying to get their hands on the treasure.
50 Year Search
The Lagina brothers have been searching for the mysterious treasure on Oak Island since 1965. It all began when Rick Lagina read all about Oak Island in Reader’s Digest. He had no idea at the time that reading the article will change the course of his life forever. When he and his brother were old enough, they started their search, hoping to find the hidden treasure finally.
Rick always had treasure hunting on his mind. When he was just 10-years-old, he got his brother and some friends together to dig up a huge boulder that they found. They hoped that something would be buried underneath, but in the end, they found nothing. It was this fun hunt that led Rick to want to hunt for more treasure. From that point on, he knew that treasure hunting was in his blood.
The First Discovery On Oak Island
The mystery of Oak Island has made nay people curious for years. It all started in 1796 when a boy named Daniel McGinnis noticed a circular depression in the ground on the island. He had heard the legends of the buried treasure on the island, so he felt that he needed to investigate. During the search, Daniel and two of his friends began digging into the impression. When they dug about two feet down, they hit flagstone. This caused them to want to dig even further. They dug for a total of 30-feet, through layers of oak logs. Suddenly, their progress was halted. It was ten years before someone had returned to pick up where Daniel and his friends left off.
10 Years Later
It was ten years later that the Onslow Company came to pick up where Daniel and his friends left off. They dug over 60-feet into the ground. About every 10-feet, they would hit a layer of oak logs. This wasn’t the only strange thing that the explorers found. As they were digging, they found layers of putty, layers of charcoal, and layers of coconut fiber. It quickly became apparent that the expedition team that someone put a lot of time and energy into hiding whatever was in the ground. Finally, they dug deep enough, and they found something. It wasn’t the treasure, but it was a stone tablet. It had an inscription, and as soon as they pulled it out of the ground, the tunnel flooded all around them.
An Intentional Flood
When the water started flooding in, the members of the Onslow Company did everything they could to end the flooding, Unfortunately, as hard as they tried, their efforts weren’t effective. They quickly discovered that whoever had built the bit had built it so that a 500-foot connecting waterway from Smith’s Cove led directly to it. Whoever buried the tablet intended for the tunnel to fill with water as soon as it was found. The Onslow Company didn’t know who did this or why. With every high tide, the tunnel would fill back up until the Onslow Company finally gave up. They felt that finding the stone tablet was a great find, and they let it go. Shortly after, they left the island.
A Halifax professor later managed to translate the writing on the tablet. It read, “Forty feet below, two million pounds life buried.” What the tablet actually referred to was a mystery. According to the legend, in order for a person to figure out the mystery of Oak Island treasure, seven people had to die. So far, six people have died trying to find the treasure. Some don’t really believe in the legend, because how would the treasure or the island know how many people had lost their lives on the island.
What Is Located On Oak Island?
There are a few theories as to what is actually buried on Oak Island. Some people believe that William Shakespeare, aka, Francis Bacon, buried his Shakespearean manuscripts and much of his earnings on the island. Based on Shakespeare’s success, if his earnings are buried there, it is a lot of money. Others believe that the treasure buried on the island belongs to Marie Antoinette. According to the legend, she had her maid bury her riches during the French Revolution. Many believe both theories, which is why so many people have been willing to risk their lives trying to find the treasure. If the treasure on Oak Island does actually contain riches from both Marie Antoinette and William Shakespeare, it is well worth the trouble of searching.
Mysteries of the Sea Theories
While some people believe that Marie Antoinette and William Shakespeare buried the treasure, many sailors believe that famous sailors left the treasure. Some believe that Scottish sailor, Captain Kidd hid part of his treasure on Oak Island, planning to come back and get it later. Other sailors believe that the treasure belongs to Captain Blackbeard. Blackbeard returned home without most of his treasure. When he was asked where it was, he said that he buried it in a place where only himself and Satan would be able to find it. If all of the theories are true, there is plenty of money to be found on Oak Island.
The Most Widely Believed Theory
One of the strangest, but most widely believed theory about the treasure on Oak Island is associated with the Freemasons. It is thought that Oak Island was covered in Masonic imagery. This led people to believe that someone on the island, Freemason treasure is buried. Those who believe in this theory are sure that Francis Bacon led a Rosicrucian mission on the island just to bury the treasure.
The Turco Company
Forty-five years after the Onslow Company left the island, the Truro Company picked up where they left off. They already knew about the seawater issue that the Onslow Company had to deal with, so they went to the island with a plan. Rather than digging with shovels, the team used drills to remove soil samples at the bottom of the pit. They were the most successful treasure hunters to date because they managed to drill through two treasure chests that were filled with coins. They also managed to pull up three links from a gold chain. According to the team, soon after they made the discovery, the gold disappeared. Despite the find that they claimed to have made, the Truro Company gave up. They were unable to drill into the hold any further because they started to deal with the water situation that plagued the Onslow Company. One of the members of the Truro Company noticed that there was water coming up from underground during low tide. They soon discovered that the entire beach was manmade, and whoever was there before they tried to build a dam to stop the water from filling up. It was destroyed later when a storm hit the area.
The Oak Island Association
Explorers refused to give up on finding the buried treasure, and in 1861, the Oak Island Association tried to find it. They attempted to dig other shafts that would lead down into the hole, also known as the Money Pit, but they were unsuccessful. Each of the shafts that they dug collapsed due to the water underneath. Sadly, when a water pump burst, one of the explorers were killed. It was starting to look like nobody would ever find the buried treasure.
A New Team
When another expedition team arrived on the island, they found a sheepskin parchment that contains an illegible message. Sadly, this expedition also resulted in death. After finding the parchment, one of the treasure hunters, Maynard Kaiser was being pulled up from the Money Pit when the rope came loose, and he fell to his death.
A Famous Group
In 1909, a group of explorers headed to the island. They were called the Old Salvage Group, and there was someone famous on the team. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was on the team, and after a year, they gave up on finding the treasure. Despite the fact that Roosevelt was home, he paid attention to the work being done on the island until the day he died. Many said that he made it his life’s mission, even though he couldn’t be the one searching.
Fred Blair and Gilbert Hedden
In 1928, a new pair of explorers headed to the island. New York businessman, Gilbert Hedden and his partner, Fred Blair, owned a steel company. They used this to their advantage when it came to getting into the Money Pit. When they started drilling shafts into the pit, they found something interesting. It was another piece of the stone tablet that was found back in 1804. They also discovered pieces of timber from when the Money Pit was dug. It was held together by wooden pins, which gave them an idea of how old the Money Pit actually was. In their day, metal pins were used. Because the pins in the money pit were made of wood, they realized that it was very old.
In 1938, Erwin Hamilton headed to Oak Island. He started drilling in 1939, and he found pieces of rock and gravel about 190-feet below the surface. He also discovered a layer of limestone splintered with oak, which led him to believe that something wooden was just below the stone.
Twenty years after Erwin left the island, Robert Restall headed to Oak Island. There, he found a stone with “1704” written on it, which most people believe is the age of the Money Pit. Sadly, during his dig, he inhaled carbon monoxide, and he lost consciousness. He fell into the pit and died. Robert’s son tried to save him, but he too inhaled the carbon monoxide, and he fell to his death the way that his father did. Two of the workers who accompanied the father and son, Karl Graeser and Cyril Hiltz, tried to climb down to rescue the drowning men. Their efforts resulted in both of their deaths.
The Search Intensifies
Later the same year, Robert Dunfield brought in heavy machinery to dig deep into the Money Pit. When he reached a layer of limestone, the work came to an end. It wouldn’t be until 1965 that the next explorer arrived on the island. The explorer was Daniel C. Blankenship, and he found a nail and a washer about 60-feet down. He also found a heart-shaped stone. His findings caused the search of Oak Island to heat up.
The Triton Alliance
In the late ’60s, the Triton Alliance started searching. They discovered a 300-year-old pair of scissors. They also dug a borehole to fit a steel tube down into the ground. This would allow them to use a camera to investigate further, which would reduce the risk of death. Thanks to the camera, they got a good look at what was down in the hole. The camera spotted tools, a pair of leather shoes, a severed hand, and soon, the rest of the body that went with the hand. They also found three treasure chests. It was the treasure chests that made them want to keep going. The group hired divers to go into the pit to get a better look at the treasure chests. The divers were going down and struggled against the current. When the sediment picked up, they couldn’t see anything. When the Alliance ran out of money, they had to cease their operations. Soon, the shaft that they had built started falling apart.
It wouldn’t be until another ten years had passed that Oak Island was on people’s minds again. In 1979, it became the subject of a show called In Search Of. The show helped spread the word of the legend, and interest heightened again. Around the same time, a member of the Triton Alliance, Fred Nolan, was sued by the Alliance over land rights. This led to a 15-year quiet period on the island. It was then that the Lagina brothers arrived on the island in their attempt to find the treasure in the Money Pit.
Buying 50 Percent Of the Island
In 2005, part of Oak Island was for sale for $7 million. To get their effort started, the brothers bought their 50 percent. Thanks to recent technology, the brothers had a significant advantage during their dig. They were able to study the island better, and find a way around the flooding issue that plagued the Money Pit. When The History Channel learned about the Lagina brothers’ attempt to find the treasure, they asked if they wanted to film a show called The Curse Of Oak Island. Agreeing to do the show meant that they had more funds to put toward the project. During the search, they found their first treasure, a copper coin from Spain dating back to the 17th century. It wouldn’t be until another two seasons of the show that they made their next discovery. After draining the Borehole 10-X, they found a Roman sword with Portuguese carvings, which was evidence of Aztec presence on the island. During season 4, they found a French map that dated back to 1647. The map pointed to the locations of an anchor, a hatch, and a valve. They believe that these items came from Africa. Only time will tell what else they find. Scientists confirm the Oak Island Mystery is solved, but they are only in the early stages.