Mysteries: Psychic Horse, Pulaski Axe Pictures

From a horse with mystical powers to a deceptive science experiment, Don Wildman investigates the stories behind the mysterious artifacts.

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St. Petersburg Museum of History
St. Petersburg Museum of History

St. Petersburg Museum of History

The St. Petersburg Museum of History in Florida has a set of binders in its collection that are filled with documents, reports and notes related to an incendiary tale of a woman who met a bizarre and combustible fate. 960 1280

  

Cause of Death not Confirmed

Cause of Death not Confirmed

The cause of death for Mary Reeser has still never been confirmed, but speculation has it that she died of spontaneous human combustion. 960 1280

  

Ohio’s Center for the History of Psychology

Ohio’s Center for the History of Psychology

Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted a groundbreaking experiment to test the bounds of human nature, changing the way we think about authority forever. The device he used is now stored inside Ohio’s Center for the History of Psychology in Akron. 960 1280

  

A Simple Box

A Simple Box

For his shocking experiment, Milgram used a simple box with a few knobs, dials and buttons. Although the device was not really hooked up to another human, the study confirmed that most people were willing to obey a higher authority, even if it meant harming someone in the process. 960 1280

  

Lubec Historical Society

Lubec Historical Society

The Lubec Historical Society in Maine contains an oversized gold accumulator -- an iron pot with metal rods that once held the promise of unimaginable wealth. 960 1280

  

Electrolytic Marine Salts Corporation

Electrolytic Marine Salts Corporation

The Electrolytic Marine Salts Corporation was developed by 2 men who claimed to have the key to collecting gold from the ocean in Lubec, ME. 960 1280

  

Autry Museum

Autry Museum

The Autry Museum in Los Angeles plays home to a unique artifact that belonged to the poetic criminal known as "Black Bart." He robbed stagecoach after stagecoach, but never fired his weapon and always left a poem behind. 960 1280

  

Black Bart's Shotgun

Black Bart's Shotgun

The shotgun wielded by the unique bandit -- whose gentlemanly nature and prolific crime spree earned him one of the most unusual reputations in the history of the American West -- sits on display in LA. 960 1280

  

Martin Baseball Museum

Martin Baseball Museum

The capital city of Columbus, OH, is home to the Martin Baseball Museum, which has in its collection a rather unassuming piece of equipment. 960 1280

  

Early Baseball Mitt

Early Baseball Mitt

This early baseball mitt is linked to a determined pitcher, Arthur "Candy" Cummings, and his ex-war-hero catcher, Nat Hicks, whose revolutionary idea for the curveball marked a historic turning point in America’s national pastime. 960 1280

  

Neville Public Museum

Neville Public Museum

The Neville Public Museum of Brown County in Green Bay, WI, contains a small handkerchief that represents a fascinating story about one of the region’s most intriguing characters. 960 1280

  

The Handkerchief

The Handkerchief

The handkerchief belonged to a man who claimed to be the son of Marie Antoinette and heir to the French throne. 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

  

Finney County Historic Museum
In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

The Finney County Historical Museum in Garden City, KS, contains a boot worn during a notorious murder that shook a small town to its core and inspired an American literary masterpiece by one of the nation’s most celebrated writers, Truman Capote. 960 1280

  

In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

On November 16, 1959, 15-year-old Nancy Clutter and her mother, father and brother were bound with rope and shot to death inside their home in Holcomb, KS. After plotting for months to rob the Clutters, the men became enraged when a safe wasn’t found in the farmhouse. 960 1280

  

Moon Runners

Moon Runners

The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, GA, displays a polished car that reveals the mischievous beginning of a mainstream pastime, when cars just like the one on display were souped-up for more than just speed. 960 1280

  

Moon Runners

Moon Runners

This car pictured above belonged to 19-year-old Raymond Parks who was responsible for running one of the largest bootlegging operations in the South after the end of Prohibition. 960 1280

  

Civil War Prostitutes

Civil War Prostitutes

At the height of industrial prosperity in the 1860s, the small town of Smokey Row -- a known area for area in Nashville, TN -- became the location of one of the worst venereal disease outbreaks in US history, leading to the first professional pimp to license prostitutes after weekly exams. 960 1280

  

Civil War Prostitutes

Civil War Prostitutes

National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, MD, has in its collection a glass vial filled with one of the most sought-after treatments of the 19th century, which snuffed out a debilitating epidemic of venereal disease. 960 1280

  

Toxic Lady

Toxic Lady

The Discovery Center at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA, has in its collection a dossier documenting a case that paralyzed a local hospital, baffling doctors and scientists for years. This toxic medical mystery took an emergency room by storm, spreading panic in its wake. 960 1280

  

Toxic Lady

Toxic Lady

In February of 1994, 30-year-old Gloria Ramirez was admitted to the emergency room in Riverside, CA. But when doctors and nurses starting passing out due to the garlic odor coming from the patient's mouth, Dr. Patrick Grant stepped in and determined the actual cause: a chemical reaction with the patient’s cancer medication. 960 1280

  

Art Hoax

Art Hoax

The Charles E. Young Research Library at the University of California-Los Angeles has within its walls a colorful canvas that hides an artful truth. Once regarded as the trailblazing work of an up-and-coming talent, the piece had a hidden agenda. 960 1280

  

Art Hoax

Art Hoax

If you were a fan of fine art in the 1920s, Chicago was definitely the place to be. After his wife failed as an artist, writer Paul Jordan Smith decided to see if he could fool the art world with an elaborate hoax. 960 1280

  

Fall of the Berlin Wall

Fall of the Berlin Wall

Located in Culver City, CA, the Wende Museum has in its collection a small rubber stamp that possessed the power to transform people’s lives, representing the difference between oppression and freedom. 960 1280

  

Fall of the Berlin Wall

Fall of the Berlin Wall

On November 9, 1989, Harold Jaeger was standing his post at the Berlin Wall in an attempt to keep people from defecting communist East Berlin for democratic West Berlin. And with one brave decision by one brave soldier, the Berlin Wall came crashing down. 960 1280

  

Photos

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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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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