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The Curse of Oak Island recap: Book author Randall Sullivan says Sir Francis Bacon theory is most plausible

Randall Sullivan
Randall Sullivan discussing his theories with Rick and Marty Lagina. Pic credit: History

On The Curse of Oak Island this week, the team continue to uncover incredible discoveries in Smith’s Cove, adding to the intrigue surrounding an anomaly found last week when they unearthed a concrete wall that could be evidence of Roman presence on the island.  

They still have no answers as to why a concrete wall five inches thick and three feet high was buried roughly three feet below water in Smith’s Cove or by whom. What is known is that it was set under the low tide level without metal parts, with engineering similar to that which the Romans used as far back as the 3rd century B.C.

But before they can speculate further about the wall, a startling new find is unearthed.

As the team continue to expose the wall, they discover two pipes sticking out! Upon closer inspection they appear to be rubber. Rubber was in standard use after the 1950’s so it’s incomprehensible what such an item would be doing in what may be a wall dating back hundreds of years before that time period.

The pipes protuding from the ground in Smith’s Cove. Pic credit: History

Rick wonders why someone would build such a structure and not mention or record it? Was it built to contain, hold back or supply something? He says that he thought digging in Smith’s Cove would be a, “straightforward dig to find artifacts and find out the who and when” of the mystery, but the process just keeps getting “wonkier.” In the end he reasons, “We have research to do.”

In the war room Rick updates the other members of the team on the puzzling pipe development. No one can conjure up any reason for the pipes’ existence, particularly since they are placed side by side.

Then someone suggests that what they found was the result of modern searchers modifying an ancient structure, to which Rick notes, “It has been quite remarkable how many structures are in Smith’s Cove that we didn’t know were there.”

Adding to this observtion, metal-detecting expert Gary Drayton says that he thinks the slipway structure found last week is a large ramp that goes all the way to the Money Pit, calling it, “the glory road, where we’re gonna find some stuff.”

Departing the war room, Rick and Marty decide to ask Dan Blankenship if he can shed any light on this latest anomaly. Dan is the patriarch of the fellowship of the dig, having lived and searched for over 50 years on the island.

In 1970 he and a partner built a massive cofferdam at Smith’s Cove in hopes of finding stone box drains. Instead he found the recently unearthed L- and U-shaped structures. Dan relays that he had not seen the concrete wall and that it will be almost impossible to tell if it was  searcher or original work, as there are no archival records to guide them.

Aerial view of the latest work at Smith’s Cove. Pic credit: History

Things take a more positive spin at the Money Pit where the team is told that there is several feet of material ready to be brought up from the ground of the H8 shaft.

Last year bits of paper and centuries old human bones were found in the area, as well as possible evidence of a treasure vault. Now, the goal is to raise and lower a giant steel caisson several feet down the shaft in the hopes of retrieving valuable spoils and maybe pushing the treasure box back to its original location.

They decide to bring up a load of soil from the shaft, and predictably find a lot of wood. But, the chunks are amazingly large to be found at a depth below 168 feet, they think. Could this wood be part of the allegedly treasure-filled Chappell vault? Have they found the legendary box at long last?

Rick concludes that “confirmation that there’s something going on here is positive news.” He calls for the rest of the material brought up to be meticulously inspected and carefully scrutinized for additional clues.

Not long after this, Jack Begley finds a dark, odd-looking scrap in the muck and decides to bag it as it could be a fibrous material, and looks like parchment to him. If so, would this prove that the team is closer than ever to finding the Chappell vault? The team have found parchment in this area before and some experts believe that Shakespeare’s manuscripts or historical documents are buried on the island.

When Rick takes a look at the find he agrees it could be parchment but he concedes that he hopes to recover something more substantial than just little bits and pieces.

Later Jack finds more paper fragments, this time of different colors. He admits that he can’t tell if it is old or new, parchment or paper, but it is worth saving. Later these possible pieces of parchment are taken to the research center and examined under a digital microscope.

On one piece a red pigment is seen. Was this something that had been applied to the object, or does this mean that something was written on the object?

The red pigment on the possible piece of parchment. Pic credit: History

As early as the 5th century A.D. bright pigments were used to adorn certain letters of historical religious texts or manuscripts: could this be evidence of such a decorative character? It’s concluded that they definitely need an expert to review the scraps in their possession.  

Before this can be done, however, Jack finds another small, dark object brought up from the H8 shaft, which team members think could possibly be a bone. Bones from two individuals dating to the 17th century were found here last year, are these the bones of a third mystery person? They determine that they need to have an expert look at the find.

The fragment which is thought could be bone. Pic credit: History

But Rick is hopeful for the moment, saying that Jack’s finds mean that last year’s discoveries were not isolated. He states that the Oak Island quest is about a search for the truth, and he wants to find that one irrefutable thing that proves something of historical significance happened on the island.

Could investigative journalist Randall Sullivan, author of, The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World’s Longest Treasure Hunt, have found a clue that could lead the team to such a significant find?

Sullivan has returned to the island with copies of his book for Rick and Marty. Meeting up in the war room, Marty asks Sullivan if he’s happy with the book and he replies that he thinks it’s, “the most authoritative and entertaining history of Oak Island.”

Marty and Rick talking to Randall Sullivan. Pic credit: History

His exhaustive research verified many things for him, including the origin story regarding the island’s treasure, that the box drains were found, and what he thinks is the most compelling theory regarding the treasure hunt, that the man behind the Oak Island mystery is Francis Bacon.

Many experts believe that Bacon came to Oak Island with Shakespeare’s manuscripts and buried them in a lead box filled with mercury.

Sullivan sees this theory as entirely plausible. He cites the fact that after 1626, documents written by Bacon were published after his death, and within these documents are curious phrases which Sullivan believes may allude to the Oak Island mystery.

Next he tells Rick and Marty that based on his interpretation of the phrases, he believes that the flood tunnels are located a distance from the south shore. In 1980 Dan noticed several large holes in the southern shore bay, and these were again observed in 1987. Are these actually flood tunnels that must be shut off before any chance of finding treasure can take place? “It’s worth investigating,” Rick declares.

Have the team finally recovered bits and pieces of evidence that will lead to the solving of the 220-year old Oak Island mystery? Will priceless artifacts, silver and gold, even historical manuscripts finally be found?

Tune in next week and find out!

The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesday nights at 9/8c.

Tanya is a freelance writer, therapist and educator. The L.A. native was born at General Hospital, foreshadowing her obsession with writing about soaps, something that makes her... read more

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