Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lost Things

In trying to come up with a subject for this blog, I searched on today’s date and discovered an unsettling fact; on February 5, 1958, the U.S. Air Force lost a hydrogen bomb, known as the Tybee bomb, off the coast of Savannah, Georgia—and never recovered it.

Not wanting to dwell too much on this, I remembered a much less disturbing example of something lost: the lost treasure of Oak Island. My father’s family emigrated from Nova Scotia, Canada, in the 1940’s, and I heard about this story during my many trips to N.S. visiting family. Here’s how it goes:

In 1795, sixteen-year-old Daniel McGinnis was fishing on Oak Island when he noticed an oak tree, marked by signs of rope and tackle equipment, and a strange depression in the ground just below. Remembering these signs from stories of buried pirate treasure, he and some friends began digging under the tree.

They fought their way through layers of flagstone, clay, and packed logs, until at last they realized they would never reach the treasure without better tools. So the teens left, vowing to return one day and recover the treasure.

Nine years later, they did, with help and financial assistance. Continued excavations revealed more packed logs, coconut fiber and putty. Then, they found a stone, inscribed with a message in code, which was later deciphered as, “Forty Feet Below, Two Million Pounds Are Buried.”

The diggers broke through another layer of oak platform, and, believing they were at last close to their goal, broke off work for that night and the next day. When they returned on Monday, they found the shaft to be hopelessly flooded with seawater. All attempts to bail out the water failed, and a new attempt to dig a separate shaft diagonal to the first ended with a cave-in that nearly claimed the lives of five diggers.

Since then, many have tried, but all have failed to recover the Oak Island Treasure, even with modern tools such as drills and metal detectors. A group of treasure hunters who call themselves Oak Island Treasure vow to resume excavations in March or April of this year. Will they do what so many others have failed to do, and recover the gold, or will the two million pounds sleep with the fishes forever?

Beware the sound of crying children, watch out for the barmaids, and whatever you do, don't let the Pegasus spit on you.
Surviving Serendipity--

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