Everyone loves a good puzzle, and solving the mystery of Oak Island is one of the greatest of our time. Treasure is supposed to be buried on the island, but no one has ever found more than remnants and teases; A coin here, an old shoe there, but no one has ever found the big prize. Or have they?
The Lagina brothers started unraveling the mystery in 1965 and may have just seen their obsession pay off. Join us on the epic journey to unearth Oak Island and see how important their latest find is.
They First Learned About The Curse In 1965
Rick Lagina was going through another ordinary day when he came across an article in Reader’s Digest about Oak Island. He was instantly hooked reading about the supposedly cursed island in Novia Scotia, Canada.
The magazine claimed there was a treasure buried deep underground on the island. A treasure that many people had gone crazy and died trying to find. Rick’s fascination quickly turned into an obsession. For as long as he had been alive, Rick had dreamed of finding treasure.
A Born Treasure Hunter
Rick was 10-years-old when he went searching for his first treasure. It was one year before he learned about Oak Island. His first hunt involved moving a granite rock he discovered to learn what was hidden underneath. That one was easy, the next one was going to be much harder.
To move the rock, Rick recruited eight friends and Marty, his brother. The group was able to move the rock and were left disappointed by the findings. There wasn’t anything unusual or of value. Rick, unlike his friends, didn’t care about what was underneath the rock. He fell in love with the chase.
The Mystery Began In 1804
It was 1804 when the Onslow Company came into being. The company was formed to search the island after a young boy found a circular depression on the ground. The original team dug into the depression, cutting through layers of wood and charcoal on the way.
Their efforts were rewarded when they discovered a stone tablet with an odd inscription. For 62 years, no one was able to decipher what the tablet said. Finally, in 1866, a language professor from Halifax University broke the code, revealing an ominous message.
A Curse Is Revealed
The unnamed professor revealed the stone said, “forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried.” There was no explanation of whether it was gold, silver, coins, or something else. That’s not the scary part, though.
According to the curse of Oak Island, seven people must die before the island gives up its treasure. To date, six people have died and countless explorers have hunted the island, only making minor discoveries. When the island claims its seventh victim will the curse be lifted and the treasure finally be revealed?
New Clues Give Way To A New Theory
During season four of the show, things got really interesting. The Lagina’s were gifted a copy of a French map from 1347. The map of the island had locations listed for a hatch, an anchor, and a valve. Suddenly a new theory about the treasure was born; that it came from Africa.
The brothers kept searching, only to uncover more items that led to more theories. They found hex nuts, a washer, scrap metal, and a button. What did it all mean? Well, that’s part of the mystery, we guess. Ahead, learn how far Rick is willing to go to finish his mission.
Everyone Has A Theory
There are several theories as to how the treasure ended up at Oak Island. We’ll cover two of them here. The first one claims the treasure is Marie Antionette’s. In this story she had her maid flee Paris during the French Revolution, hiding half her belongings in London and the other half in Nova Scotia.
The second theory says the treasure belonged to Francis Bacon. Bacon claimed to be the original author of Shakespeare’s plays. A pit was built at Oak Island to hide Bacon’s original transcripts. In the process, numerous other treasures were buried there. Which theory do you believe?
What Is The Money Pit?
As explorers dug up Oak Island to try and find the treasure, they discovered what has become known as the money pit. When Onslow made it through nearly 90 feet of putty, charcoal, and logs, they found the tablet. But before they could keep digging, the pit filled with water.
The team dug a second hole to drain the cavity, only to have it flood again. Was this a possible booby trap? No breakthrough would be made for another 45 years.
A Small Treasure Is Found
In 1847, the Truro Company began digging at Oak Island. After drilling through the ground, they hit paydirt. They pierced through two chests full of coins and managed to recover three gold links that appeared to be from a chain.
Not surprisingly, the gold went missing. After years of searching for more treasure, the Truro Company gave up, unable to stop the flooding created by the Onslow Company. They may have given up, but new explorers came in droves, some willing to lose their lives to uncover incredible riches never seen before.
Years Pass, Explorers Die, And Intrigue Remains
As the years passed, more and more explorers took to Oak Island to solve the puzzle. The Triton Alliance was formed in the 1970s to provide money and technology for the search. Still, no matter how far the team dug, all they found were small clues like logs with Roman carvings or leather shoes.
For the next 25 years, no one explored the island. Legal rights belonged to the Triton Alliance, who had abandoned their dig and got caught in their own squabbles with each other. In 2005, the property went up for sale, and Robert and Marty Lagina jumped on the chanced to get in on the hunt!
The Lagina Brother Purchase Their Way Back Into The Picture
When 2005 rolled around, a portion of Oak Island went up for sale. The cost was around seven million dollars, money the Lagina brothers happened to have thanks to their lucrative drilling business. The Oak Island Tourism Society urged the Canadian government to step in and buy the land, but they never did.
To make sure they could outbid anyone, they bought a 50 percent stake in Oak Island Tours Incorporated. With the island secure, they had their chance to unearth the truth buried at Oak Island. It didn’t take long for them to start making some big discoveries.
The Brothers Had New Technology On Their Side
Finally able to take their crack at Oak Island, the Lagina brothers had one major advantage; 21st-century technology. By taking advantage of tools that weren’t available 50 years before, they could scour the whole island in hopes of finding clues.
Using everything at their disposal, the brothers knew they could better explore the flooded money pit. They could also explore the human-made hole dug next to the money pit, called the “Borehole 10-X,” which contained a wealth of secrets that previous explorers never knew about. Coming up, the television breakthrough that took their search to the next level.
Television Comes Calling With The Curse Of Oak Island
The Lagina brothers’ search was put in the spotlight in 2014 when the History Channel made them the subjects of a documentary television show. The Curse of Oak Island was a massive hit for the network and is still running after more than five seasons on the air.
More importantly, the show added credibility to the treasure hunt and provided Rick and Marty extra funding for their adventure. With so much luck on their side, the brothers were sure to start finding clues right away, but did they?
Workers With Experience Wanted
As soon as the brothers got their wish to dig at Oak Island, they knew they needed help. There was no way the two of them could safely find the treasure themselves. Luckily, Marty had several connections with very experienced drillers and diggers with the machinery and skills they needed.
Marty founded Terra Energy in 1982. It became Michigan’s largest operator of gas wells within years. In 1995, he sold the company to open Heritage Winds Energy to help provide renewable energy. Ten years later, he called up his connections with a one-of-a-kind proposal.
Marty Is The Practical Brother
Of the two Lagina brothers, Marty is considered the practical one. Rick is a dreamer and has been ever since he read about the island as a child. The entire operation was his idea. He even pushed to buy into the tour group, convincing Marty to come along for the ride.
Marty, logical as he is, has admitted to being skeptical about what the purpose of the treasure hunt really is. He also knows his brother won’t give up until he’s solved the mystery or died trying. Next, the brothers make their first discovery!
The First Discovery Is A Doozy
Everyone held their breath at the end of the first season of The Curse of Oak Island as the Lagina’s made their first discovery. Using sonar technology, they found a swamp that was shallow enough to explore. Buried in the mud, they found several human-made objects, the most surprising of which was an antique Spanish coin.
After their first discovery, numerous people came out of the woodwork to suggest theories. One person believed the treasure was from King Solomon’s Temple. Another claimed to know a secret way to get the treasure, which belonged to Francis Bacon.
Portuguese Carvings Keep The Mystery Strange
Three seasons into the show the Lagina’s made their next significant discovery. They brought in new experts to help interpret strange sonar readings and figure out how to drain Borehole 10-X. The new blood paid off, and the results of their findings made the island even more mysterious.
Among the treasures they unearthed were stones with Portuguese carvings, a Roman Sword, and several other unrelated items. The findings served as proof that different cultures had visited Oak Island over the centuries. Still, they weren’t any closer to finding the big treasure.
Rick Will Never Lose Faith In His Mission
According to Rick Lagina, “life’s a treasure hunt. We’re all on one, in our own different way, and we happen to be on a real one right now.” Rick’s goal is apparent by now; he needs to find the treasure buried at Oak Island. It might sound crazy, but it gives him purpose and a reason to smile when he wakes up every morning.
Rick also believes, despite more confusion being added than clarity, that “Every day it feels like we’re turning a page of a really good book. I still believe.” We hope Rick never stops believing. He deserves a happy ending after dreaming about the Island for so long.
The Key To The Lagina’s Success Is Their Ability To Listen
The Lagina’s have made more progress in solving the mystery of Oak Island than any explorers before them. Charles Barkhouse, a historian on the island, said part of their success could be attributed to an asset others didn’t have. Barkhouse said, “they [also have] something that other searchers didn’t have: a willingness to listen.”
Barkhouse believes that previous explorers wanted full control over their expeditions, which made it impossible to make real progress. The Lagina’s bring in various experts and listen to every possible solution before picking the one they believe will work best.
A Dangerous Obsession
The curse of the island says that seven people have to die before the treasure is revealed. So far, six people have lost their lives searching for the treasure. Will Rick be the seventh? Blackhouse says, “Putting one’s life at risk to find something that may or may not be buried is extreme.”
Another explorer, Daniel Blankenship, came to the island from Florida 50 years ago and hasn’t left since. He, like the Lagina’s brothers, has put his life on hold while he waits for the secrets of the island to be revealed. The treasure could be anything, and, “that’s what excites people,” says Barkhouse.
Is It Just A Wild Good Chase?
In over 220 years, no one has found treasure buried at Oak Island. This forces us to wonder if there was ever treasure to begin with. Is the whole mystery of Oak Island just one big wild goose chase? Barkhouse believes that’s a possibility, but adds, “it’s the simple belief that there’s something here.”
The Lagina brothers know they may be searching for nothing, but they also see the mystery is greater than just money. They want to be the first ones to solve the puzzle, and they hope to do it without becoming the seventh victim.