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 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.



Oak Island: Curtains to Curses

DATELINE:  Weekly Update #3

Rick lagina

Time for Just for Men?

As season five progresses, the series Curse of Oak Island seems in jeopardy.

From the off-season storms that decimated roads and other parts of the island, to the tragic death of the 17-year old son of Craig Tester we have had already sufficient warnings and dire omens.

The latest episode begins optimistically enough with the discovery of coins from the 1600s in a pile of dirt uncovered 60 years ago and never searched with a metal detector. We almost feel that the show will conclude successfully this season.

However, the good news became muted when the Canadian government sent a “cease and desist” letter to the Lagina operation, claiming they were vandalizing cultural artifacts after five years of digging.

After 400 years of hunters and hiders tunneling and bulldozing, and ravaging the little Nova Scotian island, this johnny-come-lately interference from some nitwit cultural ministry of do-gooders seems a day late and a dollar short.

In order to assuage the governmental cretins, the Lagina brothers agreed to hiring an archeologist to oversee their work. He promptly stops their digging when they overturn tree stumps and find indications of an old settlement.

We thought the troglodytes of do-good deeds only hid in the bowels of the US government, but the virus has spread to Canada’s guts for real adventure.

Rick Lagina seems crest-fallen. He might have to take that job with Just for Men for Beards. His jet-black hair mismatches his white beard—and he could make a fortune coloring both for an endorsement contract. He can draw on a big gay market, based on the number of people who ask us to find out if he’s gay.

Our other solution is far simpler. We suggest that Rick Lagina sacrifice himself by jumping head first into the Money Pit. This will end the curse instantly by giving the Island its seventh victim and reveal the treasure instantly—in our humble opinion.



Not Much Ado on Oak Island S5, E2

DATELINE: Slow-Going

heartthrob Alex Lagina

Heart-throb Alex Lagina

At this point, the biggest curse of Oak Island may be its tendency now to catalogue every tiny point, ad nauseum. As a result, even the Lagina Brothers are having a hard time showing enthusiasm for minor details that would have sent them into ecstasy two or three years ago.

So, when Gary Drayton finds a bit of coin from the 1600s, they smile and try to muster exuberance, but the big fish still eludes them.

If the second show of the season had any excitement, it was in the dating of a large spike found 170 feet below the surface. If it dates to the 1600s, it might be part of the original Money Pit. Who put it there and why remains elusive.

At a local university on Nova Scotia, the brothers and their partner take the spike to a couple of metallurgist professors who put it under a microscope.

Sure enough, the spike is of the type manufactured in the 17th century. Small steps lead them to the firm belief that there is something hidden on the island that was not “officially’ settled until the late 1700s when treasure hunters descended upon Oak Island.

Heart-throb Alex Lagina takes a side-trip to a descendant of one of the land-owners in 1788 renders a dull search of a sea chest with papers stowed away that indicate the captain of the Betsy was charged with treason by Virginia’s Governor Thomas Jefferson before he became President.

The other tie-in is that we have yet another member of the Masonic Temple, which always leads to the next jump of logic that he must be tied into the Illuminati, the Knights Templar, and in on the secret of Oak Island.

On top of that, continued drilling causes tunnels to flood, yet again, like in so many previous searches over two centuries. The treasure hunters have grown accustomed to the delays and set-backs.

We are not sure if the audience will continue to exercise patience at the snail’s pace.

Shakespeare on Oak Island: Cracking the Code

 DATELINE:  Hooked on Oak Island Treasure?

With the fifth season of The Curse of Oak Island set to be aired with the perennial amateur archeologists, Lagina Brothers, we took in an international documentary that comes in the back door of Oak Island.cracking

A Norwegian-British documentary named Cracking the Shakespeare Code is annotation on the TV series.

Snob PhD, Dr. Robert Crumpton is a skeptic when it comes uncovering a conspiracy theory on authorship of the Shakespeare plays. His counterpart, a Norwegian organist named Petter Amundsen believes he has discovered secret codes in an early complete folio of Shakespeare plays that puts us squarely in the swamp of Oak Island.

Like the Bible Code, this documentary hints of a complex system that ties identity of the Bard to pagination counts and letter counting and geometric designs on the pages of a 400-year-old Folio.

Bizarre numerology shown in the documentary may have you scratching your head. After all, there have been 50 or 60 real authors suggested for the Shakespeare plays.

We are not so far removed from the notion that the name Will Shakespeare was a stage name, a pen name, or nom de plume of some other Elizabethan.

Indeed, most amusing of all is the idea that Queen Elizabeth is the father of the Shakespeare mystery, and true author of Hamlet and other classics of the “Elizabethan stage.”

Back to the documentary so complex and twisted that we wonder why anyone would go to the trouble to hide anything in this manner.  It is an enigma within a cryptographer’s nonsense.

The payoff for unraveling the conundrum may be the core of a peeled onion: nothing ultimately matters, except Shakespeare plays that stand alone and apart from any purported real authors: Francis Bacon and Henry Nevill.

These researchers ultimately end up on Oak Island, ignoring the famous cable TV series of the Laginas, who own most of the real estate on the island. The Laginas are most certainly uninterested in mercury-plated manuscripts written by Shakespeare. Rick Lagina does make a guest appearance here.

We wonder what kind of dimwits would bury documents in a swamp and think they’d be waterproof for a couple of hundred years. Why hide this stuff in the first place? Who knows? Maybe the Curse of Oak Island will tell us this season.

None of this documentary matters, of course, when you combine an authorship mystery with a treasure hunt. You fill two hours tantalizing notions and test our resolve.

To be, or not to be….  Ah, there’s the rub.

Stay Tuned: We plan to review every episode of the Curse of Oak Island this season, starting next week.

Apologies to Oak Island Treasure Hunters

 DATELINE: Revising the Original Review


Unlike a bad penny, the Oak Island treasure never turns up.

When last we reviewed Curse of Oak Island, we were in a less than kind mood. The onerous tones of the opening remain, telling us that six men have died searching for the pirate treasure in Nova Scotia. And legend insists that a seventh will die.

We now suspect the seventh victim will be the audience, dying of old age.

Yes, the show remains intriguing. We feel like an addict, called back to the bad stuff by enabler Rick Lagina.

The best parts of the show always are the detective work, often leading nowhere. Don’t let that stop you. But most of all, we enjoy the old-timers who were there 50 or 60 years ago—and still are caught up.

Dan Blankenship is now 93 years old, but is spry, witty, and the best part of the series. He lives on Oak Island and brings a unique perspective to the American searchers.

The Lagina brothers have always been smarmy, but this season Rick is overdone by his younger sibling. Once a tightwad, Lagina is now prepared to dump millions into digging up the money pit.

The show must be reaping more revenue than we suspected. The real treasure is cable TV ratings.

We must confess we are hooked. Bring on the snake oil. Show us another murky video of gold glimmering 150 below the surface. We have signed on for another season, enjoying it like a return to boyhood.