Maps, Mystery and Interpretation


The Reconstruction

My investigation of the Oak Island mystery developed from the work of Rupert Furneaux, and began with the supposition that there was order to the placing of the various ground markers on Oak Island; the rocks, the triangles, the Money Pit etc.

I was not alone in this. I discovered in the mid 1990's that Laverne Johnson had concluded much the same thing, and used the markers in a scheme that identified a spot on the hill just north and slightly west of the Money Pit.

It is inevitable, thinking of the ground markers in this way, to place the deposit (if such there was) somewhere other than in the Money Pit. My work evolved differently from Johnson's, by assuming that there was a 'geometry' to the island, and it was the construction that determined the placing of the markers, not the location of the deposit - essentially, that something appeared in the design that determined the 'where'.

Had this been the case, then identifying the schema might identify the location, but it was never going to be that easy. However, the investigation ultimately revealed a combination of numbers that I had seen elsewhere - on a treasure map!  

The Palmer-Kidd Maps

I had long felt that the instructions on these maps might apply to Oak Island, but was not fully convinced. Initially, I concluded that they may have been designed to encourage the viewer to think just this, and that they were an obvious hoax born out of knowledge of the island.

However, early investigation of this hypothesis suggested that the culprit would possibly have known too much, too soon. So, the though arose, what might be discovered by working on the basis that the instructions on the maps do, in fact, relate to the Oak Island enterprise?

I decided to test the reconstructed ground plan I had developed, together with this hypothesis, by accepting the content of the maps as authentic and applying this to the assumed geometry (which is not to say the pieces of paper are original artifacts, only that what is written on them is meaningful.) The result surprised me, as I discovered that they can, indeed, be interpreted to match.

I use the word interpreted cautiously. I do not wish to convey that I believe the result of the test to be invalid: admittedly, I have built hypothesis upon hypothesis; I have been selective, though hopefully honest, in my choice of 'evidence' and appreciate that it may be argued that I have changed 'fact' to suit theory.

However, I do feel that there is something strange about the coincidence, and that it deserves checking on the ground. Had I been able to obtain a few very basic items of information from the owners and operators on the island I would have been spared a great deal of concern about the validity of the work, if not much wasted effort. I accept this, with no rancour, as being in the nature of the subject. One must expect secrecy in a treasure hunt. It is just that there comes a point at which one is forced to stop simply guessing, and set out to test.

The Mystery

I am not entirely sure that there was ever a treasure on Oak Island, but, if there was, I don't feel it need (only) have been in the Money Pit. I cannot say specifically where else it might be (if it's still there), or who was responsible for the deposit, nor when this might have happened. I can, however, present an argument in favour of a working hypothesis capable of being tested without a huge outlay or intrusive excavation.

I can also provide a hundred explanations of the Oak Island mystery, but can give no clearly correct answers. I have trawled through more than 300 years of history, scoured archives, thought myself into a turmoil, and still got nowhere in this particular respect - that is, identifying the 'who' and 'when' of the mystery.

I have found not a scrap of evidence to convince me of anything other than we lack enough information. How anyone can state anything about the originator of the Oak Island excavations with certainty is a mystery to me. We are all merely stating preferences - not solutions - given the same body of sometimes conflicting 'evidence'. Some preferences are distinctly better than others, but, as yet, I cannot say I'm convinced about any I've read, researched or heard - notwithstanding one of these could be right.

Furthermore, I do not yet have enough confidence in the archaeology of Oak Island to expect to discover its history. The answer is more likely to come from the island itself, and may never be discovered in an archive. We may never know who was responsible, even if we discover the intent. Declaring 'who' before knowing 'when', or even 'what', is fascinating, but idle, speculation.


However, I have not joined the ranks of the Oak Island sceptics, because I believe sufficiently in the early reports to accept that something significant was undertaken at the Money Pit and at Smith's Cove that needs explaining. Nevertheless, I do not feel we can, or should, state with any certainty whether these two features were intended to be physically connected, or what was the nature of the underground workings. Nor should the thought of treasure dominate our thinking and overwhelm us.

While we insist on looking primarily for treasure, the fear is that the Oak Island mystery will become solely a treasure hunt, with all that this entails. Treasure hunting can destroy archaeology, which would inevitably reduce expectations of unravelling the mystery. It may be argued that careful exploration directed at revealing a treasure might provide some archaeology, but, conversely, exploration directed at archaeology might provide some answers. The context is surely the treasure or, if you prefer, may be the path to it.

Finally, the individual who, figuratively, put a blazing neon light over the Money Pit with a flashing arrow pointing directly at it, exhorting one and all to "Dig Here", must surely have had a fine understanding of human nature.