If you’ve spent any time in a doctor’s waiting room or had parents who yearned to improve their word power, you might be familiar with a venerable publication by the name of Reader’s Digest, which has been delivering bite-sized morsels of the world to homes since 1922. But it was one specific article in this fits-in-your-pocket journal that would inspire the Lagina brothers to seek their fortune on a particular isle…
The article in question, “Treasure Hunt: The Mystery of Oak Island”, was originally published in 1965, but you can read it here.
“The long parade of searchers began one day 200 years ago, when Daniel McGinnis, a 16-year-old from Chester, N.S., paddled over to uninhabited Oak Island to hunt for game. On a knoll at one end of the island, he noticed an odd depression. Above it, on a sawed-off tree limb, hung an old ship’s block and tackle. McGinnis’s heart raced, for in the nearby port of LaHave, once a lair for pirates preying on New England shipping, he had heard many legends of buried treasure.”
Put yourself in the mindset of an 11-year-old boy from Michigan, and it makes sense that Oak Island would become such an all-consuming passion for Rick and Marty Lagina. Honestly, how could you resist this tale?
McGinnis wasn’t the end of the story, though. There’s been a consistent level of interest in unearthing the mysteries of Oak Island ever since, with generations of the world’s finest minds attempting to find out what’s hidden beneath the surface and how to get to it while dealing with tidal flooding and the possible interference of supernatural elements. Simply put, there’s been a lot of excavation in that place over the years, and only a few trinkets to show for it.
For the Lagina brothers, the adventure began in earnest back in 2006, when they pooled their resources to buy a controlling interest in Oak Island Tours, which owns most of the place. Since then, they have dedicated a significant amount of their time, energy and money to finding the secret of the legendary “Money Pit”.
Oh, but they’ve also had to contend with the curse that’s in the title of the series! Apparently, seven men need to die seeking the treasure before it can be recovered, and so far six have passed on to the other side in pursuit of the island’s secrets. Can you imagine you and your brother eyeing each other off thinking, “Which of us is going to make the ultimate sacrifice for the other?”
Of course, while they may not have discovered any ancient treasure from pirates, Aztecs, the Knights Templar or Marie Antoinette, the Laginas appear to be doing quite well from their adventures on Oak Island. Between tours, business partnerships and this TV show, they’re earning enough coin to bury for the next generation of treasure hunters.
The Curse of Oak Island airs on Thursday nights at on SBS VICELAND. If you want to dive into the current season, start here with Season 5, episode 1,'The Journey so Far':