The Curse of Oak Island has been one of the most viewed entertainment shows for years – as of January 2020, the show had more than 3.2 million viewers per episode. The History Channel show follows the adventures and efforts of Michigan brothers Rick and Marty Lagina and their crew, to solve various mysteries in order to find the speculated treasure and artifacts believed to be buried almost 200 years ago, somewhere on the infamous Oak Island, which is located on the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia, Canada. The Curse of Oak Island premiered on January 5, 2014, and is currently in its eighth season, which started on 10 November 2020.
The mystery of Oak Island is still one of the most intriguing mysteries in the world.
Since no one knows what is actually buried on the island, there are many theories which range from pirate treasure to Shakespeare’s manuscripts to Marie Antoinette’s jewels to the Holy Grail, or the Ark of the Covenant buried by the Knights Templar. Many people are obsessed with those theories including the Lagina brothers, who decided to investigate it after reading the Reader’s Digest magazine’s article “Treasure Hunt: The Mystery of Oak Island” written by David MacDonald in 1965.
Just like the island, the show has its own secrets, since a number of interesting details remain unseen. However, we dig deeper and compiled you some facts with which many fans are unfamiliar. Just stay with us ‘til the end, and you will find out some of The Curse of Oak Island’s many secrets!
- 1 The Legend of the Money Pit
- 2 There Are Ghosts on the Island
- 3 An Expert Archeologist Brought Some Credibility to the Show
- 4 Laird Niven’s Work on the Show Isn’t Conventional
- 5 The Crew Doesn’t Need a License to Dig
- 6 The Lagina Brothers Considered Digging up the Whole Island
- 7 Rick and Marty Finance Everything on Their Own
- 8 The Lagina Brothers Don’t Worry About Losing Their Money
- 9 The Brother Spend Their Spare Time on the Island
- 10 Some of Their Family Members Are Unbelievers
- 11 The Curse and the Seventh Death
- 12 The Death of Matt Chisholm is Still a Mystery
- 13 Matt Chisholm Shared His Secret with Susan Conway
- 14 Neither the Producers nor the Cast Talk about Matt’s Death
- 15 Did Matt Chisholm Die From Drug Use?
- 16 Oak Island is Still Very Important
The Legend of the Money Pit
One of the most interesting things about the Oak Island is the famed shaft, known as the Money Pit. It was found in the summer of 1975 by 16-year-old Daniel McGinnis, who saw a strange light on an island offshore from his home in Nova Scotia, and made his way across to Oak Island to investigate. He found no source of the light, but discovered a rope and tackle system hanging from the branch of an old oak tree, above a shaft about 4.8 meters in diameter.
Daniel naturally assumed that it was used to lower things into the shaft, and recalled the story of the buried treasure from childhood tales. The next day he returned with two friends, Anthony Vaughan and John Smith, and they started to dig. Instead of treasure, the boys found a man-made shaft featuring wooden platforms at every 10 feet, all the way to a depth of 90 feet, when they gave up the search.
Although the boys didn’t find any in the shaft, the legend holds that this was a sign of buried treasure. The Lagina brothers referred to this story in the first episode of Season 1, entitled “What Lies Below”, when they talked about “teenagers” who found evidence of the existence of treasure “200 years ago.”
However, digging to a depth of 90 feet goes in favor of the fact that no treasure was most likely buried there. Nowadays, even the exact location of the Money Pit remains a mystery, due to the overlying debris caused by a 1960 expedition. So, it seems to be nothing more than a legend!
There Are Ghosts on the Island
According to a letter dating back to 1995, there are ghosts on the Oak Island – the unusual encounter with one of them was described in the letter.
A local fishermen was in his boat on the North side of the island when he suddenly saw “the figure of a man” on the shore. The figure then called him and told him, “Come here and I will give you all the gold you can carry.”, but this so frightened the fisherman that he immediately “rowed for home as fast as he could.”
An Expert Archeologist Brought Some Credibility to the Show
After numerous attempts by the Lagina brothers during the first three seasons of the show to convince viewers to believe that treasure was indeed buried on the island, many remained skeptical about the validity of the show, and the rumors about hidden treasure since there were no experts in the series. For that reason, in the second episode of Season 4, entitled “Always Forward”, the creators of the show invited Laird Niven, who is considered one of the best archaeological experts in Nova Scotia, to join the Lagina brothers and their crew in order to bring some credibility to the show.
Laird Niven’s Work on the Show Isn’t Conventional
Even Laird Niven’s work on the show has met with a huge amount of criticism. It’s known that most archaeologists work under conditions requiring a very slow movement of the earth in significant dig sites, to prevent damage to any possible relics and objects that could be found during digging. Niven is apparently not one of them, since his procedures include moving the earth very rapidly and roughly, and using industrial equipment to move things around that could damage any finds. However, he believes that the earth has already been dug up by many treasure hunters, so the risk of damage is quite low.
The Crew Doesn’t Need a License to Dig
In general, it’s required by law that every time archaeologists carry out excavations on the island, they must have licenses. However, this rule doesn’t apply to the crew of “The Curse of Oak Island” since they don’t have to apply for a license every time they dig.
Could tonight's episode reveal the literal key to the Island's secrets? pic.twitter.com/hCUt7M7dzp
— Curse of Oak Island (@CurseOfOak) December 22, 2020
So, Laird Niven only had to apply for one license before they started digging, and that was apparently more than enough.
The Lagina Brothers Considered Digging up the Whole Island
At one point, the Lagina brothers were considering the possibility of digging up the whole of Oak Island to find out once and for all whether the tales of the hidden treasure were true or not. They opened up about it in their December 2015 interview with Channel Guide magazine, in which Rick said that many “had suggested that,” but they had to give up the idea due to various obstacles, as he explained – “There’s some limits, financial, environmental, to doing it that way.”
In other words, the cost of digging up the entire island would be excessively high, but the biggest obstacle concerns the surrounding eco-system, the damage to which and the environment would be too great. So, even if they could find enough money to accomplish the goal, the authorities would not give them permission to do it legally.
The Lagina Brothers are joining us for a one of a kind Q&A. Now’s your chance to ask them your burning questions about…
Although Rick also added, “Believe me, nobody wants to get the final answers better than us,” many viewers still believe that the real obstacle was because digging up the whole island would end their quest as well as the show, which would certainly effect their income.
Rick and Marty Finance Everything on Their Own
In the same interview, the Lagina brothers were asked where all the money they spend on pursuing their boyhood dreams of finding hidden treasure comes from; the brothers were obviously taken aback at the directness of the question. Rick then told the journalist that he’d “hit” a forbidden topic. However, Marty eventually responded, “You know it’s coming from us. We’re financing it. That’s basically where the money is coming from — us.”
The Lagina Brothers Don’t Worry About Losing Their Money
In the past, many ambitious treasure hunters were left broke after investing all their fortune in digging on Oak Island. When they were asked in the same interview how they prevent themselves from falling into a similar trap, the Lagina brothers couldn’t give any specific answers. Marty said that he wasn’t sure how to prevent it, while Rick said, “What we endeavor to do is that every situation, it’s a financial risk/financial reward within the context of finances, if you will. It’s a judgment call,” and then added, “If you feel like you can’t make progress, of course, then you have to either abandon or limit your activities. That’s basically the parameters under which we’re operating.”
The Brother Spend Their Spare Time on the Island
The Lagina brothers spent a lot of their spare time on the island, Rick more so since he’s retired and doesn’t have any other obligations, while Marty still runs his own business, so he has less available time.
Some of Their Family Members Are Unbelievers
Even though their families and friends frequently join them on the island, and sometimes help them out, “not all of them believe” in the tales about hidden treasure, according to Rick. In other words, some of them don’t share the same confidence in a happy ending to their search. On the other hand, their father was a believer, who encouraged the brothers to solve the mystery of the island. Rick once said that their father told them to “do good” with treasure if they find it.
The Curse and the Seventh Death
Just to let you know, there is a good reason why the word “curse” appeared in the title of the show! Many believe there is a curse related to the buried treasure, which states that seven men will have to die in the search for the treasure before it can be discovered. By the time the series began filming back in 2014, six men had died – the seventh death reportedly occurred in the same year, on the show, when one of the producers named Matt Chisholm died.
However, in an August 2019 interview with The Chronicle Herald magazine, Marty said, “In our hearts, we don’t believe in the curse,” and then added, “It’s been such a heartbreak for so many people who have invested their hearts and their fortunes and so many died.”
The Death of Matt Chisholm is Still a Mystery
Matt Chisholm passed away under mysterious circumstances, reportedly dying a few hours after getting a tip from a great-granddaughter of a Masonic Grand Master. The tip was about the location of a Masonic Shrine hidden in a secret room on the island, where an ancient Masonic map was buried. The case of his death has left many question; his body was found on the set of the show. Matt Chisholm was not religious man, so the weirdest thing was the position of his body at the time of the death, since several sources claimed that he was on his knees praying when he died.
Matt’s family still doesn’t know what really happened to him, and what the cause of his death was.
Matt Chisholm had intentions of verifying whether the story was true or not, and to prove that the ancient map was authentic before presenting it on the show. Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough time to do it since his life was ended. The secret about the tip wasn’t taken to the grave, since he worked on finding the ancient Masonic map with Susan Conway. However, for whatever reason she hasn’t been asked about it since his death, although it’s believed that she may have some answers.
Neither the Producers nor the Cast Talk about Matt’s Death
Another weird thing about “The Curse of Oak Island“ is that Matt Chisholm’s death has never been announced publicly by the producers or the cast of the show.
They also haven’t dedicated any episode in honor of him – why is that so? There is speculation that the producers know more about his death, but just don’t want to share it. Moreover, many journalists have been trying to get in touch with them for years to find out more details, but without any success. They probably keep it a secret because they know that a serious investigation of his death would discover something big, and perhaps cause the end of the show.
Did Matt Chisholm Die From Drug Use?
As soon as the news about Matt Chisholm’s death hit the headlines, it was rumored that the cast organized parties after wrap-up sessions where some of them used drugs, and that Matt Chisholm was a drug addict. However, there is no any evidence for that, because an autopsy was never done, which led us to another mystery, since unexplained deaths usually require an autopsy.
— Curse of Oak Island (@CurseOfOak) November 13, 2020
Oak Island is Still Very Important
Regardless of whether there is indeed buried treasure on the idsland or not, Oak Island is still very important! It’s a place which has already provide many finds significant for its own history. Without a doubt, the excavations led by the brothers have also been very important. The best possible outcome would be finding the treasure and proving the stories were true, if only in honor of many men who lost their lives on the island, including Matt Chisholm. It remains to be seen if they will eventually reveal more details about his death, and whether the rumored curse were true.
We hope you have discovered something new and interesting about “The Curse of Oak Island” – are you still fascinated by the story, true or myth, and the possibility of historic findings, treasure or not!