Library of Dreams!

DATELINE:  Magic on the Bookshelves?

end table of Titanic   Brenda Duval’s Titanic End Table

We all know the famous baseball story by W.P. Kinsella, Field of Dreams, in which a man is inspired by a spirit of Shoeless Joe Jackson to build a baseball field in his cornfield.

As a result, he finds himself at the epicenter of spirit life.

We never presumed to be the builder of a “Library of Dreams,” yet it appears to be our role late in life. It was easy to change part of the house, the north wing, to a library to honor all the people who lived in the Spring Village area since 1800, but in particular we had a push by the main spirit who has reached out to us:  one of the passengers of the Titanic who met his end at an all-too young age of 21 years.

For decades, without knowing why, compelled by unknown forces, we have collected many items somehow associated with the infamous tragedy at sea that killed 1500 people: RMS Titanic.

Our part has been minor, pointing out only one more benighted victim of the arrogance of luxury and money in 1912. He is our spiritual chess-mate from Titanic.

Richard himself was privileged by birth, but also never had a chance to realize his potential as a poet and philanthropist.

Richard too loved libraries. The final library in his life was the First Class Reading Room on the Titanic. There is even a photo of him, back to camera, reading while his father was on deck, also photographed, looking for his son.

Within two days, they would drown.

Richard’s other favorite library belonged to his aunt, Julia White Castle, who married the Hawaiian pineapple king, James Castle. They had the largest library in Hawaii in 1900 in their Waikiki Diamond Head mansion.

Richard lived there for a year. While his brother went out to enjoy the climate and people, Richard enjoyed the hundred magazine subscriptions that arrived regularly .

Almost in irony, after Richard died, his brother Percy wrote over 25 books: they too adorn our library shelf.

Local artist Brenda Duval, painted a picture of Titanic at full steam atop an end table. It is a labor of love, as she has all four funnel stacks billowing dark smoke. Only three were functional: the fourth was for show. It was the one that fell off the ship after the iceberg hit. It smashed into the frigid water atop dozens who had jumped—and were struck by a lethal force before hypothermia killed them. Richard likely was one of these unfortunates.

All of this is part of our library of dreams, giving the spirits of Mill Circle their safe haven. Based on photos of the original First Class Reading Room, we proudly note that we have more books! We will maintain it as long as our own spirit holds out.

 

American Master: Andrew Wyeth, son of N.C.

 DATELINE: And father of Jamie Wyeth

Christina's World Another World?

As painters go, he was dismissed by a generation as the dark vision of Norman Rockwell, or the pastel version of Grant Wood.

Andrew Wyeth ignored all and remained true to himself: he is a giant of American art.

True enough, he was groomed for the role of independent artist by his father, N.C. Wyeth, whose vibrant and bold book illustrations inspired generations of readers. He was the guy who gave you early 20th century visions of Treasure Island and other classic novels. He was Scribner’s go-to artist of robust literary images.

N.C. felt smaller than life, making a big living in his art, but not true to what he felt he should have been. So, he instructed and mentored his son Andrew from an early age to become all the father never could.

If you don’t yet appreciate Andrew Wyeth, this documentary will educate you fast and completely. He was a man who never went to study European masters but stayed in PA and Maine to paint the bleak landscapes of his world. He also used a tempura style to mute the already dour, almost airless world of his art.

“Christina’s World” catapulted him into international fame. Few understood the stark horror of an invalid crawling home, which was the subject matter.

For a man who seemed to catch the wind on canvas, he was an easy mark for a wife who served as business manager, and a secret model named Helga who gave him 15 years of portraiture. In his old age, he released these works, which catapulted him back in the conversation of art masters.

He was dismissed for a time as not being abstract enough, experimental enough, and too sentimental with his deathly images. It’s no wonder: his father was killed by a hideous train accident.

Art and man conjoined in Andrew Wyeth, and the ample 20th century record of pictures, interviews, home movies, and his art work, provide us a documentary for the ages.

We Got Bingo & Lost Gold Too

DATELINE:   Eureka?

bingo

 Bingo Minerva.

The lost treasure among the many treasure hunters from the new History Channel series Lost Gold of World War II is their at-home in the U.S. researcher and Man Friday.

His name is Bingo Minerva, and he has the most interesting and least stressful job of the pack. He interviews old gold hunters and experts in myriad evidence, then skypes his response back to the Luzon Island boys.

The elderly gold diggers on Luzon Island seem to be sweating more than usual in this episode. We worry for the health of old-man Peter Struzzieri.  The only smart one is the expert in reading Japanese markers: he seems to remain back at home base in the air conditioned bungalow, aka shack, of the treasure hunters.

As per usual, they take the wrong road constantly: deciding to dig next to a waterfall—and then becoming amazed that water leaks into their air vent pit.

The other brainiacs have decided to dig down into the area where drill bits have been worn to a nub. The volcanic rock is, of course, impenetrable.

The upshot is a waste of time and a waste of one episode: the sole interesting point was made by Bingo who interviewed an aging attorney who represented a man who sued Ferdinand Marcos for stealing millions of dollars in hidden loot.

There is a hint of danger in that the CIA is also after the Japanese treasures hidden in some remote mountain tunnel.

As the series will go on hiatus after the next episode, we suspect we are about to be left hanging for a year.

 

Hitch Your Wagon to a Gold Star

DATELINE: Curses Again & Again!

Hackley manse  Suspicious Hackley House!

Curse of Civil War Gold has become an off-shoot of Curse of Oak Island. It’s not even a spin-off, just a continuation like the other show History has developed, Digging Deeper on Oak Island. The formula of two middle-aged brothers on a quest is a gold mine.

If you have a hit show, you might as well milk it to high heaven. Kevin Dykstra may know this more than any of us. Whatever hostility he might have harbored to having his gold hunt show hijacked by Marty Lagina, has given way to obsequious sucking up.

This second episode had Dykstra asking people in his crew to step aside to let Alex Lagina look at the sonar findings under Lake Michigan. Yup, the bread is now buttered up.

We cannot fault Alex who is who he is: the youngest one on the series, and clearly the star with drawing power. So far, Gary Drayton has not made his appearance to bolster the Civil War Gold series.

A couple of thrusts dominated the second episode: there was the return to the lake, looking for a sunken box car that reportedly was witnessed by a nameless death bed lighthouse keeper. Okay.

The other angle was the continued character assassination of Charles Hackley, a banker and noted Victorian citizen of Michigan who is accused of evil and greedy wrong-doing.

This time the gang wants to prove he had a tunnel from his house to the bank to the railroad station. As they conclude, it was for the worst possible motive.

Who knows?  These guys act as though they do.

The show’s high-point for us was when Alex insisted he must return to Oak Island because they are short-handed in Nova Scotia. This is after we witnessed 500 workers and heavy machine operators all season. Daddy Marty’s payroll is bursting at the seams.

The producer decision to abandon the first season approach for a sequel to Oak Island is not to be disparaged. It seems to be working out.

Coda for Oak Island Season 6

DATELINE:  Digging Deeper Junior Varsity

dan

The end comes from the Digging Deeper adjunct TV series that often accompanies the regular series episodes of Curse of Oak Island. These are not narrated with the lugubrious tones of Robert Clotworthy, but instead seem to emanate out of Matty Blake in stream-of-consciousness.

Though we seem to be less offended by his stick-your-nose-into attitude, he still comes across as an interloper whose nose remains brown to the Lagina brothers. The key group in Michigan included Tester, Jack Begley, Alex, and the two brothers. You learned where the power and money begins and ends.

Once again, he shows up at family meetings in Traverse, Michigan, and plops down into the setting to hear the seismic results. We have to admit being surprised that these findings were not withheld until season 7.

The radar seems to indicate something large, like an old ship, is buried there under a layer of silt. Next season is set forth for us.

The other major factor of the episode’s coda was the honoring of Dan Blankenship with rare photos and lots of eulogies. The 95-year old never gave up his hope, but may now only see the results from another dimension of time and space.

Privacy toward the grand old man was kept, as there was nothing of the service and memorial to him. We presume his name will be added to the marker on Oak Island sometime next season.

We give Blake credit for doing a commendable job in the sensitive aftermath of Dan’s death. Son Dave admitted his partnership with his father was life altering.

Rick Lagina seemed most deeply affected by the passing of the old legend, but life moves on—and the new, next season will likely be dedicated fully to Dan Blankenship.

Civil War Gold Returns to Pan Again

DATELINE: Glittery Start

Daddy's Boy
Daddy’s Boy?

Has History Channel no end to the depths to which it will sink? Apparently not, as The Search for Civil War Gold is back on the air for another season.

As if to sweeten the leprechaun’s pot at the end of the rainbow, they have added Alex Lagina as a catnip to fans of Curse of Oak Island. His millionaire old man (Marty Lagina) is bankrolling this series, of course.

They are also trotting out Gary Drayton as a guest star, to bring the full-force of the Oak Island influence to another series. It won’t hurt to throw the two most popular figures from the other series into the pot of gold.

Trying to overcome the bad habits of the first season may be an interesting exercise. A three-ring circus may be a good way to deflect and to misdirect. It works for Trump.

Curse of Civil War Gold has hooked us immediately as the stars of last season, Kevin Dykstra, picks up the newest addition:  Alex Lagina. He will now serve as the lynchpin.

You could not ask for more: handsome, charming, and with 50million bucks in the bank. We are now on board. Be still, all those beating fan hearts.

There has been a bit of hostility and passive-aggression from Kevin Dykstra and his brother over the fact that Marty Lagina has kidnapped their “baby” project.

However, without Lagina’s money, they’d be nowhere and with a theory they could not prove.

Then, with the onerous tones of Robert Clotworthy bringing sequelitis to this Curse of Civil War Gold followup to Oak Island.

Dykstra makes a snide comment about Lagina trusting “one of his children” to look after the investment. We aren’t sure how Alex will react to being labelled a child.

Alex is the new star of the show, so move aside all you middle-aged, paunchy amateurs. Right away, Alex shows he is in charge by bringing in a noted underwater archaeologist, which the others gush over (later they sneer at how college professors always get it wrong).

Alex also shocks them with providing a luxurious boat to do their diving from: they clearly have never had it this good, and suddenly are humbled.

Dykstra struts, “Marty’s really paying off…” Yes, literally. That’s why he can take over the show and make his son the new focus.

Of course, these guys cannot do salvage work without a permit—and it again takes Marty Lagina to work out the legalities. When that’s done, Alex announces he will head the dive team.

The show also opened up by hinting that the Confederate gold was hijacked by Jefferson Davis, Jesse James, and John Wilkes Booth. Hmmm. Okay, we’ll come back to hear more of this.

Oak Island S6 Goes into History Books

DATELINE: From Oak Island to Heaven?

appeal to heaven Washington’s 13 Branches!

Curse of Oak Island has indeed saved the best for last.

We thought we were at the end of the road several times, but as a cold autumn wind chills the treasure hunters, they are going out on top of the world.

Of all the discoveries, the most haunting images remain of Dan Blankenship at 95, looking vibrant and sharp. He starts off the show receiving the news about the tree rings proving that work was done before the Money Pit theories commenced around 1800.

As the hour develops, there seems suddenly a connection that puts frosting on the cake of Knights Templar:  Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson spent time in France—and may have ties to the descendants of the Templars.

If Nova Scotia wanted to become the thirteenth state or colony in the American Revolution, it had a fortune to provide to finance the fight against the British.

Did they bring into the conspiracy the man who became the father of the United States, the man who used his Masonic roots and applied them to his flag: the famous “appeal to heaven!”  Why is the template for the flag also found on Oak Island?

George Washington’s 13 branches of his tree of heaven—and his 13 colonies relate to the magical number of 13 in Templar lore. Fascinating.

As chilling as these notions are for the basis of another season, it is the arresting image of Dan Blankenship at the end of the show that is most profound and sad. He drives off alone in his golf cart, the last one to leave the final meeting of the season, alone and singular, a figure of legendary power.

Cybill’s Defining Role: Daisy Miller

DATELINE: Top-Notch Henry James

cybill Perfectly Cybill!

As mentor to the star, director, creative  force, and whiz kid, young Peter Bogdonavich took dry Henry James and made a fast-moving, emotionally-moving film of a famous novella, Daisy Miller.

You could not find a more perfect American girl than Cybill Shepherd as Daisy: unspoiled, direct, and completely at odds with social conventions in 19th century Europe.

Caught between women like her scatter-brained mother (Cloris Leachman) and an American social doyen Mrs. Walker (Eileen Brennan), Daisy does not stand a chance if she ignores or simply teases Frederick Winterbourne (brilliant young Barry Brown, too soon gone to a premature grave), an American who is a permanent resident of Europe.

Whether it’s going on a tourist trip to Byron’s famous castle without chaperone, or worse, going to the place of the viral Roman fever at the Colosseum, Daisy is hell-bent on living her way. Extraordinary location filming makes this a treat.

Winterbourne resists the notion that her scandalous behavior is anything bad. Yet, he cannot convince others in his social set—and crumbles in their heavy pressure.

Rich Americans policed themselves to try to avoid any ugly American image. Fast-talking Daisy, flirtatious and coy, breaks all the rules in her nouveau riche niche.

If Daisy learns there is a social convention, she is hell-bent on testing its merits. What she does not expect is that she will be shunned by the Americans living abroad. To a social butterfly, as Cybill Shepherd delineates to a T, this is far more damaging than she expects.

Perhaps this quintessential American girl could bear all if only Winterbourne remained on her side. He is sorely tested, and ultimately as the laconic Barry Brown narrates, he has lived too long in foreign places.

Alas, it is Brown, the actor, who is gone too soon, based on the promise of this extraordinary film performance.

 

 

 

Slaughter-House 5: Major Disappointment

 DATELINE: So it goes!

michael sacks    Michael Sacks as Billy Pilgrim. 

It sounds like a sequel to itself, and that’s how it goes. Billy Pilgrim of Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novella is a man unstuck in time.

Slaughter-House 5 goes nowhere repeatedly and quickly.

It might have been a traditional sci-fi fantasy, but author Vonnegut achieved some kind of immortality by dealing with timeless repetitive living by a man abducted by aliens—and “forced” to randomly re-live his hideous life, from surviving plane crashes to surviving the horror of Dresden’s bombing in 1945.

Michael Sacks plays Billy Pilgrim, an all-seeing optometrist and is the epitome of what you’d want in the actor: he is timeless and can play callow youth, and middle-aged crazy. Yet, Sacks provided mostly promise unfulfilled. He never rose above this, his greatest role. He became stuck in the mud as much as anything else.

Other names in the 1972 film became more household:  Valerie Perrine, Perry King, Eugene Roche, Sorrell Booke, Ron Liebman, John Dehner, and on and on. The film is a litany of familiar faces of the age.

Music provided by Glenn Gould is Bach on harpsichord and limited to the alien scenes, which seems par for the course of the universe.

This was meant to be a great film based on a great book, but it’s not.

You might forget the movie if you don’t realize what the stakes were:  Michael Sacks borders and teeters in his lead role from wide-eyed innocent to bewildered twit. He seems perfect for abduction and living in a zoo on another planet.

Billy goes from hapless POW to hapless toy for creatures from a fourth dimension. He slips from a Lion’s Club speech to a POW camp assembly in a blink. He goes from here to there in a hop of time travel that Einstein would envy.

“So it goes” was the existential motto and motif for the book Slaughter House 5, but you will never hear it once in this film. That may tell you the failings and inadequacies of the movie. So it goes, indeed.

Hitler’s Concrete to Hide Lost Gold?

DATELINE: Lava Flows Over the Gold

HItler greets Yamashita Hitler Greets Yamashita, 1940.

The limited first season of this fascinating little reality treasure hunt show, Lost Gold of World War II, is moving to a climax that will make us yearn for the second season, if History Channel so agrees.

Like the Oak Island show, this one is driven by weather. Cold snow ends the season for Nova Scotia, and on Luzon Island, the monsoon season will bring this hunt to a finish for now.

So, they are racing like old race horses. Indeed, when they bring in a machine to dig down 40 feet, the old leader Struzzieri notes that the equipment is older than he—and nearly as shaky. We’re talking 70 years or more.

We wonder why they would guarantee problems with faulty equipment. Of course, the ground penetrating radar spares no expense—with an expert flown in from the States to find a void or tunnel.

Then, they hit a snag: not the old drill bit, but the old typhoon, Category 5, second worst in history.  Peter Struzzieri assures us that Grandpa is okay after the storm, though they never really go to check on their key witness.

It is a mere one-day delay.

About 40 feet down, they hit what they theorize is Nazi concrete, bunker strength. They even have old colorized newsreel footage of Hitler and Yamashita shaking hands. We cannot imagine that pure racist Fuhrer would give the inferior Japanese anything.

Indeed, when Bingo travels to Minnesota for a concrete expert, he blows up the theory by stating they hit lava, rather common in the Philippines.

Our intrepid American hunters disbelieve this, and they drill down harder than the Lagina brothers—and we are left with a draining hole leading to—you guessed it—a tunnel.

Hmmm. And only one episode left for the first season….

Lost at Sea: USS Partridge

DATELINE: Death on the Diamond!

USS PartridgeUSS Partridge.

My life seems to be surrounded by sea disasters.

Each person must reach a point in life where they have to take stock:  it may be time for me to sell some of the most cherished items that I have held in my safeguard for years.

Though I may hope my home will be a modern pyramid, taken care of by survivors, kept in pristine condition as I have set it up, that is not likely.

Things will be sold, or worse, thrown away and thought to be worthless by those trying to liquidate the property quickly. Oh, there is some vanity in thinking that my home, once owned by the victims of the RMS Titanic and haunted by their associates (Richard’s cat and his housekeeper Addie), deserves to be kept like Lizzie Borden’s house, in historical decoration forever, frozen in timelessness.

It would be pretty to think so.

The reality is something else, and I have put up for auction on eBay one item that particularly strikes me as precious in a lost, sad way.

I have a rare first-edition book, not even signed by author Cortland Fitzsimmons. It is his 1934 baseball murder mystery, made into a charming little movie with Robert Young that same year.

The book is special, not because of its American subject of baseball, but because of its own survivor history.

Stamped on the inside cover in fading blue print are the words “DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, Bureau of Navigation.”  Under that is another stamp, “Library, U.S.S. Partridge.”

That ship was commissioned in 1919, but never knew what heroism would be asked of it. During World War II, the ship became a mine-sweeper, fairly dangerous duty. Indeed, it was hit by a torpedo in 1944, and was brought to an ignominious end. En route to Normandy, France, after D-Day, a German E-Boat fatally attacked the ship.

The Partridge sank in 35 minutes on July 29, 1944. Thirty-five of 90 crew members were killed, and many others were seriously injured.

We don’t know who saved the book from the ship’s library, or why. We don’t know how many sailors on that boat read the book for pleasure and escape during their dangerous duties of the War. We cannot say that the spirits of heroic men are attached to this item. We know only that for a time, it fell under my protection.

Now, I must find another home for it and another who will care as much as did I. It does leave me with an empty feeling, which seems to be a bittersweet aspect of growing old.

Lost Gold’s Backdoor Episode

DATELINE: Grandpa Knows Best. 

Luzon meeting Luzon Meeting of the Braintrust?

Finally, in the fifth episode of trudging through the thick, humid, sticky jungle, the intrepid American heroes of this series admitted there were bugs eating them alive. Lost Gold of World War II holds your attention.

We saw sweat dripping several times over the past few weeks as they chop through thick underbrush, bemoaning how the Japanese soldiers managed.

Well, we heard in a throwaway line that prisoners of war and others did this heavy work—and were paid by being entombed in the mine shafts where the gold was hidden.

We were also bemused to see the true oldsters of the expedition going out on this show:  Peter Struzzieri, the ostensible brains back at basecamp and a spry 70 year old, and Martin Flagg, a less spry senior expert in Japanese secret society symbols were dragged out.

Peter Casey was clearly concerned that this was an arduous trek. But, the so-called carved turtle rock was something they must behold: it’s alleged to be a direction marker to a backdoor to the gold.

We did laugh when Struzzieri noted that the younger guys would go on ahead. No one is under 50. If you stick around for the closing credits, you will note that these scenes are all “re-enacted,” for cameras.

You also have to marvel when they go to “grandpa” who is the ancient source of wisdom (sort of their version of Dan Blankenship on Oak Island).

Like our gold diggers on Oak Island, these guys like to jump to conclusions. Thank heavens that Bingo Minerva is back in Texas, taking a shell casing to a military historian.

The ammo is actually dating from 1908 and American intervention in the Spanish-American conflict of 1898. If you want rationalizing at its best, the searchers speculate that World War II Japanese soldiers were using old American ammo by war’s end.

Oh, well, this stuff is still fun.

 

Death in April at Mill Circle

 DATELINE: Mr. Ralph Arrives at Stage Depot in Sky.

 

A weekend In mid-April in Boston can be overwhelming:  the calendar will fill up quickly with Boston’s Marathon weekend, Boston’s Patriots Day when the British evacuated Beantown. There is also the anniversary of Wilkes Booth shooting Abe Lincoln, and the commemoration of the sinking of the Titanic. Throw in Palm Sunday, and your datebook is overwhelmed.

Our burdens increased at Mill Circle on this 107th anniversary of Titanic’s meltdown, and the 154th year after Booth killed the President at Ford’s.

We noticed on the cold, rainy morning that Mr. Ralph, the giant shire horse who lives in our Great Barn, did not emerge with the other four stablemates.

The shire horse is bigger than a Clydesdale. Mr. Ralph clocked in at 2000 pounds and 32 years of age. Earlier this week, he had fallen down in the corral and took nearly half-an-hour to regain his footing. He kept resting his head back on the grass.

We know he was overworked even in retirement. Earlier that morning, he had been saddled and ridden for an hour.

Now on a day that we usually only make a short trip to Riverside Cemetery to visit Richard in his grave and his mother Edith in an unmarked area next to him, we had commotion next door.

We had never seen a super-large horse ambulance, brought in from some visiting town, vets, rescue workers, and assorted onlookers. A dozen cars and pickups clogged our small Mill Circle. It took a while for them to put straps on Mr. Ralph, put a stretcher under him, and have a truck drag his body out of the barn.

Yes, it was undignified for the glorious old beast. Yet, it was better than being stewed up for glue or gelatin. The other horses in the corral were agitated by the event.

As much of respect could be found when a gray tarp was put over his massive dead lump of mottled golden brown hide.

When we returned from our pilgrimage to Richard’s grave, they were taking each of the other four horses over to Mr. Ralph to show them their fallen comrade. The tarp was lifted, and each horse spent as much time as he wanted at the body. It was a strange ritual: one horse wanted nothing much to do with it.  A mini-horse mate spent considerable time looking and nodding.

Two others kept bending down to sniff him and raise their heads. It was a repeated action.

Later we learned that Mr. Ralph would be buried behind the Great Barn of Mill Circle, perhaps near the grave of the unknown murdered peddler of 1826 whose burial spot remains unknown. His ghost haunts the barn. Perhaps Ralph saw him during his tenure at Mill Circle.

Lost Gold Beneath the Gorilla Head

 DATELINE: 4th Episode of History Channel Series

marker Rock Gorilla Carving!

Continuing to be intriguing, Lost Gold of World War II has hit upon a modern, but dangerous, quest for lost treasure. Yamashita’s gold may have been secretly buried 75 years ago, but there are plenty of dangers today.

Like Oak Island, the treasure hunters are discovering plenty of potential flood gates and other dangers. We worry about them far more than other shows because these guys are all fat and old.

It occurred to us that they are not missing many meals. And, the latest one-shot expert is a diver from the American military thirty years ago. The search team leaders seem unable to find anyone except old soldiers who never die but put on big pot bellies.

These oldsters are scrambling up and down slippery rocks in humid weather—and it shows, thus giving us concerns that might not exist if these hunters were 25 years younger.

Their discovery of more markers carved into the overgrown jungle leaves proves that someone felt compelled to leave notations to tease treasure hunters.

In the meantime, back in California, Bingo has discovered one of the coins the team found was from 1980, but the other is clearly pre-1940.

One huge marker, a gorilla head, is carved beneath a waterfall, and it looks upon another smaller marker that designates treasure boxes. So, they take a chance to go down to the pool below.

Beneath that may be a cave entrance. Technology continues to save the day:  poles that emit sounds to indicate metal 18 feet below the surface—and pumps to empty out a pool in short time.

If events seem to be moving swiftly and with more results than on Oak Island, it’s true. Only if the show is renewed for another season will we reach the drag out levels of Oak Island.

So far, this is neatly paced and has us enthralled.

 

 

Dead Give Nothing Away: Lost Gold

DATELINE:  Japanese Gold of WWII

Yamashita HQ  General Yamashita’s Headquarters in Luzon.

The third episode of this intriguing series Lost Gold of World War II  is called, “Dead Giveaway,” in which you come to realize that the Japanese soldiers spent more time setting up fake treasure vaults than real ones.

Here too comes the admission that they have no idea what the treasure may be: it may not be gold. So much for truth in advertising on History Channel.

The series Lost Gold of World War II continues to be compelling, but we are not sure if History Channel will choose to re-new it for a second season. No word has filtered out yet.

The efforts to lead treasure hunters to their doom take on even more bizarre elements. From cyanide in bottles that shatter when a shovel hits them, to flood tunnels that spew forth torrents of water when breached, to now bombs under rocks that are moved carelessly.

If they went to all this trouble to dissuade, if not kill seekers of the treasure, it must be something special.

General Titicaca, oh, we mean Yamashita, apparently made his HQ in one of the remote caverns on the mountain where the hunters are excavating. He held out for almost 3 weeks after the Japanese surrender because he had unfinished business in burying treasure.

The group brings in a highly regards ordinance expert who examines the cavern where they were about to dig—and notes there are potato mashers buried here too. Hand grenades.

The dead giveaways are easy to find treasure spots that are meant to blow up the searcher.

There is real suspense here—and a sense that something may be uncovered, which gives this show a genuine chill factor.