Tuesday, January 20, 2015

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. 


Paul Young said...

Excellent story and one I wasn't too familiar with. But I'm buggered if I can understand why,after the earlier attempts at boring for the treasure had turned the immediate vicinity around the "money pit",almost to a honeycomb, that someone didn't decide to quarry for it.

I'm only a lowly telephone engineer, but if the site was quarried, then the water trap would no longer pose such a problem. The area would become a small but deep lake, continuously dredged deeper until the supposed concrete chamber at the bottom of the (used to be) pit, is exposed on all sides. Then send down the divers to break into the supposed treasure compartment.

Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.

Us chaps here on Kevin's blog should get a consortium together! (I must have at least 400 quid stashed away to put into it.)

Then again, knowing my luck, the final booby trap would be the concrete chamber would have a nuclear trip wire inside it.

albert said...


It's an interesting story. Quarrying out the area would certainly be the 'final solution'. Bedrock is only about 150 feet down(wiki). It would be expensive.
OTH, one can't monetize 'mysteries' that have already been solved. Until then, the Money Pit is a gift that will keep on giving....
I gotta go...

NotRichard said...

If only the US military budget ran to trillions of dollars, we would have radar satellites able to map deep underground - originally to locate ICBM silos but lately C&C and nuclear infrastructure.

If that sort of thing existed then someone somewhere could probably take a quick look, see if there's anything worth interpreting visible.

But that would be crazy :D

Robert said...

Oak Island is very interesting. Based upon what I have seen so far, my issue is the amount of work/engineering that would have been needed in the 1700s to make something this elaborate happen.

Yes, yes I know, the ancients could build pyramids and other structures but Oak Island is a bit different in my opinion.

You have pirates that are looting ships, stealing treasure and everything else. They get their loot, and generally go spend it, but at times they hide it. Obviously when they hide it, they want to come back and acquire it down the road.

Pirates were largely opportunists and generally hid their treasure in reasonable easy to find (for them) and then easily accessible (for them). For example go to the crooked tree, or cave in the rocks, dig 6 feet and presto there is the box. This as opposed to "let's go to Oak Island" we will dig down 150 feet, we will spend considerable time and effort creating stone tunnels from the sea, digging down 150 feet through the water table, make vault, oh, by the way we need cement so lets run over to the Pirates Depot store on Oak Island and get some. Now lets set up some elaborate traps and finally cover everything up.

Maybe there is something to it and maybe the story is a somewhat/partial or full myth much like the many treasure tales we read about here in America. We read accounts of people that have spent 20-50 years of their life following this treasure tale or that tale (Lost Dutchman, Addams, Uinta Mountains in Utah) at the end they still haven't found anything. The book's written about their searchs and theories are an interesting read.

My prediction on the Linga brothers attempt. They are going to spend a lot of money next season, have 50 experts with 50 opinions and theories that will distract and derail them from getting to the bottom of it and very likely won't find any treasure and the search will likely end when they run out of money. If they do find a vault or whatever, I suspect it will be empty which will cause them to reexamine all evidence and theories and either conclude it was looted along time ago (like many of the Egyptian pyramids) and or the treasure is really at some other location on the island or elsewhere.

I do hope I am wrong.

ufonalyzer said...

I heard about the money pit about 60 years ago and read a couple of books about it 15-20 years ago, so naturally i'm hooked on the Lagina brothers' attempts to wrest a few more facts out of the mystery. their search is obviously being bastardized by their tv producers, but that is ok with me if it means the producers partially paying the bills for the search. That guy J. Hutton Pulitzer was a real detriment to the show and he should never have been allowed on. Even though I'm 100% sure the Laginas won't find anything, I'm still an avid watcher.

Dan Wilkens said...

I'd like to point out that Spanish coins circulated widely, and people kept them in circulation for a long time. Spain controlled most of the silver mines in the world during the 18th century and Spanish silver dollars were used as currency in the US until the 1850s. It would be expected to find one or two in any archaeological site on the eastern North American seaboard.

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

The compilation of stories I published does not solve the mystery of Oak Island, but does reveal some of the original clues as they were left behind by the creators of Nolan's cross and the sextant rock shape. I love reading and talking about Oak Island if you want to contact me or read the "Oak Island Connection" on amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01F0IB5YG

Sparkydon said...

Why was borehole 10x dug? It is not the site of the original money pit.

KRandle said...

Sparkydon -

Because there had been so much excavation around the original pit that they were no longer sure of exactly where it had been. This was an attempt to get to the bottom of the pit and see if there was anything down there. We now know that at the bottom of the borehole was a natural chamber and none of the things that we had been told were down there were, in fact, down there.