Monumental Mysteries: US Spy Ring Pictures

Don investigates the former home of American's first spy ring, and explores a battleship linked to tales of conspiracy.

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American Venus in Central Park
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

  

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  

Bushwick, Brooklyn
Blind Tom

Blind Tom

Thomas Greene Wiggins was an autistic savant who had an encyclopedic memory, which contributed to his phenomenal skill with the piano. After being enslaved for most of his life and forced to tour the countryside playing shows to provide income for his owner, Wiggins was finally freed in 1887. His mother, Charity, was able to win his legal guardianship back and “Blind Tom” was celebrated and revered within the black community. The final resting place of Wiggins is in Bushwick, Brooklyn. 960 1280

  

Blind Tom

Blind Tom

In the Evergreens Cemetery, to the west of a park, lies the tombstone of Thomas Greene Wiggins. Standing 2.5 feet tall by 2 feet wide, the solid granite tombstone features an engraved image of a man in a tuxedo and a brief memorial inscription. The man who is interred here displayed a surprising and unequalled talent in spite of his challenging childhood. 960 1280

  

Female Fliers

Female Fliers

Standing 8 feet high, this bronze lady wears a mechanic suit and goggles that rest jauntily on her head as she gazes up at the sky. This woman is Jackie Cochran, a former shampoo girl from Neillsville, WI, who had big dreams. In August 1943, Cochran established the Women Airforce Service Pilots -- or WASPS. Cochran became director of Woman’s Flying Training for the US and started a cadet flight school for female pilots. They delivered planes from factories to military bases and departure points across the country and tested newly overhauled planes and targets to give ground and air gunners training shooting. 960 1280

  

Female Fliers

Female Fliers

The historic hometown of Jackie Cochran includes the Wisconsin Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair and the castle-like Clark County Jail. In 1977, the WASPS military files were finally opened and for the first time, academics and researchers are privy to the role these women played in the war effort. They were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009. A bronze statue of Jackie Cochran was erected in Neillsville, WI. 960 1280

  

Frisco War

Frisco War

With less than 400 residents, Reserve, NM, had just 2 grocery stores, a hardware store, a bar and a fairground. In 1884, Sheriff Elfego Baca withstood a 33-hour shootout with cowboys who were out for revenge. After Baca imprisoned one of their crew, the cowboys tracked him down and began one of the longest shootouts in history. Baca was able to hide in a makeshift bunker and return fire until the deputy in town intervened. 960 1280

  

Frisco War

Frisco War

A statue of Sheriff Elfego Baca was built in honor of his bravest moments of the Frisco War, the most shocking – and longest – unequal civilian gunfight ever recorded in the Wild West’s colorful history. After surviving the 33-hour gunfight against a gang of cowboys, Baca went on to become a criminal lawyer, district attorney and even chief bouncer at a Prohibition era gambling house in Juarez, Mexico. He lived to the ripe age of 84 and died of natural causes in 1945. 960 1280

  

Grandaddy of Snowboarding

Grandaddy of Snowboarding

An 18-foot-tall sinuous ribbon of shiny metal depicts a young girl on a strange contraption lunging down a flowing river, while another figure decked out in winter gear gazes up at her approach. This svelte and fluid bronze sculpture hints at an event that revolutionized winter sports and put Muskegon, MI, on the international map. 960 1280

  

Grandaddy of Snowboarding

Grandaddy of Snowboarding

Houses in the neighborhood where Sherman Poppen invented the first snowboard, which was known then as a “snurfer.” While playing outdoors with his daughters, Poppen got the idea to put 2 wooden skis together and ride sideways on them. The idea proved to be a hit, and the Brunswick Company began manufacturing snurfers for $15 each. The snurfer was re-envisioned in 1979 by Jake Burton Carpenter, who went on to create the modern day version of the snowboard. 960 1280

  

Tommy Gun Manor

Tommy Gun Manor

On the Kentucky side of the Ohio River is the Thompson House. This elegant, 19th century residence features a formal parlor, billiard room and imposing library. Built by British prisoners during the War of 1812, the mansion has since played an integral role in the region’s rich history. But this house was also the birthplace of a well-intentioned inventor whose creation took on a sinister life of its own. In 1918, John Thompson mass produced the Tommy Gun after originating the idea in the Thompson house. 960 1280

  

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

  

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  

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

  

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