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The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar

The Oak Island Mystery

 

A small island off the fog-shrouded coast of Nova Scotia may conceal the world's greatest treasure, that of the order of the Knights Templar. 

 

Missing since the fourteenth century, the treasure of the Templars is reputed to contain massive amounts of gold and silver bullion, the crown jewels of royal European families, religious artifacts sacred to both Judaism and Christianity and documents that may be as explosive now as when they were buried. The current owner of what has been dubbed "the Money Pit" estimates the value of the potential treasure to be over one billion dollars.


The history of the
Oak Island excavation begins in 1795 when three young men with time on their hands decided to search for Captain Kidd's booty. On tiny Oak Island they found a ship's tackle hanging from a tree branch and a nearby depression in the soil. After digging two feet down they reached a level of carefully laid flagstones, not normally found on the island. They dug further and at ten feet reached an oaken platform.

 

Successive platforms were found at twenty and thirty feet, encouraging the diggers but surpassing their abilities. Several years later a company, the Onslow Syndicate, was formed by several prominent citizens to explore further. The oak platforms continued until at the 90-foot level an inscribed stone with a simple code revealed that treasure would be found only "forty feet below". The code may have been a false clue leading them into a booby trap. The shaft was soon filled with seawater that would not only stop further excavation; it would remain an unbeatable obstacle for the next two centuries.

 

A series of flood tunnels had been dug from coves on both sides of the island. The seawater entered from clog-proof drains concealed with coconut husk and eelgrass. For nearly two hundred years work has continued in an on-and-off fashion as one treasure hunter after another would invest one fortune after another in pumps, in drills, in coffer dams to stop the seawater, and even heavy construction machinery.

 

To date the money pit has yielded only a handful of items in exchange for millions of dollars and five lives it has claimed. Gold chain, an iron scissors, a piece of undecipherable parchment are among the paltry rewards to date. There has been a wealth of theories.

 

The popular but implausible treasure of Captain Kidd, has holes, the largest being that most of Kidd's treasure was found on Gardiner's Island, off the eastern end of New York's Long Island where the Gardiner family had allowed a host of pirates access to his domain. Hidden payrolls of French and British ships are possible, but the motive of constructing such a massive vault is thin. From Vikings to UFO's, Aztecs to Huguenots, the list gets longer, but the combination of means and motive is the litmus test.

 

One plausible theory has a battered Spanish treasure ship driven off-course by storm, diverted by currents to Nova Scotia. Mining engineers construct the booby-trapped vault, hide their precious goods, and attempt a return to Spain to get a stronger ship. On route, another storm finishes the work of the first. The crew and their secret perish. Until the Money Pit gives up its treasure, the debate will go on unresolved. Concurrent with the two-hundred years of excavation, the owners of the Money Pit and several independent researchers have been attempting to determine just what treasure does lie below the surface.

 

In 1954 the owners of the Money Pit received a letter informing them that the treasure below tiny Oak Island was not pirate gold but a treasure of far greater value. The treasure, the owners were told, would contain sacred relics and gold of the temple of Jerusalem together with manuscripts and documents that will add to man's knowledge of human history.

 

While the debate remains unresolved, the indisputable truth is that someone with a great deal of knowledge and engineering expertise went through a lot of trouble to conceal something. And that they finished their complex project at least before 1795. The carbon dating process pushes the dates back as early as 1390 and as late as the 1660s. Who might have had the motive to construct such an elaborate complex before European colonization reached Nova Scotia? Who would had such an important treasure to protect? And who might have had the ability and the manpower to design and construct such a device?


 

In 1398, almost a century before Columbus, Henry Sinclair of Rosslyn would lead an expedition to lands in eastern Canada and New England that had been visited by the Norse for centuries. His pilot was Antonio Zeno who kept detailed records and maps of the voyage.

 

Landing in Nova Scotia on the second day of June in 1398, Sinclair sent a small army to explore. He would send his Italian navigator home and he would remain for at least one winter. From a base in Canada, Sinclair led a small army south. In Westford, Massachusetts, a skirmish with the native residents culminated in the death of Sir James Gunn. The Scottish force would leave a detailed carving in stone with the Clan Gunn coat of arms, which is still visible today.

 

Another knight, unidentified, died or was killed on the route south, his skeleton and suit of armor to be discovered in Fall River in colonial times. The most remarkable monument to their expedition was the construction of an octagonal Templar chapel in Newport, Rhode Island. Modeled after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Templars would erect such structures in various places in Europe.

 

The only other such temple in Scotland was in Orkney where the Sinclair family ruled. The "Newport Tower" would later become a matter of great debate, although the earliest European explorer to view the Rhode Island coast was Verrazano who recorded it on his map. Evidence of the pre-Columbian expedition would be brought home as well.

 

For a century the Templar treasure would rest safe in Rosslyn. The descendants of the Templar knights would become organized as "free masons" and employed and protected by the Sinclair family. When James II became king he decreed the Sinclair family to be the hereditary guardians of the Freemasons. This connection has not been severed in Scotland.
     

The affairs of state and religion, however, would soon bring the Clan Sinclair to war again. Protestant mobs inspired by Calvin would sweep through Scotland. The target would be icons in Catholic Churches and the Sinclair family, ardent Catholics, gathered up the gold chalices and other goods of churches they supported. The English Crown, now in Protestant hands, rose against the families that controlled Scotland. In 1542, the Battle of Solway saw defeat for Scotland and the loss of Oliver Sinclair, the right hand of James V's reign, to English capture. The king predicted at the birth of his daughter Mary that his family dynasty would end.

 

He placed Mary, later known as Mary, Queen of Scots in the care of the Sinclair family. Oliver, furloughed from English prison for a short visit to his home in 1545 disappeared from Scotland and history.

 

Today the most modern assault on the Money Pit will start anew. David Tobias, the current owner, first heard of Oak Island and the treasure search when he was a pilot training in Nova Scotia during World War II. He came back to Oak Island and the search for its treasure, first as an investor, soon as the owner of half of the island.

Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)

Tags: history, mysteries of life
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