The Top Ten Myths about the Money Pit

1) The Discovery of the Pit in 1795 is Historical Fact

Wrong! While the story of "three boys on an adventure" finding the site in this year has been passed down by generations of poor researchers, no contemporary source documenting these events has ever been discovered. We do know that the men existed, but they were not boys. McInnis was in his mid 30s, and the only historically documented "Anthony Vaughn" known to live in the area was of a similar age. Two of the men owned land on the island prior to the alleged discovery, in fact.

2) The Pit Contained Nine Oak Platforms

Also not verified. The story has changed repeatedly since it was first documented in the 1860s, when it spoke only of a few log platforms near the top. The rest of the way down, searchers were said to have found "marks" of some kind every ten feet. The idea that these were more platforms was added later on by unknown writers, and became integrated into the folklore of the island.

3) Surely the "Inscribed Stone" Is Verified, Right? We Have a Translation...

The usual set of pictograms found on many Web sites and in books were invented, probably by one Reverend A.T. Kempton of Cambridge Massachusetts. This is still being verified, but the stone, if it ever existed to begin with, was never copied, traced, or otherwise depicted in any format until Edward Rowe Snow, a New England writer, published Kempton's symbols circa 1948. No one knows where Kempton obtained the symbols; most likely he invented them on his own.

4) The Stone Was Translated as "Forty Feet Down, Two Million Pounds Are Buried."

This is the most common interpretation, but we must be cautious since the symbols (as cited in #3) are highly suspect. Kempton likely invented a "translation" that fit the "forty feet down" phrase. Other sources have said the stone translated to "ten feet down, two million pounds." Without the actual stone, it is impossible to determine if the inscription was legitimate or when it was could just as easily have been made by one of the treasure diggers.

It should be noted that "inscribed stones" are part and parcel to hundreds, if not thousands of treasure-related folktales.

5) The "Flood Tunnels" Have Been Mapped and Verified

Again, no. Generations of diggers have assumed they existed but none have ever uncovered and traced them. One company claimed to have struck a tunnel in the late 1800s, but this was never verified. In the 1960s, Robert Dunfield rode the bucket of an excavator to the bottom of the Pit to examine it for evidence of the tunnels: he found none, and his dye tests indicated all but 15 gallons/minute of the water was coming from below the 140' level (natural infiltration from the underlying limestone bedrock).

The fact that dowsing via divining rod has often been used on Oak Island to "verify" the existence of various features suggests that very little scientific inquiry has taken place there.

6) The Artifical Beach is The Source of The Flooding

Unlikely at best. While the beach does exist and is a legitimately interesting feature, Dunfield found that the vertical "drain" was a dead end. It did not intersect with one of the so-called flood tunnels, but instead terminated abruptly.

One of the major mistakes most people make is associating one feature on the island with another. The existence of the "beach" does not confirm other details of the MP story, and there's no hard evidence the two are related.

7) Two Links From a Gold Chain and a Piece of Parchment Were Found

Possibly. Various people say they've held the parchment (if parchment it is) in their hands, but there's no way to confirm that (a) it's the original piece, and (b) that it wasn't planted in the Pit to provide a false lead.

The "gold links" have been changed over the years, however: when first mentioned, they were described as "several links from a fine chain, as if forced from an epaulette." Later, the latter phrase was dropped and the legend changed to "two links from a gold chain." No one has seen this mythical artifact in over 150 years, if it ever existed to begin with.

8) Many Other Artifacts Have Been Recovered From The Pit

Various expeditions claimed to have located bits of chain, worked wood, and other items when digging in the Pit. This is meaningless, however, since the area underlying the "original" Pit is filled with a rabbit's warren of abandoned tunnels, shafts, and debris. Historically documented cases of the Pit's "cribbing" (wooden supports, etc.) collapsing repeatedly over the years show us that this area is likely filled with the trash of prior expeditions. Finding a piece of worked wood, chain, or even a bit of parchment, in the area of devastation beneath the Pit is to be expected, since it's rather like an old mine that's been worked by multiple companies, few of which ever documented the location of all their cuttings.

9) A "Severed Hand" and the Corner of a Chest Were Seen At the Bottom of Borehole 10-X

The video taken by CBC with Triton in the early 1970s was very poor, and the presence of suspended flakes of limestone in the water didn't help matters much. Very few details can be made out on the video, and none looks like either a chest or a hand. People often see what they expect to see, and those who claimed to have seen such artifacts were merely voicing their expectations.

10) Space Aliens Buried a "Remolecuralizer" Under Oak Island

You really shouldn't smoke that's bad for your health.

Note: All material on these pages is © 2006 Richard E. Joltes. All rights reserved. Short excerpts may be used as long as proper credit is given and advance permission is obtained.