The Mysterious And Deadly Money Pit Of Nova Scotia

“Dive, dive, dive for buried treasure!” —Bart, Blazing Saddles (1974)

In A Nutshell

Oak Island is situated in the Mahone Bay of the south shore of Canada, and houses one of the biggest unsolved mysteries Planet Earth has to offer. Famously known as the Money Pit, this particular spot on island has attracted countless people toward it in the hope of solving the mystery. Some say it’s a buried treasure, some that it’s the Holy Grail itself, but whenever they try to dig in to find out, the pit floods itself and blocks further access to the secret inside, occasionally killing the people involved. Attempts usually come to a halt after people die or the party runs out of money, but the mystery is still alive for whoever wants to go and give it a try.

The Whole Bushel

When a young guy named Daniel McGinnis discovered a circular depression in the ground on Oak Island in 1795, he had no idea that he had accidentally encountered one of the most intriguing unsolved mysteries of modern times. He went back to the mainland and asked his friends to come along and help him excavate, noting that it seemed man-made. The area was frequented by numerous pirate ships during the golden age of piracy, and the idea of finding hidden treasure was too enticing for the men to pass on. In fact, a pirate named Captain William Kidd was rumored to have buried a large amount of treasure somewhere in that area before his capture in 1699. Excited by the possibilities, they dug in.

Just a couple feet down they encountered a flagstone, confirming their suspicion that the thing was man-made. Probably thinking this was it, they removed the rock, only to find more dirt. Digging down further, they discovered horizontal wooden logs in what appeared to be a shaft, further confirming their suspicions that this was man made rather than natural. At exactly 3 meters (10 ft) further, they encountered another set of logs and more dirt. After finding a third set of logs (again, 3 meters below the previous logs) followed by more ground, they gave up and returned back home.

The original group returned a few years after the initial attempts with a businessman and some more funds, with the sole purpose of unearthing the secrets of the Money Pit. They started digging and again found oak every teen feet, though they were greeted with something new at ninety feet; a heavy stone with indecipherable inscriptions. They didn’t dig any further that day and went home, though when they came back the next day, the pit was found to be flooded with water. They tried to dig a parallel shaft to the original one, but that suffered the same fate. With their draining funds and no treasure, the company gave up.

Perhaps the most promising sign of a treasure there would come in 1849, when another company resumed work on the site and used a hand operated auger to probe the flooded tunnel. Among clay and bits -of wood, there were three links of gold, further solidifying their beliefs that a large treasure awaited them at the end of the tunnel. Like all the previous, and future, attempts, they soon ran out of funds and turned back.

After numerous attempts and six deaths, the mystery still holds today. The flooding tunnels are seemingly connected to a larger network of underground tunnels, and whenever anyone tries to get close enough, it floods the system with water from the sea preventing them from discovering what’s inside. All of the companies which tried to get to the bottom of the pit either ran out of money or lost a member, which led some people to believe that the site is cursed. One of the most famous people drawn to the mysteries of the Oak Island treasure was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was fascinated by the pit all his life, but could never devote any spare time to it because of the war in Europe.

If we know anything about what’s in the pit, we know that the person who put it there didn’t want it to be found. They’ll probably be successful for a very long time.

Show Me The Proof

Oak Island Money Pit: The Last Great Unsolved Mystery
CBC News: Curse of Oak Island reignites centuries-old treasure hunt
Skeptical Inquirer: The Secrets of Oak Island