Oak Island is one of about 350 islands in Mahone Bay on the east coast of Nova Scotia in Canada.
Oak Island has a total area of 0.57 km². The island is 1.3 kilometers long and about 600 meters wide. From the air, it is roughly the shape of a small elephant. The island takes its name from the large oak trees that once grew there.
The area around Oak Island was first settled by Europeans in 1605. Until then, the Mi’kmaq Indians had lived there as hunters and gatherers.
The island gained greater fame because of a treasure believed to be there, which has attracted numerous treasure hunters since the end of the eighteenth century.
Access : Coordinates: 44.5135, -64.2939 / Oak Island is a privately owned island in Lunenburg County on the south shore of Nova Scotia – Mahone Bay is a bay on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Canada along the eastern end of Lunenburg County.
- The myth : Over the centuries, many speculations and opinions have arisen as to what might be buried on Oak Island if something were actually to be found there : The best known of these explanatory theories, which contradict the traditional circumstances of discovery, are: a treasure of the privateer Francis Drake / the lost manuscripts of Sir Francis Bacon showing that Bacon is the author of the works generally attributed to William Shakespeare / the treasure of the Templars / a treasure of Tumbes / the war chest of the British in the War of Independence / the treasure of Louisbourg / Captain Kidd’s treasure.
All reports from before 1864 are uncertain. All artifacts that were found in the shaft before the 21st century are lost today, both the slate with the mysterious symbols and the paper fragment. As early as 1911, the engineer Captain Henry L. Bowdoin, who carried out many drillings on Oak Island, suspected that the artifacts found were not authentic and that the underground structures found could of course be explained. Due to the limestone underground, there are many caves and sinkholes in the region. Today skeptics assume that the supposedly artificial shaft is a karst structure filled with sediments.
- McGinnis discovery : According to tradition, the 16-year-old woodcutter Daniel McGinnis came across a round, apparently artificially created depression in the ground while visiting the island in 1795. McGinnis returned to the mainland to get his two friends John Smith and Anthony Vaughan, with whose help he hoped to uncover the mystery.
The three young people started digging the pit. First they shoveled a layer of slate free. This was unusual because there was slate on the mainland but not on Oak Island itself. Digging the shaft became increasingly difficult for McGinnis and his friends after that, as it was in the middle of a hard layer of clay.
- The second try : According to the newspaper report, Daniel McGinnis made another attempt in 1804 to uncover the secret of the shaft.
- Truro Company :In 1849, the newly founded Truro Company, named after the city of Truro, wanted to discover the riddle. Anthony Vaughan, the only one of McGinnis friends still alive, was their advisor. The Truro Company arrived on the island with the most modern equipment for the time. The shaft was initially free of water, but when the workers cleared the rubble from a depth of 26 meters, it rose again. New attempts to empty the shaft failed.
- More expeditions: In 1861 the Oak Island Association tried their luck. However, when a boiler exploded, the treasure hunt was the first to die. In 1864, the Oak Island Association had to give up because it ran out of funds. In the second half of the 19th century, two other expeditions tried in vain to solve the mystery of the shaft.
- Frederick Blair’s attempt : In 1897, Frederick Blair came on the scene. He wanted to divert the seawater flow with dynamite, but he was unable to stop the flow. However, he was able to reduce the water pressure so much that the shaft could be emptied to a depth of 30 meters. It was at this depth that Blair’s workers set up a platform from which to continue drilling. At a depth of 36 meters they encountered wood again and then iron. From a depth of 47 meters, the drill brought a cement-like substance and traces of mercury to the surface.In 1913 Blair, whose most important work equipment had been confiscated in 1899 due to insolvency, finally also gave up.
- The later US President Franklin D. Roosevelt also came to the island in 1909 with a group of treasure hunters, but again without any notable results.
- Mel Chappell’s visits : After the First World War, Mel Chappell came to Oak Island and drove the 21st shaft into the earth. He too was unsuccessful and had to give up in 1931.
- Gilbert Heddens and Edwin Hamilton’s discoveries : In 1936 Gilbert Hedden succeeded in draining the shaft to a depth of 50 meters. However, he couldn’t find anything special.
- The Restall family : In 1960 the location of the original shaft could no longer be clearly defined because the whole area was too heavily dug up. The former artist Robert Restall, his wife Mildred and his two children tried their luck and moved into a hut near the shaft. On August 17, 1965, there was an accident when Robert Restall, his son and two workers lost consciousness in one of the shafts due to gas escaping and then drowned.
- The Triton Alliance : In 1965 a dam was built to the mainland to make it easier to transport heavy equipment to the island. The geologist R. Dunfield had the uppermost rock layers removed in order to locate the earlier shafts. This created a 45 meter deep crater, which had to be filled in again a little later because it threatened to collapse.
- In 1967 Dan Blankenship, a Florida construction company, founded the Triton Alliance, a new consortium of treasure hunters, with Canadian businessman Davis Tobias. Blankenship sold all of his property and moved to Oak Island, where he lived until his death on March 17, 2019.
- In 1971 a television camera was first lowered into a 72-meter-deep shaft called the 10X. But that did not bring any new knowledge, as the said shaft filled up again with water.
- In 1978, the shaft was again enlarged to a diameter of 2.5 meters and covered to a depth of 27 meters with welded-together tubes from rail tank cars to stabilize it. The pit was then lined with a reinforced concrete layer down to a depth of 55 meters.
- Triton versus Fred Nolan : Unbeknownst to the Triton Alliance, surveyor Fred Nolan had acquired a piece of land on Oak Island. Nolan had his own theory and thought digging was a waste of time. He believed that Oak Island’s secret was on its land. For many years he had mapped the entire island and concluded that there was a striking rock formation on Oak Island
- Big Dig :In 1987 they wanted to finally solve the mystery of the island. A 30-meter-wide shaft called Big Dig, which would include all of the old shafts, was planned. More than 28,000 cubic meters of earth would have to be excavated to complete this project, which was expected to cost $ 10 million. To finance this venture, Triton went public However, the stock market crash of 1987 thwarted this project. Since then, he has not been able to find the funds he needed.
- The Center Road Ventures Company :In 2006 Alan Kostrzewa, Craig Tester and the brothers Rick and Marty Lagina acquired the shares from David Tobias. The four men from Michigan (USA) now owned the half of Oak Island on which the existing shaft is located.
- Reality TV show The Curse of Oak Island : On January 5, 2014, the History Channel (USA) started a reality TV show The Curse of Oak Island about a group of treasure hunters. These were led by the two brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, who bought the majority stake in Oak Island in 2006
- The island was also the model for the novel Riptide by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, in which state-of-the-art equipment tries to retrieve the treasure.
- In the second part of the Apocalypsis by Mario Giordano, this island also plays an important role as a possible hiding place for the Templar Order.
Oak Island is a private island and it is closed to visitors until further notice.
Go next : Chester is a village on the Chester Peninsula, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada / The next larger cities on the mainland are the city of Lunenburg, founded by German immigrants in 1753, and Halifax in the northeast.