Tag Archives: curse

“The Curse of Oak Island” is must see TV!

A curse. Pirates. A treasure. Booby traps.

It has all the trappings of the next “Indiana Jones” or “National Treasure” movie. The main difference? This is for real.

Oak Island, Nova Scotia. Three boys discover a pit (“the Money Pit”) on and begin to dig. As they get deeper, strange artifacts begin to pop up. Flagstones. Wooden platforms. Small metal artifacts. And then, at around 27 metres (that’s more than 80 feet), they find a stone cipher that when translated says, “Forty feet below, two million pounds are buried.” The boys dig a little more, and then leave for the night. When they return, the shaft is underwater. They conclude a booby trap has been triggered by their digging, which flooded the shaft to protect the treasure from plunderers (oakislandtreasure).

In modern times, Dan Blankenship and his associates dig a shaft parallel to the Money Pit (called 10X), fortifying it with steel. He takes some video in which he insists he can see a body, a treasure chest, and other buried  items. 10X eventually floods as well. Due to disagreements over land ownership, digging on the island ceases until brothers Rick and Marty Lagina buy a controlling stake in the island’s tourism company and are able to resume excavations.

I saw the first episode of History’s “The Curse of Oak Island” yesterday; I haven’t been that excited since seeing “In Search of Noah’s Ark” when I was a kid. The premiere episode explains the history of the Money Pit and 10X and documents the Lagina brothers’ excavation of the pits as they search for the fabled treasure. Viewers get to see the Blankenship video and meet Dan Blankenship (now 80 and just as obsessed as ever) and his son who are active members of the Laginas’ team. The first thing they do is send a camera into the Money Pit, but the footage comes back inconclusive and the files mysteriously disappear from the computer midway through the viewing. Perhaps this is part of the curse, they wonder.

Next, the team drills into the hole while one of the brothers searches the fill. They find bits of blue transfer ceramic, but not much else. Lastly, air is pumped into the shaft in an effort to remove the water. They jerry-rig a sediment holding tank and use a shovel to start mucking about, but turn up only a single metal artifact. Later, the team takes a boat ride to see the island from the water. They hypothesize the presence of five box-drains, used to draw sea water into the shafts and plan to dive at a later date to confirm or debunk their existence.

In “The Curse of Oak Island,” the Laginas and the Blankenships document their real-life adventure as they search for pirate treasure. The curse promises that seven will die before the secret of the Money Pit is revealed, which only serves to bolster the excitement which makes this an hour of tv worth watching. What I like about “The Curse of Oak Island” is that, unlike other salvaging shows, the Laginas do things legally. They let us know the credentials of the team members, as well as the permits needed and the legalities and cost of the dig and that the task they have undertaken is dangerous, with the implicit message not to try this at home.

“The Curse of Oak Island” is not only exciting television, it’s also responsible television. And that’s good archaeology.

Did you see “The Curse of Oak Island”? What did you think?

“Ravenswood” rocks the horror cliche

A haunted funeral home, shadow figures, disembodied hands, and distant relative doppelgangers; these are the foundations of Ravenswood, spin-off of Pretty Little Liars. In Ravenswood, runaway Miranda Collins, strikes up a friendship with Caleb Rivers, regular on Pretty Little Liars. Together they delve into the mysteries that plague Ravenswood, including why their names and pictures appear on ancient tombstones, why Miranda’s Lurch-like uncle didn’t raise her when her parents died, and what Caleb’s ties to the town are. Mysteries aren’t the only thing plaguing Ravenswood. True to scary form, there is a curse. Twice in history, a bunch of teens drowned after a soldier returned from the war, both times the sole survivours of their troops. As a portend, Remy Beaumont’s mom has just returned from Afghanistan, the only survivour of her troop. When Remy stops her car on a dark road to pick up twins Luke and Olivia Matheson bringing the body count in the car to five, you know something’s going to happen. The episode ends with Remy’s car partially submerged after going off the edge of a bridge.

While watching the episode, my fourteen year old daughter ran upstairs during every commercial to fill me in on the horrors of Ravenswood. She was both excited and a little spooked by the pilot plot. Though intrigued while watching, I found the horror more cliche than bonafide. I grew up watching horror flicks like Friday the Thirteenth, Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, and gave up on them some time in my twenties because sooner or later, the stories and the franchises began to blur. Something’s always not quite right at the funeral home. Whenever someone crawls into a hot bath they’re always going under (kudos to Ravenswood for putting the boy–rather than the curvy blonde girl–into the tub, breaking the stereotype). And there’s always an adult or two trying to keep the pesky kids from uncovering town secrets. In a nod to Stephen King’s Carrie (currently enjoying a re-release at the theatres), the disgraced prom queen–in this case, Olivia trying to come to grips with the fact that the town (her brother included) believes her mother has just murdered her father–is doused with blood.

Though the pilot didn’t bring the nail-biting moments for me as for my daughter, I will be watching the next episode. I liked the first two seasons of Pretty Little Liars, and watched as long as I was curious about who “A” was, why s/he was tormenting the main characters, and if Alison really was dead. I gave up midway through season three because the mystery grew lacklustre, there wasn’t enough character growth, and the clues were too few and far between to hold my interest. Ravenswood sets up enough mysteries to promise intrigue for years to come, provided they don’t try to kill all of the main characters at the end of every episode. It’s pretty obvious Miranda’s Uncle Lurch got rid of her because Ravenswood’s not the best place to raise a child. I predict the twins’ father probably faked his death to escape the far reaching fingers of the town curse. I’m also left wondering about Remy’s mother who remains silent as long as Remy’s father is around and who sleeps on the couch, allegedly due to nightmares. Has her mother actually returned in body as well as in soul?

Why do you think Miranda’s uncle sent her away? Who really killed the twins’ father? Has Remy’s mother returned to anyone but Remy? Who is the wet shadow woman Miranda saw in her uncle’s parlour?