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             08 December, 2021

Category:  Articles » Arts & Culture » Crafts


Captain Kidd's Treasure or Yours?

         Views: 2246
2007-10-29 07:19:44     
Article by Liza Othman

On a summer's day in 1795, three sixteen-year-old boys from a fishing village in Nova Scotia rowed out to Oak Island, in Mahone Bay, for a picnic and a swim. After their swim they started to look for a quiet place to lie in the sun. Instead, however, they came on a fascinating hole in the ground and set in motion a search that has been going on ever since for Captain Kidd's buried treasure.

Captain Kidd was a privateer, commissioned by Great Britain (which was at war with France and Holland) to raid enemy ships. People who did not like him said he was a pirate, and the British government hanged him in 1701. But his treasure-the loot from hundreds of French and Dutch ships-was never found.

Along the Nova Scotia coast there were stories that he had buried much of his wealth on Oak Island. The near-by port of Lunenburg was a favorite meeting place for pirates.

Sensible people scoffed at these stories, as did the three boys about whom we are talking-Anthony Vaughan, Daniel McGinnis and Jack Smith. They were visiting Oak Island only because it was a nice place for a picnic. After their swim they looked around for a quiet spot away from the shore where they could be out of the wind. A hundred feet inland they walked into a sunny clearing. There they made their great discovery.

Under a live-oak tree was a depression in the earth, obviously man-made. Over a branch of the tree hung a rusty chain. It was the type of chain you would use if you were lowering a heavy chest into the hole-perhaps a chest of treasure. Anthony, Daniel and Jack didn't tell their story to anybody when they went home that night. The next day they borrowed shovels and pickaxes and rowed out to Oak Island again. They dug down ten feet into the sand. There they uncovered some heavy wooden planks. These planks were too heavy to be lifted out. Besides, the wet sand was beginning to cave in.

That night the three boys talked to their fathers about what they had found. At first their stories were treated as a joke, but finally the fathers rowed out to the island themselves. Sure enough, the hole was there. Without telling anybody else, the fathers went back to Oak Island again and again. Each time they dug, the hole would cave in. But they finally managed to lift the planks aside. They used them to shore up the sides of the hole.

By 1803, using only simple tools, they were down thirty-five feet. Each time, the sand would cave in, and each time they would dig it out again. But one day they discovered something new-a slab of stone with strange words cut into its top. By then it was late afternoon.

"Let's come back tomorrow," said one of the diggers. The others agreed.

They returned the next day. At last they were getting close to the treasure! To their amazement the pit was again full of water. All their digging had been for nothing.

The men went home disappointed. For the first time they told their story. Other fishermen hurried out to the island. There was the hole, all right, but they could not figure any way to keep it free of water.

Over the years, as the story spread, visitors came to Mahone Bay. As fast as they dug, the water rushed in. But in 1849 a syndicate of wealthy Canadians got together some expensive drilling equipment. This time they were going to get at the treasure.

One day drillers put an auger on the end of their drilling line to help them bore more deeply. Up on the auger came three links of a gold chain, fragments of a wooden cask and some coconut matting-which is usually found in the South Seas, not in Nova Scotia.

This seemed to be a good indication that treasure lay at the bottom of the hole. The syndicate brought in pumps, but even these, working constantly, did not keep out the water.

Then somebody discovered that a whole network of tunnels led from the shoreline to the treasure hole. The workmen tried to plug these tunnels. Each time, after closing one tunnel, another one was discovered.

Finally the syndicate gave up in disgust. Whoever hid that treasure didn't want anyone else to get at it!

The mystery of Oak Island is still unsolved. Every ten or fifteen years somebody goes back to Oak Island and tries to unearth the treasure. No one has succeeded, for the water always pours in faster than it can be pumped out.

More about treasure hunting at http://TreasureHunting.FunHowToBooks.com

Liza Othman manages an ebook website. Find self-help, food & recipes, and hobby ebooks at http://www.FunHowToBooks.com/

Specialized in: Ebook - Ebook Online - Ebook Store - Recipe Ebooks - Self-help Ebooks - Self-improvement Ebooks - Handcraft Ebooks
URL: http://www.funhowtobooks.com
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