Many children fantasize about what they want to be when they grow up and what their dream job would be like, but not many of them get to fulfill those dreams once they grow up. Scott Barlow is an example of a grown up who made proud the child in himself, because of a phone call he received in 2018, which changed his life. „How often does somebody call you up and say: ‘Hey, you want to be part of a treasure hunt?’“, Barlow recalls.
As many of you may know, The Curse of Oak Island is currently airing its seventh season on The History Channel, and during the most of 2019, Barlow worked as a project manager of Oak Island Tours, the company in charge for digging for the legendary lost treasure of the island. He could be seen in the show, often digging through the dirt or scrutinizing and serving survey data and historical records.
At the age of 12, Barlow read Joan Clark’s adventure novel The Hand Of Robyn Squires, which is linked to finds in the alleged Money Pit on Oak Island off the coast of Nova Scotia. The whole story was very interesting to Barlow as he explained: „Since then, I was hooked.“
Oak Island History
Oak Island mystery has aroused the curiosity of people around the world, and also inspired many to dream of becoming treasure hunters.
There aren’t many verified information about early treasure-related activities on the island, but the stories about it go back to the late eighteenth century.
The original story about the treasure follows a dying sailor from the crew of Captain Kidd, who decides to burry the treasure worth £2 million. All that has gained a plot twist in 1795, when four teenagers found the decayed oak-log and an unusual pulley system. After digging as much as they could and finding no treasure, they decided to give up. However, they found more tunnels around the island, which are believed to be part of a sophisticated system of traps designed to flood the main shatf with water, which would prevent anyone to get to whatever lies at the bottom.
Various items were found there over the years, including ancient coins, stone carvings, coconut fible, and a lead cross. After all those discoveries, scienties, historians, and writers have been coming up with different theories about what might have happened on Oak Island. Those theories range from pirate treasure, to Shakespearean manuscripts. Some believe that the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant, have been burried there by the Knights Templar.
Several attempts to find the mystery of the Oak Island have been inspired by legends, rumors, and unproven theories. The treasure hunt have cost millions of dollars. The curse of the island states that seven men will die in the search for the treasure before it is found. To date, six men have died trying to find it.
The Arrival of Internet
Barlow was very keen on reading and learning anything he could find about the Oak Island mystery from books and articles that were available to him. In 1990s, when the internet arrived, the informations and community of people with the same interest like his, were much more available.
After finding out about the announcement from The History Channel, about plans to air a show based on the mystery of Oak island and the search for its treasures, Barlow felt overwhelming happiness.
„Information was hard to come by, and a lot of people who do that kind of work, they don’t really make a public report every day of what they find. You were always going on bits and pieces and scraps and hearsay, and all that stuff. At least the show gives you a little insight.“
Thanks to Internet, and their mutual interest in the mystery of Oak Island, Barlow met a historian and Oak Island researcher, Doug Crowell. In 2018, Crowell decided to call Barlow and ask him to help with the treasure hunt and solving the mystery of the island. And that is when Barlow’s transition from fan to treasure hunter became real.
A year after that, the Lagina brothers, Rick and Marty, who own most of the Island, offered Barlow the project manager’s job of Oak Island Tours. Till then, the brothers had co-ordinated most of the work themselves.
Barlow said that part of his job is to be a co-ordinator between the Lagina brothers and their partners.
„(I was) kind of the go-between guy between the contractors and the owners. It was my job to make sure everything was moving forward.“
Thanks to his unique set of skills and his knowledge about the island, Barlow is the great addition to the team. Rick Lagina agreed with that, saying: „Scott brought a valuable set of skills to Oak Island. His calm demeanour, critical analysis and mechanical expertise are invaluable. Scott proved daily he was invested, sincere and committed and we are all extremely appreciative of his participation and friendship.“
Barlow’s combination of plumbing, mechanical and electrical skills are helpful for his company Mechanical Solutions too.
Having A Dream Job
„The work has been a challenging and rewarding experience. There are lots of days there where you leave and you’re right at the top of the world. You had a great day. Then there are other days where things didn’t turn out the way you hoped. It’s an emotional rollercoaster,“ Barlow explained.
Some days are hectic and the crew has a lot of job that needs to be done, while other days are more about brainstorming and coming up with where the next digging should take place, or theorizing about the mystery.
Barlow talked about being on the show, saying: „One of the toughest parts of the job was getting used to all the TV cameras and crews trailing along behind as you worked.“
He also explained that the viewers see the results of their efforts, but not all the things that happened before that, including days of fruitless search. However, the show has the accurate representation of the work, it is just that it is more compressed.
Barlow is very happy to be part of all of it. He doesn’t want to reveal what will happend next, because he wants fans to see it for themselves. He said: „Last year was our biggest effort yet in terms of the work done. We had some major strides forward in terms of learning things. We have (gained) a better understanding, in the last year, of some of the island than people have had ever … and of course, in typically Oak Island fashion, you find one thing and it leads to more questions.“