While the title of the History Channel show is a little misleading, it's not so much cursed as it is strenuous to search for treasure. Yes, incidents have occurred during treasure-hunting. But with the sophisticated and expensive equipment that millionaire brothers Marty Lagina and Rick Lagina hauled in on the island, it all seems fun.
The younger brother, Marty, invested in his brother's dream of treasure-hunting in Oak Island first in 2006, and since getting their excavating license in July 2010, they've spent a lot of time and money discovering numerous significant artifacts throughout the years. With the show, The Curse of Oak Island, kicking off in 2014, they still have no intention of stopping their search. Will the Money Pit be finally pinpointed? (No, not the movie!)
Will 'Money Pit' be finally found?
Photo by: History Channel
In the past, people have attempted to discover the said-treasures of the island since the early 19th century. There have been accidents and even numerous deaths during the search. But it may have been attributed to the lack of the equipment the guys have today. There's a huge article about Oak Island Mystery on a dedicated website here. With so many voyagers searching for the treasure, even the remains of the past searchers have been buried as artifacts. Here are some of the significant discoveries the Lagina brothers have excavated out.
Connection to the Knights Templar?
The most significant discoveries yet came in the fifth series, with a medieval cross, a mysterious stone, and a human bone. The cross had a square hole on its top and was traced back to the years between 1200 and 1600, according to their metal-detecting expert Gary Drayton.
The bottom figure is a bone!
Photo by: History Channel
The mysterious stone had the letters 'H' & 'O' inscribed on them, translated to the Greek letters Eta and Theta. Rick reminisces a wall at a Templar prison he went to in Domme, France. The human bone came out to be of someone of Middle Eastern ancestry. When he found the bone, Marty was quick to share his excitement and relate it to the Knights Templar.
Not Likely, Says Historian Zena Halpern
If connections could be proved, it could tell us the Knights Templar visited Nova Scotia at one point. But Historian Zena Halpern had other theories about the cross. Halpern's theory of its origin is not that it's a cross, but that it's depicting the Phoenician goddess Tanit.
Only a comparison.
However, the Templars may have discovered and begun to revere Tanit, who was a goddess of fertility and love. Furthermore, she believes the Middle Eastern bone thing could also be the Goddess connection.
Another theory of the cross' existence is just materialistic. You know, it's the kind of island looters and pirates like to bury their smuggles. It was made of lead, and it was theorized to be used to smuggle gold to other places as traces of gold were found underneath the cross' lead.
First Significant Discovery — A Coin
In season one of The Curse of Oak Island, they hit paydirt for the first time when they found a Spanish 8 Maravedis coin dating back to 1652. The Lagina brothers were bound to come upon it eventually, after draining a man-made swamp. They discovered some non-indigenous coconut fibers after diving into Smith's Cove.
Paydirt items from two seasons apart.
Photo by: History Channel
The next significant discovery came only in the third season when they found a Roman sword after draining a large hole. It might suggest the Romans landed there a few thousand years earlier. Some Portuguese carvings, as well as Aztecs-linking artifacts, were found later.
Book Bindings. And a Treasure Map?
A hand-made French map was discovered by researcher Zena Halpern before the fourth season. It was dated to 1647 with the words 'hatch', 'valve', and 'anchor' written on it. The team also found what appeared to be bookbinding material as well as another piece of parchment made out of animal skin.
Yeah, it's a redrawn map of what could be made of the real one.
Photo from: Donald Ruh
With these written materials, Rick Lagina believes there might be "some sort of manuscript or document at great depths in the Money Pit". But as mentioned, the parchment is believed to be connected to a text exchanged between Frederick Blair and William Chappell, originally found in 1867. You might remember Chappell as one of the people who spent heavily (like $40,000 in the early 20th century) after initially being the first person to find gold there. The words in the parchment were likely traced back to the 15th century.
The search began when one boy, Daniel McGinnis, found a circular depression on the ground when searching for a farm location in 1799. With the consistency of the Captain Kidd story (more about it in the 'Money Pit' later) and the help of two friends, John Smith and Anthony Vaughn, McGinnis dug the depression and found a layer of flagstones two feet under.
The three boys were teenagers? Many speculate it's highly likely.
Source: Oak Island Money Pit
But the boys seem to have stopped the excavation after 30 feet, digging as much as they could or just due to superstitious beliefs. Yeah, many stories there. However, there were several other researchers next, the earliest of whom left a wood-lined shaft during their expeditions. Marty and Rick then found it after all these years. They believed it was placed by people in 1805 who found the Money Pit in the first place.
The Rhodolite Garnet
A precious stone believed to be around 400 to 500 years old was found at Lot 8 in the fifth season mounted on a Garnet brooch. While raspberry in color like Ruby, the stone was Rhodolite. Many believe it belonged to a Masonic Royal Arch High Priest. But other theories trace the origin of the gems back to the legend of Marie Antoinette or being used by the Egyptians and the Romans.
Only one of the theories.
Photos from: History Channel, Pinterest
The Money Pit for the Oak Island treasure may have been crafted by Sir Francis Drake, the Laginas' team speculated considering Drake was capable of such an idea.
Any Money in the 'Money Pit'?
By the word 'Mystery' in the so-called Mystery of Oak Island, it means the mystery of the Money Pit. The 'Curse' is also connected. What people have termed as 'Money Pit', doesn't actually refer to a specific place on the island. It's a supposed place where all the richness worth almost $180 million (in 2015), more likely hidden deep underground by British engineers and sailors who acquired it in the acquired in the British invasion of Cuba, during the Seven Years' War. Or maybe the £2 million Captain Kidd's dying sailor said Kidd supposedly buried on the island.
Yeah, the 'Money Pit' ain't like this. Not yet...
Illustration from: Samaritan Ministries
However, since McGinnis et al triangulated it in relation to Captain Kidd's story, their original digging area was ultimately called the 'Money Pit'. Also, the search spots have been flooded, making it difficult to uncover the treasure, even with today's technology. The curse might have something to do with it.
The last victim of the curse was back in 1995.
Photo: Oak Island Money Pit
It was originated like a century ago and states seven men will die when searching the treasure before actually finding the treasure. And guess what, seven people have lost lives already till now. Maybe it's about time the treasure be discovered already. The team has some ideas. Investment? With Marty Lagina's $110 million net worth, no problem.
War artifacts are common findings for the team. There's also a mysterious stone with obscure carvings they found in 2019. A cast member, Craig Tester, believed they were Roman numerals (Roman again). It was found near the Money Pit, so you could expect them to dig deeper into its mystery.
After a much clear inspection, the team had an idea. The Laginas claimed it suggested an early presence of Vikings on the Island. It was not a surprise considering it was well documented through the island’s investigations.
The 'Money Pit' is still a long way to be fully exploited.
Photo from: Oak Island Money Pit
They also found a strange pair of tubes. Not that big in terms of discoveries, and archeologist Laird Niven described them as tube plates and were man-made. But later, they discovered right-angled objects that they thought might be the Chappell vault. It was completely buried, but the shaft of Chappell's successor Gilbert Hedden was visible when he was done with his part of the investigation.
Marty and Rick with their team have discovered over 200 artifacts until now, and it certainly isn't a stop to their investigation. As more discoveries will be made, their hope is they will finally dig that Money Pit to at least put a stop to their search, whether there be anything in it or not.
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