Hitchcock's Birds and Hope Diamond

Don Wildman inspects a jar of strange, preserved creatures, a legendary blue diamond and the shattered skull of a 19th century laborer.
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Photo By: Kansas Museum of History

Artifacts on display at Harvard University’s Warren Anatomical Museum in Cambridge, MA.

In 1832, railroad worker Phineas Gage was laying dynamite when a freak explosion sent this tamping iron straight through his head. Gage miraculously survives, and the metal rod is now on display at the Warren Anatomical Museum.

The punctured skull of Phineas Gage sits on display at the Warren Anatomical museum. After Gage died (only 12 years after his accident), a doctor exhumed his skull so that it could aid in the study of the human brain.

More artifacts on display at the Warren Anatomical Museum.

Located in La Jolla, CA, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest and largest centers for marine science research in the world.

Squids preserved in jars at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The institute also houses the secret to the real-life inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s famous thriller The Birds. In August of 1961, seabirds in a small California town started crashing into people’s homes and cars – the Scripps Institution has discovered why!

In the archives of the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka is an antique kitchen knife that was used in one of the first-known serial killing sprees in America.

The Hope Diamond on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. It’s rumored that those who come in contact with the famous stone are doomed to suffer mystery, misfortune and even death.

Contributor Sara Koonts poses in the vault of the North Carolina State Archives. The vault of the Raleigh, NC, facility houses letters from many of our nation’s most celebrated leaders.

A North Carolina official re-enactor helps demonstrate what happened to the state’s original copy of the Bill of Rights.

Preserved under glass at the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh is a priceless national treasure: one of just 14 original copies of the Bill of Rights. But for almost 140 years, this irreplaceable piece of history was missing.