'The Curse Of Oak Island' Recap: 12/29/2020

Post by: 29 December, 2020

We are now beginning episode eight of the eight season of The Curse Of Oak Island and even for this show, the season as been spectacularly slow-moving. Granted, some of the problem is due to the delays caused by the pandemic. The search season began late and some of the projects the team wanted to do would have required too much time to complete before winter began.

But as much as I would like these to be some hidden treasure trove, this season has seemed to primarily be filled with episodes where a relatively small "discovery" is turned into a breathless event. "Hey, look, it's a mound of dirt! Just like the Knights Templar used to build!"

Tonight's episode is entitled "High On The Bog" and while I can't claim to be a psychic, I suspect the swamp will be involved in some way.

It's nighttime on Oak Island and the Laginas along with their team have gathered in person and remotely to hear the latest presentation from geographic information systems expert Erin Helton. She has previously examined papers and a 14th-century map collected by the late Oak Island researcher Zena Halpern and used that information to lead the team to several large boulders that she suspects had been used as markers. Now that the location of those boulders have been confirmed by the team, she believes she can use those boulders as a way to lead the team to the location of the so-called "money pit."

Helton tells the team that she doesn't believe they should continue to dig in the money pit. She believes it's a booby-trapped entrance and that the location of the vault is somewhere else. She believes they can use directions she's discovered to lead them to the location of the treasure. She lays out her theory, based in part on other material that had been collected by Zena Halpern: the La Formule Cipher. The paper is a cipher comprised of mysterious symbols, which reportedly match symbols found to have been carved on the legendary 90-foot stone.

Back in 2016, the Laginas had paid a computer science to decode the La Formule Cipher and Helton is using that translation as the jumping-off point for her translation. And by following the directions across the island instead of downward at the money pit, she arrives exactly as the location known as "Cone E" on Nolan's Cross. Even more impressive, if you overlay the corridors drawn on the 14th-century map collected by Zena Halpern, you arrive at the exact same spot. 

The Laginas are impressed enough to bring out a crew the next day to dig some exploratory holes based on Erin Helton's new theory. Rick Lagina and the small team are drilling at a location Erin believes is the site of a hidden underground corridor that might lead to the location of the true money pit. Nicknamed "EJZ-1," is is located at the edge of the clearing where many different people had dug searching for the treasure.

While drilling continues at EJZ-1, at the Oak Island Research Center, Rick Lagina, Charles Barkhouse and Craig Tester are meeting with numismatist Sandy Campbell. While searching on Lot 15 seven weeks ago, near a structure believed to be a 16th-century pine tar kiln, metal detection expert Gary Drayton and Jack Begley found an old coin unlike any they had ever discovered on Oak Island. The coin is thin and flat with a square old punched in the middle. 

After examining the find, Campbell tells the group that it is clearly a Chinese Cash Coin. And while the coin is too worn to identify more specifically, based on the way the edge of the coin was created, Campbell estimates it could be 1,100 or 1,200 years old. In other words, it was manufactured somewhere between 400 and 900 A.D. But how did it get to Oak Island? Campbell tells the group that he is surprised by the find, given that while English, Spanish and French explorers brought their coins with them on their travels, the Chinese typically did not. Campbell's best theory is that it came to the island in someone's pocket. They had likely been to the Far East and collected the coin as a good luck piece.

Following that piece of interesting news, Rick Lagina heads back to the money pit area to check on the progress of the drill holes at EJZ-1. But after a lot of back-and-forth conversation and the examination of some material brought up in the holes, the bottom line is that they haven't found anything yet.

The following day, while the drilling continues at EJZ-1, metal detection expert Gary Drayton and Peter Franetti arrive at the southeastern corner of the swamp. It is currently being drained in preparation for a new excavation and the duo hope to find some items that had previously been buried under the muck. Their first find is an old iron pin, probably used for construction on a ship or wharf and almost certainly dating back to the 1700s or earlier.

Later that day at the money pit, surveyor Steve Guptill, Oak Island historian Charles Barkhouse and geologist Terry Matheson continue to examine the bore hole material from EJZ-1. They haven't found any evidence of Erin's proposed tunnel, but when Rick Lagina arrives Guptill makes a suggestion. Last year, the team dug up woof dated back to the early 1700s at a money pit location known as OC-1, which is located a few meters east of RF-1, which they used as the starting point to determine where to dig. If the team uses OC-1 as the starting point, that might give them the location of the tunnel. But until Erin can examine the new theory to map a new location, the drilling is on hold.

On nearby Lot 15, Marty Lagina's son Alex Lagina joins archeologist Dr. Aaron Taylor and archaeologist Miriam Amirault as they continue to investigate a mysterious, serpent-shaped mound. Dr. Taylor has discovered a bit of a charcoal layer in one portion of the mound and by testing the charcoal, he should be able to determine when the material was burned. 

Meanwhile, back at the swamp, Gary Drayton and Peter Franetti continue their search for more evidence of a possible hidden ship wharf. While digging for metal, the two men discover a layer of hand-hewn boards that Drayton thinks might be the entrance to a tunnel or shaft. They call Rick Lagina and island archeologist Laird Niven to come and examine the find. Niven seems to think it could be a slipway, similar to what was found in Smith's Cove. No one is entirely sure what the feature might be, but there also appear to be sort of iron nails attached, which could help the team date the feature.

While the discovery is noteworthy, it also could potentially force the team to reevaluate their current plan to build a cofferdam in that corner of the swamp similar to the one they build two years ago in Smith's Cove. If there is indeed the remains of a slipway in that location, driving large sheets into the ground to build the cofferdam could destroy unseen wooden features. They ultimately decide to dig in the area in an effort to discover what might be there before the arrival of the metal sheets.

The tease for next week shows the discovery of more wooden features in the swamp, a new discovery by Gary Drayton and Craig Tester announcing the dating of some unseen object to 1320 to 1440.

See you next week.

Last modified on Wednesday, 30 December 2020 00:07