Read The Oak Island Mystery Online
Authors: Lionel & Patricia Fanthorpe
This book is dedicated to our special friends
Dr. Bob and Zoh Hieronimus,their daughter Anna,and Laura Cortner,
coming of television has no doubt made a difference, but at one time card parties were for many years a feature of family life. Not many households were without packs of cards, fifty-two in each pack divided equally between clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. The choice of such symbols was perhaps purely arbitrary on the part of the original designers, but in themselves they represent some of the basic impulses by which human nature has been consistently driven. Whether intended or not, they represent very real motives for living.
Some love power. They rise to the top. They struggle for authority. Woe betide any lesser mortals who dare to get in their way. The club is their natural symbol. Others accumulate money as their life's ambition. Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but getting rich attracts ambitious people of both sexes and all ages. For others the only conceivable inspiration for life is love, the kind which is gentle, compassionate, and self-sacrificing. St. Francis of Assisi became one of them and Mother Teresa of Calcutta is another. There are others like them, always have been, and always will be. Their symbol is the heart. For another grouping work is the mainspring of their lives. They know nothing else; they value nothing else. It could be said of one, “He was born a man; he died a grocer.” All else is subordinated to work: good name, health, family, all, in their turn, sacrificed to it. For this group the natural symbol is the spade.
By such motives, in lesser or greater degrees, our people are driven. But these are not the only driving forces that take control of us. There are others just as all-consuming and one such is curiosity. A cat is said to have nine lives, but curiosity is the thing most likely to kill it. Dangerous for the cats of this world it may be, but without its driving force many of our advances in life and much of our knowledge would have been far slower in arriving.
It was our curiosity, the desire to know, that led Christopher Columbus over unknown seas to the New World, and curiosity that compelled him to continue in spite of having to use ships inadequate for such long voyages and rough seas, and discontented, frightened sailors to man them. He was driven ever onwards to discover what lay beyond the horizon.
It was the desire to know that led Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter through years of frustration and failure until one day they discovered in the Valley of the Kings the tomb of Tutankhamen, and, within it, the most complete collection of funeral trappings and properties in the whole history of Egyptology.
It was the desire to know at all costs that led to the search for electric power, immunization against disease, and success, finally, in landing men on the surface of the moon. Curiosity has been one of the greatest impulses of life, driving people into uncharted territory, over unknown seas, and all with no thought of surrender, whatever the odds.
Curiosity on its own then is one of the great driving forces of life. When allied to certain other motives, some good some bad, it becomes even more formidable. Greed and perseverance can often be found associated with it, and no more so than in the long struggle to penetrate the mystery of Oak Island and the so-called Money Pit.
In the early years the searching of Oak Island appears to have been dominated mostly by curiosity, the simple and uncomplicated desire to know what was to be found there. The young men who first found the Pit, all of them under twenty years of age, were initially simply intrigued by what they saw. They found, in a forest clearing, a sunken indentation wide enough to resemble the head of a large well, and above it the remains of a ship's tackle block, suspended from the branch of a large oak tree cut to support it. As they began to dig and found first a slab of stone and later several wooden platforms, the desire to know what lay beneath them grew ever greater. At this stage there seems no desire to grow rich from what they hoped to find.
The fortune hunters followed in later years, earning the area the name of the Money Pit, though as far as is known, no money as yet has ever been found in it. For over two hundred years, vastly more money has been poured into it than anything of value ever secured from it.
To curiosity and greed a third great impulse has clearly been at work on Oak Island. It is the human gift of perseverance. Without that gift some of our greatest achievements and discoveries would never have happened as soon as they did. Perseverance enabled Columbus to reach the New World. It led Livingstone through parts of Africa never yet explored. It brought the 1953 party to the summit of Everest where others before them had lost their lives in the struggle. Perseverance tends to pay off in the end, but not on Oak Island, not with the Money Pit. For two hundred years now groups have been trying to penetrate its secrets, using ever more advanced techniques in mining engineering with ever greatly increased financial backing and with the experience of so many failed attempts to work on, and yet nothing tangible has been found for all their efforts. Families down several generations have been drawn to it and ruined by it. There has been a battle of wits between the unknown master engineers, who it seems buried something and then devised a scheme which would thwart all attempts to reach it. Curiosity, greed and perseverance, have all hammered against it, from the simple pick and shovel, to the sophisticated pump, even to dynamite. But he who designed the defences has foiled them all. So intense has been the struggle, so insistent the effort, even the exact area of the Money Pit is now difficult to identify.
The Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe and his wife, Patricia, the authors of this study, have come to it soon after their struggles to unravel the mystery of the sudden unexplained wealth of the once impoverished priest of Rennes-le-ChÃ¢teau, BÃ©renger SauniÃ¨re. Their researches in Rennes were deep, widespread, and continued over many years. Nothing was left untested and every theory examined with care and scholarship. In the end, however, those of us who enjoyed the book
and marvelled at the scholarship were bound to say that the last word still lay with the old priest. He found riches somewhere and in abundance, beyond even our wildest dreams, but he took the secret of this wealth with him into the grave.
The true scholar spares little thought for treasure. He doesn't expect to be rich but he is desperate to find the truth. The authors of this book have laid bare the facts. Something of value was brought to Oak Island and was protected by someone at some time. Whoever he was, he used the waters of the sea as his protective shield. What was it he buried? Is it still there to be found? If so how can his ingenious mechanism be diverted? Have the waters, so to speak, now been so muddied, the ground around so devastated, as to render discovery impossible?
You will enjoy reading this book as I have. What or whom will you admire most? The ghostly engineer whose skill has so far outwitted everyone? The fortune hunters whose persistence engulfed years of their lives and drew most of their money down into the shaft only to surrender all of it to the waters? Or shall we rather admire those who, for no financial gain whatsoever, have been proud to devote their time, their energy, their cleverness to a study of the chase and the frustrations of all those who took part in it? The builders of the Pit, the treasure seekers, the research historians, are all heroes in this work. There is a record here of ingenuity at its most baffling. Perhaps in the preface, as with the island, the last word should be allowed to the engineer-inventor of long ago. He may be saying to himself somewhere in another life, “They have had the Pit all these years. They have had all those resources to use. They had so many failures to learn from,” and then with a smile, if smiles still feature in life eternal, he may add, “but none of them has ever got to the treasure and they never will.”
â Canon Stanley H. Mogford
, M.A., Cardiff, Wales, U.K,. 1994
are very grateful indeed to Dan Blankenship and family for all their hospitality, expert help and advice, and to their friend and colleague Dan Henskee, during our site research on Oak Island.
Many thanks to Jim Sedgewick of Skyshots Aerial Photography, 4073 #3 Highway, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, Nova Scotia, B0J 1J0, for his friendly and wholehearted co-operation and brilliant photographic professionalism.
We owe a great deal to our late friend George Young's enthusiastic support, his vast experience in so many relevant fields and his exciting new ideas, and to his wife, Janette, for her unfailing hospitality during our visits to their lovely home in Nova Scotia.
Much gratitude to our other hosts in Nova Scotia, Jeanne and Ned Nash, who did so much to help us, and whose very comfortable and welcoming Stoney Brook Guest House, in Chester, was always a pleasure to visit.
Many thanks to our friend, Canon Stanley Mogford, M.A., for writing the foreword. Canon Mogford is very well-known and greatly respected throughout the Church in Wales for his wit, wisdom, wealth of academic experience, and scholarly prowess. We're also deeply grateful to our publishers, Kirk Howard and Tony Hawke, for their interest in our ideas, their valuable suggestions, their confidence, their encouragement, and their generous hospitality while we were in Toronto.
Last, but by no means least, we are greatly indebted to our friend Paul V.S. Townsend, M.Sc., unsurpassable computer “wizard,” cryptographer, problem-solver, meticulous typesetter, eagle-eyed proofreader, and ingenious compiler of footnotes and other improvements to our text.
â Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe, Cardiff, Wales, U.K., 1994