Lionel & Patricia Fanthorpe wrote the popular book The Oak Island Mystery, which can be ordered via our Online Bookstore .
Oak Island Treasure asked forum members to submit their questions for the writers which we would put to them, in the hope of finding out their impressions of the mystery beyond their book.
Read what they had to say...
Q: How did you first learn of the Oak Island mystery, and what was our initial impression?
We have been researchers and writers/broadcasters into unsolved mysteries for about 40 years, and as far as I can recall, we first heard of the Oak Island Mystery over thirty years ago when I was lecturing for Cambridge University’s E-M Board on a course called “The Psychology and Sociology of Unexplained Phenomena”. It was a time when we were looking for new and different unsolved mysteries to illustrate the lectures. Again, as far as I can recall, we probably read an article about it in “Readers’ Digest”. Our initial impression was that this was just the kind of mystery that interested us most – one that would eventually turn out to have a perfectly logical and rational explanation. Oak Island has never disappointed us. We thought then, as we think now, that there is a real mystery surrounding the Money Pit.
Q: What involvement do you currently have with Oak Island?
Not as much as we would like. We would like to visit the island again as soon as time allows, but our current workload is massive. I’m Director of Media studies at Cardiff Academy where I teach three days a week; I’m a non-stipendiary (voluntary, unpaid) Anglican Priest working in the Church in Wales; I write regularly for the BBC Countryfile Magazine (I write their page about Unsolved Mysteries called “This Spectred Isle); we have dozens of private students from Post-Grad University level downwards; we do broadcasts, lectures and after dinner talks; we help people who ask for exorcisms... I think we often work 18 hour days! However, we still take a keen interest in Oak Island and always will.
Q: Do any of you have any future books regarding Oak Island in the offering?
Nothing planned specifically on Oak Island in the immediate future, but it’s a possibility we are always ready to consider. We’d be very happy to do one. When we write or lecture on the Templar Treasure mysteries, the Sinclair voyages, the possibility of George Young’s excellent theory about Coptic Christian refugees at Oak Island, the central facts find their way into those arguments about who or what is under the island.
Q: What do you think of Oak Island being opened up for a tourism project?
We are all in favour of making the Island a tourist centre. The more people who know about it at first hand, the greater the chances of the true history being revealed.
Q: Do you believe there is a treasure still buried under Oak Island?
There is something hidden there – the question is what. It could be Templar treasure; it might be a religious artefact such as the Holy Grail; it could be pirate loot. On the other hand, the Pit might be a well-protected grave on the ancient Egyptian pattern – back to George’s theory about Coptic refugees burying their esteemed leader there. One of the wilder theories is that it was constructed to keep something IN rather than to keep thieves out! This links with the way-out theories about extra-terrestrial amphibian entities visiting Earth a long, long time ago. Just because Von Daniken made a few mistakes and indulged in exaggerations, he wasn’t necessarily wrong about his main hypothesis!
Q: Have you considered what chances the new group has of unveiling the secrets of Oak Island?
Answer: We are great believers in “Never give up and never give in!” as a mission statement: no retreat and no surrender! One day, someone will get to the bottom of the mystery (literally and metaphorically!) Determined researchers will get there eventually. If we can help them in any way, we’d love to. If they need a hard man like Dan to do the risky bits – I’m available, but I’m expensive!
Q: What advice would you give to the new group planning to conduct excavations on Oak Island?
They will already have thought of all the obvious things, and be using all the latest subterranean detection technology. That makes sense. However, the unusual advice we’d offer is to go further afield and look at the shaft on nearby Frog Island. We explored it years ago and came away with the gut feeling that maybe the Frog Island shaft (also flooded!) connects deep down with the Oak Island shafts and subterranean labyrinth. Frog Island might just provide the quick and easy way in.
Q: Do you believe the swamp is natural or artificial or a combination of both? Why do you accept/believe this about the swamp?
The swamp is intriguing. When we examined it, it didn’t seem entirely natural, so we would go for the “combination of both” theory. We think Nolan may have been right in his guess that if we just had the right co-ordinates, a dip into the swamp might reveal a high level access shaft connecting with the main Pit. We base this reasoning on our own first-hand investigation of the swamp and the general topography of the Island. Imagine the Money Pit as the central stem of an inverted umbrella. One of the “spokes” could be under the swamp – and that “spoke” might just have a treasure container at its tip only ten or twenty feet down. The main shaft with its back-breaking labour and treacherous flood booby traps was, perhaps, only ever intended to discourage and kill any unwelcome treasure hunters.
Q: Can you elaborate on the Thermo - Luminescent Glow Curve testing on porcelain pieces you mention in your book?
Radio carbon dating (one of the archaeologists’ best tools) is only effective for tissue that once lived. Ceramic fragments are a different matter. At the Universities of Copenhagen and Edinburgh the Glow-curve Thermo-Luminescence technique was developed simultaneously. The heart of the theory is that the more ancient a ceramic fragment is, the lower the temperature at which it will glow again when heated. Ancient Roman pottery, for example, glows at a relatively low temperature. The cup you bought last week and dropped yesterday will only glow again at a very high temperature. The method can be used with great relevance and significance to check the age of any pottery remains found on Oak Island – especially anything that came up from way down below the island!
You can purchase Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe's book on Oak Island, The Oak Island Mystery from our Online Bookstore .
Visit Lionel's website for more information on his research and background.