Captain Olivier Levasseur
Nicknamed La Buse, LaBuze, La Bouche (The Buzzard) in his early days, called thus because of the speed with which he threw himself on his enemies. His name first appears in 1716, when he joined the Benjamin Hornigold pirate company. Oliver was a good climber, and had a scar across one eye, limiting his view. After a year of successful looting, the Hornigold party split, with Oliver deciding to try his luck at the West African coast. In 1719 he operated together with Howell Davis and Thomas Cocklyn for a period. In 1720, he was shipwrecked in the Red Sea and stranded at the island Mayotte, one of the Comores. His eye was completely mutilated by now, and he decided to wear an eyepatch. From 1721 onwards he committed his raids from his base at the island Saint Mary’s, at the Madagascar coast. His biggest success was the conquering of the Portuguese vessel Nossa Senhora do Cabo (The Virgin of the Cape), which was full of gold. This was in cooperation with the English pirate John Taylor. He was eventually captured and hanged at the island Bourbon (today Réunion), on 7 July 1730, for his crimes of piracy.
Legend tells that when he stood on the scaffold he had a necklace around his neck, containing a cryptogram of 17 lines, and would have thrown this in the crowd while exclaiming: “Find my treasure, ye who may understand it!” What became of this necklace is unknown to this day. Many treasure hunters have since searched for his fabulous treasure.
In 1923 the widow of a certain Charles Savoy found some carvings in the rocks at Bel Ombre beach near Beau Vallon on the island of Mahé, due to the low water level that year. A public notary in Victoria heard of this news, and understood those symbols must had been made by pirates. He searched in his archives, and found two possible connections. The first was a map of the Bel Ombre beach, published in Lissabon in 1735. It stated: “Owner of the land… la Buse” (Levasseur).
The second discovery was the last will from the pirate Bernardin Nageon de L’Estang, nicknamed le Butin (the poet), who died 70 years after Levasseur, and somehow got into possession of Levasseur’s treasure. It contained 3 cryptograms and 2 letters, one to his nephew:
“I’ve lost a lot of documents during shipwreck.. I’ve already collected several treasures; but there are still four left. You will find them with the key to the combinations and the other papers.”
and one to his brother:
“[..] Our captain got injured. He made sure I was a Freemason and then entrusted me with his papers and secrets before he died. Promise your oldest son will look for the treasure and fulfill my dream of rebuilding our house. [..] The commander will hand over the documents, there are three.”
The notary contacted Mrs. Savoy, and after some excavations at the ‘staring eye’ they discovered two coffins containing the remains of two people, identified as pirates by the gold rings in their left ears, as well as a third body without a coffin, but no treasure was found at this location. In 1947 Englishman Reginald Cruise-Wilkins, a neighbour of Mrs. Savoy, studied the documents, but the cryptogram was much more difficult to solve than first believed. Deciphering it could be carried out only by starting from the two letters and the three cryptograms compiled in mysterious alphabet, a rebus, or at least in initiatory writing which could be put in relation to masonic symbolism. Cruise-Wilkins then discovered a connection with the Zodiac, the Clavicles of Solomon, and the Twelve Labours of Hercules. Various tasks, representing the Labours of Hercules, had to be undertaken in strict order. The treasure chamber is somewhere underground and must be approached carefully, to avoid being flooded. It is protected by the tides, which requires damming to hold them back, and is to be approached from the north. Access is through a stairwell cut into the rocks, and tunnels leading under the beach.
Until his death Cruise-Wilkins sought and dug in the island of Mahé. In a cave, except for old guns, some coins, and pirate sarcophagi, he did not find anything. He died on 3 May 1977 before he broke the last piece of code.