Monday, October 08, 2012

3635 Treasure pits.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Carl Sagan: It doesn't pay to be so open-minded that your brains fall out.
-- Carl Sagan --


Today I (again) came across the story of the Oak Island treasure pit.  Treasure hunters have dug down 150' into a booby-trapped shaft over the past 200+ years hoping to find pirate treasure.  Several people have died in the various attempts.  It's beginning to look well nigh impossible to get to any treasure that might be at the bottom.

Now, me, I'd never have tried so hard.  I'd figure that anyone who burys treasure wants to come back and get it.  Who would bother making it so difficult?  So whatever might be at the bottom was never meant to be disturbed, whether valuable or not, or, if there is anything there at all, it has no value anyway and no one ever wanted to get it back.

You don't hide something so well that even you can't recover it.

My mother learned that when she was about 10 years old.

Gramma had a pair of Staffordshire dogs that her mother, Great-Gramma, had brought from Wales.  Mom had a fine gold chain necklace she wanted to hide from her brothers, Richard and Raymond.  The dogs looked almost exactly like the ones at the link above, about 12" in height, with a tiny air-hole at the back of the neck. 

Mom decided that was the perfect place to hide her necklace - in one of the dogs.  She fed the end through the hole, and the instant she heard the clasp hit the bottom she knew she had screwed up.  There was no other hole in the dog.  There was no way to get the necklace out.

Gramma asked her one day where the necklace was.  Mom lied and told her she'd left it on her dresser, and it disappeared, one of the boys must have taken it.  Off course they denied having seen it.

Many decades later Gramma moved into a tiny assisted living apartment.  She gave one of the dogs to her sister's daughter, Annette (Mom's cousin), and the other dog to my mother. 

[Absolutely the wrong thing to do!  First of all, every pair of the original Staffordshires is unique and perfectly matched - the old molds were used only once and the hand gilding was unique to the painter - so you don't split them up!  Secondly, it caused a rift between the two previously close cousins.  Each coveted the other's dog.]

Well, when my mother got her dog, she shook it.  No rattle.  Annette had got her gold necklace, too.


I now own two pairs of the tall white Staffordshire dogs, one pair bought at auction, the other at an antiques fair.  Also two pair of smaller more colorful antique copies made for the lower class purchasers.

None of them rattle.


the queen said...

The Beale Cipher. Do you know of that one?

~~Silk said...

Beale Cipher - Yeah, Jay even played with it for a while. Most experts consider it fake because the location page, which has been decoded, uses words not in usage at the time it was supposedly written, and it doesn't make sense that the location pages were first and more easily decoded than the owner pages.

Some people have claimed to have found the vault (story and photos at, which is as described, but empty except for a few artifacts - like a broken iron pot leg. Of course, it could also be a hoax, someone looking to make a fortune on treasure tourists.

The Oak Island pit is different in that it IS a man-made pit, the tunnels that flood it are man-made, and nobody knows why or what might be at the bottom. The treasure hunters' theory is that it must be valuable, or why all the effort. My point is that it must not be valuable because it's too difficult to recover. You don't hide something so well if it's a temporary deposit you intend to recover. Even a 10-year-old can figure that out.

~~Silk said...

(Oops, correction to the above comment. The Beale description of the treasure has been translated. The location and list of owners have not.)