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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Betty Hill Dress
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.
960 1280

  

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?
960 1280

  

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).
960 1280

  

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.
960 1280

  

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!
960 1280

  

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.
960 1280

  

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.
960 1280

  

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.
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

  

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

  

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.
960 1280

  

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.
960 1280

  

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?
960 1280

  

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).
960 1280

  

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.
960 1280

  

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.
960 1280

  

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!
960 1280

  

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.
960 1280

  

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.
960 1280

  

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.
960 1280

  

Lynette Fromme

Lynette Fromme

Lynette Fromme is one of only 2 women to ever attempt to assassinate a US president. 960 1280

  

Squeaky Fromme

Squeaky Fromme

On display at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Grand Rapids, MI, is a pistol that was used in “Squeaky” Fromme’s brazen attempt to assassinate Gerald Ford. 960 1280

  

Squeaky Fromme

Squeaky Fromme

Behind the sudden act of violence lie a bizarre plot, a notorious cult and a man whose name has become synonymous with evil. 960 1280

  

The Rhinelander Logging Museum

The Rhinelander Logging Museum

Visitors to The Rhinelander Logging Museum in Rhinelander, WI, are greeted by the snarling and hideous face of a beast that many believed terrorized the people of this peaceful region. 960 1280

  

Hodag

Hodag

Yet behind the fearsome jaws and sharp claws of this bizarre creature, dubbed the “Hodag,” not everything is as it appears. 960 1280

  

File on Typhoid Mary

File on Typhoid Mary

Buried in the archives of the New York County Clerk’s Office is a file that tells of an epidemic that sent New York City into the grips of terror. 960 1280

  

Typhoid Mary

Typhoid Mary

The infamous woman at the center of it all came to be known by a nickname that has since come into common usage: "Typhoid Mary." 960 1280

  

Mary Mallon

Mary Mallon

In 1938, Mary Mallon died after nearly 3 decades in isolation -- she was forced into quarantine after it was determined that she was an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid and had infected many with the disease. 960 1280

  

National Electronics Museum

National Electronics Museum

At the National Electronics Museum in Linthicum, MD, is a piece of technology from the 1940s that was threatened with obsolescence after the end of World War II. 960 1280

  

Magnatron

Magnatron

How did the magnatron find an unlikely second act in today’s kitchens? 960 1280

  

Museum of the American Gangster

Museum of the American Gangster

A dusty glass bottle on display at the Museum of the American Gangster in New York speaks to a terrifying outbreak that sent shockwaves throughout the city during the Prohibition Era. 960 1280

  

Alcohol From Prohibition

Alcohol From Prohibition

But as the battle between bootleggers and the feds raged on, the source of the illness -- which people acquired from drinking alcohol -- surprised everyone. 960 1280

  

Historical Dental Museum

Historical Dental Museum

At Temple University’s Historical Dental Museum in Philadelphia, PA, curious visitors can marvel at a metal pail filled to the brim with human teeth. 960 1280

  

Painless Parker

Painless Parker

Dubbed “Painless Parker,” the owner of this bizarre bucket was an influential and controversial character in the history of dentistry ... and his methods were not for the faint of heart. 960 1280