Mysteries: Miracle Car, Yankee Spy Pictures

Don Wildman investigates a car that once represented the promise of an automotive revolution, a mysterious musical instrument, and a strip of paper that crossed enemy lines.

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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.
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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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Autry National Center
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 explosivesn 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

  

Belmont Public Library
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

  

Photos

St. Francis Dam

St. Francis Dam

At the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society in Newhall, CA, is a fragment from the St. Francis Dam. When the dam failed in 1928, the floodwater killed almost 600 people. 960 1280

  

Plane Fragments

Plane Fragments

Mark Hall-Patton examines mangled metal fragments that are housed at the Clark County Museum in Henderson, NV. The metal tells the story of a tragic plane crash that shocked Hollywood and the nation. 960 1280

  

Philadelphia History Museum

Philadelphia History Museum

At the Philadelphia History Museum in Philadelphia, PA, is a small, mounted dog. Named “Philly,” the heroic animal saved the lives of many American soldiers during World War I before being preserved at the museum. 960 1280

  

Concrete

Concrete

In Newhall, CA, is a chunk of concrete that was once part of a celebrated engineering marvel that ultimately brought about one of the deadliest man-made disasters in American history. 960 1280

  

Delta Saloon Café

Delta Saloon Café

At the Delta Saloon Café in Virginia City, NV, is a table that many believe is cursed. Three different people have committed suicide at this exact Faro table. 960 1280

  

Philadelphia History Museum

Philadelphia History Museum

The Philadelphia History Museum is now home to an unlikely hero. In the face of great danger, this small dog once prowled the front lines of World War I. 960 1280

  

Delta Saloon Café

Delta Saloon Café

The Delta Saloon Café is home to a gaming table with a dark past. 960 1280

  

Suicide table

Suicide table

Visit the Delta Saloon Café in Virginia City, NV, to see the famed “suicide table.” 960 1280

  

Clark County Museum

Clark County Museum

At the Clark County Museum in Henderson, NV, is a fragment of a plane that crashed while carrying one of the most famous actresses of the 1930s – Carole Lombard. 960 1280

  

National Atomic Testing Museum

National Atomic Testing Museum

Allan Palmer, director at the National Atomic Testing Museum, examines a collection of rocks found after a strange explosion in Russia. The debris has some very unusual properties, confounding scientists since its discovery in 1986. 960 1280

  

Pieces of Eight

Pieces of Eight

Spanish dollars, also known as Pieces of Eight, that are housed at the McLarty Treasure Museum in Vero Beach, FL. The museum was built on land that was once used as a camp for the survivors of a 1715 shipwreck, and is home to many objects that have washed ashore from that ill-fated Spanish ship. 960 1280

  

Haggin Museum

Haggin Museum

On display at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, CA, is a vintage trunk that was at the center of a notorious (and gruesome) scandal. 960 1280

  

Koreshan State Historic Site

Koreshan State Historic Site

On display at the Koreshan State Historic Site in Estero, FL, is a strange-looking globe that tells the story of a man named Cyrus Reed Teed. Teed had some rather … unusual … beliefs about the structure of earth, and founded a cult that referred to themselves as the Koreshan Unity. 960 1280

  

McLarty Treasure Museum

McLarty Treasure Museum

Visit the McLarty Treasure Museum in Vero Beach, FL, to see some of the loot that has washed ashore from a Spanish shipwreck in 1715. 960 1280

  

National Atomic Testing Museum

National Atomic Testing Museum

Get a look at debris that many believe is out of this world …. literally ... at the National Atomic Testing Museum. 960 1280

  

Emma LeDoux Murder

Emma LeDoux Murder

In 1906, a woman by the name of Emma LeDoux murdered her fiancé … and attempted to ship his body home in this now-bloodstained trunk, on display at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, CA. 960 1280

  

McLarty Treasure Museum

McLarty Treasure Museum

Pieces of Eight coins on display at the McLarty Treasure Museum. 960 1280

  

National Atomic Testing Museum

National Atomic Testing Museum

Visit the National Atomic Testing Museum to see evidence from the “Russian Roswell” incident. 960 1280

  

Haggin Museum

Haggin Museum

Don examines a trunk tied to a gruesome murder at the Haggin Museum in Stockton, CA. 960 1280

  

1986 UFO Crash

1986 UFO Crash

Get an up-close look at rocks that could be evidence of a 1986 UFO crash in Russia. 960 1280

  

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

At the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley National Park, Greg Cox handles an antique trunk that some believe is evidence of a legendary cross-country journey. 960 1280

  

Libby Prison Bricks

Libby Prison Bricks

These weathered bricks from Libby Prison at the Chicago History Museum were at the center of one of the most daring prison escapes of the Civil War era. 960 1280

  

Trunk in Death Valley National Park

Trunk in Death Valley National Park

Don Wildman uncovers the story behind an antique trunk housed at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in Death Valley National Park. 960 1280

  

Furnace Creek Visitor Center

Furnace Creek Visitor Center

A mortar and pestle on display at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. 960 1280

  

Libby Prison Bricks

Libby Prison Bricks

Museum curator Olivia Mahoney examines the bricks from Libby Prison at the Chicago History Museum. 960 1280

  

Chicago History Museum

Chicago History Museum

On display at the Chicago History Museum are bricks connected to one of the American Civil War’s most famous prison breaks. 960 1280

  

Museum of Science and Energy

Museum of Science and Energy

On display at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN, is a metal machine called a calutron. The machine played a critical role in a stunning prophecy of Armageddon and urbanization. 960 1280

  

Furnace Creek Visitors Center

Furnace Creek Visitors Center

An artifact that was found in the antique trunk that’s currently housed at Furnace Creek Visitors Center. 960 1280

  

Mothman Museum

Mothman Museum

Don Wildman investigates artifacts at the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, WV. 960 1280

  

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

The antique trunk that was discovered in Death Valley National Park. 960 1280

  

Mothman Museum

Mothman Museum

The Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, WV. 960 1280

  

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