In 1795, 18-year-old Daniel McGinnis noticed strange lights coming from Oak Island, just off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. When he went to investigate, he didn't find the source of the lights but he did discover a strange circular depression in a clearing in the woods with a block and tackle hanging from a tree overhead. He a few friends returned soon afterwards with tools in hand and started digging. The first thing they found was a layer of flagstones. They hacked their way through and soon found a layer of oak logs. Ten feet further down, they found another layer of logs. Ten feet after that...another layer of logs. After about 30 feet, they gave up but were determined to return and solve the mystery.
Eight years later, they returned to the pit with the help of a group called The Onslow Company and started digging. They dug and dug and still kept coming across wooden platforms (sometimes oak, sometimes birch) every ten feet. At sixty feet, they found a layer of coconut fiber. At ninety feet, they dug up a stone tablet inscribed with mysterious symbols. Some people claimed that the writing indicated that there was buried treasure 40 feet below. Others claimed is was religious writing. Whatever the case, the stone was lost so we may never know. Shortly after discovering the stone, the tunnel began to flood and excavators were unable to pump the water out. They tried digging another pit parallel to the first one and tunneling over but that one flooded as well.
It was later discovered that flooding was caused by a long underground tunnel that stretched all the way from a cave on the beach to the pit. When excavators poured red dye into the pit, the dye surfaced at least three different places around the island. It is debated wether these waterways are naturally occurring or part of some elaborate booby trap built to protect whatever is at the bottom of the pit.
In 1849, a group called the Truro Company began taking core samples. They discovered more layers of wood and what they described as "metal in pieces" but not much else. Many different groups tried to dig further and failed, sometimes resulting in death. Six people have died in excavations of the pit.
Over the years, excavators were able to dig deeper and deeper into what is now called "the money pit." Core samples turned up a piece of sheepskins parchment with writing on it, a cement chamber sealed in clay, and a stone fragment with inscriptions similar to the tablet found before.
To this day, no one has been able to dig or sample past 170 feet. Some scientist claim that the whole thing is just a naturally occurring sinkhole. Others think that there must be treasure at the bottom, hidden by Captain Kidd or Blackbeard. Many theorize that the pit was dug by errant Knights Templar to hide the Ark of the Covenant. We just might never know.