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Treasure For the Taking By Douw R. Hoig OAK ISLAND, Nova Scotia, May 23,1975 -- As the three young men from Chester landed on this lonely little island they had no idea that they were about to uncover a mystery that has baffled treasure hunters for nearly 200 years. Tony Vaughan, Jack Smith, and Dan Mclnnis thought they were the first white men ever to land here, but it was evident they were not. In a sheltered cove they found where the land had once been cleared in a perfect circle. All but one tree had been cut down, and this tree, a great gnarled oak, had one limb sawed off short. On the upper side of the stump of the limb was the unmistakable mark of a rope having once been run over it, while right beneath the branch was a depression in the ground that appeared to be where a large pit had been dug and afterwards filled up. The three young men knew that Captain Kidd had cruised these waters in the Adventure Galley a hundred years before, and that he had buried an immense quantity of pirate booty somewhere along this shore. Sure they had found it, they began to dig. But Captain Kidd was a clever old rascal he had a cruel surprise in store for them. With hearts pounding, the gold hunters dug down, ten feet. Then their shovels jammed into solid oak planking. Certain it was the top of a treasure chest, they ripped up the boards, but found it to be only a buried, platform of. hard planks .--. put there just to make trouble for them. Digging down another ten feet, they found another oak floor. At 30 feet, another one. Then they had to give up because they didn't have the machinery to dig deeper. Some years passed, when a.com- pany of treasure seekers led by Dr. Lynds.of Truro, brought excavating machinery and sank the pit to a depth of 90 feet. Every ten feet they found some sort of a barrier. At the 90 foot level a great slab of stone barred their way. On it were chiseled some marks that appeared to be an inscription which they took to read: "Ten feet further down, ten million Pounds lies buried." Positive that they had the treasure within their grasp, the diggers just had time to hoist out the slab before they had to quit for the night. At sunrise, they rushed down to the pit to finish their work. But to their amazement they found it was half-full of sea water! Apparently the old pirate had set a trap for them. When they moved that slab of rock, they somehow opened an underground tunnel that flooded the pit with water. No matter how fast they bailed, the water poured in just as fast. Discouraged, they at last gave up. In 1849, another group tried. And failed. In 1895,Capt. Wellings brought oil drilling tools. The boring samples convinced him that there were seven oak chests stacked one on top of the other, filled with loose metal of some kind. But again, the water trap defeated the searchers. In 1937, Mr. C.D. Hedden, a mining engineer, brought an electronic metal detector and proved to his own satisfaction that there was metal of some kind down there. But that was all he found. In 1965,Capt.Kidd played his cruelest trick of all. Robert Restall, a steelworker, had given up his job and brought his wife and two children to Oak Island to search for the treasure. For six long years they labored. Finally, on August 16, 1965, they actually succeeded in shutting off the water and draining the pit. Triumphantly, Restall, his son, and five other men descended into the. pit. Minutes later three of the men crawled out, half dead from'gas poisoning. Restall, his son, and two other men suffocated and died. Last summer yet another attempt was made -- that time by a party of treasure hunters from Florida. This summer someone else will try. . Â· ' Will they be successful? Or will the ancient pirate curse defeat them, as it has so many others? One thing is certain. There is something down .there. No one, even Capt. Kidd, would have gone to all that trouble to hide something unless it was valuable. Very, very valuable! - .- . (Copyright Donne Hoag 1976j Famous Fables By E. E. Edgar OVERHEARD: At a party, magazine editor Harold Ross was trapped by a bore. The latter had been droning on for perhaps an hour, when a guest on the far side of the room began to yawn. Pointing an accusing finger at the yawning guest, Rose whispered to the bore: "I think he's eavesdropping." *Â· RHETORIC: Sports reporters could not help admiring baseball owner Branch Rickey for his flow of rhetoric, which left his listeners limp. He responded to even the simplest queries with interminable answers which were marvels of ambiguity. A reporter once asked him a question which required little more than a yes or no in return. Rickey's reply, a masterpiece of uncircui- tous verbiage, lasted fifteen minutes. When he finally ran down, he asked: "Does that answer you?" "I don't know, Mr. Rickey," confessed the dazed reporter. "I've forgotten the question." Blue Hole near Helvetia, Randolph County. Presbyterian Church, Seneca Rocks. 4mCHARLESTON. W.VA.