For over two hundred years, Oak Island has grasped the attention of explorers from all corners the globe. Why? It could have something to do with the hidden treasure on the island and the promises of being filthy rich if it is ever found. Over the past two centuries the lust for wealth has driven many money hungry individuals to death, insanity, hopelessness and even poverty. It has even been rumored that the island required seven deaths before it’s treasure could be found. This rumor didn’t sway the Lagina brothers from risking it all on an adventure beyond all bounds.
The story starts back in 1795. That’s when Rick Lagina, who was only six at the time, picked up a copy of the Reader’s Digest. In that issue was an article that would change his life forever. The article was about Oak Island in Nova Scotia, Canada and the 220-year-old mystery behind it. The article spoke of a treasure hidden deep under the ground there. This is enough to get any eleven year-old’s attention.
Reader’s Digest warned that for decades upon decades people have been going to Oak Island in search of this treasure, but had always left with nothing and sometimes they even lost their lives. It didn’t stop him from becoming obsessed with the treasure on Oak Island. He began studying the island and thinking about it everyday. Soon he couldn’t see anything past the buried treasure.
Rick Lagina was what some would call a born explorer. Even before he ever heard of the island, he went on a treasure hunt. He was ten and the location was in his hometown of Kingsford, Michigan. It was there that the young boy came across a huge granite rock. It spoke to his imagination and he couldn’t sleep without knowing what was under it.
Rick wasn’t going to let this rock go by unmoved. He grabbed his little brother Marty and rounded up eight other kids from the neighborhood to assist in moving that rock. It’s almost needless to say, that when the boys finally got the rock out of the way they didn’t get much in terms of treasure. Mostly just dirt. This of course would only move onto bigger and better things. Oak Island was the bigger thing, but what’s the story behind it.
The first hunter of the treasure was Daniel McGinnis. After he found that depression he studied the area. Seems the trees surrounding the area were cut in certain way and evidence of something being buried there was clear. He was no foolish kid, he had heard all the stories about pirate burying treasure on the island. He ran back to town and fetched some of his friends to do some digging. A few feet below they discovered a layer of flagstone covering the area.
They dug and dug, but were stopped when they hit the thirty feet mark. They weren’t stopped by people, but by a layer of oak logs. Continuing from there wasn’t a possibility, they didn’t have the manpower to lift those logs. They’d return eight years and that’s when thing would change forever. That’s when a new legend would be born.
1804 was the year that started it all. A boy named Daniel McGinnis was now a man and returned with a group called the Onslow Company was formed and their single mission was to uncover what it was all about. The Onslow Company dug through layers of brush, logs and earth and it was under there that they found something truly amazing.
What they found was a stone tablet with very interesting and odd inscriptions on them. It was passed around to several researches but nobody could figure out what it said. However, over fifty years later it all changed when a language professor from Halifax University walked into the room and with ease interpreted the tablet. The message was nothing short of mysterious and led to lots of questions.
According to the professor, the stone read “Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried”. That’s all it said. It didn’t get into details like if it were in gold bricks, coins or or diamonds. Just pounds. Of course this left a lot of folks scratching their heads. Some busted out shovels and were ready to dig up every patch of earth on the island. Some at the time questioned if it was real at all. It could have been so ancient booby trap.
Between then and now a strange legend was birthed at Oak Island, one that said that in order for the island to give up its treasure, seven people must die in that location. It was chill news knowing that six people had since passed on the island while looking for that treasure forty feet below. One more man was set to die there before the treasure could be found. Here is how it all came to be.
Over the years theories concerning the mystery treasure and how it ended up on the island have sprouted from everywhere. One of the more outlandish stories is about Marie Antoinette. Apparently it goes that she asked her maid to flee Paris during the French Revolution. The maid made it to London and from there went to Nova Scotia. From there she talked the French navy into building a pit for her so she could hide the treasures.
Another story claims that the treasure belonged to Francis Bacon. Apparently he was the man behind all of William Shakespeare’s plays and William built a pit on this island hiding the manuscripts in order to keep his secret safe from the public. The stories don’t even start to end there. On this island a number of treasures were believed to have been buried.
A lot of people were quick to say that pirates were responsible for burying this treasure. Many thought it was Blackbeard’s treasure. He claimed he had buried treasure, but only he and the devil would ever know where it was. Other believe the treasure belonged to Captain Kidd. Folklore would have us believe that he and his gang have buried all sorts of treasures and that they were even once spotted on the island burying many chest.
Many even suggested that it was the Spanish who buried the treasure there. It was all an attempt to hide it from the British during the American Revolution. We could give you a number of stories that people pondered upon, there is one that most explorers clung too as the the truth. Given what is on the island, it actually makes the most sense.
Going to Oak Island you’ll notice a lot of Masonic markings that give off the notion that the treasure related to initiation rights involving sacred treasures. Seeing that this was the closest they had to an actual truth, this is the one that most decided to stick to. They even started to believe that maybe buried with the treasure were secret religious passages.
When the Onslow company started on the original dig, they only got 100 feet down before water started filling up the pit. They went to the opposite side of the mountain and dug another pit, but water filled it as well. This wasn’t a natural sensation, this was meant to happen. It was trap by the people who hid the treasure. It was a trap that delayed digging for forty five years. This time the Truro Company had a go at it.
Like clockwork, when they began digging the pit flooded again. They decided not let it kill their spirits though and took some core samples from the pit. It didn’t exactly get them the treasure but it brought them a few clues. Clues in the form of two chest filled with gold coins. One of the diggers stated that one chest had several gold links in it. Sadly these links went missing and nobody ever heard from them again.
Satisfied with their discovery, the Truro Company left and returned for the rest of the gold in 1850. They didn’t see any luck the second time around though. They dug a tunnel parallel to the money pit and it flooded with water. They pumped and pump but of course came up empty handed. But that wasn’t the end of it. Another discovery was made. One that was absolutely incredible.
While the water was being pumped from the treasure pit, one the diggers noticed something interesting off Smith’s Cove during low tide.There was water coming out of the beach. This only meant one thing. The guys who hid the treasure has built a whole drain system. The complex channel system was shaped like a hand and had been constructed as a method of filtering the water. This when the diggers had to get smart.
They decided to build a dam. Blocking off the water flow seemed like the best answer possible. That way water wouldn’t keep pumping into the pit and they could dig out the treasure. As soon as it finished, a storm came and blew it away. While constructing the new dam, the diggers discovered something interesting. It was the ruins of a dam that predated their original one. Someone had thought of this before. Their methods of plugging up the water failed and the Truro Company gave up on the treasure. The hunt for this gold was far from over though.
Nobody tried for the gold for nearly ten years. Then 1961 rolled around and the Oak Island Association stepped upon the scene. Sadly the lost way more than they gained. They didn’t succeed in discovering anything that the Truro Company didn’t and the the bottom on the pit fell out. As a method of pumping out water they used a boiler. This sounded like a great idea until the boiler exploded. Sadly, one man was pretty close when this happened and burnt to death.
After three years the company ran out of funds and had to call it quits. They left broke and with shattered dreams. After hearing about the Oak Island Association’s major failure and the lost of one of their men, rumor ran rampant that a group of ghost pirates were guarding the island and that they were responsible for killing the worker. The rumor also stated that they’d keep killing so long as people hunted for that treasure. In a sense those rumors were right.
Just before the 20th century came and changed everything, a group of unknowns decided to take their chances in retrieving the lost treasure. This unestablished bunch did more than the last big company of men. From the putty they found a large cement vault. They thought they struck it big, excitement overtook them and they began drilling into the vault expecting to find the hidden treasure. What they found though was nothing of the sorts.
Inside the vault was parchment made of sheepskin and it simply read “vi,” “ui,” and “wi”. You could imagine the disappointment they felt at opening up that vault and simply finding a piece of sheepskin. They took it in so that it can be made sense of, but these letters remain a mystery till this day. They continued the dig for a few days, but it would quickly end when they were struck with devastation.
Beloved digger, Maynard Kaiser was on his way to the surface after a hard day of digging when the cables pulling him up snapped and he fell to his death. The group didn’t want to continue after the death of their friend, so they packed up and headed home. The two deaths didn’t stop many others from trying though. I suppose they figured living and dying as a millionaire would be worth the risk. The ultimate tragedy would occur much later.
The year was 1909 and the mystery of Oak Island’s treasure called another ragtag team of diggers.They made no big finds sadly and only lasted about years. What makes them at all worth mentioning is that former President, Franklin Roosevelt was part of this crew. He’d become president in 1933, less than twenty years later. He was always taken by the island and kept tabs on it throughout his life.
In 1928 digging resumed. This time by the hands of businessman, Gilbert Hedden. He read about the island in the paper and decided that he was the man to recover the treasure. Obviously he didn’t, but he did find something very interesting outside of the pits. What he found was a fragment of stones marked up with rather interesting markings. The markings matched the one found in the money pit back in 1804. He also found some old timbers off of Smith’s Cove. These timbers were from when the pit was first built by the treasure hunters and were part of a much larger construction.
Another big find came in 1959. It was a stone that had the marking 1704 on it. It was found by Robert Restall who was taken by the island. He moved his whole family to the island and decided that finding that treasure would be a good family project. It proved to be more than the bunch could handle when in 1965 he inhaled carbon monoxide coming out of an engine by the pit. He was looking down the pit when he inhaled it, became unconscious and fell to his death.
This tragedy didn’t stop there. Once his son had noticed his father had fallen, he began to climb down the pit only to become victim to the same fate, the fumes. It was a freak accident and became even more freakish when two of their hired diggers got brave and decided to head in after Robert’s son. They also choked on the fumes and died.
The island at that point had claimed six lives whom died while looking for a treasure that no one had been able to find. According to legend it had one more to go. This promise of terror didn’t hold anyone back from looking for that treasure. The next treasure hunters would go low enough to discover some truly amazing finds. The possible origins of this treasure were about to be found out.
This time Oak Island was hit with bulldozers and cranes. This dig was led by Robert Dunfield. Using modern tool he was able to dig 140 feet down. He discovered tons of interesting finds. One was a heart-shaped stone, an old hand-wrought nail washer and a pair of scissors that dated back three hundred years. The scissors proved to be Spanish-American and made in Mexico.
Using his modern tools, Robert Dunfield was able to continuously dig well into the 1970’s. He Continued uncovering artifacts from the days old. Leather shoes were found, large iron nails, metal straps and two large wooden structures were uncovered. It seemed like Dunfield and his crew would definitely be the ones to uncover the treasure. Sadly they ran out of funds eventually and the shaft collapsed in on itself. Reader’s Digest followed their whole mission with the hopes they’d be the ones to discover it, but it led to nothing.
That was the story that inspired little Rick Lagina. Little did he know, he’d be the next person to try to find that treasure, but he’d have to wait until 2005 for it to happen. American businessmen in the drilling industry purchased the island. The Lagina brother’s had already aged into their fifties, but still had an interest in the island, so they purchased a 50% stake in the island. As soon as they had the rights to dig, they began making discoveries.
Although they’ve come close, the Lagina brothers have not found the treasure yet, but their search continues. One couldn’t help but root for their success, yet if we believe in the curse of the island, either one of the brothers or one of their diggers will have to parrish before the treasure presents itself. Yet, the men work on tirelessly till this day knowing the risk, but seeing it as worth it if they can live with the spoils.
One has to wonder if they will find anything at all or will they just be another group of diggers on the Oak Island timeline. With everyday this treasure gets older. One has to wonder if the gold will ever see the day of light again or if it exist at all. Perhaps there was nothing to find after those gold links were discovered all those years ago. One will have to stay tuned and hope it is discovered soon. Of course it can be another 300 hundred years.
If the story of Oak Island has inspired you to look for any lost treasures, there are plenty that haven’t been found yet. Forrest Fenn who some call the real life Indiana Jones, had a bout with cancer in the 1980’s that inspired him to bury three million dollars of treasure. He has a book published that is littered with clues. He didn’t die of the cancer but has since decided to keep the treasure hidden for sport.
Back in 1993 French native, Max Valentin buried bronze Owl statue that has the worth of one million dollars somewhere in France. Max wrote 11 clues on its location and has released an illustration of the statue. It has yet to be found, but many have come very close to discovering it. One treasure hunter even blew up a church while looking for it. Max has stated that there is no need to go to such lengths to look for it.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a set of scrolls known for having the bible written on them, yet on of these scrolls was unique. It was copper and instead of bible passages on it, it actually had the locations of a number of treasures. 64 to be exact. None of the treasures have been found yet and some people believe it all to be hoax. Yet this doesn’t stop people from looking for them.
Out there are three coded papers and one holds the location of sixty three million dollars in treasure. The set is called The Beale Ciphers. The story originated back in 1820. Thomas Jefferson Beale left the coded messages with a local innkeeper and he gave them to another friend when he died. They were published and made public in 1885, but have still yet to be found.
So get your packs ready and prepare yourselves for the treasure hunt of a lifetime. It will be a quest with risk, glory and quite possibly a major pay off. Anything is possible and the kind of money hidden out there can change the fate of your bloodlines future. You can choose to search out Bronze Owls in France or hit up Oak Island with a shovel, no matter the outcome the future is in your hands.