The Curse of Oak Island is a reality television series that viewers either love or hate. Rick and Marty Lagina are brothers who have dedicated their lives at present, to finding the supposed hidden treasure that is rumored to be buried somewhere on the Island. They follow one clue after another in their televised quests which have amassed a sizable following of viewers with an interest in treasure hunting and adventures. The show is fraught with mystery and occasionally a little drama. Some have departed the show, tired of the ongoing hunt that they believe will be fruitless in the end, while others hang on hoping for the big find to materialize. For all the lovers and haters alike, here are 21 things you didn’t know about The Curse of Oak Island.
1. The legend of “the money pit” is likely a myth
The story goes that two teens from Nova Scotia rowed to Oak Island in 1795. They found a tackle block hanging from the large branch of a tree with a sunken depression in the ground below. The two, in hopes of finding a buried treasure dug down to a depth of 30 feet before becoming frustrated and giving up the search. They supposedly found an additional two log platforms before giving up. While they didn’t find anything, the legend holds that they believed this was an indication of buried treasure. While anything is possible, digging to a depth of 30 feet suggests there was likely nothing there. It’s more likely that if there was a treasure at one time, the owners returned and retrieved it, leaving the depression.
2. It took a fight to bring on an expert archaeologist
Skeptics doubted the legitimacy of the rumors about hidden treasure on the series. Battles to bring experts on board to legitimize the claims and oversee the digs have finally been worth the effort. Laird Niven is thee resident expert in charge of overseeing the exploits of the treasure hunting team as well as offering his help. He appeared in the fourth season to analyze a hatch that the team uncovered in episode two. Niven is reputed as one of Nova Scotia’s top archaeologists and when something of value is unearthed, he’ll be on hand to render an expert opinion. This could work in favor of the Laginas by lending legitimacy to their theories as well as for the show in general.
3. Niven’s work on the show is unconventional
Most archaeologists work under conditions that require slow and steady progress in significant dig sites. Earth is moved slowly to avoid disturbing any possible fossils or relics that may have historical or monetary value. On the island, things are much different. Earth is moved quickly with industrial equipment. While this method would ordinarily be frowned upon in the archaeological community, it’s different in this case, because the earth that is being moved has already been disturbed by other treasure seekers previously. The likelihood of causing damage to any old objects is slim at this point.
4. The team gets a pass on licensing requirements
In general, any time that there is digging in the region that is home to the island, licenses are required every time the treasure hunter digs. The crew does not need to apply for a license for every dig. Laird was only required to apply once. Gary can use his metal detector to search for hidden items as long as there is no digging involved and Laird can assist.
5. Money is a forbidden topic for the Lagina brothers
In an interview, the journalist asked questions of the brothers that gendered an unfavorable response. When asked where all the money to pay for their treasure hunt was coming from, Rick responded and made it clear that this is not something that they even like to talk about. They have made it plain that their search is more about the pursuit of a dream. When pushed, Marty responded that he and Rick are the two people who are financing the operations on Oak Island.
6. The Laginas can’t answer a popular question about the island
It’s no secret that the island has earned a reputation for robbing people of their fortunes in pursuit of the rumored hidden treasures. Many believe that the entire story is a hoax because of the scores of hunters who have put their life’s earnings into expeditions there. When asked how they plan to prevent this same fate from befalling them, Marty acknowledged that it’s a thought that crosses everyone who searches minds, but the two brothers are convinced that there is something to the story. Marty could not answer the question and deferred to Rick who himself can go on nothing other than they believe the treasure exists. There is no contingency plan in place, except to continue to move forward with their quest.
7. The Laginas thought about digging up the entire island up
One of the most popular suggestions for finding out if there is a treasure on the island or not, is to just dig everything up to solve the mystery once and for all. Rick said that they had considered doing just that, but there were a few reasons why they can’t. The first is that it would be far too expensive of an undertaking. Although state of the art equipment could help them accomplish the task, the cost would be prohibitive. The next obstacle is the environmental issues that would be involved. It would cause too much damage to the ecosystem and surrounding area, so even if they could afford to do it, they wouldn’t be able to secure permission from the authorities to do so legally. On the other hand, there are skeptics that believe the main reason that they don’t just dig the whole thing up is because it would end the quest as well as the reality television show and a stream of income would be lost in the process. Which is true? You be the judge, but either way you vote, you’ll get an argument from somebody one one side or the other.
8. Is it for the challenge or the money?
When asked about coming to the end of the story, the Laginas may have differing points of view on the topic. Rick’s been clear that his goal is to solve the mystery and for him, it isn’t all about finding a treasure. Marty on the other hand wants to find the treasure and perhaps this is the only thing that will give him the closure that he’s looking for. Their father gave them instructions before he passed away. He believed that the treasure exists and encouraged the boys to move forward to find it. When asked what they should do with it when they found it, he gave them a simple answer. He told them to “do good with it.” Some of the Lagina’s goals also include cataloging and items unearthed of historical significance for the good of all. It’s a great story and solving the mystery in favor of finding a buried treasure would be the ultimate story book ending.
9. The Laginas spend a lot of personal time on the island
When asked how often they go to Oak Island, Rick was the first to answer. He replied that they spend as much time as possible, and because he’s retired, he has more available time than Marty, who still runs a business has. Their friends and families often join them on the island and some of them even help out with the hunt.
10. Rick and Marty have unbelievers in the family
In an interview, Rick and Marty discuss the amount of time that they spend on the island. They talk about how their family and friends come up often and sometimes help out. Sisters, nephews and others visit them there, but Rick shared that “not all of them believe however.”
When and how often do you go to Oak Island? I know it’s over the summer season, but how long are you really there?
Rick: We spend the amount time that we can. I’m retired, and Marty still has business adventures ongoing, so he splits his time. We were there overall five months this year. Family and friends come up. Our sisters have come up with their families. Marty’s son, Alex, has participated in the process, and so have our nephews, Peter and David. They’re all somewhat invested. Not all of them believe however. He didn’t elaborate on which specific friends or family are just humoring them, but it’s nice that they offer their support anyway.
11. The circumstances of Matt’s death are curious
We learned that Matt’s death is as mysterious as the island itself. There is curiosity about the position that he was in at the time of his death. He is the seventh victim of the island. Sources disclosed that when Matt died, he was on his knees and it appeared that he was in the middle of a prayer, or as one source described “as if praying for his life.” Matt was not a religious person so it makes everyone wonder exactly what was going on at the time of his death.
12. Matt may have triggered the Curse to become the 7th victim
There is speculation that a big secret Matt came upon may have led to his untimely death. Although there is no way to confirm this, here are a few of the facts about the situation. Prior to his passing, Matt set out to look for an ancient Map of the Island that is believed to be of a Masonic origin. This would be a significant finding indeed. The story indicates that the map was hidden in secret and that it would be found bricked up in the shrine of some old building.
13. Matt Chisolm’s death is still shrouded in mystery
Matt died about a year ago and many people are just hearing about it now. This is a big mystery because he was well loved by all who knew him. Most people who find out wonder why there was no mention on the show and why the producers or cast made no effort to memorialize or pay honor to him as a part of the team. His death has left many questions. The family still does not know what the cause of death is, why he died or what the circumstances of his passing were. We’re all wondering if there is anyone who actually does know? Why has everyone remained so quiet about the incident? This may be one of the biggest mysteries about the curse of Oak Island in existence today.
14. Matt Chisolm had privileged information
To add to the mystery of the island and it’s supposed curse, we learned that Matt had been given privileged information in the form of a tip. The great-granddaughter of a Top Masonic Grand Master in Nova Scotia told him about the secret Masonic Shrine that had been hidden years ago. She disclosed all the details that was known about the discovery of the secret room that contained the map, including a description of the map that was imprinted with “unusual symbols and marking on it.” It was only a matter of hours after learning about this secret, and determining to lay his hands on this ancient map that Matt was found dead.
15. Matt shared his secret before he passed
Matt had disclosed to a colleague that he was going to attempt to prove that the map was authentic and verify the story about it. He was trying to figure out the best way to go about this before presenting it for use on the show. As he made preparations to test the paper that the map was inscribed on, he believed that he was on to perhaps one of the most important clues for solving the mystery once and for all. This could have been the break that everyone had been looking for, but he didn’t have the time to complete his intentions before his life was ended abruptly.
16. Neither the Laginas or producers would honor Matt’s memory on the show
One of Matt’s friends asked if there would be a tribute episode that at least mentioned Matt on the show. Even just a few minutes or seconds to mention a beloved member of the team didn’t seem like too much to ask. Nobody responded and nothing was done. A seventh life was claimed by the island, it was one of their own and they couldn’t make some small gesture to acknowledge his importance or send condolences to his family? This is an unsettling turn of events and it makes us all wonder why efforts were made to gloss over this major event that took place? We may never know, or it’s possible that there is something they know that we are not yet aware of regarding the map and its connection to the legendary curse.
17. News of the leak triggered a response from the Oak Island crew
A story was written that asked the hard questions about Matt’s death and delved into why nothing was said about it by cast and crew. Immediately after the news broke publicly, there were insinuations about drug laced parties after wrap up sessions and small hints that possibly Matt’s death was due to his participation in taking drugs at the parties. This was an insult to Matt’s memory and to his grieving family. We have no way to confirm whether the allegations are true or contrived by Oak Island producers. Here is yet another mystery surrounding the series and the island. It would seem that if Matt did die from drug use, it would show up in some kind of routine toxicology screening as mysterious deaths usually require an autopsy. Still, there is no word about the cause.
18. Producers remain stoic about their secrets
We’re not sure if the producers of the show know any more than the rest of us do about the mysterious events surrounding the deaths that have taken place because of involvement in the quest to solve the mystery. Neither do we know if it’s fear of an actual curse or of lower ratings or an investigation that is motivating their silence. The journalist who attempted to get them to talk about it didn’t get anywhere at all. He shared that they would just move on to a new topic, making it obvious that there was nothing they could or would say about the events surrounding Matt Chisolm’s death or discoveries for that matter.
19. There are three new plots planned for The Curse of Oak Island
There have been a little more than fifty proposals for missions and investigations for upcoming seasons. Of all of these, the have been given the highest priority for inclusion in the show so far. These are Finding the map that Matt was onto, and locating the secrets shrine, obtaining the 90 foot stone that a family is in possession of and one regarding the King Baldwin Coins that were discovered on Oak Island.
20. Susan Conway may have some answers
Although nobody has pursued Susan Conway as a potential resource for solving the mystery of the 7th victim of the curse of Oak Island, it makes sense to at least interview her and find out what she may know. Matt Chisolm had been working with Matt on finding the secret map, but as far as we can tell, no efforts are being made that are being talked about anyway.
21. Whether you love or hate it, Oak Island is important
It doesn’t really matter who believes in the legend of the money pit, or who believes that there is or ever was a treasure stashed on Oak Island. This is a place that has already yielded significant finds that are a piece of its history. There is no doubt that there is value to the operations that are taking place. The best possible outcome would be solving the mystery that so many have pursued through multiple decades, dedicating their lives to pursuit of the truth. We’re waiting to find out if more will be revealed about Matt Chisolm’s mysterious death and if it is truly tied into the mysterious curse that is rumored to plague those who get to close to discovering the secrets contained in the island.