Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Curse of Oak Island - The Fourth Season

I have been waiting for something to happen on Curse of Oak Island before I made comments about it. There seemed to be great promise this season. They had millions to spend on the Money Pit (reaffirming the idea that the term referred to throwing money into a pit rather than taking money out of it). They hinted of things to come, have found some coins that seem to have been minted by the
Oak Island
English, a hint that part of that stone allegedly found 90 feet down with strange symbols on it had been recovered, and that the shiny, glittering thing found so far beneath the surface in their borehole that captured their attention on the remote camera might be part of the treasure.

But so far the show has been basically the same. They drained the swamp again and found wood. (Did anyone notice they all stood around saying things like, “I’ve got wood?) They thought some of it might have been a plank from the deck of a ship and a spike that might also been from the deck of a ship but I’m just not impressed. They assume it was a ship scuttled with treasure on board but I wonder if the more likely scenario isn’t a repurposing of the wood and the spike for something else… but the real point is that they have found nothing in the swamp but trash.

They created a larger borehole as they attempted to penetrate a vault that might have been discovered in 1897… but once they pulled up the wood (Hey, we’ve got wood), it was clearly something from the late 19th century or maybe early 20th and had nothing to do with pirates burying treasure or anything else of real importance. It was just another example of all the tunneling that has been done on the island. I’m surprised the surface hasn’t collapsed entirely.

They’ve also sort of scraped the land around the original Money Pit flat so that they can bring in their machinery for these big projects. As they were looking at the dirt scraped up, Rick Lagina, I think, found a couple of bits of pottery and his pal, found a stone that might have some marking on it… an “X” with a tail that we’re told Scott Wolters had at some point on another show linked to the Templars (though I don’t think the connection is very solid). I wondered why, after finding these artifacts, they didn’t use a shaker box to search for more of the same which might have yielded a few clues but they were content with this pottery debris and single marked stone fragment… so much for archaeological research… but I digress.

I was going to talk about the coins found at an English campsite that they thought significant… Except, of course, the English had been all over the area hundreds of years ago, not to mention during the French and Indian War… so an English camp there in the mid-18th century doesn’t seem to be so significant and wouldn’t have anything to do with the treasure anyway.

Here we get to the point of all this and it’s Samuel Ball. He owned quite a bit of Oak Island in the 18th and 19th centuries. They can’t explain his suggested wealth. They just note he also owned more land on the mainland, indicating he was a rich guy. He is established as a resident of the area who had won his freedom from slavery by serving in the British Army. There is a suggestion that he might have found some of the treasure and that was the source of his wealth…

But what I found interesting was that in some of the very early documentation of the discovery of the money pit, there were three young men involved. In those earlier reports, Samuel Ball was identified as one of the three. Why did his name drop out of the later reports? Did he get one of the chests that some have suggested were already removed? Did he get the only chest and the two have been looking for other, similar chests hoping there was more treasure buried on the island? I don’t know… just found it interesting that Ball had been reported as one of the original three in the earliest of accounts but then his name disappeared.

Randall Sullivan, who had written an article for Rolling Stone about Oak Island, was back to conduct more research for a book. I wouldn’t have mentioned him except that his favorite theory is that the Money Pit housed the original Shakespeare manuscripts which would be worth hundreds of millions if true… but my question is, “If they’re digging into areas that are submerged, in what did they store these manuscripts? Wouldn’t the water have turned them to pulp? I mean, everyone believes that the treasure is under water and has been for what, 225 years. The water would have destroyed a wooden chest, or that chest would have leaked so the manuscripts are probably gone, if they were ever there. Just my thoughts on that theory.

So, where are we after what, eight episodes in the fourth season? Well, they’ve found more coins on the surface. They’ve found wood from deeply buried areas that showed markings proving it was from about one hundred years ago. They’ve seen a map that is dated hundreds of years earlier but don’t seem concerned that the provenance is shaky at best. Really, someone found it in a book… can we be any more vague? They’re still worried about Borehole 10 X, in which nothing they thought was at the bottom, was there but they want to look again just in case the guy who walked around down there wasn’t good enough to make the proper examination.

Or, in other words, they haven’t found anything that can be linked to someone on the island burying a treasure of great importance, no matter how many times they tell us of missing Inca treasure or Templar treasure, and religious relics from long ago. They make leaps of logic but in the end, they have found nothing of consequence, but each “discovery” is labeled significant when all they have is the debris of human occupation from the last two or three hundred years.


TheDimov said...

See Kevin, this is what has drawn me into it, the Samuel Ball thing in particular. It was said he made purchases at the mainland with Spanish coins... also why did he buy more land on Oak Island, what was his reason? And now with this tidbit that he was there right at the beginning of the digging. For me, if you solve the Samuel Ball mystery you solve the Oak Island mystery.

The shiny gold thing I don't think will amount to much because the surroundings are gold too.. so I think its just how it looks through the camera. But we'll find out soon of course, just don't think it will be anything special.

I did notice they would frequently say "I've Got Wood" without a hint of realisation that they had said a cracking dubel-entendre and multiplied the comedic value of the show by 10,000, but then I thought to myself well no, perhaps its just a sad fact that I did indeed find this funny and they didn't, hehe.

The show gives me wood anyway, ;) I like all the little mysteries and sub-mysteries, even if it does drive me mad. I just wish they'd had made a concerted effort to find out about this Samuel Ball character and told us about it, even if they came up with nothing I'd have like to have seen what efforts they had made.

NotRichard said...

Is there really no civilian ground-penetrating technology that could answer this once and for all?

I seem to recall DARPA were mapping subterranean aquifers in the 80s, from space, just to show the Soviets they could find an ICBM silo.

albert said...

If I were producing the show, I wouldn't want anything that could answer the question once and for all. If I had such technology (it could be GPR), then I'd save it for the Series Finale, after milking the last drop of anything useful out of the concept. Or course, they're probably lining up the next series as we speak. Some other treasure to hunt. We're talking lifetime employment here.
Those heavy steel silo doors should stand out like a sore thumb, even through clouds, at night. :) Still, finding aquifers from space -is- pretty impressive...

There's a good wiki on GPR: (

Fascinating stuff.
. .. . .. --- ....

Steven Daniel said...

I too have been interested in oak island since a reading the Reader's Digest article as a boy. As an engineer I have tried to see how the booby trapped money pit would have worked, and the only thing I can come up with is that at, or before, 90 feet the shaft should go sideways, instead of deeper. Water pressure at 90 feet below sea level would be around 40 psi and would be impossible to stop with hand tools 200 years ago. The drain to the money pit would need to be found and blocked at the beach and I'm not sure how they could have dug the drains below low tide anyway. My conclusion is that if treasure is still there it is less than 100 ft deep and the "90 ft stone" had instructions to dig in a direction, but not down.

Jim G said...

You would think if there is a booby trap being fed by box drains from Smith's cove then the temporary dam they placed in the cove should stop most if not all water from entering the pit. I think they made a mistake by draining the cove with pumps. Instead they should have left the water inside the dammed area and pumped from the pit to see if it pulled the water from the cove. If there are drains then this should significantly lower the water level in the dammed area.....