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.

Photos

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

  

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

  

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

  

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