Cores De-Valued on Oak Island

DATELINE: Digging and Drilling Continues, Season 7

 Not a Sledge!

 

If boring down again seems familiar, this time it is in the notorious swamp where no boredom is deep. If you seem to have a sense of deju vuall over again, we can understand it. Between the recaps that dominate the series almost three or four times per show, we are now re-enacting the re-enactments.

That’s not to say the Curse of Oak Island is not compelling! Though Marty Lagina seems to use the same expressions repeatedly, they are applied to different situations. He just makes it feel like we are re-living a previous episode.

They are now in the swamp, drilling down, to use a phrase for those irksome Matty Blake specials on the topic. What first hits them is the expensive floating drill machine, boring into some unknown hard substance,

The core samples are all clay, of varying hardness and dryness. However, that is not their goal: they want to find the wood of a Spanish galleon. Well, it does nto seem to be cooperating.

They move the floating feast of drill bores to another spot and again strike a waterproofing capstone. A rock formation appears to be there to keep out the water. Once again they may have struck pay-dirt without knowing why.

In the meantime, on a second Western front, ground penetrating radar finds a tunnel system on a part of the island that has not been explored.

 What?

You mean there are areas that have not been dug up. It is a revelation to viewers after six full seasons. Yes, there are tunnels where you don’t expect them, and a fresh faced geologist tells them their swamp is not prehistoric, but only in the range of 300 years old.

Fortunately Gary Drayton is still on the job and he locates what looks like primitive sledgehammer heads: two of them in close proximity. He claims they are quite old. His assessments are now regarded with less skepticism than in previous years. We have noticed the absence of Jack Begley, and the unannounced appearance of Peter Frenetti, another nephew this week.

Bring on a new fresh face: Carmen Legge, the local blacksmith historian who has delivered all the good news for two years. Now he is on set in the War Room: he has made the cut.

And, now he tells them their sledgehammer heads are actually tunnel sharpening devices that date back to the 1400s.

Who needs a Spanish galleon when the ground is like a mole’s delight: filled with tunnels everywhere.

 

 

 

 

Travel Back Centuries on Oak Island!

DATELINE: Gary Drayton Finds Another Gem!

  Two Islands Become Merged!

Curses aside, is it the year we finally hit paydirt? You need two hours for the first episode of the new season.

The seventh season premiere of The Curse of Oak Island is highly anticipated if only because of those promos that are promising the treasure steps to nirvana.

You could say everything is ship-shaped to begin the new year. There is a 200’ long ship apparently buried in the swamp. And, even more interesting, there is a road or wharf made of stone next to it.

The swamp now appears to be man-made and artificial for sure.

Yet, it is the team of Gary Drayton and Alex Lagina who find more beachfront artifacts. They had already been a team and good workers on the other gold digger show about the lost Civil War treasure.

Now they go out to a rocky locale to discover a spike of sorts. Once again, Drayton is the key and his uncanny insights date the item as quite old, despite not having any corrosion. He also finds a silver button, clearly belonging to someone of wealth or importance.

This stuff must go to more specific experts. A conservator is brought in to clean up the button

And, the old spike is brought to an expert who looks it over and sees it is used for stone carving, back in the 1300s. Of course, a tool made then could be used for hundreds of years.  Blacksmithing expert in Nova Scotia thinks it was a stonemason tool.  We are talking Templar and freemason connections. Again.

Had they found the actual tool that carved the infamous 90’ stone that led to the original search for the treasure?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Mountain of Martinique

DATELINE: Trouble in Paradise

Rubble and bodies, after pyroclastic flow!

In May of 1902 was, perhaps, the most devastating and bizarre volcanic explosion ever known in world history. On a paradise of pleasure in the Caribbean, the entire town of Saint-Pierre was wiped out in 3 minutes.

Only one man survived, and he was in a prison cell with walls over a meter thick. He was found 4 days later with terrible burns. There had been a shock wave first that raced through the town before pyroclastic gas choked victims.

People died of burns, with their clothes fully intact. It was bizarre.

Thirty thousand people died hideously in place:  no lava, no ash buried them: they died from gas flows of 1000 degrees that rushed down the volcano. Some people burned up and fell down on Sunday morning, attending church on a holy day to end Carnaval season.

Some people blew apart from inside their bodies: it was a pyroclastic flow, relatively unknown back then. This was not your classic volcano out of Hollywood special effects. It was more like Dante’s Inferno.

For weeks there had been cannon-fire explosions, lightning storms, and the officials of the town refused to order an evacuation.

Back then, Mont Pelee was considered the “debonair” volcano: placid, sleeping, and seldom doing much damage apart from the horrid smell of rotten eggs that permeated the area.

When Mont Pelee awoke, it killed everything in eight square miles. It must be a haunted area.

This documentary even features actual photos and movie newsreel from that May of 1902. It was considered divine punishment for the revels and immorality of the week before when Mardi Gras outrages included lifting up the skirt of a statue of the Blessed Virgin.

If you want to see a disaster that has been little documented, listen to expert volcanologist Mark Davis as he relates the devastation. A fascinating and horrific hour depicting three minutes of hell.

 

 

 

Disaster on the Bay: 1906 Quake

DATELINE: California Nightmare

 All $ Burned UP!

Not another documentary on the San Fran earthquake that features “never before seen” footage? The San Francisco Earthquake and Firestays clear of re-enactors, and for that we are grateful in an age of stand-ins who are emoting history with guesses of human reaction.

If Trump had been president back then, he would have refused to send military assistance and accused the state of mismanagement. Actually, the worst mistakes were made by the US Army.

We suspect ancient footage you have never seen is never before seen by a few. Perhaps you are one of them. The still -pictures are spectacular and assembled with effectiveness.

As for this little documentary, it is distinctive and rather clever in its use of old photos. It seems to us that we have seen better, longer, film footage, but the still pictures here are stunningly collected.

We have a gripe, as usual, because many early film clips could easily be from 1920 or 1925, not 1906. There is no identification placed on where and when the pictures show old trains, old buildings, streets, etc. It could be the city on the bay, but it could be somewhere else.

The timeframe of four days is played out, starting first with marvelous pictures of the night before the quake, featuring Enrico Caruso and the opera company that was a social and artistic event of note. Caruso survived the quake, but the company’s set and costumes were totally destroyed.

Caruso vowed never to return to the stronghold of faults. He never did.

Since everything burned in a misguided and incompetent attempt to handle fire without water, the biggest info loss occurred with money, insurance papers, stocks, and other tangible assets lost in flames. You not only lost an identity of birth certificates, but your financial evidence of wealth.

Much time is spent on the horrible conditions for Chinatown and the Chinese who were victims of Nativists with their Exclusion Acts.

The quake montage of one full minute, with an overlay from a seismograph is nicely done, original, and gives a real-time experience as the pictures shake more and fly by at breakneck pace.

It is a director’s tour de force, but the rest of the documentary does not hold up to the bravura moments of the actual quake depiction.

Narration is almost purple in its prose and prosaic in its tenor, not exactly Hearst journalism. Yet, for novices to the historical tragedy, this film is a worthy entry in the pantheon.

Food of the Gods: Yum-Yum, Eatum Up!

DATELINE:  Blood to Let?

  Platter splatter?

Whether you consider the menu of godly appetizers to be forbidden fruit, Ancient Aliens offered us a repast of great delectable items.

Yes, our favorite show about those ancient space creatures who fiddled with our DNA has turned our stomachs upside down with the apple of knowledge.

Forget Jennie Craig, dieters. “The Food of the Gods” is what you need on your shopping list.

Forget salt. Aliens apparently have an aversion to salt, and when one contactee provided the CIA and Project Blue Book with a cracker a generous alien provided, it was salt-free.

Can you make manna on your Cuisinart? Or do the crackers of aliens fall from heaven? When the episode begins to suggest that blood-drained animal mutilation is tied into immortality, you begin to see ET as a new variation on Dracula. Swallow hard, Adam’s apple.

Yes, ambrosia is some kind of fluid or food that helps you travel for centuries on space craft. Eating it on earth helped Adam, Moses, and Noah, live to be about 1000 years old. So, Ancient Aliens is hot on the trail of the magic elixir.

Yes, aliens farm blood out of Homo sapiens. Yes, we have no bananas.

It isn’t long to jump to trans-substantiation or making the blood of Jesus out of wine. It would appear that ancient aliens need this stuff—and it is what will sustain humankind when they venture out into space

The problem with the series is that it often forgets its previous findings. Yes, there is a supply of blood to be let by abducted people, but the aliens originally came to Earth for its gold deposits.

There is your ambrosia, manna, wine of gods, soma, and all the rest on Gilligan’s Planet.

 

Oak Island’s Cutting Room Floor!

DATELINE: What You Missed Over Six Seasons

 Old Friends Meet at Nursing Home! 

The final “special” Oak Island pre-season show may be the most intriguing and interesting of all. This one billed itself as 25 moments you have not seen because they are the clips that never made it into the series.

That makes it fresh and revealing. We suspect that it may be the Gary Drayton show, as he was the one who found so much and knew instantly what it meant. His vast knowledge of archeology transcends scholars easily. So, we were prepared to find 25 moments of Drayton.

Alas, the episode quickly devolves into the antics of the Lagina Brothers, to remind us that the second bananas are not your stars.

Some of the incidents relate to tragedy, such as interviews with the son of a rescue worker who witnessed the deaths of the Restall father and son. There is also a visit with one of Dan Blankenship’s coworkers, and all of these were deemed not worthy of viewership during the series. So, we are happy that they are now included in the official record.

You may well wonder who decided not to show the moment they learned one of the bits of human bone 160 feet below ground belonged to a woman. You may also find exasperating when they find evidence that someone was chained to a post in one of the tunnels.

Bad news and unpleasant truths are avoided by series, and not to show the two black descendants of Samuel Ball’s visit to the island is puzzling.

In a lighter vein, there is the omission of Dan Blankenship’s 95thbirthday party! It was something that should be assembled in a biographical tribute to the man they praise not enough.

It certainly ended these pre-season specials on the highest note.

 

Shine On, Alien Moon, Up in the Sky!

DATELINE: Manning the Moon?

 Tripping to the Moon!

Mooning the Man?

If you can forgive some of the silly statements, like “fictional hypothesis,” you may find the documentary Alien Moon intriguing enough to entertain, or to surprise with a bare elemental study. Consider yourself mooned.

The film repeats endlessly its main theory: the Moon is a hollow and unnatural object.

Going from there is an easy step for man, and a giant leap for skeptics. It seems that a hollow Moon may be an artificial satellite that traversed the universe looking for a planet suitable for terraforming for a humanoid race.

Guess who and where?

If there are surprises that are indisputable science, it is that information that moon dust is highly corrosive and likely would present major hurdles for colonists there. In fact, the allergenic problem could cause moon hay fever if it enters the human lungs.

If we have a big problem, we need a bigger dust mop.

Another curio of the film is the strange detail that there is a glassy surface on the Moon, likely caused by high heat not caused by meteors. And, the Moon seems to have strong radiation fields.

Of course, such films start off with acceptable points—and once you have accepted those, the leap is six times what a human on Earth might make.

There are structures, either there from ancient civilizations from another place, or are real estate still active by about 250 aliens who arrived from some place 40 light years away.

We again have governments censoring astronauts and scientists to protect us from the demonic elements that could undermine our fundamentalist religions. Until people go back there and enter the deep tunnels of the Moon, we may only experience more documentaries like this one.

Lost Newsreel Film of Titanic

DATELINE: But Never Really Lost!

  Titanic Survivor Millvina in 1998.

A little, literally only 30 minutes, film from 1998, we found it interesting and intriguing on several levels that might pique your attention.

It is really about a little old lady of 90 years living in England whose husband was a silent film projectionist in 1913. One of his favorite Pathe news reels was the limited footage of Titanic and the rescue of passengers. He kept a copy in a rusty old canister.

After his passing, his wife sent her son out to the garden shed to retrieve it, but he told her it was not there—and the old man likely tossed it away years ago. His wife simply disbelieved that.

Early in the morning on a Sunday, she was awakened by his deceased husband telling her that the film was in their shed under a bench behind some junk. First thing she did was go out there on Sunday at 6am on her hands and knees to find it.

The footage itself is not new: yet this copy was pristine. Most of the copies available were old and grainy. It featured a stand-in that the media often employed: film of Olympic was usually substituted for Titanic in news photos and reels.

The building of Olympic proves historical, but it is merely a stand-in for the more famous ship. Yet, many think it was Olympic that was conspiratorially used to replace the real Titanic for insurance fraud.

There are moving pictures of survivors, crew members, and of rescue people from Carpathia that picked up over 700 shivering survivors. There are also photos, grisly, of newly hewn coffins going out to retrieve bodies on the Mackay-Bennett.

One of the highlights is a chat with Millvina Dean, who in 1998, was the only survivor still living. She died in 2009, and she offers a few poignant memories of the ordeal—as related to her by her mother. She was only 2-months old when rescued from Titanic.

Only available apparently on videotape from Amazon, it is a collector’s treasure—and with only a few minutes of actual Titanic footage, it may be meant only for true devotees of the topic.

 

Oak Island: Strike Three, Pre-Season Seven

DATELINE: Another Dud Top 25!

  Red Dye is not #2!

Twenty-Five Moments? It’s like sitting down for those home movies one more time. You may want a glass of wine, or something stronger to bare those ills we have than discover the repetition. There is no undiscovered country in this special.

Well, weren’t those the same as the 25 great theories? Or the 25 great discoveries? You could probably package a few minor times as a moment. And, you could rehash the entire two hours from the previous week.

The notion that Matty Blake, the Lagina Brothers’ cheerleader, has to bridge each three-minute segment with some hyperbole is growing tedious.

It might have been interesting to have Gary Drayton, Alex Lagina, or even Charles Barkhouse, host one of these preamble specials. Of course, that would have given the second bananas too much attention. Instead, the radio personality that shows excitement over a licked stamp is the host with the most.

Could they not give us a two-hour biography of Dan Blankenship who received three-minutes of tribute in the first of these specials?

That could have been illuminating, given his disagreements with the other Oak Island pioneer, Nolan, or even with Marty Lagina over dowsing rods.

Instead, we seem to have a two-hour episode with more commercials than usual, but it must be our imagination.

As for the clips, we are re-visiting Paris, and there are repeated clips of previous research families. Mostly, there are pictures of the Lagina Brothers being “cute” or “meaningful.” Perhaps we have lost something over six seasons.

Yes, there have been three or four figures, including Dan Blankenship, who have passed on. These are among the moments. However, Number One is not finding the leaden Templar Cross! We won’t spoil the invisible suspense.

As for treasure, you will see the jewels, the bones, the scenes of the early diggers re-enacted, and on and on.  We are now at the edge of waiting for the seventh season to start, and this nonsense to stop.

Roanoke: Where Did All the Flowers Go?

DATELINE: Closer than an Old Map

Zachary Quinto tackles the lost settlement of Virginia in Colonial times.  It’s like Plymouth decided to pull up stakes and not have Thanksgiving. Roanoke was the first real town in the new world of English outgrowth:  and they bailed.

In Search of….turns it high sonar spotlight on an entire community in the middle of a hostile wilderness that disappeared because there was no mass communication, no way of keeping in touch.

It’s not the biggest mystery in the pantheon, nor the most important, but it holds tight to a small corner of the “lost” market. Once again, owing to production timetables and in an effort to afford Quinto, he is absent from the episode, short of standing before a screen image.

His compelling narration remains the key to the show. He delineates theories about how the problem of 1587 started and grew into a catastrophe in the making: colonists were stranded in a location that never intended to settle, and they were not sufficiently supplied. Hostile natives also seemed a problem. Over 100 people simply vanished, but coastal erosion may have erased their original fort home.

Three years later, a supply mission found them all gone, their settlement dismantled, and one cryptic message carved into a tree: letters CRO hinted at another location, as if they left a roadmap to their move.

It appears the inhabitants for unknown reasons may have moved to an earlier sieged fortress called Site X, or southward to more friendly natives at Cape Hattaras. As real historical research is depicted, we continue to have one of the brightest of all TV documentaries in this series.

The oldest missing persons cold case turns ultimately to DNA technology to discover there are descendants of English and native bloodlines who still live in that area. Case almost closed?

 

 

 

 

 

Another Oak Island Fake Documentary

 DATELINE: Kidding the Kidder?

The second attempt to whet the appetite of the fans for the seventh season of Curse of Oak Island proves to be a phony countdown. Here are the 25 most likely theories about the what explains the mystery on the island.

This list of “top” items has no particular logic to it.

How does it differ from the top 25 moments on the series? Well, it all covers the same ground, atop and underneath.

This gives the series host a bunch of short bridge moments between three or four-minute segments. These rehash topics are not in any sense of urgency or chronology, as presented by Matty Blank, er, Blake.

In fact, the oldest theories about what happened on the Nova Scotia island may be the earliest and oldest items: like this is the treasure of a couple of dubious pirates: Captain Kidd or Sir Francis Drake. As we recall from our 33rddegree Mason great-uncle who went up there every summer from the 1920s to the 1960s, this was the common belief of residents.

To lesser extent, there was a belief that Marie Antoinette’s jewels may be there, or Shakespearean folios hidden by Sir Francis Bacon.

Recently the show has bought forth a bunch of neo-experts, including Travis Taylor (he brought the star map theory), or people who believe that the Aztecs reached up to Oak Island where Spanish conquistadors put the Mexican treasure,

Don’t expect answers: after all, they want you to tune into their best kept secret shows that begin in a few weeks. You will be teased with Columbus and Washington as potential treasure plotters.

Hang in there, fans, (or as Matty Blake calls you–“Acorns”) but these alleged hook shows are really counter-suspense and point-killers.

 

 

Part Two of Nessie, In Search Of…

DATELINE: Sticking Your Neck Out?

 No Pencil Neck Geeks!

 All wrong, Nessie!

When you have a good one, you beat that horse to death—again. Or, in this case, that Nessie. In Search of…continues its highly impressive probe into the depths of an idyllic loch of Scotland.

Again, Zachary Quinto is around as a narrator, but does no visit to the site.

However, there is now no doubt after the second part that this may be the best, most revealing documentary ever made on the Loch Ness Monster. In fact, the careful building of a profile, in an FBI mode, turns out to show the creature does not have a long neck and may have gills, accounting for so few sightings.

On top of that, they find a similar creature washed up on an island near Scotland in 1808—around the time a canal was built alongside a shallow riverway leading to the Loch. This means the creature had now a highway to follow salmon into the loch.

A scientist disproves the notion that this monster has a neck that can break the surface: it may be more akin to a sturgeon or shark in shape.

It means the migratory pattern of going from Sweden to Scotland is enhanced. It also indicates the creature’s cyclical appearances mean it is not thee annually but may come with a decade lapse.

They have visited the loch in a good year—and armed with new information, go under the frigid surface, 150 feet below to meet up fleetingly with something.

If you are curious or are a Nessie fan, there can be no more heavenly dive than Quinto’s two-part show.

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Cooke: Lady You Just Shot Me!

DATELINE: Why Was Sam Cooke Killed?

 You Still Send Me!

How long ago it was! Sam Cooke was a budding, all-American giant of music, but even more amazing, he was the boy next door who was African-American. The film is Lady You Shot Me!, a frightful documentary about the life and death of Sam.

He was murdered, executed, or shot under mysterious circumstances. A religious gospel singer, it seemed unfathomable back than that Cooke was in a “seedy” motel room with some street-walker.

Of course, we know nowadays this may be more often the norm. Yet, with Sam Cooke it seemed improbable. He was lumped in with Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King as the three titans of Civil Rights.

You probably never hear much about Sam because his music is owned by Allen Klein and his associates: and some theorize they had something to do with stealing his profits and doing him in. Klein died in 2009, but he and his followers have stopped many a documentary about Sam from being made without their control.

So, this latest is also one without the most compelling part of Cook’s legacy: you will not hear his music. It isn’t allowed. He wrote “Wonderful Life,” ironically enough, “Cupid,” “You Send Me,” and “Another Saturday Night,” another delightful ditty about being alone. Now you seldom hear his music.

And you certainly don’t often hear the horror and tragedy of what happened to this talent. An inquest quickly dispatched his death, ruling justifiable homicide to a motel manager who shot naked man who had no weapon. She testified in dark glasses and had no attorney. She didn’t need one; the fix was in.

A few of his nephews contribute to the storyline—and also have done what they could to keep Klein’s company out of their lives. The documentary consults noted coroner and lawyer Cyril Wecht who examines the evidence but cannot sign on to a conspiracy of murder.

However, there are enough legal mumbo-jumbo moves by Allen Klein to take over Cooke’s music estate and run with all the profits to think he, at least, took advantage of an untimely death. Of course, it’s not the first time that an uppity black man was put down.

Fair or not, it is a strong backbone to the story of a man killed fifty years ago in a senseless action in Los Angeles. It was more than black America’s loss, it was the loss of a generation of music he would have created for everyone.

In Search of Nessie, Part One!

DATELINE: Zachary Quinto & Loch Ness

The return of Zachary Quinto’s series In Search Of... is a welcome sight!

With spectacular new photographs of the Loch Ness and with an assembly of rare and remarkable historical documentary footage, you could have in a two-parter, the most thorough and entertaining investigation yet. In Search of..is back with even better production values.

There is the colorful background provided for a full report: over 1400 years ago, it was thought to be a dragon—which certainly transformed the artistic depictions and sent them in a popular direction.

If there is a drawback to the episode, it is that Zachary Quinto is seen standing in front of a screen image of the Scotland territory. He did not make the trip. Unlike the previous episodes that put him central to the action, he is here merely a voice-over with an occasional image.

That logistical concern may be overlooked when it comes to careful assessment of evidence and no-holds punches that we have come to expect in the series. Alas, part of the charm of the show is seeing Quinto on location, actually interviewing people who appear.

One new piece of info features a similar creature in a Swedish cold-water lake, which is reachable by the North Sea from Scotland. Their histories and descriptions are identical. The Loch Ness monster may well be a migratory fish or some sort.

Ending the first part is the theory that a 30-foot Atlantic or Baluga Sturgeon may be an armored version of Nessie.

Truer than Truth: Shakespeare

DATELINE: Who is the Bard?

Shake-Vere?

Once again, a list of notable Shakespearean actors (Derek Jacobi among them) takes on the question of whether William Shakespeare was the man he claimed to be.

The film is called Nothing is Truer than Truth.

One theory continues to be pushed: Shakespeare was a pseudonym for Edward de Vere, a foppish bisexual Elizabethan favorite.

How could a country bumpkin who never left England write 40 plays about royal courts in Venice, Rome, and Greece? How could a man who did not have access to the greatest libraries of English nobility have done his research? As usual, the likelihood of genius never enters the equation. Even a genius needs a little knowledge (unless he is psychic).

One man fits the bill Shake-speare quite well. Edward de Vere.

With the use of mostly American experts, the documentary takes on a decidedly different tone than most of the British interpretations of the Shakespeare controversy.

Indeed, this approach takes De Vere on his travels to Venice, Palermo, Cyprus, and Milan, all spots with highly personal character references in the Shakespeare plays. De Vere met with Cervantes and Titian, and details about these men were not in libraries or generally known in England: but they appear in Shakespeare’s wortks.

So, the ultimate connection is whether Shakespeare and De Vere knew each other—had a literary and personal relationship that might account for the authorship being joint.

So many incidents are based on problems in De Vere’s life: from an unfaithful wife—to his odd bisexual hints in characters. His travels gave him insights into poison poured into a king’s ear and a noble with a younger male whispering in his ear.

De Vere had the attention of Queen Elizabeth (whom some hint) was a man in drag. He had married badly into the Lord Cecil family, but it didn’t stop him from burning through the equivalent of a million dollars in a year.

This excellent film ends asking us whether we have praised the wrong man for 400 years.