How Ida Solved the Puzzle
Quiz #457 Results
Bookmark and Share
Answers to Quiz #457 - December 7, 2014
1. Where was this stone found?
2. What is supposedly the translation?
3. Name one theory about what is describes.
1.  Near the alleged money pit on Oak Island.
2.  Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.
3.  See below for several theories.
Comments from Our Readers
I hope that soon the island is finally being left the way it is, it would make way
more money as a touristic attraction IMO (specially if tourists can come down a
cave and see a chest full of fake jewerly). It's obvious it doesn't want to be
Ida Sanchez
Fearless Leader, such a fascinating quiz this week!!!!!!!!! This stone was found on
Oak Island in Lunenberg County in Nova Scotia. Supposedly the translation says
"forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried". According to Mark Finnan Fell,
the symbols were similar to the Coptic alphabet and when translated implied that the
people needed to remember their God or else they would perish. Theories about this
stone include information about the location of Shakespeare manuscripts, pirate
treasure buried by Captain Kidd or Blackbeard or the location of Marie Antoinette's
jewels. WOW!!!!!!!!! How about a field trip to Oak Island?
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
The Fabulous Flecthers
A natural sink hole sounds more plausible than treasure buried by Captian Kidd, the
vikings, the Knights Templar, or from the lost city of Atlantis, etc. They seem to
have left off Big Foot, the tooth fairy or Santa Claus.
Gar Watson
There are many theories but the one I prefer is that it was a treasure hidden by the
Knights Templar. On October 13th, 1307, the King and his ally the Pope ordered
the Templars arrested. Those captured were subjected to the worst possible
medieval tortures, often followed by being burned at the stake. The day the arrests
were ordered, the Paris Temple had loaded its treasures on a wagon train which
headed to the port city of La Rochelle. From there, it was placed aboard the
Templar ships. The fleet set sail into the mists of history, never to be found.A
hidden anagram obscured on a nearby tombstone forewarns, I tego arcana Dei!
meaning "Be gone! I conceal the secrets of God".
Cynthia Costigan
I never heard about the money pit or the inscription before.  Is this the same Oak
Island about which there is now a TV series?

I used search terms of stone, translation, squares, triangles and varied them with a
couple of others.  I kept getting hits for Oak Island.  At first I ignored them, but
when it kept coming up I looked at them.
Janice Sellers
Have just set my DVR to watch a few episodes of the series "The Curse of Oak
Tynan Peterson

Congratulations to Our Winners

Janice M. Sellers                Tynan Peterson
Ida Sanchez                Heide Howard
Perry Lamy                Marcelle Comeau
Kim Richardson                Kelly Fetherlin
Kathy West                Carol Gene Farrant
Arthur Hartwell                Margaret Paxton
Gar Watson                Gus Marsh
Margaret Waterman                Cindy Costigan

Grace Hertz and Mary Turner
The Fabulous Fletchers!
If you have a picture you'd like us to feature a picture in a future quiz, please
email it to us at If we use it, you will receive a free analysis of
your picture. You will also receive a free
Forensic Genealogy CD or a 10%
discount towards the purchase of the
Forensic Genealogy book.
If you enjoy our quizzes, don't forget to order our books!
!-- Start Quantcast tag -->
Several failed google searches with words like ancient stone
translation and such led me back to the contest page. Once I read the
questions again, taking them into my advantage, googled" ancient
stone found theory translation" and went to the images. One gif with
the symbols and their respective letters appeared. I started translating
the text and read "forty feet below" for the first 3 words, so I
googled "forty feet below" and the suggestions came up with the rest
of the phrase, so when typing the whole phrase, the wikipedia page
of Oak Island was on top of my search list.

Ida Sanchez
Oak Island is located off the coast of
Nova Scotia, Canada. One day in 1795 a
teenager named Daniel McGinnis made his
way to the island to explore it. He
happened upon an oak tree (one of many
on the island) which caught his eye
because hanging from one outstretched
limb was an old pulley. The type used to
raise and lower heavy items. It was
situated directly over a large circular
depression in the ground. Realizing what
this might be he returned the next day
The Legend of Oak Island
with two friends, Anthony Vaughan and John Smith. They began digging with picks
and shovels. It was clear by the marks on the side of the hole that it had been dug my
men and then refilled. . At the 2 foot mark they hit a layer of flagstones. They removed
them and continued digging. At the 10 foot level they hit wood. Visions of pirate
treasure danced in their heads. There were many stories circulating during that time of
treasure belonging to the infamous pirate Captain Kidd being buried on some island. The
wood turned out to be oak logs. Removing the logs revealed a two foot gap and then
more dirt. As they continued digging they found another layer of logs at 20 feet and
again at 30 feet. At this point they realized they needed more help and more equipment
so they left the island with the idea of returning to finish what they started.

It would be 9 years before they returned. This time they were accompanied by Simeon
Lynds, a businessman. He provided the labor force and financial backing to continue
the dig. They found the site as they had left it. They began digging. At 40 feet they
found a layer of charcoal. At 50 feet they found a layer of putty. At 60 feet, a layer of
coconut fiber. At the 90 foot mark they discovered a stone tablet inscribed with
symbols. These symbols were later translated to say “40 feet below, two million
pounds lie buried.”

A few feet below the tablet the tunnel began to flood. Unable to bail the water from the
tunnel faster than it filled the group gave up.

In 1849 the Truro company formed and dug the tunnel back down to 86 feet where it
again flooded. At that point they sank a drill into the pit. The”pod auger” passed through
a spruce platform at 98 feet, a 12-inch head space, 4 inches of oak, 22 inches of what
was described as “metal in pieces”, 8 inches of oak, another 22 inches of metal, 4
inches of oak, another spruce layer, and finally into clay for 7 feet without striking
anything else. It was believed that the auger passed through two 4 inch thick chests
stacked on top of each other and filled with gold metal of some kind. Some of the
stories mention a foreman named John Pitblado, who carefully examined an object that
was caught up in the bit and then put it in his pocket. He soon disappeared and never
returned to the island but apparently tried to purchase it,
without success. No one knows what he had found.

Because the water in the pit couldn't be removed fast enough
an attempt was made to dig a second hole parallel the first and
then tunnel over. It failed when that hole also filled with water.
Pit Diagram

Later they would discover a drain system had been dug into the
island and that the island itself contained an artificial beach.
The drain consisted of 5 channels spread out like fingers and
dug into the clay under the beach. They were lined with rocks,
grass and coconut fiber. This in effect created a filtering
system that kept the drains clear of debris all through the
years. The 5 channels eventually converged together and
provided the water that filled the pit 500 feet away at a depth
of 95 to 100 feet. A clever booby trap. All attempts to block
the channels failed.

There are many more details but in the interest of time I will
Cross section of
"Money Pit"
just cover the highlights. Over the next 150+ years many more attempts were made by
several companies to dig down to the treasure. So far all have failed. The treasure
remains at the bottom of the aptly named Money Pit waiting to be discovered.

For more details on the history of the Oak Island you can check out the website

There are many theories as to what lies at the bottom of the pit and there are numerous
websites dedicated to proving each theory. Some of the more popular ones are:

Captain Kidd’s treasure – By far the most popular theory but as more information is
gathered, this is quickly becoming less likely.  Blackbeard's (Edward Teach's) treasure
is presented as another possibility. Teach claimed he buried his treasure "where none
but Satan and myself can find it."

Combined booty of several pirates – An interesting theory presented by a fellow
named Samuel Goodman. He believes there are seven maps that when put together
reveal the exact location of the treasure. He says he’s linked the five maps he knows of
together but does not have the final two. Some also hold to the theory that Kidd
conspired with Henry Every and Oak Island was used as a pseudo community bank
between the two.

Naval treasure - Another explanation proposes the pit was dug to hold treasure but
that this was done by someone other than pirates, such as Spanish sailors from a
wrecked galleon or British troops during the American Revolution. John Godwin argued
that, given the apparent size and complexity of the pit, it was likely dug by French army
engineers hoping to hide the contents of the treasury of the Fortress of Louisbourg
after it fell to the British during the Seven Years' War.

The lost treasure of the Knights Templar –  It has been asserted that the pit may
have been dug by exiled Knights Templar and that it is the last resting place of the Holy
Grail or even the holy Ark of the Covenant.

Hidden documents belonging to Francis Bacon - You may already be familiar with
the idea that William Shakespeare didn’t have the education and ability to write the
works that are attributed to him. Some suggest that they were actually written by
Bacon and the proof for this lies at the bottom of the Money Pit.  

In his 1953 book, The Oak Island
Enigma: A History and Inquiry Into the
Origin of the Money Pit
, Penn Leary
contended that the pit was used to hide
manuscripts showing Francis Bacon to be
the author of William Shakespeare's
works. Leary's
The Second Cryptographic
, published in 1990, identified
ciphers in Shakespeare's plays and poems
pointing to Bacon's authorship. Author
and researcher Mark Finnan elaborated
Site of Money Pit dig in 1931.
upon Leary's Oak Island theory.  The theory was also used in the Norwegian book
Organisten (The Organ Player) by Erlend Loe and Petter Amundsen.

French crown jewels - There is a story that, like most others regarding the island,
lacks adequate archival sources, or any quoted sources at all, places the priceless jewels
of Marie Antoinette (which are historically missing, save for some specimens in the
collections of museums worldwide) on Oak Island. During the French Revolution,
when the Palace of Versailles was stormed by revolutionaries in 1789, Marie Antoinette
instructed her maid or a lady-in-waiting to take her prized possessions and flee.
Supposedly, this maid fled to London with such royal items as Antoinette's jewels and
perhaps other treasures, such as important artwork or documents, secreted away either
on her person (one variation suggests sewn into her underskirts in the case of the
jewels, though fails to mention artwork) or as her luggage; it is even said she was
perhaps assisted by the remaining officers of the French navy during the uprising at the
queen's behest.

The story then goes on to say that this woman fled further afield from London to Nova
Scotia. Through the royal connections she would have had during her service to the
queen at Versailles, she managed to contract the French navy to help construct the
famed 'pit' on the island. This theory (as noted) lacks recognized documentation other
than that which is folkloric in nature, involves the French navy, which (during the
Revolution) had an uncertain level of authority, and would place the construction of the
Oak Island structure very close to its initial discovery by Daniel McGinnis in 1795.
Whether such a complex engineering effort could have been completed in that small
space of time is questionable, though no official date of its construction exists.

Decoy - Given the complexity of the structure of the pit and that fact that no valuables
have ever been recovered from the site, it is possible that
there is nothing there. This explanation posits that the pit
may have been constructed by French engineers as a decoy
to protect the real treasure from Louisburg. Three pieces of
tangible evidence support this theory - 1. the tackle block
hanging from the tree inviting investigation of the site; 2.
the cipher stone which entices excavators to dig further
and; 3. the fact the pit flooded after digging beyond the
cipher stone. If the pit did, in fact, have treasure in it, it
would not have been marked with an obvious object to
invite others to investigate the site (the tackle block) and
would not need to have a cipher stone indicating there was
a large treasure in the pit as those for whom the treasure
was intended would already know the treasure was there.

Nature Sinkhole - Critics argue that there is no treasure
and that the apparent pit is a natural phenomenon, likely a sinkhole connected to
limestone passages or caverns. Suggestions that the pit is a natural phenomenon,
specifically accumulated debris in a sinkhole or geological fault, date to at least 1911.
There are numerous sinkholes on the mainland near the island, together with
underground caves (to which the alleged booby traps are attributed).

The resemblance to a man-made pit has been suggested to be partly due to the texture
of natural accumulated debris in sinkholes: "this filling would be softer than the
surrounding ground, and give the impression that it had been dug up before". The
appearance of "platforms" of rotten logs has been attributed to trees damaged by
"blowdowns" (derechos) or wildfires, periodically falling or washing into the depression.

Another pit similar to the early description of the Money Pit was discovered in the area
in 1949, when workmen were digging a well on the shore of Mahone Bay. At a point
where the earth was soft, they found a pit, described as follows: "At about two feet
down a layer of fieldstone was struck. Then logs of spruce and oak were unearthed at
irregular intervals, and some of the wood was charred. The immediate suspicion was
that another Money Pit had been found."

As the dig continues with no treasure found and no end in sight many are beginning to
think that nothing lies at the bottom of the
pit. The website
org/oakisland/OI_chapter1.shtml is
probably one of the most detailed sites
that insists it is all a clever hoax. The
strongest argument for this is the lack of
historical records prior to 1860 that can
support the details of the story. It also
explains how the Oak Island treasure
story contains elements that are shared by
many made up tales of the time
(discovered by kids, treasure “just out of
reach”, etc).
Location of the Money Pit
on Oak Island