I didn’t write anything about the Curse of Oak Island episode that aired on February 28 because, it seemed, based on the previews at the end, that we were about to be treated to some real, important revelations in the season finale. Not to mention that there was the steel plate they had run into some 70 feet below the surface in the latest hole they dug, they had found a ruby ring with a huge stone that suggested that maybe they had discovered the lost French crown jewels and there was a glimpse of a table filed with what looked to be treasure. I was, quite naturally, skeptical, but wondered if, finally, they had cracked the mystery of Oak Island and that they had finally beaten the curse.
We had now reached that season finale and we were waiting for the diver to take, well, the plunge. He headed on down, in the hole they had drilled that was much wider than any of the other holes and didn’t seem nearly as dangerous as dives taken in the narrower holes that had been drilled so much earlier. The water was filled with debris, clouds of mud so that there wasn’t much to see, but he reached the bottom and told us that there was a buoyancy that tried to lift him back to the surface. As I have said, this seemed to indicate that the water was surging up from below the island rather than falling down from some sort of booby trap. It seemed to indicate that the problem encountered two hundred years ago wasn’t from a system designed to protect a treasure, but from the naturally high-water table and to what seemed to be a network of natural tunnels or caves under the island.
The real point of the dive, however, was to identify material that had stopped the drilling and maybe gain a clue about what it protected. They had suggested it was a steel plate but no one seemed to know how it would have been put there hundreds of years ago or what purpose it might have served. It suggested a technology that was advanced for the time and added to the mystery, that is, until the material was identified. It wasn’t a steel plate but a granite boulder. It was a natural barrier and not an artificial one. Mystery solved… which, of course, didn’t allow them to penetrate that barrier. It just stopped them. They had no immediate solution about penetrating the plate, but then, it probably made no difference.
We were again treated to more Knights Templar connections and had to suffer through another of the segments in which the lead cross found on the beach is compared to a cross carved on a prison wall that seemed to match. I still say this Templar connection is weak and still wonder if that lead cross wasn’t planted there to underscore the Templar connection. We have seen, over the years, television shows and documentary producers salt an area so that the cast has something exciting to find. They’re just trying to jazz up the show which, when we get to the bottom line, is actually entertainment rather than a true search for information.
Finally, we end up in the war room with a huge group of people sitting around that table with all the treasure laid out on it. Both the Lagina boys and their kin are there, as well as Dan Blankenship and others who have been part of the search for these last several years. While the treasure looks impressive, Blankenship makes a comment that is quite telling. He said that 80% of the material on the table had been found on the surface. Though he didn’t mention it, much of that material had been found some distance from the money pit area as well.
So, we see the coins that they have found and which they deem important because of the dates on them. Many of them were from a time more than a hundred years before the money pit was “discovered.” But I’m thinking that I have a half dollar that was minted in 1855 and several pennies from 1857 and 1858. The point being that the date on the coin is not necessarily that date the coin was lost… and a quick Internet search shows that many similar coins available at a very low cost in case someone needs them to spice up the action.
No, I don’t believe the Lagina boys or those helping them, are responsible for salting the area. I am merely pointing out that these coins, found on the surface, well, down a couple of inches in the soil, don’t prove that anyone was running around the island at the time the coins were minted. I’m suggesting that having them dated from the late seventeenth century is not proof that they were dropped there at that time.
As an alternative, it is possible that inhabitants of the island, in the nineteenth century, were the ones who lost the coins, and not some treasure hiding group whether they were pirates, the Knights Templar or those who had escaped France with the crown jewels. That none of this was pulled up from any of the holes drilled around the original location of the money pit is the important point here. It is not proof of anything other than someone had lost these coins.
The few things that have been pulled up out of those holes, again, do not provide much in the way of evidence of a treasure. They are scraps of paper, a few bits of broken pottery, and, of course, those bone fragments. But these merely prove that the island has seen human occupation for a very long time, not that there is a treasure hidden on it, a point that seems to have gotten lost.
|Red garnet in its natural environment.|
That ruby that was so important the week before, with speculation that it was proof of a treasure turned out not to be a ruby. I thought the color was rather anemic and I do know that the deeper the color, the more expensive the ruby is, but this was a garnet, a semi-precious stone, that certainly could have been part of a treasure, but again, it was found, basically on the surface and away from the money pit area.
While they were sitting around the table, Marty Lagina, swept all the coins they had found, what 20 or 25 of them, into a pile to make the point that here was what the treasure would look like. But they weren’t gold and silver coins of any real value, but coins made of cheaper metal. Not much of a treasure, and worth, what, a hundred bucks or less.
And let’s not forget that on that table with their treasure was that toy pistol they had found. It wasn’t something from a hundred years ago, but a toy dropped by a child in the 1950s or 60s. Certainly not proof a treasure, but an interesting bit of the history about the search for that treasure.
As they wind down, they all look to the grand master at the table, Dan Blankenship. He’s the one who has been searching for the treasure for decades, and it was clear to me that he was extremely disappointed. They asked if he thought they should give up and his response was, “How much money do you have?”
To me that suggested he would sort of like to continue but realized that it might be useless to do so. He didn’t want to spend more money unless there was a lot of it around to spend. It was not the sort of enthusiastic answer you would expect from a man who’d spend more than half a century trying to find a treasure. It suggested that deep down he now realized that there was no treasure to find but he wasn’t willing to throw in the towel quite so soon.
They did go around the table asking about continuing the search, but I didn’t get the feeling there was much enthusiasm for that. Sure, they looked at what they had found and they talked about the Templar connection, and they sort of said they should go on, but the attitude reflected that of Dan Blankenship. In the end, the question was left in the air. The Laginas were going to reevaluate the season, study what they had learned, and then decide what to do.
I think this might have been the series finale rather than the season finale because they didn’t say then needed to finish the work. They didn’t talk about another hole to be drilled or a place to be searched and they didn’t seem to have a direction. They had taken it as far as they could and they had found nothing to indicate there was a treasure. Sure, there might have been something buried there at one time, but that treasure, if it ever existed, is long gone.
I think that the decision to return is going to be based on the ratings of the new treasure hunt they talked about last night. This one, Confederate gold at the bottom of Lake Michigan, had better historical documentation… which, of course, doesn’t mean it exists, only that there is documentation for it. If that show does well, if the ratings are high enough, I think the Curse of Oak Island will fade away as they begin the attempt to recover that gold… after all, one treasure hunt is as good as the next and as I have said, repeatedly, the gold is not in the ground by in the ratings.