One Last Gasp from Oak Island for Season 5

DATELINE: Not Exactly a Cliff-hanger

pexels-photo-220994.jpeg Nothing here

Lacking the sonorous tones of Robert Clotworthy as narrator, another “clone” ersatz episode of The Curse of Oak Island came out of the ever-greedy History Channel.

A summary show about Digging Deeper had little of importance to add to the hunt, which is over for this season, but did not let series producers stop them from adding another hour of rehash and recap to the proceedings.

Their cheerleader is the same overactive and overeager puppy that has won the Lagina hearts over the past few years as the in-house and resident documentary interviewer. There’s nothing like having your own toady throw cream-puff questions to you and your friends. It sounds rehearsed because it is.

He is not part of the field crew, and never shows up for anything except to serve as a public relations tool. When Marty Lagina showed him an important “archeological find” that he was unable to explain during the slow season past because of “time constraints,” the host interviewer accepted the shocking information with cheery obtuseness.

He was literally dropped into a cordoned-off and filled-in shaft that may go back to the original digging in 1795. Why was this deemed too unimportant for the regular season incidents?

Where was the on-site expert, Laird somebody, the government forced upon the Lagina brothers? How did they find this and why did he not offer any insights? And why did they not continue to excavate the spot that first inspired treasure hunters?

This serious bit of history was shunted aside with red tape.

You won’t find answers here in this addendum episode. This clown narrator/interviewer declines to press on whether there will be an explanation ever.

You know that it is the insurance policy for another season.

It’s called a “teaser” in show business for those disgruntled fans who feel like they have been strung along for another year.

Wrap Up Oak Island: Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

DATELINE:  Like a Hunt for the Maltese Falcon

Falcon.jpeg

If ever a season of hope was upon Oak Island, the fifth year of the series dig was it. Yet, the curse of the treasure hunt was that hope may be their worst enemy.

As the team of hunters gathered at the end of The Curse of Oak Island for an assessment, we came away yet again with a great respect for 94-year old Dan Blankenship. He cut through all the discoveries and made a simple pronouncement. He felt 90% of what they found was on the surface, not under ground.

He wondered about the expense. Yet, he was also even as he comes around the bend toward a century of life, allured by the mystery of the place where he has spent half his life.

We went around the table at the faces of we have come to know quite well: Dan, the wise elder, to Gary Drayton, our metal detector, to Alex Lagina, the hot young nephew of the expedition leaders, to his bearded cousin—and a couple of historians who lead the scribe element of grand expeditions from Alexander the Great to Lewis & Clark.

Dumb luck was lost to dumb decisions, that made the dive team into a 75-foot shaft disheartening. The wish for a steel plate over a treasure chest is the stuff of dreams. If Oak Island is just another Maltese Falcon, we are satisfied with the adventure of it all.

Will there be another season? You can bet your Nielsen ratings on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twofer on Oak Island

DATELINE:  Family History Episode

Drayton Rising Star Gary Drayton!

On the longest of the five seasons of Curse of Oak Island, the series gave fans a grand send-off with two episodes back to back, before the finale next time. We find it hard to believe there are 104-hour episodes of the series, according to some History channel sources.

Though this episode does nothing to advance the treasure hunt, it may be one of the most interesting of the entire five-year history. For the first time, the series consolidates the backstory on all the hunters going back to the late 1890s.

The show is entitled “Family Album,” and it has a nice human touch to the families that supported the diggers and dreamers.7

Interviews with descendants enhance the narrative, but special attention is paid to Samuel Ball, an emancipated American slave who left for Canada after the Revolutionary War, and bought land on Oak Island, with suspected treasure he found.

The other intriguing figure is, of course, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who came to the island when his grandfather, Warren Delano invested in the latest scheme to find the jewels of Marie Antoinette. The allure of Oak Island never left FDR, even during his presidency.

The tie of wealth and high rank among the Masons seem to highlight the earlier treasure quest. The hints are that they knew something derived from their legendary ties to the Knights Templar.

The other intriguing point of the show is the explanation of the alleged curse—six have died, and a seventh must die before the mystery is solved.

The more recent families have re-visited the island at the invitation of the Lagina Brothers, and their appearances on earlier shows are re-capped with clips from the past five years. Of cours

Nothing earth-shattering, or bored from the ground, is here, but this turns out to be one of the best episodes in five years.

Penultimate Digging, Season 5 on Oak Island

DATELINE:  Coming Down to the Finish

 fake ruby  fake ruby?

A twelve-facet ruby that could be half-a-millenium old? Is it part of the long-lost jewels of Marie Antoinette, decapitated queen of old France? Robert Clothworthy’s voice remains so memorable from Curse of Oak Island as narrator.

Under poor conditions with no historical value, it might render only a pittance of $20,000, but with the allure of Oak Island and a queen’s ransom, the sky is the limit.

However, carbon dating of wood objects now seems to eliminate the Templars as the originators of the building process.  No one wanted to go there among the show’s hunters.

Well, that would be enough to satisfy a season of tedium. Thanks again to Gary Drayton, the Australian metal detective, with his uncanny ability to look in unlikely places for unlikely treasures, the series Curse of Oak Island rendered up more mystery as the fifth season draw to a close.

Other events include finding wood structures buried near the beach that 94-year old Dan Blankenship excavated forty years ago to no avail. Is it part of a French or Spanish galleon? Again, we are left holding our collective breaths.

The series may be reaping its rewards at long last with the arrival of a diver to find out what kind of metal plate is covering what kind of chamber nearly 80 feet below the surface in the area of mysterious vaults.

We don’t seem anywhere near losing another treasure hunter in the process of excavation, which may mean we are facing a long winter of the waiting game yet again.

Marty Lagina has been notoriously absent for many important moments this season, and now it becomes clear that he has moved on to another treasure hunt—and a new series to start on the heels of this season’s cliff-hanger. Yes, we will be lured into the trap of hunting for Civil War gold under Lake Michigan and won’t have time to think about what’s still missing on Oak Island.

 

 

 

 

 

Steely Resolve on Oak Island

DATELINE:  Not Rock Bottom

oak-island

As we finish up one of the longest seasons of the five in the can on Curse of Oak Island, there is a sense again that we’re going nowhere fast.

However, more flooding in shafts and tunnels shows the doom of history repeating itself. Once again, a search effort has been thwarted by the lesson of the past: booby trap is thy name. This time the discovery seems to transcend all previous searches.

The Oak Island Lagina Brothers have found a steel plate 70-feet below the surface, preventing their dig.

Who put an iron cap over whatever is below, and why?

We suspect that the Knights Templar were indeed time travelers if they were able to create such engineering marvels on an obscure little island off the coast of Nova Scotia 800 years ago.

There can only be one more dive into the murky silt of the latest hole to find out what kind of steel plating is making a ceiling or a floor over history.

The latest episode also put forth the theory that the Templar gang was smuggling gold out of Europe under the disguise of a lead coating. If that holds true too, then metallurgy was alive and well in the time of Medieval knights. Gary Drayton, Oak Island’s resident metal detective, has his work cut out.

We can likely predict that any treasure or notable discovery of earth-shattering quality will require steel-shattering resolve. Another episode will follow, but we suspect we are going to be back here next season, probably in November, to hear the results of another summer of searching.

A Twist on Oak Island: Templars in Tunnels?

DATELINE: An Apt History Lesson

Wayne Herschel map

 

The 14th episode of Season 5 for Curse of Oak Island was both quite different and quite the same as many preceding weeks.

You had a delay in the hunt for the treasure by giving the audience a nicely-wrought history of the Knights Templar. By piecing together snippets from previous seasons, the Lagina brothers show how they are coming to an inevitable conclusion. Whatever is buried on the island, it was from the Knights Templar and their crusading discoveries 1000 years ago.

The Templars may indeed have come to Oak Island in Nova Scotia around 1300, after their persecution, to hide the artifacts of the Ark of the Covenant and Holy Grail.

On top of that, the show continued to point out that the major hunters for the treasure were all Masons, part of an order that could have been the descendants of the Templars, with their zeal and secrets in full order.

It made for a compelling foundation to indicate the treasure of Oak Island is related to hidden wealth of the Knights Templar. If we wanted a delay, this one was the most satisfying yet.

 

 

Oak Island, Season Five Continues…

DATELINE: More Delays on Oak Island, S5 e12

march of time news

You know you are becoming a hardened veteran of the series Curse of Oak Island when you expect nothing to occur and your frustration level to be enhanced.

We could dispute every decision made by the Lagina brothers as being a tactic to string out the series for another lucrative episode, not in terms of treasure, but in terms of ratings. We presume the delaying strategy is part of the way to enhance ratings by keeping us in suspense and willing to tune in again next time for another chapter.

Once again Rick Lagina brought his fascinating cross to an “expert” researcher. This one, some woman on the phone, tells him that it is Phoenician and from 1200 BC. It’s not Christian, which seems to eliminate the Templars. Even Rick Lagina realizes this bad news in terms of a big payoff.

Told he has the find of the century, Rick Lagina still has not brought the physical object to a real expert. So much for clarifications.

Also, their boring drilling remains boring drilling. This time, however, they hit some oddly-placed hard surface that started breaking the teeth of their bore machine. It takes quite a while to decide to send a camera down to see what the matter is.

Wait till next week on that point.

They also go to the swamp on the Nolan property, now having permission after five years, to find another surveyor post that indicates the swamp was made by men to hide something.

That too will cause you to wait another week for results.

The season is drawing to a close, and you can bet your treasure pants you will be told to come back next summer. However, the next episode will be held back AGAIN for two weeks—just to increase your frustration.

Pay Dirt Hard to Find on Oak Island

DATELINE: S5, E12, Continues to Wait

 Dan  94-year-old Dan Blankenship

As episode 12 of season 5 hits the history books, we may knock History Channel again for giving us repetitive non-moments. As usual on Curse of Oak Island, the same info is repeated four or five times within minutes, usually after what is a break in the action, as if we have the memories of a goldfish.

Suffice it to say, if a glacier landed on Oak Island we’d have to wait a thousand years to see it move an inch. That’s about the size of the Lagina glacier.

After three episodes, they finally decided to show 94-year-old Dan Blankenship the unusual lead cross discovered on the beach by Australian Gary Drayton. The old hunter was wide-eyed at the sight of the cross. That may have been a high-point of the show. Dave Blankenship has been left out of the “War Room” several times lately. Interesting exclusion.

Once again, the Lagina brothers went digging in a trench as their bore holes are coming up empty. They found more shards of pottery, without their alleged required archeologist present.

Alex Lagina and Jack Begley went off to talk to a conservation expert on bookbinding, who revealed that a purple piece of wood is actually a book cover for a religious or sacred object, and may be quite old. Once again, the show fails to go right to a carbon dater to learn what they have.

The cross too still has not been accurately dated, though it might be more than a thousand years old. We expect to hear the Ancient Romans were on Oak Island before the season is over.

In the meantime, we wait like commuters in a snowstorm for the next bus to arrive.

 

Crossing Your Heart on Oak Island

 DATELINE:  Medieval Cross Amazes Hunters

lagina's cross

Rick Lagina crosses our hearts.

 

You may be surprised that we are up to Episode 10 of the fifth season on Oak Island. They have hit a plateau with the boring stuff.

Yes, their 50” drill, supposedly to be used with great care, has fallen through some vault and down 10 feet without meeting any resistance. So much for smashed objects.

There really is no where to go but down.

While waiting for more water (they are out of water on an island?) that is used to sift through the debris located at 150 feet to locate more bones, pottery, or whatever else is down there, Rick Lagina and Gary Drayton, the Australian metal detector guy, went to a rocky beach area at low tide.

With the expensive metal detector, Drayton made one of the more intriguing discoveries of a season of odd items. He located a rough-hewn cross made of lead.

Rick Lagina immediately recognized it as resembling the crosses he had seen from Knights Templars—and Drayton was convinced, without any other confirmation, that the style of the cross meant it could be from as early as 1200.

The Templars were wiped out as heretics in the early 1300s.

There is no way to know if the cross came to Oak Island, improbably, years after it was made, lost off a ship, brought by waves to its present location. No, we suspect it was dropped there by a visitor. But, jumping the gun becomes the norm when your patience is at a nadir. We want some official inspection by experts.

We feel the long wait may be about to pay off on Oak Island.

Another Season 5 Snooze Fest on Oak Island

 DATELINE:  Pass the Bottle of Rum

 heartthrob Alex Lagina Alex Lagina

We love any tribute given to Dan Blakenship, the 94-year old treasure hunter from the 1960s who devoted his life to solving the mystery of The Curse of Oak Island.

Today we see  a mere shadow of what a lively, witty, insightful man he must have been back in his day. So, we enjoy seeing him throw the switch, literally, on another phase of the hunt. We hope he sees it through.

However, Oak Island is exasperating for other reasons.

Waiting for the oscillator to dig a 50” bore hole into what may a treasure vault seems to be taking forever. Yes, it is coming from South Korea on a banana boat. In the meantime, we are left to library research.

Yes, we would love to spend time in a library mode, trying to find vague French references to Parisian royalty of 1600 with Alex Lagina. Yet, the entire operation of four men poring over old volumes is almost as exciting as watching paint dry.

We know not much is happening next week either: Rick Lagina and Alex, his nephew, will be off to see the Paris sites and find more graffiti from the Knights Templar.

It is significant that a Middle Eastern man was buried 150 down in unmined area where something is hidden around 1700. It is intriguing that there is a correlation between early French explorers on Oak Island and Crusaders who may have plundered the Ark of the Covenant and buried it in Nova Scotia.

Yet, we know too that not much is expected to happen for two more episodes. You need to learn how to appreciate suspense and delay gratification.

Oak Island Confounds and Taunts Its Treasure Hunters

DATELINE:  Season 5 Puzzles

affluenza sufferer  Move over, Greed

History buffs had a night to confound and impress with the latest fifth season episodes of The Curse of Oak Island.

Every wild theory found more evidence for its support and together all the most shocking hints combined to create a true treasure trove.

Oh, there were the usual dead ends:  finding a large square of earth that hinted at a treasure chest was immediately set upon by the hunters—only to reveal a big hole with nothing in it. The conclusion of the treasure seekers was that something was there once, but had been dug up and removed back in the distant past. They suggest it was black American expatriate Sam Ball who died in 1846 after becoming wealthy.

Adding to the general weirdness was another historian who revealed that Sir Francis Drake might be buried on Oak Island in a metal coffin filled with preservative mercury. The remains of the privateer of the first Queen Elizabeth has never been found. Might the metal pieces discovered belong to his casket?

On top of that, so to speak, is the shoe leather, later revealed through microscopic examination to be bookbinding. Did Drake’s close associate, Francis Bacon, bury secret and unknown Shakespearean manuscripts on Oak Island? That too is now in play.

Two distinct and separate human bones discovered at 160 feet below the ground in the same place were from two different men: one European—and one from the Middle East, according to DNA.  Middle Eastern body parts suggest Knights Templar and the long lost Ark of the Covenant—and perhaps other relics of the New Testament, which would alter history.

All these weird details hint at a treasure trove of unmitigated mystery coming closer to solution and discovery.

This leaves greedy sorts who want only gold of the Aztecs on the periphery of the treasure hunt.

Of course, everything is in shards and tatters, perhaps destroyed by hunting techniques that have left them unprotected two hundred feet below the surface.

We shall see if history is about to be upended.

Among the Missing on Oak Island

 DATELINE:  Treasure Near?

Oak Island treasure?

 

If anyone is missing around Episode 6 during this new season of Curse of Oak Island, we would become alarmed. You might not see your “favorite” treasure hunters. This week we looked in vain for Dan Blankenship, Alex Lagina, and even Gary Drayton, our Australian metal detective. They are not present.

We did not expect to find the leader of the show, Rick Lagina, calling in sick. Described as a man who had not visited a doctor in 50 years, he came down with some mysterious illness. Heaven forefend that it reminded us of the Curse of King Tut taking down Lord Carnarvon.

Marty Lagina was suitably distraught that his brother did not show up at the dig site for an important event. It appeared he was suffering egregiously from headache and a variety of issues, related to a bull’s eye rash on his back.

You guessed it: the outdoorsman who spends most of his time traipsing through the Nova Scotian woods on Oak Island seemed to be bitten by a lyme disease tick.

Under medication and forbidden to expose himself to sunlight, he was notably absent. However, he returned under medication to reveal the first step of testing to odd objects located at 165 feet into the latest dig spot:  they have found human bone that belonged to two, count’em, two different people.

As one bone still had skin and hair attached, it is hoped that DNA will reveal a great deal about who and when.

Additional instruments from another scientist indicated that they were near some strange place where book parchment, yes, old leather, like on a Shakespearean manuscript has been located.

 

 

 

 

What Gives on Oak Island?

 DATELINE: Yo-ho-ho and a Bottle of Rum

avast there, matey! 

Actor Robert Newton as Your Standard Pirate in Treasure Island

Curse of Oak Island began to tantalize in strange and mysterious ways in the fifth episode of the fifth season.

If something has to give eventually, and secrets are the least valuable something buried by someone, we are about to have an epiphany this season.

Our favorite Australian metal seeker used one of his most powerful tools to uncover a 17th century spike on an odd stretch of beach on the island: the consensus concluded that it was used on a wharf or docking platform on the clear stretch of shore. By whom and why, we do not yet know.

Though hampered by dangerous equipment failure previously, the new safety measures allowed resumption of deep digging. White-gloved in a library dig, Alex Lagina and Charles Barkhouse dug into historical documents that indicated a different direction of the early tunnel system—which caused modifications in the dredging scheme.

The upshot of the search on this week’s show was that something significant was coming up from depths unheard of in previous searches.

At nearly 200 feet, pieces of pottery or porcelain was found. Though they joked it was a smashed teapot, the fact puzzled archeologist Niven who placed it, off-hand, in late 1700s—somewhat before the earliest treasure hunts.

Further compounding the importance of discoveries, pieces of something dense was located: presumed to be human bone at 165 feet. It is a rather deep plot for a burial. If you consider the old myths of putting a dead man with a buried treasure, you may have an imaginative conclusion that defies fanciful.

Can it be that our long, impatient process may yield something to sate greed and curiosity both?

Okay, we are more hooked than ever on our vicarious, armchair treasure hunt.

 

 

 

Old Applegate’s Treasure & Two Brothers

DATELINE:  Oak Island Inspiration?

 best boys

Tommy Kirk & Tim Considine as Hardy Boys

With The Curse of Oak Island not far from our thoughts, we certainly never expected a 60-year old TV series from Walt Disney to rival the Lagina Brothers. However, there is much parallel in the boys’ adventure notion of the Hardy brothers inspiring the Lagina boys.

The long-forgotten show is The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure, which had been serialized into ten-minute chunks on the old Mickey Mouse Club show.

We can certainly tell you that there is far more action on the old TV show as the young Hardy Boy detectives use their skills to locate a lost pirate treasure on the old Applegate estate.

The 3000 gold dubloons and pieces of 8 are mentioned as being worth thousands (in 1956 dollars), but today they would be worth a History channel bonanza.

The Hardy boys do the Laginas one better by bringing in a girl detective to liven up the action. The Laginas have no women in their war room powwows, but Frank and Joe Hardy have Iola. True enough, Joe throttles her now and then and is somewhat short-tempered and abusive, but it was a different time.

All the kid protagonists do battle with some interesting adult characters: standouts include Florenz Ames as the irascible and slightly nuts Silas Applegate, Robert Foulk as the handyman, and Arthur Shields (Barry Fitzgerald’s brother no less) as the mysterious villain interloper.

Only old Dan Blankenship trumps them all on Oak Island.

Auntie Gertrude Hardy is there, stalwart and obtuse, to take on anyone who crosses her boys. She even takes on her brother, Fenton, the Hardy boys’ father.

You could not ask for a more charming TV show about treasure hunting and boyhood adventure.

 

 

 

Running in Place at Oak Island, Again, During Season 5

 DATELINE:  Oak Island Without Pity is the Pits

Wayne Herschel map Author Wayne Herschel’s map

Episode 4 of the fifth season of The Curse of Oak Island covered a two-week lull in treasure hunting.

This development came about after one of the power hoses, dredging at 200 feet exploded, injuring one of the drill company employees. It gave the Lagina brothers a chance to insist that safety comes before treasure.

Almost simultaneously, the metal detector expert, Gary Drayton, out looking for objects with the younger generation of searchers, came across a boy’s cap gun from the 1950s.

Not much detective work was needed to come to the conclusion that only one child was on the desolate island during that era. His name was Ricky Restall, younger son of one of the casualties of the hunt.

In 1965, modern searching came to an ugly conclusion with the death of four men: Robert Restall and his teenage son, and two others who tried to rescue them. The cause of death was asphyxiation from gases seeping from their shafts into the so-called Money Pit.

Though doubtful that the booby traps on Oak Island would include sophisticated gas leaks, we are not so sure it was not part of the grand scheme to keep the treasure, or whatever is down there, from being excavated.

Decades later, the younger son Richard Restall returned to the Island, as much for cleansing his spirit of the horrors as any other reason. He was rewarded with a reunion with his lost childhood toy gun.

The episode held us in place while awaiting with less and less patience for something to happen in terms of uncovering the mystery. If anything seemed settled, it was that the Island was not exactly friendly, or willing to share its mystery.

After hundreds of years of frustrating searches, this is not news. Perhaps the personification of Oak Island’s resistance, near stubbornness, convinces us that some larger force is indeed at work in Nova Scotia’s strange island.