The Money Pit of Oak Island

The most famous treasure trove of the past two centuries is what has come to be known as The Money Pit of Oak Island. Located off the coast of Nova Scotia, the area first came to be noticed in 1795 by teenager Daniel McGinnis and his friends Anthony Vaughn and Jack Smith. Roaming around the eastern side of the island, the trio noticed a clearing and an area of ground that bore an intriguing circular depression. Hovering over the area was a large oak tree that had one of its limbs partially sawed off. The limb, which hung conspicuously over the depression, appeared to have been used for a pulley system. After a bit of digging, the trio realized that the depression was a shaft that in some areas showed marks made by picks.

Continuing their dig, they reached a level of 10 feet, where they found an oak plank. By the time they reached 30 feet they noticed that markers had been made every 10 feet. Proving to be too much for the young lads, their search for what they hoped was pirate treasure was eventually abandoned and left undisturbed until they could feasibly return to their search years later. Around 1802, Dr. Simeon Lynds visited the island, and, after hearing the boys' story, decided to form a company and begin excavations. Little did Lynds or the boys know that this effort would launch a quest for a goal that continues to elude treasure hunters to this day.

Much has been written and speculated about the Oak Island treasure over the past two centuries, but what's known is that many individuals lost their bank accounts and their lives when attempting to force the pit to give up its mysteries. Lynds' Onslow Company was able to reach 90 feet into the pit through layers of putty and what appeared to be coconut fiber, only to have it flood with water. This would be a consistent problem that all future treasure hunters would have with The Money Pit. What would be retrieved from the pit over the decades, as a result of various companies and individuals taking on the endeavor, would be more coconut husk, wood perceived to be from oak casks, concrete, pieces of metal, gold links thought to be part of a chain, parchment with bits of writing, and even a stone with a mysterious inscription.

What exactly is the treasure of Oak Island and who buried it?

The Money Pit's origin remains a mystery, though over the years many rumors have circulated. The most popular theory is that the treasure was buried there by Captain Kidd. Another rumor has it that the French crown jewels, which disappeared in 1791, were smuggled and eventually buried for safekeeping. Some have even suggested that Shakespeare's original works or the Holy Grail are hidden in the pit!

During one drilling expedition it was discovered that the water that inevitably flooded the pit and its surrounding areas during an excavation was salt water, and that the water level rose and fell to correspond with the tide at a nearby beach at Smith's Cove. This eventually led to the infuriating speculation that The Money Pit was somehow meticulously engineered as a booby trap, designed with an intricate system of drains and waterways that would make it seemingly impossible to recover what so many treasure seekers could never quite grasp. A variety of machinery and devices from dams to explosives were used over the decades, but The Money Pit refused to succumb. Everyone from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the famed Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute that found Titanic have taken a stab at finding the alleged treasure, but in true pirate fashion, the pit refuses to give up without a significant fight.

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