The Mystery of Oak Island – Part 1

The Oak Island mystery refers to stories of buried treasure and unexplained objects found on or near Oak Island in Nova Scotia. Since the 19th century, a number of attempts have been made to locate treasure and artifacts. Theories about artifacts present on the island range from pirate treasure, to Shakespearean manuscripts, to possibly the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant, with the Grail and the Ark having been buried there by the Knights Templar. Various items have surfaced over the years that were found on the island, some of which have since been carbon dated and found to be hundreds of years old. Although these items can be considered treasure in their own right, no significant main treasure site has ever been found. The site consists of digs by numerous people and groups of people. The original shaft, in an unknown location today, was dug by early explorers and known as “the money pit.” “The Curse” is said to have originated more than a century ago and states that seven men will die in the search for the treasure before it is found. To date, six men have died in their efforts to find the treasure.

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History

Early accounts (1790s–1856)

Very little verified information is known about early treasure-related activities on Oak Island. It wasn’t until decades later that publishers began to pay attention to such activity and investigated the stories involved. The earliest known story of a treasure find by a settler named Daniel McGinnis appeared in print in 1856, while excavation information regarding the Onslow and later Truro Company weren’t published until the early 1860s. Many of the following early accounts are thus word of mouth stories going back to the late eighteenth-century. The first of these stories by early settlers involves a dying sailor from the crew of Captain Kidd (d. 1701), in which he states that treasure worth £2 million had been buried on the island.[

According to the most widely-held story, Daniel McGinnis discovered a depression in the ground around 1799 while he was looking for a location for a farm. McGinnis, who believed that the depression was consistent with the Captain Kidd story, sought help with digging. With the assistance of two men identified only as John Smith and Anthony Vaughn, he excavated the depression and discovered a layer of flagstones two feet below. According to later accounts, oak platforms were discovered every 10 feet (3.0 m); however, the earliest accounts simply mention “marks” of some type at these intervals. The accounts also mentioned “tool marks” or pick scrapes on the walls of the pit. The dirt was noticeably loose, not as hard-packed as the surrounding soil. The three men reportedly abandoned the excavation at 30 feet (9.1 m) due to “superstitious dread”. Another twist on the story has all four people involved as teenagers. In this rendering McGinnis first finds the depression in 1795 while on a fishing expedition. The rest of the story is consistent with the first involving the logs found, but ends with all four individuals giving up after digging as much as they could. In either case word spread fast as by 1801 another man named Gordan Chase attempted to find the treasure. Chase ended any more future attempts after he was wounded by another treasure hunter named Micheal J. Whynot, it is unknown if either man found anything of value.

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More about The Mystery of Oak Island in Part 2.

(Information from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)