Sunday, 15 February 2015

Mystery Feature #2 - The Money Pit

This month's feature is the Mystery of the Money Pit more recently referred to as The Curse of Oak Island as on the History Channel.

I'm not sure where I first came across the Money Pit story myself but it was
as an imaginative kid in the late 60s / early 70s. Probably read it in a Ripley's Believe it or Not maybe or Reader's Digest. I could swear I read that article one summer afternoon up at camp -- the same article that ignited the spark of discovery in the current Oak Island treasure seekers, Rick and Marty Lagina.

The treasure hunt is supposed to have begun back in 1795 when some curious youths were exploring the east end of Oak Island along the coast of Nova Scotia (yay, Canada!). They came across a block and tackle hanging from a tree directly over a large circular depression in the ground. What would you do?

Well, they started to dig. They found a small surface of laid flagstones and, deeper down, a shaft and various log platforms. At 25 feet down (equivalent to a two story building!) they decided to sit and have a think about this. They then searched for and found some 'investors' and again started to  dig. Strange and intriguing things were found but efforts at further discovery were frustrated by the pit suddenly flooding (a booby trap).

The story just gets more complicated from there. Suffice to say we have 200 years of effort, money spent, six dead men, a few more small and intriguing discoveries and quite a few spectacular theories about what the pit is hiding -- cause that kind of effort is exerted only to hide something, right? Like:

- pirate treasure
- Shakespeare's lost folio
- holy grail / arc of the covenant
- read more theories here

"Seriously!?" Yes, seriously. (If you're a skeptic watch this.)

Ok, I admit it. I've been watching The Curse of Oak Island because I am intrigued -- even if this particular series seems to dole it out in dribs and drabs -- it's a hard one to resist. And I do think that if anyone is going to solve this it may well be Rick and Marty Lagina. They seem to have the right balance of drive, skepticism, know-how, and financial resources to put this baby to bed (so to speak). But should we? Once a final 'discovery' is made --- and personally I think there will be very little --- it's one less mystery for us to ponder and weave spectacular theories about.

I do understand that strong human drive to just simply KNOW something -- I mean I've spent hours digging in the dirt (archeology people, nothing weird)! And I understand, sympathize and respect Rick Lagina's expressed hope that it brings to a conclusion the life's work of 92 year old Dan Blankenship and his son, Dave. But do we really want to solve this one?

I suppose if it keeps other people from spending their lives and fortunes looking...although, I can imagine far worse ways to spend a life.

But losing a life. Well, that's different.