Mysteries: Santa Heist and Papago Park Pictures

Don Wildman examines a poster for the “most missingest man in America,” a toxic bottle of liquor and a leather bag used in a gutsy prison escape.

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American Mountaineering Museum
American Mountaineering Museum

American Mountaineering Museum

On display at the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum is a weather-beaten, metal oxygen tank. 960 1280

  

Replica oxygen tank

Replica oxygen tank

This replica oxygen canister is a lasting testament to a fearless adventurer’s tragic end that remains shrouded in mystery to this day. 960 1280

  

American Mountaineering Museum

American Mountaineering Museum

Learn more about George Lee Mallory’s daring climb at Golden, Colorado’s American Mountaineering Museum. 960 1280

  

American Fur Company Store

American Fur Company Store

At the American Fur Company Store and Dr. Beaumont Museum on Mackinac Island, MI, the yellowing pages of a tattered antique book tell of a astonishing medical affliction and the secrets of human anatomy that it revealed. 960 1280

  

Putnam County Historical Museum

Putnam County Historical Museum

At the Putnam County Historical Museum in Unionville, MO, is a twisted piece of metal, a remnant from a catastrophic disaster in the sky. 960 1280

  

Piece of metal from Continental Flight 11

Piece of metal from Continental Flight 11

On March 22, 1962, Continental Airlines flight 11 exploded in the sky while en route to Kansas City, MO, killing all 45 passengers and crew on board. 960 1280

  

Wreckage of Continental Flight 11

Wreckage of Continental Flight 11

The FBI eventually learned that a man named Thomas Doty had smuggled dynamite onto the plane and exploded it mid-air. But why did he do it? 960 1280

  

Houdini's wooden box

Houdini's wooden box

At the Salon De Magie in Loveland, OH, visitors to the private collection can marvel at a strange wooden box that was once used in a chilling ritual said to summon spirits of the dead. 960 1280

  

New Brunswick Public Library

New Brunswick Public Library

At the New Brunswick Public Library in New Brunswick, NJ, visitors can see a tattered hat on display, which harkens back to the brutal murder of a pastor. 960 1280

  

Man-Eating Lions
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

  

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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Photos

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

  

Kansas Museum of History

Kansas Museum of History

At the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka is a well-worn nautical uniform that once belonged to a local doctor famous for performing goat gland transplants on his patients. 960 1280

  

Fox Sisters

Fox Sisters

On display at the Lily Dale Museum in Lily Dale, NY, is a large tin chest that is linked to the Fox sisters – a famous clan of psychics who claimed to be able to speak with the dead. So whose trunk was this? And what did it prove about a sinister tale of murder, intrigue and the afterlife? 960 1280

  

Easter Island

Easter Island

A statue from Easter Island at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. 960 1280

  

Custer's last stand

Custer's last stand

Actors reenact Custer’s last stand. 960 1280

  

US Army Quartermaster Museum

US Army Quartermaster Museum

Military uniforms on display at the US Army Quartermaster Museum in Fort Lee, VA. 960 1280

  

Washington newspaper

Washington newspaper

Reporter Casey McNerthney inspects a Washington newspaper from 1935. It holds evidence of an infamous kidnapping. 960 1280

  

Red Ghost legend

Red Ghost legend

The US Army Quartermaster Museum in Fort Lee, VA, displays a brass bell that was linked to a legendary beast known as the Red Ghost. What was this terrifying creature? And how did it come to stalk the Arizona desert? 960 1280

  

Kansas Museum of History

Kansas Museum of History

The Kansas Museum of History’s museum registrar, Nikaela Zimmerman, tells the story of John R. Brinkley, a doctor who was hailed as a Kansas hero. 960 1280

  

John R. Brinkley

John R. Brinkley

After losing his medical license for his controversial goat gland transplants, John R. Brinkley launched a campaign for governor. These artifacts were given out to voters. 960 1280

  

Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument

Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument

Custer on horseback at the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument in Montana. On display at the museum is an unassuming array of bent and rusty cartridge casings that came from the blood-soaked site of one of the most famous battles in American history. 960 1280

  

The Cecil Beaton costume collection

The Cecil Beaton costume collection

The Cecil Beaton costume collection at the Museum of the City of New York. 960 1280

  

Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York

Hidden away in the Museum of the City of New York’s archives is an elegant ebony and sterling silver trowel. This delicate souvenir is linked to an unparalleled disaster that encased a burning building in ice, threatening to destroy Manhattan’s first skyscraper and one of the city’s most significant repositories of wealth. 960 1280

  

Los Angeles Police Historical Society

Los Angeles Police Historical Society

At the Los Angeles Police Historical Society are relics from some of the city’s most heinous crimes -- including an unusually heavy, handmade garment that played a part in one of the most notorious shootouts in US history. 960 1280

  

Lilydale Museum

Lilydale Museum

An attic room above the Lilydale Museum in Lilydale, NY. 960 1280

  

Smithsonian Museum of American History

Smithsonian Museum of American History

A rocket launcher from World War II at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC. 960 1280

  

Notes for the pocket computer

Notes for the pocket computer

At the MIT Museum, Thomas Bass, author of The Eudaemonic Pie, reads notes written by Ed Thorp and Claude Shannon. The 2 mathematical geniuses attempted to build a computer that could predict the game of roulette. 960 1280

  

Kansas History Museum

Kansas History Museum

In the collections of the Kansas History Museum in Topeka is a placard plucked from a bleak era worldwide. Printed on its face is a single word that in the early 20th century foretold a death sentence … "influenza." 960 1280

  

Smithsonian Museum of American History

Smithsonian Museum of American History

A machine gun from World War II on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC. 960 1280

  

Influenza mask

Influenza mask

An influenza mask on display at the Kansas Historical Society in Topeka. 960 1280

  

Uniforms from World War II

Uniforms from World War II

Uniforms from World War II at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC. 960 1280

  

Roulette

Roulette

At the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA, Thomas Bass examines the world’s first wearable computer. The device was used by Claude Shannon and Ed Thorp to increase their odds at the game of roulette. Believe it or not, this was not considered illegal or cheating at the time. 960 1280

  

Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York

At the Museum of the City of New York is an artifact linked to the Equitable Life Assurance Building disaster in 1912. 960 1280

  

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