Prison Experiment and Butch Cassidy Manuscript

See the manuscript that holds the key to the mystery behind the deaths of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the primitive tunnel dug by Willie Sutton at the Eastern State Penitentiary and more.

Photos

Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum

Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum

This small memorandum contains notes that document a remarkable equine phenomenon: a horse with a seemingly supernatural ability that captivated the country. 960 1280

  

Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum

Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum

The memo book can be found at the Rhine ESP/Parapsychology Museum in Durham, NC, which is home to various pieces of equipment that document the study of parapsychology over the past 70 years. 960 1280

  

Naugatuck Historical Society

Naugatuck Historical Society

On display at Connecticut’s Naugatuck Historical Society is a slab of strange material that is linked to one of history’s most monumental manufacturing achievements in history: the discovery of vulcanization. 960 1280

  

Naugatuck Historical Society

Naugatuck Historical Society

Connecticut’s Naugatuck Historical Society, located in an old train station, chronicles many of the high points in Naugatuck’s history, including Charles Goodyear’s discovery of vulcanization. 960 1280

  

Pulaski Axe

Pulaski Axe

This unique tool, known as the Pulaski Axe, was invented to protect people in one of man’s most perilous professions: firefighting. 960 1280

  

The Wallace District Mining Museum

The Wallace District Mining Museum

The Wallace District Mining Museum in Wallace, ID, tells the story behind the Pulaski Axe and how it developed from the exploits of a heroic man, who bravely saved the men in his command from near-certain death. 960 1280

  

National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

This piece of evidence was used in an explosive case of domestic terrorism. But what role did a seemingly simple box play in a series of attacks delivered through the mail? 960 1280

  

National Postal Museum

National Postal Museum

This seemingly innocuous box can be found at the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC, which is dedicated to the preservation of the postal service’s history with exhibitions of stamps, machinery and other artifacts. 960 1280

  

James Randi Educational Foundation

James Randi Educational Foundation

This everyday utensil was once considered to be a symbol of one of the biggest breakthroughs in science, but it also represents one man’s dogged persistence to expose a greater truth about experiments in a controversial field. 960 1280

  

James Randi Educational Foundation

James Randi Educational Foundation

The spoon can be found among the books and artifacts related to the paranormal at the James Randi Educational Foundation in Los Angeles, which is dedicated to exposing paranormal fraud. 960 1280

  

Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

This enigmatic wooden carving of a woman once adorned a vessel on a mission to solve a dramatic and bone-chilling Arctic mystery. 960 1280

  

Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

The Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society in New York City, where this carving is housed, preserves artifacts of nineteenth-century Artic exploration, most significantly, that of Sir John Franklin, whose expedition ended fatally. 960 1280

  

Mariners’ Museum

Mariners’ Museum

This device helped sustain one man’s unbelievable fight for survival against the odds. How did this crude device quench a lost adventurer’s thirst? 960 1280

  

Mariners’ Museum

Mariners’ Museum

Documenting nearly 3,000 years of man’s history at sea, the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, VA, explains how this device sustained amateur sailor, Steve Callahan, through a historic, yet possibly tragic, quest for glory while he drifted aimlessly in the Atlantic. 960 1280

  

Hardin County History Museum

Hardin County History Museum

These glimmering gemstones are linked to a supposed land of riches that hypnotized some of the wealthiest men of their day in the wake of the Gold Rush. 960 1280

  

Hardin County History Museum

Hardin County History Museum

The Hardin County History Museum in Elizabethtown, KY, tells the story behind these false diamonds and the role they played in a glittering tale of discovery, power and greed. 960 1280

  

Kansas State Historical Society

Kansas State Historical Society

This deadly weapon from the Wild West played a central role in a duplicitous plot orchestrated by a very unlikely outlaw. The man who wielded it crossed the line between what is lawful and what is lawless, shocking the citizens of the town he was sworn to protect. 960 1280

  

Kansas State Historical Society

Kansas State Historical Society

Find this pistol at the Kansas State Historical Society, which chronicles the state’s notorious days of the Wild West. 960 1280

  

Ohio Historical Society

Ohio Historical Society

While this object appears to be a simple set of rosary beads, they were once clutched by one of the most notorious criminals in American history at a truly fateful moment. 960 1280

  

Ohio Historical Society

Ohio Historical Society

The rosary can be found at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, which includes a museum along with its archives, library and preservation office. 960 1280

  

Crittenden County Historical Museum

Crittenden County Historical Museum

The Crittenden County Historical Museum in Marion, AR, has on display an unassuming rock-like object that played a role in one of the worst maritime disasters to befall the United States. 960 1280

  

Crittenden County Historical Museum

Crittenden County Historical Museum

How did this simple fragment of a ship’s furnace trigger suspicions of sabotage and conspiracy at the close of the Civil War? 960 1280

  

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

This set of simple wooden speakers at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum gave rise to a device whose impact resonated around the globe. Yet its inventor was never awarded the credit and praise he sought during his lifetime. 960 1280

  

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum in Staten Island, NY, is the historic home of inventor Antonio Meucci, who is believed to be the true inventor of the telephone. The museum offers exhibitions, lectures and concerts that celebrate Italian history in America. 960 1280

  

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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