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The Isle Haute treasure


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Near the entrance to the Minas Channel in the Bay of Fundy, and approximately 10 miles from the coast of Harbourville, Isle Haute made the front pages of newspapers all over North America - and even earned a spotlight in Life Magazine - in 1952.

Legends and folklore had always suggested there was treasure buried on the island and, over a period of many years, beginning at the turn of the 19th Century; a great number of treasure-hunters invested time, money and toil in their endeavours to find it.

There were stories Acadian valuables has been buried on Isle Haute, and Captain Kidd used the island to hide some of his booty. But the one story that attracted the most serious of treasure-seekers was the legacy of treasure left by the notorious Captain Edward “Ned” Low.

Outrunning his pursuers following a raid on the New England coast, Pirate Ned and his crew arrived in the Minas Channel in 1722. Supposedly, Ned not only buried his booty on Isle Haute, he also sacrificed one of his crew, whose ghost would guard the treasure until Ned's return. Ned never made it back, however, as he was captured, imprisoned and ended his career at the gallows, taking the secret location with him.

Groups of people digging holes all over the island were a familiar sight to the lighthouse keepers. On one occasion, Percy Morris and his visiting guest, Mr. McGrath, buried an old iron pot where they knew a dig would later take place, returning to watch the fun. The searchers were so excited when they hit iron, they dropped their shovels and rushed down the hill shouting, "We struck it, we struck it!" Returning to the site, they continued to shovel - and must have been extremely disappointed to discover an old iron pot, rather than a pot of gold.

In 1929, Vancouver, B.C. native and notable treasure hunter Douglas Carmichael reported he had found jewels and coins on his second expedition to Isle Haute, but there was never any evidence to support his claim.

Convinced of Isle Haute treasure, Massachusetts native Edward Rowe Snow, a famous author and expert on pirate-lore, was funded by American investors for his expedition to the island. Mr. Snow had made previous arrangements to stay as a guest of the lighthouse keeper, John Fullerton, and arrived on Isle Haute in June of 1952. Snow was enthusiastic and excited to get his project underway and put the powerful “M-Scope” metal detector to work. The very next morning, Fullerton and his 15-year-old son, Donald, led Edward down a slope to the beach. With more pressing duties to attend to, the humorous lighthouse keeper told them he and his wife would be back in a few hours to help carry out the treasure. Helping Snow to dig, Donald later left for his supper - and that was when Snow's pick uncovered human bones. Alone in the dark, he was unnerved by the human skull that had rolled across his feet and quickly returned to the lighthouse. Returning to the site the following morning, Edward was alone when he discovered valuable silver and gold coins under the skeleton's remains, some of which dated back to 1710. Snow received enormous publicity and Isle Haute enjoyed worldwide attention following the find.

For those who view this magnificent island from the surrounding coastline of the North Mountain, its true treasure has always been obvious - and never buried.

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