Friday, April 05, 2019

Curse of Oak Island Flames Out Or I Just Don't Care Anymore


Okay, I give up. I just don’t care if there is a treasure on Oak Island or not, but I suspect there is not. I have been watching this show since it began but my interest in the subject started much earlier, as I have said before. I learned about Oak Island in a book, This Baffling World, that I bought in the early 1970s. It told of many strange things such as UFOs, which is why I bought it in the first place, but it also contained some of the more terrestrial mysteries such as Oak Island.

It told the traditional story, but it was interesting enough that I looked for other
One of the many attempts to get at the Money
Pit treasure.
information about that buried treasure. I found some magazine articles and when I found D’Arcy O’Connor’s The Big Dig: The $10 Million Search for Oak Island’s Legendary Treasure, I had to buy it. Of course, the book ended with the failure to find the treasure for a variety of reasons. Just the hints that something was there, but no real evidence of anything like millions of dollars in treasure.

In 1968, Dan Blankenship and David Tobias formed the Triton Alliance Ltd. with the purpose of recovering the alleged treasure. In 1971, Borehole 10X was enlarged and lined with steel. They wanted to put a video camera down, into a void they had discovered. According to the story, they saw a floating hand suspended in the dirty water. Another such probe picked up what looked like three chests, various tools, spikes and logs and finally what looked to be a human body. On The Curse of Oak Island, in the first seasons, they repeatedly showed this poor-quality video.

They enlarged the borehole to the point that someone could get down it and look around. Blankenship showing great courage, made a number of dives in his attempt to locate and recover the treasure. During a dive in November 1976, Blankenship heard a rumbling and demanded to be pulled up immediately. As he looked back down, he saw that some of the casing had collapsed. Access to the bottom was now blocked. They tried to reopen the borehole, but mechanical issues and other troubles finally forced them to abandon the attempt. Much later those problems would be resolved.

After this, they planned a “Big Dig” with a new shaft large enough to encompass the earlier attempts, to be lined with steel to defeat the alleged boobytraps and to protect any divers brave enough to go down there. The stock market crash in 1987 ended those plans as investors pulled out and other sources of capital dried up. You might say the money dried up with the stock market.

There is another major problem with all this. There is no real evidence that any treasure is buried on the island. There might have been, but it might have been removed by those who buried it or, more likely, there might never have been any treasure buried there at all. Interestingly, now that we have the Laginas trying to get to the treasure we learn that the things they are finding today are the same sorts of things found during all those earlier attempts. These include wood and coconut husks and iron spikes. Those spikes, according to the analysis, had been forged prior to 1790 and the wood was carbon dated to 1575 plus or minus 85 years. All that suggested someone on the island long before the boys found the Money Pit in 1795, but again, that doesn’t prove there was ever a treasure hidden there.

I’m not going to go into all the items found in those earlier years and what was extrapolated from them. I wrote about it in a book, Lost Gold and Buried Treasure that was published in 1995, which, of course demonstrates my interest going back a couple of decades, if that is necessary. Back then I wrote, “Oak Island is unique in the field of treasure hunting. Everyone knows where the treasure is. At the bottom of the pit. Modern technology should be able to defeat the booby traps…”

This was before the Laginas showed up and used that modern technology to defeat the booby traps, if there were, in fact, any booby traps to defeat. Instead it seems that the high-water table of the island, and a series of natural underground chambers and caves might have given the impression of an elaborate maze of pits and booby traps. The question that no one seemed to ask, but I will now, “Who had the technology prior to 1795 to create the Money Pit as it is described today… and even if they did, would they have been able to recover the treasure?”

The real point is that I don’t believe there is a treasure there and I don’t think there ever was. We have been treated to breathless finds that turn out to be nothing extraordinary. A coin dated 1695 that proves nothing other than someone with a coin with that date on it had been on the island… not that it was dropped in 1695 or 1795 or even 1985… it could have been dropped two days before it was found.

We have iron artifacts, which are not gold, but iron, and these sorts of things have also been found on the island a half century ago. They prove nothing and worse yet, they were found close to the surface. Little has been pulled up to suggest any
Marty Lagina
hidden treasure. You might say that it just the trash left by human occupation.

I could go on, but I’ve written about this in the past on this blog. They have nothing to prove a treasure is there. But the real clue might have been in the last episode on April 2. Marty Lagina, in talking about the treasure and the history, seemed to be less than candid. His body language suggested, at least to me, that he was discouraged and might not even believe there is a treasure here anymore. Oh, I’m sure he did at one point, but he seems to have lost his enthusiasm for the search.

After six seasons of this, I’m tired. I can’t take more excitement over wood structures that were built by those looking for the treasure over the last two centuries. I’m tired of things found on the surface that prove human occupation but do not prove a treasure is buried there. I’m tired of guesses that have no real basis in fact and leaps of logic that tell us nothing but lead off on tangents. If the ratings remain high, I’m sure we’ll be treated to a seventh season, but those of us who pay attention know that the answer has already been found. If there ever was any treasure on Oak Island, it is long gone… and the more likely answer is that there never was any treasure to begin with.

5 comments:

Lorna Hunter said...

Kevin, you can't quit on us now! We're vested in this and have to see it through to the tragic end. Don't you think it will just quietly go away after this season (which ends this Tuesday, I think) and we'll never hear any more about it?

Joy Steele's book "The Oak Island Mystery Solved" is a great chronology with lots of photos and newspaper clippings. Seems to be a comprehensive history of the island that we have not gotten in the 6 seasons of the show. Thanks for recommending it!

orang pendek said...

I can't understand why they have not had C14 dating done on the old shoreline ramp wood and the oak beams dredged up from 100' down. Or else they did do those tests and did not like what they found, so they kept quiet about it. A depressing development last week was the re-introduction of Templar nonsense which their go-to default line of crap to keep viewers on the hook.

Camperfixer said...

Despite underpinnings of a “real” treasure hunt (based on a seriously thin legend, likely started by a bunch of kids), and the fact the island could have been a way station to scuttle and repair ships, etc. (my belief), this is a reality show presented in piecemeal fashion (as all do) to encourage viewership for advertisers. The entire “findings” could have been presented in a single season with the same result.

Its a fun show, that is all....there is no treasure, never was, never will be. No amount of outcome-based wishful thinking projection will change that. And I feel for all those who came before spending their lives toiling away for no reason other than a belief...sorta like looking for the Lost Dutchman Gold.

edithkeeler said...

The thing that keeps one wondering it that there are an inordinate amount of man-made structures underground for a small island. Some not that far underground, were likely above ground at the time they were built. It's fairly obvious that there was a harbor at Smith's Cove, the theory of it being a ship repair location is looking stronger and stronger. But other structures are too far down to have ever been on the surface at any time in human history. What were they built for?

But if there ever was any treasure, it's likely long gone or it has become so scattered as to be inaccessible.

FYI..Dan Blankenship passed away on March 18th at the age of 95.

Unknown said...


This show drives me crazy- even though i have been watching it since the beginning. I think the guys, Mark Rick, Craig and the team, are losing their credibility to allow last week’s teaser to be shown. Gary Drayton started off the show with his body in the hole in the ground (the well next to the Money Pit - that was never mentioned in the entire 6 years - if I am not mistaken) and he says "I see something shiny!!!!"

Then at the end of the show it continues with his discovery of a "shiny" loony and a small piece of lead. I am amazed that they did not edit out that stupid find. Maybe next week they will find an old stubby of beer or an empty can of Keith's. Or I wonder if they are running out of things to show.

I wonder who long it will take the Producers of the show to realize that you cannot give us teaser like that on a regular basis. We will catch on.

At the end of the day this island will be shown to have a history - a history of ship repair, military barracks and maybe even a dry dock in the swamp.

If they had drilled up a solid piece of the gold on the Ark of the Covenant the Nova Scotia Government would have shut them down and there would have to be “leaks" of their discoveries. So i am sure there has not been anything found as of this year.