The author of this article writes an excellent review of the treasure hunt on the island, of the Restall family's part in that hunt, and introduces us to the newest treasure seeker, Robert Dunfield, who Sivley describes as, "a fleshy young petroleum geologist from California". Sivley seems to have visited the island and interviewed Dunfield and several others before writing this article.
So who is responsible for the first known citing of the Seven Must Die curse? Is it an embellishment created by Sivley for his article? In the article itself, Sivley credits a Nova Scotia resident, a pretty woman intimately related to the deaths, as the one to tell him about the curse, as seen in the following excerpt from his article which states:
"But along the Nova Scotia shore, the people who have lived with Oak Island all their lives are restless. They are a charming people, but uneducated, suspicious, and highly superstitious. Sitting in her kitchen on the shore, a pretty woman intimately related to the deaths could say without consciousness of oddity. "Legend says that seven men must die before the treasure will be found. One died a hundred years ago in a boiler explosion. Now four more are gone. Maybe someone wants that treasure badly enough for two more to die."
We draw your attention to the fact that the woman mentions the unknown person who died in the boiler explosion, and the four who died on that fateful day in 1965, but she didn't account for the death of Maynard Kaiser, who died from a fall down a shaft on Oak Island in 1897. It's evident that she's only accounting for five deaths when she says, "Maybe someone wants that treasure badly enough for two more to die". (You can read our previous article on the death of Maynard Kaiser here.)
Sivley doesn't identify the woman by name, only that she was intimately related to the deaths. Four people died that tragic day. Robert Restall was the first to topple into the shaft. His son Bobbie (age 23) saw this happen and rushed to his father's aid, but he too was outcome by gas in the shaft. A man named Karl Graeser, longtime friend and financial backer of the Restalls, without hesitation went into the shaft to save the two men. He quickly succumbed to the gas as well. Then Cyril Hiltz (age 16), and Andy DeMont (age 17), both members of the work crew, descended into the shaft, and both collapsed near the bottom. Two other men who had started down the shaft, retreated to the surface. A tourist from Buffalo, New York, a firefighter named Edward White managed to save DeMont, who afterwards said that he was choking on the gas and felt like his legs were failing.
So if we consider who this "pretty woman" was, then we have to consider the families and friends of those who died that day. This same article tells us that Bobby Restall and Cyril Hiltz were both in love and hoping to soon be married. Perhaps our unnamed woman was one of their fiancées, or a sister, mother or other family member of those involved. Whoever she was, we wonder did she fabricate the legend or was it something she heard from another source? For now it remains a mystery.
So we now know that the "Seven must die" curse existed as early as 1967, and that an anonymous local Nova Scotian woman, is the earliest person on record to to speak about it. Whether the curse existed before this article, we can't say, since we've found no previous mention of it. We suppose it is possible Sivley created the idea of the curse himself, but we should extend him the courtesy of believing that it came from his unnamed source.
At this time we can say that the legend has been around for at least 49 years now. Our investigation continues, but for now we hope this information is of interest to all of who've been asking about the curse since it became such a popular, and rather sensational, aspect of the Oak Island mystery.
Thanks for joining us again and, as always, Goodnight from the Blockhouse!
From The Blockhouse
is published by Blockhouse Investigations and oakislandcompendium.ca
in Nova Scotia, Canada
Editors and Chief Correspondents
Kelly W. Hancock, CD
John Wonnacott, P. Eng.
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