HomeNova ScotiaThe Curse of Oak Island- Season 7, Episode 7: Things That Go Bump-Out

The Curse of Oak Island- Season 7, Episode 7: Things That Go Bump-Out

The Curse of Oak Island- Season 7, Episode 7: Things That Go Bump-Out

The following is a plot summary and analysis of Season 7, Episode 7 of the History Channel’s TV series The Curse of Oak Island.

 

 

[SPOILER ALERT!!!]

 

 

Plot Summary

The Fellowship of the Dig meets at Smith’s Cove with Mike Jardine of Irving Equipment Ltd., who has come to construct the “bump-out”, or extension, to the Smith’s Cove cofferdam first discussed in the Season 7 premiere. Jardine and members of his crew begin their operation by removing sections of the metal cofferdam with a crane, allowing seawater to flow back into Smith’s Cove.

While the work continues at Smith’s Cove, Rick Lagina meets with Doug Crowell and Steve Guptill in the Oak Island Research Centre. Guptill shows the treasure hunters a diagram of his own making which shows the location of the searcher Shaft 9 (discovered the previous episode) in relation to other shafts and landmarks on the Island. As Shaft 9 was said to lie 100 feet southwest of the Money Pit area, the diagram includes a semi-circle with a radius of 100 feet extending northeast of Shaft 9, its circumference representing all the possible locations at which the original Money Pit might have lain.

An interpretation of Oak Island’s Shaft 9, with its tunnel and sluiceway towards the South Shore Cove.

Doug Crowell then shows Rick a photo taken in 1931, when Chappells Ltd. was hunting for treasure on the Island. In the photo, a depression in the earth is clearly visible at what now appears to be the location of Shaft 9. Crowell points out another depression in the earth, and suggests that it might mark the location of Shaft 2, built by the Onslow Company in 1804. Crowell reminds Rick that Shaft 2 was said to have been built 14 feet southeast of the Money Pit. If they manage to ascertain the location of Shaft 2, then they will be able to determine the exact location of the original Money Pit; the Money Pit would lie at the northwestern intersection of circles drawn around Shaft 9 and Shaft 2, with radii of 100 and 14 feet, respectively. ­­­As Steve Guptill succinctly summarizes, “if we can find [Shaft] 2, we have an X-marks-the-spot.” Doug suggests that they attempt to locate Shaft 2 through exploration drilling, and Rick concurs.

Oak Island’s Shaft 9 and Shaft 2 in relation to the Money Pit.

That afternoon, various members of the Oak Island team meet at the Money Pit area, where the search for Shaft 2 is about to commence. Using old aerial photographs of the Money Pit site in conjunction with the GPS coordinates of the newly-discovered Shaft 9, the team has estimated the location of Shaft 2, and has tasked Choice Drilling with retrieving core samples from the area. The Fellowship stands by as Choice Drilling sinks a hole at the prescribed location.

While the drilling operation is underway, Rick Lagina, Peter Fornetti, Doug Crowell, and Billy Gerhardt drive to the Dartmouth Heritage Museum (which the narrator refers to as the “Helen Creighton Heritage Museum”) in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. During the drive, Rick explains that a man named Kevin Rideout approached him at Dan Blankenship’s funeral and told him an interesting story. More than forty years ago, while visiting the museum, Rideout was made aware of a rock in the museum’s yard which a tour guide claimed was the Money Pit’s legendary 90-foot stone. In a later interview, Rick Lagina states his belief that the supposed 90-foot stone found beneath the old Halifax bookbindery in Season 6, Episode 7 was an unfinished replica of the original stone, and expresses his hope that the real 90-foot stone is the artifact which Rideout described.

The Evergreen House in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, home of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum.

The treasure hunters arrive at the so-called “Evergreen House”, in which the Dartmouth Heritage Museum is housed, and meet with Kevin Rideout and the museum’s curator, Terry Eyland. After Rideout recounts the experience which Rick related in the car, Eyland takes the treasure hunters to the museum’s backyard. Using his memory as a guide, Rideout estimates that the stone he was showed forty years prior was embedded in the grass in an area overtop of which a rhododendron bush now stands. Eyland then informs the crew that the stone was likely interred in the yard prior to the museum’s foundation, prompting the narrator to explain that the Evergreen House was purchased by Nova Scotian folklorist Dr. Helen Creighton in 1919. The narrator points out that 1919 is the same year in which the bookbindery of Helen’s distant relative, A.O. Creighton, at which the 90-foot stone was last seen, went out of business. In a later interview, Rick Lagina infers that the Creighton family may have transported the 90-foot stone from the Halifax bookbindery to the Dartmouth estate in 1919.

Without further ado, the treasure hunters walk over to the rhododendron bush in the yard of the Evergreen House, under which Kevin Rideout suspects the stone might be located. Rick Lagina and Peter Fornetti crawl beneath the bush and make an unsuccessful preliminary search for the stone. The treasure hunters suggest that they ought to apply for a permit to excavate the area in an archaeological manner, and Terry Eyland gives them his blessing to do so.

Oak Island’s Lot 6.

Later, Gary Drayton and Jack Begley do some metal detecting on Oak Island’s Lot 6, on the northwestern side of the Island, where Drayton discovered an iron chain and an old coin back in Season 4, Episode 6. A shovel-wielding Begley explains that he has a particular interest in Lot 6, attributable in part to the relatively little amount of metal detecting to which the area has been subjected. The treasure hunters head to the beach, where Drayton discovers a modern nail. Shortly thereafter, the metal detecting expert comes across two old square-headed iron pins lying side by side, which Drayton suggests might be the remains of an 18th Century shipwreck. The treasure hunters then find another larger pin closer to the water, which Drayton calls a “crib spike”. In a later interview, Drayton outlines his belief that the iron objects he discovered on the shores of Lot 6 are evidence that the beach “was a place where boats came into, and there was activity in the area. Whether this was a place where ships were repaired or a place where treasure was unloaded, we’ve got the finds to back those theories up now.”

The next day, Rick and Marty Lagina, Craig Tester, and Dave Blankenship meet with Mike Jardine at Smith’s Cove, where construction of the bump-out is well underway. “We got all the frames in, all in location” says Jardine of his crew’s progress, before pointing out a new structure that his team discovered outside the boundary of the old cofferdam consisting of both horizontal and vertical timbers. Jardine remarks that the structure bears some resemblance to the top of a vertical shaft. The team agrees to examine the structure once the cofferdam bump-out is complete.

Later, various members of the Oak Island team meet at the Money Pit area, where Choice Drilling’s search for Shaft 2 is underway. A core sample taken from a depth of 12-15 feet contains nothing but disturbed earth. A second sample, taken from an undisclosed depth, contains a few pieces of wood. A third sample, taken from a depth of about 30 feet, contains significant quantities of wood- perhaps cribbing from Shaft 2. The crew members agree that they ought to search for the other walls of the suspected shaft in order to determine the structure’s orientation.

The next day, Marty Lagina, Alex Lagina, Charles Barkhouse, and Gary Drayton head to Smith’s Cove, where the cofferdam’s bump-out has been completed. Mike Jardine takes the treasure hunters to the new wooden structure that he and his crew discovered, the most prominent part of which is a vertical timber sticking out of the ground. Although it is not mentioned in this episode, this vertical timber strongly evokes an object which Rick Lagina spied at Smith’s Cove during low tide back in Season 1, Episode 1, which he likened to “an elephant tusk coming out of the water”. In that episode, both Dan Henskee and Charles Barkhouse declared that they had never noticed the tusk-like object before.

An interpretation of the bump-out to the Smith’s Cove cofferdam on Oak Island.

In the next scene, Rick Lagina, Craig Tester, archaeologist Laird Niven, and heavy equipment operator Billy Gerhardt conduct their own inspection of the new structure discovered at Smith’s Cove. Niven gives the crew the green light to excavate the sides of the structure, which Gerhardt proceeds to do with his backhoe. Gerhardt removes a load of material immediately adjacent to the structure, exposing a wall of horizontal logs covered by sheets of what appears to be 19th or 20th Century tar paper. Immediately beside the wall is a pile of rocks, which some of the treasure hunter suspect might be the remains of the legendary finger drains believed to feed the Smith’s Cove flood tunnel. This supposition is bolstered by the large volume of water which quickly rushes in to fill the hole. The treasure hunters agree that they ought to uncover more of the structure so that they might better ascertain its nature.

An interpretation of the new structure discovered at Smith’s Cove.

 

Analysis

Shaft 2

In the previous episode, the boys discovered Shaft 9- an old searcher shaft which was connected with the original Money Pit by a 100-foot-long tunnel. Rather than attempt to locate this tunnel via exploration drilling, the crew decides in this episode to take a different course of action prescribed by Doug Crowell. In an aerial photograph of the Money Pit area taken in 1931 by a former treasure-hunting syndicate called Chappells Ltd., Crowell noticed two depressions in the earth. One of these appears to be in the same location as the recently-discovered Shaft 9. Crowell theorized that the other depression might be the backfilled remains of Shaft 2, a searcher shaft constructed by the Onslow Company in 1804 fourteen feet southeast of the Money Pit. Crowell observed that, if the crew manages to ascertain the location of Shaft 2, then they will be able to determine the exact location of the original Money Pit; the Money Pit would lie at the northwestern intersection of circles drawn around shaft 9 and Shaft 2, with radii of 100 and 14 feet, respectively.

Oak Island’s Shaft 9 and Shaft 2 in relation to the Money Pit.

Using Chappell Ltd.’s aerial photograph of the Money Pit site in conjunction with the GPS coordinates of the newly-discovered Shaft 9, the team estimated the location of Shaft 2 and tasked Choice Drilling with retrieving core samples from the area. A core sample taken from a depth of 12-15 feet contained nothing but disturbed earth. A second sample, taken from an undisclosed depth, contained a few pieces of wood. A third sample, taken from a depth of about 30 feet, contained significant quantities of wood- perhaps cribbing from Shaft 2. The crew members agreed that they ought to search for the other walls of the suspected shaft in order to determine the structure’s orientation, which will, in turn, enable to them to ascertain the precise location of the original Money Pit.

The Stone at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum

In the middle of this episode, Rick Lagina, Peter Fornetti, Doug Crowell, and Billy Gerhardt drove to the Dartmouth Heritage Museum in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. There, they met with Terry Eyland, the museum’s curator, and a man named Kevin Rideout, whom Rick had met previously at the funeral of Dan Blankenship. During their first meeting, Rideout told Rick that, more than forty years prior, while visiting the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, a tour guide pointed out a rock embedded in the grass in the museum’s backyard and told him that it was the Money Pit’s legendary 90-foot stone.

An interpretation of Oak Island’s legendary 90-foot stone.

In an interview showcased in this episode of The Curse of Oak Island, Rick Lagina stated his belief that the supposed 90-foot stone found beneath the old Halifax bookbindery back in Season 6, Episode 7 was an unfinished replica of the original stone, and expressed his hope that the real 90-foot stone is the artifact which Kevin Rideout claimed to have been made aware of during his visit to the Dartmouth Heritage Museum more than forty years ago.

An interpretation of the supposed 90-foot stone found in the basement of the old bookbindery in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Interestingly, the narrator informs us in this episode that the building which now houses the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, called the Evergreen House, was once the residence of Dr. Mary Helen Creighton, a celebrated Nova Scotian folklorist and a distant relative of A.O. Creighton, owner of the old Halifax bookbindery. Helen Creighton purchased the Evergreen House in 1919, the same year in which the Halifax bookbindery went out of business. Rick Lagina, in this episode, infers that the Creighton family may have transported the 90-foot stone from the Halifax bookbindery to the Dartmouth estate in 1919. It is interesting to note that, in her 1957 book Bluenose Ghosts, a collection of Nova Scotian ghost stories, Creighton includes a number of tales set on Oak Island yet fails to mention the 90-foot stone.

The Evergreen House in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, home of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum.

In this episode, Terry Eyland takes Kevin Rideout and the visiting treasure hunters to the museum’s backyard. Using his memory as a guide, Rideout estimates that the stone he was showed forty years prior was embedded in the grass in an area overtop of which a beautiful rhododendron bush now stands. After an unsuccessful preliminary search for the stone beneath the bush, suggest that they ought to apply for a permit to excavate the area in an archaeological manner, and Terry Eyland gives them his blessing to do so.

The New Structure at Smith’s Cove

Throughout this episode, Mike Jardine and the men of Irving Equipment Ltd. constructed the bump-out, or extension, to the Smith’s Cove cofferdam, first discussed in the Season 7 premiere. During the process, they discovered a new wooden structure at Smith’s Cove which lay outside the original cofferdam. This structure consists of horizontal and vertically-aligned logs, and Mike Jardine suggested that it bore some resemblance to the top of a vertical shaft.

An interpretation of the bump-out to the Smith’s Cove cofferdam on Oak Island.

While examining the structure, Marty Lagina made a brief reference to its most prominent section, namely a vertical timber sticking out of the ground. Although it is not mentioned in this episode, this vertical timber strongly evokes an object which Rick Lagina spied at Smith’s Cove during low tide back in Season 1, Episode 1, which he likened to “an ancient tusk coming out of the water”. In that episode, both Dan Henskee and Charles Barkhouse declared that they had never noticed the tusk-like object before.

Near the end of this episode, Laird Niven gave the crew the green light to excavate the sides of the structure, which Gerhardt proceeded to do with his backhoe. Gerhardt removed a load of material immediately adjacent to the structure, exposing a wall of horizontal logs covered by sheets of what appeared to be 19th or 20th Century tar paper. Immediately beside the wall was a pile of rocks, which some of the treasure hunters suspected might be the remains of the legendary finger drains believed to feed the Smith’s Cove flood tunnel. The treasure hunters agreed that they ought to uncover more of the structure so that they might better understand its nature.

 

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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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