Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Curse of Oak Island, Part II

I first became interested in the mystery of Oak Island when I lived in Texas and read a book about several different mysteries. One of them was Oak Island. Later I read another book, The Big Dig, by D’Arcy O’Connor which filled in details and since it was a decade newer, provided more information.

It all started at the end of the eighteenth century when three teenage boys found something strange on Oak Island and were inspired to dig to see what was buried there. They did find something that looked like flagstones which they pulled up, then found, every so often, a layer of logs. Using only shovels and picks, they only managed to dig down some thirty feet before they gave up.

Since that time others, always with newer and bigger equipment tried to dig deep enough to retrieve the treasure, whatever it might be. One of those groups tripped a booby trap that filled the pit with water. Others tried to sink parallel holes to defeat the trap creating such a mess that the original pit can’t be located with any degree of accuracy today.

Six people have been killed in these attempts to solve the mystery, and those digging today, on History’s Curse of Oak Island make light of that, even offered up the possible sacrificial lamb for the necessary seventh victim while sitting around a table in a Nova Scotia bar discussing this whole thing. Yeah, I found that a little less than funny but I’m probably in the minority there.

Last season they seemed to screw around, spend a pile of money and accomplish almost nothing. They found an old Spanish copper coin, which they used to open the new season. That means they took it to Miami (really? Miami? They couldn’t find someone in Nova Scotia to tell them what it was…?). He cleaned it, found a date that he interpreted as 1652 which pleased them. They showed this to Dan Blankenship, who has been hanging around Oak Island looking for the treasure for fifty years. Blankenship was quite excited and said that it was the most valuable thing that had been found. Tens of millions of dollars, maybe hundreds of millions, all for a copper coin that I could buy on EBay for less than fifty bucks. Not exactly an Earth-shaking discovery.

This season seems to be more of the same and is even more boring than last. The guys sit around a table in their “war room” and discuss things while waiting for the government to approve their permits to drain the swamp. They take off on a trip to some stone site 46 miles from Oak Island to look at a petroglyph that supposedly has a connection to Solomon’s Temple and that might explain what is hidden in the money pit. Of course it is all a diversion because there is nothing new to report.

Now they have found a second coin, found basically on the surface, that is so badly degraded that they aren’t sure exactly what it is, but that excites them because they believe it is another ancient Spanish coin. If it is, then that is an interesting discovery, but then, they didn’t pull it out of the money pit either.

In fact the only thing of value that has ever been pulled up by all those people who had dug all those holes is a small gold chain of only three links. There probably isn’t an ounce of gold in it, meaning it is, as of today, worth less than 1200 bucks… and that is not to mention that some dispute it actually came from the money pit.

I get it that they have to make a show, and since it is a series, they have to make several shows, but so far this season, it just hasn’t been all that great. I keep falling asleep and then have to look at it online to be sure I didn’t sleep through something interesting or important.

And next week, they apparently find another coin, which might be gold but I have to wonder how it is that all those other people over all those centuries have been wandering around on the island and they best they can come up with is a short, gold chain. Nobody had found anything that resembled minted coins from the days of pirates until these guys get there and then they don’t find them in the money pit.

The subject matter, meaning the mystery of Oak Island, can carry this thing for a while, but if they don’t do something more spectacular than scuba diving in five feet of muck, a computer display that suggests that might be gold or silver hidden underneath the swamp, and newspaper articles that show the Canadian government might hold out their hands for part of anything recovered, this is just going to fizzle out.

Oh, I’ll continue to watch but I fear that this is going to end like all those others… searching for Bigfoot but they never finding it, chasing UFOs where they find a planted button on what was once the Brazel ranch, and now Oak Island… a treasure that is just out of reach and they’ll somehow just miss getting it. 


Terry the Censor said...

Wikipedia's summary of the most recent episode: "As Rick and Marty Lagina begin excavating the infamous Money Pit, a visitor shows them evidence that the treasures from King Solomon's Temple could be buried on Oak Island."

Wikipedia's entry on Solomon's Temple: "There is no archaeological evidence for the existence of Solomon's Temple. This building is not mentioned in surviving extra-biblical accounts."


Tim Hebert said...

Well Kevin, I suppose that you and others will be held in suspense for each episode. Kinda like "water" torture, drip by drip...

Its a shame, Oak Island is a one of the great mysteries/legends/myths concerning North America. And now its relegated to cable TV. Anyone see a positive outcome with that?

Woody said...
I recommend this site, read it cover to cover myself and enjoyed a good look at what we know for sure about the case, the story's origin and the many events following.
The origin of the story reveals hopelessly vast gaps in the chains of evidence. Gold coins on the beach is interesting if not quite rare. But this seems a common theme upon the myth.
When a drilling operation were facing an end to their funding, a supposed plaque with the message described in older, possibly mason-like symbols, '20 feet down, 2 million dollars lie' was discovered, surely enough to raise interest and another year's funding. At one point the level of depth under the ground that was sought was reached, a few more inches created a sound of the drill digging into a mass of coins, this assumption created more interest although it turned out to be the sound of the drill entering a gravel pile.
After another lengthy fit of effort to uncover the treasure of the original story, an unrewarding effort at that, some little supposed clue, which is certainly not available for examination now, or some assumption that is directed towards the myth, popped up the let the original hope and dream slide through into common fantasy. It's still happening, see?
The claim of the 'Roswell rocks' (which Kevin trashed soundly not long ago, feels like some of the same 'let us stay entranced' attempt.
Thanks for reading my thoughts,

albert said...

I watched part of a show on Oak Island, but I don't recall the name. It was snoozeville. I watched "Finding Bigfoot" for a while, now "Mountain Monsters" is much more fun.

Now, there's a new show (can't remember the name) where the guys are armed to the teeth, and claim that they're actually going to _kill_ a bigfoot, to provide final proof to the unbelievers.
That might be interesting, if they use live ammo. (remember the Mythbusters, and the errant cannonball incident? I'll bet everyone involved were eliminating rectangular baked-clay building objects during that one)

The best that can be said of 'reality' TV shows is that they are contrived entertainment. Most folks know this.

The shows I find annoying are the mockumentaries, complete with 'lab tests' and 'qualified' experts. They offer a veneer of 'science' and 'objectivity', and are just as contrived as the rest.

My concern is that some folks actually believe these shows are _real_.

I gotta go...

Terry the Censor said...

Jason Colavito tweets:

Another producer contacted me about a "Curse of Oak Island" clone. Next year's going to have at least six, if they all make it to air.

Unknown said...

We would have heard in the news by now if they found anything great.. all these episodes are prerecorded. This is simply an attempt to get people interested in the island to boost their tourism business