News Feature

Stonington
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, July 31, 2014
The legend of Captain Kidd explored
History Channel films in Stonington

The History Channel comes to Stonington

The History Channel interviews Walter Reed, owner of Guided Island Tours, in Stonington, Maine on July 28, 2014. The History Channel was filming footage for a documentary about pirates, including Captain Kidd. A long-standing myth on the island is that Kidd buried treasure in a cave in Sunset.

Photo courtesy of Kathi Lawson

by Jessica Brophy

Everyone loves a good buried treasure story, or at least that is what producers of a History Channel television show hope.

A production crew from the History Channel was in Stonington on Monday, July 28 to film footage of Burnt Cove and other nearby areas, as well as interview local guide Walter Reed about the myth surrounding Captain Kidd’s treasure chest stashed on Deer Isle.

Reed said the crew called the Stoningon town office looking for someone who could talk to them about the long-standing myth that Kidd had stashed a treasure chest on Olmstead property in Sunset. Reed, owner of Guided Island Tours, arranged with the History Channel to be interviewed aboard his boat Gael. The production crew also hired Peter Buxton and his boat Susan Marie and Bill McDonnell and the Nanatoo.

Reed was interviewed by the crew, and the boats were used to film the coast.

The myth of Captain Kidd’s treasure is one that has been on the island for many years, said Reed. In 1989, Franklin Head published a book called The Notable Lawsuit, a fictitious story that begins—as many good stories do—with real people and places and devolves into fancy. That story has served as the ground for rumor and myth since.

In the story, Head offers an account of a lawsuit filed by Frederic Law Olmstead against various members of the Astor family for millions of dollars in damages. This fictitious lawsuit claimed Jacob Astor had entered the Olmstead property in Sunset, gone inside a cave down by the shore, and dug up a chest. Astor then sold the contents of the chest for a large sum of money. In the book, the cave is described as 10 feet by 10 feet and 25 feet deep. The cave is real, though Reed says he doubts the cave is 25 feet deep. The film crew did not go to the cave, as it is located on private property.

Reed said he told the story as well as he knew it to the production crew. “It’s a myth,” he said in a follow-up phone interview. “But myth doesn’t die on this island. There are many who still believe it.”

Reed said the History Channel is heading next to St. Augustine, where more Captain Kidd mythology exists. The episode is likely to air sometime between November of this year and January of 2015, said Reed.