Monday, December 15, 2014

Captian Kidd has nothing on pirate Pat Croce.

Members of the Committee Films Crew and the ship captain wait for the fog to lift before we set off to find Kidd's treasure.

Scott encounters a feisty pirate outside Pat Croce's Pirate Museum in St. Augustine, Florida.   

Hundreds of silver coins welded together into one solid chunk due to hundreds of years on the bottom of the ocean.  This treasure was recovered from the shipwreck of the Emperor Aurangzeb, son of the Great Mogul who built the Taj Mahal and was discovered by film writer Arthur C. Clarke.  (Courtesy of Pat Croce and his Pirate Museum) 

Scott and guest Bill Scheller pose for a photo while searching the Maine coastal island for clues to Kidd's lost treasure.

The personalized key guard on the treasure chest of Captain Kidd that was made in Leith, Scotland. (Courtesy of Pat Croce and his Pirate Museum)

The crew prepares to shoot a scene in the Astor Mansion's octagonal-shaped library filled with old books.

Scott and Janet at Nina Bouphasavanh and David Scheller's wedding in early November.  Congratulations to the happy couple.  (Photo by Adrian Danciu)

Even though I was certain we wouldn't find a chest filled with Captain Kidd's gold and silver, I have to say I was surprised to see so many interesting artifacts directly connected to or that personally belonged to him.  Pat Croce's Pirate Museum was a surprisingly satisfying payoff at the end of the investigation for a couple of reasons.  Besides the artifacts, the Pirate Museum had a lot of amazing gold and silver along with many other real treasure artifacts recovered from shipwrecks dating back to the 1600's.  The other treasure was Pat himself who is a ball of energy, knowledge and passion that was difficult to match.  We hit it off immediately and I think the scene we filmed together was the first and only time the director asked us to turn back the enthusiasm a little bit.  It was great fun and I hope we can find another excuse to work with Pat in the future.

Bill Scheller was another wonderful guest who also happens to be the father of the then fiancé of the "Kidd" episode writer, Nina Bouphasavanh.  In November, we attended David and Nina's wedding and had a fantastic time along with Bill and the rest of the crew.

When it comes to Kidd's "treasure" it's impossible to know if he ever stashed any of it and if the note he passed on to his wife lead to anything tangible.  I suspect it did and only she knows if the numbers in the note made sense, but if it was at that latitude/longitude in Maine there is one other possibility that I doubt people have considered.  Everybody assumes that if it's up in Maine somewhere, why does it have to be on Deer Isle or any other island for that matter?  Maybe Kidd was more clever and "buried" it underwater?  Instead of digging a pit and burying the treasure on one of the small, easily accessible islands, maybe he intentionally sunk a smaller boat or simply threw a treasure chest or secure box full of riches overboard at a location he thought he could later find again?  That could explain why the treasure hasn't been discovered and is still out there somewhere?



  1. Fascinating episode!

  2. This was a very, very entertaining and informative episode. Kudos to all. It discussed and investigated history, mystery, and and all sort of details while keeping our interest, presumably what H2 and History are all about. I also recognize a member of the film crew from a few years ago.

  3. Scott,
    Thanks for this show!

    1. Greg and all,

      I'm glad you enjoyed the treasure romp we had with Captain Kidd. Treasure hunts are over now and it's back to our base research.

      Hope you enjoy the forthcoming episodes as much as this one.

  4. Mr. Wolter,
    You are a true professional. I dare say that even a PhD does not make someone infallible. Let's us work together for the common cause - the truth about human history. Your show does a very good job bringing to light possible falisies with the history we learned in public schools. What viewers need to understand is that you open our eyes in under an hour and leave us wanting more so we go off doing our own investigation. You know what that makes you? A teacher.

  5. Sara,

    I certainly appreciate the kind words and am especially glad you feel we are sharing knowledge because that is one of my main goals. I was fortunate to have a wonderful college mentor, Dr. Charles L. Matsch, who inspired me to the career in geology that I love.

    If even one young person (or any age for that matter) is inspired by the show to pursue their passion in any scientific field, then it has all been worth it!

  6. I can appreciate that, Scott. I can recall attending many lectures of my idol, Dr. William Haviland, as a young anthropology student. He would tell us how he would be blasted by some of his theories. That never deterred him. He was a pioneer in many ways as I feel you are, too, Scott. Although my career in software analytics leaves me little free time, I can say that your show fills a void.
    I fondly think of Dr. Haviland when I watch your show. Your show has rekindled my love of human history....and for that, I thank you.

  7. I really enjoyed this episode! I've always been interested in the stories of Captain Kidd because of his connection to Stamford, CT.

    "The Earl of Bellmont, in a report to the English Lords of Trade, said of Stamford. “There is a town called Stamford in Connecticut colony, on the border of this province, where one Major Selleck lives. He has a warehouse close to the sea, that runs between the Mainland (Long Island). That man does great mischief with his warehouse, for he receives abundance of goods from our vessels, and the merchants afterwards take their opportunity of running them into this town. Major Selleck receives at least ten thousand pounds worth of treasure and East India goods, brought by one Clarke of this town from Kidd's sloop and lodged with Selleck.”

    And, there lies the seeds of the Capt. Kidd legend. Many people have looked for pirate treasure in Stamford, but none have found any."

    The Major Jonathan Selleck, mentioned above, was brother of my 10th great-grandfather, Captain John Selleck. John captained a merchant vessel that was captured by the French, no one knew what became of him, whether killed outright or impressed. Major Selleck wanted to aid Captain Kidd any way he could, even if it went against the English Crowns wishes.

  8. Shelly,

    That's an interesting story for sure. I'll bet the booty was hidden away or spent a long time ago, but if you have any unopened old family boxes or furniture; I know what I would do!

  9. I wish! I've spent the past 20 years researching my family history, not much was passed down to the present generation, not even the stories. Now I have binders full of information and at least my future generations will have it at their fingertips.

  10. Shelly,

    It's never too late to get things started. You'll be surprised how fast discoveries happen once you dig in.

    Then you're hooked!


    Your right Scott , look at the hand in this Artwork , Love your show it expands my mind.

    Brian C.

    1. Nice! Take a look at Michelangelo's painting of "Adam and God" in the Sistine Chapel.

  12. Thanks for the reply Scott ,

    I'll check out the "Adam and God" right now.Your show is the best , second to none. Looking forward to the Season Finale. Great job exposing the hoaxers . Take Care,

    Brian C.

  13. on the recent "america unearthed" episode you stated, "... the last supper shows mary magdalene at jesus' side, not john the baptist as traditionally thought."

    NO ONE has EVER "traditionally thought" that was john the baptist at jesus' side. it's "traditionally thought" to be john the APOSTLE, the beloved, the youngest of the 12.

    john the baptist was dead way before the last supper.

  14. I've have already addressed this point on my most recent blog. You are correct, it was John the Evangelist/MM, not John the Baptist.

    My mistake.