Ever since they were kids Rick and Marty Lagina have shared an insatiable desire (Rick a little more than Marty) to solve the mystery surrounding Oak Island, a 140-acre island off the coast of Nova Scotia believed to be the resting place of ancient treasures dating back to the Knights Templar (some even believe the Ark of the Covenant is located there). The legends about deadly curses and glorious treasures have fascinated explorers for over 200 years. It’s been a maddening process but they are determined to see it through.
We recently talked to the lovable Lagina brothers, Marty and Rick, who now co-own the island and are the subject of History’s hit series The Curse of Oak Island, currently airing Tuesday nights on History. The Michigan-based brothers fielded our questions on if they get to the bottom of the money pit, who is paying for all of this and more.
Are we going to get to the bottom of this pit this season?
Marty: Rick, why don’t you answer that?
(Publicist interjects – no spoilers)
Rick: Let’s put it this way. Five months we were up there, and we did a lot of exploration. Let’s leave it at that, and you’ll have to tune in.
OK, I get it. In regards to just the money involved in pursuing this dream, I mean where is all this money coming from?
Rick: Boy, you managed to hit the two forbidden topics in the first two questions.
Marty: You know it’s coming from us. We’re financing it. That’s basically where the money is coming from — us.
Well, the island has a long history of people losing their fortunes – people who have sunk all their money into pursuing this — so how do you prevent yourself from falling into a similar trap?
Marty: The first comment about that, I find that very instructive because when we look back to the history, one of the things we worry about is — is it a hoax? Was the data misreported? But hoaxers don’t do what you just described. They don’t spend their whole lives there, and their entire fortune, looking. The history kind of bears out that everybody was truly intrigued, was truly reporting real findings, and that’s a very significant thing. As to how we make sure we don’t have the same fate, I’m not so sure, Rick?
Rick: What we endeavor to do is that every situation, it’s a financial risk/financial reward within the context of finances, if you will. It’s a judgment call. If you feel like you can’t make progress, of course, then you have to either abandon or limit your activities. That’s basically the parameters under which we’re operating. — Written by Barb Oates
I meant no offense by asking the question, it’s just like “man, let’s figure this out.” If money wasn’t a factor what would it take to drill three thousand holes on that island and solve this thing once and for all?
Rick: That’s a really good point too, and we saw it by bringing state of the art technology to bear, we figured we would figure this out in a week. [Or a summer, Rick adds]. It proves to be a formidable adversary. You’re right, others had suggested that. Dig the whole thing up. Well, there’s some limits, financial, environmental, to doing it that way. We’re trying to get to the bottom of it, believe me nobody wants to get the final answers better than us, but we made some damn significant progress, I think, this year, and some interesting revelations.
Have you envisioned coming to an end to this story? Like getting to the bottom? What do those dreams look like to you guys?
Rick: I don’t know about the dream, but of course the goal is to solve the mystery — it’s not so much of a treasure, my brother might differ a bit on that, but there is a wonderful story written there. I’d like to put pen to paper and tell that story. We asked our father prior to his passing: “Dad, if there’s real treasure on Oak Island, what should we do with it?” My father didn’t hesitate. He said, “Do good with it.” I guess that would be the end game, if treasure were involved, and I believe that there will be.
Marty: It’s such a puzzle in front of us, I think that’s as far as we thought of it. It’d be a very happy problem, I hope, if we unearth something that big and that historically important. We would have to deal with that then, I guess.
When and how often do you go to Oak Island? I know it’s over the summer season, but how long are you really there?
Rick: We spend the amount time that we can. I’m retired, and Marty still has business adventures ongoing, so he splits his time. We were there overall five months this year. Family and friends come up. Our sisters have come up with their families. Marty’s son, Alex, has participated in the process, and so have our nephews, Peter and David. They’re all somewhat invested. Not all of them believe however.
— written by Barb Oates