Oak Island

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Oak Island (Nova Scotia)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Oak Island, a small island in Malone Bay southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, is the site of Canada’s most fabled mystery site, the so-called Money Pit. Here, a fabled treasure was reputedly buried by pirates in the seventeenth century. Since the 1790s people have searched the area around the Money Pit, but with no success. In recent decades, however, interest in the island has been renewed as this obscure, out-of-the-way location has been mentioned as part of the contemporary development of an alternative history of the Knights Templar and the search for the Holy Grail.

According to this alternative history, following the attempt by King Philip the Fair (1268–1314) of France to destroy the Templars, some of the knights made their way to Scotland. During their stay they made friends with Lord Henry Sinclair (d. c. 1400), who had previous ties to the Templars and whose lands included Rosslyn.

Sinclair controlled a fleet of ships commanded by Carlo Zeno (1334–1418). The pair conquered the Faeroe and Shetland Islands, and it appears Sinclair sent Zeno in search of new lands to conquer. Subsequently, Zeno traveled west and, almost a century before Christopher Columbus, traversed the Atlantic Ocean, finally dropping anchor off the shores of Nova Scotia. When Zeno reported his discovery, Sinclair decided to visit this new land. The voyage occurred over the spring and summer of 1397. Arriving toward the beginning of June, they made their headquarters on the peninsula between the Gold and Gapreau rivers, from which they explored south as far as Massachusetts. Left behind when Sinclair returned to Scotland were several Templars, possibly the seed of a future colony. Also carried to Nova Scotia were some of the Templar treasures, including the Holy Grail.

The connection between Oak Island and the grail legends was made by Canadian writer Michael Bradley in his 1988 best-selling volume, Holy Grail across the Atlantic. Bradley argued that the Knights left in Nova Scotia went on to help settle and develop New France and even the United States. Following his initial book, Bradley began to search for further evidence of Templar presence in North America.

In a second book, Grail Knights of North America, he presented what he had found, which was enough to excite Grail believers, but not enough to lead historians to rewrite history. The most important evidence that the Templars found their way to North America is the papers and maps left by Carlo Zeno, the Venetian explorer who spent a number of years in the North Atlantic exploring the lands from the Faeroe and Shetland Islands to Greenland. Bradley has since continued to develop his views concerning the presence of the Templars in North America and the nature of the Holy Grail. In a third book, Swords at Sunset: Last Stand of North America’s Grail Knights (Manor House, 2005), he ties the Templars to the story told in the Book of Mormon.


Bradley, Michael. Michael Bradley homepage. http://www.michaelbradley.info/. Accessed April 1, 2007.
___. Grail Knights of North America. Toronto: Hounslow Press, 1998.
___. Holy Grail Across the Atlantic. Toronto: Hounslow Press, 1988.
___. Swords at Sunset: Last Stand of North America’s Grail Knights, Wellington, NZ: Manor House Press, 2005.
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