The Money Pit (not the movie)

The thread on Cryptozoology reminded me of one of my mom’s books that I read during my early teenage years.

The book was your typical “unexplained mysteries” book, with sections on the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, etc… But one chapter caught my attention as declaring something which should be easy to prove or disprove.

According to the book, there’s this real island someplace with a huge amount of buried treasure on it. The problem is, the treasure is buried hundreds of feet underground in a pit filled with so many water traps and obstacles that, at the time the book was written, no one had yet excavated the treasure!

I wonder if this was real, or an urban legend, or a P.T. Barnum style publicity stunt, or what…

Visit the Internet Stellar Database at

Oak Island, by chance?

Yes, it’s Oak Island, off the shore of Nova Scotia. I just bought a book about this very subject, in fact. Haven’t had time to read it yet, but it looks like a good one. It’s called The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar, by Steven Sora. The back of the book says that by using “new-found historical evidence that places a Scottish presence in the New World a century before Columbus,” the Oak Island treasure can be connected to the Knights Templar.

Could be fiction, could be fact. I don’t know yet. I always heard it was pirates. :slight_smile:

All we really know about Oak Island is that there was a pit, it had a very elaborate system of levels and traps, and that there was something at the bottom of it. The rest is pure speculation.

Unfortunately, so many people have tried for the treasure that the area is totally destroyed, and no one is even sure of the location of the original pit anymore. Millions of dollars have been spent trying to recover it, and whatever treasure may have been there may be destroyed or otherwise lost forever.

Yes, it’s Oak Island. There are several nonfiction works about it. (BTW, in his youth FDR took a whack at excavating it.)

It’s a little over the top, but there’s a recent fictional treatment of it called Riptide by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It’s a great fun read, and they do their customary intelligent job of mixing facts with fiction.

Check it out.


I’ve heard that Captain Kidd was thought to be associated with it. I think the pit had tunnels dug out to the ocean so that the pit filled up with water when the excavation began. One story I heard was that 6 people have died trying to recover the treasure, and a plaque was found in the pit with writing to the effect, “6 will lose their lives, the 7th will be the lucky one”.

I remember thinking at the time–Damn, it’s about to payoff! If only I could get up there now, I’d be rich! What can I say, I was about 7 years old at the time.

What was the name of the book? Not “This Baffling World” by John Godwin, by chance? If so, I also read it as a teen.

Frank Edwards also wrote a bunch of books covering various weird stuff.

I have read a couple of books on it. It is interesting as not so much what is there but what was it there for to begin with.

The best answer of all the books I read it was built for quick storage by British army units.

The Captain Kidd theory was disproven (as much as any theory can be disproved) as coincidence.

Still as the above poster noted with all the digging and inaccurate (or no) records kept it’s doubtful we ever know.

But I still think it is the coolest of all the unexplained mysteries.

Wasn’t there a special on Biography or some such high quality show about this? Maybe PBS during pledge-coma-athon. I just watched it no more than a year ago and it was fascinating. I hope they never solve the mystery, like the way they ruined the Amelia Earhart mystery, The Thomas Jefferson/Sally Hemmings affair thing or the missing planes of the Bermuda Triangle.

Next thing you know, they will find out what happened to the first colonists that disappeared…crud, the name escapes me right now…Roanoke?..and find that they moved to Boca or something dull like that.

Thought I’d bring up another treasure mystery which is a little closer to home, for me, anyway. I’m sure some of you are familiar with it.

In the early 19th century, a guy named Thomas Jefferson Beale went out west. He left behind three papers with a series of numbers on them–supposedly a cipher which contained the location of a treasure worth ~$20 million. One of the papers has been cracked–it tells what the treasure consists of. Another of the ciphers tells where the treasure is located, somewhere in Bedford Co., VA. The paper that was cracked was encoded the following way: The first letter of each word of the Declaration of Independence was numbered, in order. The paper was written using these numbers–extremely hard to crack, and the others have never been deciphered

Some years ago a treasure hunter, maybe Mel Fisher, but I can’t remember, tried to find the treasure using brute force, just digging up a large area. Spent a lot of money, but found nothing.