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Is a pirate treasure buried in this mysterious pit in Nova Scotia?

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Author Topic: Is a pirate treasure buried in this mysterious pit in Nova Scotia?  (Read 240 times)
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Posts: 3178

« on: December 13, 2011, 01:02:24 am »

It's really those flood tunnels that put the Money Pit over the top of anything you could expect pirates or anyone else to be responsible for, especially during a century when no Europeans were within thousands of miles. Divers would have needed weeks or months to cut subterranean tunnels from the bay nearby to the 90-foot level of the Money Pit. Or would they?

The geology of Oak Island and its surrounding area gives us some more clues. The region is primarily limestone and anhydrite, the conditions in which natural caves are usually formed. In 1878, a farmer was plowing Oak Island just 120 yards away from the Money Pit when suddenly her oxen actually broke through the ground, into a 12 foot deep sinkhole above a small natural limestone cavern. 75 years later, just across the bay, workers digging a well encountered a layer of flagstone at two feet, and as they dug to a depth of 85 feet, they encountered occasional layers of spruce and oak logs. Excitement raged that a second Money Pit had been found, but experts concluded that it was merely a natural sinkhole. Over the centuries sinkholes occasionally open up, trees fall in, and storms fill them with debris like logs or coconuts traveling the ocean currents. These events, coupled with the underground cavern at the bottom of the Money Pit discovered in 1971 and the discoveries of numerous additional sinkholes in the surrounding area, tell us that Oak Island is naturally honeycombed with subterranean limestone caverns and tunnels. The geological fact is that no Royal Corps of Engineers is needed to explain how a tunnel open to the sea would flood a 90 foot deep shaft on Oak Island, booby trap style.

Obviously the story has plenty of elements not thoroughly explained by the theory that the Money Pit was simply a natural sinkhole consistent with others in the area. One such element is the stone tablet. There's a link to a drawing of it made by investigator Joe Nickell in the online transcript of this episode. No photographs exist of the stone, nor any documentation of where it might ever have physically been. The transcribed markings are in a simple substitution cipher using symbols borrowed from common Freemasonry, and they do indeed decode as "Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried", in plain English. The stone tablet made its appearance in the Onslow Company's records, coincidentally, about the same time they were running out of money and their pit flooded. Most researchers have concluded that the stone tablet was probably a hoax by the Onslow Company to attract additional investment to continue their operation. The same can be said of the other two significant artifacts, the links of gold chain and the parchment. Accompanying his map, Joe Nickell said "The artifacts are not properly documented archaeologically, and most would appear to derive from historical activity on the island or from subsequent excavation or hoaxing by workmen."
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And as with so many other subjects, the older the account you read, the less specific and impressive the details. The contemporary newspaper accounts of Daniel McGinnis and his two friends make no mention of a tackle block or of regularly spaced log platforms, only that logs were found in the pit, and that the tree branch showed evidence of a block and tackle having been used. Armed with proper skepticism and the willingness to look deeper than the modern sensationalized retellings, the Money Pit's intrigue and enchantment begin to fade.

I was probably no more than eight or nine when I first read about young Daniel McGinnis and his treasure tree, and at that very moment, Oak Island became a permanent part of me, as it has so many others. Oak Island's history is a patchwork of individual romances and adventures, a tapestry made from the reveries of skeptics and believers alike. Whether building causeways and sinking caissons, analyzing old newspapers, swinging a pick in the glare of a lantern, or even listening to a podcast about the mystery, all of us share the same ambition. No matter if we seek treasure or truth, we all long for the chance to turn just a few thrusts of the shovel, and we care not what we find.
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