Not So Grand Finale on Civil War Gold

DATELINE: History Waterlogged

Hackley malignedMuch Maligned Charles Hackley!

As we come to the end of Marty Lagina’s substitute Oak Island gold hunt series, there is no joy in Michigan. We have come to the final episode of Curse of Civil War Gold for season one.

When last we saw Kevin Dykstra, he seemed to have broken a hip during a dive yet is released by the hospital a day later on crutches with a diagnosis of fracture and pain. That won’t stop him.

Wine mogul Lagina was not so sympathetic: he immediately suggested bringing in professional diver John Chatterton who was known as the buzz-killer on Curse of Oak Island.

The genuine disappointment rankles on Dykstra and his crew who sit glumly in their expensive chartered boat while Chatterton takes over. Dykstra even hesitates to accept the money man’s choice but knows better than to complain about millionaire backers.

In his own good fashion, Chatterton does not disappoint. He takes over and selects a different place to search than shown on the previous week. Dykstra’s boys sit on the boat like the proverbial monkeys, seeing and hearing and speaking no evil.

Of course, Chatterton finds nothing and returns to Florida with a shrug. It leaves Dykstra with egg on his face and a shell-case for a crutch.

No sooner had Chatterton left, suddenly Mr. Dykstra can do one more dive. Alas, his 80’ chartered boat shrinks to the size of something belonging to Captain Quint from Jaws.

One more dive before winter and bad ratings close in, the gold hunters take video that shows what they claim is a gold bar in soggy lake bottom. It is enough of an enticement to convince Marty Lagina that the series deserves a second season.

To whet our appetite, they suggest Secretary of War Edwin Stanton was behind the plot to steal the Confederate gold.

Whether viewers agree, only History Channel knows for sure.

 

 

 

Civil War Gold: Overboard and Underwhelmed

 DATELINE:  Gong Show Amateurs

Marty  Enter Mr. Moneybags

After four weeks of toying with the Civil War gold hunters, Marty Lagina comes through with a boat. We half expected he would provide them with the SS Minnow, as Kevin Dykstra tends to look more like the Skipper than Gilligan. Marty Lagina shows up as Thurston Howell, III, and brother Rick is a no-show as Lovey.

Welcome to episode five of Curse of Civil War Gold.

To our surprise, Lagina coughed up plenty to give them a state-of-the-art 80’ yacht with all the amenities of up-to-date sonar and research ability. They even have a captain who seems to know what he is doing, though that never stops the hunters from ignoring expertise.

Kevin Dykstra is hell-bent on diving, even in choppy seas. Much to our amusement, Marty Lagina showed up for the first dive, as if to check on how his money is being spent.

Of course, the first hit is not the right boxcar on the dice. After one of the gold hunters tells Lagina there can only be so many boxcars at the bottom of Lake Michigan, we discover there are at least two.

Strike one does not daunt Kevin Dykstra who is eager to don his wet suit as if posing for the ‘before’ pictures for Jenny Craig. Alas, not using experts continues to be the daunting issue here. During his second jump, Dykstra actually breaks a hip by hitting the diving platform. Curses, foiled again.

Though they were on the cusp of finding some kind of valuable metal, the entire operation is scrubbed because of the Chuck Barris Gong Show mentality.

If there is a silver lining, it means that a real diving team will have to finish the job: so Lagina will call in his old Oak Island stand-by to resolve the issue.

We are at the end of this season, with episode six on the horizon.

And, if there is any explanation of why the series has been called the Curse of Civil War Gold, we are hard-pressed to know what it is.

We don’t usually blame stupidity on curses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Utah & Back: Episode 4

 DATELINE: Curse of Civil War Gold

If you keep wondering when representatives of philanthropist Charles Hackley will sue the producers of this series for defamation of character, we are with you.  We are up to Episode 4 of The Curse of Civil War Gold and the defaming of Mr. Hackley continues full force.

The only curse from this series we see so far is the one put on viewers.

Gold panner Kevin Dykstra continues his unfounded assault on a 19th century banker who invested in a Utah gold mine, built a railroad, and according to speculation, brought Confederate gold out west to launder it.

There’s no gold like fool’s gold.

Evidence is in short supply, but conspiracy theory abounds. If you are wondering if this series can sink any lower, you should tune in next week when it literally hits bottom of Lake Michigan.

As for this week, what can you say about a group of grown men who drive 1700 miles to Utah and back in one week? Their excursion in the desert lasts about three days, and not one is apparently spent in a motel. Nor is there money for flying.

What’s interesting is how totally unprepared they truly are.

Indeed, they go out to Utah without a plan or previous research. When they get there, they ask passers-by for information. They never heard of the Internet.

Without any discernible information of reliable and valid import, they head out to the desert looking for railroad tracks. There is no local guide, no one with experience or expertise in desert conditions.

They have a gun and three campers and all-terrain vehicles to go looking for a needle in a haystack (their description).

Yes, they traipse through the mountains looking for old mine openings, no matter how dangerous or condemned.

One intrepid younger brother of Kevin Dykstra has the temerity to tell him not to enter a dangerous cave where a mountain lion has made its lair. (There are three brothers on this series, outdoing the Laginas by one).

Can this series deteriorate any faster?

Marty Lagina better give these guys food money, though not one looks like he is starved.

At hour’s end, they have no evidence for their efforts in Utah. They must go to Marty Lagina with only a silver coin found by old friend Gary Drayton.

Lo and behold, as they enter the palace of Marty Lagina, intimidating in itself, they discover he is not impressed with their lack of evidence. However, someone told him about the show’s ratings.  There’s gold in the History Channel audience.

He will finance another few episodes. Whether we have the interest to pursue them may be the bigger question. So many words, so little hard evidence. Ho-hum.

Civil War Gold: In Plain Wrapper

DATELINE:  History Channel’s Lack of Glitter

Those amateur gold diggers are still trying to impress Marty Lagina, no easy mark when it comes to wheedling his money out of his winery, on Curse of the Civil War Gold. The hapless hunters of the new series insist that Jeff Davis’s stash of gold was stolen and dumped in Lake Michigan.

Now, if only someone would believe them!

The latest episode, number 3, is called “In Plain Sight,” but nothing is obvious, except the lack of logic in the entire gold hunt operation.

Leader Dykstra never really tells us where his ideas come from: just old research. So, it’s hard to know why he is so convinced that there is a tunnel under a street connecting two banks, or why he mistrusts a 19th century Michigan philanthropist, accusing him of money-laundering, receiving stolen goods, and deceiving everyone.

When Mr. Dykstra gathers his amateur crew to take down a foundation wall under the old bank where he contends the gold was hidden, it nearly falls on them. Talk about idiocy. Marty Lagina has a moral obligation to either give them money, or have them locked up.

Oh, there was no evidence in the bank vault—and it didn’t belong to Al Capone either. Those who don’t remember Geraldo Rivera are doomed to repeat history.

We enjoyed Marty Lagina saying that the new cast reminds him of his own Oak Island searches. The big difference is that they are broke, and he has a gold business in grapes. Yep, Marty already has his millions and seems unwilling to cough up the moolah for these alleged researchers.

Of course, the old standby comes into play: yes, it’s those pesky Masons who have taken the Confederate gold, and left all kinds of symbols in the town architecture for treasure hunters where they hid the gold. These guys find a giant X right in the center of town.

We are exasperated with blaming the Masons for everything from Oak Island to ancient aliens. If our great Uncle John was still with us, we’d put his 33rd degree Masonic feet to the fire to see what he knew about this stuff.

Civil War Gold De-Railed

 

Drayton

DATELINE:  More Gary Drayton Please!

In the second episode of The Curse of Civil War Gold, we learn what it’s like to conduct a treasure hunt on the cheap in a show called “Right on Track.” Not even the narrative voice of Robert Clotworthy can save this mess.

Because Marty Lagina has not come through with funding, the alleged treasure hunters continue their amateur hour shenanigans. We presume Marty will cough up some bucks or this show will not be on much longer, or would not be on TV at all.

This series is apparently an exercise in what happens when people over-extend their reach. Without trust in real experts, these hunters make bonehead decisions—and seem to be lucky beyond belief. It’s anti-intellectualism in America writ big.

Of course, maybe the unwashed public loves this kind of fraud: High school teachers gone amok, and President Trump gone bonkers.

Kevin Dykstra is the leader with his brother, in a blatant imitation of the Lagina brothers, and he assembles a group of family and friends to excavate a beach along Lake Michigan in a truly ridiculous effort. Without real knowledge or safety, they begin digging in the sand. Most nitwits know this is a recipe for disaster. Dykstra’s minions cannot overcome the leakage into the pits they dig.

Information tells them that the stolen steam engine from 1869 is buried there, derailed after unloading Confederate gold into the lake. It may be feasible, but with plans like those excavation ideas, no one will find much of anything.

In the meantime, kingpin Marty Lagina sits in his palace with a checkbook, demanding more proof. If you love this kind of thing, you may be in your element.

A new style of colorized Civil War photos starts to look like comic book illustrations, also used recently on the Oak Island series. We are in familiar territory here. We doubt that can stretch this into a five-year plan, but History Channel works in mysterious ways.

We still say, give Gary Drayton, metal detective, his own show.

Grapes & Gold of Wrath: Civil War Curses

DATELINE:  Look Away, Look Away, Dixieland!

ClotRobert Clotworthy

If there is a revelation about Civil War gold in this new series, the big goldmine belongs to Marty Lagina. He has put his production company with Ancient Alien and Oak Island narrator Robert Clotworthy’s dulcet tones behind a new show, Curse of the Civil War Gold.

Marty Lagina admits as he exits Oak Island for the season, that he has money to burn. Why does he need a gold treasure when he already owns one? For the first time in five seasons on Curse of Oak Island, we are treated to a visit to his business on the new series, which happens to be a giant winery in Michigan.

There’s gold in them thar grapes.

So, Lagina finds a group of high school teachers with a penchant for getting rich slowly who come to him for funding. It is a surprise that Marty allows them into his inner sanctum boardroom. His office kingdom is right out of the movies, and these obsequious gold diggers beg for money.

The formula is the same:  two brothers, their close friend (also a history teacher in a Michigan high school). Since this is hardly the kind of eclectic, adventurous crew we find on other adventure reality shows, Marty Lagina throws them Gary Drayton, his Australian metal detective, the only real holdover from the Oak Island show.

Lagina will appear as a deus ex machina, or Professor Kingsfield, at the start and finish of each episode, putting down his cynical pronouncements.

When the Michigan high school teachers set off for Dixieland and Georgia where Jeff Davis was captured, we wondered how the locals will take to Yankee hunters wanting to find the Confederate treasure.

This is an enterprise borne out of greed and likely to be as unpleasant as suggesting that J. Wilkes Booth and Jesse James were members of a Masonic-style Knights-Templar wannabe group known as the Knights of the Golden Circle, behind the gold curse.

A bunch of pro-slavery advocates with gold to hide, the KGC and their gold cache should be justifiable confiscation, kind of a government asset forfeiture.

Will a bunch of mundane Michigan high school teachers take the prize? This series is betting you care. Marty Lagina is crushing his grapes before their time.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Oak Island Curses Viewers!

 DATELINE: Brothers Lagina Cursed

We stuck with The Curse of Oak Island for one more season.

It appears our faithful allegiance has not paid off—again. Maybe it’s just inadequate technology that fails us.

The ugliest truth we have discovered is that Rick Lagina, leader of the search and object of a fan club on Facebook, is an obtuse twit and former mailman who will stop at nothing to sate his delusional searching. His brother Marty is more down to earth, but even more secretive, though rumors circulate he is worth a couple of million bucks.

Treasure Hunter obsession has gripped many a man over 200 years at Oak Island, and we are not surprised to find someone willing to spend millions of dollars of other people’s money to continue his pointless search.

We do object to spending any more of our time.

This season noted diver John Chatterton, who has hosted many search shows of his own, went into the notorious 10x hole that other divers refused to attempt.

He returned with sour news: it was a natural hole with a naturally formed tunnel, a big rock, a metal pipe, a depression shadow that looked like a dead body—and absolutely no treasure.

That momentarily took the wind out of Rick Lagina’s sails. He looked like a man ready to punch Chatterton in the nose for his arrogance. He gave the intrepid diver a limp handshake and thanks for nothing.

As for us viewers, we were tossed a couple of hooks on which to bite: a tiny gold cross allegedly found at the Money Pit, but with no proof. And the walls of another hole, 170 feet down, seemed to be lined with a shiny gold.

Will that bring back disenchanted viewers next time?  Promise of something important!

We have revised our opinion of this show and the work done by the Lagina brothers. We hope they do find something of great significance.