Monumental Mysteries: Ames Pyramid Pictures

Don Wildman examines the origin of a massive financial scandal, the site of one of America’s most notorious -- and bizarre -- crimes, and a monument to a tragic love story.

Photos

American Venus in Central Park

American Venus in Central Park

Scattered around New York City are 3 statues inspired by the same stunning model, Audrey Munson -- often referred to as the American Venus -- who was a muse to hundreds of artists. This statue stands at the USS Maine Monument in Central Park. 960 1280

  

Statue of Audrey Munson at the New York Public Library

Statue of Audrey Munson at the New York Public Library

Another Audrey Munson-inspired statue, entitled “Beauty,” can be seen at the New York Public Library. 960 1280

  

Located in Arizona, the Sitgreaves National Forest is home to over 400 species of wildlife and 680 miles of rivers and streams. But this verdant oasis was once the site of a bizarre encounter. Was a man abducted by aliens here, as he claims? 960 1280

  

Alien Abduction in Arizona

Alien Abduction in Arizona

In 1975, logger Travis Walton mysteriously disappeared from the forest and re-appeared 5 days later, claiming to have been abducted by aliens. All these years later, the veracity of his story has never been disproven. 960 1280

  

Anchor Bar in Buffalo

Anchor Bar in Buffalo

A carved wooden statues stands out front of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, celebrating the creation of the famous American dish: Buffalo wings. But when a journalist decided to track down the creator of the spicy treat, he found that the tale was not so simple. Who was the real inventor of Buffalo wings? 960 1280

  

Face in the Courthouse Window

Face in the Courthouse Window

The quaint southern town of Carrollton, AL, is home to charming churches and old cemeteries. But one window at the Picken’s County Courthouse has a mysterious and horrifying image that some say was left there by an angry spirit. 960 1280

  

Face in the Courthouse Window

Face in the Courthouse Window

Is the face, forever burned into the glass in the courthouse window, that of a former slave who was executed in 1878, after being accused of arson? And does he still haunt the town? 960 1280

  

Lake George, located amidst the mountains and forests of New York’s Adirondack Park, has been a vacation destination for generations. But at the turn of the century, some say a terrifying and monstrous beast arose from the depths of this typically placid body of water, inciting panic and creating a mystery that has remained unsolved for decades. 960 1280

  

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

  

Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs

Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs

After the Great Depression, a man by the name of Norman Baker purchased the rundown Crescent Hotel and vowed to restore the town of Eureka Springs, AR, to its former position as a famous place of healing. He quickly developed plans to open a hospital for cancer patients on the site, claiming to have found a miracle cure to the disease. 960 1280

  

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

But what was Baker’s “Secret Remedy #5”? When investigators discover that Baker had never, in fact, attended medical school, they test his “revolutionary” potion, and the results reveal a tragic story of deception. 960 1280

  

Female Paul Revere Statue

Female Paul Revere Statue

On April 26, 1777, the daughter of a colonel in the American army, Sybil Ludington, rode through the night to alert local militias that the British army was approaching. 960 1280

  

Reenactment of Sybil Ludington's Ride

Reenactment of Sybil Ludington's Ride

The 16 year-old rode 40 miles through the night, rousing hundreds of soldiers, who quickly readied to defend nearby Danbury, CT. 960 1280

  

The small wooden shed that contains the frozen dead man

The small wooden shed that contains the frozen dead man

In 1994, an eccentric Scandinavian woman applies for a building permit for her home in Nederland, CO – leading to an alarming discovery. 960 1280

  

Packed ice covering the frozen dead man

Packed ice covering the frozen dead man

In a small wooden shed in the woman’s backyard, authorities discover 2 frozen dead bodies. What were they doing there, and how did the discovery lead to the creation of a strange new festival? 960 1280

  

Chuck Yeger Statue

Chuck Yeger Statue

At Edwards Air Force Base in California is a statue of American hero Chuck Yeager, a pilot who was tasked with breaking the sound barrier. 960 1280

  

Chuck Yeger Statue

Chuck Yeger Statue

But when the young pilot fractures his ribs 2 days before his historic flight is scheduled, he decides to conceal his injury from the Air Force. Will he be able to break the barrier? 960 1280

  

Pontalba Buildings in New Orleans

Pontalba Buildings in New Orleans

The iconic Pontalba Buildings in New Orleans, LA, have a tragic history. The 2 matching buildings were built in 1840 by Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, a wealthy woman who was tormented by her greedy father-in-law, and was eventually shot for refusing to sign her wealth over to him. 960 1280

  

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