'Monumental Mysteries': Don Wildman tracks down headless chicken statues and immortals

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One of the great joys of traveling is to wander down a road and be met with an oddity you had no idea existed -- say a giant statue of a headless chicken or a wonderful French Quarter townhouse that was the home of a man said to be immortal.

Don Wildman delights in such finds and brings six of them to the second-season premiere of Travel Channel's "Monumental Mysteries" Friday, June 13.

"In a sense that would be the ultimate goal, to make people to want to viscerally experience these things," Wildman tells  Zap2it. "But that is not possible. This takes people there and probes issues behind the documentary and gives people the perspective as to why someone has been prompted to put up a stone."

He uses that term to mean setting aside a house or a statue to explain what happened on the site. Despite the title, not all are mysteries.

For instance, Lucy the elephant of Margate, N.J. is not a mystery. The 65-foot-tall elephant was an advertising gimmick used to sell real estate when it was built in 1881. The story of Lucy is in the first episode, as is the story of a New Orleans townhouse said to be home to a vampire.

There are no obvious links among the sites chronicled in each episode, and Wildman says that is intentional.

"We keep it varied," he says. "If you are not interested in war history, then maybe you are interested in a health department story. We keep it intentionally unthemed. The only theme is these exist."

And if one looks, one can find historical curiosities all over the United States, he says.

"I think all sites are worth visiting, if you get the story behind them," Wildman says. "If you walk into any town or any building, for that matter, what distinguishes them are the stories told once you land on that story."
Photo/Video credit: Travel Channel