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. “Themoney 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 ichigan, 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,” arty 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.