Newspaper article The Canadian Press

American Man Dedicated Life to Finding Treasure on Nova Scotia's Oak Island

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

American Man Dedicated Life to Finding Treasure on Nova Scotia's Oak Island

Article excerpt

Man dedicated life to finding Oak Island treasure

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HALIFAX - An American who became a famed Nova Scotia treasure hunter is being remembered by friends as a larger-than-life figure.

Dan Blankenship died Sunday at 95.

He was a staple on "The Curse of Oak Island," a reality TV series on the History channel that was set on the 57-hectare island on Nova Scotia's south shore.

His son David Blankenship said Tuesday they hoped to have a memorial service on Thursday, likely in Martins Point, N.S.

Charles Barkhouse, an Oak Island historian and family friend, described Blankenship as a "living legend."

"I mean, how often do you get to meet a treasure hunter?" Barkhouse chuckled. "In truth he was much more than just a treasure hunter. He had a very full life."

Barkhouse said Blankenship was a U.S. Army veteran who had a successful contracting business in Miami, Fla., when he got hooked on the Oak Island mystery after reading a "Reader's Digest" story in 1965.

"He's poured his blood, sweat and tears into that island trying to solve this mystery," Barkhouse said.

The Oak Island legend began in 1795 when curious teenage boys began digging at the site, thinking they might find a pirate's buried treasure.

Theories on who may have buried treasure on the island range from pirate Blackbeard to the Knights Templar.

Blankenship described in a 2010 interview how he became engrossed in the legend after reading the "Reader's Digest" story.

"I handed the article over to my wife and said, 'Read that' and so she read it and, in so many words, said, 'So what?' I said, 'Well, No. 1, there's treasure on Oak Island, and No. 2, I'm going to be instrumental in getting it.' That was the beginning."

Blankenship co-owned the island with a group of investors, including brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, who are doing the major work on site now. …

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