Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Alex. Alex Wonders, “Is there really treasure on Oak Island, Canada?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Alex!

What would you do with a treasure chest? Would you turn the gold into beautiful jewelry? Show off the gems to your friends and family? Sell it to a museum for a fortune?

Most people would love to come across a hidden treasure. But only a few people actually go in search of it. Treasure hunting can be a long, difficult journey. It calls for hard work, determination, and willingness to take risks.

If you’re a risk-taker who’d like to find buried treasure, we know where you should start. Jump on a ship and set sail for the eastern coast of Nova Scotia. There, you’ll find a small island that’s made a big name for itself. That’s right, today’s Wonder of the Day is taking us to Oak Island!

For a long time, people have WONDERed whether Oak Island is cursed. Why? Well, a lot of bad luck has befallen the people who go there. Over the years, there have been disastrous floods, serious injuries, and even fatalities. Why would anyone go to Oak Island? To search for buried treasure, of course! 

It all started in 1795. That year, a man named Daniel McInnis found an odd, shallow dip in the ground on Oak Island. He and two friends decided to dig into the spot and see what they could find. To their surprise, around ten feet down, they came across a layer of oak logs. 

As they kept digging, the three kept finding layers of logs every ten feet. Even more interesting, they came upon a large rock covered in strange markings. The three men couldn’t read the markings. Supposedly, an expert later determined the rock read, “Forty feet below two million pounds are buried.”

That was enough to keep people digging. McInnis and his friends enlisted the help of the Onslow Company. Together, they dug 100 feet into what is now called the “Money Pit.” However, after taking a break, they came back to find the pit flooded with 60 feet of water.

Since then, many teams have returned to Oak Island trying to find the buried treasure. They’ve dug in around the Money Pit and made some pretty interesting discoveries while doing so. In 1849, a team drilled into the pit. They found evidence of empty space and metal very far down.

A treasure hunter named Frederick Blair found iron and coconut fiber in the 1890s. Even more interesting, he found an old piece of parchment. Another named Robert Dunfield found pieces of porcelain dishware and evidence of a cavern in 1965. Then in 1970, a team lowered a camera into a hole just north of the Money Pit. The team members believed they saw treasure chests.

Has anyone ever actually found treasure on Oak Island? No. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying. Even today, brothers Rick and Marty Lagina search for the Oak Island treasure on their reality TV series. This leaves many people WONDERing. What exactly are these treasure hunters hoping to find?

Many of them believe they’ll find treasure buried there by pirates—perhaps even by Blackbeard. Others believe Oak Island may be the hiding place of Marie Antoinette’s jewels. Another theory is that Francis Bacon went to Oak Island to bury evidence that he was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays.

Whatever treasure is (or isn’t) buried on Oak Island, it’s unclear whether our curiosity will ever be fulfilled. Attempt after attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery has failed. Will you be the one to find the treasure and end the curse of Oak Island? Many people would love to learn the truth one day.

Standards: CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.4, C3.D2.Geo.1, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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