Explore Oak Island Days 2008 will be held June 20 – 22 at the Oak Island Resort Spa and Convention Centre in Western Shore, N.S. Please stay tuned for the agenda as soon as we have it formalized. Book your rooms early to avoid disappointment, contact the Resort here : http://www.oakislandresortandspa.com/public/default.aspx Be sure to tell them you are booking for EOID 2008 to receive any special rates that may be offered.
I have a very exciting announcement to make.
Last night at an Oak Island Tourism Society executive meeting we decided on the dates for Explore Oak Island Days 2008 and we have a new partner to introduce to you as well. EOID 2008 will be held from June 20 – 22 and will be staged entirely at the Oak Island Resort, Spa and Convention Centre. Check out their web site here: http://www.oakislandresortandspa.com/public/default.aspx
Many of you who have attended our annual festival know what a great spot the Resort is and they are going to work with us to make EOID 2008 a very special event. The agenda is not ready to release but we have some super ideas that we are cooking up for you. Those of you who need to make travel and or vacation plans, you can do so with confidence. It would be wise to book your room early and make sure you advise the Resort you will be attending EOID 2008.
This partnership is one part of a greater outreach to the community that may very well benefit Society members, the community, and launch EOID into a more popular and exciting festival that will touch many more people than ever before. This will mark the third location change for EOID as we continue to make improvements and changes based on comments received.
Please join me in thanking the Western Shore and Area Improvement Association for their excellent hosting of our event for the past four years, we truly appreciate their community spirit.
This is not the only message you will receive from me over the ensuing months to come. We have much more we are working on and as these ideas become more solid, you will be the first to know. Treasure hunting for the first time in many years is set to resume and that will surely increase interest in Oak Island . Lets all wish Oak Island Tours Incorporated success in their endeavor.
Treasure hunter ready to finally unlock island mysteries
By ADAM JACOBS
Lunenburg Progress Enterprise – October 30, 2007
OAK ISLAND — Dan Blankenship doesn’t walk so well anymore. He’s not the same man he was 42 years ago when he first came by Oak Island, mesmerized by its mysterious past and potential future. But, at 84, he hasn’t lost any of his zeal for his beloved island. At the mere mention of the place he now calls home he quickly becomes animated, excited to have someone to discuss his life’s work with. “You know it’s not about money,” he said. “It’s never been about money. It’s deeper than that.” Indeed, by spending a few hours with the native of Delaware, Ohio, you quickly understand he means what he says. Mr. Blankenship said he’s more interested in unlocking the secrets buried deep below the island’s surface. That said, he freely admits he’s not going to be disappointed if he uncovers treasure. Part of the excitement for Mr. Blankenship lies with his new partners. For the past 42 years Mr. Blankenship has been partnered with financial backer David Tobias of Montreal. For the past 17 years, next to no work has
been done. “Tobias was focused on the money pit,” Mr. Blankenship said. “The money pit exists. There’s no doubt. But I’ve found evidence that it’s not the only site.” Indeed, all of his findings have come in other holes, one as far as 600 feet away from the famed money pit. “You know, the money pit is great,” Mr. Blankenship said. “Anything that keeps people interested in what happened here is a good thing.” He just doesn’t believe it’s the key to unlocking the island’s past. And he said he’s found a common ground in this approach with his new partners — Marty Lagina, Craig Tester, Rick Lagina and Alan Kostrzewa, oil barons from Michigan. One of the most interesting finds came around 1990 when underwater video showed what’s believed to be a chest at 235 feet below the surface in the hole known as 10x. However, video is as close as anyone has gotten to it.
Because of financial reasons and a difference of opinion, Mr. Blankenship could only physically get to 181 feet. “That’s one of the reasons I quit with Tobias,” he said. “He wouldn’t do anything about it.” But, in time, Mr. Blankenship believes they will find that treasure chest again and eventually bring it to the surface. “It’s doable, it’s definitely doable,” he said. “But right now it’s not at the top of my list. There are other, more important things do be done first.” Just how much longer does Mr. Blankenship plan on trying to unlock the secrets of Oak Island? “I just don’t know,” he said. Little is known locally about the four men who have joined Mr. Blankenship. In an interview with Brian McGillivary of The Traverse City Record Eagle in Michigan, their hometown newspaper, three of the four men explained why they’re interested in joining the hunt.
“At one point, we are really excited; this is one of the great treasure hunts of all time,” Marty Lagina said. “Other times you say wait a second, for 200 years this has done nothing but destroy people.” While all four men have invested in the island, they’ve done so with varying degrees of skepticism. Mr. Lagina said his brother first
read about Oak Island in a Reader’s Digest story as a boy in the 1960s. “He was fascinated by it and he’s followed it all these years,” Mr. Lagina said. “He is absolutely convinced there is something there.” Mr. Tester said he’s more than 50 per cent sure there is treasure. Marty Lagina admittedly is the biggest skeptic. “There’s just enough evidence that there is something significant,” he said. “But I want to see it for myself.” The foursome have visited the island on a couple of occasions. This winter they hope to start some preliminary drilling. Mr. Lagina and Mr. Tester said they hope the borings reveal evidence that will convince them it’s worth spending millions of dollars to excavate the site. “We need to see the proof — hold it in our own hands — of ancient works down there,” Mr. Tester said.
Treasure license issued for Oak Island dig
By Adam Jacobs firstname.lastname@example.org – Lunenburg Progress Enterprise, October 22, 2007
OAK ISLAND — After waiting more than a year, Dan Blankenship and his partners can once again begin digging for the elusive Oak Island treasure.
In April of last year a group from Michigan bought a portion of Oak Island from Mr. Blankenship’s long-time partner, David Tobias. Since that time, Mr. Blankenship and the new owners — who own about 78 per cent of the island — have been trying to secure a treasure trove licence, allowing them to legally dig for and keep whatever treasure they find. And the new partnership is wasting no time.
“We’re starting as soon as we can,” Mr. Blankenship said. “It depends on getting available equipment. Right now the drillers around here are all busy. That’s what we’re working on.” He added part of the holdup was the licence was invested in a Nova Scotia company with vested interests in Delaware, making it difficult to acquire.
“We had to hire lawyers out of Delaware and get over that hurdle,” he said. “We had to close out that company … but at least it’s finally done and at last we finally have it.”
Rick Ratcliffe, registrar for the Department of Natural Resources, confirmed the licence has, indeed, changed hands. “For that to have happened the request of transfer had to be made by, in this case, the previous owners,” he said. “Once that is done it has to be approved by the minister. In this case that has already happened.”
The licence, now held by Mr. Blankenship, is valid until July 2, 2008. Licences are generally granted in five-year periods. At that time, should he wish to renew, he would have to apply for a successor licence, in essence, a continuation licence to allow him to continue digging.
However, there is no guarantee the province will grant a successor licence. In this case, though, the odds are strongly in favour of the licence being renewed.
Mr. Ratcliffe explained under normal circumstances the person looking to acquire the licence must have permission from the landowner to dig the property.
Because Mr. Blankenship and the group from Michigan own the land they’re digging, they have the option to grant or deny the request of other interested persons.
Before a successor licence can be granted, it must be approved by the provincial cabinet. Little is yet known about the group from Michigan who bought out Mr. Tobias, other than to say it’s a group of oil and gas moguls.
Mr. Blankenship began his hunt for the Oak Island treasure in 1965. In the past four decades he has found artifacts and groundwork he believes are key to unlocking the island’s secrets. “I’ve been on record for a quite a few years. If I’m right as to what was done on Oak Island, nobody has come close to what the real story is.”
The second bit of information is about our friend Ted ” Bear who has finally surfaced after an exciting cross country trip on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, coast to coast. I have been talking to his travelling companion and she says he does not like the rain in British Columbia, but is no worse for the wear. I hope he did not get his girlfriend’s name tattooed on his arm as he did not have a girlfriend before he left. Read more here: http://www.oakislandsociety.ca/news.html
The Society is not sitting on it’s laurels this Fall basking in the glow of another successful Explore Oak Island Days. We have been investigating some exciting new ideas for EOID 2008. When we have something more concrete to tell you, you will be the first to know.
Publicity and Communications
Explore Oak Days
Annual event report 2007
Explore Oak Island Days was held August 10 – 12th, consisting of the ever popular island tours (3), hall displays, guest speakers and Pirates Brannigan.
Tours were set up for Friday evening at 7:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 4 pm. Because we had to disappoint people last year due to full tours, we placed no limit on numbers of guests this year. We also established a policy of children 6 and under permitted to tour free.
The Friday evening tour with Eugenia was quite popular and we entertained 125 guests on the most unusual tour we have ever undertaken. On the Saturday tour we hosted 135 guests. Although it was crowded at times on the narrow center road and viewing planes, everyone had a good experience, no one missed out on a photo opportunity or question to be answered. The Sunday tour was less crowded and we hosted 91 visitors. We did receive some constructive criticism from two guests that the megaphone was not loud enough for everyone to hear, a situation we will have to address for next year.
The Friday night tour had an element of surprise added to it when two costumed animators from Chester Basin, Tony and Ben Eisnor reenacted elements of the ghost story related by Peggy Adams from her childhood times on Oak Island in the 1940s. I heard a lot of cameras clicking and the crowd gave them a rousing applause after their performance.
The “pirate ambush” that was set up on the south shore beach for the Saturday tour worked quite well and people were surprised and amused by the antics displayed by four very well dressed modern day pirates supplied to us by our good friends at Loyalist Arms and Repair of Harriettsfield near Halifax. This company is a small business with huge connections and have supplied arms to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and other well known Hollywood productions. On Saturday afternoon, Loyalists Arms and Repair entered the Fireman’s Garden Party Parade in Western Shore and came back with two first place trophies.
As the Society has been collecting materials once again for the past year, we were able to change up the items on display to make sure the displays did not get “stale” in the eyes of the visitors. On Saturday we hosted in excess of 103 visitors including members of the OITS who accessed the hall for free along with children under 6. Sunday’s numbers were down slightly from last year with a count of 67 visitors not counting children under 12.
Society members Ken Pineo and his wife Jan created a very special and well done children’s activity area complete with a free activity book for the little ones to amuse themselves with while Mom and Dad viewed the displays.
Normally, the Society would give a donation ($50) to the Western Shore and Area Improvement Association Building to take care of electrical power and janitorial services, but once again this year, volunteer Amy Hutt manned the kitchen for us and we were able to put over $200 in the hands of this most worthy organization. This amount is up over last year’s total by a significant amount.
Our large free standing display greeting visitors to the hall, exhibited information about the formation and work of the Oak Island Tourism Society. It garnered 16 new members including four renewals for the Society and our numbers now stand at 130, the greatest number of members in good standing in our five year history.
Our four speakers had near capacity crowds for each presentation. By any measure, they were well received and their presentations were professional, entertaining and very informative. As many of the speakers had their own books to sell, many were able to move a quantity of their work thus lessening the impact on the sizeable amount of money each spent from their own pockets to travel to the event. The Society also benefited from the sales of these books with some generous donations being made. A huge thank you to Les MacPhie, D’Arcy O’Connor, Graham Harris, Shoshanna Saxe and Graham Thé for their excellent, thought provoking presentations.
Not only were the presentations well received, they have become one of our more favoured aspects of the weekend. This is a part of EOID that is not only expected, but looked forward to a great deal by all participants.
As a special treat, One of the four new treasure hunting partners from Michigan, Marty Lagina, took the floor to speak to our visitors on Sunday. He imparted a lot of information about the new group for us ending some speculation that inevitably follows such a change. He informed the official name for the Oak Island land ownership is Oak Island Tours Incorporated and that treasure hunting may begin as early as this fall instead of the later date of June 2008.
Special Visitors and events:
For the first time, we partnered with the New England Antiquities Research Association as they had their annual conference in the area and used the bottom part of the hall between guest speakers as their base of operations. This worked out well as we were able to attract many of their members for various EOID events A special thank you to OITS member Terry Deveau for arranging this partnership. http://www.neara.org/
Author and Society member Jane Bow released a new book in June, the Oak Island Affair which was on sale at the hall. Jane was on hand to not only sell her books but to offer autographs as well. If you want a copy of Jane’s book you can get them at many books stores, or on line at Amazon. You can contact Jane directly at http://www.janebow.com/ for more information. I have not read this book yet, but Yvonne says it is a great read so we recommend it.
Long time OITS supporter, researcher, guest speaker and author Graham Harris also has a new release to add to the collection of Oak Island works, this one is entitled The Oak Island Treasure: The Military Cover Up, 1752 – 1754. I highly recommend this book for your Oak Island library.
Participants came out in their finest pirates costumes and what we once again lacked in numbers, we made up for in enthusiasm and spectacle. Guests were treated to a delicious Turkey dinner with all the fixings, tea and coffee topped off with a very generous Strawberry shortcake desserts prepared by a group assembled specifically for this event. Our deepest thank you to the firefighters and staff at the Martin’s River Fire Hall for their valued assistance and patience.
The bus ride back to the Resort was very enjoyable for those who wanted to have some refreshments and not have to worry about driving their car. Later, a guest room at the Resort was used as an unofficial after hours gathering place where many a spirited conversation met not only the Oak Island mystery, but we were treated to a few meteor showers up in the flawless clear sky.
Our overall attendance was down from last year by maybe 100 people, but when you consider the competition we had for the same weekend, it is not surprising. To the East, we had the Halifax International Buskers Festival and to our west, the very popular Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival. For a province with only slightly over 900,000 residents, we did very well considering. We do know that many area businesses capitalized on the draw to the area and we are quite proud of that.
We received some really good press coverage this year from a few papers and one magazine. A full page spread in the Lighthouse Publishing Progress Enterprise and Bridgewater Bulletin papers complete with colour photographs. For the first time in five years, the Halifax Chronicle Herald, our provincial newspaper covered the event with a nice article from reporter Renee Stevens. An article with photographs will appear in Seniors Advocate Magazine next issue, and for those of you who were present, you would have observed that we had a documentary film crew on hand to record the events at the hall including guest speakers and some on camera interviews with attendees. When I hear of a release or showing of this work, I will let everyone know.
A late surprise was an article in the Bradenton Herald out of Florida written by a reporter from St Louis Missouri advocating for a visit to Explore Oak Island Days and Nova Scotia in general. This is great press and will create even more interest in the Oak Island mystery.
It is not possible to account for the country or province and state of every participant, but throughout the weekend, people from all corners of North America and beyond were identified. We know of people from as far away as, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI not to mention of course, visitors from all over Nova Scotia one end to the other.
Our American friends came from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, California, Arizona, Oregon, Michigan, Florida and Georgia. Other countries were represented by visitors from England. Some were on vacation, some came specifically for the event. One couple from Florida said they planned their Nova Scotia vacation around the visit to Oak Island and our hall displays.
It is very difficult to account for the numbers of people who come and go at the hall or tours. This year we handed out a numbered ticket to each person who entered the hall or took a tour, but we know we missed some so not everyone is counted in the final, absolute number. We know of a few people who made it on the three tours for free and slipped into the hall during the cheerful chaos, but did not make a fuss about it so as not to create a “scene.”. Bearing this in mind I don’t think it is unreasonable to access a number of 5% to the final numbers for the weekend. With this in mind, we counted a actual total of 521 guests, add on the 5% contingency figure of 26, we are getting very close to 550 guests.
Costs and profit:
At this time, we can say this Explore Oak Island Days was a very successful event. We made a reasonable profit even though we had even more expenses to deal with than last year. Other expenses include a porta – pottie rental, PA system, a walkie talkie system and odds and ends.
The final accounting is not complete and is a monumental task to get it all to balance and justify correctly so it stands to proper accounting principles and any type of scrutiny it may require, but we will be in the black by a considerable amount. As this is our once per year major fund raiser, it was worth the effort put forth by our many volunteers who truly deserve a big thank you. I have to say, it is all a little overwhelming for the treasurer who works along with limited accounting training and meager assistance just like all small volunteer organizations have to do.
Maybe I am naive, or perhaps I have selective hearing, but we did not receive one single complaint from any of the 550 guests we hosted during the three day event. We did get some constructive criticism that we will consider and try to act upon.
Our traveler, “Ted” T. Bear is on his way to British Columbia on a Harley Davidson motorcycle and I have received other inquiries of interest on his behalf for other sponsored trips abroad. As of today, he has an offer to go to Cuba. Perhaps by next year at EOID 2008, we will see a small Bear with impressive traveling credentials. For more information on “Ted” T. Bear see the full story here: http://www.oakislandsociety.ca/news.html
It would be remiss not to recognize the selfless nature of the various partners of Oak Island Tours Incorporated for their permission to use their land and other favours once again for Explore Oak Island Days. Collectively, lets all hope their treasure hunt is safe, remarkable and above all else, profitable.
I have been in contact with Dan Blankenship, and he informed that there were no issues on the part of Oak Island Tours Incorporated with our use of their land. I say this is a accurate testament to the hard work put forward by all of you who made this event happen and work so well. You all know who you are, whether it was encouragement in the form of letters, phone calls and e-mails, to those of you who rolled up your sleeves to lay out displays, set up chairs for the ever increasing audiences for the speakers, run for this and that and act as sweepers on the tours.
For those of you who could not attend EOID this year, lets hope good fortune shines upon you so you can attend next year. We have received many supportive e-mails and phone calls and we thank you for your continued support. A special hello and thank you to Jo Atherton of www.oakislandtreasure.co.uk who celebrated her fifth year as owner/administrator of the world’s premier Oak Island web site. Thanks for your assistance, we hope you can make it next year.
As our first chairman, the late John Chattaway was fond of saying, “many hands make light work.”
Hi, my name is “Ted” T. Bear and I live in Nova Scotia, in fact, I’ve
been in Nova Scotia all my life. I love it here, there is lots of honey
to eat, pine trees to scratch and caves to sleep in but I want to
explore the world outside my comfortable home. Call it wanderlust, call
it what you will but I have the desire to see other places. Perhaps you
can help me. This summer, two pals of mine took me on my first vacation
ever and now, I’m spoiled, I want to see more.
My good friends at the Oak Island Tourism Society said I am welcome to
come to Explore Oak Island days next month and hitch a ride to wherever
it is you are going. I don’t care if it is north, south east or west,
all I know is that I want to see the world.
Can you help a furry little bear out? Can you take me with you and then
send me on to another friend in another part of the world after you have
shown me around a bit? With any luck at all, my travels will end just in
time for Explore Oak Island Days 2008. Maybe then I will be content to
eat ants, blueberries, honey from bees nests and grow old and wise.
In my knapsack I have all the contact information for some humans I
know and we would be ever so grateful if on occasion, you would send
them an e-mail and tell them where I am and what I am doing.
All you have to do is send me an e-mail in care of these humans and set
me on the path of adventure. You can also see me at Explore Oak Island
Days, where I’m going to hang out until it is time to leave. Boy, oh
boy I’m excited now, I wonder where I will get to go?
To all my fellow Canadians members, Happy Canada Day. Now I have some news to impart on you all.
First, our psychic Eugenia who is doing the Friday evening tour and raising the spirits of Oak Island will be available for private readings Saturday and Sunday out of the Oak Island Resort. Readings are about half an hour long and cost $50, so if you want a reading, contact me and or Yvonne and we will set it up for you. Eugenia is also available for more consultation work and longer readings if you want them.
We are departing from the annual request for volunteers for the lawn mowing and trimming duties as we have done in other years on the island. When you all arrive for Explore Oak Island Days, all of this will be done ahead of time for you so you can enjoy your time here better. That gives us some private time to enjoy Oak Island before the hundreds of non members descend upon us for the formal tours.
With this in mind, for those of you who want to see Oak Island up close and personal, we will have a “members only” tour of Oak Island on Thursday afternoon starting at 1pm. Let me know who wants to join in and I will set it up. In the past we have had around five to ten members join the walk so it is quite personal, slow paced, relaxing and healthy too. We will look at anything you want (except for Fred Nolan’s land), take as many photos as you wish and exchange lots of stories no doubt.
We are 42 days out from Explore Oak Island Days 2007 and the clock is ticking.
PS: Don’t forget to pre register for the Pirate’s Brannigan.
I have been speaking with the Oak Island Resort and they advise that there are only 19 more rooms left for Saturday, August 11th during Explore Oak Island Days. They are very busy during that weekend and I encourage you to act now so you don’t get left out. There are no blocks of rooms available, but if you call Resort staff member Joanne Cooper at 1- 800- 565- 5075 she will book your room and give you a 10% discount. I guess we will have to act much quicker for EOID 2008. http://www.oakislandresortandspa.com
Also a bit of news for you. Our mystery speaker for Saturday August 11th will be Ms. Shoshanna Saxe. Her presentation explores the feasibility and design of an excavation of the money pit using Artificial Ground Freezing also known as the Freeze Ring Technique. The presentation was completed as part of her culmination design course of McGill University’s civil engineering program. As Shoshanna is a poor struggling student, we were not sure if she would be able to make it to EOID, but she is confirmed. I have been told, she is a smart young lady who is very studied on the subject of Oak Island. Shoshanna also informs that “I may pretend to be at Oak Island for the learning experience, but really I’m only here for the chance to wear a pirate costume.”
You’ve got to love her spirit. Be sure to say hello to her sometime throughout the weekend and especially at the Pirates Brannigan.