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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Inupiat Heritage Center
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

  

Oklahoma Territorial Museum
Oklahoma Territorial Museum

Oklahoma Territorial Museum

On display inside the Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library in Guthrie, OK, is an ordinary-looking pistol. Dedicated to preserving the history of Oklahoma, this museum houses a wide array of artifacts from the state’s boom times. 960 1280

  

Oklahoma Territorial Museum

Oklahoma Territorial Museum

This pistol marked the beginning of a dark and outlandish journey spanning 7 decades and thousands of miles, but how is it linked to a macabre funhouse mummy’s real identity? 960 1280

  

San Diego Air & Space Museum

San Diego Air & Space Museum

Among the venerated vessels of flight at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in California is an ordinary lawn chair with milk jugs attached to it with rope and tape. 960 1280

  

Flying lawn chair

Flying lawn chair

This jerry-rigged piece of outdoor furniture was used by an unlikely pilot to soar to unimaginable heights. 960 1280

  

Grover Cleveland Bergdoll's house

Grover Cleveland Bergdoll's house

This former home of Grover Cleveland Bergdoll is where he grew up in the lap of luxury after escaping police custody. 960 1280

  

Model B Flyer

Model B Flyer

This Model B Flyer at the Franklin Institute was once the prized possession of a wealthy scoundrel who led law enforcement on a manhunt and kicked off a frenzied search for hidden gold that continues to this day. 960 1280

  

Museum of Chinese in America

Museum of Chinese in America

Located in New York City’s bustling Chinatown district, the Museum of Chinese in America documents the trials the Chinese undertook to start over in the United States. Its collection includes a small paper sculpture that symbolizes the universal dream for freedom. 960 1280

  

Museum of Chinese in America

Museum of Chinese in America

This small sculpture symbolizes the unbelievable lengths some people took in hopes for a better life. What harrowing circumstances led to this sculpture’s creation? 960 1280

  

Thomas Warne Historical Museum

Thomas Warne Historical Museum

Striving to preserve New Jersey’s rich history, the Thomas Warne Historical Museum in Old Bridge, NJ, has an artifact on display that has been scarred by a violent past, telling a tale of unprecedented devastation. 960 1280

  

Thomas Warne Historical Museum

Thomas Warne Historical Museum

This jagged artillery shell played a role in a terrible tragedy that shook a small American town at the height of World War I. 960 1280

  

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station houses items that commemorate the country’s 41st president. But a helmet on display honors another famous Texan and is linked to a scorching tale of bravery. 960 1280

  

Red Adair

Red Adair

Who wore this helmet, and how did his heroism extinguish a fire some people thought would burn forever? 960 1280

  

Westford Museum
Westford Museum

Westford Museum

The Westford Museum houses a massive, oval-shaped boulder. Etched upon its surface are crude images: a boat, an arrow and numbers. Some believe the object is evidence of one explorer’s epic journey … that may rewrite the very history of the nation. 960 1280

  

Cold War Museum

Cold War Museum

Francis Gary Powers Jr., founder of The Cold War Museum, inspects a poisoned silver dollar medallion that was given to U-2 pilots during the war. 960 1280

  

Cold War Museum

Cold War Museum

Don investigates artifacts from The Cold War Museum in Vint Hill, VA. 960 1280

  

Staten Island Museum

Staten Island Museum

Curator Patricia Salmon examines a piece of chicle – sap from a tree native to Mexico and Central America. The substance was first used to make chewing gum, and a block is now on display at the Staten Island Museum in New York. 960 1280

  

Westford Museum

Westford Museum

Dave Brody examines a plaster cast of the “Westford Knight,” a mysterious carving on display at the Westford Museum in Westford, MA. A man by the name of Frank Glynn believed that the rock was evidence that Columbus was not the first European to reach the New World. 960 1280

  

Cold War Museum

Cold War Museum

Silver medallions, along with needles, were given to pilots during the Cold War. The medallion contained poison, so the pilots could commit suicide if captured. 960 1280

  

Westford Museum

Westford Museum

The crew films a stone on display at the Westford Museum in Westford, MA. 960 1280

  

Staten Island Museum

Staten Island Museum

The Staten Island Museum in Staten Island, NY, tells the story of the invention of chewing gum. 960 1280

  

Staten Island Museum

Staten Island Museum

Chicle on display at the Staten Island Museum in Staten Island, NY. 960 1280

  

Photos

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.
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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.
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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?
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Humming fish on display at the California Academy of Science, San Francisco, CA. 960 1280

  

The crew shoot reenactments of the houseboats where the humming fish were causing a disturbance in Sausalito, CA. 960 1280

  

A piece of the Exxon-Valdez wreck is on display at the Valdez Museum in Valdez, AK. 960 1280

  

Entry sign at the National UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, FL. 960 1280

  

Tropical fish tank on display at the California Academy of Science, San Francisco, CA. 960 1280

  

Rifle used by Alfred Packer at the Museum of the West, Grand Junction, CO. 960 1280

  

Various displays at the National UDT-SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, FL. 960 1280

  

The outside of the Valdez Museum in Valdez, AK. 960 1280

  

Dinosaur bones on display at the California Academy of Science, San Francisco, CA. 960 1280

  

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