TRAVERSE CITY — Marty Lagina made millions in energy exploration and now hopes to unearth treasure of a different sort on a tiny island in Nova Scotia.
Traverse City resident Lagina, his brother, Rick, and several others are in search of pirate treasure, or, at the very least, the solution to a mystery that began in 1795 when three teens discovered a filled-in shaft on Oak Island rife with layers of embedded oak logs.
The Laginas’ effort to explore a deep shaft, about 180 feet near the original “money pit,” was taped for a History Channel series, The Curse of Oak Island. The show premiered Jan. 5 and can be viewed on the History Channel website. Four more installments will air on Sundays at 10 p.m.
The ominous title of the series owes to the deaths of six men, lured in by the treasure hunt. Others went bankrupt. Lore has it one more person will die searching for treasure before the north Atlantic island gives up its gold — or whatever else it may be hiding.
Lagina hopes the multi-million dollar corporate investment of Rock International will end happily, but he’s realistic.
“This is a quest, not just a treasure hunt,” he said. “My brother is absolutely driven to figure it out and is convinced something historically significant happened there. Is it a good investment? I doubt it. But I also want to say people buy lottery tickets all the time. As risky as this is, it’s a lot smarter than a lottery ticket.”
The “Fellowship of the Dig,” as Marty calls it, includes energy colleagues Alan Kostrzewa and Craig Tester; Marty’s son, Alex; and Dan Blankenship and his son, David, who spent decades on the treasure hunt.
Lagina said the promise of treasure turned into an obsession for many. The teens who first discovered the shaft returned in 1810 and dug to a depth of some 100 feet before uncorking a booby trap that unleashed ocean water into the shaft, he said.