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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Feather Fans from World's Fair
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

  

Roanoke
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

  

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

  

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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

  

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

  

Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper

This aged dossier may contain critical information linking a gruesome turn-of-the-century murder to one of the world’s most notorious serial killers. 960 1280

  

Journal With Jack the Ripper Evidence

Journal With Jack the Ripper Evidence

Now housed at New York City’s Municipal Archives, the tattered journal is tied to a brutal murder at New York City’s East River Hotel in 1891. Could the woman, a well-known prostitute by the name of Carrie Brown, have been murdered by London’s infamous Jack the Ripper? 960 1280

  

Ice picks

Ice picks

At the Vicksburg Depot Museum in Vicksburg, MI, 2 medieval-looking implements hearken back to a time in American history when a brave group of industrious men teamed up with a visionary businessman to change dinner tables across America. 960 1280

  

Ice picks

Ice picks

The ice picks housed here tell the story of the invention of chilled train cars -- allowing raw meat to be transported across the country without spoiling. 960 1280

  

Counterfeit money

Counterfeit money

At the Secret Service Museum in Washington, DC, select visitors can view a weathered $20 bill, which was once wielded by a brilliant and elusive master-criminal whose forgeries triggered a decade-long manhunt. 960 1280

  

US Secret Service Museum

US Secret Service Museum

Few may realize that the US Secret Service was created by President Lincoln to stop counterfeiting, which had become rampant during the Civil War. One man, who became known as “Jim the Penman,” spent weeks on each of the bills he created. 960 1280

  

Locust

Locust

At the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity in Fort Collins, CO, a now-extinct insect specimen tells of a devastating swarm of biblical proportions that laid waste to much of the country. 960 1280

  

Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin

Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin

At the Salon de Magie in Loveland, OH, amidst the many artifacts chronicling the history of magic, one well-polished antique chest tells a shocking tale of deception and international intrigue. 960 1280

  

Wooden chest used by French magician

Wooden chest used by French magician

This wooden chest was used by famous French magician Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin to help Emperor Napoleon quell a revolution in Algeria. The box was used in a trick to prove that French magic was more powerful than the magic of the tribal chiefs who were threatening revolution. 960 1280

  

Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

At the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, GA, visitors come from far and wide to marvel at one massive steam engine which played a critical role in one of the most outlandish heists in American history. 960 1280

  

Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History

During the Civil War, Union spies hijacked and attempted to steal the Confederate army train, known as The General. 960 1280