Since the 1970s, few people have believed in any possible connection to pirates, due primarily to the massive scale of the subterranean construction.
According to the legend, the inability of excavators to gain access to the contents of the Pit is due to the presence of a complex flooding system which has foiled repeated excavation attempts over the last two centuries. Proponents claim that at least one of the beaches on the island is entirely artificial, acting as a giant sponge due to thick layers of coconut fibres beneath the surface (coconuts are not indigenous to Nova Scotia). Water is delivered into the Money Pit through an ingenious system of tunnels that delivers water from the "sponge" to drains in the side of the Pit.
A dissenting view offered by other researchers is that the entire tale is based on unverified folklore and entirely false. In support of this view is the fact that the earliest known written description of the Money Pit is a news article from the Liverpool Transcript newspaper in 1861 (nearly 70 years after the legendary 1795 discovery), which included an oral account of the early years of the excavation attempts as told by several diggers. No corroborating material of any kind exists, thus the story told by these men is impossible to verify. It is not certain that any elements of the original tale (e.g. "oak platforms," an "inscribed stone," or even the tree) actually existed, and many details have changed repeatedly since this seminal 1861 version was published. It is also certain that many elements found in the Oak Island story are commonly found in other tales of treasure and piracy (see the Edgar Allen Poe story "The Gold Bug" for an example), so it is not known whether several stories have been merged together to form what we now know as the Oak Island legend.
These same researchers note that the island lies on a glacial tumulus system and is underlain by a series of water-filled limestone caves; these offer an altrnate explanation for the repeated flooding of the numerous (over sixty at last report) shafts dug around the original Pit. At present no one can identify the location of the first shaft since heavy excavation equipment was used to enlarge the diameter of the central area in the 1950s, destroying any remaining evidence.
Six diggers have lost their lives during past efforts to obtain whatever lies at the bottom of the Pit--if anything is there at all.
Oak Island is also well-known due to the fact that Franklin Roosevelt, former President of the United States of America, was once a treasure hunter there, and kept up with news and developments for most of his adult life.