The Curse of Oak Island recap: The 10 most important things from Season 5 Episode 2

Gary Drayton and Rick Lagina on The Curse of Oak Island
Gary Drayton struggling to contain his excitement at his “top-pocket find” in Episode 2


Well if that wasn’t a chilling end to an episode, we don’t know what is! Everything is pointing to something seriously dark happening on The Curse of Oak Island next week.

With images of skulls and a chilling voiceover, it looks like Episode 3 is going to be a hugely important one for Rick and Marty Lagina and the team. But Episode 2 also had its own dose of excitement and intrigue.

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From the fascinating story of pirate and Freemason Captain James Anderson, to Gary Drayton’s “top-pocket find”, here’s the 10 most important things we took away from Episode 2…

1 The Money Pit is where it’s at

Everything seems to be pointing to the Money Pit this season — from the quotes in the pre-season trailers about it being found, to the geotech pattern drilling system they’re using which should make it near impossible to miss.

In an interview at the start of the episode, Rick said: ” We are singularly focused on the Money Pit this year.” Marty then added: “I always felt like the Money Pit is where it began, and the Money Pit is probably where it will end.”

There’s talk of the Money Pit left, right and center this season. Are they right to focus their efforts there? After watching the sneak peek for next week’s episode, our money’s on a big ‘yes’.

2 The spike is old, but we’re not sure how old

The rose-headed nail
The spike after being cleaned up a bit since Episode 1

After undergoing testing at St Mary’s University in Halifax, the rose-headed nail turns out to be old — but just how old is annoyingly hard to tell.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr Christa Brosseau and technician Dr Xian Yiang reveal the spike to be made of 90 per cent iron and 10 per cent carbon. They also show that there is an absence of elements like manganese, which would have indicated it was more recent.

The fact it doesn’t have sulphur in but does have carbon in is also a good sign as it shows it was likely smelted with charcoal, so could well have been made before the 1700s and is “not inconsistent” with it being something “much older”.

Marty said: “The data comes back…basically that spike is probably hundreds of years old, several hundreds of years old. If it is prior to 1600s then that’s the thing I keep looking for.

“Because people on the island 100 years ago is one thing, people on the island underground 100 years before the discovery of the Money Pit is really the definitive.”

3 Charcoal at 195ft points to mining operations taking place

While drilling the first exploratory borehole in the Money Pit area, what Rick and Marty think is probably charcoal is found at around 195ft. This was passed over relatively quickly in the episode, but could be a good indicator of some sort of mining operations having taken place at depth.

As we learned on the episode, it’s possible humans may have lit fires under ground to force air down using the “chimney effect”, or it could point to more log layers at depth. That’s because reports of the ones initially found while digging the Money Pit back in the day indicate some of them had charcoal in.

4 There is something connecting C1 and at least one of the other boreholes

One of the most dramatic moments of the episode was when water started pouring out of the top of borehole C1 in what Marty described as a “giant geyser”.

Rick tasted it, as you do, and found it to be salty. Marty said: “The first thing you’re sure of is you’ve got very solid communication between those two holes…we’re pumping air down one, it’s coming up the other.”

But have they hit one of the apparent booby-trap flood tunnels, or some sort of chamber? As Rick said: “It’s just so Oak Island — a little piece of something, but what does it mean? I have 55 questions.”

5 Captain James Anderson was a fascinating guy

Captain James Anderson, whose sea chest was investigated during the episode, definitely didn’t like living the quiet life. Both a privateer (legal pirate) and Freemason, he really did get up to all sorts before apparently buying Lot 26 on Oak Island then selling it to Samuel Ball.

In case you missed it, we spoke to long-time Oak Island researcher Scott Clarke, who has previously investigated Anderson’s sea chest as well as his links to Freemasonry, earlier this week. You can read the fascinating story about what he found out here.

6 He could have buried ill-gotten gains on Oak Island

Interior of Captain James Anderson's sea chest
The contents of Captain James Anderson’s sea chest as shown on the episode

The episode saw Alex Lagina, Charles Barkhouse, Peter Fornetti, and historian Doug Crowell meet one of Anderson’s descendents, Steve Atkinson, who showed them the sea chest which has been handed down through the generations.

Could Anderson be the reason former slave Samuel Ball mysteriously became so rich after moving to Oak Island? It’s not 100 per cent certain that Captain James Anderson is the same James Anderson that owned Lot 26 on Oak Island — but it seems pretty likely.

As a privateer, he must have got his hands on all sorts of valuables and treasures over the years. He died in 1796 in the West Indies, the year after the discovery of the Money Pit.

But what was he doing there? Was he still privateering? Did he bury some of his ill-gotten gains on Oak Island which were then found by Samuel Ball after he bought the lot in 1788? It’s certainly possible.

Also, was the plank of wood found at the bottom of the Oak Island swamp in Season 4 Episode 3 part of Anderson’s ship the Betsy? Again, definitely possible.

7 There could be three other chests somewhere

While investigating the sea chest, Steve Atkinson showed the Oak Island group a set of four keys. One of them opened James Anderson’s chest — but what are the other three for?

Steve speculates that another three chests could have been hidden somewhere on Oak Island. Could these be the three chests that Daniel McGinnis reportedly found with his two friends while originally digging the Money Pit?

8 Erosion is a good thing for treasure hunters

Gary Drayton and Spanish maravedi
Gary Drayton and an example of a Spanish maravedi shown on the episode

Gary “The Draytonator” Drayton had a field day this episode while investigating the beach at Isaac’s Point and could hardly contain his excitement when he saw how much erosion had taken place over the winter due to storms battering the island.

He said: “I hate to say it, but the more erosion the better.” It took him literally moments to uncover an old musket ball, which adds to evidence of there having been a military encampment on the island during the American war of independence.

Not long after that he found a cut Spanish maravedi coin. As we learned in the episode, maravedis — like the one found in the swamp back in Season 1 — were used by explorers who came to the new world during the 17th and 18th centuries and also by pirates to pay crew members. They were also often cut up to use as change or to make advances on purchases.

The question is, with Drayton only getting started on the island and there having been so much erosion — just how much more could he find this season? We think a lot! Which leads nicely on to…

9 We’re going to get ‘hard evidence’ of people on the island well before the discovery of the Money Pit

Old coin on a hand
The coin in the Episode 3 sneak peek which appears to be the “hard evidence” found by the team

Next week looks like it’s going to be a BIG episode for The Curse of Oak Island fans and the team.

The Episode 3 description, and now the sneak peek, both reveal the team find “hard evidence” of a European presence on the island more than 100 years before the discovery of the Money Pit.

If this is true, it would be hugely significant for Marty, Rick and the team, and is something they’ve been looking for for a very long time.

From what we saw in the sneak peek, this evidence comes from a coin which Gary says is from the 1600s. It looks in very good condition, and could quite feasibly still have the date on it.

After its discovery Rick points at Dave Blankenship and says: “I’ve never seen you so excited.” Dave replies: “Because it really means something!”

Rick adds in a voiceover: “Here’s hard evidence that people were on the island 120 years before the discovery of the Money Pit.”

10 Something much darker is on the horizon

Skull at end of The Curse of Oak Island Season 5 Episode 2
The chilling image of the skull shown at the end of the episode

Definitely the most intriguing moment of the episode came in the voiceover at the end, ahead of the sneek peak for the next episode.

As the credits rolled, narrator Robert Clotworthy said chillingly: “What if they find what they’re looking for? What then?

“Will it be everything they hoped it would be? Or, will it be something so fearful, so disturbing, that it would have been best to let it lie buried deep beneath the ground?”

Previous trailers have shown a fragment being examined which turns out to be bone. The whole tone pointed to a seriously ominous find this season. But what? Is it a skeleton, or some sort of burial pit or grave? Whatever it is, it doesn’t sound good!

And the prizes this week go to…

Quotes of the week: Alex Lagina, when told by Steve Atkinson that he has Captain James Anderson’s sea chest: “Sea chest? Like a TREASURE chest?”

Marty telling Rick: “I am so on board with drilling everything you want to drill.”

Also, Rick’s super-excited response when Marty asks him: “We’re going to drill how many holes? 38?” Rick replies: “38, RIGHT NOW!”

Scene of the week: Gary Drayton teasing Rick and Marty before showing them his cut maravedi, telling them: “This didn’t even make the pouch, this is a top pocket find.” Followed by Marty’s slight disappointment as he tells Gary: “That’s fantastic, but still no gold dance eh?” Gary replies: “No, but that had me wiggling.”

Times “eyes and boots” got said: Two — both Rick and Marty said it while looking at the apparent piece of charcoal found at 195ft. Far fewer “eyes and boots” mentions than in the premiere, but at least it made an appearance!

Significant finds so far this season: Episode 1 — English or French copper coin estimated to be from the 1700s, rose-headed nail. Episode 2 — Captain James Anderson’s sea chest, charcoal from one of the exploratory boreholes, musket ball, Spanish maravedi cut up to use as change.

Questions we’re left asking: Just how old is that spike? Did Captain James Anderson bury his ill-gotten gains on the island and what could they be? How much of an interest did Freemasons have with the island? Will the cut maravedi they found this episode have a date on it?

Also how does the coin they find next episode prove a European presence on the island so long before the discovery of the Money Pit? And, mainly, what is the dark revelation they uncover?!

The Curse of Oak Island airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on History.

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