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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Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum
Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum

Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum

This small memorandum contains notes that document a remarkable equine phenomenon: a horse with a seemingly supernatural ability that captivated the country. 960 1280

  

Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum

Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum

The memo book can be found at the Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum in Durham, NC, which is home to various pieces of equipment that document the study of parapsychology over the past 70 years. 960 1280

  

Naugatuck Historical Society

Naugatuck Historical Society

On display at Connecticut’s Naugatuck Historical Society is a slab of strange material that is linked to one of history’s most monumental manufacturing achievements in history: the discovery of vulcanization. 960 1280

  

Naugatuck Historical Society

Naugatuck Historical Society

Connecticut’s Naugatuck Historical Society, located in an old train station, chronicles many of the high points in Naugatuck’s history, including Charles Goodyear’s discovery of vulcanization. 960 1280

  

Pulaski Axe

Pulaski Axe

This unique tool, known as the Pulaski Axe, was invented to protect people in one of man’s most perilous professions: firefighting. 960 1280

  

The Wallace District Mining Museum

The Wallace District Mining Museum

The Wallace District Mining Museum in Wallace, ID, tells the story behind the Pulaski Axe and how it developed from the exploits of a heroic man, who bravely saved the men in his command from near-certain death. 960 1280

  

National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

This piece of evidence was used in an explosive case of domestic terrorism. But what role did a seemingly simple box play in a series of attacks delivered through the mail? 960 1280

  

National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

This seemingly innocuous box can be found at the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC, which is dedicated to the preservation of the postal service’s history with exhibitions of stamps, machinery and other artifacts. 960 1280

  

James Randi Educational Foundation

James Randi Educational Foundation

This everyday utensil was once considered to be a symbol of one of the biggest breakthroughs in science, but it also represents one man’s dogged persistence to expose a greater truth about experiments in a controversial field. 960 1280

  

James Randi Educational Foundation

James Randi Educational Foundation

The spoon can be found among the books and artifacts related to the paranormal at the James Randi Educational Foundation in Los Angeles, which is dedicated to exposing paranormal fraud. 960 1280

  

Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

This enigmatic wooden carving of a woman once adorned a vessel on a mission to solve a dramatic and bone-chilling Arctic mystery. 960 1280

  

Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

The Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society in New York City, where this carving is housed, preserves artifacts of nineteenth-century Artic exploration, most significantly, that of Sir John Franklin, whose expedition ended fatally. 960 1280

  

Photos

Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley

The Autry National Center in Los Angeles is the final resting place of the famed Annie Oakley's pistols. Born Phoebe Ann Moses, Annie was a natural marksman and entered a shooting contest at the age of 15, beating out her eventual husband, Frank Butler. 960 1280

  

Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley

These pistols are linked to a legendary love story that sparked the career of America’s first female superstar. Annie Oakley was a tough folk hero whose talent and unlikely romance propelled her to fame. 960 1280

  

Old State Prison Haunting

Old State Prison Haunting

The Old State Prison Museum in Deer Lodge, MT, has a pair of concrete shoes in its possession that were used to punish a convict placed in solitary confinement for his dastardly and horrific deeds. 960 1280

  

Old State Prison Haunting

Old State Prison Haunting

In the summer of 1958, Jerry Myles was convicted for robbing a hardware store and was sent to the Montana State Prison. After serving time in isolation for selling drugs and alcohol to other inmates, Myles attacked a guard, stole his rifle and proceeded to kill the warden and hold the prison hostage for 36 hours before committing suicide. 960 1280

  

Human Crash Test

Human Crash Test

The New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, NM, displays a turbo-powered contraption that was involved in some of the most groundbreaking -- and life threatening -- experiments of the 20th century. 960 1280

  

Human Crash Test

Human Crash Test

This sonic wind crash sled, and the man who rode it in the name of science, revolutionized safety and the way Americans travel. 960 1280

  

Project Chariot

Project Chariot

The Museum of the North in Fairbanks, AK, has in its collection a reminder of one of the most disturbing projects ever proposed by the US government, as it reveals a stunning secret about an alarming atomic age experiment. 960 1280

  

Project Chariot

Project Chariot

The samples shown above are of the plant, lichen, which is a staple of the caribou diet and is unlike typical plants because it feeds on the dust from the air. After the government proposed to test nuclear explosivesn Alaska, it was discovered that the planned location had the highest amounts of radiation in the world. 960 1280

  

Shackleton Expedition

Shackleton Expedition

Located on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, the Rauner Special Collections Library has in its collection a frayed journal that survived an awe-inspiring journey in the Antarctic. 960 1280

  

Shackleton Expedition

Shackleton Expedition

In 1914, famed explorer Ernest Shackleton lead 28 men on an epic expedition, in an attempt to cross the entire frozen unchartered territory known as Antarctica. After months of being trapped by the surrounding ice, Shackleton ordered his men to abandon ship and embark on a journey that would later be compared to a trip to hell and back. 960 1280

  

Judgment of Paris

Judgment of Paris

In Washington, DC, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History has in its collection a wine bottle that represents an underdog tale of an unlikely upstart who revolutionized global tastes. 960 1280

  

Judgment of Paris

Judgment of Paris

For years, local California winemaker Warren Winiarski struggled to create a sophisticated California red wine -- but he proved his critics wrong, creating a wine that rivals some of the finest French Bordeaux in the world. 960 1280

  

Failed Assassination of JFK

Failed Assassination of JFK

The Belmont Public Library in New Hampshire has in its collection a small pin that was awarded for an immense act of heroism. In 1950, the pin was awarded to postmaster Thomas Murphy, who pieced together several postcards that were sent directly to him from a man named Richard Pavlick, including one that said, "Soon you'll be hearing from me in a big way." 960 1280

  

Failed Assassination of JFK

Failed Assassination of JFK

This miniscule item is connected to a thrilling tale of investigation and a devious plot that threatened to kill a member of the country’s most famous family. After getting a tip from Thomas Murphy, the police caught Pavlick in his car, staking out the church of John F. Kennedy with enough explosives in his trunk to blow up the entire block. 960 1280

  

Max Factor

Max Factor

The Hollywood Museum in California displays several items that were designed by a pioneer in the glamorous world of silver-screen beauty, Max Factor. 960 1280

  

Max Factor

Max Factor

In the early days of film, actors and actresses struggled with how to present themselves to the public. But then expert makeup artist Max Factor opened up the first cosmetic studio that attracted all of Hollywood's stars. 960 1280

  

Max Factor

Max Factor

In the 1930s, Factor’s studio was the place to be, and fans waited outside for hours just to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars. The Hollywood Museum contains a bizarre contraption that could be mistaken for a medieval torture device; however, the device was designed by Factor to use as a beauty calibrator. 960 1280

  

Martian Monkey

Martian Monkey

In Decatur, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Museum has preserved evidence of a strange being that some believed was evidence of a close encounter. News of its discovery caused a phenomenal reaction in the country, sparking a quest to uncover the truth behind its bizarre origins. 960 1280

  

Martian Monkey

Martian Monkey

On July 8, 1953, officer Shirley Brown was patrolling an isolated street in Atlanta when he came across 3 men standing over an odd beast. The creature was green, 2 feet long and had no hair. But it turned out to be a hoax concocted by those 3 men who made a bet to see if they could make the cover of the newspaper. 960 1280

  

Natural Born Killers

Natural Born Killers

In the capital city of Lincoln, the Nebraska History Museum displays a gun that triggered a terrifying series of events that gripped the nation, when 2 teenage lovers, Caril Ann Fugate and Charles Starkweather, went on one of the most horrific and infamous crime sprees in modern history. 960 1280

  

Shakespeare's Lost Plays

Shakespeare's Lost Plays

It was 1796 in London when an apparent treasure trove of unpublished manuscripts seemingly written by William Shakespeare were discovered. When one of the plays, “Vortigern and Rowena,” was performed for a live audience, it was an unmitigated disaster. Edmund Malone then wrote a 400-page, scathing review, calling the play a fake due to a litany of grammatical errors and historical inaccuracies. 960 1280

  

Shakespeare's Lost Plays

Shakespeare's Lost Plays

Samuel Ireland, the man who discovered the journals, refused to believe they were not actually written by Shakespeare himself and employed his son, William Henry Ireland, to disprove Malone's claim. About a week later, William Henry finally revealed to his father that he created the fake manuscripts himself. 960 1280

  

Dymaxion Car

Dymaxion Car

The National Automobile Museum in Reno, NV, displays an unconventional vehicle with a daring design that once promised to revolutionize the entire auto industry. With only 3 wheels and a teardrop shape, the car was inspired by vastly different modes of transportation. 960 1280

  

Dymaxion Car

Dymaxion Car

The Dymaxion car -- supposedly able to travel by land, sea and air -- only made its debut on the ground during Chicago's World Fair in 1933. Shortly after, the vehicle was involved in a controversial tragedy that devastated its famous inventor, Buckminster Fuller, and caused it to vanish from American highways forever. 960 1280

  

Whale Rescue

Whale Rescue

On display outside of the Inupiat Heritage Center in Point Barrow, AK, is the large skull of a gray whale. The skull serves as a reminder of an incredible mission that rescued 2 gray whales trapped under the frozen Beaufort Sea. 960 1280

  

Whale Rescue

Whale Rescue

The Iñupiat Heritage Center has in its collection a machine that was used in a remarkable marine animal rescue mission. This odd, industrial-looking object played a critical role in an international incident that captivated the world. 960 1280

  

Mini-Ball Pregnancy

Mini-Ball Pregnancy

The Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, MS, displays a bullet that is connected to a shocking tale of a seemingly immaculate conception. 960 1280

  

Mini-Ball Pregnancy

Mini-Ball Pregnancy

This stunning medical mystery baffled scientists and the general public alike in the years following the Civil War -- until one man published a surprising report, proving that Dr. Legrand Caper’s claim that a bullet ricocheting off a man's testicle and into a women's belly could make her pregnant was impossible. 960 1280

  

Bottle-Popping Poltergeist

Bottle-Popping Poltergeist

The Rhine Research Center and Parapsychology Museum in Durham, NC, contains a deck of cards that tells a haunting tale of untold powers and possession that terrorized an innocent family. 960 1280

  

Bottle-Popping Poltergeist

Bottle-Popping Poltergeist

In the winter of 1958, the Herman family of Long Island, NY, believed that their youngest son, Jimmy, was playing tricks on them. After objects began to break and move on their own, Dr. Pratt, a parapsychologist at Duke University, was brought in. But he was unable to determine what the cause of the disturbances were, which remains a mystery to this day. 960 1280

  

Diamond Mine Murder

Diamond Mine Murder

At the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AR, the Diamond Discovery Center has a document that speaks to a bitter feud decided by greed, trickery and murder. This simple piece of paper is connected to what remains of one of Arkansas’ most infamous crimes. 960 1280

  

Diamond Mine Murder

Diamond Mine Murder

Diamonds found on this coveted piece of property -- 1 of only 2 diamond craters in the entire United States -- are 10-30% more valuable on the diamond market. To this day, tourists still flock to the Arkansas park in the hopes of finding diamonds for themselves. 960 1280

  

Winton Race

Winton Race

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, displays a weathered vehicle that was part of a revolutionary ride. This car changed the way Americans thought about long-distance travel and automobiles. 960 1280

  

Winton Race

Winton Race

In 1903, Horatio Nelson Jackson attempted to become the first person to successfully drive an automobile across the country. Despite countless setbacks, 63 days after leaving San Francisco, Jackson arrived in New York City, completing the nation's first successful cross-country car journey. 960 1280

  

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