Video: Sci-Fi A-Bomb

A magazine has a profound effect on the Manhattan Project.

About the Show

Don Wildman visits America's museums, where strange and curious remnants of the past are revealed.

Mysteries at the Museum

What's Hot

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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Jack the Ripper
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

  

See Episode Guide

Watch It

  • Crossword Code, Ampelmann, Brushy Bill
    Don inspects a crossword puzzle with hidden clues that could have jeopardized D-Day; one of the most important maps in world history, which was nearly lost forever; and an odd-looking traffic signal that became a cultural symbol for communist East Germany.
    Friday July 3
    6pm | 5c
  • Great Kipton Train Wreck, First Inoculation, Spanish Space Suit
    Don inspects a set of tools that belonged to a man who changed the course of America’s railroads; a risky experiment to save Colonial Boston; and an armband worn by a US deputy marshal who protected a brave little girl on a historic trip to school.
    Friday July 3
    7pm | 6c
  • Opera Riot, Golfing Soldier, Great Mail Robbery
    Don Wildman examines a copy of a play that sparked riots; a monocular used by a soldier who made a daring and unusual escape from behind enemy lines; and the wrapper from a product so pungent that it caused an interstate postal feud.
    Friday July 3
    8pm | 7c
  • Patience Worth, Space Monkey
    Don Wildman examines a set of books that contain a haunting tale told from beyond the grave, a primate involved in early space exploration, and a bottle of alcohol believed to compel drinkers to commit acts of violence.
    Friday July 3
    10pm | 9c
  • Rubik's Cube, World's First Factory, The Amphicar
    Don examines a classic toy that became a pop-culture phenomenon; a delicate silk sample that symbolizes a stunning tale of international espionage; and a quirky car designed to travel on both land and water.
    Friday July 3
    11pm | 10c
  • Patience Worth, Space Monkey
    Don Wildman examines a set of books that contain a haunting tale told from beyond the grave, a primate involved in early space exploration, and a bottle of alcohol believed to compel drinkers to commit acts of violence.
    Saturday July 4
    1am | 12c
  • Rubik's Cube, World's First Factory, The Amphicar
    Don examines a classic toy that became a pop-culture phenomenon; a delicate silk sample that symbolizes a stunning tale of international espionage; and a quirky car designed to travel on both land and water.
    Saturday July 4
    2am | 1c
  • Opera Riot, Golfing Soldier, Great Mail Robbery
    Don Wildman examines a copy of a play that sparked riots; a monocular used by a soldier who made a daring and unusual escape from behind enemy lines; and the wrapper from a product so pungent that it caused an interstate postal feud.
    Saturday July 4
    3am | 2c
  • Stanley's Miraculous Snake Oil
    Don Wildman examines a mangled car which tells of an intrepid journalist's quest for the truth, a vile of liquid containing what was believed to be a miracle cure and an iron safe which played a key role in a heist.
    Saturday July 4
    9am | 8c
  • Jack the Ripper in NY
    Host Don Wildman investigates an aged dossier which may be linked to one of the world’s most notorious killers, a century-old $20 bill which was once wielded by a brilliant and elusive criminal and an insect specimen which once wreaked havoc on America’s Heartland.
    Saturday July 4
    10am | 9c
  • Mysteries: Trunk of Horrors
    Don Wildman examines a trunk that holds the secrets of an unlikely killer, a collection of mysterious debris that may be proof of alien intelligence and a curious orb that tells the story of the rise and fall of a bizarre cult.
    Saturday July 4
    8pm | 7c
  • Dial M for Missing, $7 Renoir, Secret in the Attic
    Don examines a timeworn tome that may explain the perplexing disappearance of the world's greatest mystery writer, a Renoir painting believed to have been bought for just $7, and a police ledger that tells the tale of a secretive love affair that ended in murder.
    Sunday July 5
    9am | 8c
  • Santa Claus Heist, Long Island Heiress, Papago Park
    Host Don Wildman examines a pair of handcuffs that once bound the wrists of an unlikely criminal, a dress worn by a socialite at the center of a shocking crime, and a leather bag used in a legendary prison escape.
    Sunday July 5
    10am | 9c
  • Volume Two
    Does a prehistoric "monster" provide clues to an Ice Age puzzle? Is an odd wooden figure the explanation for a 60-year-old mystery or the key to a government cover-up?
    Thursday July 9
    11am | 10c
  • Volume Three
    What does a vintage fire engine tell us about what really destroyed San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake? Does a 10,000-year-old mastodon skeleton reveal a shocking story of greed and murder inside one of our nation's most esteemed universities?
    Thursday July 9
    12pm | 11c
  • Volume One
    Did homemade heads help destroy the reputation of Alcatraz prison? How did the Enigma machine help to win World War II? And is the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore the actual home of the Mona Lisa?
    Thursday July 9
    1pm | 12c
  • Volume Six
    What does the largest T. rex skeleton ever discovered tell us about the prehistoric food chain? Who was behind the biggest art heist in American history? And what does a simple garment reveal about the assassination of a US president?
    Thursday July 9
    2pm | 1c
  • LA Raid, Bioterror, Automaton
    Don unveils the real-life story behind an impressive work of art. He examines a simple tire cover connected to a bizarre religious cult. And he visits the robot that may have saved thousands of human lives in the worst nuclear disaster in American history.
    Thursday July 9
    3pm | 2c
  • Keely's Motor, Reagan Limousine, Audubon's Mystery Bird
    Don Wildman examines an armored limousine that played a central role in an assassination attempt, a giant book filled with vivid illustrations of mysterious birds, and the only known evidence of a revolutionary machine.
    Thursday July 9
    4pm | 3c
  • The Kiss that Saved a Million Lives, Heist of the Century, Lorenzo's Oil
    Host Don Wildman examines the beguiling cast of a woman who helped save thousands of lives after her death, a surfboard that speaks to one of the nation's most notorious capers, and a mysterious plant that offered unlikely hope to a family during their darkest hour.
    Thursday July 9
    5pm | 4c
  • Stolen Strad, Fall From Space, Czech Dream
    Don Wildman examines a concert program that marks one of the most infamous nights in the history of a prestigious music venue; a space capsule used by a heroic astronaut during a harrowing mission; and a DVD from an unusual film that blurred the lines between fact and fiction.
    Thursday July 9
    6pm | 5c
  • Margery the Medium, Everest Ascent, The Pastor and the Choir Singer
    Host Don Wildman investigates a strange wooden box used in a ritual, a weather beaten oxygen tank which tells of a daring ascent and the torn hat of a local pastor found at the scene of a crime.
    Thursday July 9
    7pm | 6c
  • Premiere
    Notorious New York
    Thursday July 9
    9pm | 8c
  • Porcelain Twins, The Warden's Wife, Lost City of Atlantis
    Don investigates a china doll that speaks to a mystifying tale of deception, a bullet-marked sleigh that stood witness to the violent conclusion of a notorious love affair, and a set of common-looking stones that holds a possible clue to a lost civilization.
    Thursday July 9
    11pm | 10c
  • Notorious New York
    Friday July 10
    12am | 11c
  • Porcelain Twins, The Warden's Wife, Lost City of Atlantis
    Don investigates a china doll that speaks to a mystifying tale of deception, a bullet-marked sleigh that stood witness to the violent conclusion of a notorious love affair, and a set of common-looking stones that holds a possible clue to a lost civilization.
    Friday July 10
    2am | 1c

About the Host

Don Wildman shows us the secrets lurking in museums and monuments across the United States.

Don Wildman's Bio

Mysteries at the Museum Don Wildman visits America's museums, where strange and curious remnants of the past are revealed.
Don Wildman

Photo Galleries

St. Louis

St. Louis

St. Louis may be best known for the giant arch that is the “gateway to the West,” but the city is also home to a less-talked-about institution that introduces visitors to a very different slice of history. The World Chess Hall of Fame holds an array of artifacts, including one of the first computerized chessboards, game pieces carefully carved from precious materials and photographs of the greatest chess players of all time. 960 1280

  

St. Louis

St. Louis

Within the museum’s collection, there is a very ordinary-looking chessboard. It’s 16 by 16 inches and consists of 64 wooden squares of alternating wood grain patterns — just like any other. However, this board is anything but ordinary. It not only played a pivotal part in one of the most epic chess matches ever, it almost started a world war. 960 1280

  

Albuquerque, NM

Albuquerque, NM

There are a number of sights in Albuquerque, NM, that highlight the region’s nuclear past, such as the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. There, visitors can view artifacts linked to the research and development of nuclear technology, including a B-29 Superfortress bomber plane, a nuclear test device called "The Gadget" and radioactive-influenced quackery from the early 20th century. 960 1280

  

New Mexico

New Mexico

Tucked away inside the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History is an item that looks completely inadequate next to the larger exhibits. The story behind this Boy Scouts badge reveals a brush with disaster that placed an entire town in great danger. 960 1280

  

New Mexico

New Mexico

At one time these harmless-looking rodents could be considered cute. However, this specimen spread the fear of death among thousands of New Mexico residents and threatened an entire region. 960 1280

  

New York City

New York City

New York City has some of the tallest buildings in the world, but what many people don’t realize is that the city also has some of the biggest and most beautiful cathedrals in the United States. Trinity Church, at the head of what is now Wall Street, houses the Trinity Museum, where visitors can view exhibits connecting the past with the present. 960 1280

  

Trinity Church

Trinity Church

To see one of Trinity’s most intriguing items, you need to delve deep into the by-appointment archive. Inside this diary from 1880 is a succession of handwritten notes that catalogs a bizarre chapter in Trinity’s history — a devious scheme perpetrated by a cunning individual. 960 1280

  

New iberia, LA

New iberia, LA

The southern Louisiana city of New Iberia was founded by Spaniards in 1779 but later became a refuge for Acadian French settlers deported from Nova Scotia by the British. New Iberia combines this Cajun culture clash with some down-home Southern charm, attracting visitors with its eclectic cuisine, old plantations and rollicking music scene. And on the city’s historic Main Street is the Bayou Teche Museum. Founded in 2010, this former grocery store chronicles the area’s rich history and is deliberately laid out in a winding pattern designed to resemble the snakelike curves of the Bayou Teche itself. 960 1280

  

Bayou Teche Museum

Bayou Teche Museum

Among the artifacts at the Bayou Teche Museum is a seemingly drab collection of slabs of uneven size and shape, the largest measuring 17 1/2 inches wide, 11 inches tall and 6 1/2 inches deep. These unassuming blocks were at the heart of a spicy story that led to the creation of one of today’s most recognizable brands. 960 1280

  

San Mateo County History Museum

San Mateo County History Museum

Redwood City, CA, once known mostly as a port for lumber, is now a city in the heart of Silicon Valley. At the center of this high-tech town sits an institution that has survived many waves of change: the San Mateo County History Museum. Its displays hold such treasures as a stagecoach, a stained-glass dome and models of galleon ships that once docked nearby. 960 1280

  

San Mateo County History Museum

San Mateo County History Museum

This gun on display at the San Mateo County History Museum represents the culmination of a conflict between 2 prominent San Franciscans and the race for mayor that made the city look like the Wild West all over again. 960 1280

  

General Patton Memorial Museum

General Patton Memorial Museum

At the General Patton Memorial Museum in Chiriaco Summit, CA, a massive tank harkens back to the terrifying day when a madman took control of a lethal war machine and laid siege to an American city. 960 1280

  

General Patton Memorial Museum

General Patton Memorial Museum

On May 18, 1995, US Army veteran Shawn Nelson stole the tank from a US National Guard armory and recklessly drove it through the streets of San Diego, leading to a 23-minute televised police chase. Police eventually climbed on top of the tank, and shot and killed Nelson. 960 1280

  

Harding's Train Car

Harding's Train Car

At the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, GA, visitors can marvel at the stately train car of President Warren G. Harding, used to travel the country in an effort to reconnect with Americans. 960 1280

  

Southeastern Railway Museum

Southeastern Railway Museum

On August 2,1923, while staying in a hotel during his train tour of America, President Harding died suddenly, in the middle of a conversation with his wife. 960 1280

  

International Cryptozoology Museum

International Cryptozoology Museum

At the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, ME, a nondescript plaster cast of hoof prints tells of a series of hair-raising encounters with a mythical beast that was reportedly terrifying the good people of New Jersey. 960 1280

  

Jersey Devil

Jersey Devil

The “Jersey Devil” is rumored to lurk in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. 960 1280

  

Nell Donnelly's Dress

Nell Donnelly's Dress

This dress, designed by Nell Donnelly, reminds visitors of a terrifying incident in the 1930s when the famous fashion designer was kidnapped, then rescued by a group of mobsters. 960 1280

  

Kansas City Museum

Kansas City Museum

The dress is now on display at the Kansas City Museum. 960 1280

  

Bottle of yellow bacteria-infested water

Bottle of yellow bacteria-infested water

This yellow liquid caused the outbreak of the mysterious disease that came to be known as Legionnaires’ disease. 960 1280

  

CDC Museum

CDC Museum

The jug of liquid, now on display at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum in Atlanta, was the cause of a plague that once had the nation in the grips of terror. 960 1280

  

Printing press

Printing press

This antique printing press was used by a prolific conman to carry out one of the largest counterfeiting operations in US history. 960 1280

  

Secret Service Museum

Secret Service Museum

See the printing press on display at the Secret Service Museum in Washington, DC. 960 1280

  

The Houdini Museum

The Houdini Museum

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The Houdini Museum

The Houdini Museum

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Chemical Heritage foundation

Chemical Heritage foundation

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National Food and Drug Adminstration

National Food and Drug Adminstration

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Walls Unit

Walls Unit

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Lock and Key

Lock and Key

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Countway Library of Medicin

Countway Library of Medicin

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Murder at Harvard

Murder at Harvard

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Bradbury Science Museum

Bradbury Science Museum

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World's Most Famous Bomb

World's Most Famous Bomb

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