Everything you need to know about Nova Scotia's South Shore

September 6, 2010

Tales of a Novice Treasure Hunter- Part 2

11:06 pm | No Comments » |

With a brief absences from the day to day grind and a chance to reenergize my mind, body, and spirit on
a whirlwind European adventure I find myself once again back on native soil and trudging down the
causeway to see if I had missed the unveiling of a treasure that was found in my absences. Somehow I
felt the Italian newspapers I had been reading for the past several weeks would not cover this topic;
well, I use the word ‘reading’ lightly as I mostly just held the paper in front of my face in an effort to look
less touristy and blend in. Fortunately for me I realized quite quickly the mystery was still alive and well
and because of this particular fact I decided to take a walk around Oak Island to see if I could find
anything interesting that others may have missed in their explorations; unlikely, most would say, but I’m
a diehard optimist so here goes nothing.

After asking for permission to walk the Island (as it is privately owned) I started my journey just west of
Nolan’s property on the main road and much to my surprise I looked over my shoulder and behind me I
saw Fred Nolan himself. After a few minutes passed I worked up the courage to approach him with a
simple hello an introduction. He was very polite and responded accordingly after which I asked if he
remembered my grandfather Robert Sawler who had worked with Fred for many years on his treasure
pursuits on Oak Island. Despite the years that have passed Fred remembered him vividly and said “No
one could tell a story like Bob could” and he was sorry to hear of both his and his brother Bill’s passing.
We walked a bit further continuing to chat about various topics before our paths diverged, but before
we went our separate ways I asked him for a picture. He hesitated and then said “one day my picture
will be everywhere”. He of course did not offer up a picture to me and I was only left to assume he was
being quick witted as he grinned and walked away, but maybe the reason for this remark lies in the Oak
Island mystery itself. Could Fred have discovered something or be on the trail to uncovering the truth
about Oak Island’s elusive treasure? Could this be the reason his face will be everywhere one day? It is
hard to say, as he tends to play his cards close to his chest, so I guess I will just have to wait like
everyone else to see what unfolds.

After this rather unexpected turn of events I turned my attention to walking the shoreline of Oak Island.
If you are lucky enough to experience a tour of Oak Island in your lifetime you will know that the route
you take does not include the shoreline on either side of Joudrey’s Cove. For this reason I thought it
would be of interest to tell you something interesting I found located here. Now I must admit I am
certainly not the first person to notice this, nor am I the first to write about it, but I am the first person
to Blog about it (I think) and that has to stand for something. I would assume not many average
enthusiasts of Oak Island are familiar with this particular area I am about to discuss at length on Oak
Island so I will be as detailed as possible for your benefit.

As I walked the shoreline, admittedly looking for a place to stop and swim, I came across a pile of rocks
which I was told to look out for from a close friend of mine who is well versed in this area of the Island.
The rocks started at the water’s edge and got progressively more curious as you followed them all the
way up the shore and then up the embankment (for my readers benefit I have included a variety of
pictures with this article to show what I am referring to). To the naked eye unless one knew what they
were looking for the rocks along the shore, seemingly looked to blend in as if placed there through
natural means, but the ones that carried up the embankment in my opinion looked to be placed there to
possibly conceal something underneath. Whether that which was concealed is still there or not is not
for me to say as it was not my place to go digging through the rubble- even though I was quite tempted.
I will say that it would take little effort to unveil what may or may not lie beneath there- a few burly men
and a couple crow bars should do the trick.

Unfortunately I had neither that day so opted to climb up the embankment to see what lie in the woods
above. I was told exactly what I would find once I reached the top, but had to see it for myself. What I
saw was nothing; well, not nothing, but certainly less than what the surrounding forest offered in terms
of tree life. In fact not a single tree grew in this swath I had found myself in- a perfect rectangle filled
with nothing but small foliage and weeds bordered from top to bottom and side to side with tall
perfectly healthy trees. Now with my degree being in psychology and this being a question that can’t be
answered through psychoanalysis, I turned to my friend who had sent me down this trail for answers.
He said that trees have refused to grow in this swath since at least 1929 and proceeded to show me the
aerial photo’s he had proving this to be true (I have included these aerial photos with this article with
permission from my friend which date from 1929 all the way to 2001 and have circled the swath which I
speak of).

So why on earth would trees refuse to grow on this part of the Island when clearly they have no issue
growing anywhere else? To find a possible answer to this I must make reference to an area in the
woods of Western Romania that I have read about recently called the Hoia-Baciu Forest. In this forest
there is a clearing- not unlike the one we can find on Oak Island which refuses to grow trees even
though the surrounding areas are abundant with them. This forest has been linked to all kinds of
paranormal activity from glowing lights hovering above the trees, to people becoming very ill once they
are in this clearing, and sighting of weird faces and objects appearing in pictures taken of the area. One
can’t help, but draw parallels of similar activity reported on Oak Island. There are many people who
have throughout history claimed to see weird lights from the Island and also some who have said that
the pictures they take on the Island have revealed strange “orbs” once developed. Some people think
these are simply dust particles which reflect due to flash photography, whereas others believe they are
small sources of energy, possibly paranormal. I am not going to weigh in on this debate either way, but it
is food for thought.

The most important thing to take away from the work done recently on the Hoia-Baciu Forest is less
geared to the paranormal and focuses more on the science of it all – specifically the geology of the area.
It was found that gold and copper mining in this mountain range was extensive, loads of limestone and
salt. Going a bit further, the researchers discovered that the copper mining had leached copper into the
streams and there were huge issues with toxicity in the ground. It is very likely than that it was this
toxicity that lead to the lack of vegetation growing in this swath rather than a UFO landing site as some

Could toxic soil also be leading to the lack of trees on the Oak Island swath? Copper contamination is
unlikely, but another heavy metal that has been considered by many theorists is mercury. It is my
understanding that as of yet no extensive soil samples have been taken from the swath so I have no real
evidence to substantiate the claims of mercury contamination, but it is worth mentioning that along
with this peculiar swath on the Island also comes a collection of defected trees- although I saw none
around the swath, there are several located on other areas of the Island and one effect of mercury
contamination is tree defects.

This information is not meant to make any solid conclusions as to why this swath exists and why trees
consistently since the 1920s refuse to grow there, but hopefully this article will reach at least one person
willing to take up the cause to investigate this further. There is enough mystery out there for all of us.

Tales of a Novice Treasure Hunter
By: Shelley Rafuse (c) 2010

To see more photos please go to

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June 28, 2010

Tales of a Novice Treasure Hunter- Chapter 1

3:28 pm | 1 Comment » |

When most people picture finding retreat on an Island they imagine some secluded little slice of heaven off the Florida Keys or in South East Asia with white pristine beaches, palm trees as far as the eye can see, and sunsets that would make any great artist sell their first born just to witness once. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time or air miles to get me out of Nova Scotia, so I opted to stay within the province and go to Oak Island instead. What this Island lacks in palm trees and white beaches it makes up for in mystery. Although I am somewhat of a novice treasure hunter, I fancy myself an expert adventure seeker and so a genuine “treasure island” seemed like the likeliest of places for me to end up on a Friday afternoon.

I’ve been many places in my lifetime- at the ripe age of 25- and yet driving across the little causeway that leads to Oak Island still evokes a thrill I haven’t felt anywhere else. I stood looking at, perhaps, the most famous icon of the Inca world- Machu Piccu and lord knows I had to do a lot more than drive over a causeway to witness its magnificence. I spent many days on Lake Titicaca with a local family who made me dress in traditional clothes and eat food I can’t even pronounce. I was spiritually cleansed by a Shaman in the Amazon Rainforest and then was asked to spend the night in a hammock – outside may I add. I don’t know if you are familiar with the Amazon Jungle, but at night you most certainly want to be inside with a blow torch and possibly a Bible if you are Christian, but not outside exposed to the elements; although, as you may have already imagined the elements are the least of your problems. The fact remains that as life changing and awe inspiring those moments were for me, they just don’t compare to making that short journey across that causeway. Maybe it is because doing so places me in an elite group as I am one of the few people who has ever been even able to make this journey especially in recent years or maybe it is because I have grown up in this area all my life and it feels more like “home” to me than a Treasure Island, but I truly believe the reason lies in the mystery of Oak Island itself and more specifically the fact that it remains unsolved. There aren’t many places on this Earth left that still have a story to tell, secrets to be unveiled, and the possible revealing of a treasure that could reshape history as we know it. For those reasons alone a few goose bumps on my arms and a fluttering in my stomach not unlike the first time a boy tried to kiss me seemed warranted.

Now how does one spend an afternoon on an Island such as this? Well, outside of visiting with my dear friend Garnette and trying desperately to learn how to create a pdf file I had the opportunity to go down to the first “swamp”, which is actually the remains of an old excavation by Robert Dunfield, and I must say I was shocked to see it so low. I was convinced that if I had gotten the courage to climb into the water it would only barely get my ankles wet. There have been many people throughout history who have considered the swamps on Oak Island “areas of interest” and even some who have claimed to have “hit” something solid at the bottom during their exploration of these areas. Could Oak Island finally be ready to reveal what secrets may lie on the bottom of these swamps or was she just teasing me that day? It’s hard to say one way or the other as she is a cruel mistress, but I was excited to be a few feet of water closer to finding the answers nevertheless.

Now the next place I went was a cue to even see as up until now I had only seen pictures of it and certainly had no clue to its whereabouts on the Island. Now I didn’t exactly come prepared to hike through the thick brush as I was in shorts and flip flops, but I for one wasn’t passing up the opportunity, so off I set, heading through trails- if you can define them as such- barely big enough for a squirrel to travel down and a few bumps and scrapes later a small clearing presented itself and there it was in all its glory… “David’s Find”- as it was rightfully named for the one who found it a year previous. Some of you may not have had the opportunity to see the pictures on our forum website under the “Society Special Features” section- the section is only viewable to paying members of the Friends of Oak Island Society. If you are a paying member I will kindly ask, for your benefit, to take the opportunity to look at these pictures before reading further and also this seems like a good enough place in my tale to mention just once, our non-profit website

Now, back to my tale. So there I was only a few feet away from the latest discovery, if you will, in the Oak Island mystery. Now mind you, to the untrained eye it is only a hole in the ground and that alone is no cause for alarm seeing as how throughout the years Oak Island has been made to resemble a slice of swiss cheese, but- and my friends this is where things get interesting-only a year ago this hole was not exposed. And this is the part of the tale when you will have to trust that this information comes from a more than reliable source, from someone who has firsthand knowledge of what this area of the Island looked like a year ago verses today. So where did it come from? Holes just don’t appear unless manmade or some subsidence has occurred in the area. I will say that the general shape of the hole does seem to conclude there is definite subsidence of soil occurring, but it looks like it is subsiding into a void that already exists. Before I go further I will say that I am drawing these conclusions without benefit of any formal training in this area, so please forgive me if I am being ignorant of a glaring and logical reason for this occurrence.

The hole, as I saw it, had a foot or so of water on top- who’s surprised, a hole on Oak Island that floods so I was unable to see bottom, but I was able to see an even more interesting feature- rocks! Boring to everyone, but geologists normally, but these rocks looked a lot different than the rocks you might find scattered about in a hole created by subsidence. These rocks looked placed, but not just placed, formed to fit each other perfectly with each rock completely flush with the other to create a perfectly smooth surface on the outside as if creating a giant rock jigsaw puzzle- I hate to open up this can of worms, but I must admit it reminded me a lot of the attention to detail and intricate rock work of the many Inca structures I saw while traveling in Peru. This, of course, was only one side of the hole though. The other side of the hole reviled a new set or rock formations, ones which also looked to be placed, but were much more jagged in their appearance and seemed to be braced by other smaller rock to prevent them from coming loose. Like I said I have no training in rock formations or earth subsidence or the causes of either, but I believe it would be remiss, even for a novice treasure hunter like myself, to not at least consider it to be naturally formed. I think most of my readers would agree that it definitely warrants further field testing and investigation; that being said, I doubt we’ve heard the last of “David’s Find” and I for one will be the first person with a rope around my waist diving down the hole for the answers.

Tales of a Novice Treasure Hunter,
By: Shelley Rafuse (c) 2010

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