Mysteries: Funhouse Mummy, Playboy's Gold Pictures

Don Wildman investigates the mysterious tales behind a classic pistol, a Model B Wright Brothers Flyer, a jerry-rigged flying lawn chair and more.

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

  

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

  

Great Moon Hoax

Great Moon Hoax

At the Nantucket Historical Association Whaling Museum in Nantucket, MA, a picture printed on decorative wallpaper reveals an astounding tale of astronomical intrigue and a quest to peer into the darkest recesses of the galaxy to prove that there is life on the moon. 960 1280

  

Great Moon Hoax

Great Moon Hoax

"A Peep at the Moon" was an attempt by a local reporter to prove that there was life on the moon. However, after the reports were put out by the New York Sun, its chief rival, the New York Herald, posted scathing reviews of the Sun's claims, ultimately resulting in the truth. 960 1280

  

First Men in the Stratosphere

First Men in the Stratosphere

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago displays a large armored contraption that launched one of the most dizzying adventures of the 20th century.  With a history-making passenger aboard, it pushed the understanding of the universe to unprecedented heights. 960 1280

  

First Men in the Stratosphere

First Men in the Stratosphere

In 1933, during the century of progress exhibition in Chicago, 2 men, Navy lieutenant commander Thomas Settle and Army major Chester Fordney, took to the sky in a high-altitude balloon in an attempt to reach the stratosphere. The men made it 61, 237 feet high, setting the record for highest altitude ever reached at the time. 960 1280

  

Baseball Stalker

Baseball Stalker

The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Montclair, NJ, displays a baseball bat that’s linked to a case of fanatical obsession that haunted America’s pastime. The man who wielded the bat was the victim of a violent attack that threatened to end more than just his career. 960 1280

  

Baseball Stalker

Baseball Stalker

In the spring of 1949, star Philadelphia first baseman, Eddie Waitkus arrived in town for an average baseball game. But unfortunately, an obsessed fan lured Waitkus into her hotel room and shot him in the chest with a .22 caliber rifle. 960 1280

  

Dead Woman Running

Dead Woman Running

The National Track and Field Hall of Fame in New York City has in its collection a pair of leather shoes that belonged to a woman who raced past a death-defying tragedy. 960 1280

  

Dead Woman Running

Dead Woman Running

In March of 1931, 19-year-old Olympic sprinter Betty Robinson and her cousin were in a horrific plane crash outside of Chicago. After finally waking up from a 2-month coma, all hope for a comeback appeared to be dashed. However, after 18-months of training and determination, Betty returned to the Olympic stage in 1936 to win the gold medal. 960 1280

  

New England's Dark Day

New England's Dark Day

The Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston has in its collection a small book that documents an awful cataclysm that many thought would lead to humanity’s demise. 960 1280

  

New England's Dark Day

New England's Dark Day

In 1780, while still in the throes of the revolution with the British, local reports of a yellow sky and devilish-red sun setting over New England sent the townspeople into hysteria. Nearly 200 years later, it was discovered that a massive fire in Canada due to prevailing winds and low barometric pressure caused the terrifying sky. 960 1280

  

Peggy Shippen

Peggy Shippen

Located on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the William L. Clements Library has a set of letters that turned a long-accepted and infamous tale of deceit on its head. 960 1280

  

Peggy Shippen

Peggy Shippen

For over 100 years, it was believed that Benedict Arnold conspired with the British, betraying the colonial forces on his own. However, the discovery of this letter revealed the stunning truth. 960 1280

  

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