The Curse of Oak Island is a television series that follows the trials and triumphs of a group of long-time friends and part-time treasure seekers who, when not on the trail for lost riches, call Northern Michigan home. The show is set against the backdrop of Oak Island, a tiny islet off the coast of Nova Scotia where, in 1795, a chance discovery of a closed, man-made pit—dubbed “the Money Pit”—sparked a blitz of excavations at the site. What lies within the bowels of Oak Island remains a mystery, though a bounty of clues suggest that something worth finding may be buried below.
Exploration of Oak Island is currently spearheaded by Craig Tester and brothers Marty and Rick Lagina. The three are supported in their efforts by a cast of family members—including Marty’s son, Alex—and island residents and experts. The Curse of Oak Island airs on Tuesdays at 9 on History.
After filming the finale of The Curse of Oak Island’s second season in Traverse City, Michigan, MyNorth contributor Evan Perry talked shop with Rick, Marty and Alex Lagina as they sifted through a bundle of letters sent by young viewers from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—where Rick and Marty grew up and first became fascinated with Oak Island.
Can’t get enough Oak Island? Read an interview with The Curse of Oak Island cast members when the first season aired in early 2014.
You’ve just wrapped up shooting the second season in Traverse City. Where do you guys stand? Season three?
Rick: [to Marty] I think we can maybe give a bit of a tease…
Marty: Careful, now.
Rick: Well, we got some data—refined data—from one of the instruments we sent underground. And it was quite revealing.
Marty: But we don’t know about season three, yet. We’re not even sure if History wants another season.
As kids in the 60’s, you two were originally attracted to Oak Island by a Reader’s Digest article, and now you get to pass on that interest to the next generation through your show.
Rick: We love the fact that people have been so enamored of the story.
Marty: Apparently a lot of people watch it as a family. I really like that.
Rick: What I like about the show is, well, usually when you turn on TV, it’s an “entertain me” experience—you sit in front of the TV, and you want to be entertained. That’s all. This show let’s you invest in it. It lets you almost interact with the show. What would I do if I were there? Where would I look? What do I think? Who did it? You can invest yourself in it, and rare is the TV show that allows you to do that.
What’s it been like trying to solve the mystery of Oak Island with your family?
Rick: There’s a legacy of family involvement on Oak Island. All these different families: the Blankenships, the Restalls, the Nolans…it goes on and on. Fathers to sons, and then to their sons.
Marty: Look out, Alex…
Rick: Well, when people say it’s a hoax—you scam someone and then run off—that’s not what’s happening on Oak Island. You don’t perpetrate a hoax through your family. The same families come back to it over and over again because they believe.
I remember what my mom would say to my dad when she found out we were reading about Oak Island. She’d say, “George, what kind of kids are you raising?”—as if she had no say in the matter, you know. But when we actually started on Oak Island—and this was when my mom first started suffering from Alzheimer’s—she said, “When you boys find what you’re looking for, you can put it right down in the basement once you get back.” My dad said, “Just do good with what you find. Do good.”
You traveled to Europe to follow a few leads. When you first invested in the island, did you ever think you’d end up in France?
Marty: When I stood up on the top of Montségur [a medieval French fortress] and looked out, I thought, Jeez, who would of thought that this would bring a couple guys from the U.P. here? Seriously?