A tale of how one Caymanian found — and lost — pirate treasure on Cayman Brac.
Cayman Brac, like the rest of the Caribbean, has a deep-rooted history of pirates. Just ask any native. Many of them will be able to tell you stories that have been passed down through generations. “Our grandparents would tell us these stories of pirates coming to our Island a long time ago to gather food and hide their treasure,” says Tenson Scott, a Cayman Brac native and owner of NIM Things. “Now our grandparents never saw these pirates themselves, because they were from a long time ago, but you know how these stories go; they are passed down from one generation to the next to entertain the children,” he continues.
As a young boy, Scott was told stories about pirates, and something from them stuck. One story in particular took place in an area called Slaughterhouse, where there is a skull carved into the side of the Bluff. “We all believed that it was carved by a pirate to mark where they hid their treasure,” says Scott.
When Scott was 14 years old, he ventured to Slaughterhouse with a friend to fish. When they finished fishing, Scott decided he wanted to look for the rumoured treasure, whilst his friend took a nap. “Slaughterhouse is right under the Bluff, so it is rocky, but there is this one section that is sandy,” he says. “That seemed like a good place to hide treasure to me.” Scott believed the patch of sand was the only place that someone could dig and hide treasure under the ground. “So whilst my friend napped, I dug. I dug until I hit this hard object. I was knee-deep in the hole. I woke my friend up, and had him come over. I thought the hard object was the top of a chest!,” Scott recalls. The friends continued to dig and uncover the hard object. “After a few more minutes of digging, my friend looked at me and said, ‘Tenson this is a rock. You hit the bottom of the sand.’” Feeling disappointed, the friends went home, and continued their lives as normal, however the treasure always remained on the back of their minds.
Several years later, unexpectedly, Scott heard that someone had just found treasure in the Slaughterhouse area. “After asking around, I finally found someone who knew where the treasure was found,” Scott continues. “And you know where they found it? In the hole that I dug! It turns out that whoever buried that treasure put a big rock on top of the chest. It was a good idea. Whoever hid that chest fooled me!” However, it didn’t fool the metal detector used by the person who ultimately found the treasure that day.
Rumour has it the chest contained old bills that were so fragile they disintegrated upon touch. Under the bills was a collection of coins and some jewellery. Rumour also has it that the man who found the treasure moved to Costa Rica and has not been back to the Brac ever since.
Finding treasures around the island is not unusual. “People tend to find gold coins around,” says Scott. According to his daughter, Simone, another local man found a silver bar on the West End of the island a few years ago. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next person to find treasure on Cayman Brac. Amongst the folklore and historical accounts of pirates, there is bound to be more hidden treasure waiting to be found.
Visit Cayman Brac with Cayman Airways
Together, Cayman Airways and Cayman Airways Express offer multiple flights a day between Grand Cayman and Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. To book your flight, call 345-949-2311 or 1-800-4-CAYMAN, contact your local agent or visit caymanairways.com.