Monumental Mysteries: Ellis Island Pictures

Don Wildman visits Ellis Island, examines the bizarre story behind San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House and investigates the site of a massive volcanic explosion.

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Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls was one of the most important sites on the Underground Railroad, and played an integral role in allowing abolitionists to smuggle runaway slaves to freedom in Canada. 960 1280

Scoast  

Niagara falls

Niagara falls

The falls was the site of one of the most daring escape attempts in the history of the abolitionist movement. 960 1280

  

Mazart Prospect Park

Mazart Prospect Park

Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY, is home to a bronze bust of the legendary Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Could this musical prodigy’s death -- at the young age of 35 -- have been a case of deliberate poisoning? 960 1280

  

Along the Indian River Lagoon in Titusville, FL, is the Space Walk of Fame, and among the outdoor plaza’s monuments is the glistening Gemini Monument. Few may realize that the 8th Gemini mission involved a hair-raising episode that nearly cost the lives of astronauts David Scott and Neil Armstrong. 960 1280

  

Riverside Cemetery

Riverside Cemetery

At Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, KY, is the modest tombstone of Edgar Cayce, a man whom many consider to be the most important American psychic of the 20th century. 960 1280

  

Sleeping Prophet Cayce

Sleeping Prophet Cayce

Could Cayce, the so-called “Sleeping Prophet,” really use his trance-like abilities to heal the hopelessly ill? 960 1280

  

Yosemite

Yosemite

One of the crown jewels of America’s national park system, Yosemite has been enjoyed by generations of American nature lovers. But few realize that the efforts of a man named Galen Clark helped save this majestic natural monument from destructive exploitation at the hands of developers. 960 1280

  

Stanford Mausoleum
Stanford Mausoleum

Stanford Mausoleum

At the heart of Stanford University’s historic campus, and guarded by 4 marble sphinxes, lies the Stanford Mausoleum, which houses the remains of the institution’s founding family. 960 1280

  

Stanford Mausoleum

Stanford Mausoleum

But the death of one of the interred Stanford family members remains shrouded in mystery. In March 1905, 76-year-old Jane Stanford, one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful women, died suddenly while vacationing in Hawaii. Many believe that she was poisoned, while others claim she had a heart attack. 960 1280

  

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue is one of New York’s most spectacular and beloved landmarks. The striking skyscraper is easily identified by its gleaming, terraced crown, a marvel of Art Deco architecture that shines so brightly it can serve as a beacon to ships miles off shore. Today, at 77 stories, it is the third tallest building in the city. 960 1280

  

Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

Few may realize that the Chrysler Building was part of the “race to the heavens” in the 1920s. The history of the construction of the building reveals a bitter rivalry between 2 architects, thwarted ambition and deception. 960 1280

  

Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station

Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station

The town of Lakehurst, NJ, is home to the Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station. What makes this active Navy base stand out is the unusual memorial on its grounds -- a 30-foot by 10-foot coffin-shaped imprint, made up of geometric slabs of red terracotta and white stone. 960 1280

  

Hindenburg

Hindenburg

The memorial commemorates the legendary disaster that put this quiet community on the international map, when the Hindenburg, a luxury German zeppelin, caught fire and came crashing down to earth, killing 35 people. Today, this anchor-chain outline of the zeppelin marks the exact spot where the Hindenburg came down. 960 1280

  

Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles

Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles

A stone’s throw from the world-famous Hollywood sign in Los Angeles is a celebrated sidewalk, spanning one of the most popular boulevards on the planet. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is lined with pink terrazzo stars inscribed with the names of the entertainment industry’s greats. 960 1280

  

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign

Nestled among them is a pink star for Hollywood siren Hedy Lamarr, once dubbed the “most beautiful woman in the world.” But this beauty also had brains, and she pioneered an invention that we still use today. 960 1280

  

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Stretching over nearly 2 million acres of multicolored cliffs, plateaus, mesas, buttes and canyons is the stunning Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, named for its unusual sandstone labyrinths and layers of sedimentary rock that form "steps" in the distinctive colored cliffs. 960 1280

  

Everett Ruess

Everett Ruess

The incredible expanse of wilderness is the last place that explorer Everett Ruess was seen, and his demise remains a mystery to this day. 960 1280

  

Ames Pyramid
Ames Pyramid

Ames Pyramid

On a summit near Laramie, WY, is a strange monument known as the Ames Pyramid. This national historic landmark commemorates 2 brothers who were the driving force behind the Trans Continental Railroad. But what massive financial scandal came about as a result of the Ames brothers’ achievement? 960 1280

  

Zodiac Island

Zodiac Island

Known to locals as Zodiac Island, this tiny strip of land in Lake Berryessa, CA, was a crime site for one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Two young victims were found here bound and bleeding from a vicious attack. So who was the Zodiac killer? 960 1280

  

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, is well known as the site of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but decades earlier, the monument played host to another landmark event in Civil Rights history -- a 1939 concert by the African-American opera singer Marion Anderson. 960 1280

  

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

But what threatening obstacles did Anderson overcome to perform her historic concert? 960 1280

  

Castillo San Marcos

Castillo San Marcos

Overlooking Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine, FL, is the historic Castillo San Marcos. This landmark fort was the site of many battles, but it is perhaps best known for a secret romance and mysterious disappearance. 960 1280

  

Captain Manuel Abela

Captain Manuel Abela

What became of the fort’s commanding officer’s wife and her lover, Captain Manuel Abela? 960 1280

  

Isidor and Ida Straus

Isidor and Ida Straus

On Manhattan’s Upper West Side is a small oasis known as Straus Park, and in it stands a beautiful statue of a Grecian figure. This lovely monument commemorates one of the great tragic love stories of American history -- that of Isidor and Ida Straus. The department store baron and his wife would meet their fate in 1912 on the decks of the RMS Titanic. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Marfa, Texas

Marfa, Texas

A lonely structure outside the small west Texas town of Marfa serves as a viewing outpost for a mysterious phenomenon. 960 1280

  

Marfa Lights

Marfa Lights

For generations, people in this area have reported seeing a strange set of lights in the desert that vanish suddenly. Is there a scientific explanation for the Marfa Lights, or is something otherworldly at work? 960 1280

Jack in DC via Flickr Creative Commons  

Photos

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls was one of the most important sites on the Underground Railroad, and played an integral role in allowing abolitionists to smuggle runaway slaves to freedom in Canada. 960 1280

Scoast  

Niagara falls

Niagara falls

The falls was the site of one of the most daring escape attempts in the history of the abolitionist movement. 960 1280

  

Mazart Prospect Park

Mazart Prospect Park

Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY, is home to a bronze bust of the legendary Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Could this musical prodigy’s death -- at the young age of 35 -- have been a case of deliberate poisoning? 960 1280

  

Along the Indian River Lagoon in Titusville, FL, is the Space Walk of Fame, and among the outdoor plaza’s monuments is the glistening Gemini Monument. Few may realize that the 8th Gemini mission involved a hair-raising episode that nearly cost the lives of astronauts David Scott and Neil Armstrong. 960 1280

  

Riverside Cemetery

Riverside Cemetery

At Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, KY, is the modest tombstone of Edgar Cayce, a man whom many consider to be the most important American psychic of the 20th century. 960 1280

  

Sleeping Prophet Cayce

Sleeping Prophet Cayce

Could Cayce, the so-called “Sleeping Prophet,” really use his trance-like abilities to heal the hopelessly ill? 960 1280

  

Yosemite

Yosemite

One of the crown jewels of America’s national park system, Yosemite has been enjoyed by generations of American nature lovers. But few realize that the efforts of a man named Galen Clark helped save this majestic natural monument from destructive exploitation at the hands of developers. 960 1280