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About the Author

John O. O'Brien

Books by this Author
- Oak Island Unearthed!

- Oak Island Unearthed!

a miner's investigation into the enigma of Oak Island, the Mesoamericans and the treasures buried therein
by John O. O'Brien
designed by francis Mitchell
cover design or artwork by Jacqui Mitchell
drawings by Terrilyne E Cameron
guest editor Virginia Houston
tagged : mexico
More Info

Foreword to the International Edition

Various points of view have produced a richly-loaded cart of published conjectures about Oak Island’s treasure, easily generated by the familiar question, “who buried what, and when and why?” That song book, and compilation of guesswork, has itself become a treasure whose value diminishes with each fresh addition. Before the publication of John O’Brien’s Oak Island Unearthed in 2014, no one had been singing from the song-book, geology and mining-for-valuable-commodities. No one had twigged to the significance of there being shafts -- yes, mining shafts – dug down through clay, in a bay rich with islands and peninsulas that were singing “here be huge amounts of clay” to anyone rowing or sailing past and among them.

In writing this, I am acting as a temporary spokesman for things having to do with geology and mining engineering. I was stunned by the primary premise of O’Brien’s book: that some very clever people constructed a fantastic booby-trap by repurposing a mine which for several centuries had been producing a natural commodity that they, alone, considered extremely valuable. That commodity was blue palygorskite clay, and the people were the Maya and the Aztecs. Their palygorskite away-from-home mining was going on as early as about 250 AD, mainly in what is now the U.S. state of Georgia. And by about 800 AD, the Gulf Stream had carried them far enough to reach what would later be known as Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. In that bay, in close proximity to one another, there is evidence of three such mines. But only the one on East Oak Island, whose bedrock is much deeper than that of West Oak Island, had the huge potential for mining extremely thick veins of blue palygorskite. Carbon-dated coconut fibre has been found from about 800 to 1240 AD. But contact could have been made earlier, and continued later.

Ultimately, the full potential of that mine’s workings was achieved in 1521-1522, when an Aztec armada, escaping from the clutches of Cortés and carrying with them the body and remaining treasures of Montezuma II, made their way up to the old mining grounds in Mahone Bay. In West Oak Island – the one which had not been mined, and whose bedrock was much closer to sea level -- they tunnelled a burial chamber and a treasure chamber. And in East Oak Island, they transformed their old clay-mining-works into a hugely-complex (and now hugely-famous) booby trap. That remarkably clever ruse ensured that their god-king and his treasure were safely entombed.

If the Spanish had managed to learn enough, they might have sought it out. But it was only in 1795 that a couple of Nova Scotia youths accidentally found the depression that was associated with the ancient mine’s tall and capped-off ventilation shaft.

The alluring complexities of that booby-trap have kept ”the search for treasure” going for some 222 years. And, yes, everybody who has been involved in that deep East Oak Island search has been digging in the wrong location. This is to say: the booby-trapped East Oak Island mining-works has served its ultimate purpose.

Just incidentally, the very-experienced former miner and mining supervisor, John O’Brien, has a remarkably deep voice. But more importantly, it is his broad and rich mining experience that has given him a deep understanding of what has gone on at Oak Island. What he has written can resonate well with almost anyone who is a mental deep-digger. From reading his work, one can be transported from believing one or another conjecture, to actually understanding revealed truth.

The people who constructed that remarkable booby-trap had come up here to make use of mining-works that their ancestors had been visiting and working – probably on a regular basis – from about 800 AD. The carbon-dating of coconut fibre from the original mining shaft – now slightly below sea level and found in the mid 1960s – puts the stamp on the beginning of that enterprise. The additional and taller shaft, which is about 320 feet (103 metres) inland from Shaft No. 1 (the South Shore shaft), is what was discovered in 1795 and is the famous “Money Pit.” It would have been dug down when the large potential of the “claim” was fully apparent, and ventilation and product-removal required enhancing. The relentless slave and human-sacrifice culture of the Yucatán area is what sustained the mine and profited from it.

Although O’Brien would not claim to be a scholar, he is an imaginative and relentless seeker whose bold, masterful, and richly-revealing argument has set up conditions for me to swallow his theory, hook, line, and sinker.

Jack Sorenson (PhD) November, 2016

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