Oak Island 6.2 & 700 Years and Counting

DATELINE: Exciting Discovery

seconds.jpeg

 

We are all aging rapidly as the sixth season moves along for Curse of Oak Island. You can see it in the faces of the Lagina Brothers, and even in their young hotshot heir apparent, Alex.

As we proceed deeper into the sixth season, the scope of the enlarged budget for treasure hunting is impressive. Now, technology that has heretofore been ignored, is dropped onto the small island.

Seismic scanning with a dozen experts setting off small explosions will render a seismic map of what is below the surface at 200 or 300 feet. That alone may be revealing in ways nothing before in five years of episodes has shown viewers.

However, this season’s discovery of a second brooch by metal detective Gary Drayton proves again to be the shocker.

Taking it to experts as far away as Calgary, Marty and his son Alex receive some stunning news. Though the red ornament inside the setting is glass, it could be 700 years old.

We are always first to throw cold water on the hyped discoveries. Just because it is made around the time of the Templars (or earlier) does not mean those folks were on Oak Island around 1300. The item could have been dropped, lost, or buried anytime in the past few hundred years.

However, it does not alter the stunning news that something is happening, though it is still not clear. We’ve stuck with the show and its padded episodes because we have kept faith that a mystery will be solved.

It may take a few more weeks for revelations to be dumped into the series, but we are constantly impressed at how this team manages to keep its secrets for months before shows are aired.

 

Advertisements

Return to Oak Island for Sixth Season

DATELINE: Bobby Dazzler Dayton

Drayton Bobby Dazzler Himself!

Drawn back to a sixth season of The Curse of Oak Island, we start with a big two-hour opening show. There is surprisingly little of the usual repetition featured in previous seasons. The episode tells us that, at long last with the Lagina Brothers, money is no object.

Like Sherlock Holmes adventures, the latest series is just like the previous seasons. It’s a formula for History Channel Success, and they aren’t messing with it. However, they have gone BIG.

Expense is the bottom line: new headquarters, new transportation around the island, and a cast of technicians that could find a pyramid, if not build one.

There are grandiose plans, making this the biggest season and making the series the new Money Pit.

Draining swamps is merely a bagatelle.

The star is again Australian Gary Drayton with his ability to hone in on treasure with his metal detectors—and then his impressive knowledge to instantly identify in detail something the so-called expert archaeologists can only confirm with less insight.

Within a day, the treasure hunters find a large two-penny from 1797. Gold is promised, but we fear it may be a gold filling from Marty Lagina’s tooth. They are actually now looking in areas never before explored on the small island.

The slow-arriving results remain part of the show’s ponderous slow-poke approach. There may be many of these episodes, dragging out the scientific findings. Lead isotopes may reveal a cross found last season is ages old from Europe.

On the downside, heart-throb Alex Lagina only makes a small cameo in the two-hour start, and Dan Blankenship, the 90-something explorer, looks younger than ever.

 

We’re back for every episode.

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.

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.

Oak Island Disappoints Again, S5, E11

 DATELINE:  Giving Up?

Wayne Herschel map

If you have followed the optimistic line of thought on The Curse of Oak Island during Season Five, you may have thought the paydirt was coming.

Instead, the series came up empty again. After finding little nuggets or clues for weeks on end, and promising us the big moment, even the Lagina brothers could not hide their crushing defeat.

Nothing came out of the hole that went down 200 feet to bedrock. A few more pieces of pottery and bone. The biggest find was on the shore, with an apparent lead Templar cross, from around 1400 hiding in the muck.

However, the palpable boring turned up nothing. Craig Tester, one of the partners, announced this was his last season on this dig, having lost his 16-year old son earlier in the year. No one has dared to ask him if he believes this is the curse. His action may speak louder than any word.  His stepson Jack Begley was not so crushed and planned to continue the search.

What happened? How could they be on a platform, a vault, a treasure, then bore down through a cavern ten feet to nothing?

As always on Oak Island, incompetence rivals rash behavior. The Laginas presume their fifty-inch drill pushed the vault with treasure off to the side, maybe.

They also found a large spot where they missed, but some kind of fancy sonar located metal. Here we go again, all you hopeful viewers. Almost to prove the waste of money and energy, neither Alex Lagina nor Dan Blankenship, the best two reality stars, showed up for this episode.

You can plainly see the weather has changed on the show, and we are no closer, and no farther, than ever before.

 

 

Lagina Brother Will Always Have Paris

DATELINE:  Oak Island S5 Provides Rest Area

 Paris Sites?

If you are a big fan of the Curse of Oak Island, you probably love the idea of the past few weeks that it’s gone 75 minutes for each episode. They’ve done this by having extended previews after the “initial episode”.

You might even say finally there is too much of a good thing. The two longest episodes of the season so far have been the dullest. They have struggled for any newsworthy item.

Gone are the days in which brother Marty complained about the expense of conducting the treasure hunt and saying there was only so much money they had to allocate.

Now they have money to burn. That’s what big TV ratings do for your bank account.

It also allows you the luxury of having what in politics we call a “junket.”  That’s an all-expenses paid trip to some exotic location on somebody else’s nickel. On Season 5 Rick Lagina took his two nephews Alex and Peter to Paris, looking for clues about Knights Templar and the French nobility. We did not see them take in the Folies-Bergère.

.

Now there were two problems with this luxury trip to Paris. First, nobody in his right mind wants to go to Paris with Rick Lagina. And two, the results of the research trip could’ve been accomplished by WiFi. They learned one word on a map had been mistranslated, and they found graffiti on the wall that could’ve been photographed and sent to them in a text message.

A nickel well spent? Hardly. Maybe History Channel can get its money back.

We are happy the Lagina nephews got to go to Paris. As for the rest of us, we must wait while the equipment bores down 150 feet, which probably will take another week. The boring part is taking its toll on the audience.

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.