The Curse of Oak Island is the longest running treasure hunt in history, and is also the most mysterious.

Over twenty years ago I read about the curse of Oak Island, and to this day it remains my favourite real-life mystery.  I’m just amazed that barely anyone (in my neck of the woods anyway) has heard about it.

One day in 1765, Daniel McGinnis and his friends were exploring a small Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.  They discovered an old oak tree bearing marks caused by a rope and tackle system, with a depression in the ground below it.  Young Daniel had discovered what is now known as the Oak Island’s Money Pit.  To this day, whatever lies at the bottom of the pit continues to elude discovery…

and six people have died trying to recover it.

The money pit is an ancient, 60-metre deep shaft, constructed in such a way that recovering its contents is a seemingly impossible feat. What lies at the bottom remains buried in a shroud of mystery and death.

Whoever designed it (substantial evidence points to the Knights Templar), dug sloping tunnels from the vertical shaft which joined the ocean. At around 30 metres deep, the diggers triggered a booby-trap and the shaft was flooded by ocean water (and has been so ever since).

The existence of this flood trap was confirmed by the discovery that the beach of Smith’s Cove, located 150 metres away from the pit, was completely artificial. Ingeniously designed for the sole purpose of flooding the pit if anyone ever got close to it’s contents.

How many men would it take to create an artificial beach? What could possibly be so valuable?

The entire Island is riddled with ancient signs of intrigue, from the massive stones that form “Nolan’s Cross” to the triangular swamp which experts believe is also artificial.

What makes the plot thicken even more is that in the centuries that treasure hunters have been digging the area trying to finding the illusive treasure, the original location of the pit has been lost.

The History Channel has followed treasure hunters (and Oak Island owners) Rick and Marty Lagina in their quest to solve the mystery for seven seasons in their most-watched television series “The Curse of Oak Island”.  The show is melodramatic, but very entertaining.  Season 3 is currently on Netflix NZ.

The discoveries always seem to provide more questions than answers though, and no one is really that much closer to discovering the treasure than young Daniel McGinnis was over 200 years ago.

Click here for Wikipedia’s Oak Island entry.

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