Pirates and Pits
July 6, 2012 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Pirates! Help me find a story about a pirate's treasure pit or what the story was based on, if it was real.

This is going to be very vague, and I apologize in advance, but...

I remember reading in some anthology/book when I was a kid (in the 80s sometime) that was about a pirate who had buried treasure at the bottom of a deep pit. All efforts to retrieve the treasure had failed, I think, because this pit was layer after layer of traps of different kinds.

The story had a cut-away drawing of the pit and the traps, which makes me think someone must have gotten the treasure at some point...

I've done some Google searching, but not found anything that seems to be what I remember. It's not the Oak Island Money Pit, I'm almost certain.
posted by papercake to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oak Island?
posted by Thorzdad at 9:51 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't help but think you're really thinking of Oak Island. Really. It's the only such dig of which I'm aware.
posted by valkyryn at 10:04 AM on July 6, 2012

Yeah Oak Island is the only real life example I know of.

Not what you are thinking of as it's too recent, but Riptide is a decent novel about this kind of situation. It's as thrilling as a novel about a big pit can be anyway.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:44 AM on July 6, 2012

Was it this cross section from Ed. Blundell, N. & Hall, A. Marvels and Mysteries of the Unexplained (1989)?
posted by saucysault at 11:05 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I can't imagine how this could be anything other than Oak Island you're thinking of. Perhaps a fictionalized account of it?

From the Oak Island wikipedia page, treasure has not been found, but the government of Nova Scotia is officially encouraging treasure hunters.

After December 2010, the department repealed the former Treasure Trove Act and replaced it with a new "Oak Island Act". The new Oak Island Treasure Act came into effect as of January 1, 2011 and allows for treasure hunting to continue on the island under the terms of a licence issued by the Minister of Natural Resources.

An Act to Regulate the Searching for Treasure on Oak Island in Lunenburg County and to Repeal Chapter 477 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Treasure Trove Act
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:16 AM on July 6, 2012

The Hand of Robin Squires by Joan Clark was first published in 1977. It is a historical adventure story that is linked to finds in the famous Money Pit on Oak Island off the coast of Nova Scotia.
posted by schade at 11:18 AM on July 6, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the feedback. I'm beginning to think it was some fictionalized version of Oak Island. That diagram linked to above isn't how I remembered it. There were different layers where you could drown, in a water trap, or a trap with sharpened sticks, etc.
posted by papercake at 12:36 PM on July 6, 2012

Thanks for all the feedback. I'm beginning to think it was some fictionalized version of Oak Island.

There was an episode of Bones where they investigated a murder at a dig site modeled after Oak Island. I'm pretty sure there were diagrams galore of the pit and traps and stuff, since a character went into the flooded pit.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:43 PM on July 6, 2012

This rings a bell that sounds like something I read in a Reader's Digest (really!) story book - it had all sorts of stories of varying degrees of truth - like the fellas that pick up a beautiful hitchhiker who *gasp* disappears!

Could that be the anthology?
posted by pointystick at 12:54 PM on July 6, 2012

Best answer: I have a thin book called Earth's Hidden Mysteries by Carl Cohen that I bought in the late 70s when I was probably nine years old or something. It has a chapter on Oak Island and the illustration of what the pit looked like sounds kind of like what you're describing.
posted by cropshy at 4:44 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm pretty sure I read this to my kid not that long ago... any chance it was this book? (We have read so many treasure/pirate books I can't be sure though). I know it (or one of the books we read) had a feature on the Oak Island pit that included a multi-layered illustration that indicated some of the perhaps more fanciful interpretations of what it was all about (as I recall people did propose it containing traps, being rigged to flood at various levels of digging etc. but this was all speculation on what I gather is generally speaking a muddy hole with some crap in it...
posted by nanojath at 12:52 AM on July 7, 2012

(I'm sure we never read the book cropshy references though so there are at least two books floating around that have similar illustrations... according to Google books the first edition of my book came out in 1988 so maybe that is late for your story?
posted by nanojath at 12:55 AM on July 7, 2012

Response by poster: Cropshy, that is the exact drawing! Which goes to show how much I'd embellished what I'd read in my mind. Thanks, everyone.
posted by papercake at 2:30 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

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