HomeNova ScotiaThe Curse of Oak Island Season 4 Premiere: Going for Broke

The Curse of Oak Island Season 4 Premiere: Going for Broke

Michigan brothers Rick and Marty Lagina and their crew are back in Season 4, Episode 1 of the History Channel’s TV series The Curse of Oak Island… for the viewing pleasure of our Yankee neighbours, that is. Although American fans of this reality TV show- which chronicles the latest developments in Canada’s greatest treasure hunt– were able to watch the Season 4 premiere last night at 9:00 Eastern, 8:00 Central, we Canadians have to wait until 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific on November 20, when the episode first airs in Canada. For those of you Canucks who can’t bear the wait, scroll down to see a plot summary and analysis of this first episode of the season, entitled Going for Broke.






Plot Summary


The episode opens with Rick and Marty Lagina- the two brothers from Northern Michigan heading the current Oak Island treasure hunting syndicate, Oak Island Tours Inc.- driving across the causeway from Crandall Point, in the town of Western Shore, Nova Scotia, to Oak Island. As they drive, the narrator explains that the brothers have decided to invest $2,000,000 in a “go-for-broke” assault on the infamous Money Pit- a major, long-awaited excavation project termed ‘The Big Dig’ by Oak Island enthusiasts.


On the island, members of the treasure hunting crew congregate in their on-site headquarters, which they

The Tester Vault.

The Tester Vault.

affectionately refer to as the ‘War Room’, to review their plans for the season. After the crew unanimously agrees that the time has come to dig in the Money Pit, Marty recounts how, in the summer of 2015, the crew bored a 142-foot hole in the general vicinity of the Money Pit (the precise location of the original Money Pit has long been lost to history) under the direction of their fellow treasure hunter and engineer Craig Tester. A core sample taken from the 140-142 foot depth revealed what appeared to be old wood and crude limestone concrete- materials which members of the crew believe suggests the presence of a treasure vault at that depth. Oak Island historian and tour guide Charles Barkhouse took this find as an affirmation of his long-held theory that the original Money Pit lay at a location just north of this new drillhole. The crew bored a hole at thbarkhouse-voidis location prescribed by Barkhouse and encountered a 21-foot void beginning at the 171-foot depth. Hoping that they had drilled into a chamber containing the elusive Money Pit treasure, the crew lowered a camera into this new drillhole. At the 171-foot depth, the camera picked up a shiny, gold coloured object, the nature of which has yet to be determined.

The crew also discusses the possibility of draining the triangular swamp that sits in the middle of the island, which some researchers have suggested is artificial, and conceals the entrance to an underground chamber or tunnel system leading to the Oak Island treasure. In the summer of 2014, the crew had unearthed a copper 8 meravedis- a New World Spanish coin minted in 1652- in spanish-8-meravedisa particular section of the swamp, and hoped to explore the area further. Unfortunately, up until recently, the Oak Island crew had been unable to do any serious excavation or draining operations in the swamp due to the long, bitter rivalry between veteran Oak Island landowners and treasure hunters Dan Blankenship and Fred Nolan. Nolan, who owned much of the swamp, refused to co-operate with Oak Island Tours Inc., which had entered into a partnership with Blankenship in 2005, and denied them the right to conduct any sort of treasure hunting operation on his property. However, in the summer of 2015, the Lagina brothers brokered a peace between Blankenship and Nolan, ending the feud that had severely hampered the Oak Island treasure hunt’s progress for half a century.

Lastly, the crew discusses the possibility of further exploring Borehole 10-X, a 235-foot shaft located approximately 180 feet northeast of the Money Pit area which Dave Blankenship, his son Dan Blankenship, and fellow treasure hunter Dan Henskee had hand-dug in the 1970’s. Although Dave Blankenship hopes to make 10-X a priority this season, Marty Lagina expresses his reluctance to spend more time and resources on the pit, stating that the shaft “is not dead, but at least on life support.”

Borehole 10-X.

Borehole 10-X.

The narrator follows up on Marty’s statement by explaining how Dan Blankenship, through the controversial process of dowsing, suspected he had identified a subterranean tunnel- perhaps connected somehow with the Smith’s Cove flood tunnel (a booby trap which flooded the Money Pit with seawater)- 180 feet northeast of the Money Pit area in 1969. After a subsequent exploration drilling operation in the area revealed cavities at the 140 and 235-foot depths, along with fragments of oxygen-starved low-carbon steel carbon dated to pre-1750 at the 165-foot depth, Blankenship decided to dig a shaft on the spot. He labelled this shaft ‘Borehole 10-X’.

Blankenship promptly drilled 10-X to a depth of 235 feet and lowered a camera into it. In the chamber at the bottom of the shaft, the camera revealed what appeared to be a severed hand floating in the water, along with a wooden chest, tools, two outgoing tunnels, and a headless human corpse. The results of this underwater camera operation prompted Blankenship to manually widen Borehole 10-X with the assistance of his son Dave and fellow treasure hunter Dan Henskee.


In 1976, a section of Borehole 10-X imploded, nearly entombing Dan Blankenship beneath the island. In 1978, Dan Blankenship, Dave Blankenship, and Dan Henskee began to re-excavate the collapsed shaft, stabilizing it with an impromptu casing made from railway tank cars. They postponed their work on 10-X in 1980 before resuming in 1986.

In recent years, Oak Island Tours Inc. has re-explored Borehole 10-X using remote controlled underwater cameras and sonar scans. Although the data from the underwater camera operations was largely inconclusive, the sonar scans appeared to validate Dan Blankenship’s belief that the cavern at the bottom of Borehole 10-X contains a chest, a vertical timber (or perhaps two vertical timbers), outgoing tunnels, and a human corpse. However, professional diver John Chatterton, who manually explored the cavern in the summer of 2015, expressed his belief that the chamber at the bottom of 10-X is natural, and that all the items of interest indicated by the 1971 remote camera operation can be attributable to natural phenomena. Marty’s skepticism regarding 10-X is attributable to Chatterton’s bleak analysis.

Dan Blankenship, who has dedicated nearly 50 years of his life to excavating 10-X, responds to Marty’s skepticism by presenting him with bits of chain, wire, and low-carbon steel- artifacts that he, himself, has taken out of 10-X. Out of respect for Blankenship and his convictions, Marty concedes that further exploration of 10-x may be in order. With that, the meeting is ended.

Later, at the Money Pit area, Rick, Marty, Dave Blankenship, and Craig Tester’s step-son, treasure hunter Jack Begley watch as drilling contractors attempt to extract old drill casings from previous exploration drilling operations. After overcoming some initial difficulties, the contractors are able to extract the casings without incident.

Three days later, Rick, Jack, Dave Blankenship and Charles Barkhouse meet in the War Room with acclaimed Oak Island researcher and historian Doug Crowell of Blockhouse Investigations. They are joined by Marty and Craig Tester via Skype. Crowell explains how Zena Halpern, a Knights Templar researcher from New York with whom he had been in contact, had presented him with evidence supporting the popular Knights Templar theory. According to this theory, members of the Knights Templar, a medieval Christian monastic-military order, following the infamous suppression of their organization in 1307, transported their most valuable treasures across the Atlantic Ocean and buried them on Oak Island. It should be mentioned that this theory, while popular, is not generally supported by mainstream historians. Without further ado, the crew phones Halpern up.

Knights Templar executed for heresy.

Knights Templar executed for heresy.

While speaking with Halpern over the phone, Crowell shows the crew in the War Room a copy of a map of Nova Scotia, a copy of a map of Oak Island, and a copy of a scrap of paper bearing a strange inscription which Halpern terms La Formule.


As Crowell and the Oak Island crew study the documents, Halpern explains that one of the documents came with “a mention… dated 1178 to 1180… that the Templar voyage to the northeastern part of America… took place… and that the Templars had made landfall… on an island of oaks… When I found the map, which is dated 1347, I began to put the pieces together.”

Crowell directs the crew’s attention to La Formula– a scrap of paper bearing a strange inscription- explaining that, upon learning of the strange inscription, he immediately recognized many of the symbols to be the same as those on the Kempton symbols (believed by some to have been inscribed on Oak Island’s 90-foot stone).

Le Formule, courtesy of author Kerrin Margiano.

La Formule, courtesy of author Kerrin Margiano.

Oak Island's 90-foot stone.

Oak Island’s 90-foot stone.

Back in the early 1800’s, when the first Oak Island treasure hunting syndicate, known as the Onslow Company, first dug the Money Pit to a depth of 90 feet, the workers uncovered a large, olive-coloured stone slab at the 90 foot level. Carved on the underside of the stone was a strange inscription which none of the company members could decipher, or thought to copy down. At first, this stone was set into the fireplace of John Smith, one of the three men who first discovered the Money Pit in 1795. Then, in the mid 1800’s, the stone was brought to Truro, and shortly thereafter to Halifax, where it was displayed in the window of a bookbindery. During this time, a professor from Halifax’s Dalhousie University claimed that the inscription on the stone was a cipher which, when decoded, read “Forty feet below, two million pounds are buried.” Then, in the 1930’s, the stone mysteriously disappeared. It has been missing ever since.

In 1949, Frederick Blair, the Oak Island treasure hunter at the time, received a letter from a well-respected Nova Scotian reverend named A.T. Kempton. In his letter, Kempton included what he claimed was a copy of the inscription on the 90-foot stone, which he allegedly recieved from an old Irish schoolmaster. Cryptographers who later studied this cipher determined that it was a simple substitution cipher, in which each character stood for a letter in the Latin alphabet, which, when decoded, read the same message put forth by the Dalhousie University professor in the mid 1800’s: “forty feet below, two million pounds are buried.”

The Kempton symbols.

The Kempton symbols.

Doug Crowell, upon first receiving La Formule from Zena Halpern, knew immediately that many of the characters on La Formule were the same as those on the Kempton symbols. After Crowell explains this to the Oak Island crew, Zena states that she first learned of La Formule upon finding a copy of the cipher “hidden in the back pocket of a book which was given to [her] several years ago.”

Crowell continues to explain how, after running the code through deciphering programs, he determined that the code revealed the words “grayware” (a term for pottery); “gold”; “Sofala,” the name of the chief seaport of the Monomotapa Kingdom (situated in present-day Mozambique) and the location of the first Portuguese fort in East Africa; and “Joab”, a general in the ancient Israeli King David’s army. After Halpern interrupts Crowell to assert to that code “has to do with gold in North Africa,” Crowell states his theory that Joab, while battling the Philistines, “made it safe for the transport of the Ark [of the Covenant]”, a religious artifact which many theorists believe was buried on Oak Island, perhaps by the Knights Templar.

Interpretation of the Ark of the Covenant.

Interpretation of the Ark of the Covenant.

After briefly discussing the cipher, the crew turns their attention to Halpern’s map of Nova Scotia. Crowell observes a series of Roman numerals in the top right-hand corner of the map which appear to date the document to 1179. Halpern then points to a dot located at the intersection of two perpendicular lines. The dot is located in the general vicinity of Oak Island.

A reconstruction of Zena Halpern's map of Nova Scotia.

A reconstruction of Zena Halpern’s map of Nova Scotia.

Halpern goes on to point out another dot on the map directly north of the Oak Island dot. This point is labelled “RhoDon,” which Crowell speculates might have some sort of connection with New Ross, a Nova Scotian community situated on the location at which some researchers believe Scottish-Orcadian nobleman Henry Sinclair constructed a fortress following his alleged voyage to the New World in 1398.

henry-sinclairThe narrator goes on to explain how some researchers have suggested that the Templar treasure was brought to the New World not by the Templars themselves, but rather by a Scottish-Norwegian nobleman named Henry Sinclair, the grandfather of the William Sinclair who built the mysterious Rosslyn Chapel in Rosslyn, Scotland. Using supposed evidence gleaned from a book published in 1558 by a Venetian named Nicolo Zeno, some argue that Sinclair, under the alias ‘Prince Zichmni’, sailed to what is now Nova Scotia, or “New Scotland”, in 1398 with the help of two brothers, Italian navigators Nicolo (the author’s ancestor and namesake) and Antonio Zeno. Many historians have criticized this theory, challenging the authenticity of Nicolo Zeno’s story. Others have shown that members of the Clan Sinclair were among those who had testified against the Scottish Templars in 1309- stating that if the Templars were good and innocent, they would not have lost the Holy Land- and that the Sinclair family would not likely be friendly towards the Templars. However, the fact that Henry Sinclair was the Earl of Orkney, an archipelago north of Scotland which has strong ties to the Norwegian Vikings, gives credence to the notion that he might have had some knowledge of the existence of the New World; it is a fact that 10th Century Viking explorer Leif Erikson founded a colony on Vinland, present-day Newfoundland, more than five hundred years before Christopher Columbus’ first voyage.

Finally, the crew turns their attention towards Halpern’s third document, a French map of Oak Island, which is dated ‘1347’. The map clearly depicts Oak Island, and is labelled with various French words describing aspects of the island. Although many of these labels clearly reference well-known elements of Oak Island- including its swamp, the Money Pit, and an artificial triangle of stones which once stood on Oak Island’s South Shore- some of the others are more enigmatic. Specifically, these three labels, when translated into English, are “the anchors”, “the valve,” and “the hatch.”

An interpretation of Zena Halpern's map of Oak Island.

An interpretation of Zena Halpern’s map of Oak Island.

A close up of an interpretation of Zena Halpern's French-labelled map of Oak Island.

A close up of an interpretation of Zena Halpern’s French-labelled map of Oak Island.

Crowell explains to the crew that, according to the late George McGinnis (a descendant of Daniel McGinnis (one of the three co-founders of the Money Pit)), an old McGinnis family legend tells of a shallowly-buried hatch on Oak Island which led to an underground labyrinth. Crowell suggests that there might be a connection between the hatch from this McGinnis family legend and the hatch on Zena Halpern’s map.

Although it is not mentioned in the episode, this McGinnis family legend is expanded upon in a 2016 book entitled Oak Island Connection: Go Back Over 200 Years to the Mysterious Beginning. This book, written by Kerrin Margiano- a descendant of Daniel McGinnis, the man who discovered the Money Pit along with John Smith and Anthony Vaughan in 1795- tells the tale of a branch of the McGinnis family which’s male members, for generations, preoccupied themselves with getting to the bottom of the Oak Island riddle. In her book, Margiano explains that her great uncle George McGinnis, while suffering from dementia, told her mother Jean about the hatch. In Jean’s words:

“I have always been interested in anything to do with Oak Island, but this information came scattered [among] hysterical laughing and other stories. [Uncle George] said, ‘I told my son, but I am going to tell you too, Jeanie, there is a secret hatch near [Daniel McGinnis’ old cabin on Oak Island]. Send your son to find the hatch and find what’s inside. Warn them not to get lost in there.’ He did not explain where to find it, but said the entrance was just a few inches beneath the surface.”

In light of this new information, the crew members agree that it would be unwise not to follow up on Halpern’s theory. With that, they say goodbye to Zena and hang up the phone.

The following day, Rick Lagina, Charles Barkhouse, and Doug Crowell travel to New Ross, Nova Scotia, where they meet with researcher and author Alessandra Nadudvari and her husband Tim Loncarich. Nadudvari and Loncarich explain to the men that they believe their newly-purchased property in New Ross was once the site of a Knights Templar fortress. Loncarich recounts how, in the 1970’s, author Joan Harris, one of the property’s previous owners, while digging up the backyard in order to install a garden, uncovered what she believed were the foundations of an ancient castle. Upon further investigation, Harris discovered an old well constructed from small stones, and uncovered the remains of what she believed to be the entire foundation of a castle.

New Ross, Nova Scotia, in relation to Oak Island, as see on Google Maps.

New Ross, Nova Scotia, in relation to Oak Island, as see on Google Maps.

Loncarich shows the crew a particular stone on his property which Joan Harris maintained was a Celtic “herm”- or man-shaped- stone. Nadudvari them points out an indentation in the stone which she suggests is a very faded engraving of a cross pattee, a particular style of Christian cross often associated with the Crusades and the Knights Templar. Nadudvari goes further to suggest that the cross she believes was carved into the ‘herm’ stone is not just any Templar cross, but specifically a cross of the Knights of Christ, a Portuguese branch of the Knights Templar which survived the 1307 crackdown and thrived during the Age of Discovery.

An interpretation of the New Ross "herm" stone with a hypothetical cross pattee projected onto it.

An interpretation of the New Ross “herm” stone with a hypothetical cross pattee projected onto it.

After examining the cross, Loncarich guides the crew over to the old water well, which Joan Harris styled the ‘holy well’. Loncarich relates the unverified rumour that chambers branch off from the well. In order to determine the validity of this rumour, Doug Crowell lowers an underwater camera into the well. The camera hits the well floor at a depth of 18 feet without picking up any sign of a chamber. The crew turns the camera so as to get a good view of the well floor and discovers that the floor appears to be crisscrossed with lines. Loncarich and Nadudvari both insist that the odd appearance of the well floor is due to the fact that it is composed of flagstones, reminiscent of the layer of flagstones Daniel McGinnis, John Smith, and Anthony Vaughan allegedly uncovered in the Money Pit area two feet below the surface in 1795. According to the legend of the Money Pit’s discovery, McGinnis, Smith, and Vaughan determined that the Money Pit flagstones came from nearby Gold River on the mainland, the same river which runs through the town of New Ross.


The crew concludes that the findings on Loncarich and Nadudvari’s property in New Ross are intriguing, and agree to keep in touch and collaborate in the future if further inquiry reveals a connection between the New Ross stones and Oak Island.

After concluding their visit with Loncarich and Nadudvari, Doug Crowell and the Oak Island crew congregate at the Mug & Anchor Pub in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. There, they discuss their most recent theories and discoveries.

Jack Begley brings up the hatch marked out in Zena Halpern’s French map, and corroborated by an old McGinnis family legend, stating his belief that it would be in the crew’s best interest to devote some serious time and effort into locating the hatch. The crewmembers agree that the best way to go about searching for this hatch, which Halpern’s map asserts is located on the west side of the island, is to search for depressions in the soil. They decide to investigate a particular depression on Oak Island’s Lot 22 which eerily corresponds with the ‘hatch’ indicated on Halpern’s map.

Back on the island, Jack Begley projects the image of Oak Island from Halpern’s map onto a satellite image of the island. The depression the crew has decided to investigate and the ‘hatch’ on Halpern’s map are vaguely accordant. Equipped with picks and shovels, the crew travels through the brush to this depression. The episode ends as the crew prepares to excavate the depression.



La Formule (a.k.a. The McGinnis Code)


In this particular episode of The Curse of Oak Island, New York Knights Templar researcher and historian Zena Halpern presents the Oak Island crew with three strange documents. One of these documents is a cipher which bears close resemblance to the aforementioned Kempton symbols, believed by some to have been inscribed on the Money Pit’s 90-foot stone. Halpern explains that she first discovered this cipher, which she termed La Formule, “hidden in the back pocket of a book which was given to [her] several years ago.” Nova Scotian historian Doug Crowell, upon analyzing this cipher, suggests that it might have some sort of connection with the Portuguese, whom some believe to be responsible for Oak Island’s underground workings, and the Ark of the Covenant, a long-lost sacred Jewish artifact described in Hebrew scripture which many Oak Island researchers believed is buried somewhere on the island.

Le Formule, courtesy of author Kerrin Margiano.

La Formule, courtesy of author Kerrin Margiano.









oak-island-connectionIt is intriguing that, although Halpern did find La Formule and her two Oak Island maps in the back of a strange book, the image is also featured in another, much more recently published book entitled Oak Island Connection: Go Back Over 200 Years to the Mysterious BeginningThis book was written by Kerrin Margiano, a descendant of Daniel McGinnis (one of the three co-discoverers of the Money Pit). In her book, Margiano describes how the McGinnis family retained a strong interest in the Oak Island treasure hunt long after the discovery of the Money Pit in 1795. Drawing from anecdotes recounted by her mother Jean, and her aunts Joan and Joyce (the three ‘McGinnis sisters’ who make an appearance in Season 3, Episode 13 of The Curse of Oak Island), Margiano explains how her great uncle George, while suffering from dementia, showed her aunt Joan La Formule. He claimed that the McGinnis family, for generations, had kept the code hidden behind a stone in the wall of Daniel McGinnis cabin on Oak Island, and that it, along with other similar papers, were the keys to unlocking the Oak Island mystery. Margiano included an image of La Formula in her book.


This summer, while working on an ebook on Oak Island for this particular website (which you can access here), I (the author of this article) came across La Formule in Kerrin Margiano’s book. Like Doug Crowell, I immediately made the connection between this new cipher and the Kempton symbols. After some fiddling around, I discovered that when the simple substitution from the Kempton symbols is applied to La Formule, and when the remaining 5 characters are solved, a French message emerges.


The shape of the scrap of paper indicates that the edges likely wore away in the past, leaving a truncated message. Artist and translator Alizee Zimmermann (www.TradeWindColours.com) made an
educated guess as to the nature of the truncated words and determined that the message likely

“Halte ne deterrer pas creuser a quarante pied avez a angle quarante cinque degree la hamper a cinquente. Vignt deus pied a vous entre le reidor a une ile distante cinq ph (possibly ‘phare’ or ‘phi’) atteinte lache”

When translated into English, the message reads:

“Stop do not (un)earth( ?) dig 40 feet away with a forty-five degree angle (,) shaft at fifty (degree angle?) Twenty-two feet between you and the ?Corridor?? (really not sure of this word) / On an island 5 lighthouses/phi (the pic only displays ‘ph’ which I’ve figured could be ‘phare’ as in lighthouse or the Greek letter phi) distance (away) / Vile attempt {‘lach(e)’ means cowardly but ‘une atteinte lache’ is used in France to refer to cowardly but vile attack – e.g terrorist attacks are referred to this way.}”

The first part of the message- “stop, do not (un)earth,” appears to be a warning not to remove the 90-foot stone or the oak logs beneath. When the Onslow Company removed the 90-foot stone and the platform of oak logs beneath it in 1804, they apparently triggered the Smith’s Cove flood tunnel; the following day, the Money Pit was flooded with sea water. The next section of the message- “dig forty feet away with a forty-five degree angle”- seemingly instructs the reader to dig 40 feet from the 90-foot stone level at a 45 degree angle. It does not specify in which direction to dig.

After that, the message seems to suggest the presence of a shaft at a distance between the treasure hunter and some other object. The last section of the message is difficult to interpret, but seems to suggest the importance of some sort of nearby island located “five lighthouses away”, as if a ‘lighthouse’ is some sort of unit of measurement.

Interestingly, ancient Greek-Egyptian Ptolemaic mariners sailing into the Port of Alexandria from the Mediterranean Sea were unable to see the tip of the city’s great lighthouse before they were 21 nautical miles away from shore, due to the curvature of the earth. One could argue that this distance might be termed a ‘lighthouse’.


If you draw a circle around Oak Island with a radius of 5 Ptolemaic ‘lighthouses’ (105 nautical miles), the edge of the circle touches two islands: Prince Edward Island, and Grand Manan Island. It is interesting that Grand Manan Island, like Oak Island, has long been associated with buried treasure.


This potential connection between La Formule and the Egyptian city of Alexandria is interestingly congruent with two prominent (if controversial) Oak Island theories.

The first is late Harvard professor Dr. Barry Fell’s theory, outlined in his 1980 book “Saga America.” Dr. Fell- a Harvard zoology professor with a passion for ancient scripts- believed that Oak Island’s underground workings are attributable to 5th Century Coptic Christian refugees fleeing persecution from the Vandals who made the voyage across the Atlantic one thousand years before Christopher Columbus. He came to this conclusion after studying the Kempton symbols, believed by some to have been inscribed on Oak Island’s 90-foot stone. Fell maintained that the inscription on Oak Island’s 90-foot stone formed a Libyan-Arabic message using a Late Tifinagh script. The image included here is a reproduction of what Fell claimed was the inscription on Oak Island’s 90-foot stone, first published in Fell’s book “Saga America” in 1980. This version of the 90-foot stone inscription can be produced by subtly altering the Kempton symbols and flipping them upside down. Dr. Fell claimed that this message reads:

“To escape contagion of plague and winter hardships, he is to pray for an end or mitigation, the Arif. The people will perish in misery if they forget the Lord, alas.”

Dr. Barry Fell's version of the inscription on Oak Island's 90-foot stone.

Dr. Barry Fell’s version of the inscription on Oak Island’s 90-foot stone.

Fell believed that this inscription, along with a similar stone inscription discovered in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, was evidence that Oak Island’s underground workings were attributable to 5th Century Coptic Christian refugees fleeing persecution from the Vandals. Although Fell believed the Coptic Christians who he claimed constructed the Money Pit hailed from the deserts of Libya or the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, it is interesting to note, when considered in conjunction with the aforementioned interpretation of La Formule, that the epicentre of Coptic Christianity- historically, contemporarily, and currently- is Alexandria, Egypt.

fama-fraternitatisThe other Oak Island theory which appears to correspond with this interpretation of La Formule is the theory that the Rosicrucians were behind Oak Island’s underground workings, a theory most recently championed by Oak Island researcher Petter Amundsen . The Rosicrucians were members of a (possibly fictional) Renaissance-era secret society which published two documents, called the ‘Rosicrucian Manifestos,’ in the early 17th Century in Kassel, Germany. The first of these documents, called ‘Fama Fraternitatis,’ tells the story of the secret society’s legendary founder, ‘Father C.R.’, who allegedly made a round trip around the Mediterranean sometime in the Late Middle Ages. Throughout his travels, he learned widsom from the scholars and ‘wise men’ of Damascus, Jerusalem, Egypt, and Fez, Morocco. In this way, Rosicrucianism is tied, at least symbolically, with North African/Egyptian/Levantine wisdom. One could argue that the Libyan-Arabic language, Late Tifinagh script, an ancient Ptolemaic unit of measurement, and Coptic Christianty- elements of both this interpretation of La Formule and Barry Fell’s theory- might be considered elements of North African/Egyptian wisdom.



Doug Crowell

 Doug Crowell, an Information Services Specialist at the Nova Scotia Community College and Centre of Geographic Sciences in Sydney and Lawrencetown Nova Scotia, respectively, is one of Oak Island’s foremost researchers and historians. Along with fellow researcher and Oak Island enthusiast Kel Hancock, Crowell heads Blockhouse Investigations, a team of Canadian Maritimes historians and researchers who, according to their website, “spend [their] time investigating many aspects of history related to Atlantic Canada and beyond.” Throughout 2016, the Blockhouse Investigations team has independently developed a number of well-researched theories related to Oak Island based on historical and genealogical records they have unearthed. Many of these theories were formerly championed by the late Oak Island researcher Paul Wroclawski.


New Ross Castle

a-castle-in-nova-scotiaIn this episode of the Curse of Oak Island, it is revealed that writers Alessandra Nadudvari and Tim Loncarich purchased a property in New Ross, Nova Scotia, which is believed by some to be the location of an ancient castle, perhaps a fortress constructed by the Knights Templar. The couple hope to conduct further excavations on their property in order to get to the bottom of this New Ross mystery.

The theory that this particular piece of New Ross land is the site of an ancient castle was first developed in the 1970’s by the late Joan Harris, a writer who owned the property at the time along with her husband Ron. Harris, who outlined her theory in her book A Castle in Nova Scotia (which she self-published under the pseudonym ‘Joan Hope’), first began to speculate that her home was once the site of a 13th Century Viking castle when, while landscaping the yard, she and her husband uncovered a succession of large stones. More specifically, Harris was convinced that she had stumbled upon the long-lost ruins of Norumbenga, a legendary 16th Century city said to lie somewhere on the North Atlantic coast. Harris also made the claim, without any evidence to support it, that an exiled 17th Century noble of the Scottish House of Stewart built a sumptuous mansion atop the ruins of the dilapidated Viking stronghold which either eventually fell into disrepair or was deliberately destroyed.

In the early 1980’s, Harris’ theories came to the attention of Michael Bradley, an author with a fondness for tales of pseudo-historic pre-Columbian trans-Atlantic voyages. Bradley took Harris’ theories and twisted them to form his own fringe history regarding her supposed ‘Castle in Nova Scotia’. In his books Holy Grail Across the Atlantic (1987) and Grail Knights of North America (1998), Bradley posits that Harris’ alleged castle was built not by the Norse Vikings, but rather by the Templar-derived crew of Scots-Norwegian nobleman Sir Henry Sinclair, popularly rumoured to have sailed across the North Atlantic in 1398. It appears as if Nadudvari and Loncarich have espoused this particular narrative regarding the stones of New Ross.


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I'm a Western Canadian writer, carver, and fiddler who has a special place in his heart for history and the unexplained.

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5 Responses to “The Curse of Oak Island Season 4 Premiere: Going for Broke”

By Chuck - 29 November 2018 Reply

I know the coded note says dig 45 degrees…and we assume it means the angle upward within the pit. But could it mean 45 degrees latitude? exactly 45 degrees latitude is an island called “burying island” almost EXACTLY at 105 nautical miles from Oak Island. Just a fan of the mystery and thought it could be looked into!

By Hammerson Peters - 29 November 2018 Reply

That theory fits perfectly with this interpretation of La Formule. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

By Kathy Robinson - 15 March 2017 Reply

Where is the hydrographic map that the privateers used on this Island back then???
It is the most important part that is missing.
It would show the low and high points on the Island if the Spanish were hiding gold, etc. And the map would be important to the British, French, and whom ever.
Having readed “Journal of Jean Laffite”, I have now wondered where the map is for Oak Island. Thanks!

By Derek - 1 February 2017 Reply

what an absolute crock of shit. It’s a tissue of lies,half truths and deliberate invention.


By Crone - 2 January 2017 Reply

Wow! I can’t wait for the ending.