NEW READING OF MYSTERIOUS OAK
Theory points to possible connection with nearby
Nova Scotia: Wednesday, July 12th, 2006
- - For the past two centuries, the tunnels of Nova Scotia’s
Oak Island have
piqued the imagination of historians and treasure hunters alike. Now, a new
theory by First Nations researcher Keith
Ranville may add fresh speculation to the mystery. Based on a unique
reading of an inscription once found in the “Money Pit,” Mr. Ranville
believes that the answer to the riddle may be found on nearby Birch Island.
Island, located on the scenic Mahone Bay about an hour’s drive south of the
provincial capital of Halifax, has been associated with buried treasure
since the late 18th century. Local settlers reportedly found a ship’s tackle
block hanging from a tree branch, overhanging a large depression in the
ground. Early efforts to dig down failed when the diggers encountered layers
of timber every 10 feet. In the ensuing generations, several organized
excavation attempts have drilled down nearly 200 feet, en route encountering
some artifacts within the staggered layers of logs, clay, putty, charcoal,
flagstones and most perplexingly, coconut husks. Among the scores of
enthusiastic treasure hunters was a young Franklin Roosevelt, one of the
investors in a 1909 excavation attempt.
During the earlier diggings of 1800’s,
the tunnel had become flooded by seawater – which many believed was the
result of a booby trap being sprung – thus complicating further digging
since then. A drilling effort in the mid 1800’s was said to have uncovered
fragments of a gold chain. In 1971, a camera was lowered into the pit and
reportedly captured images of wooden chests and human remains.
of the most fascinating artifacts from the pit was
said to be a flat stone recovered
at the 90 foot depth, carrying a mysterious inscription.
A fragment of stone with similar symbols was found
nearby in Smith’s Cove in the 1930’s. The stone tablet itself has gone
missing, but a record of its symbols remains. Until now, the consensus is
that the symbols are a code translated as “forty feet below two million
pounds are buried.” However, Keith
Ranville’s theory offers a different
interpretation as to the stone’s symbols, which could lead to a new
explanation of the Oak Island mystery.
believe these symbols have been incorrectly assumed to stand for something
else. In the First Nations tradition that I’m a part of, we believe symbols
should simply be looked at in and of themselves, rather than thinking of
them as codes that have to be cracked,” Mr. Ranville explained. “In the
pictograms of Cree Salavics, for example, the images are meant to be
descriptive, not abstract.” Using this approach, Mr. Ranville examined the
Oak Island symbols and found what may be a set of instructions about a
tunnel system involving both Oak Island and nearby Birch Island.
For example, the stone inscription
begins with a triangle symbol, which is repeated throughout. Mr. Ranville
believes that this represents nearby Birch Island, which has a distinctly
triangular clearing on its north shore. Likewise, a symbol showing a circle
divided into two hemispheres can be thought of as representing north/south
directional markers. A series of dots in singles, pairs and triplets may be
Examining all the symbols in this way,
Mr. Ranville believes that the symbols on the Money Pit’s stone tablet are
actually technical instructions describing the location and layout of a
possible underground network involving both Oak Island and Birch Island.
“There was a fragment of another stone tablet that was found on Oak Island’s
Smith Cove in the 1930’s,” Mr. Ranville explained. “It too has these types
of symbols, but one in particular appears to be a Greek symbol designating
‘underwater door’. In conjunction with the other symbols, I believe this
points to underwater doors and additional shafts on Birch Island itself.”
Smith’s Cove is on the part of Oak Island that is closest to Birch Island,
and is said to have yielded several artifacts itself over the years.
“Based on the inscribed symbols, I
think we should be looking at Oak Island and Birch Island together in order
to solve the mystery. If Birch Island proves to have underwater doors and
tunnels around its triangular clearing, then it would be a huge step forward
in our understanding of what Oak Island is all about.”
There have been many, occasionally
bizarre, theories as to what the Oak Island tunnels may contain: a Masonic
vault containing the Holy Grail, Viking or Pirate booty, Inca treasure, the
French Royal Crown Jewels, payroll for colonial British soldiers or even the
secret writings of Francis Bacon. Mr. Ranville prefers not to speculate.
“Those are interesting and sometimes funny theories, but I’d rather just
look at the evidence that we do have, and go from there.”
Mr. Ranville is a self-taught
researcher born in Manitoba. While living in Vancouver, he became acquainted
with the Oak Island mystery and began studying it. In October 2005, he
relocated to Nova Scotia to further research and advance his theories on the
Both Oak Island and Birch Island are
private property, and access must be sought by permission of the landowners.
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