'The Curse Of Oak Island' Recap: 04/13/2021

Post by: Rick Ellis 13 April, 2021

We are now beginning episode twenty two of the eighth season of The Curse Of Oak Island and while the episode titles for the show tend to be very literal, I'm not sure what to make of tonight's title: "Be There Or T-Square." It would be fun to think the title means Mr. T will make an appearance, but that seems unlikely.

The tease for the episode is the typical mix of scenes that are likely to be misdirects or things that don't actually happen in this episode. We see some excited unveiling of a core sample from the swamp area, Craig Tester telling the team some sample has been identified as being from the "pre-searcher" era, the discovery of a very burned large iron bar that someone says "has to be from a ship" and the discovery of what appears to be a large wooden beam in the middle of the swamp area.

It is, as the show is fond of saying, the beginning of a new day on Oak Island. Rick Lagina, along with Oak Island historians Doug Crowell and Charles Barkhouse are calling Marty Lagina to update him on a potentially important discovery made the previous day in the are known as the swamp. Sure, it it's that significant, you'd think that might have called him the evening before, but hey, TV. They let him know that a piece of polished wood that appears to be part of a ship's railing was discovered 8-10 feet down in the mud. And there appears to be some sort of wooden object buried at a similar level. So the plan is to try and uncover the object, which everyone hopes - but is afraid to say - might be a boat.

But as is always the case with Oak Island, nothing comes easily. While the day is clear, it rained heavily the night before. Forcing the team to bring in a large pump they hope will remove enough water to allow them to continue to dig. So as the water drops, metal detection expert Gary Drayton will inspect the buckets of mud for items of interest. The team is able to dig down enough to uncover one long wooden beam, but so much water is pouring into the hole that it is impossible to keep the hole clear or continue working. Rick Lagina is forced to conclude that they will have to suspend work on the area until next spring. Then they can create a cofferdam consisting of large steel sheets that will wall off the area and keep out the water. That is similar to the wall that was built several seasons ago in Smith's Cove.

On the western end of the island, Charles Barkhouse and Scott Barlow join archaeologists Laird Niven and Liz Michaels at the 18th-century stone foundation that used to be part of the home owned by Samuel Ball. He came to Oak Island in 1787 and raised cabbages. But somehow during his time on the island, he managed to become one of the wealthiest people in the area, eventually buying a number of lots on Oak Island as well as several on the mainland. Leading some people to suspect that he might have found at least some of the Oak Island treasure. Laird discovers a large metal hinge that could have come off of a door or perhaps a chest of some kind. He also uncovers wooden boards and it's not clear if they are from a door or were just discarded there for some reason.

Later near the eastern edge of the swamp, Rick Lagina, along with geoscientists Dr. Ian Spooner and Dr. Aaron Taylor and other members of the team are now focusing their attention on the long stone pathway that has been uncovered in the swamp. As Gary Drayton examines the spoils pile from the dig, he spots a wooden object of interest. It's a smooth wooden T-shaped object and based on the title of the episode. my guess is that this is the "t-square."

Later that afternoon at the Oak Island Research Center, Marty Lagina meets with Doug Crowell and Gary Drayton to inspect the new find. Crowell tells them that after some research, be believes it is a stone mason's tool. 

The following morning, Rick, Marty, Craig and members of the team assemble at the War Room. They have arranged to meet with Oak Island theorist Phillip Stevenson via a video conference. Like the 100 or so people who have come before him, this guy has a theory which he believes might explain what went on at Oak Island several hundred years ago. He explains that a relative was a member of the Freemasons and that when he died 25 years ago, the family discovered a piece of paper hidden in the pocket of his Freemason robes. The writing on the paper included a number of strange symbols, along with some words written in English. He tells the team that he believes he has cracked the cipher on the paper and that the symbols translated into a series of navigational instructions. He also says he believes that religious items were transported to Oak Island by members of the Knights Templar and that he can now identify the location on the island where the objects are buried.

While this sounds like another one of those goofball theories that frequently pop up on the show, it is interesting to note the location Stevenson identifies is close to location of interest once identified in a survey conducted in the 1980s. But until now, the site has never been the subject of a dedicated search. 

These "expert" suggestions are usually put on the back burner by the team, but the next day they are out drilling at the spot suggested by Stevenson. Which makes me suspect this spot might have already been on the radar and action planned even before his call. Regardless, they drill down to the target depth of 40 feet and don't find anything. Surprisingly, Marty Lagina says in an interview that he believes the clues were deciphered brilliantly by Stevenson, but that the path started at what is referred to in the cipher as the "alter." And he's not convinced Stevenson had the correct starting point.

The next morning at the Eastern edge of the swamp, Gary Drayton and David Fornetti continue to examine the area around the stone pathway. They find what appears to be a broken ringbolt but unlike earlier discoveries, this one is perhaps three feet long and twisted in several directions. Rick Lagina suggests that David Fornetti take it to archaeologist Dr. Alex Taylor for his opinion. His first comment is that the bar is covered on charcoal, which means it must have been exposed to high levels of heat for an extended period. He suspects that the bar was likely part of some wooden structure, perhaps part of a ship.

Later that evening, the team gathers in the War Room to hear the results of a highly anticipated scientific report from Craig Tester about the mysterious wooden t-shaped object that was found in the swamp. The tests show the tool is likely from a time period ranging from 1632 to 1668. That is more than 160 years before the discovery of the money pit. Marty Lagina does bring up the obvious fact that while the tool might have been made in that time period, it could have still be in use 20 or 30 years after its construction. 

But that still dates to well before the discovery of the money pit and it falls into a time period where the team has found other ship and construction-related items. So what was going on at Oak Island in the mid-1600s?

That's it for this week and the previews show what appears to be the discovery of the remnants of a large wharf in the waters near Samuel Ball's house. And someone on the team seems to have found a gold coin.

See you next week!

Last modified on Friday, 16 April 2021 00:25