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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Finney County Historic Museum
In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

The Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City, KS, contains a boot worn during a notorious murder that shook a small town to its core and inspired an American literary masterpiece by one of the nation’s most celebrated writers, Truman Capote. 960 1280

  

In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

On November 16, 1959, 15-year-old Nancy Clutter and her mother, father and brother were bound with rope and shot to death inside their home in Holcomb, KS. After plotting for months to rob the Clutters, the men became enraged when a safe wasn’t found in the farmhouse. 960 1280

  

Moon Runners

Moon Runners

The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, GA, displays a polished car that reveals the mischievous beginning of a mainstream pastime, when cars just like the one on display were souped-up for more than just speed. 960 1280

  

Moon Runners

Moon Runners

This car pictured above belonged to 19-year-old Raymond Parks who was responsible for running one of the largest bootlegging operations in the South after the end of Prohibition. 960 1280

  

Civil War Prostitutes

Civil War Prostitutes

At the height of industrial prosperity in the 1860s, the small town of Smokey Row -- a known area for area in Nashville, TN -- became the location of one of the worst venereal disease outbreaks in US history, leading to the first professional pimp to license prostitutes after weekly exams. 960 1280

  

Civil War Prostitutes

Civil War Prostitutes

National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, MD, has in its collection a glass vial filled with one of the most sought-after treatments of the 19th century, which snuffed out a debilitating epidemic of venereal disease. 960 1280

  

Toxic Lady

Toxic Lady

The Discovery Center at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA, has in its collection a dossier documenting a case that paralyzed a local hospital, baffling doctors and scientists for years. This toxic medical mystery took an emergency room by storm, spreading panic in its wake. 960 1280

  

Toxic Lady

Toxic Lady

In February of 1994, 30-year-old Gloria Ramirez was admitted to the emergency room in Riverside, CA. But when doctors and nurses starting passing out due to the garlic odor coming from the patient's mouth, Dr. Patrick Grant stepped in and determined the actual cause: a chemical reaction with the patient’s cancer medication. 960 1280

  

Art Hoax

Art Hoax

The Charles E. Young Research Library at the University of California-Los Angeles has within its walls a colorful canvas that hides an artful truth. Once regarded as the trailblazing work of an up-and-coming talent, the piece had a hidden agenda. 960 1280

  

Art Hoax

Art Hoax

If you were a fan of fine art in the 1920s, Chicago was definitely the place to be. After his wife failed as an artist, writer Paul Jordan Smith decided to see if he could fool the art world with an elaborate hoax. 960 1280

  

Fall of the Berlin Wall

Fall of the Berlin Wall

Located in Culver City, CA, the Wende Museum has in its collection a small rubber stamp that possessed the power to transform people’s lives, representing the difference between oppression and freedom. 960 1280

  

Fall of the Berlin Wall

Fall of the Berlin Wall

On November 9, 1989, Harold Jaeger was standing his post at the Berlin Wall in an attempt to keep people from defecting communist East Berlin for democratic West Berlin. And with one brave decision by one brave soldier, the Berlin Wall came crashing down. 960 1280

  

International Cryptozoology Museum
Southern Sasquatch

Southern Sasquatch

In Portland, ME, the International Cryptozoology Museum has an ordinary wire mesh screen through which a horrific and legendary beast was first viewed by human eyes. 960 1280

  

Southern Sasquatch

Southern Sasquatch

Reports from local authorities claim that the "Fouke Beast" ripped apart parts of Bobby and Elizabeth Ford's home, and left 3-toed tracks that were 17 inches long and 7 inches wide. 960 1280

  

Charley Ross Kidnapping

Charley Ross Kidnapping

The Museum of Connecticut Glass in Coventry, CT, has a glass bottle that bears a secret message from a heart-wrenching saga that consumed a family. 960 1280

  

Charley Ross Kidnapping

Charley Ross Kidnapping

In July of 1874, Christian Ross' 4-year old Charley was abducted. The culprits attempted to hold Charley ransom for $20,000 but when Christian's attempt to drop the money on the side of the tracks at a New York train station failed, Charley completely vanished, never to be seen again. 960 1280

  

Trunk Murderess

Trunk Murderess

The Pinal County Historical Society Museum in Florence, AZ, has on display a handcrafted doll that is linked to one of the most salacious and sensational criminal cases of the 1930s. 960 1280

  

Trunk Murderess

Trunk Murderess

This innocent child’s toy was made by an unlikely killer whose horrific deeds shocked the nation. Winnie Ruth Judd became enraged when the man she was having an affair with, Jack Halloran, began showering her roommates with gifts. On Oct. 19, 1931, two trunks arrived at Central Station in Los Angeles. In one trunk was a woman's bloody and ravaged body. In the other: the dismembered remains of Judd's second roommate. 960 1280

  

Blue Fugates

Blue Fugates

The genealogical library of the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort is home to a dossier containing evidence of a bizarre condition that drove a group of people into the hills of the Bluegrass State for generations. 960 1280

  

Blue Fugates

Blue Fugates

In 1960, hematologist Dr. Madison Cawein discovered that Martin Fugate and 4 of his 7 children were missing diaphorase, an essential enzyme that causes the blood to properly oxygenate. He injected the Fugates with methalyne blue, and the cure had nearly instantaneous results. 960 1280

  

Seven Miles Under the Sea

Seven Miles Under the Sea

Perched on the banks of the Potomac River in Washington, DC, the National Museum of the U.S. Navy displays a hulking object that attempted one of the most daring marine explorations of the 20th Century. 960 1280

  

Seven Miles Under the Sea

Seven Miles Under the Sea

The expedition was most called off before it began due to rough sea conditions. But on January 23, 1960, Jaques Piccard and Don Walsh descended to the deepest depths of the ocean and the lowest point on earth, Challenger Deep, after 4 1/2 hours in a state-of-the-art watercraft called Trieste. 960 1280

  

Watergate on Wheels

Watergate on Wheels

The Soap Box Derby Hall of Fame Museum in Ohio pays tribute to one of the sport’s most historic events -- the World Championships held nearby at Akron's Derby Downs. 960 1280

  

Watergate on Wheels

Watergate on Wheels

Amongst the many sleek, gravity-powered racers inside the hall, is one with a very dubious claim to fame. In 1973, Robert Lange helped his nephew, Jimmy Gronen of Boulder, CO, create the ultimate racing machine. What he failed to mention to his 14-year-old nephew is that he inserted a hidden cache of metal and wires connected to a battery-powered magnet that drew the car to the metal in the starting gate. 960 1280

  

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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

  

Mariners’ Museum

Mariners’ Museum

This device helped sustain one man’s unbelievable fight for survival against the odds. How did this crude device quench a lost adventurer’s thirst? 960 1280

  

Mariners’ Museum

Mariners’ Museum

Documenting nearly 3,000 years of man’s history at sea, the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, VA, explains how this device sustained amateur sailor, Steve Callahan, through a historic, yet possibly tragic, quest for glory while he drifted aimlessly in the Atlantic. 960 1280

  

Hardin County History Museum

Hardin County History Museum

These glimmering gemstones are linked to a supposed land of riches that hypnotized some of the wealthiest men of their day in the wake of the Gold Rush. 960 1280

  

Hardin County History Museum

Hardin County History Museum

The Hardin County History Museum in Elizabethtown, KY, tells the story behind these false diamonds and the role they played in a glittering tale of discovery, power and greed. 960 1280

  

Kansas State Historical Society

Kansas State Historical Society

This deadly weapon from the Wild West played a central role in a duplicitous plot orchestrated by a very unlikely outlaw. The man who wielded it crossed the line between what is lawful and what is lawless, shocking the citizens of the town he was sworn to protect. 960 1280

  

Kansas State Historical Society

Kansas State Historical Society

Find this pistol at the Kansas State Historical Society, which chronicles the state’s notorious days of the Wild West. 960 1280

  

Ohio Historical Society

Ohio Historical Society

While this object appears to be a simple set of rosary beads, they were once clutched by one of the most notorious criminals in American history at a truly fateful moment. 960 1280

  

Ohio Historical Society

Ohio Historical Society

The rosary can be found at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, which includes a museum along with its archives, library and preservation office. 960 1280

  

Crittenden County Historical Museum

Crittenden County Historical Museum

The Crittenden County Historical Museum in Marion, AR, has on display an unassuming rock-like object that played a role in one of the worst maritime disasters to befall the United States. 960 1280

  

Crittenden County Historical Museum

Crittenden County Historical Museum

How did this simple fragment of a ship’s furnace trigger suspicions of sabotage and conspiracy at the close of the Civil War? 960 1280

  

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

This set of simple wooden speakers at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum gave rise to a device whose impact resonated around the globe. Yet its inventor was never awarded the credit and praise he sought during his lifetime. 960 1280

  

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum in Staten Island, NY, is the historic home of inventor Antonio Meucci, who is believed to be the true inventor of the telephone. The museum offers exhibitions, lectures and concerts that celebrate Italian history in America. 960 1280

  

Betty Hill Dress

Betty Hill Dress

University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
In 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were allegedly abducted by aliens. This vintage, torn dress worn by Betty that strange fall night still carries a stain of an otherworldly nature. I’m afraid to ask.
960 1280

  

The Mars Spirit Rover

The Mars Spirit Rover

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque, NM
It’s 2004 and our robot representative moves along on the Martian surface hobbled by a malfunctioning wheel. But the broken wheel scrapes away soil, leading to a major discovery: silica. Proof there once was water on the Red Planet.
960 1280

  

Sheet Music

Sheet Music

Circus World Museum, Baraboo, WI
July 6, 1944. A terrible fire consumes a Ringling Brothers’ circus tent, killing 168 people. The investigation turns up the problem: the tent was waterproofed using paraffin and gasoline. What were they thinking?
960 1280

  

The Flying Car

The Flying Car

Museum of Flight, Seattle, WA
The initial test flight of this machine must have been a terror. After all, cars should be driven, not flown (just one man’s opinion).
960 1280

  

Credit Card Machine

Credit Card Machine

Valdez Museum, Valdez, AK
On March 27, 1964 the second-largest earthquake in recorded history strikes Valdez, Alaska. Fifty years later this credit card machine from a gas station along the destroyed waterfront turns up in the weeds, a card still intact.
960 1280

  

Cher Ami, Hero Pigeon

Cher Ami, Hero Pigeon

US Army Signal Corps Museum, Fort Gordon, GA
In 1918, a homing pigeon named Cher Ami saved the lives of 194 US soldiers under a deadly barrage of friendly fire -- and this pigeon did it flying 25 miles after taking a bullet from a German sniper.
960 1280

  

Kittenger's Jumpsuit

Kittenger's Jumpsuit

National Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton, OH
In 1958, Capt. Joseph Kittenger wore this jumpsuit to test a new parachute system designed to save the lives of ejecting US pilots. But he would have to risk his own life, jumping from more than 20 miles above the earth!
960 1280

  

Pullman Car Lighting Brackets

Pullman Car Lighting Brackets

Seattle Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, WA
A devastating avalanche destroys a Great Northern Railway car stopped in the Cascade Mountains en route to Seattle. Decades later, these bent pieces of metal turn up, evidence of a tragedy that killed more than 100 passengers.
960 1280

  

Einstein's Stolen Brain

Einstein's Stolen Brain

Mutter Museum, Philadelphia, PA
When Albert Einstein dies in 1955, his brain is illegally preserved and dissected by the doctor who performs his autopsy. He mounts specimens of the brain on microscope slides -- and makes a valuable discovery.
960 1280

  

Spanish Treasure

Spanish Treasure

McLarty Treasure Museum, Sebastian, FL
In 1961, after a decade of searching, Kip Wagner realizes his dream and discovers buried Spanish treasure at the bottom of the sea -- worth about 20 million bucks then and a whole lot more today.
960 1280

  

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