French Connection and Shipwrecked Gold

Don Wildman unlocks the secrets of an infamous drug syndicate at the DEA Museum, inspects a piece of metal from a mysterious plane crash at the Atomic Testing Museum and more.

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Jacksonville Museum of Military History
Damascus Missile

Damascus Missile

The Jacksonville Museum of Military History in Arkansas houses a collection of metallic shards recovered after a catastrophic explosion that nearly wiped out the entire state. 960 1280

  

Damascus Missile

Damascus Missile

The blast occurred at the Air Force base outside Damascus, AR, when one of the world's most powerful, long-range weapons, a 9-megaton warhead, mysteriously blew off a Titan II missile, spelling disaster of near-nuclear proportions. 960 1280

  

Eye in the Sky

Eye in the Sky

When a hot air balloon ride in 1861 drifted off-course during the midst of the Civil War, its navigator, Thaddeus Lowe, discovers that he can repurpose the lofty contraption for the benefit of Union troops. 960 1280

  

Eye in the Sky

Eye in the Sky

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, boasts a set of binoculars that helped elevate military spy craft to newfound heights. 960 1280

  

St. Louis Marathon

St. Louis Marathon

The Missouri History Museum in St. Louis exhibits an octagonal medal bearing the 1904 Olympic games insignia. The 1904 games marked the first time the Olympic competition took place outside of Europe. 960 1280

  

St. Louis Marathon

St. Louis Marathon

The token (pictured above) hearkens back to a bizarre and excruciating test of human endurance, and one of the strangest contests in athletic history. In fact, several runners began to have their lungs fill up with dirt, cough up blood and even collapse along the marathon route. 960 1280

  

Soapy Smith

Soapy Smith

The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Museum in Skagway, AK, is home to a crude effigy of a swindler whose fortune grew from a host of small-time scams. 960 1280

  

Soapy Smith

Soapy Smith

After seizing control of the remote mining town of Skagway, Jefferson "Soapy" Smith befriended JD Stewart, gaining his trust only to assault and rob him of all his gold. The robbery led to the locals calling a protective meeting to stop Smith from further sullying the town’s reputation ... only to end in bloodshed. 960 1280

  

Spirit Board Boyfriend

Spirit Board Boyfriend

The Warren Occult Museum in Monroe, CT, features a fire-scarred picture frame tied to a shocking tale of satanic seduction. According to the family who owned it, the artifact is evidence of a diabolical series of events set in motion by an unwitting teenager’s innocent experiment. 960 1280

  

Spirit Board Boyfriend

Spirit Board Boyfriend

Once the Beckford family was convinced their Connecticut home was haunted, they contacted local demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren for help. After investigating the property, it was determined that Victoria Beckford had summoned what appeared to be the entity of a teenage boy to the house through the use of a spirit board. 960 1280

  

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull

New York City’s Museum of American Finance collection includes a dress linked to one of the most controversial figures in American history, the 34-year-old psychic entrepreneur, Victoria Woodhull. 960 1280

  

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull

Not only was Victoria Woodhull the United States' first female financier -- owning a very successful brokerage firm -- she was also a famous spirit medium and the first female presidential candidate. 960 1280

  

Carbon County Museum Director Tiffany Wilson holding a special pair of shoes. 960 1280

  

Ham, the astrochimp. 960 1280

  

Ted examining fossils at the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia. 960 1280

  

Message in a bottle at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA. 960 1280

  

Curator Doug Landry holding Ham's undergarments at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio. 960 1280

  

Typewritten document at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. 960 1280

  

Tiktaalik in a box at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. 960 1280

  

Officers escorting Russian informant David Greenglass. 960 1280

  

The cell with a dark past in the Shanghai Tunnels Experience in Portland, OR. 960 1280

  

Curator, Doug Landry, holding Ham's flight jacket at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, OH. 960 1280

  

Underwater prehistoric animals at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. 960 1280

  

Reenactment of Bunko Kelly at Hobo's Restaurant in Portland, OR. 960 1280

  

Visitors are welcome to check out a variety of artifacts at the Carbon County Museum in Rawlins, WY. 960 1280

  

T. rex foot at the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia. 960 1280

  

Photos

Great Moon Hoax

Great Moon Hoax

At the Nantucket Historical Association Whaling Museum in Nantucket, MA, a picture printed on decorative wallpaper reveals an astounding tale of astronomical intrigue and a quest to peer into the darkest recesses of the galaxy to prove that there is life on the moon.  960 1280

  

Great Moon Hoax

Great Moon Hoax

"A Peep at the Moon" was an attempt by a local reporter to prove that there was life on the moon. However, after the reports were put out by the New York Sun, its chief rival, the New York Herald, posted scathing reviews of the Sun's claims, ultimately resulting in the truth. 960 1280

  

First Men in the Stratosphere

First Men in the Stratosphere

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago displays a large armored contraption that launched one of the most dizzying adventures of the 20th century. With a history-making passenger aboard, it pushed the understanding of the universe to unprecedented heights. 960 1280

  

First Men in the Stratosphere

First Men in the Stratosphere

In 1933, during the century of progress exhibition in Chicago, 2 men, Navy lieutenant commander Thomas Settle and Army major Chester Fordney, took to the sky in a high-altitude balloon in an attempt to reach the stratosphere. The men made it 61, 237 feet high, setting the record for highest altitude ever reached at the time. 960 1280

  

Baseball Stalker

Baseball Stalker

The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Montclair, NJ, displays a baseball bat that’s linked to a case of fanatical obsession that haunted America’s pastime. The man who wielded the bat was the victim of a violent attack that threatened to end more than just his career. 960 1280

  

Baseball Stalker

Baseball Stalker

In the spring of 1949, star Philadelphia first baseman, Eddie Waitkus arrived in town for an average baseball game. But unfortunately, an obsessed fan lured Waitkus into her hotel room and shot him in the chest with a .22 caliber rifle. 960 1280

  

Dead Woman Running

Dead Woman Running

The National Track and Field Hall of Fame in New York City has in its collection a pair of leather shoes that belonged to a woman who raced past a death-defying tragedy.  960 1280

  

Dead Woman Running

Dead Woman Running

In March of 1931, 19-year-old Olympic sprinter Betty Robinson and her cousin were in a horrific plane crash outside of Chicago. After finally waking up from a 2-month coma, all hope for a comeback appeared to be dashed. However, after 18-months of training and determination, Betty returned to the Olympic stage in 1936 to win the gold medal. 960 1280

  

New England's Dark Day

New England's Dark Day

The Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston has in its collection a small book that documents an awful cataclysm that many thought would lead to humanity’s demise. 960 1280

  

New England's Dark Day

New England's Dark Day

In 1780, while still in the throes of the revolution with the British, local reports of a yellow sky and devilish-red sun setting over New England sent the townspeople into hysteria. Nearly 200 years later, it was discovered that a massive fire in Canada due to prevailing winds and low barometric pressure caused the terrifying sky. 960 1280

  

Peggy Shippen

Peggy Shippen

Located on the campus of the University of Michigann Ann Arbor, the William L. Clements Library has a set of letters that turned a long-accepted and infamous tale of deceit on its head.  960 1280

  

Peggy Shippen

Peggy Shippen

For over 100 years, it was believed that Benedict Arnold conspired with the British, betraying the colonial forces on his own. However, the discovery of this letter revealed the stunning truth.  960 1280

  

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

At the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley National Park, Greg Cox handles an antique trunk that some believe is evidence of a legendary cross-country journey. 960 1280

  

Libby Prison Bricks

Libby Prison Bricks

These weathered bricks from Libby Prison at the Chicago History Museum were at the center of one of the most daring prison escapes of the Civil War era. 960 1280

  

Trunk in Death Valley National Park

Trunk in Death Valley National Park

Don Wildman uncovers the story behind an antique trunk housed at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley National Park. 960 1280

  

Furnace Creek Visitor Center

Furnace Creek Visitor Center

A mortar and pestle on display at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. 960 1280

  

Libby Prison Bricks

Libby Prison Bricks

Museum curator Olivia Mahoney examines the bricks from Libby Prison at the Chicago History Museum. 960 1280

  

Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum

On display at the Chicago History Museum are bricks connected to one of the American Civil War’s most famous prison breaks. 960 1280

  

Museum of Science and Energy

Museum of Science and Energy

On display at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN, is a metal machine called a calutron. The machine played a critical role in a stunning prophecy of Armageddon and urbanization. 960 1280

  

Furnace Creek Visitors Center

Furnace Creek Visitors Center

An artifact that was found in the antique trunk that’s currently housed at Furnace Creek Visitors Center. 960 1280

  

Mothman Museum

Mothman Museum

Don Wildman investigates artifacts at the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, WV. 960 1280

  

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

The antique trunk that was discovered in Death Valley National Park. 960 1280

  

Mothman Museum

Mothman Museum

The Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, WV. 960 1280

  

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