Tuesday 26 June 2012

Buried Treasure, Moving Rocks, and a Ghostly Guardian

The richly-named Money Point is located about a mile from the now-abandoned community of Ireland’s Eye, at the southwest end of Trinity Bay. There, a large pile of rocks is said to hide a fabulous treasure.

An old story from Ireland’s Eye tells that there was money buried on the point, a treasure of some sort. The rocks are said to look like they were put there by hand.

In a recorded interview done in the late 1960s, an Ireland’s Eye man remembered the pile of rocks, and a strange story associated with it.

“They had to be put there, carried there,” said the man. “There is no place around where the rocks are piled up, like they are at Money Point.”

“I’ve heard them say that a person was digging for it one time,” he remembered, “and when then went back in the morning, the rocks would be placed back again. They’d go up and move them one day, and when they’d go up the next day the rocks would be back.”

I love it when I hear pirate treasure stories, particularly ones I have not come across before. There are certainly no shortage of them in Newfoundland and Labrador. There are rumoured treasures buried on Signal Hill in St. John’s, on Tracey Hill in Red Bay, and at Gallows Cove in Torbay. Each of those have a ghostly guardian of one sort or another, ranging from a headless African pirate to a ghostly dog.

What is equally interesting is that there are also a number of Money Point legends, from all over the North Atlantic. There is a Money Point in County Cork, Ireland, and another Money Point in Chesapeake, Virginia on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. The Virginian Money Point was named, as local folklore goes, for treasure the pirate Blackbeard buried off of the shores of Money Point.

Yet another Money Point is located near Ingonish, Nova Scotia. It was named after a cove where a French galleon was purportedly wrecked. For years after, gold coins kept washing ashore, giving rise to a local legend spread by old-timers. They said that one could stick a piece of tar on the bottom of a long stick, and pluck up gold and silver coins close to the shoreline.

Legends move and blend together, so I am curious about the Trinity Bay Money Point story. Is it possible that the early settlers in Ireland’s Eye, moving in from Conception Bay and from Dorset, England, brought stories of ghostly pirates and buried gold with them? Or is there truly something hidden under that strange pile of stones?

One Trinity Bay story tells of a man named Paddy who heard about the Money Point treasure, and travelled to Ireland’s Eye with a metal detector. Apparently, he left empty handed, and no money was ever found. So, if the treasure remains hidden, you might still have the opportunity to strike it rich.

Just beware of the ghost, and the moving rocks.

photo: stone wall, English Harbour, Trinity Bay, taken by Dale Jarvis.

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