Searching for a long-lost treasure in a distant island might sound like a childish dream for many, except if you’re Marty and Rick Lagina, the main stars of “The Curse Of Oak Island”.
Nonetheless, there’s a lot more history when it comes to the island’s legend than the show tells us. Decades before the Lagina brothers set foot on Oak Island, Dan Blankenship was already exploring, and finding his way to discover what the curse was really about.
Unfortunately, Dan passed away in 2019, but his legacy was left in the hands of his son Dave. That’s why “The Course Of Oak Island” fans found themselves terribly confused by his absence in the show from the eight season on.
So whatever happened to Dave? Is he sick or was it another reason why he stepped away from his treasure hunt endeavours? Keep with us to know all.
- 1 Where Is Dave Blankenship Now?
- 2 Will He Ever Return To The Show?
- 3 Is Dave’s Leg Alright?
- 4 How Rich Is Dave?
- 5 Does Dave Own The Island?
- 6 What Is The Island’s Treasure?
- 7 What Is The Curse?
- 8 Dave’s Father’s Early Explorations
- 9 Association With The Lagina Brothers
- 10 Who Are The Blankenships?
- 11 Is “The Curse Of Oak Island” Still On Air?
Where Is Dave Blankenship Now?
As the son of the treasure hunting pioneer Dan Blankenship, everyone admittedly thought Dave was going to take a very important role in the island’s operations to find the treasure. However, seeing that no one from History channel or the Lagina brothers seemed to explain why he suddenly stopped appearing in the show from 2020 on, fans worried that something bad might have happened to him.
Although some rumors related to Dave’s possible death, or of having health complications were on the rise at some point, the truth is fortunately less tragic, but very disappointing. As he told the website Mysteries Of Canada, his exit from the show was actually due to his distaste of how his father’s legacy was allegedly disregarded by the producers.
Dave affirmed that his father wasn’t included in making important decisions, apparently paying more attention to other past treasure hunters over Dan.
His dislike for the situation was made evident on a now-deleted Facebook post, in which he freely expressed his feelings about it: ‘they left 50 years out of my dad and went Restall to Laginas’.
Though Dave’s statements were received with mixed feelings, there’s no doubt he will be greatly missed by the viewers of “The Curse Of Oak Island”.
Will He Ever Return To The Show?
Although Dave Blankenship’s exit from “The Curse Of Oak Island” might look too messy, and probably ensued a lot of drama off-camera when it happened, the show’s fans haven’t lost hopes of seeing him again on their TV screens.
Despite claiming that the production ‘will not say anything about me’ following his quitting, Dave’s relationship with the show hasn’t entirely ended. As it happens, in February 2021 he appeared in the main series’ spin-off, “Drilling Down”, for the episode entitled “Dave Blankenship Oak Island“.
In it, Matty Blake addressed several topics related to Dave’s role on his father’s decades-long treasure hunt, in addition to making him open up regarding his exit from the show.
While Dave didn’t offer a deeper insight into his reasons for leaving than we already knew, the fact that his link with “The Curse Of Oak Island” wasn’t entirely severed makes us think that returning to the series or appearing in some special episodes might not be out-of-question for him.
Is Dave’s Leg Alright?
Even if Dave Blankenship is not in “The Curse Of Oak Island” for the time being, people’s curiosity regarding his life hasn’t faded.
Though the main topics of interest when it comes to Dave are related to the show and the Island’s treasure, his physical appearance also awakens people’s curiosity. As seen in the show, Dave evidently has a limp which, despite not entirely impeding his mobility, limits his movements while walking.
While many people don’t know the origin of his problem, Dave opened up about the issue in his debut in the series. As it happens, some decades ago a cable accidentally threw Dave off a crane for at least 45 feet. Though he survived the horrendous fall, his safety helmet apparently caused further damage to his head by disengaging an artery, ultimately causing him to suffer a stroke.
Dave spent some time in an induced coma, and went through a long and difficult physical therapy afterwards. He eventually learned how to walk again and recovered many body functions, but his body’s left side has almost no sensitivity whatsoever.
However, despite the hardships life put in his way, Dave’s unwillingness to let his disability stop him is really admirable.
How Rich Is Dave?
Besides his appearances in “The Curse Of Oak Island” as a treasure hunter and spokesperson of his father’s accomplishments in the island, Dave has other sources of income.
Reportedly, Dave was a producer of the show until 2016. Besides that, his father Dan’s partial ownership of the island as a private proprietor was most-likely inherited by Dave.
While there’s no way of knowing if Dave has any income from other businesses he might have and his earnings from the show aren’t revealed, it’s safe to assume Dave’s net worth is over $1 million.
Does Dave Own The Island?
One of the most common questions regarding the explorations in Oak Island is ‘ who is involved with it and who has ownership of the place’?
While such a big piece of land would be public property in a normal situation, the truth is that Oak Island is under private ownership. Originally, Dave’s father Dan and his now-former business partner David Tobias equally owned 78% of the island through their shares in Oak Island Tours. However, their association finally ended with the dissolution of the company in 2006.
— Curse of Oak Island (@CurseOfOak) June 9, 2019
25% of Tobias’ shares were actually bought by Alan Kostrzewa a year prior, and the rest was bought the following year by the Michigan Group, a partnership formed by the Lagina brothers and Craig Tester.
All in all, Dan’s shares of the island were supposedly passed over to Dave, who presumably still owns it. While the whole business deal surrounding the island might look fair for almost everyone, the then-Minister of Tourism, Judy Streatch expressed her disappointment at the final deal: ‘I believe the best interest for everyone would have been for the province to have ownership of the island’.
What Is The Island’s Treasure?
To explain the mystery surrounding Oak Island, we need to dig out several centuries of history.
The most accepted theory regarding the treasure allegedly hidden in Oak Island, is that which points out it that belongs to the legendary pirates Henry Avery and Captain Kidd. However, other hypotheses name the treasure-burial culprits as the pirate Blackbeard, Spanish inquisitors, the French Army, or even British sailors.
All in all, there’s no certainty as to what the treasure might actually be – speculations include a French revolution vault containing Marie Antoinette’s jewels, unknown Shakespeare’s works, or even some Masonic artifacts.
The first documentation regarding the apparent existence of a treasure in the island, dates from 1857, when it was made public that a man named Daniel McGinnis supposedly found a suspicious looking depression in the land in 1795. Said man’s discoveries hinted that human explorations had occurred prior prior in the place, judging by the marks of tools left on the foil and flagstones strategically placed.
Though McGinnis and two other men who accompanied him abandoned their excavations due to superstitions, from the early 1800s to modern days, several companies have set their operations on the island with the hopes of finding the so-called money-pit containing the treasure, even if no one really knows where it’s located, or for certain if ‘it’ actually exists.
What Is The Curse?
Besides the treasure, what mostly attracts people to the mystery of Oak Island is the rumored curse related to it.
Although the curse says that for the treasure to be found, seven people must die while trying to find it, there’s no consistent documentation to confirm its source, and is only known because it has been passed down for generations.
However, people have indeed died on Oak Island while trying to find the treasure. The most tragic deaths registered so far are those of Robert Restall, his son and two other men who were leading excavations. The unfortunate incident happened in August 1965, when Restall and his crew were accidentally suffocated by hydrogen sulfide, which wasn’t determined to be natural or from a broken engine nearby.
Though workers escaped the place alive and with no major injuries, the men who died were almost 30 feet deep in a shaft, nearly 10 meters, making their way out impossible.
As several other deaths occurred on the island, the curse’s legend became more popular. It’s even rumored that a man named Matt Chisholm died as recently as 2014 during the filming of “The Curse Of Oak Island”, but this theory has been dismissed as fan-made. Anyway, reports count at least 14 men who have died while hunting the Island’s treasure, making people doubt the mystery’s veracity, and way beyond the seven deaths supposedly required before any treasure’s revealed.
Dave’s Father’s Early Explorations
After his interest in Oak Island was awakened by reading a Reader’s Digest article in 1965, Dave’s father Dan Blankenship purchased the land with David Tobias, Fred Nolan and Robert Dunfield, in a partnership later renamed as the Triton Alliance.
Official excavations on Oak Island by the group officially started in 1967, achieving their peak by digging a shaft as deep as 180 feet, about 65 meters. However, the Triton Alliance ended in the early 1980s, when Nolan was sued over his shares of the island, adding to other problems such as their shortage of funds to continue explorations. Nonetheless, the Triton Alliance apparently funded their activities during the following years through the touristic business in the island, but the partnership eventually split completely in the 1990s, leaving Dan and Tobias as the main land owners until the latter sold his shares a decade later.
Nonetheless, Dan Blankenship never gave up on the treasure. As he said in an interview with The Chronicle Herald in 2010, the lack of success of his treasure hunt journey hadn’t deterred him, even after decades of search: ‘the more you get into Oak Island, it asks more questions than it answers’.
In total, Dan Blankenship spent 53 years exploring the island.
Association With The Lagina Brothers
After forming a partnership with the Michigan Group, brighter times were awaiting for Dan Blankenship in his search for the treasure. Prior to the deal, Dave’s father had been very wary of the intentions that the next owners of Oak Island might have. Seeing that for a long time Tobias lost interest in the island, Dan unsuccessfully tried to sell his shares to locals, not wanting it to go ‘on the open market’, or even worse his opinion, to put it in the hands of real estate investors.
As some sort of miracle, the Lagina brothers appeared. Interestingly enough, Rick and Marty’s interest in the treasure was awakened by the same Reader’s Digest’s article Dan read in the 1960s.
Having that genuine passion for the treasure in common surely played a vital role in fulfilling the deal with the brothers.
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— Curse of Oak Island (@CurseOfOak) October 21, 2021
From then on, the Michigan Group not only established a millionaire operation in the land to find the money pit, but also founded Oak Island Tours, a company which promotes the touristic activity in the area.
With new financial support and an approved Oak Island Treasure Act’s license, operations in Oak Island eventually attracted the attention of History Channel’s producers.
Who Are The Blankenships?
Prior to his death, Dan Blankenship was acknowledged as the only resident of Oak Island, along with his son Dave.
Staying on the island was a decision which defined Dan’s life decades prior. He was actually a US Army veteran, who made a living as a contractor in Florida after the war. It was in the 1960s that he moved to Nova Scotia, where he established his family’s permanent residency in his way, to explore the nearby Oak Island more comfortably.
The obvious difficult journey Dan started on was passed to his son Dave, who admittedly didn’t always agree with his father’s opinions: ‘there was the right way, the wrong way, and dad’s way, and it was usually the hardest way’, he told CTV News.
Besides Dave, Dan’s only known daughter is Linda, who scarcely appeared in “The Curse Of Oak Island”. Dan’s late wife Jane passed away in 2011, and she strongly supported his quest for the treasure.
Is “The Curse Of Oak Island” Still On Air?
Despite Dave Blankenship’s lack of presence in the show since the eight season, “The Curse Of Oak Island” still airs on the History channel nowadays as of late-2021.
The series’ ninth season premiered in November 2021, much to the joy of its fans. The show is nowadays following hints about the Chappell’s Vault, a shaft excavated by William Chappell in the 1920s, in which several human artifacts were apparently found. Will the Lagina brothers be able to find it? We’ll wait and see, but don’t hold your breath!