Teen Vampire, King of Cons, Alcatraz

Don Wildman examines the tombstone of a young woman may have haunted a small New England town, exposes the man behind one of New York City's most elaborate and historic scams, and visits the country's most infamous prison.

From This Episode

Selling Grant's Tomb
Selling Grant's Tomb

Selling Grant's Tomb

When newspapers report that the General Grant National Memorial is falling into critical disrepair, 67-year-old hustler George Parker gets an idea. In 1928, he poses as President Ulysses S. Grant’s grandson and “sells” the tomb to a number of businessmen, all of whom dream of making a fortune by eventually charging entry to the majestic monument. 960 1280

  

Selling the Brooklyn Bridge

Selling the Brooklyn Bridge

But Grant’s Tomb wasn’t the only monument Parker had “sold.” He began his scheme back in 1883 when he posed as the owner of New York City’s iconic Brooklyn Bridge and “sold” it to unsuspecting immigrants. 960 1280

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Selling the Brooklyn Bridge

Selling the Brooklyn Bridge

Police frequently had to roust so-called “owners” of the bridge as they attempted to put up tollbooths. The police finally resorted to handing out pamphlets at ports warning all immigrants that they can’t “buy public buildings.” 960 1280

  

Statue of the Republic

Statue of the Republic

The Statue of the Republic, commemorating the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, reminds passers-by of the exhibition, but also its dark history. During the fair, a man going by the name of H.H. Holmes built a “hotel” where he lured young women, most of whom never came out. 960 1280

  

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

In 1937, Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe were the first 2 prisoners to successfully make it to the shore of the San Francisco Bay after breaking out of Alcatraz. 960 1280

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Alcatraz

Alcatraz

Officials quickly concluded that the pair had drowned in the San Francisco Bay, but many reports of future sightings suggest otherwise. 960 1280

  

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier

On June 24, 1947, private pilot Kenneth Arnold was flying at 9,200 feet near Mt. Rainier on a mission to find a missing transport airplane when he encountered something extraordinary … he saw a shimmering light followed 30 seconds later by a series of bright flashes north of the mountain range. 960 1280

  

Flying Saucers

Flying Saucers

Arnold then observed flat crescent-shaped objects flying in a chain formation, which he describes as “saucers on water.” The supersonic speed of the unidentified flying objects and the strangely-shaped discs grab both the media and the public’s attention, and the term “flying saucer” makes its debut. 960 1280

Terry Bridges  

Confederate General Robert E. Lee

Confederate General Robert E. Lee

April 14, 1865. Just 5 days after the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln decides to take in a show at Ford’s Theatre in the nation’s capital. 960 1280

  

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth

At 10:13 p.m., a well-known actor and Confederate sympathizer -- John Wilkes Booth -- enters the president’s box and shoots him in the back of the head. In the ensuing chaos, he flees Washington on horseback. Twelve days later, Union soldiers track him down and shoot him. Soldiers claim he died, but did he? 960 1280

  

Chestnut Hill Baptist Church Cemetery

Chestnut Hill Baptist Church Cemetery

Buried at the Chestnut Hill Baptist Church Cemetery in Exeter, RI, is the body of a girl who was believed to be a vampire. 960 1280

  

Mercy “Lena” Brown

Mercy “Lena” Brown

In January 1892, 19-year-old Mercy “Lena” Brown succumbed to a strange disease – one that caused her to cough up blood as her body wasted away. At the time, many claimed that Lena was a vampire, and they exhumed her body to prove it. 960 1280