Press Release - New Reading of Oak Island Inscription
Written By: Kieth Randville
Theory points to possible connection with nearby Birch Island
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia: Friday January 18th 2008 - -
For the past two centuries, the tunnels of Nova Scotia’s Oak Island have piqued the imagination of historians and treasure hunters alike. Now, a new theory by First Nations researcher Keith Ranville may add fresh speculation to the mystery. Based on a unique reading of an inscription once found in the “Money Pit,” Mr. Ranville believes that the answer to the riddle may be found on nearby Birch Island.
Oak Island, located on the scenic Mahone Bay about an hour’s drive south of the provincial capital of Halifax, has been associated with buried treasure since the late 18th century. Local settlers reportedly found a ship’s tackle block hanging from a tree branch, overhanging a large depression in the ground. Early efforts to dig down failed when the diggers encountered layers of timber every 10 feet. In the ensuing generations, several organized excavation attempts have drilled down nearly 200 feet, en route encountering some artifacts within the staggered layers of logs, clay, putty, charcoal, flagstones and most perplexingly, coconut husks. Among the scores of enthusiastic treasure hunters was a young Franklin Roosevelt, one of the investors in a 1909 excavation attempt.
During the earlier diggings of 1800’s, the tunnel had become flooded by seawater – which many believed was the result booby trap being sprung – thus complicating further digging since then. A drilling effort in the mid 1800’s was said to have uncovered fragments of a gold chain. In 1971, a camera was lowered into the pit and reportedly captured images of wooden chests and human remains.
One of the most fascinating artifacts from the pit was said to be a flat stone recovered at the 90 foot depth, carrying a mysterious inscription. A fragment of stone with similar symbols was found nearby in Smith’s Cove in the 1930’s. The stone tablet itself has gone missing, but a record of its symbols remains. Until now, the consensus is that the symbols are a code translated as “forty feet below two million pounds are buried.” However, Keith Ranville’s theory offers a different interpretation as to the stone’s symbols, which could lead to a new explanation of the Oak Island mystery.
“I believe these symbols have been incorrectly assumed to stand for something else. In the First Nations tradition that I’m a part of, we believe symbols should simply be looked at in and of themselves, rather than thinking of them as codes that have to be cracked,” Mr. Ranville explained. “In the pictograms of Cree Salavics, for example, the images are meant to be descriptive, not abstract.” Using this approach, Mr. Ranville examined the Oak Island symbols and found what may be a set of instructions about a tunnel system involving both Oak Island and nearby Birch Island.
For example, the stone inscription begins with a triangle symbol, which is repeated throughout. Mr. Ranville believes that this represents nearby Birch Island, which has a distinctly triangular clearing on its north shore. Likewise, a symbol showing a circle divided into two hemispheres can be thought of as representing north/south directional markers. A series of dots in singles, pairs and triplets may be quantitative symbols.
Examining all the symbols in this way, Mr. Ranville believes that the symbols on the Money Pit’s stone tablet are actually technical instructions describing the location and layout of a possible underground network involving both Oak Island and Birch Island. “There was a fragment of another stone tablet that was found on Oak Island’s Smith Cove in the 1930’s,” Mr. Ranville explained. “It too has these types of symbols, but one in particular appears to be a Greek symbol designating ‘underwater door’. In conjunction with the other symbols, I believe this points to underwater doors and additional shafts on Birch Island itself.” Smith’s Cove is on the part of Oak Island that is closest to Birch Island, and is said to have yielded several artifacts itself over the years.
“Based on the inscribed symbols, I think we should be looking at Oak Island and Birch Island together in order to solve the mystery. If Birch Island proves to have underwater doors and tunnels around its triangular clearing, then it would be a huge step forward in our understanding of what Oak Island is all about.”
There have been many, occasionally bizarre, theories as to what the Oak Island tunnels may contain: a Masonic vault containing the Holy Grail, Viking or Pirate booty, Inca treasure, the French Royal Crown Jewels, payroll for colonial British soldiers or even the secret writings of Francis Bacon. Mr. Ranville prefers not to speculate. “Those are interesting and sometimes funny theories, but I’d rather just look at the evidence that we do have, and go from there.”
Mr. Ranville is a self-taught researcher born in Manitoba. While living in Vancouver, he became acquainted with the Oak Island mystery and began studying it. In October 2005, he relocated to Nova Scotia to further research and advance his theories on the subject.
Both Oak Island and Birch Island are private property, and access must be sought by permission of the landowners.
Is Oak Island’s treasure really on Birch Island?
First Nations translator deciphers ancient stone as a treasure map
By Angie Zinck- Lunenburg Progress Enterprise – October 18, 2006
WESTERN SHORE – You many have heard about the Da Vinci code, but the Ranville code could be what solves the longest running treasure hunt in recorded history. Keith Ranville, a First Nations man, has traveled from Winnipeg to Nova Scotia in hopes of unlocking the secret codes on Oak Island. He says he has done so by re-translating one of the stones found on the island over 200 years ago.
The was first found in 1803 by the Onslow Company. Found 90 feet down the Money Pit, the stone was believed to be two feet long and 15 inches wide, weighing approximately 175 lb.
Since that time, it has been said that the inscription on the stone read, “forty feet below two million pounds are buried,” as translated by James Leitchi, a professor of languages at Dalhousie University. Some researchers have questioned this translation, as Mr. Leitchi was involved in a treasure hunting company trying to sell stocks.
Today, the actual stone is lost. It was used as a hearthstone in two homes on Oak Island, but it was moved to a Halifax store front where it went missing when the building was torn down. Its last known location was around the Centennial Pool area. Mr. Ranville used pictures of the stone to decipher its series of shapes, lines and dots to reveal a new translation that reads more like a map. “I’ve brought some new stuff to the table,” he says, adding that the stone’s etchings could be used to figure out the mystery of Oak Island.
By his translation, much of the digging in the Money Pit area has been a waste of time and money. “I believe the pit wasn’t meant to go beyond 100 feet,” he says. “I believe it wasn’t meant to go beyond these symbols.” If one were to take Mr. Ranville’s code and follow it, it would lead you off Oak Island the site of all the treasure hunting for the past 211 years, under the water of the bay and onto the neighboring Birch Island via man-made shafts.“The instructions at the bottom of the pit tell you about where and how to locate these shafts and I believe they’re in Mahone Bay,” he says.
Mr. Ranville believes the two islands are connected by these shafts. He said that aerial shots of Birch Island prove the island has been touched by human hands. These aerial shots of the 16-acre Birch Island do show a large triangle which takes up a good portion of the island landscape. What I want to do is investigate this island where I think these symbols lead to,” he says.
Mr. Ranville has contacted the owner, Christopher Ondaatje, to inquire about doing some soil testing and exploring on the island. In addition to being the home of the famous treasure, Mr. Ranville believes Birch Island may also be an ancient burial site of those who were involved in the original treasure hiding scheme. “This is a significant Nova Scotia heritage discovery and that is Canada’s national treasure brought here for our guardianship long before Canada was established,” he says. “We should respect the civilization that is responsible for the makings of these structures.
“They were a very unique culture and may hold the secret to many ancient structures.”
Although he doesn’t know who actually buried the treasure, Mr. Ranville believes Oak Island and Birch Island need to be protected from further change to unlock their true history.
At the time of this interview, Mr. Ranville had yet to hear from Mr. Ondaatje regarding the island. He says he will continue to research the island and its tales of mystery and treasure. Check out Google Earth on the World Wide Web to see satellite photos of Birch Island and its triangle. http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=k&om=1&ll=44.510328,-64.252033&spn=0.001546,0.003616&z=18
Oak Island Treasure Archives
LOST TREASURE MAGAZINE
April Edition—2007 Hard copy Edition
Oak Island Update! – Cree Code Breaker Challenges 140-Year Old Cipher
MAHONE BAY, Nova Scotia –The enigma of Oak Island has been called one of the greatest archaeological and engineering achievements of mankind. Often referred to as Canada’s best-known unsolved mystery, Oak Island proudly boasts it’s title for hosting the site of the World’s longest treasure hunt in recorded history. Now in its 212th year this 10 million dollar project that has selfishly taken the lives of six young men is no closer to being solved than it was in 1795 when three teen boys discovered a shaft here and began digging for what they believed to be pirate treasure! The boys excavated down to the 30-foot mark, exhausted and unable to continue they realized the dig would be a much larger effort then they first imagined. What the boys found as they dug convinced all three that they had indeed discovered a man-made vertical shaft of sound engineering. Their only conclusion was that it had been built to hide an enormous treasure. Knowing that a proper excavation required equipment, animals and manpower the boys set out to find investment capital. It took years but they did find an investor with whom they became the founders of the Onslow Company, the first of many treasure recovery companies that would come and go on Oak Island. To date the cost of this intoxicating treasure hunt has far exceeded ten million dollars and consigned six sturdy treasure hunters to an early grave.
Now for the first time since the 1860’s one man has come forward to challenge the translation of a cryptic message found etched into a stone that was discovered at the 90-foot mark in the original shaft in 1803 by the Onslow Company. The stone vanished about 1900 and no known image or text was preserved showing the cryptic message. However a Mahone Bay schoolteacher in 1909 claimed to have copied the two line, forty-character coded text directly from the stone hoping that he could break the code himself. He provided the only image of the codex known to exist stating the code was a simple letter-for-cipher that was accurately translated by Professor James Leitchi, a professor of languages at Dalhouse University in 1860’s. Leitchi’s translation reads… “Forty feet below two million pounds are buried.” Although Leitchi’s translation has never been directly challenged it has always been suspicious since a business relationship is known to have existed between Leitchi and the Oak Island Association, the 1860’s recovery company.
Recently Keith Ranville, a Cree First Nations researcher announced his challenge of Leitchi’s translation stating… “Birch Island holds the secret to the meaning of the construction on Oak Island. According to the Lunenburg Progress Enterprise, Ranville claims that Leitchi’s method to break the code was flawed, citing that his translation using the First Nations tradition sees the codex as individual abstract symbols that were never intended to be translated into a single message. Using Ranville’s method to decipher the code, which reads more like a map, Oak Island is directly linked to its sister island, nearby Birch Island by underwater man-made shafts. He cites the repeated use of the triangle from the original inscription and points to the large triangle that he discovered on Birch Island, which is only visible from the air. The triangle on the 16-acre Birch Island takes up much of the Island, which Ranville believes is also the ancient burial grounds for those who were involved with the complex construction found on Oak Island.
Ranville’s work offers a completely different approach to solving the Oak Island mystery. Traveling across Canada Ranville has presented his findings to a number of scholars and groups many of whom have supported his work in principal. He has been interviewed on radio programs and his currently looking for funding to help pursue his research further. Those supporting Ranville’s research include mining engineer, Steve Zou, P.Eng.,PH.D, the Bear River First Nation of Nova Scotia, the Sault Ste. Marie Museum. To learn more you can log on to Ranville’s web site at: http://www.mythandmystery.com/oakisland/eerie_radio_episode_14.htm
Correspondence with Keith Ranville during December, 2006
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Oak Island Radio Interviews
The World today With Gord MacDonald
CKNW AM 980 Vancouver, Interview about The Oak Island Treasure Mystery
CKBW, 98.1 FM Radio in Nova Scotia
Keith’s radio Interview October 15th 2006 on CKBW, 98.1 FM in Nova Scotia. He appeared on South Shore Sunday Morning with host, Sheldon Macleod. To listen to the interview about Oak Island’s buried treasure, click the link below. http://www.mythandmystery.com/oakisland/keith_ranville_radio_interview.htm
Errie Radio Keith Ranville casually chats with his new friends radio jockeys DK & Fizz about Oak Island and it’s Mystery including conversations about theories on the Money pit and it’s connection to the famous Birch Island Triangle. Mp3 http://www.mythandmystery.com/oakisland/eerie_radio_episode_14.htm
XZONE RADIO SHOW- I would like to invite Keith Ranville, to be my guest on, Monday, May 21 2007, 10 pm – 11 pm Eastern to talk about “Oak Island Story.” http://www.mythandmystery.com/oakisland/eerie_radio_episode_14.htm
Exclusive Oak Island News Articles
LOST TREASURE MAGAZINE Cree Code Breaker Challenges 140-Year Old Cipher
Cree Native translates ancient stone as a treasure map
By Angie Zinck- Lunenburg Progress Enterprise - October 18, 2006
WESTERN SHORE- Nova Scotia
NEW READING OF MYSTERIOUS OAK ISLAND INSCRIPTION
Theory points to possible connection with nearby Birch Island
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia: Wednesday, 11th, 2007
Steve Zou, P.Eng.,Ph.D.
Dec 1, 2005
To whom it may concern:
Re: Mr. Ranville’ss discovery of the Oak Island Mystery
Last week, Mr. Keith Ranville came to see me in my office and provided a
document regarding his discovery of the Oak Island Treasure Mystery. He made a Presentation and explained his Findings.
I found that his interpretation of the inscription carved on the stone discovered in 1803 is
very different from others. I believe that his translation has some logic and is reasonable to certain degrees. If his discovery can be proven to be correct, it will have a significant impact on Canada’s heritage on the east coast. Therefore I think that his proposed project is worth consideration for support.
Steve Zou, P.Eng.
BEAR RIVER FIRST NATION NOVA SCOTIA
Bear River First Nation
P.O. BOX 210 PHONE: (902) 467-3802
BEAR RIVER (902) 467-3803
NOVA SCOTIA FAX: (902) 467-4143
October 18, 2005
To whom it may concern:
Please be advised that Keith Ranville has met with the BEAR RIVER FIRST NATION of Nova Scotia and provided a presentation of his proposed research on Oak Island or Mahone Bay. On behalf of the Bear River First Nation, we support this project in principle and look forward to the progress of this endeavor.
Chief Frank Meuse jr.
Sault Ste. Marie Museum
January 19th, 2006
To Whom It May Concern;
In the fall of 2005 Mr. Keith Ranville came to visit the Sault Ste. Marie Museum and provided an explanation of his research and his proposed project to the Museum Director / Curator.
On December 29th, 2005 the Museum received a fax from Mr. Ranville asking for a letter of support for his project.
The Management Board of Directors of the Sault Ste. Marie Museum was provided with his information package and his request at the regular meeting of January 19th, 2006.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, we support this project in principle as it relates to the history of Canada and look forward to further developments which may result.
Mr. Bruce E. Pearce, President
Management Board of Directors
Sault Ste. Marie Museum
Canadian First Nations
OAK ISLAND TREASURE HUNTER/RESEARCHER