smason edit.jpg (23187 bytes)Look At It This Way
by Dr. Steve Mason

We make some of our greatest gains
When we see old things
In new ways

The Oak Island Mystery

The History Channel has been running a series of hour-long programs dealing with the continuing search for a vast treasure on Oak Island – a 140 acre parcel of land in Nova Scotia. Originally settled by the English in 1761, the mystery began in 1795 when three boys who were exploring the island came across a depression in the ground that looked like evidence of previously buried pirate loot. Once they started digging, they found layers of flat stones and oak logs at ten foot intervals. Someone, it would seem, had gone to a lot of trouble to hide something.

When the digging reached close to 100 feet, salt water that rose and fell with the tide began seeping in and soon filled the shaft. For the next two plus centuries, an assortment of treasure hunters and investors (at one time including Franklyn Roosevelt) took turns digging and trying to plug the leak. The latest development in this continuing saga involves two brothers (Rick and Marty Lagina) who bought most of Oak Island in 2006 and that's where the History Channel picks up the story.

The programs are similar in that each one starts with a new theory and the brothers seem close to solving the mystery but then, after building to a climax, there's the inevitable fizzle. You'll just have to wait until next week boys and girls. And so it goes, one show after another. I must admit to having been caught up in the hoop-la until my wife pointed out that if anything were ever found it would be on the morning news long before the next episode aired.

So what's down there? Nobody knows but along with pirate booty, suggestions include Masonic secrets, Biblical relics, Knights Templar treasure, Shakespeare's manuscripts or maybe...fill in the blank. All this as a way of saying: Truth is rarely as exciting as fiction.

The first finders "knew" it was a treasure trove and so did those who came after.  The fact that the treasure idea doesn't seem quite right won't stop them.  My belief is that the producers of the series will earn more treasure than will ever be found on the island.

Look At It This Way

Someone even suggested that the original shaft, called the “money pit" even though no money has ever been found, was actually engineered as some sort of irrigation project that was meant to flood and not to hide buried treasure.  Though I doubt that's really the answer, I do feel that such out-of-the-box thinking is just what's needed.  A major effort appears to have been made in the distant past and one wonders why?  But so much of the island has been torn up and so many rumors have been circulated that any legitimate clues that may have once existed are by now probably long gone.

My friends at Skeptical Inquirer magazine have a saying:  Before you try to solve a mystery, made sure there is a mystery.  I'm wondering if that applies here?    

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