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Casco Bay's Buried Treasure
Pirate treasure legends are found wherever there are oceans and even sometimes inland as well. Maine is no exception. Depending on which legend you swallow the infamous pirate Captain Kidd when he feared imminent capture put ashore and buried his treasure [.....on Jewell Island off Portland Head on Chebeague Island etc....]. Captain Kidd then marked the spot with [...a square flat rock a tree carved with a reversed compass a stack of rocks...] and then [...lost burned swallowed sold described on his deathbed revealed just prior to his hanging...] a map giving directions for finding his hoard of gold and jewels. Other legends place the buried loot on Mt. Desert Island Oak Island or Squirrel Island [off Boothbay Harbor] farther north. Jewel Island is the only site where actual excavations have been undertaken and with which more detailed stories are associated. A legend of a less famous pirate Captain Chase is also commonly told about Casco Bay's Jewell Island. A smuggler and pirate many felt Chase was even capable [guilty?] of murder. Chase is said to have posted lanterns to lure innocent ships unfamiliar with Maine's waters. The sailors would mistake the lantern lights for lighthouses. Instead of guiding them to safety these lights only led them to their doom against the island's rocks. Chase and his men would then plunder the wreck scooping up anything of value and according to some murdering any crew who had somehow survived the rocks' battering. Chase had a house which resembled a fortress with narrow slots more like the old rifle sight holes than like windows. Stories of sighting shadowy figures or mysterious flickering lights on Jewell Island abound including a recent one in 1977. Some legends combine the two pirates and say that Chase worked with Captain Kidd. So do we have buried treasure? Who knows? None has officially been found so we are left not with riches in gold but riches in the tales and lore of pirates ships and the salt sea air.