Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Weird: Oak Island Money Pit

The money pit on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, is one of my favorite stories about possible buried treasure. Mostly because there have been so many excavations of the site and yet, still to this day, there is still conflict and mystery surrounding it.

in 1795, an eighteen year old boy discovered a depression in the ground of oak island and a tackle block hanging from a tree adjacent. So he convinced two of his friends to help excavate the hole.

A few feet down, they found a layer of flagstones, and on the walls of the pit were visible markings from a pick. As they kept digging, they found layers of logs every ten feet, but they were forced to abandon their quest after about 30 feet.

Eight years later, a company of men arrived at Oak Island to tackle "the money pit" as the pit had been named, seeking what was rumored to be pirate treasure (Captain Kidd's or Blackbeard's).
They continued the excavation down to about 90 feet, continuing to find layers of logs every ten feet. They also found layers of charcoal, putty and cocoanut fiber at 40, 50 and 60 feet (and it is important to note that coconuts do not grow in Canada).

At around 80-90 feet they recovered a stone with an inscription on it. At the time, someone translated this to read:  forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.
Unfortunately, the stone's current whereabouts are a source of continued conflict so the inscription cannot be verified.

Once they removed the stone, though, the pit flooded back up to 33 feet and no amount of bailing could remove the water. (Later, it would be discovered that the pit was attached to 3 exits tunnels that led to the ocean (whether these tunnels were manmade or not is another source of conflict. If man-made, it leads many people to believe that the tunnels were put in place as a type of booby-trap, acting as a siphon to pull water into the pit if someone were to dig past a certain depth)).

In 1849 another excavation drilled into the pit (after failing to drain it) and, using an auger, drilled through a spruce platform at 98 feet, a twelve inches headspace, 22 inches of "metal in pieces", 8 inches of oak, another 22 inches of metal, 4 inches of oak, another spruce layer and finally clay for 7 feet without striking anything else.

In 1861, an excavation resulted in the collapse of the bottom of the pit, either into a booby trap, or a natural cavern. Further excavation continued up through the 1950s (Franklin Roosevelt was part of an excavation in 1909 and kept up with news regarding the money pit for most of his life).

Today, treasure hunting continues on oak island under the terms of a license.

The most popular theory about the pit is that it is the location of Captain Kidd's or Blackbeard's treasure (who was famously quoted as saying he buried his treasure "where none but Satan and myself can find it"). But other theories abound, including Marie Antoinette's missing jewels, treasure from a Spanish galleon, Freemason treasure, or documents from Sir Francis Bacon proving he was the one who wrote Shakespeare's plays.

Of course, skeptics say that the money pit is actually a natural sinkhole, which is not uncommon for the mainland area. The layers of logs could be fallen trees that have fallen into the hole.
I don't think we can rule this out, but the strict, even layers of the trees throw this into doubt, as does the layer of coconut fiber (which was tested at the Smithsonian).

Whether there actually is treasure in the money pit though, if there ever was, still remains a mystery to this day.

The Money Pit today

Thoughts? Theories?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've read about the Money Pit before. I think someone did make it, but with all of the trappings, I don't think anyone, even the people who made it, could get the treasure out again.

Matthew MacNish said...

Seems like some advanced engineering for that time, but yeah, too much order to be natural.

Leandra Wallace said...

Argh- we can walk on the moon but we can't conquer a hole(albeit a watery, sinking, death trap hole...)? Well played, pirates, well played.

Crystal Collier said...

So interesting. This might fall into one of those "cursed treasure" categories--a treasure no one will ever recover. Love it!

Now I want to go treasure hunting. Who's with me?

Rena said...



I'm with Crystal, and I've got enough shovels to out fit an army. Let's do this thing.

Although, admittedly, it seems like a pretty big manmade issue, what with the traps and all. Wouldn't you think someone would have noticed some of that? Not to mention, how did he engineer it? Blackbeard was many things, but an underground contractor was not one of them.

Nicole Zoltack said...

So interesting! Definitely not natural.

Maria Zannini said...

Well, someone built it--but that's not to say the treasure remained.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sarah!

Sukhwant Singh said...

VikingShip of type skeid stranded in Oak Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.
The site is in Nova Scotia, Oak Island and is the location of so called money pit, which I believe isA vertically stranded Viking Ship of type Skeid, Stranded there on Oak Island for the last 1000 years.
My scientific explanation could bring out a site to be preserved, the site where Vikings landed in Nova Scotia on their Skeid Long Ship, it details the effect of climate changes which were witnessed by this longship.Here is a brief explanation.
The Viking Long Ship along with 70-80 people on board travelled to Oak Island and the Long Ship went deep in the area where it now because of Medieval Warm Period which occurred during 950 to 1200 AD( according to the research of scientists ) and there was water present there where the ship landed in shallow waters and then the weight of the water produced sinkholes and caverns due to which one side of the Long Ship fell down and tilted to a vertical angle and got stranded and then pushed up due to the movement of Ice bergs formed in Northern Atlantic due to the increase in ocean temperatures by 1-2 degrees Celsius. Further during the Little Ice age between 1200-1600 AD the water and land mass around the vertical stranded ship froze along with the movement of soft sand. The excavators find some sort of tunnels feeding the pit , which I believe are actually the Sail ropes and timber attached to the Mast and being pulled down in that position and for the last 1000 years have built soft of cavities around them and thus the water seeps in to the pit itself.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Very interesting. Whenever I read stories like this, I'm always more intrigued by the effort of the people who buried the 'treasure'/made the hole. If it's been so hard to dig down, imagine filling it in!!

Teebore said...

"Did you know the hole's only natural enemy is the pile?"

All told, that's a pretty cool story. I agree that the pit, at least at one point, was man made, but at this point, we're probably past the point where anyone buried anything, just given the engineering limitations of the time, so whatever treasure may have been there is likely lost.

Derrufo Konepke said...

shows been on Lately--about this-- oak island mystery--titled :
the curse of OAK ISLAND ...
Feb. 09th 2014 is the 5th episode of the first season of tv show--real tv documentary of the men who are working the island NOW !!!
4 shows before--see it all on
History channel or Discovery channel--not sure which-- its a great subject-- what if the men who buried IT-did so-- because IT was so terrifying it could never be allowed on the surface of EArth again?? hah--ufo researcher myself-- DERRUFO

Derrufo Konepke said...

oak island show is on discovery channel or history channel--last show of this year is feb 09
the curse of oak island--
episode 5

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