So... I read some of those books the Oak Island TV show constantly references

Originally published at: So… I read some of those books the Oak Island TV show constantly references | Boing Boing

This is almost exactly how I fell for Ancient Aliens. That show, and every book ever written on the topic, is utter garbage and I can’t get enough. I love how utterly sacrilegious and dismissive of mankind A.A. is.

However, I do think that maybe they should consider changing the name of the channel. “History” ain’t history, if you know what I’m sayin’.


I tried to watch the show in a “it’s so bad it’s good” sort of way, but I just can’t anymore. As someone trained in archaeology, I just can’t get over the confirmation bias for everything they find. “OMG it’s s Roman pilum head!” (No, it’s not.) I was fascinated by Oak Island as a kid, having seen it on In Search Of, but really the whole Templar conspiracy and other BS just ruins it for me.


History Channel hasn’t been history before I got rid of cable, and I haven’t had cable in over a decade. Name change is so far overdue it’s not even funny.


Ah, Oak Island. My guilty pleasure. The show I love to hate. Apart from the almost unbelievably lazy writing, cloying narration, and egregious padding of every episode, I’m consistently annoyed by how they characterize their lazy, haphazard approach as somehow being “fact-based,” or “following the science.” The story of Oak Island is undoubtably interesting, and it is clear that something of historical significance happened there. It’s a shame that these clumsy, half-baked profiteers have claimed it for their own.


My dad watches this show and after every episode I ask him if they found anything.

The answer is always no.


I agree that Oak Island does not have any treasure. The entire endeavor is really just a con game gone viral-- 200 years ago someone decided to spin this tale of hidden treasure and use it as a way to entice investors.

And yet I also got sucked into the TV show for a while. That point about them spending an entire show “not finding anything” is dead-on-- I compared it to a PBS show like NOVA where the 50-minutes is packed with info, while History channel shows are long re-hashes of one tiny bit of data, like a kid writing a term paper and double-spacing and fudging the margins to reach the ten page requirement.


Narrator: A book? That references the Templar connection to Oak Island? Has @jlw uncovered yet another key in the mystery to understanding what happened on Oak Island hundreds of years ago?

*Begin montage about the Templar mystery*


My brother-in-law became lost in this show like it was QAnon, completely victimizingly obsessed. Started becoming convinced there was similar treasure around his WV property. The oversaturation of these kinds of low-hanging fruit shows are one of the big reasons why I cut the cord.


Ancient Aliens is just racist garbage.

Oak Island is trash TV, but, damnit, it’s fun TV. While I have no doubt that they will never actually find anything of intrinsic value (at the very least they have found some things of historic interest) I still enjoy watching their ridiculous weekly exploits. From Gary’s inability to use consonants in regular speech, to Carmen doing his best Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys impression, to Jack’s inability to ever wear a different shirt – it’s TV comfort food.


The problem is Oak Island has been used for so many purposes over the years and whenever they ‘discover’ things they assume it MUST have something to do with the ‘treasure’. A rusty padlock? Had to come from a treasure chest.
Scrap of parchment? Shakespeare’s original manuscripts.
Rusty spike? Part of the box that held the Ark.

Those stone ‘roads’ and areas they found around the swamp IS interesting. My first thought was whaling, a spot they could haul up the carcass for processing. If they found any bones that could explain those works.

But what drives me crazy is when they uncover something that has already been documented in the past - yet they hype it up like “WTF? Oh wow!”.

Just sink some caissons around the Money Pit and dig. That scale of work is done all the time when a tunnel is getting dug and the shaft is used to lower down equipment.

Yes, I am also obsessed with this show.


Coming soon: Assassin’s Creed: Oak Island


Right? They just need to excavate the entire fucking area down to bedrock already. I believe this was what they had originally planned to do this season but COVID-19 threw a wrench into plans and things had to get massively scaled back.

Even when they finally do this – and I have no doubt this is where things are heading – I’m pretty sure they will find nothing except a ton of debris from prior searchers, and learn only that those so-called “man-made flood tunnels” are simply natural channels running below the area. (Basically confirming what was discovered in Season 3 when they sent the divers down into the 10-X borehole only to find it was a natural cave filled with silt and clay.)

Gotta keep the drama going!


It seeps into the mainstream. When I visited the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland there was all sorts of DaVinci Code Templar nonsense in the official placards. “Could this carving represent ears of North American maize, unknown in Scotland at time it was made?”, that kind of insinuating nonsense.


I’m not even convinced that much is true. There have been hundreds of years of idiots tearing up the ground and spreading debris around that I think everyone is just finding everyone else’s detritus. It no doubt started with one idiot who heard a story and dug it up, finding nothing and leaving a mess behind for other people to speculate idiotically about. The whole story is covered in red flags and 90% of the books written about it are garbage, which itself is telling. It’s a story that I wish would just die so people would get excited about real science and history instead.


Correction, it is what they had planned, but these guys are idiots who don’t know anything about what they are doing and didn’t secure the land rights or funding needed to do what they planned.


Like one of the less-exciting episodes of Time Team:

“That looks like a post hole, Phil.”
“Naw, don’t think so, Mick.”

Except that the Time Team crew are real archaeologists and often do come up with interesting stuff.


I’m guessing the narrator’s pay is proportional to the percentage of their lines that are questions :slight_smile:

The status of part or all of Oak Island as a historical site limits some of what they are allowed to do. I seem to remember they had to negotiate with the Canadian government to get permission for certain operations in earlier seasons (that’s part of why they now have an archaeologist as a member of the core team.)

But you know what? As conspiracy theories go, “The Knights Templar, the Illuminati, Blackbeard, Sir Francis Bacon (or Shakespeare, depending who you think wrote the plays attributed to Wm. Shakespeare), and Marie Antoinette all hid stuff on Oak Island” is a pretty benign one. If they have the money to spend on all this excavation and they do the excavation safely, who’s it really hurting?


Best conspiracy theory I ever read tied together the Templars, Rosslyn Chapel, the Roswell Crash, and Dolly the Sheep.


Yeah, it’s all nonsense. After someone described the show to me, I found a blog by someone who lived in the area and had grown up hearing the local legends, which made them interested in looking into the primary sources. What they discovered was, there weren’t any. Nothing of any significance had ever been found on the island. All the stories about things supposedly discovered on the island could be traced back to would-be treasure hunters, who had made up the stories to get investments in their treasure hunting schemes. Those stories quickly gained a life of their own and became independent legends, and in turn inspired subsequent, credulous treasure-hunters. I think the only human-made objects that had ever been found, of any real age, were left behind by fishermen and salt-driers.

All this nonsense about Templars makes me want to laugh - and then read Foucault’s Pendulum again.