LA Raid, Bioterror, Automaton

Check out Automaton at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA, The California Venus statue at the Oakland Museum of California and more photos from this episode of Mysteries at the Museum.

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Elizabeth Van Lew
Elizabeth Van Lew

Elizabeth Van Lew

Despite being a well-to-do Southerner, Elizabeth Van Lew helped secure an important Civil War victory for the North through her extensive spy ring which she operated from her residence in Richmond, VA. 960 1280

  

International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum

One of the most popular museums in Washington, DC, the International Spy Museum is dedicated to the history of espionage and houses many artifacts from some of the most famous spies. 960 1280

  

International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum

This small piece of paper at the International Spy Museum represents one of the scrolls that was secreted across enemy lines under the careful coordination of Elizabeth Van Lew. 960 1280

  

The Petersen Automotive Museum

The Petersen Automotive Museum

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is one of the world’s largest automotive museums with about 150 vehicles on display. 960 1280

  

The Petersen Automotive Museum

The Petersen Automotive Museum

One of the vehicles on display there is this uniquely designed yellow car model that was once promised to save a nation in the midst of an unprecedented fuel crisis. 960 1280

  

Bakken Museum

Bakken Museum

On the shores of Lake Calhoun, the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis is the world’s only museum dedicated to medical electricity. 960 1280

  

Bakken Museum

Bakken Museum

On display at the Bakken is a wooden and glass musical instrument, invented by one of America’s founding fathers and known as the glass armonica. Not only did it mesmerize people on both sides of the Atlantic, but it also seemed to perform medical miracles no doctor could explain. 960 1280

  

EBR-I Atomic Museum

EBR-I Atomic Museum

A US National Historic Landmark, the EBR-I Atomic Museum in Arco, ID, is housed in a former nuclear facility. 960 1280

  

EBR-I Atomic Museum

EBR-I Atomic Museum

On display there is this oversized panel with red lights, which speaks to one of the worst nuclear accidents in American history. Was it simply an accident or did deeper tensions cause the disaster? 960 1280

  

Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York

At the Museum of the City of New York sits a small hollow figure of a portly man, a caricature of one of the Big Apple’s most influential -- and crooked -- politicians. 960 1280

  

The American Yacht Club

The American Yacht Club

The American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, contains an extensive collection of model ships. 960 1280

  

The American Yacht Club

The American Yacht Club

This model ship showcases an innovative design that was used by a courageous explorer to battle the elements in his attempt to reach one of Earth’s harshest environments. 960 1280

  

Phil Reinhart, board member of the Superstition Mountain Museum stands next to the Peralta Stones. 960 1280

  

A newspaper detailing the events of the Donora Smog. 960 1280

  

Museum Curator, Gerald Thomas, examines a life vest at the Chicago Maritime Museum. 960 1280

  

Exterior of the Superstition Mountain Museum in Apache Junction, AZ. 960 1280

  

A space rock on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque. 960 1280

  

Historian Ted Karamanski at the Chicago Maritime Museum. 960 1280

  

The oxygen tank on display at the Donora Smog Museum was used to provide oxygen to countless people during the smog. 960 1280

  

Mars ROVER replica on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. 960 1280

  

The exterior of the Donora Smog Museum. 960 1280

  

The ax used during the Smuttynose murders is on display at the Portsmouth Athenaeum. 960 1280

  

The cell of Al Capone in the Eastern State Penitentiary Museum in Philadelphia, PA. 960 1280

  

Capone's haunting expert, Charlie Adams sits for his interview in a forbidden cellblock in Eastern State Penitentiary Museum in Philadelphia, PA. 960 1280

  

The conjoined liver of Chang and Eng Bunker is on display at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA. 960 1280

  

The Georgi Markov Umbrella is on display at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. 960 1280

  

A vampire-killing kit artifact can be viewed at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA. 960 1280

  

The MIT Course Catalogue artifact at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. 960 1280

  

Betty Hill's dress and alien sculpture is displayed at the Milne Special Collections and Archives, UNH Library. 960 1280

  

The death cast of Chang and Eng Bunker can be seen at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA. 960 1280

  

Betty Hill's alien paintings at the Milne Special Collections and Archives, UNH Library. 960 1280

  

Various artifacts at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. 960 1280

  

Scale model of Boston at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA. 960 1280

  

Various artifacts at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, PA. 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 explosives in 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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