Links have been made by many between the treasure of Oak Island and the Knights Templar, precursors for the Freemasons. By drawing parallels between the mystery of Oak Island’s Money Pit and the rituals of the Freemasons, evidence can suggest heavy Masonic involvement in the creation of the enigmatic pit.
Masonry first arrived in North America in the eighteenth century, being defined by its “peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”. It now appears that the Masonic Secret Vault allegory holds some significance in the mystery when considering the placement of peculiar signs and signifiers.
The “strange markings” reportedly carved on the oak adjacent to the Pit can be seen to invoke Masons’ Marks, inscribed signs by which Masons are identified. The three alleged discoverers of the Pit can be seen to represent the Three Worthy Sojourners, where Daniel McGinnis represents the Principal Sojourner, known for discovering the Secret Vault in the Royal Arch degree. In such a ritual, the aspirant is lowered on a rope through a succession of trap doors. It does not take much to recognise the similarities in this act with the workmen who were on occasion hauled up and down the Money Pit shaft.
Interestingly, the tools used by the diggers, such as spades, pickaxes, and a crowbar represent the three Working Tools of the Royal Arch Mason. Indeed, when in 1803 workers probed the bottom of the Pit with a crowbar and struck what they thought was a treasure chest, their actions recall the Royal Arch degree in which the Secret Vault is located by a sounding blow from a crowbar
Further still, other recovered artefacts can be seen to hold ritualistic significance. These include the stone triangle and great “Christian Cross” as well as “a hand worked heart-shaped stone”, all Masonic symbols. It could be suggested that the immense amount of time and energy needed to lie out the large cross could have been part of a Masonic ritual.
Other artefacts found are not so obvious in their signification, such as the inscribed stone cipher stone, which disappeared about 1919. Its text has allegedly been preserved in a variety of forms and decipherments, the most accepted translation being, “Forty Feet Below Two Million Pounds Are Buried”. Given the nature of the masons, relying on a “peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols” (to return to the initial definition), such a cipher message would hold a place in this tradition.
It has been argued by most Oak Island researchers that the stone is a hoax but it must be considered that the stone was mentioned in early accounts of a variety of expeditions. It is significant however that a cipher message, often with a key is found in the Secret Vault, is a central aspect of Freemasonry’s Royal Arch degree.
To assign Masonic signification further still, the discovery of an old metal set square at Smith’s Cove may simply be an innocent finding but when considered alongside the Secret Vault allegory, it must be recalled that three small squares were among the items found. Indeed, the square is one of the major symbols of Freemasonry which, united with a pair of compasses, comprises the universal Masonic emblem.
In 1967 evidence of a Masonic stone, a granite boulder, was overturned by a bulldozer and on its underside was the identifiable emblem of the letter ‘G’ in a rectangle. ‘G’ denotes the Grand Geometer of the Universe God, the focus of masonic teachings and is the most public of all symbols used. The presence of this symbol on Oak Island, coupled with its location in the east which is considered the source of light in Masonic teaching serves as further evidence that freemasonry is almost certainly involved in the mystery.
Recent attempts to link the Holy Grail to Oak Island are compounded by the evidence of Masonic ritual apparent on Oak Island. In any event, the evidence indicates a strong Masonic connection to the Oak Island enigma, whether as the original concealers of the assumed treasure, or even originators of the legend as a farce, or means to attract funds.
The above text was written with reference to Joe Nickell’s article ‘The Secrets of Oak Island’. It provides an abridged overview of his research and thoughts on the Oak Island Mystery. You can read his excellent article in depth, on the Skeptical Enquirer website.