The north side of Portland, Oregon, in the late 1800s was the scene of a violent, raucous waterfront, where illicit cargoes from Asia were offloaded, drunken sailors "shanghaied," the brothels were always busy, and dark opium dens offered escape from the burdens of life. The profits from all these vices—including the smuggling of illegal immigrants from China—flowed to the elegant south side of town.
Diamond necklaces, rings, and other expensive baubles were an irresistible attraction to the light-fingered burglars who preyed on the wealthy winter visitors to Miami Beach in its early days. One particularly light-fingered jewel thief became the arch-villain of this elegant resort scene. Even after his arrest and imprisonment, the enormous hauls of jewels lifted by this sly criminal kept his legend alive. Read More
Who dreamt up the stunt of going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Through the 1800s, countless daredevils and would-be heroes attempted all sorts of stunts at the Falls and in the rapids below. But the first to go over the Falls—and survive—did not fit the usual mold of a thrill-seeking daredevil. She was a 63-year-old music teacher named Annie Edson Taylor, who quickly became a national celebrity. Read More
The great explorer Henry Hudson was determined to discover a Northwest Passage to the riches of Asia through the frigid bay in North America that still bears his name. Hudson’s voyages of exploration are viewed as pioneering triumphs. But in this episode, we’ll tell the tale of his last, fateful mission—a dangerous and obsessive expedition into uncharted waters that ended in terror, violence, and mutiny—and an enduring mystery.
Were 70 jugs of dark liquid discovered in a storeroom of an abandoned Saint Paul hospital startling evidence of an ingenious Prohibition-era scheme? Clues lead to a small cosmetics company accused of bootlegging cheap alcohol-based fragrances into drinkable booze. Their guilt or innocence was never proven. Do the 70 jugs of cheap perfume offer a clue to a Prohibition-era mystery?