The Oak Island adventure begins in the summer of 1795 when Daniel McGinnis (sixteen years old) saw strange lights offshore from his parent's house which was nearby the town of Chester on Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. He went out to search for the source of the lights by rowboat to a nearby isolated island in Mahone Bay (which is Oak Island). Oak Island is only one of the small isolated islands in Mahone Bay. When McGinnis was exploring the island, he discovered a circular depression about 13 feet in diameter with a big oak tree limb hanging over the depression with a tackle box hanging on the tree. McGinnis left the island to ask for the help of two of his friends, John Smith and Anthony Vaughan. The next day the trio returned to the island to dig for the treasure they thought was buried in the depression with only pickaxes and shovels. Oak Island's forest wilderness was an ideal place for ships to restock and repair while its isolation was a great place to hide treasure. They were so excited to investigate the depression because pirates were known to areas near Oak Island all the way down to Boston. The "Golden Age of Piracy" (1690-1730) had just passed and the boys thought there could be treasure buried there. For example, Captain William Kidd admitted burying an unspecified amount of treasure in an untold location in the Boston to Oak Island area before his capture in 1699. Citizens and fishermen in the township of Chester have seen and shared stories of the strange lights on Oak Island. Two men had already decided to explore Oak Island (before McGinnis explored the island) but they never returned.
Beginning of the Treasure Hunt
McGinnis and his friends began to dig into the depression. When they reached a depth of two feet, they found a layer of carefully laid flagstone. After they removed the stone, the three realized they had found an entrance to a large shaft. The shaft walls were made of hard, packed clay and the dirt inside to shaft was loose and easy to dig. The shaft had now narrowed to seven feet in diameter and imprinted on the walls were images of pickaxes. McGinnis and his friends reached a depth of ten feet where they found a layer of wood logs embedded in the shaft walls. They removed the logs and they found a two foot pocket of air with dirt below. They reached a depth of 20 feet and they found another layer of logs. After McGinnis and his friends removed the logs, they began to remove large amounts of dirt using two shovels, a rope, and a bucket. At reaching a depth of 25 feet, McGinnis and his friends realized that more expensive equipment and people would be needed to further excavate the shaft. While they searched for help, they took residence on the island and supported themselves as farmers. Seven years later, McGinnis and his friends joined a new project on the shaft known as the Money Pit.
Oak Island is about three-fourths of a mile long and about 1,000 feet wide.
The Onslow Company
John Smith, the oldest of the three, had purchased the Oak Island lot including the Money Pit knowing that there were many more secrets to reveal and that they would not give up to find the treasure. In 1803, Simeon Lynds, along with Colonel Robert Archibald, Captain David Archibald, and Sheriff Thomas Harris joined McGinnis and his friends to form the Onlsow Company. Every ten feet they dug, there was a layer of logs. At a depth of 40 feet, there was charcoal covering the platform. At 50 feet deep there was a layer of thick putty as if someone tried to waterproof it. At 60 feet deep there was eelgrass and pieces of cocunut fiber, which were not native to Nova Scotia, and at 70 feet deep, there was a layer of hand cut planks.
At 90 feet deep, the Onlsow men found an olive tinged stone tablet and on the backside of the stone there was a strange code on it. Some people believe says, "Forty feet below, two million pounds are buried," but other people disagree. Surprisingly, the following morning, the Money Pit had flooded with 60 feet of water because they had removed the stone. After the crew couldn't get the water out of the shaft, the Onslow Company had no money left and stopped their treasure hunt in defeat. The stone tablet found by the Onslow men is now missing today.
A replica of the stone tablet found by the Onslow men.
The Truro Company
In 1849, a group of Nova Scotia businessmen formed the Truro Company with the people John Gammel, Adams Tupper, Robert Creelmand, Jotham McCully, James Pitblado, John Smith, Anthony Vaughan, ( John Smith and Anthony Vaughan were the friends of Daniel McGinnis in the original excavation in 1795, but now without Daniel McGinnis because he died) the brother of Simeon Lynds, and Dr. David Barnes Lynds. With their drill in the Money Pit, at a depth of about 98 feet, they came across a layer of spruce about 6 inches deep with dirt settled below and then seven feet of clay with pieces of gold chain that came up. The Truro men visioned two treasure chests, one atop the other. In 1850, one man realized that the Money Pit's water level would rise and fall with the tides. After realizing that that no natural water path could form through the hard clay, they thought that the flood tunnels must be man-made so they thought that the tunnels could come from Smith's Cove on the island which was also man-made. On Smith's Cove, the Truro men found layers of stones then covered by eelgrass, covered by cocunut fiber, covered by the beach sand which was a system that made sure that nothing would clog the flood tunnels that spread out like the fingers of a hand. Although, in 1899, another flood tunnel was discovered that lead to the south shore on Oak Island. Now some people believe the stone tablet is instructions to turn off the flood tunnels. The Truro men had a plan to dig a second shaft near the Money Pit and then at 109 feet they would dig across to get the treasure but they would have to drain Smith's Cove and they couldn't do that. Finally in 1850, the Truro Company quit their expedition empty handed.
The Oak Island Association
The Oak Island Association was formed in 1861 with 63 men and 33 horses. They dug two tunnels parallel to the Money Pit to depths of 118 feet and 120 feet deep, but they were flooded. Two men almost lost their lives when water began to fill their access tunnel and then the Money Pit collapsed. During the incident, strange items were found in the Money Pit like the bottom of a dish, the end of a Juniper tree timber, an oak log, and a spruce slab. In 1861 as the company struggled to drain the Money Pit, a boiler exploded, killing a man and badly injuring others. The Oak Island Association quit excavating after that, ending in a costly and tragic way.
The Oak Island Treasure Company
In 1890, Frederick Blair and S.C. Fraser established the Oak Island Treasure Company. With their drill, at a depth of 126 feet in the Money Pit, the company found an iron barrier that could not be penetrated with coconut fiber, oak pieces, and a very small piece of parchment (5/16 of an inch long) written in India ink with a quill pen that has two letters on it, either "ui" or "vi". People believe because of the parchment that before the nineteenth century someone had put a document in the Money Pit over 150 feet below the surface.
Blair had then raised enough money (because of the parchment) to dig a new shaft 200 feet deep next to the Money Pit to drain it. His shaft flooded, (even after his first five attempts) but he found a second flood tunnel. To prove it, Blair poured red dye into the Money Pit and it came out in three areas of the island. He knew that those are where the flood tunnels lead to, but the flood tunnels wouldn't clog, due to the beach system that the Truro men found (even after using dynamite to try to clog the flood tunnels). In 1900 he was bankrupt and he moved to Calgary, Canada but he vowed to return to Oak Island before he died (he most likely didn't return).
The Restall Family Tragedy
Robert Restall and his family (him, his wife Mildred, two sons and a daughter) moved to Oak Island in 1960 in hopes of finding treasure. He and his wife Mildred were known for their "Globe of Death Act" where they rode on motorcycles up to speeds of 65 miles per hour around a large steel sphere. Robert and his son began to work. By July of 1960, the two had removed water from the Money Pit to a low level that had not been seen in decades and continued their work on Oak Island (even though Robert and his family were void of running water on their home on the island and had to get supplies from the mainland). Although, on Tuesday, August 17th, 1965, as Robert was working on one of his most promising shafts near a beach on Oak Island, he peered over the edge to inspect his work and fell into the watery shaft due to toxic gases coming from the shaft which made him lose his consciousness. His son Bobbie and two other workers, Karl Graeser and Cyril Hiltz rushed to help, but they all fell in too for the same reason. On that day, Oak Island has now claimed a total of six lives since the mystery began.
Dan Blankenship came to Oak Island in 1965 for a challenge. When he worked for the Triton Alliance with Fred Nolan, Robert Dunfield, and David Tobias, he made many dives in a pit near the money pit called 10-X. Some of the workers at Smith's Cove found a U-shaped formation of logs marked with Roman Numerals. In 10-X, Blankenship found a wooden chest with a man's face (with most of its skin features intact on the head like the brow, nose, and lips), a shovel, and a pickaxe from an underground air cavity that 10-X went through. Strangely, he has found a few tunnels under the Money Pit at 235 feet deep with wooden ceilings and clay to to move water to the sides. The Triton Alliance was able to send cameras down into 10-X that showed a cavity carved out of bedrock inside a hand, a corpse, and several treasure chests. The company couldn't reach them after many dives. Unfortunately, in 1987, the Triton Alliance could not further excavate Oak Island due to three legal battles. Dan Blankenship is mentioned in the television series The Curse of Oak Island along with his son, David Blankenship and the current Oak Island property owners, Marty Lagina and Rick Lagina. The Curse of Oak Island was created in early 2014 by the History Channel as a reality television show that describes the history of Oak Island with its discoveries and events. Dan and David Blankenship and Marty and Rick Lagina in the show try to uncover the treasure (if any) on Oak lsland using modern day technology and tactics (other than just dig in the Money Pit).
The 10-X shaft.
In 1961, Fred Nolan came to Oak Island before Dan Blankenship and he worked with him in the Triton Alliance for some time (when Blankenship came to Oak Island in 1965). After mapping the island, he found various large stones laid out around the island that form a Christian cross 867 feet long and 72 feet wide.
A map of Oak Island.
The causeway that connects Oak Island to the mainland (on Crandall's Point) was finished on October 16th, 1965 by Robert Dunfield and his men. It stretches 600 feet long and consists of 1,500 cubic yards of compacted fill to make the causeway.
On the last part of a documentary on television on December 29th, 2009, a Norwegian code cracker named Petter Amundsen launched an amazing theory that the New Temple of God is hidden underground on Oak Island and in there is Shakespeare's manuscripts (possibly written by Sir Francis Bacon who could also be buried there). To prove his theory, he has found large stones on the island (other than Fred Nolan's findings) that overlay Fred Nolan's cross to form an image of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is a tree in the Garden of Eden (In Genesis 3:22-24 in the Bible) that its fruit gives eternal life.
Tree of Life stone locations.
What is the treasure on Oak Island?
Many people have asked this question but nobody is exactly sure what the treasure on Oak Island could be because it has never been found. Although, using the evidence and artifacts people have found, they have came up with some ideas about how the Money Pit was built and what the treasure could be.
One theory is that there is an underground maze below Oak Island that starts at the Money Pit that goes more than 100 feet deep and leads to the treasure. There could be an access tunnel that leads to the Money Pit's treasure without being flooded. Pirates couldn't have buried the treasure because they never buried their treasure more than a few feet deep, but they still are a possibility. The French could have buried the treasure to protect it from the British and they had a fort in Nova Scotia (fort Louisbourg). The Acadians (the descendants of 17th-century French colonists that settled in eastern Canada, some settled in Nova Scotia) could have buried the treasure because they refused to be loyal with the British. Mary Antoinette's lost crown jewels of France could be hidden on the island before she was beheaded in the French Revolution. A huge collection of gold and silver that disappeared from Britain could be hidden on the island. Knights Templar (Christian warrior monks that were formed in the twelfth century to protect Jerusalem) could have hidden the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant on Oak Island to protect it from English invasion. This could have happened because they could have formed an alliance with the Sinclair family in Scotland and William Sinclair could have taken it and built the Money Pit on Oak Island sometime in the 15th-century. Freemasons (a secret organization that is thought to control the course of mankind) could have hidden the treasure with the Knights Templar because of the various materials found in the Money Pit like chalk, charcoal, and clay symbolizing freedom, fervency, and zeal. Many men in the treasure hunt on the island could have been Freemasons such as the people who formed the Onslow Company, and also Frederick Blair, William and Melbourne Chappell, Edwin Hamilton, and Gilbert Hedden. Early but advanced civilizations (possibly Atlantis) could have buried something on Oak Island that they wanted to conceal forever. Oak Island could have the sheets of parchment written by Sir Francis Bacon (even though the sheets are under William Shakespeare's name and Bacon wanted the world to know that he wrote the plays). People believe this because of the parchment found in the Money Pit and because of both of their occupations (William Shakespeare quit school at 13 to work as a butchers apprentice and Sir Francis Bacon was a solicitor general of the British crown and then later lord chancellor). Some people believe that Oak Island was an ancient Christian site and that the stone tablet says: "The people should not forget the lord, to offset the hardships of winter, and the onset of plaque the Arif, he shall pray to the Lord." People believe the tablet was created by Coptic Christians who came from Egypt that followed strict religious practices. Even Aliens could have buried something extraterrestrial in the Money Pit.
Is the Treasure in the Money Pit?
Now that people ask that question, some people question the fact that the treasure is in the Money Pit. Some believe that the treasure is not in the Money Pit and people could have taken the treasure from it a long time ago. Others believe that the treasure is hidden in the swamp on the island because it is man-made and strange stones have been found in it, marking with Petter Amundsen's drawing of the Tree of Life and Fred Nolan's Christian cross. The Money Pit could be a trap, possibly.
The Oak Island swamp.
Oak Island remains to be one of the strangest unsolved mysteries in the world. For over 200 years, thousands of hours of man work and millions of dollars have been spent with piles of wrecked equipment and the broken spirits that lay in one of the world's most frustrating treasure hunts. A cast of characters have helped the expedition from actor Errol Flynn to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Strange artifacts have been found in the Money Pit and around the island from a stone with the 1704 date carved in it to strange photographs showing the corpse of a man on top of a treasure chest in an air cavity. Although, the Treasure Trove Act was passed in 1989 saying if modern day treasure hunters find any major treasure on Oak Island, they have have to give 10% of the wealth to the provincial government (Nova Scotia), which is discouraging to some people today. Oak Island's Money Pit is surrounded by so many other shafts today, it is hard to tell which is the original Money Pit. "The people who did the original work on this island were the most brilliant sons of ***** in the history of the world. And they would never have engineered something so fantastic unless they had something equally fantastic to hide." says Dan Blankenship. Six people have lost their lives trying to uncover the treasure. Ever since the discovery of Oak Island and the Money Pit in 1795, there is a legend about Oak Island that says seven people must die on the island before the treasure is revealed. Will the treasure ever be found, or is it forever concealed and out of our reach?
"If I die without solving this my life will be a failure. I've come too far, and I've given too much. And I'm close. I know I'm close." - Dan Blankenship
A sign of the Money Pit in 2010.