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Is Captain Kidd’s lost treasure buried in Nova Scotia?


Do you believe in legends? What if it was a 200-year-old Canadian legend about a pirate treasure?

Whether the story is true or false, some people believe that there is treasure buried on a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Here's one version of the story… It all started back in 1795 when an old pirate from Captain Kidd’s crew told a settler named McGinnis that Oak Island, Nova Scotia, was a hiding spot for pirate loot worth millions! Shiver me timbers!

The money pit

A 19th century excavation on the Oak Island Money Pit.

This is the Money Pit on Oak Island, dating back to the 19th century. (Photo by inknown via Wikimedia licensed Public Domain)

At first, no one believed the story, until McGinnis and two of his friends found a deep hole on the island with shovel marks and thought, “thar she blows!”

The hole was nicknamed “the money pit” because the treasure hunters hoped to find treasure at the bottom that would make them rich.

Unfortunately, when they began to dig deeper, the money pit was suddenly flooded with water and their dreams of treasure walked the plank! McGinnis and his friends gave up on their search because digging became too dangerous.

Booby traps

Google map of Oak Island, Nova Scotia.

This map of Oak Island shows the swamp near the middle of island where the supposed treasure is located. (Image by Oaktree b - Own work, via Wikimedia licensed CC BY-SA 4.0), 

McGinnis thought that water flooding the money pit must have been a booby trap because pirates were known for setting traps to protect their treasure.

The word booby comes from the Spanish word bobo which means silly or simple. So basically, a booby trap is just a simple trap made to catch someone who isn’t paying attention.

Yo ho ho and a bunch more clues!

A coconut cracked open.

You guessed it — it's a coconut! According to the legend, there were pieces of coconut (among other things, of course) alluding that pirates were there. (Image via Pixabay)

Over the years, rumours spread about the settler’s mysterious money pit and more treasure hunters arrived.

They even found more clues! Like a wooden chest, coconut fibre (definitely not from Nova Scotia) and an old ring-bolt on a rock used to tie up small ships.

Could pirates have made Oak Island their secret hiding place?

Stone carvings

The paper and coins in this picture is British currency called,

This is British currency called the 'pound.' (Image via Pixabay)

The best clue was a mysterious stone carved with a message. The message was written in symbols that made up a code. Like a puzzle!

Treasure hunters scratched their heads and wondered what the symbols meant. After a lot of research they guessed that the message read:

“40 feet below 2 million pounds are buried.”

Captain Kidd was from the United Kingdom and their currency (or money) is called the pound, like how in Canada it is called dollars.

No one really knows for sure what the message says, though, and to add to the mystery, the stone was discovered to be missing in 1933. Spooky!

So what’s in the treasure?

An aerial shot of Oak Island of destroyed digs and buildings, circa 1931.

A bird's-eye-view of Oak Island's Money Pit — where the supposed treasure is buried. This picture was taken in 1931. (Photo by Richard McCully - McCully Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 2012-010/004 no. 37 | negative no. 426 [1], via Wikimedia licensed Public Domain)

Some people believe there is more than just money in Captain Kidd’s treasure.

Historical researchers have made more wild guesses that a French queen’s jewels, William Shakespeare’s original manuscripts and important religious artifacts might also be included in the loot!

Oak Island today, with pristine blue ocean and trees.

Today Oak Island is privately owned. The old cannon is the entrance of the causeway, which means that it's narrow land linking the mainland to the island. (Photo by Dennis Jarvis licensed CC BY-SA 2.0)

If treasure really is at the bottom of the money pit, no one has found it yet, But one thing is for sure — people love a good legend. More than 50 books have been written on the subject!

Those who believe in Captain Kidd’s pirate treasure are still hunting for it today and won’t stop until the history mystery of Oak Island is solved.