4 Unsolved Mysteries That Took Place At American Landmarks
America's landmarks are icons of wholesomeness, the basis of cherished family road trips (or at least cherished family road trip movies). You don't expect anything sinister to be going on at the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore. And yet ...
A Hall Of Fame Baseball Player Was Found Mysteriously Dead In Niagara Falls
"Big Ed" Delahanty was a legendary baseball player with the fifth-highest career batting average in Major League Baseball history. He was also a bit, shall we say, troubled, in the "Hollywood starlet" sense of the word. He was a gambling addict and an alcoholic, the latter of which might have been the reason he sat out what would have been his last game with the Washington Senators in Detroit in 1903. After he left the city on a train headed to New York, he drank five glasses of whiskey and proceeded to terrorize his fellow passengers with a razor, at which point he was kicked off and deposited near a bridge overlooking Niagara Falls. A week later, his body -- naked but for shoes, socks, and a necktie -- was found in the falls. Yes, in them.
What happened in between isn't clear. The official story is that Delahanty tried to cross the bridge, was stopped by and had a brief scuffle with the night watchman, then either fell or jumped from the bridge (the night watchman said it was "too dark to see"). Suicide seems a likely possibility: Delahanty had just taken out a new life insurance policy and wrote that he hoped "the train would run off the track or that something worse would happen to him." But that doesn't explain what happened to his clothes or the $1,500 of jewelry and even more cash he was traveling with, which was never recovered.
Indeed, other accounts suggest he was being followed or chased, possibly by someone looking to collect a gambling debt. Delahanty certainly had plenty of those, but how could they know he was going to be kicked off the train? Others believe the scuffle with the night watchman could have been more violent than previously thought. Whatever the case, we don't recommend being drunk and belligerent near Niagara Falls.
Related: Baseball Is Dead. Again.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Whole Household Was Massacred At His "Love Cottage"
Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the few architects whose names you know, so naturally, the homes he built for himself were of particular interest to the public. After all, a chef might cut corners on someone else's meal, but never his own. Of even more particular interest was the home that he built -- much to the consternation of the locals -- in 1911 in Spring Green, Wisconsin for himself and his mistress which he named Taliesin but the media dubbed the "Love Cottage."
Despite the scandal, Wright wasn't even a little ashamed of abandoning his wife, who refused to divorce him, telling the press, "Laws and rules are made for ... the ordinary man ... It is infinitely more difficult to live without rules, but that is what the really honest, sincere, thinking man is compelled to do." He was a white dude living at the turn of the century, so it goes without saying that he was kind of a dick.
Someone who wasn't a dick, by all accounts, was Julian Carlton, a Black handyman from Chicago hired by Wright on the recommendation of an associate. Wright and his family described Carlton as friendly, "mild-mannered," good at his job, and "well educated for a member of his class." (You can guess who that was.) There was no apparent ill will between Carlton and his employers or anyone else in the household, save for a few other servants who were rumored to be racist jerks.
Even as Carlton's time at the estate wound down, it's unclear whether he resigned of his own volition -- his wife, who also worked at the Love Shack, reported that he was eager to return to Chicago -- or if he was politely let go for his increasingly disturbing behavior, which had become a problem. According to his wife, he'd grown inexplicably paranoid over the preceding weeks, sleeping with a hatchet and keeping watch at his bedroom window all hours of the night.
On the day the couple had planned to leave for Chicago, however, Carlton apparently snapped. As Wright's mistress and her children sat down to lunch -- Wright was away on business -- he attacked them with the hatchet, burned their bodies, attempted to trap the other servants in a dining room before setting it too on fire, and then escaped to a basement furnace, where he drank acid in an apparent suicide attempt. He never explained the reason for the rampage that left seven dead, and he starved to death in jail seven weeks later.
What could have led a previously genial handyman to kill an entire house? It's theorized that his targets were the fellow servants who racistly insulted him and the others were simply potential witnesses who had to be dispatched, but then why attack the mistress and children first? Whatever the case, the heartbroken Wright doggedly rebuilt his shrine to his true love, only for it to burn down again a decade later thanks to “faulty wiring."
A Sacred Fish Was Stolen By Unknown Thieves From The Massachusetts State House
The Massachusetts State House is as synonymous with Boston in popular culture as baked beans and Wahlbergian dialects, but it has its own unique symbolism. Specifically, a nearly five-foot codfish carved out of wood that hangs over the chamber of the building where the House of Representatives meet, known as the "sacred cod." It's not a whimsical nickname: The people of Massachusetts take their cod extremely seriously, to the point that when the wooden emblem was stolen from the building in 1933, the House initially refused to conduct business without it. Then they got down to the task of figuring out the most extreme punishment for the thief they could get away with.
Meanwhile, police dragged rivers (perhaps thinking the fish might have escaped to freedom?) and interviewed witnesses, who described a bunch of Harvard-y looking kids they'd seen hanging around, one of whom was carrying a long flower box that could have concealed the fish. They zeroed in on the staff of The Lampoon, known for such pranks, who pointed the finger instead at their rivals at the school's daily newspaper The Crimson, who pointed their fingers right back in a standoff of ichthyological proportions. One editor for The Lampoon was detained and interrogated for hours, leaving police no closer to their errant Atlantic friend.
Only two known people know what happened: State Police Lieutenant Joseph Ferrari, whose investigation took him from Harvard Square to a Cambridge box factory before reporting to the media that he had a feeling the sacred cod would find its way home soon enough, and chief of Harvard Yard police Charles Apted. The same night Ferrari made his announcement, Apted received a mysterious phone call that directed him out to a remote part of the city, where he was either engaged in a high-speed chase, led 20 minutes into the forest at a leisurely pace, or simply told to look for a car with no license plates. Either way, the fish ended up safely in his hands. Why he and Ferrari refused to leak details of the crime, nobody knows. Apted was dead within the decade of probably unrelated causes, so he's certainly not talking.
Glen And Bessie Hyde Vanished In The Grand Canyon
In 1928, newlyweds Glen and Bessie Hyde decided to celebrate their nuptials with what they hoped would be a record-breaking speed run down the Colorado River rapids in the Grand Canyon. It might seem like a pretty strange choice of honeymoon, and although Glen Hyde was a fairly experienced rafter and even built the boat they used, what happened next makes a strong case for margaritas on the beach.
As far as anyone can tell, they made it at least as far as mile 231 on the river, just beyond Diamond Creek, where it's believed they stopped to camp. That's all anyone knows. Their boat materialized three weeks later in perfect condition, still full of food and supplies, and showing no evidence of ever even being overturned, so good job there, Glen. The best explanation anyone has is that they might have fallen out of the boat at a particularly rocky passage at mile 232, but no bodies have ever been found despite extensive searching.
What we do have is several strange leads that turned into dead ends. In 1971, an old woman on a commercial rafting trip through the area suddenly announced to her group that she was Bessie Hyde, explaining that she'd killed Glen, who she claimed was abusive, and escaped. It would be an awesome third-act twist, but nobody knew Glen Hyde to be violent, and the woman later insisted she never claimed to be Bessie Hyde.
Two decades later, after famous rafter Georgie Clark died, the "murder and secret identity" theory was revived when documents related to the Hydes, including their marriage certificate, were found in her possession, but they were dampened by the confirmation that Georgie Clark had, in fact, been Georgie Clark her entire life.
It still seemed plausible, at least, that Glen Hyde had met a violent end, when a male skeleton with a bullet wound to its skull was unearthed on the nearby property of photographer Emery Kolb. Kolb happened to be the last person to see the Hydes alive, in 1976. Upon further examination, however, the remains appeared to be those of a probable suicide victim who couldn't have been older than 22 (Glen was about 30 at the time of his disappearance) or died before 1972. It's still not clear how he ended up on Kolb's property, though, so what was up with that guy?