Eulogy for Dan Blankenship

DATELINE: An Era of Treasure Hunting Passes Away!

95-years Dan.

Can the center hold?  For Oak Island enthusiasts, the answer has shaken the earth of the small Nova Scotian island. The heart and soul of the Curse of Oak Island has gone. He was 95 and lived a life of a treasure hunting adventurer.

As Emily Dickinson once said, “Because I would not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me.”

Dan Blankenship showed up now and then at age 95 on the sixth season of the hit series, still unwrapping up this season, and he was always the delight to behold. He was sharp, in seemingly amazing shape for his age, and offered perspective with gentle insights.

Yet, that was merely one surprising element of a man who was physically powerful, as old film clips show. He dug bore holes the old-fashioned way. He chased the demons of Oak Island for the glorious discovery of romantic lost treasure.

Now and then the Lagina Brothers consulted him, trotted over to show him some progress on the hunt for gold on the island where he called home. He would even drive up in a golf cart to observe the progress fifty years after he worked the area.

The season now airing on History was filmed this past summer, and Dan survived another harsh Nova Scotia winter, but he will not be present to see another spring and a seventh season.

He died on a day when Jack the Ripper’s DNA seemed to indicate the solution to that long -standing century-long mystery. He died on a day when NASA released photos of an asteroid that might hit Earth in fifty years when none of us oldsters will see the event.

Dan Blankenship did not miss finding the treasure. His spirit was the treasure, the optimistic and grand character of the human heart. Fans of the show shall miss him but he was a century of the best of mankind to grace the series, the hopes of finding a pot of gold, and enjoying life.

How the series will honor him is not yet clear, but already he gave the series and history its integrity.

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Oak Island Die Hard and Dye Harder

DATELINE: Approach/Avoidance

95-years Amazing Dan Blankenship!

We are at episode 15 of the sixth season with the Curse of Oak Island, and we are still going strong. Each season is longer, and our patience is growing thinner.

Shake, rattle, and rolling, the Money Pit sink hole will be stabilized, presumably, and filled in to be able to continue boring down.

However, this week’s big info is that lidar off Oak Island may have discovered some entrances or openings under the ocean. The gang, including Alex Lagina and mysteriously returned Peter Fornetti, join Marty to hear the findings. That thread was quickly dropped to begin another dye job.

Several years ago, the brainstorm was to use green dye to see if there were drains leading to the treasure vault. Green did not mix well with water, making it impossible to see.

This time the hunters will use red dye (not sure if it’s #2, or the blend often used in Rick Lagina’s hair).

Incompetence was again blamed on the island curse when hoses tangled as water was sent into bore holes with the red dye.

To everyone’s pleasant surprise, 95-year old Dan Blankenship drove up in his golf cart to take a look at the activity. When he tried this stuff, he did it on a shoestring (figuratively). Now there are drones that has to amaze him as fly-over inspections monitor the island for red dye.

However, it is old Gary Drayton who spots a rusty color water appearing out of nowhere. Marty Lagina wants to be the kibosh, but chemical testing of the colored water indicates the dye has seeped to Smith’s Cove, proving there is a drain system to booby trap the treasure vault.

Small victories set up the final few weeks of season six.

 

Oak Island: Paper Chase #13

DATELINE: Parchment & Pigment

Dem bones Human Bonehead?

No, Professor Kingsfield is not lecturing this week, but the “Paper Chase” is definitely on as the 13th episode of season six.

Instead of Kingsfield, here is another dry academic, Randall Sullivan who has written a tie-in book about Oak Island the highly rated, History channel, cable series. He is allowed to shill his research on the show and is praised to high heaven for the Laginas.

No one claims the Laginas are silent partners, but pushing the book is lucrative (out of stock on Amazon), and published by Atlantic Press, no slouches.

Cheapskate Sullivan brings two copies of the book to the crew at Oak Island, letting partner Craig Tester sit there with egg on his face.

As for the findings of the week, big news includes a cement wall in Smith’s Cove, another piece of a dead man’s bone (likely one of Captain Kidd’s dead men not telling tales) from the bore hole, and parchment with red pigment on it. If Shakespeare’s original manuscripts are down there, they are soggy remnants of treasure.

On the positive side, 95-year old Dan Blankenship makes an appearance—and Alex Lagina has been reduced to chauffeuring author Sullivan around.

When Dan Henskee finds the bone fragment, credit is given to Jack Begley instead. Oh, well, being old is not always a good thing for original searchers like Henskee.

We still await carbon dating (suggested by Dan Blankenship) on parchment, wood from Smith’s Cove and other expert analysis of tokens and iron arrow shafts. Francis Bacon seems to be emerging as the culprit, over Templars. With a record number of episodes ordered for the season, we probably can wait a few more weeks for results.

 

 

 

 

Miner or Minor on Oak Island?

 DATELINE: Rick Lagina Always Finds Them !

Miner or Minor Rick’s Hard Rock Geochemist!

The famine of discovery continued for the most part early on: the seismic mapping appears to be fraught with false positives. As usual, Rick Lagina puts a happy face on unhappy news that dry sand had been read as tunnels. There are no metal casings, only bedrock.

So, the drilling comes up empty yet again.

In the meantime, 95-year old Dan Blankenship made a rare appearance, remaining in the car as Rick took him down to the cove to see the new retaining wall being constructed. As one might expect, he is duly impressed at the new technology. This true figure of heroism remains our most favorite figure.

Rick Lagina must have quite an international network of references when he does a stellar manhunt. Another interesting development is calling in a German geochemist to analyse the Templar Cross of lead. Tobias looks like a teenager but must be some kind of doctorate in the field. He can take the lead out of your worries.  He knows when it was mined and where.

He looks like a minor, not a miner expert. But Tobias is on the money from Germany on Skype. He brings the best news of the night’s episode.

Once again we have been impressed with Gary Drayton who knows all too well what they find by giving it a cursory look. He found the Templar Cross and was on the money from the start.

It appears that Templars may have come to Oak Island to hide their religious artefacts: and those may be too glorified to speculate upon. Oh, well, let’s shoot: it could be the Ark of the Covenant, or some suitable items from John the Baptist who was the Templar patron saint.

They talk to another expert writer on the Templar secrets, but are fairly dismissive of her research.

In the final analysis, this week’s discovery is so titanic that it makes all the waiting worthwhile. We feel closer than ever to some kind of revelation of Biblical proportions.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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 Curses Postponed Till Next Season

DATELINE:  Finally!

oak-island

oak island

Eureka!   Or what passes for it on Oak Island. If you’re waiting for someone to die from the task of treasure hunting, tune in next season.

We have to offer our apologies again to the Lagina brothers of the reality show Curse of Oak Island. After four seasons, on the finale, they appear to have struck pay dirt, not mere payola from the ratings.

We don’t want to give away all the spoilers, but we can assure you that plenty of digging is left for another season.

Women finally showed up on Oak Island, and they proved to be most interesting.

In particular, we loved Dr. Lori, an archaeologist who knows her stuff from Penn State University. She brought good news on several occasions and brightened the show with her sharp energy. She dated material brought up from the dregs of 170 feet below the surface to the 1575 to the 1675 era.

It looks like Spanish galleon stuff stolen from Central American goldsmiths and lost empires.

You probably will get some pleasure out of seeing what they dig up after suffering many frustrating episodes over four years. We felt happy that the theories of 93-year-old Dan Blankenship have been supported –and he was there as a witness.

A few others, like Alex Lagina, son of Marty, were absent despite all his work for the past four years. And Marty goes all out to commend brother Rick if no one else will. Take that, you skeptical bloggers.

There’s nothing sweeter than self-congrats.

The amazing discoveries put a strong denial on our past charges of fake news.

Yes, it got quite interesting at the end of season four. We are left hanging from the yard-arm until next year, matey.