There is a popular show on the History Channel called The Mystery of Oak Island. It is all about a 200-year-old tale about buried treasure in this part of Nova Scotia, Canada. However, it is not at all an easy task because there are actually a lot of booby traps and wild surprises along the way! Underneath the surface lies treasures allegedly owned by religious aristocrats, Marie Antoinette, William Shakespeare, and the like. It is no wonder so many people are interested to see what exactly they are going to find there. This task is not for the faint of heart, but explorers will tell you that it is all worth it…
More Than Five Decades Ago
The Lagina brothers technically began their interest in the treasures of Oak Island in 1965. That was when Rick Lagina learned about the treasure after reading an article in Reader’s Digest. He did not expect this to change his life, but it did exactly that! Once the siblings were adults, they could finally start the search. This marked the beginning of a legendary adventure… But was it really going to be worth it?
The Oak Island Treasure
For the longest time, people have talked about the Oak Island treasure. A boy once saw a circular depression on the ground, which led people to explore what the island was really hiding. After seeing a stone tablet in the earth, many were intrigued. Even so, it took one more century before they learned what it meant.
Theories About What It Meant
A professor from Halifax eventually translated it. Apparently, it said, “Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.” However, no one knew what it was talking about. There was an old legend claiming that seven people needed to die before the mystery could be solved. If you were curious, this treasure hunt has already claimed the lives of six people!
Where The Hidden Treasure Came From
Plenty of speculation surrounds the Oak Island mystery. If you are of the belief that William Shakespeare is nothing more than the pen name used by Francis Bacon, perhaps you will agree that he buried his earnings and manuscripts somewhere on the island. On the other hand, there is also the theory that the treasure was the possession of Marie Antoinette! The royal allegedly requested a maid to hide her riches in the middle of the French Revolution.
There Are A Couple Of Theories
The other theories are about the mysteries of the sea. Certain people think that a Scottish sailor called Captain Kidd buried some of his treasure on the island. However, others are convinced that it belonged to Captain Blackbeard. The latter said that he hid it “nowhere none but Satan and myself can find it.” All things considered, Oak Island was a rather ill-fated place…
The Craziest Theory
Among these theories, the strangest one might be the most widely believed one! It has something to do with the Freemasons. You see, it turns out that there is a lot of Masonic imagery on the island. This is the reason people think that the treasure must belong to this mysterious organization. According to theorists, Francis Bacon went on a Rosicrucian mission there in order to hide the treasure!
Where Everything Started
But when did the rumors even start? Well, Daniel McGinnis had been wandering the island when he saw a circular depression. It was located on the ground right beside a tree that had been hacked away. He was familiar with the story of the hidden treasure and felt an inclination to investigate the matter.
The Very First Dig
With two friends, he started to dig in that very spot. Only two feet below the ground, the group already hit flagstone. They proceeded to dig it out and kept going for 30 more feet. The crew had to go through layer after layer of oak logs to do this. However, they eventually had to abandon the project.
The Second Team To Try
The following decade, the Onslow Company went on to pick up where he left off. They kept digging and digging until they reached sixty feet below the ground. Every ten feet, they would hit a new layer of oak logs. Aside from that, they found coconut fiber, charcoal, and putty down there as well. In the end, they found the tablet that had the inscription. As soon as they pulled it out, it started to flood down there!
Their Efforts Got Washed Away
The workers of the Onslow Company tried everything to stop the flooding, to no avail. They learned that whoever built this pit had created it in such a way that it would be directly connected to a 500 ft. connecting water from Smith’s Cove. Every high tide, the tunnel would flood. In the end, the company decided to simply give up on it. The Truro Company was the one to keep going 45 years after this.
They Found Fascinating Things
What did the Truro company plan to do about the seawater issue discovered by the Onslow Company? The new company used drills to get rid of the soil samples located at the bottom. This proved to be a successful course of action because they were able to drill through two chests full of coins. Aside from that, they pulled up three gold chain links as well. However, the gold vanished in the blink of an eye!
It Was An Artificial Beach
Unfortunately, the company ended up giving up soon after they did these things. It failed to drill into the hole any further than that without dealing with the water situation. One of the members of the Truro crew noticed that water would flood into the tunnel when there was a low tide. It is fascinating to learn that the whole beach was man-made. In the past, someone actually tried to put up a dam to prevent the flow of the water. However, it was only destroyed when the area was hit by a storm.
New Efforts By The Oak Island Association
This was not the last time that someone tried to look for the treasure! In 1861, someone else tried to have a go at it. The Oak Island Association attempted to dig more shafts in the hole, also known as the Money Pit. Sadly, their efforts did not bore fruit because the shafts always collapsed thanks to all the water beneath the ground. However, the worst incident involved the bursting of a water pump, which caused the death of a laborer. As you can see, no one was having any luck with the search.
It Had Been A Long Way Down
A new team made its way to the island. This crew found a sheepskin parchment that had an illegible message on it. Sadly, this discovery was soon marred by the death of one of the people in the group. Maynard Kaiser met his doom while they were pulling him out of the hole. The rope came loose and led him to his fatal fall.
The Old Salvage Group Came Next
In 1909, a different crew of explorers decided to give it a shot. The Old Salvage Group had someone famous among its ranks: Franklin D. Roosevelt! Sadly, the team worked on the mission for only one year. Despite this, FDR kept paying attention to what was going on Oak Island until the day of his death.
They Unearthed More Things
In 1928, a businessman called Gilbert Hedden and his partner Fred Blair wanted to explore the Money Pit to look for the treasure. The two of them had a steel company and planned to use it for the mission. When they started to drill the shafts down there, they found something fascinating. What could it be?
An Interesting Slab Of Stone
The two of them found a stone. It had the same markings found on the one from 1804. They continued to dig after this. The two of them found timber held together by pins. Just by looking at these things, they could tell that they had come from a long time ago since they were made of wood, not metal!
His Search Efforts
In 1938, a treasure hunter known as Erwin Hamilton went to Oak Island. He started to dig the following year. About 190 feet below the ground, he discovered rocks and bits of gravel! There was also a limestone layer that had oak splinters. There was a chance that the stone was lying on top of a wooden object…
An Unfortunate End
Two decades after that, Robert Restall decided to take on the challenge. It is interesting to hear that he discovered a stone that had an inscription saying, “1704.” This has since been used as a reference to the age of the Money Pit. However, Restall wound up inhaling carbon monoxide and falling to his death!
The Hole Claimed More Lives
Sadly, his death was just the beginning. His son tried to rescue him, but he also inhaled the fumes and fell down. Cyril Hiltz and Karl Graeser, two more workers, were also there. They went down the Money Pit in an attempt to rescue the father and son duo. Sadly, they ended up dying as they did so.
Things Got More Serious
In the same year, Robert Dunfield ordered heavy construction equipment to the area. He wanted to dig deep into the hole! His work ended not long after he got to the limestone layer. In 1965, Daniel C. Blankenship discovered a washer, a nail, and a heart-shaped stone 60 feet below the ground. These objects intrigued people even some more!
Taking A Better Look
In the late ‘60s, the Triton Alliance heeded the call of the Money Pit. The team found a pair of iron scissors that went as far back as 300 years! Apart from that, they wanted to excavate a “Borehole,” which is a steel tube that allowed them to install a camera for further investigation. Hopefully, this was going to prevent any fatalities since they would no longer have to go down the hole.
The Wildest Findings
They were able to learn more about the Money Pit because of this method. Here was what they found: tools, leather shoes, and a severed human hand. After some time, they also saw the rest of the body. It was morbid, but they also saw that there were three chests there! This was what kept the team going.
It Was Too Much For Divers
The Triton Alliance asked divers to go into the pit to take a closer look at those chests. Sadly, they had a hard time going against the current. On top of that, the sediment brought the visibility level down. After some time, the Alliance ran out of money. The shaft they constructed started to fall apart as well.
Word Started To Spread
A decade after the company abandoned the expiation, more people got wind of Oak Island. The interest in the treasure hunt kept growing and growing! In 1979, it was the subject of a TV show called In Search Of. This was when word about the mystery of Oak Island really began to go around.
Fighting Over Land Rights
Fred Nolan, who was part of the Triton Alliance, was sued by the company over land rights. This was why Oak Island saw a period of peace that went on for 15 years or so. This is where the Lagina brothers come in! The siblings decided to try their hand at solving the longstanding mystery of the Money Pit.
Going Back To Business
Rick Lagina read an article about this topic when he was only 11 years old. It talked about the attempts of the Triton Alliance to dig there. In 2005, a property on the island went up for sale at the price of $7 million. In an effort to solve the mystery, the Lagina brothers bought a 50% stake in Oak Island Tours Inc.
They Had An Edge
The Lagina brothers had a couple of tools that would grant them an advantage here. The technology let them study and investigate Oak Island as they looked for a way to deal with the flooding of the Money Pit. We are glad to hear that the equipment gave them the edge that they needed.
How The Show Came To Be
Once the History Channel found out about what they were doing, the network approached the Lagina brothers. They wanted the siblings to work on a program called The Curse of Oak Island. It was not only going to document the project, but it was also a way for them to fund the project.
They Played To Their Strengths
The Lagina brothers had an advantage here since they had connections in the industries that proved useful when it comes to the excavation. Marty Lagina also had some experience when it comes to digging and gas wells. Their project would have been a lot more difficult if they did not have these skills and connections with them.
A Strong And Promising Beginning
The Lagina brothers started the project by excavating a man-made swamp. However, this was also how they found their very first treasure as well. It was a Spanish copper coin that came from the 17th century. The two of them were excited when they saw this. It looked like their quest started off on the right foot.
Their Discoveries Had Different Origins
However, the next find was only discovered after two seasons of the show. After draining the Borehole 10-X, they discovered a number of amazing things. They found Portuguese carvings, a Roman sword, and even evidence that Aztecs were once on the island. Their different origins caused some confusion, but the Lagina brothers were nevertheless thrilled by this discovery.
It Was All Worth It
“There’s a story to be written up here,” explained Rick Lagina. He went on, “Treasure, perhaps, but it’s a truly wonderful story from a long time ago. Every day it feels like we’re turning a page of a really good book. To me, life’s a treasure hunt. We’re all on one in our own different way, and we happen to be on a real one right now.”
An Old French Map
Aside from that, there was even more good news during the fourth season of the show. The Lagina brothers learned that there was more to this story when they found a French map from 1647. The map showed the locations of a hatch, a valve, and an anchor. On top of that, it showed the origins of the treasure as well! It indicated that the treasure came from Africa…
The Resting Place Of The Ark
There was another theory that popped up. It revolved around a man called Vincent Astor. He was the son of a wealthy socialite called John Jacob Astor IV, who died aboard the Titanic. It is said that Oak Island is the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. A lot of people were fascinated by this theory.
The Most Probable Ones
There are two certain theories that have the strongest evidence to back them up. The first one goes that Marie Antoinette had a servant who buried her prized possession in the Nova Scotian island. It adds up because it is believed that she reached that area. On the other hand, French soldiers could have hidden their war trophies from the Seven Years War here.
Something Called The Harvard Theory
Barry Fell, a zoologist from Harvard, had a different theory about the island as well. After taking a look at the carvings, he reached a different conclusion from the rest. He thinks that they were made by Coptic Christians. Hailing from North Africa, they must have made their way to Nova Scotia many years ago.
Not Your Regular Treasure Hunt
Mind you, The Mystery of Oak Island did more than just explore the area in the hopes of finding the treasure. A Texas man had been dealing with flooding issues brought about by Hurricane Harvey and figured out how to solve it thanks to the show! It was a good thing that he recalled the “Aqua Dam” from the show. If he did not remember this, the house would have been a goner.
Joy Steele And Her Two Cents
What a lot of people fail to realize, however, is that the Money Pit is not the only pit out there. Joy Steele is of the belief that these pits had been used to store tar when the British Navy constructed ships there. In an effort to prove this, she referenced North Carolinian shipbuilding sites that look almost identical to the ones on the island. In reality, we are getting closer and closer to getting to the bottom of things at Oak Island! With the help of modern technology, we are sure that it is only a matter of time before we finally learn the truth. And to be honest with you, we simply cannot wait.