What could be more mysterious than an island filled with buried treasure? Oak Island is a privately owned island that sits off the coast of Nova Scotia in Canada. From a “money pit” 100 feet deep to Shakespearean manuscripts, the legendary finds on Oak Island have kept it in the news for centuries. And so have the tragedies. The troublesome island has wrought misfortune, injury, and even death on many visitors over the years.
Since 2014, Oak Island has been the subject of a multi-series reality TV show on the History network called The Curse of Oak Island. It follows the misadventures of American brothers Marty and Rick Lagina as they hunt for treasure and ancient artifacts.
Keep watching to learn shocking evidence that proves the Curse of Oak Island is very real and still causing chaos.
Is Legend of the Money Pit Nonsense?
Over the years, numerous people have tried to get at the mysterious treasure buried somewhere on Oak Island. The curse states that seven people will die before the prize is found, and so far, six people have been killed trying to get at it.
The treasure was buried in a shaft called the “money pit,” though no one knows where it is today. The story goes that in 1795, two teenagers from Nova Scotia stumbled across a hollow in the ground with a tackle block hanging in a tree above it. Thinking they’d found the legendary money pit, they dug down as far as thirty feet below ground. Not finding anything, they gave up.
Was the money pit there, or is this just another tall tale? To this day, no one has been able to prove or deny the story.
Oak Island Producers Employed Real Archeologists
With all its legends and myths, Oak Island is such a favorite with treasure hunters and mystery fans that it’s become a popular tourist destination. People want to make their mark, hunt for buried finds, or simply say they’ve been there.
Because of this, the producers of The Curse of Oak Island needed to bring some credibility to the show’s treasure hunting exploits. Early on in the show, they brought on Nova Scotia-based archeology consultant Laird Niven. And at one point, fans noticed a blonde woman helping the Lagina brothers with excavations. She was identified as a recent University of New Brunswick Archeology department graduate called Miriam Amirault.
Of course, working archeologists question the motives of the Lagina brothers. Are they really interested in the island’s history, or are they just hoping to make their fortunes?
Laird Niven is Way Too Handy With a Digger
Speaking of real archeologists, some viewers have been quick to question Laird Niven’s credentials. When it comes to conducting an excavation, Niven’s approach is pretty unconventional. Niven has no qualms about digging great big holes with a mechanical digger instead of the thorough and careful removal of soil, artifacts, and fossils archeologists are known for. Though to his credit, the top layers of soil are so dug over by treasure hunters that there’s not much of value left.
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Speaking of Digs… Laird Niven Never Gets Permission
The preservation of local heritage is essential to the Nova Scotia government. Anyone wanting to conduct an archeological excavation of any kind needs to apply for a Heritage Research Permit, especially if the diggers might find artifacts from First Nations peoples.
Rick and Marty Lagina were smart. They secured both the rights to film on Oak Island and treasure hunting permits for the entire land plot. This way, Laird Niven or any other archeologist working on the site doesn’t need extra permissions to dig.
Lucky them, though it begs the question, how much do they care about preserving what they find or where they dig?
Rick and Marty Lagina Cough Up the Dough for the Show
Digging up an island looking for buried treasure doesn’t come cheap. And we’re pretty sure the History Channel doesn’t foot the bill for all those digs. So who does? The Lagina brothers are famously tight-lipped when it comes to where the money comes from. Still, online sources suggest the excavations are privately funded by Rick and Marty and a handful of private investors and business associates, including a certain Craig Tester. And when you read that Marty Lagina’s net worth is anywhere between $40 to $100 million, it’s clear they aren’t struggling with finances.
People Will Pay Any Price to Dig on Oak Island
Fans afflicted with gold fever are willing to spend anything to get to the island and start digging. Even when no logical clues point to the existence of treasure and no one has found anything of value on the island for centuries. The Oak Island obsession has left some treasure hunters destitute, with many rinsing their entire life savings in their quest to uncover something rare or valuable. Maybe they just want something to show for sitting at home watching all eight seasons of The Curse of Oak Island?
Rick and Marty Lagina Spend a Lot of Time on Oak Island
Rick and Marty Lagina don’t just head to Oak Island to film their TV show. Island life is very much a lifestyle for the brothers and their families. Rick is retired, so he has a lot of time on his hands, which he spends foraging for treasure. Marty brings his family, who often jump in and help out on excavations.
A Lot of People Own Oak Island
Wondering why the Lagina brothers walk around like they own the entire island? They pretty much do! While they have a decent share in Oak Island, and their digging on a whim whenever, wherever makes it seem like they’re the sole owners, they don’t own the whole island. Their friend and business associate Craig Tester holds a portion, as does Alan.K. Kostrzewa, who is the owner of Oak Island Tours. The late Dan Blankenship, a friend of the Lagina’s and an Oak Island history expert, also had ownership.
What Actually Happened to the Late Matt Chisholm?
One of the reasons people believe Oak Island is cursed is because of its killer reputation. At least six confirmed deaths have happened on the island. One more and the legend says the treasure will reveal itself.
With a possible seventh death, maybe some lucky treasure hunter is set to make their fortune soon. In 2014, former The Curse of Oak Island show producer Matt Chisholm is thought to be the seventh Oak Island victim. While the details surrounding his death are unclear and, in fact, not even confirmed, sources say that at the time of his death, Matt was found on his knees with his hands in the prayer position. But weirdly, Matt wasn’t a religious man.
Matt Chisholm Might Have Been a Whistleblower
In keeping with the tradition of Oak Island as a mysterious place, some people say that Matt’s death wasn’t an accident. At the time of his death, Matt was party to some top secret information about the treasure buried on Oak Island. According to reports floating around fan sites, Matt had a tip-off about an ancient Masonic map of Oak Island, which revealed information about the buried treasure. And this was right before, you guessed it, he disappeared!
Suspiciously, Matt Chisholm’s death was never officially reported. Why? It could, of course, merely be a strategy to keep viewers glued to their screens. Or much worse, was Matt silenced because he knew too much?
An Old Reader’s Digest Story Inspired the Oak Island TV Series
Believe it or not, the Lagina’s learned about Oak Island from an article in a 1965 edition of Reader’s Digest. The story talked about treasure hunters heading to the island to excavate, you guessed it, the infamous money pit. Wondering what the title was that caught Rick Lagina’s eye? It was “Oak Island’s Mysterious ‘Money Pit.’” For the young Rick, a big fan of adventure novels like The Hardy Boys, this article set the tone for his future career. In fact, the idea to produce a television show about digging around in the dirt for buried treasure came directly from this experience.
The Lagina Family Won’t Give Up… Even After 15 Years
It’s common knowledge that Oak Island is haunted by bad luck. And this misfortune has a way of rubbing off on anyone who visits. Way back in 1795, the first people to find the money pit took a break after digging out the hole. They came back to see the pit flooded with water and the treasure unreachable. Since then, bad luck has only continued. As many as seven people have even died on the island!
The curse of Oak Island doesn’t deter the Lagina family, though. They’ve been chasing treasure-filled dreams for almost two decades. Skeptical television watchers are left doubting whether there’s any treasure to be found. Dedicated fans still hang with bated breath, waiting for the day Rick and Marty Lagina finally bag their bounty.
Do you think the Oak Island curse is real? Or do you think it’s all made up by the Lagina brothers to keep people watching? Head to the comment section below and let us know. But be prepared to debate with hardcore Oak Island fans on this one!
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