“The Curse of Oak Island” is one of the most unique television shows, though not always for the best reasons. The series follows brothers Rick and Marty Lagina (as well as their ever-expanding team of excavators and treasure hunters) as they undergo a thrilling real-life treasure hunt on the titular Oak Island, which has been shrouded in mystery for centuries.
The island’s reputation certainly speaks for itself. Treasure hunters have scavenged the island since the 1700s (per Skeptical Inquirer), and theories of what might be buried there include everything from artifacts of the Knights Templar to the jewelry of Marie Antoinette. Unfortunately, the current scavengers on Oak Island seem to be having no more luck than their counterparts from centuries past — as outside of small discoveries now and again, and they have yet to uncover the true mystery of the island.
It seems as though disappointment is baked into the premise of the series, and while that factor is sure to deter some, the series has been wildly popular ever since its introduction to the History Channel in 2014 — quickly approaching its ninth season. So it seems that more often than not, fans are willing to power through the inherent disappointment a treasure hunt brings — though there is one moment that’s so utterly disappointing it’s surprising the hunters were able to keep going afterward.
The map to nowhere
In Season 3, Episode 3 of “The Curse of Oak Island,” the Lagina brothers come into possession of an old, strangely marked map hidden in a book about the island. The map is marked upside down, with north and south-facing the wrong direction, and includes instructions to travel to a set of specific coordinates on the island.
The appearance of a real-life treasure map was exactly the kind of thing the brothers needed to break the mystery of the island wide open. The treasure hunters focused on following the map and were absurdly thorough in attempting to puzzle out its strange instructions. They followed the coordinates flipped, like the compass on the map, and used a combination of old-fashioned cartography and GPS technology to nail down the “X” on the island.
When they found the spot, they began a new dig with renewed hope and excitement, only for their dreams to come crashing down around them the further down they got. No matter how far they dug, all they found was dirt, and the map was eventually tossed aside.
It’s easily the biggest disappointment in the whole series to date, not just because it was a concrete piece of evidence that turned into a dead-end, but also because the brothers themselves were so obviously disappointed that their dig was all for naught once again.