Mysteries: Jack the Ripper and the Penman Pictures

Don Wildman examines evidence that London’s infamous Jack the Ripper may have committed a gruesome crime in New York City in 1891.

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Texas City Disaster
Texas City Disaster

Texas City Disaster

A shoe that was found on the day of the Texas City Disaster on display at the Texas City Museum. The April 16, 1947, incident was the deadliest industrial accident in US history, and killed almost 600 people. 960 1280

  

bezoar stones

bezoar stones

At the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum Heritage Society in Key West, FL, archaeologist Corey Malcolm discusses bezoar stones -- once believed to be an antidote to any poison. 960 1280

  

Evel Knievel’s Harley-Davidson

Evel Knievel’s Harley-Davidson

Infamous daredevil Evel Knievel’s Harley-Davidson motorcycle on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC. Knievel successfully jumped over 14 Greyhound buses on the bike. 960 1280

  

laughing gas

laughing gas

At the Museum of the City of New York is a strange artifact -- an invitation to a laughing gas party. 960 1280

  

Bezoar stone

Bezoar stone

A bezoar stone on display at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. 960 1280

  

Bright's Pioneer Exhibit

Bright's Pioneer Exhibit

At Bright's Pioneer Exhibit in Le Grand, CA, is an ordinary yellow schoolbus that became ensnared in a crime so heinous that it would devastate an entire community. 960 1280

  

Toy exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York

Toy exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York

A turn-of-the-century toy exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. 960 1280

  

Bright’s Pioneer Exhibit

Bright’s Pioneer Exhibit

Bright’s Pioneer Exhibit owner James Bright on the schoolbus that was part of the largest kidnapping for ransom in US history. 960 1280

  

A gold poison cup

A gold poison cup

A gold poison cup on display at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. 960 1280

  

Texas City Park

Texas City Park

The Texas City Park in Texas City, TX. 960 1280

  

Atocha

Atocha

A model of Atocha, a Spanish ship that sank in 1622 off the Florida Keys, on display at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. 960 1280

  

Bars of silver

Bars of silver

Large bars of silver that were recovered from the sunken Spanish ship. 960 1280

  

Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York

Museum curator Sarah Henry holds an artifact at the Museum of the City of New York. 960 1280

  

National Firearms Museum
National Firearms Museum

National Firearms Museum

The collection of the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, VA, includes a World War II-era pistol that was found during the hunt for a secret network of spies operating on American soil. What evil plot was discovered along with this gun? 960 1280

  

Albert DeSalvo Captured

Albert DeSalvo Captured

In the early 1960s, a series of gruesome murders plagued the Boston area. Eventually, a man by the name of Albert DeSalvo confessed that he was the “Boston Strangler,” but many still maintain his innocence. 960 1280

Ollie Noonan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images  

Museum of Crime and Punishment

Museum of Crime and Punishment

The Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington, DC, contains a simple switchblade that belonged to Albert DeSalvo, believed to be one of Boston’s most notorious killers. Fifty years later, the case remains largely unsolved. 960 1280

  

Newseum

Newseum

At the Newseum in Washington, DC, is a worn leather bag that once belonged to a pioneering journalist. 960 1280

  

Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly's hard-hitting investigation was as groundbreaking as it was risky, almost making her a casualty of the very dark and sinister practices she was trying to uncover. 960 1280

  

New York Historical Society

New York Historical Society

On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, the New York Historical Society displays a painting that played a role in a shocking political scandal. Is this portrait evidence of the strange private habits of a powerful colonial-era leader? 960 1280

  

Museum of Whiskey

Museum of Whiskey

The Kentucky city of Bardstown is known as the Bourbon Capital of the World and is home to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey. 960 1280

  

Hatchet at the Museum of Whiskey

Hatchet at the Museum of Whiskey

But one of the museum’s most intriguing objects isn’t a bottle of alcohol, but a hatchet. This weapon was wielded by a crusading activist whose fight for temperance paved the way for Prohibition. 960 1280

  

Oneida Community Mansion House

Oneida Community Mansion House

The Oneida Community Mansion House in Oneida, NY, contains a set of silverware that represents the disturbing secrets of the people who once lived in this sprawling building. Built on dreams of utopia, this house was the site of a shocking series of events that brought down a charismatic leader. 960 1280

  

Edison's electric pen
Edison's electric pen

Edison's electric pen

At the Thomas Edison Historical Park in West Orange, NJ, is one of the celebrated inventor’s biggest disappointments: the electric pen. 960 1280

The Thomas Edison Papers at Rutgers University  

Edison Historical Park

Edison Historical Park

Though this device failed to transform the world of business, it went on to make a surprising and lasting impression when one man modified Edison’s invention into the first electric tattoo gun. 960 1280

  

Bishopville, SC

Bishopville, SC

At the South Carolina Cotton Museum in Bishopville, SC, there is a cryptic cast of what appears to be a footprint. 960 1280

  

Bishopville, SC

Bishopville, SC

Many are convinced that the mark was left by a half man, half lizard mutant creature that once lurked in the swamps of this South Carolina community. 960 1280

  

Hair tonic bottles

Hair tonic bottles

In Lockport, NY, at the Niagara County Historical Society is a set of murky glass bottles that tell a hair-raising tale. 960 1280

  

7 Sutherland sisters

7 Sutherland sisters

The glass bottles housed here once contained a hair growth tonic that catapulted 7 impoverished and eccentric sisters to an improbable life of fame and fortune. 960 1280

  

Statue of Diana

Statue of Diana

At the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a bronze statue of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt. This work of art bore witness to a scandalous, turn of the century crime that rocked high society and the nation, when famous architect Stanford White was murdered by a vengeful millionaire. 960 1280

  

Carroll Deering's bell

Carroll Deering's bell

At the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum on Hatteras Island in North Carolina is the bell of the Carroll Deering, a shipping vessel whose entire crew mysteriously vanished in one of the most confounding cases in seafaring history. 960 1280

  

Photos

Roanoke

Roanoke

An artifact at Brenau University in Gainesville, GA, may provide clues about what happened to the lost colony of Roanoke. 960 1280

  

Roanoke

Roanoke

A newspaper clipping from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that announces the discovery of the artifact. 960 1280

  

Brenau University in Gainesville, GA.

Brenau University in Gainesville, GA.

Brenau University in Gainesville, GA. 960 1280

  

The National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. 960 1280

  

Deep Blue

Deep Blue

The museum is home to Deep Blue, a computer created by IBM to play against one of the best chess players in the world. 960 1280

  

Enoch Pratt Free Library

Enoch Pratt Free Library

The Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD, where Don Wildman investigates the mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe. 960 1280

Enoch Pratt Free Library   

Greenbrier Hotel

Greenbrier Hotel

The exterior entrance to the formerly top-secret underground bunker at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV. 960 1280

  

Greenbrier Hotel

Greenbrier Hotel

An interior shot of the Greenbrier Resort, which housed an incredible secret for 3 decades. 960 1280

  

Harbor History Museum

Harbor History Museum

A display at the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor, WA, which is home to a strange medial book that advocated starvation as a cure for disease. 960 1280

  

Liberty Bell 7

Liberty Bell 7

Liberty Bell 7 on display at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, KS. 960 1280

  

SR71 Blackbird

SR71 Blackbird

SR-71 ‘Blackbird’ at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. 960 1280

  

Man-Eating Lions

Man-Eating Lions

On display at The Field Museum in Chicago are 2 massive stuffed lions that once tormented a group of railroad workers in East Africa. Dubbed the “Tsavo Man-Eaters,” these notorious lions were responsible for a number of deaths near Kenya’s Tsavo River in 1898. 960 1280

  

Cash register

Cash register

This cash register, on display at the Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum in Fort Thomas, KY, once belonged to Kentucky’s Beverly Hills Supper Club – the site of a deadly fire. 960 1280

  

Cleveland's Tumor

Cleveland's Tumor

The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA, houses a medical oddity that was part of a top-secret operation. Visit to see the tumor and a few teeth that former President Grover Cleveland had surgically removed while he was in office. 960 1280

  

Man-Eating Lions

Man-Eating Lions

Chicago’s Field Museum offers clues as to why 2 massive, 9-foot lions began attacking, killing and eating railroad workers in Kenya. 960 1280

  

State Senator Murder

State Senator Murder

Visit the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing, MI, to see the blood-stained hat that a Michigan State Senator was wearing when he was mysteriously murdered. 960 1280

  

Willamette Meteorite

Willamette Meteorite

The Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon in Eugene houses a replica of the Willamette Meteorite – the largest meteorite ever found in North America. 960 1280

  

Meteorite

Meteorite

Learn about the 15-ton meteorite -- and the scandal its discovery caused -- at University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History. 960 1280

  

President Grover Cleveland's Tumor

President Grover Cleveland's Tumor

Former President Grover Cleveland had his tumor along with a few teeth removed from his jaw during a top-secret operation aboard a fishing boat. 960 1280

  

UFO

UFO

At the Simpson County Archives in Franklin, KY, is a piece of a plane that crashed while tracking a UFO. 960 1280

  

UFO

UFO

A metal fragment at the Simpson County Archives tells the story of pilot who died in a mysterious plane crash in 1941. Did the UFO he was chasing have something to do with it? 960 1280

  

Feather Fans from World's Fair

Feather Fans from World's Fair

On display at the Chicago History Museum is a set of feather plume fans that were used for a burlesque show at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. 960 1280

  

Sally Rand

Sally Rand

Sally Rand’s career skyrocketed after she debuted her risqué fan dance at the fair. 960 1280

  

International Spy Museum

International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, houses the make-up that was used to disguise the 6 American diplomats who evaded capture during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. 960 1280

  

Argo

Argo

The CIA used a fake film project -- a sci-fi movie they called Argo -- to disguise the Americans as a Canadian film crew and rescue them from Iran. 960 1280

  

LA Police Museum

LA Police Museum

The LA Police Museum houses bullet fragments found at the scene of notorious mobster Bugsy Siegel's murder. 960 1280

  

Bugsy Siegel

Bugsy Siegel

In 1941, Bugsy Siegel was shot dead in his girlfriend’s home in Beverly Hills, CA. 960 1280

  

Bullets from Bugsy Siegel's Murder

Bullets from Bugsy Siegel's Murder

Siegel’s murder remains shrouded in mystery, and we may never know who fired the bullets that killed him. 960 1280

  

Baltimore Medical Examiner's Office

Baltimore Medical Examiner's Office

At the Baltimore Medical Examiner's office is a collection of meticulous, miniature crime scene dioramas created by the “Mother of CSI,” a millionaire heiress named Frances Glessner Lee with an interest in forensics. 960 1280

  

Crime Scene Diorama

Crime Scene Diorama

These morbid displays of death played an unexpected role in the history of modern crime scene investigation. 960 1280

  

Blue Box

Blue Box

At the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, is a “Blue Box,” a contraption invented by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs that, in the days of rotary telephones, could hack the phone network to make free long-distance calls. 960 1280

  

Blue Box

Blue Box

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were so delighted by their success with the Blue Box that they decided to continue their partnership -- eventually resulting in the creation of Apple computer 960 1280

  

Joseph Jefferson Mansion and Gardens

Joseph Jefferson Mansion and Gardens

At the Joseph Jefferson Mansion and Gardens on Lake Peigneur in New Iberia, LA, is an antique urn that was one of few relics to survive a terrifying and earthshaking disaster. 960 1280

  

Whirlpool

Whirlpool

On Nov. 20, 1980, a mining accident caused a giant whirlpool to form -- sucking in 65 acres of buildings, barges, trees and terrain surrounding the lake. 960 1280

  

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