If you haven't been watching The Curse of Oak Island, you've been missing out on a wild goose chase that's been going on for over 200 years off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. Multiple crews of treasure hunters have set out to find what's buried on Oak Island - the Ark of the Covenant, Marie Antoinette's jewels, a pirate's loot - no one knows for sure. Some speculate it's the treasure of the Knights Templar on Oak Island, while others suspect Sir Francis Bacon buried proof that he was the one who wrote William Shakespeare's plays. Based on a mysterious secret inscription found in a sinkhole, many refer to the spot as the "Money Pit."
But is there actual treasure buried on Oak Island? Brothers Rick and Marty Lagina decided to find out, so they reportedly bought a controlling interest in the island to dig for treasure. The History Channel became interested in the brother's quest, and The Curse of Oak Island premiered in 2014.
Although the brothers haven't dug up anything all that exciting, the long history of the island provides enough proof to keep the men risking their lives in search of a mysterious treasure. The justification for the search is only one of many reasons why you need to watch The Curse of Oak Island.
About around 90 feet down, the Onslow Company - the first big group to reportedly undertake the Oak Island mystery in the early 1800s - found a stone tablet with a secret message. The crew then hit what they assumed was a treasure chest, but when they came back the next day, the hole had 60 feet of water in it.
In the late 1880s, a professor at Halifax University claimed he decoded the tablet and said it read, "Forty feet below, two million pounds lie buried." Years later, however, Barry Fell, an epigrapher, claimed it was a Coptic inscription telling people to remember God.
The only source documenting the inscription of the stone is a cipher written by Rev. A.T. Kempton in 1949. Although Kempton's cipher is missing, a copy of his records can be found at the Nova Scotia Public Archives.
In 1909, the Old Gold Salvage and Wrecking Company undertook an excursion to find the Oak Island treasure. Future president Franklin Delano Roosevelt purchased stock in the expedition and even visited the island during the excavation. It didn't turn up any meaningful results, but Roosevelt remained interested in Oak Island throughout his life.
FDR even communicated with acquaintances and fellow treasure hunters about the mystery as late as 1939, in the middle of his presidency, which lasted from 1933 to 1945.
The Knights Templar was created to protect Christian travelers on the roads of the Holy Land. When Europe was thrown into the Crusades, the Templars found themselves at the center of the fighting. Kings trusted the Templars like a bank, and the organization grew significantly in wealth and population. The king of France took notice and began imprisoning members of the Templars in an attempt to take their wealth.
Some people believe a fraction of the Templars fled to Scotland, taking their greatest treasures, the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant, with them. They think these remaining Templars created a new organization, the Freemasons, to help guard Templar treasures and secrets. And finally, they believe the Freemasons eventually carried the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant to Oak Island and buried them at the bottom of the Money Pit.
Proponents of this theory cite the large stone cross laid out over the island, a mark of the Freemasons and Knights Templar. Other Freemason symbols have been found engraved elsewhere on the island, too, leading some to believe the Freemasons were prominent there at one point.
In 1971, treasure hunters called the Triton Alliance lowered cameras into a human-made pit called Borehole 10x in an attempt to see if there was anything valuable hidden in the darkest depths of the Money Pit. They had limited success with the camera, but still managed to uncover a few mysterious objects, including what some believe to be a human hand.
According to archived newspaper articles, a pathologist from Halifax University confirmed the possibility that the damp clay could preserve human tissue. One theory suggests the drill used to create the shaft severed the hand of one of its operators. Other speculation claims a plastic hand was dropped into the hole to gauge environmental circumstances.