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Corjan Mol

'It does something to your imagination': Q&A with 'The Curse of Oak Island’s' Corjan Mol

Corjan's upcoming book, The Jerusalem Files, 'a Da Vinci code for the 21st century' is published in February 2024

Corjan Mol is a Dutch historical researcher and a recurring cast member on The Curse of Oak Island. With his interest in the Middle Ages and Renaissance France, Corjan's research has focussed on exploring the link between Oak Island and the mysterious chivalric order of the Knights Templar.

Corjan's upcoming book, The Jerusalem Files, 'a Da Vinci code for the 21st century' will be published in February 2024. The book is a must-read for any Curse fan, giving historical background and context to the show. It is available to pre-order from wherever you buy your books.

Sky HISTORY caught up with Corjan to talk about The Curse of Oak Island and what first drew him to the Templars.

1. How did you first come to work with the Lagina Brothers on The Curse of Oak Island?

I was invited to the island in the summer of 2019 to provide some background on a French painter, Nicolas Poussin, whose work kept popping up in theories presented to the team. I had published about him but I didn’t see any connection to Oak Island at the time. Still, they asked me to investigate a bit further and a theory started to develop that we have been progressing for four seasons now.

2. What are Rick and Marty really like?

They're exactly like they are on television. They are the nicest guys in the world. They're very professional and patient. My last War Room was on September 7 last year, which was also my birthday and you can always count on Rick to make sure there's cake and everybody is there to celebrate.

3. What was it about the Oak Island mission that first drew your interest?

How tiny and big it is at the same time. It does something to your imagination, knowing that so many before us have searched so hard for treasure in so small a place. That makes it larger than life. In recent years, it is also becoming clearer and clearer that Europeans visited North America and Oak Island long before Columbus and what history tells us. I started scratching that forgotten history, and now I need to know more.

4. When did interest in the legends of the Knights Templar begin?

My dad was a great storyteller who took the family on one of those typical Dutch caravan trips for six weeks every summer holiday. I have been dragged into every castle, museum and church in France.

I think my more specific interest in the Templars started when I first read Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, while I was studying in Paris. I had to cross the old Temple district every day to get to school. I realized this had actually happened and wanted to know all about it.

5. What has been the most interesting discovery you’ve personally been involved in on Oak Island?

On camera, it is probably the rock carvings we found this season on a beach in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. You can’t date things like this but they look very old and very much out of place. Off camera (you don’t see everything on TV, unfortunately!) it was when I discovered a repurposed tombstone in the wall of the Templar church in Fonte Arcada, Portugal. I noticed a faded round Templar cross near the bottom of the wall. This turned out to be the round top of an abacus, a staff with a round cross used by Templar Masters, engraved into a rectangular tombstone.

This church was built on land donated to the Templars as early as 1126, three years before even the Council of Troyes where the Templar rule was established. That could mean this is the oldest existing Grandmaster tombstone in Europe. A pretty awesome find that warrants more study.

6. What is it about The Curse of Oak Island that has made it so popular for so long with viewers?

Everybody loves a good mystery and most people like a treasure story too. But what I think appeals to people, is the values displayed by the team on TV every week. together. Don’t criticize others. Use each other’s strengths. Collaborate. Learn from your mistakes. Share your successes. Keep an open mind.

We treat each other with respect and give credit where it's due. It is a show for the whole family.

7. What do you think the answer to the mystery of Oak Island is?

I don’t think there is a singular answer. It is starting to look like a group of people came from Europe in the Middle Ages to do something on the island which triggered a flurry of activity over the next 500 years. I think the answer is bigger than the island and I do believe something was deposited there which had to be kept away from prying eyes.

8. What's one thing viewers probably don't realise about Oak Island?

Until any treasure is found, the most valuable thing on Oak Island is bug spray. If you don’t spray you will have been eaten alive before you have reached the other side of the island.

9. Are there any other places around the world where you like to search for treasure?

I have always been interested in the mystery of Rennes-le-Château and I’d love to be the first one to get into the crypt under the church there to see if there is any treasure left.

10. What is the most challenging part about modern-day treasure hunting?

Finding original source documents for research can be very tricky. The real stuff usually isn’t on the internet but in physical archives that have sometimes not even been catalogued or that are in private hands. It takes good relations and especially a ton of patience to get to those. If you do, you have to sift through miles of paper. And then, only after combining facts, dates, people, locations, patterns start to evolve that could indicate you’re onto something. Like a ship that is equipped with a larger than necessary crew, with direct orders from a King, with big gaps in its journals, that’s where a mystery or an answer may lie.

11. What advice would you give to someone or a team who is looking to start treasure hunting?

Give me a call, I’d love to join you!

Seriously, do your homework and check out all involved locations for yourself. Nothing beats being on the ground yourself to touch the stones with your own hands. Nothing gives perspective like seeing something in front of you. Go look at it with your own eyes.