What you Need to Know About Oak Island
The story of Oak Island is contained in one of the many fine books on the subject that we have listed below for your consideration. The Oak Island Tourism Society suggests you buy one of these books to read all the amazing details about Oak Island. Some are no longer in print but are available at book stores on line, and at used book stores all over. Your local library may have some of them in stock and still others will order a books at minimal charge. But for those looking for a quick fix, read on.
This article was published in the Newsletter of the Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia and was written by one of our Society members.
Oak Island, the Unseen Engineering Marvel
In the waters known as Mahone Bay, almost fifty miles West of Halifax, very near the picturesque Village of Chester, lies a 144 acre island that possesses a mystery that spans 208 years of desperate searching. Petroleum Engineers, Geologists, adventurers and experts of all kinds have been spurned by Oak Island’s lure.
In 1795 a young local man, Daniel McGinnis found unmistakable evidence that someone had buried something deep in the ground on the uninhabited island’s South Eastern end. By the mid 1800’s, people were beginning to understand just how much work had gone into what has become the worlds longest running and probably most famous treasure hunt.
Platforms of logs every ten feet were encountered in the first pit that eventually became known as the Money Pit. Stones with strange inscriptions and easy digging in the otherwise hard clay led searchers to discover the most vexing and damning problem to complicate what should have been a simple recovery. Salt water entered the area at an astonishing rate from tunnels that were apparently constructed to flood the Money Pit from the near by sea. The tunnels were fed by a system of stone drains buried five feet under the beach and covered with so much coconut fibre, when removed, was piled on the shore like haycocks. Treasure hunters have constructed dams, drilled, blasted, and dug but have not beaten the design of an unknown engineering genius who left his mark there.
The theories a bound over who deposited the treasure and there are those who wonder if there ever was a treasure at all. Some of the most popular theories include, the loot from the sack of Havana in 1763, the lost manuscripts of William Shakespeare buried by Sir Francis Bacon and his agents, the fabulous treasure and religious relics from the Knights Templar and of course, lowly pirates. Another theory that has re gained some enthusiasm lately due to the discovery of two sunken Galleons off Cape Breton is the Spanish connection.
Spain discovered the overwhelming riches in central America very early in history and by the 16th and 17th century, had well established transportation routes that brought them very close to Nova Scotia and indeed, brought them, on occasion, right past Oak Island. The question is, did some rogue Spanish captain, or a group of captains, divert treasure from the King’s clutches to Oak Island’s shore and use it as a depository for a fabulous cache. In 1965 an electro magnetic search by a group of students from Phillips Academy in Massachusetts netted some interesting artifacts but none so interesting as a badly corroded coin. To find an old coin on an island in Nova Scotia was interesting enough, but the coin was a Spanish Maravedi dated 1598.
The same year the coin was found, the treasure hunt turned nasty once again when four members of the Restall expedition lost their lives in a shallow pit through apparent carbon monoxide gas intoxication and then drowning in the water at the bottom. Robert Restall was from Hamilton Ontario but toured the world as a circus performer in a motorcycle stunt act called the globe of death. Along with his pretty, petite English bride Mildred, they thrilled the midway in an act that defied death and saw them both in a round steel cage traveling at speeds that approached sixty miles per hour lapping around and around and upside down. The lure of Oak Island seized Robert’s imagination much to Mildred’s chagrin and they moved to Oak Island, lock ,stock and barrel and family late in the 1950’s. He was convinced that the treasure was soon within his grasp the day he idly checked the twenty seven foot deep shaft just before the couple were to head for Halifax for the day. He, his son Bobby, Karl Graeser and a local lad, Cyril Hitlz died, bringing the total to six that had succumbed searching the deeps under this most mysterious island.
The treasure hunt did not end there by a long shot, and in fact, the discoveries and workings became even more sophisticated, expensive and daring. By 1995 a shaft had been once again sunk into Oak Island’s scarred old hide to the dizzying depth of 181 feet. This shaft is eight feet wide and lined with steel railway car bodies, structural steel and reinforced cement. The treasure still has not been found but many are waiting in the wings for the current treasure hunters to fold their tents and leave so they may take a turn at solving one of the greatest mysteries in the world.
Is there really treasure buried on oak Island? I don’t know, but I can assure you, the evidence left behind is overwhelming, tantalizing and real.
Oak Island Books and booklets (English language)
1. Oak Island Mystery by R.V. Harris 1958 *
2. Oak Island Mystery by R.V. Harris 1968
3. The Money Pit by D’Arcy O’Connor *
4. The Money Pit: Mystery of Oak Island by Rupert Ferneaux
5. Tracking Treasure In search of East Coast Bounty by William S. Crooker
6. Oak Island Gold by William S. Crooker
7. The Oak Island Quest by William S. Crooker
8. Oak Island Nova Scotia The World’s Greatest Treasure Hunt by Millie Evans and Eric Mullen
9. Revealed: The Secret of Oak Island by Laverne Johnson
10. The Oak Island Enigma by Penn Leary
11. Oak Island and it’s Lost Treasure by Graham Harris and Les MacPhie *
12. The Oak Island Mystery The Secret of the World’s Greatest Treasure Hunt by Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe
13. Oak Island Secrets by Mark Finnan 2002
14. The Secret Treasure of Oak Island by D’Arcy O’Connor 2004
- The Mystery of the Oak Island Treasure by Mark Reynolds 2005
- The Oak Island Code by Danny Hennigar and D’Arcy O[Connor, July 2006
17- The Restall Story – Oak Island Obsession by Lee Restall Lamb June 2006
* Authors Graham Harris, Les MacPhie and D’Arcy O’Connor are active members of the Oak Island Tourism Society.