Back to Weird Aryan History Series table of contents

The Weird Aryan History Series

Lesson #13: Oak Island: The Money Pit

by Bill Milstead

[Suggested by James Butler]

For over 200 years treasure seekers have been searching here for buried treasure. Oak Island, Nova Scotia, is one of the greatest mysteries of all time.

It all began in 1795 when three young men landed on Oak Island. They noticed a tree with one limb sawed off and a depression in the ground underneath. This piqued their interest since the island was uninhabited.

Underneath the sawed limb it looked as though something was buried there. They came back the next day and began to dig. The men came upon a layer of logs every ten feet that had been embedded in the walls of a refilled pit. Some of the platforms were covered with charcoal while others were covered with a putty-like substance. At around thirty feet they abandoned the dig until they could get help. Later they returned with people from the area and resumed the dig, to no avail. The treasure was much deeper than they could imagine.

Since that time, there have been many major digs in the area at a cost of well over 1 million dollars. In 1897, William Chappell struck iron, then cement, wood, and 32 inches of soft metal plus oak chips, coconut husk fiber, and a small piece of parchment with the letters "ui" "vi" or "wi". They appear to be written in India ink with a quill pen. These were found at the 153-foot level. In 1909, Franklin D. Roosevelt, at the age of 27, was part of an exploration group. He maintained a lifelong interest in Oak Island.

Between 1967–1969 an exploratory group brought up oak buds, fragments of 16th century wood and a piece of antique brass. In 1972, a team lowered an underwater camera in a deep shaft close to the Money Pit, called Borehole 10X and photographed what appeared to be logs, sea chests, a human head and hand. This was photographed at 230 feet. To date, the treasure has not yet been uncovered.

One group, the Oak Island Exploration Company, has begun to address the problems associated with the excavation. These include: No direct plan supported by professional engineering studies, the inability to control underground flooding which is coming directly from the sea via two or more tunnels, insufficient funding to overcome unforeseen obstacles, and not understanding the island's underground structures.

In 1995 a team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute spent two weeks on the island while their report is confidential it was by no means discouraging.

Since the time of the first exploration, six people have died attempting to uncover what some people believe to be buried treasure—Legend has it that seven people will die before it is found!  And what is this treasure? Speculation ranges from Captain Kidd's treasure; a communal bank built by pirates; the hiding place for the treasure plundered by Sir Francis Drake from Spanish ships and settlements in the Caribbean; writings by Francis Bacon that would prove it was he that wrote Shakespeare's plays; Marie Antoinette's jewels; the lost treasure of Tumbez, Peru; and others.

One of the leading theories today is of the Knights Templar and there certainly is evidence to support the theory. Whatever the treasure may or may not be, Oak Island is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure which combines the excitement of a treasure hunt with a major archeological dig!

Unfortunately the island is closed to the public now. But hopefully tours will be available again soon. The last activity of any merit occurred in 1995 when a team from Woods Hole spent two weeks on the island and also surveyed the surrounding bay. While I can not divulge the 200 page report from them ... I can say it did nothing to discourage us from continuing the search.

For more info: