Treasure hunters have scoured the sandy soil for centuries but Captain Kidd's buried gold has yet to be discovered.

The question remains: is there pirate booty hidden in Sandy Hook peninsula near the Raritan Bay or is this the stuff of urban legend?

Captain William Kidd was a 17th Century Scottish privateer commissioned by Great Britain to capture pirate ships. The non-pirate life must not have been for him, because at some point Kidd broke bad and turned into a marauding pirate himself.

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Historical Portraits of Captain Kidd

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Captain Kidd's Middletown, New Jersey Connection

"In a meadow on Sandy Hook stands a lone pine. Kidd is supposed to have buried treasure under this tree." -Ernest Wyckoff Mandeville

Captain Kidd's band of pirates made their home in Middletown, according to the oral history of the area passed down and eventually committed to paper in Ernest Wyckoff Mandeville's The Story of Middletown: The Oldest Settlement in New Jersey.

"From captured Spanish ships the pirates were said to have brought quantities of silks , Spanish laces and other luxuries to their friends in Middletown village," Mandeville wrote. "The nooks and crannies in the bay near Middletown, offered ideal places for the pirates to run in their plunder."

Aargh! Not so fast on the pirate conspiracies there, Mandeville.

Some historians say there's just not enough evidence to support the tales that Middletown was awash in pirates.

"There’s never really been any proof that those pirates were here," Middletown historian Peter VanNortwick told the Asbury Park Press in 2022.

What Happened to Captain Kidd's Treasure?

When Captain Kidd was arrested on murder and piracy charges, only 10,000 British pounds were sent back to England: the rest of the fortune rumored to have been anywhere from 40,000 to 400,000 pounds was never found, according to an excellent Weird N.J. article.

So where exactly is the treasure believe to have been buried? The Mandeville book places it on Sandy Hook.

READ MORE: Is Captain Kidd's Treasure Really Buried in the Jersey Shore?

"In a meadow on Sandy Hook stands a lone pine. Kidd is supposed to have buried treasure under this tree," he wrote.

Other theories? Some say the treasure is in Bradley Beach.

Others believe it could be in Cliffwood Beach in Monmouth County or Oyster Creek near Forked River in Ocean County.

The pine tree on Sandy Hook is long gone and storm after storm has battered the peninsula over the centuries without turning up any treasure. The mystery of Captain Kidd's buried gold may very well keep us guessing for centuries to come.

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Gallery Credit: Matt Ryan

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