Olivier Levasseur (Calais, 1680 or 1690 - Réunion, 7 July
1730), was a pirate, nicknamed La Buse or 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. Olivier 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 Olivier deciding to try his luck on 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 eye patch.
From 1721 onwards he committed his raids from his base on
the island of Saint Mary's, off 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 on
the island of Bourbon (today Réunion), on 7 July 1730) 17h00,
for his crimes of piracy.
The legend tells that when he stood on the scaffold, he had
a necklace around his neck, containing a cryptogram of 12
lines, and would have thrown this in the crowd while
exclaiming: 'Find my treasure, he who may understand it!'
What became of this necklace is unknown. To this day, a good
number of impassioned and treasure hunters have searched to
find his fabulous treasure, estimated by some at a few
million euros, others give it a value as much as 100 million
UK pounds (2005).
In 1923 a certain Mrs. Savoy found some documents,
describing Levasseur's treasure on a southern island of the
Seychelles group. In one document there are some coordinates, and text in a
At the Bel Ombre beach on the island of Mahé, stones were
found, with carvings like: dogs, snakes, tortoises, horses,
a ballot box, a figure of a young woman, and the head of a
After some excavations they discovered two coffins
containing the remains of two people, identified as pirates
by the gold ring in their left ear.
But no treasure was found at this location.
The cryptogram was much more difficult to solve than she had
Deciphering it could be carried out only by starting from
the Clavicles of Solomon, two letters, a will and documents
compiled in rebus or at least in initiatory writing which
could be put in relation to Masonic symbolism.
These documents explicitly affirmed the existence of a
treasure localised on an island in the Indian Ocean.
However the name of this island was not mentioned anywhere.
In 1947 Englishman Reginald Cruise-Wilkins, a friend of Mrs.
Savoy, studied the problem and discovered a connection with
the twelve operations 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
inundated. It is protected by the tides, which require
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 1970 he 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 in 1977 before he broke the last piece of code.
The story of Levasseur's treasure was featured in the comic
book series Spike and Suzy (also known in the UK as Bob &
Bobette or the original names 'Suske en Wiske' by the
Flemish author Willy Vandersteen), in the album The Amazing
Coconut (1990). There the medallion of Levasseur was taken
by a bird, which fled into the forest, where it became
trapped in a mature fruit called Coco de mer. This Coco was
sold in Belgium in 1988 to the heroes of the series, and
they went on to discover the medallion and finally the