Sunday, December 17, 2017

Curse of Oak Island - A Mid-season Analysis

I have found the new season of The Curse of Oak Island to be a crashing bore. I haven’t posted much about it because I keep falling asleep in the episodes. I have tired of the artificial crisis of the week, the over the top claims and the failure to really find anything of significance no matter how many times they tell us they have found something of significance.

You all must remember that in the first minutes of the first episode they came to the washed-out road and wondered if they had lost the whole season because the road provided the only dry land access to the important locations on the island. Of course, they repaired the road and we all knew that was going to happen. If they couldn’t repair it, we’d have had a one hour special rather than the opening of the season.

Look what has happened since. Well, the government, either in Nova Scotia or the Canadian government, was going to shut down the operation. They feared, apparently, for the archaeological integrity of the island. Without a trained archaeologist on site, they weren’t going to allow the search for the treasure to continue. I wondered if the archaeological integrity hadn’t been compromised sometime in the last 220 years. Everyone one and his brother or sister (yes, my hyperbole) has been digging on the island. It would seem that anything that might have had any significance had already been destroyed, moved, broken, discarded, hidden or completely compromised.

But, of course, they found a suitable archaeologist who was approved by the governmental agencies and is now another person who has begun to fed at the trough known as Oak Island. Oh, don’t misunderstand. I’m sure the man is highly qualified and knows what he’s doing, but I’m not sure that he is all that important.
This whole program, meaning The Cures of Oak Island, is so important to Nova Scotia that they’re not going to stop the production. Millions of dollars are at stake, millions have been brought into the local economy and people are coming for tours of the island and tales of the treasure. Of course the government is not going to shut the thing down and stop the floor of dollars.

So, what have they found this season?

Well, Rick, who was suffering from Lyme Disease, another of the problems over blown this season (and, again, don’t get me wrong, the disease is serious), but Marty showed up to tell him they had found the Money Pit. It sounded like a dramatic announcement It had been teased in the trailers for the season. Now they were close to the treasure, but all it really meant was that Marty believed they had found the original hole dug back in 1795. Didn’t mean there was any treasure to be found, only that they had found, well, an old hole, which meant very little in the overall picture.

The guys with the metal detectors, who seem to be doing the most important work here, found the barrel of a gun. Before the commercial break, we got a glimpse of it, and by the sight on that barrel, it was clear to me that it had been modeled after the Colt Peacemaker, first produced in 1873, which meant its relevance was limited. Back from commercial and we learn that it was the barrel from a cap pistol made in the 1950s, so the relevance is further reduced. It might have belonged to Ricky Restall, youngest son of Robert Restall. For those who don’t know, Restall and his oldest son, Robert, Jr., died on Oak Island in a tragic accident that took two other lives, Karl Graeser and Cyril Hiltz.

Just to recap this tragic tale, Robert Restall had arrived on the island in the late 1950s sure that he could find the treasure. He brought his family with him and they spent their summers in their effort to recover what had been buried in the Money Pit. On August 17, 1965, about two in the afternoon, Restall told his wife, Mildred, that he had to go into town. He’d work for another hour or so and then return to clean up for the trip.

Restall, climbing down into shaft that he had been working in that day, fell into about four feet of water that had collected on the floor of the shaft. His older son, saw his father lying in the water and began to climb down to help him. He too lost consciousness and fell into the water. Moments later, Graeser, one of Restall’s backers and a marina operator from Long Island, arrived, saw the trouble and climbed down to assist. Behind him was 16-year-old Cyril Hiltz. Both of them lost consciousness and fell into the shaft. The final person to fall into the water was 17-year-old Andy DeMont.

By now there were calls for assistance and a group of tourists on the island, including a fire fighter, Edward White, ran to help. White apparently realized there was some sort of gas in the shaft. White tied a rope around his waist, and had others lower him into the shaft. He was able to pull the unconscious DeMont out of the water, but White was beginning to lose consciousness as well. He tried to find the others but failed. DeMont, and White were pulled out and given artificial respiration, regaining consciousness.

The other four did not survive. The autopsy suggested they had all died by drowning, which, given the circumstances, makes some sense. They all fell, unconscious, into about four feet of water.

This didn’t stop others, over the years, from attempting to find the treasure. Of course, all those attempts have failed, but none seem to have been as well financed and equipped as that begun by the Laginas boys. They keep digging and drilling and finding little bit of this and a piece of that. These have been promoted with great fanfare, but mean little to the overall solution. A bit or two of pottery, found far below the surface, seemed to suggest something to the Laginas and others, though I’m not sure what. Had the land been undisturbed, had there not been two centuries of people digging up that one end of the island, it might have been significant, but without some sort of context, it seems, to me, to mean little.

When we get right down to it, and which is the reason that I haven’t posted much of anything about this season is because it mirrors the last few seasons. Discoveries touted as important, but really, in the end mean little. The pieces of the cap gun were returned to Rick Restall, and seeing him and his sister certainly put faces on some of the tragedy of the island. And, we have learned a great deal about the history of the island, but nothing that gets us any closer to the treasure.

Yes, I will continue to watch. But I fear, at this point, it is a lost cause. The treasure, if there ever was one, was removed long ago, probably before the boys began digging in 1795. The little bits and pieces of history found on the island have almost nothing to do with the actual treasure and is more probably debris from all the searching that has been going on for centuries. I wish them luck, but according to those celebrity net worth pages I looked at, the Laginas have millions already and this is more a love of adventure than anything else. *

*I know that some of those celebrity net worth pages are completely wrong. I don’t know how they obtain the figures but it seems to be guess work at best.


TheDimov said...

But I thought you would have particularly liked the last episode Kevin, since instead of 'getting wood' this time they have 'BONED UP'! I mean this is tremendously exciting news!

Paul Andrew Kimball said...

This whole program, meaning The Cures of Oak Island, is so important to Nova Scotia that they’re not going to stop the production. Millions of dollars are at stake, millions have been brought into the local economy and people are coming for tours of the island and tales of the treasure. Of course the government is not going to shut the thing down and stop the floor of dollars.

I'm afraid this isn't accurate, Kevin. Yes, the government, through its film incentive program, funds Oak Island... just as it funds ANY film or TV production that has a bona fide commercial licence or distributor attached. The government has nothing to do with whether or not a network decides to continue making the series, and if it were to be cancelled wouldn't care less - the money would just go to fund some other film or series. As for millions being brought into the local economy by the series, I'd love to see the fiscal analysis that shows that to be true. I've been on Oak Island, and yes, the folks who own it have set up a small interpretive center and run tours there now... but that isn't bringing millions into the local economy (although I'm sure the owners are making some extra bucks off it all).

In other words, Oak Island isn't actually very important to the Nova Scotia economy at all. If the series were to end tomorrow, the impact would be so negligible as to go unnoticed by all but anyone directly involved in production (a small group) or the island itself and the immediate surrounding area (to some small extent).

Mr. Sweepy said...

You missed something. When they pull out the two bones from said different humans, there was something very odd in my opinion about this. To begin with, they were drilling with a 3' or 4" diameter drill. I can hardly see a way only one bone from two different humans could be brought up with that big of drill. Yet no more bone pieces or fragments or cut signs on the two bones. The human body has what? 125 bones or whatever the number is. The point is I think it would be nearly if not impossible for that drill not to bring up more bones.

In short, I think they faked it.

Brian B said...

I’m confident most of these shows fake various elements with or without the knowledge of the actors. We know some ghost hunting shows have faked their drama, and we know for a fact shows like Pawn Stars was a series of entirely staged interactions filmed well after the objects were already assessed and discussed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the bones, the coin, and other artifacts weren’t planted there.

KRandle said...

Paul -

I wasn't thinking of the government funding of film projects but of all the resources that it draws to the community. The product crew is there for the months of filming, though I don't know how large that crew might be. Then you have the Laginas and their various friends and relatives. They're also renting a lot of heavy equipment, which isn't cheap and buying quite a bit of other stuff. Housing for everyone, food and incidentals adds to the bill. Plus there is the publicity and we've seen that there are people coming into the area to take tours of Oak Island. This was the economic boom that I was thinking of. Maybe it's not as valuable as I think,but I really can't see them throwing up any road blocks that won't be easily resolved.

But, as they say... that's my opinion.

Paul Andrew Kimball said...

Yes, of course you’re welcome to your opinion Kevin. But as someone who lives here, knows the production, the producers, the community and the government, I thought I would just toss some factual perspective in there.

Are there some small spin-off benefits? Of course. There always are.

Would that be enough to stop the government from shutting things down if there was a legitimate reason for them to do so? Absolutely not.

My contention is with your claim that this thing is worth so much to NS that the government would never shut it down. That’s just not true. I also suspect that the whole archaeological thing was... a lot less than it was made out to be.

Carry on.


KRandle said...

Paul -

I bow to your greater knowledge on this... It just seemed to me that the introduction of the archaeologist in the mix was ill-timed, given the show had been on the air for years and that centuries had passed since the first hole was dug. And, I remembered the button found at the Roswell crash site that had to have been planted by someone from the show. It was a button from a class A Air Force uniform that meant absolutely nothing, other than the stars of the show found it.

And, then, thinking about it, you're probably right that the production company made a big deal out of this for the drama of it. Of course we know the show won't be shut down until the ratings tank. Anyway, sorry if I offended the Nova Scotia government. I just meant that the show wasn't going to be shut down because someone is making money on it.

Lorna Hunter said...

Kevin, the show's entertainment value lies in your analysis of it!
Merry Christmas!

Lyme Victim said...

Well you got this issue ***Well, Rick, who was suffering from Lyme Disease, another of the problems over blown this season (and, again, don’t get me wrong, the disease is serious)*** completely wrong! Rick HAS,not past tense, & will HAVE Lyme Disease his entire life. I just pray you or anyone you care about never contracts Lyme Disease. It's not just serious it is deadly. People die or wish they could die after struggling with this completely debilitating disease. Even if it goes in remission when it rears it's ugly head many years later, peoples lives are forever changed. Don't comment, even in passing, on something you obviously have no knowledge of.