Thursday, January 22, 2015

Project Blue Book Files and John Greenewald


(Blogger’s Note: John Greenewald has posted the following at various sites and I thought it interesting enough to post here. He gave permission and provides his perspective on the situation as it has developed over the last few days. I think John is getting some unfair bad publicity out of this and thought all along that the problem were the reporters who know nothing about UFOs, care little about UFOs and are happy to wallow in their ignorance.)

John wrote:

Just wanted to set the record straight. ,

First off, I never, EVER, made it appear these documents were newly declassified. The media created that, and many outlets copied each other. Many of the stories you see, I was never even interviewed for, yet I am quoted extensively.

Second, I went out of my way to say these documents have been available, even in some places online, during the course of the interviews I did do.  But, I converted them to a comprehensive and user friendly database, that quite simply was a format that was not available anywhere else and this was the first time the public could get unrestricted access to them. IE: it was free, required no registration, was searchable, and you could download them all with a few clicks in PDF format.

Third, I gave credit to the investigator who compiled the 130,000 jpeg images, which he then started circulating for someone to figure out how to convert them to a better format about 8 months ago.  For a couple months, no one did anything with them (but circulated a torrent file), and although I offered to help store the files on the web, I felt I wasn’t smart enough to convert them to something that was web-friendly.  After about 3 months, and I noticed no one cared or was able to take the project to the next level, with the full knowledge of the one who compiled the data, I built the entire database. Converted 130,000 jpeg images (which are just about as useless as microfilm, but at least they were digitized) to a us3r friendly format.

Here was the full process

  • -          I created the scripts to convert the 130,000 jpegs into more than 10,000 .pdfs

  • -      I then created acrobat action scripts to OCR (text recognition) 10,000 pdfs  and at the same time, created filters to pass the images through to make them more readable to the human eye then their existing format

  • -     I then programmed the entire site in HTML 5, built the indexes broken down by decade, and uploaded the 220GB of material to my server

  • -   I then created a massive search engine that mined the 10,000 pdfs and created a searchable index which is what you see today

   The original compiler wanted no credit but to that of a nickname which is what I’ve given out and posted on my page as the top, #1, credit.

There have been a select FEW that are going around claiming quite a bit, and attacking me personally.  What the media says, or reports on, is out of my control but I have done everything to the best of my ability to circulate the proper information, nothing but the facts, and give credit to where credit is due.

At the end of the day, the media and the hundreds of thousands of people a day who are now hitting the archive obviously were not aware these records were available, so even though some of the news stories became factually incorrect, who cares?  Regardless of that fact we can easily set them straight on, the mass media attention, much of which is very good press, is all fantastic for this field. 

Those that are beating a dead horse, are simply wasting time.

Sincerely,

 John Greenewald, Jr.

The Black Vault
http://www.theblackvault.com  Government Secrets

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Project Blue Book Declassified - Really?


I’m watching the ABC Evening News, something I attempt to avoid because there is so little news in the broadcast (but that’s another story) and they tell me that the Project Blue Book files are now declassified and on line. I’m wondering what they mean because they have been on line for quite some time.

They’re referring to John Greenwald’s efforts to post all of these files at his Black Vault website, and his effort is commendable. But NICAP had many of the files on line for years and I have never found a gap in the Fold 3’s Blue Book files also on line. Or, in other words, the only “news” here is that John has provided us with another site where we can see these files.

ABC also seemed to suggest that this was something new. The Air Force had finally released all of the files of its investigation, except, of course, they did that in 1976. I made a trip down to Maxwell Air Force Base and spent time going through the files*. Anyone could have done it but the fact the files had been declassified hadn’t been announced publically. There had been some sort of announcement in an Air Force bulletin that I happened to see, so I made arrangements to take a look.

And once those files were transferred to the National Archives in Washington, D.C., they were more accessible to the public. You could buy the microfilm copies for something like eight or ten dollars a roll back then, but there were ninety some rolls of them. Over the years I actually managed to obtain a full set of the microfilms, so I’ve had all of the Blue Book files in my office for a couple of decades.

The statistics “announced” by ABC didn’t tell the whole story either, and they seemed to think Blue Book began as a result of the Roswell UFO crash (Roswell isn’t even mentioned in the Blue Book files except a short paragraph in a newspaper clipping that is part of another file), but actually the idea for an investigation can be traced back to December 1946 and probably had more to do with the Ghost Rockets of Sweden and some sightings in the US than it did with either Roswell or the Kenneth Arnold sightings. I laid this out in Government UFO Files, along with documentation to support the idea.

They said that 701 cases of the some 12,000 remained unidentified but the truth is that many of the cases are labeled, but not identified. These are labeled as “insufficient data for a scientific analysis.” In many of those cases all the information necessary for a complete investigation is included, but it is labeled that way. This was an attempt to reduce the number of unidentified cases by labeling them as something else and that is all that it was.

In addition to that, many cases that are labeled with a solution are clearly in error. For example, the Portage County UFO chase of 1966. (It was on April 17 and involved several police officers, deputy sheriffs and their supervisors and a stylized version was seen at the beginning of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. See also my posting here on May 20, 2014 for more information.). It has been explained as a combination of Venus and a satellite. The police officers saw the satellite in the west and as it passed over them, as they chased it across Ohio and into Pennsylvania; their attention was then drawn to Venus. The trouble here, as outlined in the Project Blue Book files is that there were no satellites visible in that part of the United States at that time of the morning. Letters and other documents in the Blue Book file prove this, yet the satellite portion of the solution is allowed to stand.

To make it worse, drawings made by the police officers show what was visible in the sky. Those drawings mark the position of the UFO, that of the moon, and that of Venus. Or, to put a point on it, the police officers did see Venus and identified it as such. But the label on the case, which is clearly in error, is allowed to stand and the case is shown to have a solution.

There are many such cases in the Blue Book files. Cases in which the solutions are simply not borne out of the documentation available. Yet we continue to hear about only 701 unidentified cases when the number is probably closer to 5000 when the solutions are examined carefully and those labeled as insufficient data are included. Insufficient data is not a solution, but is a label other than unidentified.

It was good to see a news report that treated UFOs seriously. It was not so good to see facts and figures used that were clearly inaccurate. I’m sure John knew the difference but I’ll wager that the reporter looked at a few things on line, misunderstood them, and ran with his story. The best thing about all this is that you don’t have to believe me. You can look it all up in the Black Vault.

*Bob Cornett and I might have the first outsiders to go through the Blue Book files. The first thing we did was list all the unidentified cases complete with the names and locations. When the files were released into the public mainstream the names had been redacted. We could, of course, put the names back in… but the job of redacting was poorly done and in most of the case files you can find the names. A complete listing of the unidentified cases is available in Project Blue Book – Exposed in both hardback and as a Kindle ebook.
I will note that Jack Webb, in preparation for his TV series about Project Blue Book paid to have all the files microfilmed. We all owe him thanks for doing that.

Curse of Oak Island - An Expanded History Final Installment


(Blogger's Note: Early postings about this follow. The entire article is more than 12,000 words and should contain a good history of Oak Island.)
As of today, the big dig has not taken place. The Triton Alliance has had to postpone their plans a number of times. Some of it has had to do with financing, but part of it has to do with the credibility of the story. After all, there is no solid proof that anything of value is in the Money Pit. Theories about it abound. Some believe it is pirate gold, some believe it was treasure from Europe, some believe it is the lost original manuscripts of William Shakespeare, and some are convinced it is nothing more than some sort of a hoax based on faulty reasoning and bizarre natural phenomena. A few think that treasure had been there once, but has been removed, probably by the original designer.
Evidence pulled up during the many test drillings have produced some interesting results. Tobias had some of the material, the coconut husk, samples of wood recovered at the bottom of the pit, and iron spikes, analyzed. According to the National Museum of Natural Sciences, the spikes had probably been forged prior to 1790. The wood was carbon dated to 1575, plus or minus 85 years. That means the treasure could have been put down there as early as 1490 or as late as 1650. In other words, the Money Pit had been dug at least a hundred and fifty years before it was found according to that analysis.
Of course, if the coin dated 1713 found by the boys back in 1795 was inside the pit, it means that it could be no older than 1713, the date of that coin. If it was found on the surface and outside the pit, then the date on it had little to do with the pit and could have been dropped by almost anyone at any time between 1713 and 1795.
Clearly the evidence, from the stone triangle found in the summer of 1965, the cofferdam erected in Smith's Cove, to stones that were carved and scattered on the island, shows a presence there. The Money Pit is a worked area, constructed for some purpose. That is not really in dispute. And, it could have been constructed two years before Columbus set sail for the New World. More likely, it was build some time after that, long after that, but the point is, it predates 1795 by decades.
So, is there a treasure? It seems unlikely that someone would invest the time and effort to construct the pit without putting something valuable at the bottom. Whoever built it would have been able to recover that treasure if he had decided to do so. The secret to the recovery is there for all to see. It’s in the shaft dug around the Money Pit, parallel to it, with tunnels to the pit. The original builder of the Money Pit would have known about the booby traps and would have known the way to defeat them. Only those who didn’t know, which would be practically everyone else in the world, would dig into the Money Pit. That would trip all the booby traps before they could get to the treasure. Digging that parallel pit and then connecting with the original pit trouble leaves the “plugs” in place.
Another theory is that the Money Pit itself is a red herring. Those who built it, dug a side tunnel, or two, or three from the main shaft, and used these tunnels to hide their treasure. A hundred yards, two hundred from the main pit, closer to the ground, was the treasure. The Money Pit was then filled in with the booby traps set. If the original owner of the treasure returned, he could dig down thirty or forty feet, out the proper distance from the main pit, recover his loot and be gone. The main shaft would be undisturbed. And, anyone who found the island and the evidence of the Money Pit would dig that up assuming, incorrectly, that the treasure had to be at the bottom of it.
The treasure then could be somewhere else on the island, or it could be gone, recovered long before the pit was found in 1795. There have been indications of loose metal held in chests, but no one has recovered the chests and that evidence has not been duplicated in more than 100 years. There are the three gold links brought up during one of the drilling operations if that is not legend... or even worse, a marketing ploy of the mid-nineteenth century. So, there is an indication that something was buried or maybe that was all that was left to find... sort of.
Oak Island is unique in the field of treasure hunting. Everyone knows where the treasure is supposed to be. At the bottom of the pit. Modern technology should be able to defeat the booby traps, but financing, legal squabbles, and bad luck has prevented that. Any archaeological benefits have been destroyed long ago by all those who dug before. The huge earth moving machines that plow up tons of dirt certainly would have destroyed any archaeological evidence. They did ruin the stone triangle and some of the carved stones near Smith's Cove have disappeared.

The Latest Attempt by the Lagina Brothers

I had thought, twenty years ago, given the improvements in our technology, given what we could do, and how much water we could pump, with infrared and satellite mapping, it would seem that we could defeat the Money Pit’s builders whose technology was now centuries out of date. That didn’t happen, of course. The Big Dig never took place and no one seemed interested in making a new attempt until the Lagina brothers, who had been fascinated with Oak Island for decades, decided to make a try.
It doesn’t seem as if they have bothered to learn the history of Oak Island and why all the others failed but that could just be editing by the producers. The Laginas do seem to understand that the Money Pit has been excavated so many times that no one is sure where the real pit is. They seem to think that it might have been a red herring and have looked for something else on the island that could lead them to the treasure which explains all that mucking around in the swamp. But they have discovered nothing exciting other than some coins found on the surface, and have done nothing other than bring in some really big machines in their attempts to gain the treasure. For all their time, effort and money, they have charged around without getting much return. Why head to Europe to talk about the Knights Templar when the Money Pit was created centuries after the disappearance of them?
For me, this whole thing, meaning the show, has dragged out much too long. I didn’t really need to see a segment on someone saying that he had deciphered the code on the stone saying that it was a double cypher but without adding anything of value to the search. According to this theory, the code tells them to dump corn into the channel to block the water flowing into the Money Pit. Corn, according to them, is dry and would absorb the water. It would expand and block the tunnel but the real question is why not just dump dirt and rock into the channel to block the flow. This seems to be an overly elaborate method to defeat the booby traps and seems to come from nothing other than wildly irrelevant speculation.
The truth seems to be that the symbols were created in the 1860s to sell shares in one of the companies that wanted to recover the treasure. That the man who displayed the stone in the 1860s turned it into some sort of a heavy weight on which to create paper or the like suggests that he knew the real value of the message. I would suggest that the message was added to the stone long after it was originally found and is therefore meaningless.
I have to laugh when the Laginas created some sort of square diving platform and then pushed it into the round hole of Bore hole 10X. Their plan was use it to lower diver into the pit to see what was at the bottom of it… but all I could think of was the square peg in a round hole.
There is something else. Remember that decades ago there was a collapse in the 10 X that seemed to drop everything into a deeper hole creating a blockage at the bottom of the enlarged hole. There is four foot of debris and trash that blocks entrance into the narrower section of 10 X that leads down into some sort of natural chamber. Remember that divers did enter that and found themselves in what might have been a natural chamber that had strong currents suggestion a connection to the sea. It could be that if there was anything left in the Money Pit, it dropped into that natural feature and the treasure would no longer be in a place where it could be recovered.
For all their effort, for all their traveling around half the world, for all the experts they have brought in to consult, they haven’t added much to our knowledge other than some things about the triangular swamp that they don’t believe to be natural. They haven’t found anything in there other than a tree stump that they attach some significance to. I don’t know what it might have been. Someone, long ago, might just have discarded it into the swamp for no other reason than to get rid of it.
Yes, I know their drilling has brought up some bits and pieces that seem to confirm a vault and treasure, but the evidence is quite thin. I wonder if some of those things found in the mid-nineteenth century might not have been planted to entice investors to produce more money though these results by the Lagina expedition seem to be real.
They show us the result of various technological gadgets that seem to confirm something buried on the island. Using high-tech metal detectors, they found what they believe are large stashes of nonferrous metals, but in the end, they haul nothing out of the ground. Using ground penetrating radar, they find void underground that suggest something has been buried or the soil has been worked but in the end, that produces nothing other than speculation.
And when that fails, and they find a strange clearing, they resort to dowsing. That’s right, they used dowsing to locate what they thought might be an underground tunnel system carrying water to the money pit. They brought in digging equipment, dug two holes and found… nothing. But that didn’t stop the narrator from sort of suggesting there was some science to back up the idea of dowsing. So, when all else fails, slip off the deep end.
They attempted to recreate the experiment with the dye from decades earlier, looking for the source of the water in the Money Pit and fail. Instead of using the Money Pit (which I’m beginning to think they may not have found) they toss the dye into Borehole 10 X. Using a helicopter, they found what they thought was some of the dye, but it turned out to be algae growing near the shore. It is interesting that they failed to duplicate the dye experiment and wonder if it was because they used the borehole rather than the actual Money Pit.
I wonder this because, in the last episode of the season, which was hyped with announcements of a major discovery, they use divers in Borehole 10X, but they divers find nothing. The dive is called when the communications cables and air hoses become entangled and I have to say, that was probably a good call. The dive was extremely dangerous. In fact, though the divers were willing to try again, the Laginas refused to allow it and I say good for them.
Instead they use some high­-tech radar, lowering it into a six-inch in diameter tube that they had drilled the year before. I don’t know why this wasn’t done earlier in this season because it would have saved a great deal of nonsense with them running around the world chasing the Knights Templar.
That radar seemed to find a chamber some 235 feet below the surface, which might have been rectangular, which might have contained two chests, which might have been supported in part by a large wooden post, and which might have two entrances to it. I use the qualifiers and while there were times that these words were not used, in the end, in listening to the expert, he did use them. They thought this chamber had been made by humans because it seemed to contain objects that had been made by humans but in the end, it was all speculation based on their interpretation of what the radar showed.
And that was the thing… it was interesting and sort of exciting if you didn’t pay close attention to the words being used. They were all excited by the results and said it was the first real evidence of something valuable hidden under the island but that isn’t exactly accurate. It was a suggestion of something hidden in a chamber created by humans that might contain a treasure but it was no evidence of anything real. You might say it was the interpretation of evidence of something real. But this was their last attempt to learn anything for the season. Winter is coming.
The show, Curse of Oak Island, was interesting in the beginning, but they have been diverted in their search so often, they have spent so much time exploring ideas and theories that don’t work (really, we have an old manuscript that seems to have a star code on it that translates to something on the ground at Oak Island which points to the spot where the treasure is hidden but we seem to have lost interest in that by the final episode) and listen to people with wild ideas that have little or nothing to do with finding a treasure (such as filling the channels that seem to be filling the various pits with water and using corn to block them) or taking trips to Europe to chase down the Knights Templar, that I suspect we’re never going to get a resolution. This will continue as long as the ratings hold up, but I think there is a limit to the patience of the audience. They better find something significant quickly and I’m not sure that the season finale is as significant as they all suggest, or no one is going to care if they do get to the bottom of the hole. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Curse of Oak Island - An Expanded History Part V

(Blogger's Note: Early postings about this follow. The entire article is more than 12,000 words and should contain a good history of Oak Island.)


The Money Pit Claims Additional Victims

Nothing more was accomplished until 1959 when Bob Restall moved to the island. He had fallen under the spell during a chance visit several years earlier. Although his financing was always small, he was convinced that he would be the one to succeed. With his family, wife Mildred, and his sons, he moved to the island, living in a couple of shacks that had no indoor plumbing, running water, and for the first few years, no electricity.
Without the large financial backing that had been available to some of the corporations and syndicates that had been formed over the years, Restall couldn't rent large equipment or huge capacity pumps. The search was reduced to what it had been about a hundred fifty years earlier, picks and shovels and back-breaking manual labor by the men who were there.
Restall first tried to block the flood tunnel from Smith's Cove, pouring cement into the drains, but that failed. He tried to locate the main tunnel to block it and failed. He was unable to stop the flood of water, and even if he had blocked those to Smith’s Cove, it wouldn’t have stopped the flow of water.
Restall had other problems as well. His lease on the treasure hunting operation was from year to year. Chappell was always bringing around potential investors and introducing them to Restall. They would discuss the treasure and theories about it. Restall was convinced there was thirty million dollars buried in the Money Pit. He based that on the original stone that had been translated to say that two million pounds was hidden. Restall converted the two million pounds to dollars, basing the calculation on the rate of exchange in the late eighteenth century and that the price of gold had increased from those earlier days.
On August 17, 1965 Restall's treasure hunt ended. Restall was working in what was called the Hedden shaft. Restall was either looking into it, or had begun to climb down into it, when he fell into the water. His son, seeing his father in the water, started to climb down to help him. He slipped from the ladder and fell in. Karl Graeser, who was visiting the island with an eye to beginning his own treasure hunt, arrived at the scene, saw both Restalls in the hole, and started down to rescue them. Behind him was Virgil Hiltz, a teenager hired by Restall to help with the work. Both of them fell victim as well. Andy DeMont, another teenager also working for Restall, tried to rescue them all.
Others who were vacationing or visiting the island ran to help. One of them was a firefighter, Edward White. He realized that some kind of gas had seeped into the pit and that the others had been overcome by the fumes. He tied a rope around his waist and was lowered into the water. Searching the water, he found DeMont and tied a rope around him. He tried to find the others, but couldn't. As he was losing consciousness, he was hauled out. White and DeMont survived. The bodies of the other four were eventually recovered. No one knows exactly what happened and there are debates about the gas that had seeped into the pit. Whatever it was, it was deadly and the death toll had climbed by four.
But almost before the bodies were buried, Chappell was back with another investor, Bob Dunfield. He brought in bulldozers, scraped the area around the Money Pit clear, and shoved tons of dirt into Smith's Cove. That muddied the water there, but the water flooding the Pit was clear. Dunfield believed that he had finally succeeded in blocking the drains from Smith's Cove. That left one other channel that was flooding the pit.
Dunfield built a causeway from the island to the mainland so that he could bring over additional heavy equipment. He used that equipment to dig up much of the area around the Money Pit. He drilled additional holes confirming the results of other such tests. He made a discovery that was interesting when he found a void under the island that he believed to be a natural formation. This could be another source for the water that had defeated everyone else. Sort of a bonus that those who built the Money Pit had never known.
Equipment break downs, the hostility of the locals, and lousy weather forced him to return home. He wanted to buy the island, but Chappell wanted $100,000. Dunfield couldn't raise the money, or felt the price was out of line though it does underscore the idea that the real source of riches on the island was the land rather than the treasure. Whatever the reason, he lost interest in the project although he did believe there is treasure in the Money Pit.
For the next several years, a variety of people became interested in the Money Pit. Many of these people would later combine to form the Oak Island Exploration Company. They would have a ten million dollar plan to recover the treasure. With the equipment available, and with the expanding and growing technology, with the ability of modern pumps to move huge volumes of water, it was believed they could overwhelm booby traps and the genius of the designer of the Money Pit.

The Beginnings of the Next to the Last Assault

In 1968 Dan Blankenship and a Montreal businessman, David Tobias, formed a partnership to recover the treasure. Tobias had been interested, as had Blankenship, for a number of years. They formed the Triton Alliance Ltd. In 1971, one of the small bore holes was enlarged, encased in steel and named Borehole 10X. The idea was to put a video camera down into the void under the island. Blankenship, watching the screen, saw something strange in the murky water. He called over others and asked what they saw. To a man, they said that a severed human hand floated, suspended, in the water.
Another probe picked up what looked to be three chests and one clearly defined handle. They also saw various tools, spikes, and logs. Finally they saw a human body, with the skin and hair mostly in tack, slumped against a wall. Pathologists have suggested that a body submerged in salt water, in an airless environment, might be preserved. It would be the same as pickling it in brine. But all this was with a video camera technology that was nowhere near as good as that today. The videos are difficult to see and the evidence those others claimed to see is, at best, a good guess.
With Borehole 10X enlarged to the point where a man could climb down exploration at the bottom was conducted. Because the end of the shaft was underwater, divers were lowered. The first diver reported a strong current as he exited the borehole and into the chamber that had been found. It was suspected this was caused by the flood tunnels. More earth was pushed into Smith's Cove, and on a second dive, the current was gone.
Borehole 10X was 230 feet deep. The metal casing was forced down to 180 feet. The remainder of the hole was through the natural rock and soil of Oak Island. At 230 feet the borehole ended in a void where the television camera had recorded the hand, body and other items. The water was filled with debris, and as the diver rubbed against the walls of the chamber, the rock crumbled, filling the water with a chalky substance. Given the depth, the closed quarters, and the debris in the water, the divers couldn't see much. Blankenship, who made several dives himself, reported that it would suicide to move away from the bottom of the borehole to explore the rest of the underground and underwater chamber.
On a dive in November 1976, Blankenship heard a deep rumbling somewhere above him. He demanded to be hauled out as fast as possible. As he looked down, the casing of Borehole 10X collapsed. Later, Blankenship, checking the damage to the borehole, found solid ground at the 73 foot level. Drilling found the twisted remains of the borehole casing at 90 feet.
There were attempts to recreate Borehole 10X, but mechanical problems and funding hindered the completion of the project. However, they continued to work, pushing the hole deeper into the island. However, when they reached 167 feet, the project, which had yielded nothing of significance, was abandoned.
Legal maneuverings, disputes over the ownership of part of the island, and fights about the use of the causeway, slowed the hunt for a number of years. All the time, some work was being accomplished, but all of this caused troubles with financing for the various projects. Those with the money didn't want to jeopardize their capital until the legal matters were completely settled and those without it could do nothing.

The Big Dig

Tobias, Blankenship, and the Triton Alliance planned a big dig on Oak Island. Using ten million dollars, they would defeat the booby traps and recover whatever was hidden in the depths. Plans called for a huge shaft over the Money Pit with pumps that could keep the sea water out. The new shaft would be large enough to encompass all the earlier workings so the exact location of the original pit, somewhat in dispute by now, and remember, at one time it was known precisely, was no longer a problem.
Tobias had found twenty underwriters and believed that the financing was in place. By now they were talking of a treasure worth between a hundred million and several billion dollars again all based on that original estimate of two million but now corrected for the changing price of gold and inflation and a premium on the treasure. He refused to guess what might be hidden, but was sure that it was extremely valuable otherwise no one would have gone to all the trouble to hide it.
The Stock Market crashed in 1987 and many of the speculators scared of such a risky investment withdrew their support. But Tobias came up with a new plan. He would sell the television rights to the big dig, broadcasting a special similar to The Mystery of Al Capone's Vault, which we all know worked out very well for Geraldo Rivera and the television network

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Curse of Oak Island - An Expanded History Part IV

(Blogger's Note: The first parts of this article follow.)



Who Owned the Treasure?

As the Oak Island Treasure Company retreated to Halifax to devise another attack plan, another problem arose. The legal ownership of any treasure recovered was in suddenly in dispute. English law, enacted centuries earlier, gave the rights to any treasure to the crown, allowing the monarch to reassign a percentage to the discoverer. However, there was no requirement for the finder to receive financial benefit or reward, other than the thanks of the crown. In other words, the crown could take all the treasure without any compensation to those who had actually found it and didn’t even have to say, “Thank you.”
Earlier companies had operated under a treasure license granted by the crown and would take their chances. If the reigning monarch was generous, they would be amply rewarded. That situation changed in 1867 when the Dominion of Canada was created by the British North America Act of 1867. Under the new law, the province had the authority over any and all treasures. Blair petitioned the Nova Scotia government for a clarification of what the government would claim if treasure was recovered. An agreement was reached giving two percent of the treasure to the government and the rest would be divided among the various shareholders and company officials once the treasure had been recovered.
With all the legal problems finally resolved, they went back to work. They decided to dynamite the drains at Smith's Cove and plug them there. That should stop the flow of water into the Money Pit and all the ancillary pits and tunnels and finally allow them the chance to get to the treasure.
The third hole they dug in Smith's Cove broke through into a shaft filled with water. Convinced they had found the channel that let water fill the pit, they crammed it with dynamite, filled it in, and then set off the charge. Water and debris flew a hundred feet into air. The water in the Money Pit and those around it boiled with activity. Convinced they had succeeded where all those others had failed they believed they were close to recovering the treasure and yet the pumps could barely keep up with the flow of water. With the pumps working twenty-four hours a day, they were able to hold the water at the hundred foot level. The company erected a platform and spent the rest of the summer of 1897 boring exploratory holes inside the Money Pit hoping to find evidence of great wealth just under them.
The major find of this new boring was a cement vault about a hundred fifty feet down. Inside the vault there seemed to be a chest filled with loose metal. Continuing the operation, they discovered an iron plate at 171 feet but they were unable to bore through that. Analysis of fillings recovered from the pit, confirmed the belief that there were iron plates in the pit. Analysis also revealed that there was a concrete vault, obviously something that had been created by human hands or that was what was claimed.
By the fall of 1897, the directors of the company were more convinced than ever that they were digging for a huge treasure. They decided to dig two additional pits to 180 feet, away from the original site, and then tunnel over as so many others had. They wanted to come up under the iron plate so that they could get at the cement vault.
Water again defeated them. One shaft reached only 70 feet before the water burst through from one of the other, long abandoned tunnels. The second shaft reached 160 feet before water drove them out. Pumping failed to reduce the level of the water in either and the effort had to be abandoned.
The next summer, they decided to again plug the drainage system in Smith's Cove. To precisely locate the drains, they decided to throw dye into the Money Pit. By pumping water into the pit, they hoped to backwash the system forcing the dye back through the channel to reveal the source. This, they hoped, would allow the channels to be plugged. They were horrified when the plan worked all too well. Dye showed up in Smith's Cove, as they had expected. But it also appeared on the south side of the island in what is called South Shore Cove. Dynamiting the drains in Smith's Cove, even if successful, would do little to stop the flow of water.
They spent the next two years digging additional shafts, trying to defeat the water booby traps. But each shaft was soon filled with water. They ran into other lateral tunnels that other searchers had dug in the century before they began the new work. Blair and his associates figured that the water flowing into the pit had to come from more than the two identified sources but they couldn't prove that.
By 1900 the whole Oak Island Treasure Company was about to sink into the muck they had created. A new prospectus was written and some additional capital was brought in. They dug another shaft but it too flooded, driving out the workers. Additional exploratory holes were bored but produced no interesting results. The company finally went broke and was unable to continue. The Oak Island Treasure Company finally gave up.
Blair, however, had not lost his enthusiasm for Oak Island. Spending his own money, he retained his lease on the Money Pit acreage. And he kept the treasure license from Nova Scotia government in force. Blair was convinced that the Oak Island Money Pit could be defeated, that there was great wealth hidden at the bottom and he was going to get it.
In 1909, Henry L. Bowdoin, who had been hearing about the Money Pit for years, joined forces with Blair. Bowdoin was convinced that with modern equipment and divers, it would be a relatively simple task to recover the treasure. In April 1909 he formed the Old Gold Salvage and Wrecking Company in New York City and in August 1909, Bowdoin and members of his company sailed from New York to Halifax. On August 27, they arrived on Oak Island and established their headquarters, which they dubbed "Camp Kidd."
After some preliminary work, such as searching for the drains in both Smith's Cove and South Shore Cove, they moved their equipment to the Money Pit. Without the 1,000 gallon per minute pump they had planned to buy but couldn't afford, they couldn't lower the water level at all. They decided to send down the diver. He dropped to about 113 feet. The way was clear to that point, but beyond it, there was wreckage from the many other attempts to reach the treasure. Bowdoin hauled up the diver and then dropped dynamite into the pit to try to clear out the debris. This was accomplished.
Next they began to probe the bottom of the pit, boring through it in an attempt to recreate, or corroborate, the findings of the 1897 expedition. Twenty-eight holes were bored, but according to the records kept by Bowdoin, they found nothing to indicate any treasure in the pit. Like the expeditions before him, Bowdoin soon ran out of money. He failed to sell any more shares in his treasure company, even with a prospectus that claimed the reward would be more than $10,000,000 for those who were lucky enough to invest in his company.
Over the next few months, Bowdoin exchanged correspondence with Blair. The tone of the letters was less than cordial. Blair accused Bowdoin of being overconfident and undercapitalized. Although Bowdoin wanted to extend their contract, Blair refused, insisting that Bowdoin prove that he had the financing to mount a proper expedition for the next round. Bowdoin responded with anger saying that he would tell the world that the Oak Island treasure was a hoax. On August 19, 1911, he did just that. In Collier's (magazine) Bowdoin published, "Solving the Mystery of Oak Island." He wrote, "My experience proved to me that there is not, and never was, a buried treasure on Oak Island. The Mystery is solved."
Over the next several years there were additional attempts to recover the treasure. Bowdoin's biased article had not done much to stop the interest in Oak Island. However, none of these attempts made much progress in either learning anything new about the Money Pit or in recovering the treasure hidden in it.

Work Stops Again and then Starts Again

Blair's search for another investor, or group of investors, failed to produce results until 1931. Then, it wasn't all the newspaper articles and advertisement written that produced the investor. It was one man's long interest in Oak Island, and the fact he had been on the platform in 1897 when the drilling operation had provided some corroboration for the belief in the treasure.  William Chappell of Sydney, Nova Scotia, knew that the treasure existed. Since he had been on the crew in 1897, his family's lumber business had expanded and produced huge profits. He decided to use some of those profits in another attempt to recover the treasure.
Ironically, their first problem was to figure out where to dig. No work had been done for over twenty years and the area was riddled with holes, shafts and tunnels dug by all those others trying for recover the treasure. Chappell finally settled on a site and began his operation. When Blair visited the island later, he told Chappell that he was digging in the wrong place.
Chappell then decided to dig a large shaft around the Money Pit. With the help of an electrical pump, he kept his new shaft relatively dry. As they dug, they found old tools and an anchor fluke. They reached a depth that no one else had managed, but then things turned to crap. First, so many shafts had been sunk, and so much water had been forced in and pumped out that the ground had turned into a soup. The soft earth began caving in. They also found what might have been the mouth of the drain from South Shore Cove. They couldn't plug it but that didn't matter. The pump was up to the task of keeping the water out of their new shaft.
By the end of the summer, they had spent $40,000 and had accomplished very little except digging up more of the real estate. They shut down the operation for the season because winter was coming and they believed they would come back the next year to finish it. That, however, didn't work out.
The next complication for those treasure hunters was created by a dozen people who had very little to do with the search but who were important to it. Sophia Sellers, who had owned the Money Pit for years, died, and her heirs were each requiring a huge sum to lease the area before they would consent to further operations. But in the summer of 1932, the heirs allowed another party to begin operations. Blair still held the treasure trove rights so that he would be involved in the recovery if there was one. That new operation was of little value and failed to produce any results of note other than complicating the issue.
In 1933, another man, Thomas Nixon, began his work on Oak Island. He grossly misrepresented himself and did little more than drill a number of holes. In his report, he claimed to have confirmed some of the items from the 1897 diggings but that was all he managed to do. He wanted Blair to extend his search contract and when Blair refused, Nixon threatened to sue.
Blair was no longer interested in Nixon and his tales. He had found another investor, Gilbert Hedden, from New Jersey. His family had sold a business and that left Hedden with the financial resources to pursue his dream of solving the riddle of Oak Island. Hedden told Blair that he was prepared to spend $100,000 to recover the treasure.
In the beginning of this long saga, the first of the companies formed back in the nineteenth century, had invested only four to six thousand dollars, hired dozens of men, and spent months on the island. Now, about a hundred years later, with the mystery unsolved, with the treasure still in the ground, the stakes were considerably higher. Of course technology might overcome the booby traps that sheer determination couldn't.
Blair tried to arrange for the various rights, but the Sellers heirs refused to allow him to dig. They had learned that a millionaire from the United States wanted to dig and they wanted fifty-five hundred dollars for the land. That was ten times what it was worth, unless of course, there was a treasure in the pit. Then it could be worth, literally, millions of dollars but no one really knew.
Blair attempted an end run by having legislation introduced that would allow the holder of a treasure trove license to dig on land owned by someone else. If the two parties couldn't reach an agreement, then arbitration would settle the matter. The law was not enacted but that made no difference. Hedden finally caved in and paid $5,000 for the eastern end of the island. But it was too late in the season to begin any new operations because winter was coming. Another year had been lost.
In 1936, Hedden was finally ready. Rather than attack the Money Pit, he decided to drain the pit dug by Chappell and explore the area around it. Using a huge pump, he was able to drain the Chappell pit, the cave-in pit, and several of the other shafts dug by earlier expeditions. The summer months were used in these operations which were successful in drying out some of the terrain but failed to produce any treasure.
There was one important discovery, however. Hedden, searching the island, found a number of rocks, some arranged in a curious triangular shape that seemed related to the construction of the Money Pit. There were even rumors that these artifacts related to a map included in a book about Captain Kidd. Those connections seem to have been eliminated by later investigations and possibly by some of the evidence found, so the connection to Kidd is tenuous at best. However, the stones found on Oak Island did prove that those who built the Money Pit understood engineering, astronomy and navigation. That would seem to rule out many of the theories about who hide the treasure there.
Hedden spent a great deal of time and effort chasing the strange map from the book about Kidd. When he discovered that the map was the figment of the imagination of the writer, his enthusiasm for the search might have evaporated. At any rate, when time came for Hedden to renew his agreement with Blair, Hedden let it lapse. (Of course the fact that Hedden was in trouble with the IRS might also have contributed to his decision.)
When Hedden bowed out in 1938, Erwin H. Hamilton, a mechanical engineering professor at New York University, was ready to step in. In fact, he had approached Blair a couple of years earlier only to be told that Hedden owned the land and had the rights to dig. But then the way was cleared in 1938 for Hamilton to take over the operation. Hamilton conducted a number of tests, including another using dye. He mapped the various tunnels dug under the island and planned his new assault. However, the Second World War started soon after and that prevented Hamilton from proceeding.
From that point on and through the 1940s, a number of different men tried to recover the treasure. Some of the attempts were little more than negotiations which fell apart as the participants failed to agree on who would get how much of what. The property on which the Money Pit was located was sold by Hedden, fell back into his hands and was sold again. Nothing of importance was accomplished although there were some interesting developments. President Roosevelt, for example, maintained a correspondence with a number of men involved in the search and even made plans to return to Oak Island. He had been one of the original investors in a company formed a couple of decades earlier.
Work on Oak Island would not begin again until the mid-1950s. George Greene, an oil man from Texas, applied to Chappell, who now owned the property, for permission to drill. He sank a number of holes, found a huge void below 140 feet and pumped tens of thousands of gallons of water into it. The water disappeared, flowing out. Greene promised to return the next year but didn't. He was murdered in 1962. That probably had nothing to do with Oak Island though, if it could be connected, it would help reach the total of seven who “must die” before the treasure could be recovered.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Curse of Oak Island - An Expanded History Part III

(Blogger's Note: Early postings about this follow. The entire article is more than 12,000 words and should contain a good history of Oak Island.)


Another Company Takes Over the Operation

A new company, the Oak Island Contract Company was formed, attempted to attract investors, and failed miserably. They estimated they needed about six thousand dollars, but couldn't raise it. When that failed, they abandoned their efforts.
A year later, in May 1863, the Oak Island Eldorado Company was formed. The officers were the same as those in the Contract Company. They succeeded in raising about four thousand dollars, part of which would be used to build a larger, stronger cofferdam. With the sea held at bay, they believed they would be able to recover the hidden wealth. Although they did build the cofferdam, it was soon destroyed by the Atlantic Ocean but that didn’t matter. It had done nothing to reduce the rate of water flow into the Money Pit.
With that, the Eldorado Company began drilling operations instead. This time, however, they used a casing about three inches in diameter. That was significant because it ensured that what was brought up came from deep in the pit, rather than something that might have fallen in at a later date. They managed to reach depths of 150 feet, finding wood chips, coconut fiber, and charcoal. More water was struck at 140 feet, then soft clay and fine sand.
They did sink a couple other test holes, but nothing of interest was found. There are also reports that they tried to dig another shift 175 feet from the Money Pit but no documentation has been found to confirm this. By 1867, they had run out of money and ideas. The corporation was dissolved.

A Quarter of a Century Break

That ended the attempts to recover the treasure for about twenty-five years. Frederick Blair, who had long been interested in Oak Island and the rumored treasure, in 1893, formed the Oak Island Treasure Company. One of the accomplishments of Blair was a collection of all documentation and an oral history of all the searches that had preceded his. He interviewed many of those who had been involved in earlier attempts to get at the treasure. Blair then produced a prospectus, with the help of Adams Tupper, to outline what was known. The prospectus said:
It can be proven:
That a shaft about 13 feet in diameter and 100 feet deep was sunk on Oak Island in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, before the memory of any now living.
That this shaft was connected by an underground tunnel with the open ocean, about 365 feet distant.
That at the bottom of this shaft were placed large wooden boxes in which were precious metals and jewels.
That many attempts have been made, without success, to obtain this treasure.
That it is reasonably certain the treasure is large, because so great trouble would never have been taken to conceal any small sum.
That it is now entirely feasible to thoroughly explore this shaft and recover the treasure still located therein.

The company planned to raise about $60,000 for the search. They would use half the money to secure the treasure rights from the government of Nova Scotia and to lease the land from the current owners. The remainder of the shares would stay in the company's safe, to be sold as needed for supplies and payroll. The plans were published and in a short time they had sold enough of those shares to begin their work.
One of the things that made Blair's plan better than those that had gone before him was a piece of information he had that they didn't. Sophia Sellers, daughter of Anthony Grave and wife of Henry Sellers, had been plowing on their farm when the earth in the field caved in under her team. A hole, six feet in diameter and ten feet deep had opened up. Blair noticed that this hole was about 350 feet east of the Money Pit and over what many suspected was the route of the water trap. With that knowledge, Blair hoped to defeat the water hazard.
The task was to explore the cave-in site and then excavate it. They believed that the builders of the Money Pit had hidden a gate of some kind that would allow them to stop the flow of water so they could get at the treasure (which, by the way, is probably not correct) when they were ready to recover it. However, after digging down to fifty-five feet, the water began to pour in and no amount of bailing would lower it. They abandoned that aspect of their quest.
Another shaft was begun, away from the original Money Pit, but once again water was encountered. Once again, the rate of flow was such that the pumps could not overcome it. And, once again, the project was abandoned.
By now the whole area around the original Money Pit had been dug up, tunneled through, and excavated to such an extent that the ground was soft and mushy. Several different companies had sunk shafts near the pit, trying to tunnel into it. The whole countryside around the pit was riddled with shafts and tunnels and old excavations. All this time water was flowing from Smith's Cove, under the island and directly into the Money Pit and that kept the workers out. The site was becoming dangerous just to walk on.
Beginning in 1896, the men began another attempt to excavate the Money Pit. Other companies that had preceded the Oak Island Treasure Company had filled in some of the pits they had dug. And, the original pit, after the last boring exploration, had been filled in as well. The new task was to excavate the pit and try to keep the water out using their new and higher capacity pumps.

The Money Pit Claims a Second Victim

On March 26, 1897, Maynard Kaiser was being raised by rope to the top of one of the pits when the rope slipped from the pulley. He plunged back into the pit and was killed. That accident convinced the other workers that there was some kind of ghostly guardian of the treasure and they wanted no part of this enterprise. Kaiser, they believed, had been killed as a warning to them.
After the executives of the latest treasure hunting company convinced the men they could continue work without fear of ghosts, spirits and curses, and probably promising higher pay, they reached a depth of 110 feet. The pumps were keeping the pit clear of water. They noticed that one of the old tunnels dug in the 1860s was responsible for the water that was now filling the Money Pit. They explored the tunnel, found another, and then another large pit. The water was coming from the bottom of it. Blair realized that this was the original Money Pit. They had just spent a great deal of time, effort and money excavating the wrong shaft, a mistake that was easy to make given the nature of the Swiss cheese landscape.
Moving their equipment and operation, they began to excavate what they were sure was the real Money Pit. They reached 111 feet when they came to a new tunnel that was 2½ feet wide on the east side of the pit. The water was pouring through it with such force that the men realized they'd never be able to block it inside the Money Pit. In fact, water was pouring through so fast that it filled the Money Pit and all the other shafts to the tide level rapidly. They'd have to stop the flow at the other source if they planned to block it at all.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Curse of Oak Island - An Expanded History Part II

(Blogger's Note: Early postings about this follow. The entire article is more than 12,000 words and should contain a good history of Oak Island.)


A New Company is Formed

Records show that Pitbladdo and a man identified as Charles D. Archibald, on August 1, 1849, applied to the lieutenant governor of the province for a license to dig for treasure on Oak Island. They received the permission but it was limited to unoccupied and ungranted lands. They then tried to buy all the land on Oak Island owned by John Smith. That is, they tried to buy site of the Money Pit after Pitbladdo had found and hidden something that convinced him there was treasure hidden in the pit.
Pitbladdo never reported to the Truro shareholders what he had found that day. His sudden attempt to buy the land and dig for the treasure himself suggests that it was something that convinced him of the great wealth hidden in the pit. Pitbladdo is rumored to have died shortly after this. Or, it has been suggested that he left the area and went on to other jobs as a mining engineer. There is a reference to a James Pitblado who was supervisor of mining in Chester in 1875. Some Oak Island accounts refer to a James Pitblado. Pitbladdo disappeared from the Oak Island story shortly after his aborted attempt to buy the land and get to the treasure for himself. The prospect of great wealth often corrupts a great many people.
Still in control of the Money Pit and with all the proper licenses and fees in order, the Truro Company decided in 1850 to dig another shaft to the northwest of the original Money Pit. They hoped, again, to tunnel to the treasure, or failing that, to use the new shaft as a way of pumping the water from the Money Pit so that they could get to the treasure. As before, they dug down just over a hundred feet and then began to work their way toward the treasure. They reached a point that was nearly under the Money Pit, or that they believed was under it, when water burst through, sending the workers fleeing again. In a matter of minutes the new shaft was filled with water just as all the others had been.
As planned, they began pumping operations which succeeded in lowering the level of the water slightly. It was obvious huge volumes of water were entering the pit and that it had been designed that way. The two other shafts, dug through clay, had been dry until they workers began attempts to tunnel into the Money Pit. The water now in those shafts was coming directly from the Money Pit itself. The water was not a natural spring, but some sort of booby trap that the original three boys hadn’t tripped during their attempts to reach the treasure early on because they had not dug deep enough.

The Booby-traps are Discovered

Someone finally noticed that the level of the water in the Money Pit seemed to rise and fall with the tide in the bay. Someone else noticed that a small stream of salt water emptied into Smith's Cove at low tide. Searching, they found that the beach there was not natural, but an artificial creation. Digging through the sand, they found a layer of coconut fiber and eel grass that was protecting an area of loose fitting stone. This, they believed was filling the Money Pit with water. If they could block it, they could then pump out the water and reach the treasure. It seemed simple enough.
Their plan was to build a cofferdam out away from the beach. When that was completed, they tore up the whole beach and discovered a network of drains. These were sloping downward. They believed that all the drains emptied into a single shaft that let the water flow into the Money Pit. If they could find that shaft and block it, they would be able to stop the flow of water and to get at the treasure. They began to destroy the drains one by one but before they completed their work an Atlantic gale destroyed their cofferdam and much of their work.
The next plan was to block the unground channel that lead into the Money Pit. About a hundred feet from the beach of Smith's Cove, on a line with the Money Pit, they began to dig, but when they reached a level of about seventy-five feet, they decided they had miscalculated and missed the shaft. They moved twelve feet to the south and began another attempt. At thirty-five feet they hit a large boulder and as they tried to free it their new shaft was filled with water. They had found the path of the water to the Money Pit. Or so they thought.
To block this drain, they partially refilled their pit and drove wooden pilings through the bottom to create a makeshift dam. Satisfied that they had blocked the water flow, they returned to the pumps but still couldn't reduce the level of the water significantly. It meant they had either failed to completely block the drain from Smith's Cove, or there was another drain system hidden somewhere else that they had failed to find. With that, they tried another shaft, digging down to one hundred twelve feet before it flooded. Now they were out of time as the summer ended and the weather was beginning to turn cold. Winter was coming. More importantly, they were out of money.
In 1851 the Truro Group tried to raise more money to begin another assault on the Money Pit, but the investors refused to help. They'd already spent enough money, and though evidence had been found that there was a treasure at the bottom of the pit, or so they believed, they couldn't defeat the elaborate booby traps that had been set by those who buried it. They just wouldn’t invest any more money in what was really becoming a money pit.
Their efforts had not been a complete waste. They had learned a great deal about the Money Pit and its construction. The coconut husks and eel grass spread over the drainage system were designed to prevent silting. Coconut resisted the effects of the salt water, and had been used for hundreds of years as filtration in ships to prevent water damage to cargos. They had also learned that the wooden layers that had been broken were part of the booby trap. Had the boys and later diggers, paralleled the Money Pit shaft and then dug in from the side, they probably would have reached the treasure without tripping the booby traps. However, they unwittingly broke the seals, allowing the sea water to flood the pit. Notice that there was an easy way to retrieve the treasure if you happened to know the trick.
This suggested to them that whoever had built the Money Pit had a good engineering background. The booby trap was ingeniously designed and apparently worked flawlessly. The size of the operation, that is, creating the artificial beach, digging the drainage system, and sealing it with the wooden "corks", meant the treasure was extremely valuable. The labor that went into the creation of the Money Pit indicated it was designed to protect that treasure from those who hadn’t buried it.

Another Assault on the Money Pit

Nothing more happened during the next eleven years. Smith eventually sold his property on the island, including the Money Pit lot, to Anthony Graves. Apparently Graves found his treasure by allowing others to dig for it on his property for a fee and a percentage of any treasure recovered.
Next up was the Oak Island Association who entered the game on April 3, 1861 with an expressed purpose of excavating Oak Island to recover the hidden treasures. Some of those who had participated in the old Truro Company were now members of the new association proving that hope for some lasts forever.
They hired a large labor force and gave them a job of reopening the pit. In the decade since the last attempt to recover the treasure, the sides of the pit had collapsed. They bailed out the water and dug down to the eighty-eight foot level. There they ran into muddy clay and believing that it was blocking, or plugging the water trap, they left it in place.
They moved to the west about 18 feet and started to dig another shaft. When they reached down 118 feet, they began to tunnel toward the Money Pit. They created a tunnel four feet high and three feet wide. They hoped to dig into the vault where the treasure was hidden as it had been located by those earlier expeditions. To that point, they had avoided problems with water.
They entered the Money Pit below the platform at 105 feet that had been discovered by the boring operation eleven years earlier. Then, according to Jotham McCully, they "unwisely" dug through the Money Pit to the east. Water began to seep into the pit again. Before long the new shaft was filled with water and even more water was seeping into the Money Pit shaft. Three days of bailing failed to reduce the water level. They had tripped the booby trap they had worked so hard to avoid.
This time they were determined to beat the water. A new bailing operation was begun using dozens of men and horses and they succeeded in nearly draining all the water from the pit. When they finished, they discovered the tunnel leading from their new shaft to the Money Pit was choked with wet clay. Two men were sent down to clear it. They had removed about half of the obstructing debris when they heard a crash from inside the Money Pit. They had barely made it out of the new pit when another rush of soupy mud poured in.
Other debris was also found during this period. In the September 1861 Nova Scotian, one of the diggers, identified only as Patrick reported, "…while the water was hindered by this earth from coming through we took out part of the earth and wood. The wood was stained black with age; it was cut, hewn, chamfered, sawn and bored, according to the purpose for which it was needed. We also took out part of a keg." This material would later provide clues about the actual age of the Money Pit.
Once some of the mud between the west pit and the Money Pit had been cleared, both pits began to flood again so bailing operations were resumed. McCully reported:
 ...on clearing the tunnel again, another crash was heard in the Money Pit which [we] supposed to be the upper platform falling and immediately the bottom of the Money Pit to about 102 feet measuring from the level of the ground to the top. It had been cleared out previously down to 88 feet. Immediately after, the cribbing [walls] of the Money Pit commencing at the bottom, fell in plank after plank until there was only about 30 feet of the upper cribbing. On Monday the top fell in, leaving the old Money Pit a complete mass of ruins.
The platform that had held the two treasure boxes found by the boring operation had apparently fallen fourteen feet and now rested at the 119 foot level. The digging operation had apparently tripped another of the ingenious booby traps. It prevented the operation from recovering any of the treasure at that moment.

The First Recorded Death in the Money Pit

The Association raised an additional two thousand dollars to purchase a steam powered pump. Before they had made much progress, the boiler exploded, shutting down the operation for the year.           During this accident, one man was apparently killed by the boiling water. None of the members of the Association mention the fact, but in an essay written some seven years later, E. H. Owen reported the death.
In 1862, the Association returned to Oak Island and began the work all over again. They dug another shaft near the Money Pit reaching down 107 feet. The Money Pit was then cleaned and the sides re-cribbed to 103 feet. Water began to seep in and at 103 feet it began to flow at a rate faster than the pump could handle it.
But the major problem was that the Association was now broke. They set out to raise additional capital, but had little luck. The additional amount of money raised was so small that it couldn't begin to pay to solve the problems that the Association faced.
To stop the flow of water from Smith's Cove, they wanted to build another cofferdam, but lacked the money to do the job right. Instead they attempted to plug the drains that had been found at low tide. This slowed the rate of water flowing into the pit, but the plugs soon washed away and the flow returned to its original rate.
Work again stopped as the Association attempted to raise more money. In August 1863, operations resumed with workmen digging additional tunnels. More pumps were brought in. In 1864, they found the source of the water on the eastern side of the Money Pit. Rocks, about twice the size of a human head were forced out into the pit.  Having found that end of the booby trap, inside the Money Pit, the workers were unable to plug it. Water poured into the Money Pit and all the pumps they had were doing little to reduce the water level.
The Association was now completely out of money. To make matters worse, mining engineers, concerned about the erosion caused by the constant flow of sea water, declared the pit unsafe. That finished the Oak Island Association. Besides, winter was coming.