Extremely rare ‘unicorn’ of US paper money expected to sell for $3 million

An extremely rare U.S. currency note from the late 19th century is expected to sell for up to $3 million when it is auctioned next year. The 1891 $1,000 Silver Certificate is the only bill of its kind believed to exist in private hands, according to auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Known as the Marcy … Continue reading “Extremely rare ‘unicorn’ of US paper money expected to sell for $3 million”

An extremely rare U.S. currency note from the late 19th century is expected to sell for up to $3 million when it is auctioned next year.

The 1891 $1,000 Silver Certificate is the only bill of its kind believed to exist in private hands, according to auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries. Known as the Marcy note, the bill features the portrait of former New York Governor William L. Marcy, who served as a senator and as secretary of war under President James Knox Polk.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries notes that the Marcy note is sometimes considered the “unicorn” of U.S. money thanks to its unique design. The bill, which has an estimated pre-sale value of $2 million to $3 million, is being offered at auction for the first time.

'HOLY GRAIL OF PAPER MONEY' SELLS AT AUCTION FOR $2M

The note will be auctioned at the Whitman Spring Expo, which takes place in Baltimore between Feb. 28 and March 3.

The back of the note. (Stack’s Bowers Galleries)

Another extremely rare $1,000 bill described as the “Holy Grail of paper money” was recently sold at auction for just over $2 million.

The 1890 Treasury Note is dubbed the “Grand Watermelon” on account of the large green zeros on the back of the bill. Major General George Meade, the commander of Union forces at the Battle of Gettysburg, is shown on the bill’s face.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Original Civil War-era Lincoln letter up for sale

A rare piece of American history is up for sale, just in time for Christmas.

An original letter written and signed by President Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the Civil War was recently discovered among a collection of family heirlooms belonging to the direct descendants of Mary Todd Lincoln.

Written four days before Christmas in 1863, it requests that Mrs. Lincoln’s first cousin and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Craig, be allowed to safely return to their cotton plantation in Arkansas, which was by then in Union territory.

“[I]t is my wish,” Lincoln writes “that they be permitted to do so, and that the United States military forces in that vicinity will not molest them or allow them to be molested, when within their power to prevent, as long as the said Mr. and Mrs. Craig shall demean themselves as peaceful and loyal citizens to the United States.”

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According to an account written on December 20, 1863 by John Todd Stuart (another cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln and Susan Craig), Mrs. Craig “called upon Mrs. Lincoln to arrange her business matters. She wants a pass and protection for Craig and herself to go to Arkansas to occupy their farm and raise a crop of cotton next year. … Mr. Lincoln as I am informed granted all Sue’s wishes and promised to have the papers made out for her by tomorrow…”

HOW A MASSIVE PENGUIN COLONY HIDDEN FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS WAS FOUND

President Lincoln handed that unique protection order – beautifully scripted on Executive Mansion letterhead and dated December 21, 1863 – to the Craigs in a White House meeting. They carried it back to their home in Arkansas and from there, it was passed down from generation to generation, until it ultimately ended up in the care of a descendant now living in the Midwest.

It was recently acquired directly from that descendant by the Raab Collection, and is now for sale for $60,000.

“Finding something from Abraham Lincoln that is still in the hands of the family of the recipient is increasingly rare,” says Nathan Raab, the vice president of the Raab Collection. “Something of this importance and connection to Lincoln's family is very uncommon.”

RETURNING SOLDIER SURPRISES GRANDDAUGHTER AT RESTAURANT

And he would certainly know. The Raab collection has worked on the sale and preservation of many important historical documents, and with the families of their authors, including Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant and Ronald Reagan among others.

Remains of US Revolutionary War frigate discovered off UK coast

The remains of the famous Revolutionary War frigate USS Bonhomme Richard have been discovered off the coast of the U.K., more than 200 years after it sank following a naval battle.

The BBC reports that the famous warship, which was commanded by John Paul Jones, was discovered by search experts Merlin Burrows. Pieces of the ship were found off the coastal town of Filey in Yorkshire.

Originally a merchant vessel named Duc de Duras, the ship was built in France and donated to the American cause by King Louis XVI in 1779. Renamed Bonhomme Richard to honor both countries (American Ambassador to France Benjamin Franklin was the author of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”), the ship was commanded by John Paul Jones, who is regarded as the father of the U.S. Navy.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR-ERA SHIP UNEARTHED AT VIRGINIA CONSTRUCTION SITE

Bonhomme Richard famously defeated British frigate HMS Serapis in the Battle of Flamborough Head off the U.K. coast on Sept. 23, 1779. “Victorious, John Paul Jones commandeered Serapis and sailed her to Holland for repairs,” explains the U.S. Navy, on its website. “This epic battle was the American Navy's first-ever defeat of an English ship in English waters!” it adds.

Illustration of the battle between USS Bonhomme Richard and HMS Serapis, from "Memoirs de Paul Jones." (Library of Congress)

The clash is also immortalized in a famous quote from Jones. During the closing stages of the battle, Bonhomme Richard’s mast was hit above the top-sail, sending a large section of the mast and the ship’s Colors crashing to the deck near Jones’s feet. “Serapis called out, ‘Have you struck your Colors?’ Resoundingly, John Paul Jones exclaimed, ‘Struck Sir? I have not yet begun to fight!’," according to U.S. Navy. “With newfound will, his crew delivered decisive blows from all sides and aloft. Jones' sent 40 Marines and Sailors into the rigging with grenades and muskets.”

Despite defeating HMS Serapis, Bonhomme Richard suffered extensive damage during the battle and sank on Sept. 24, 1779.

SUNKEN BRITISH WARSHIP FROM AMERICAN REVOLUTION FOUND IN LAKE ONTARIO

The location of the wreck has long been a mystery, with the Yorkshire Post reporting that the site was thought to be six miles out to sea. However, the newly-found remains are said to be visible from nearby cliffs and “walkable from the beach.”

A depiction of the battle between USS Bonhomme Richard and the British frigate HMS Serapis. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The discovery has caused excitement on social media.

“FINALLY! Bravo! Been a long time coming!” tweeted maritime historian and author William H. White.

“Found!” tweeted Bill Koller.

Revolutionary War shipwrecks continue to be a source of fascination for historians. Earlier this year, for example, a Nor’easter uncovered the remains of a Revolutionary War-era ship on a beach in Maine.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON’S DESCENDANT LOANS EXTREMELY RARE FAMILY HEIRLOOMS TO REVOLUTIONARY WAR MUSEUM

In 2015, a Revolutionary War-era ship was unearthed at a construction site in Alexandria, Virginia.

John Paul Jones, hero in the American Revolutionary War, (c1930s). Jones (1747-1792) was the first well-known naval hero in the American Revolutionary War, and founded the US Navy. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

A 22-gun British warship that sank during the American Revolution regarded as one of the "Holy Grail" shipwrecks in the Great Lakes was discovered at the bottom of Lake Ontario in 2008.

Fox News’ Katherine Lam and the Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Lawrence of Arabia may have been murdered by British secret service, new film suggests

A controversial new biopic about T.E. Lawrence suggests British secret service may have murdered the famous desert warrior.

The British army officer and archeologist, the desert warrior of Lawrence of Arabia fame who played a key role in the defeat of the Ottoman Empire a century ago, died in a motorcycle accident in England in May 1935, at the age of 46.

In an email to FoxNews.com, Mark Griffin, who has written "Lawrence: After Arabia", explained that the biopic "covers the accident as both an accident or [a] possible assassination − about 10% of the film − so the viewer can make up their own mind."

“In my opinion – and I know this is a polarizing question – it could have been a conspiracy but I also believe it could have been an accident, hence covering why we show both aspects within the movie," he said.

Griffin told British newspaper the Daily Mirror last month that a “credible” explanation for the 1935 death is that the British intelligence apparatus assassinated Lawrence. British spies opposed Sir Winston Churchill’s plan to appoint Lawrence as the director of the espionage organization, Griffin claims.

BODIES OF MISSING ICELANDIC CLIMBERS FOUND 30 YEARS AFTER THEY DISAPPEARED

Lawrence of Arabia, early 20th century. Artist: Unknown. Lawrence of Arabia, early 20th century. Thomas Edward Lawrence, (1888-1935), most famously known as Lawrence of Arabia, gained international renown for his role as a British liaison officer during the Arab Revolt of 1916 to 1918.  (Colorized black and white print. Photo by The Print Collector/Getty Images)

“There were many credible reasons someone might have wanted him dead. Zionists, the Secret Service and the establishment were all against him," he said.

“First, he continued to be involved in the Arab cause, and was in regular contact with King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, who was angry that the Allies hadn’t kept their promises on the Balfour Declaration about Jewish settlements in Palestine, and was talking of an Arab revolt.”

Lawrence obtained valuable experience in gathering intelligence during the British campaign against the Turks during the First World War.

The filmmaker went as far to claim that Lawrence was also linked to Oswald Mosley and the Blackshirts, an infamous fascist party in the U.K., and there is also speculation about the possibility of Lawrence meeting Hitler.

“He might have been infiltrating the [fascist] group so he could find out more about the Nazis and the threat of a Second World War, or he might have gone native," Griffin said.

British soldier, adventurer and author Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888 – 1935) known as Lawrence Of Arabia. He joined the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I and was instrumental in the conquest of Palestine (1918). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The problem with Griffin’s claims are the lack of any solid evidence. Leading Lawrence scholars such as Jeremy Wilson, the author of "Lawrence of Arabia: The Authorised Biography of T. E. Lawrence (1989)", said: “Countless fictions have built up around Lawrence’s life.”

Wilson, who died in April 2017, wrote that people who leveled false claims about Lawrence “wanted to make money by publishing a new and preferably sensational ‘revelation.’ That process is still going on.”

In his 2010 biography "Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia", the prominent writer Michael Korda debunked the conspiracy theories about Lawrence’s death.

Griffin, whose film is expected to be released in 2020, told Fox News: “We view the film as the third in the trilogy following Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Dangerous Man (1996) and the focus by the media on the ‘conspiracy’ aspect within the film has been over-egged − due I think to the local interest in the story.”

BETTIE PAGE'S 'LOST YEARS' REVEALED IN 'TREASURE TROVE' OF UNSEEN LETTERS AND PHOTOS

David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made, winning seven Oscars in 1963.

Griffin told FoxNews.com his film “is a biopic which focuses on the last year of TEL’s life including his PTSD, his treatment as a teenager, his friendships with [Thomas] Hardy, [Winston] Churchill, Lady Astor etc.”

Jacob Rosen, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan and a top Lawrence expert, told FoxNews.com that Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, met with him [Lawrence] several times.

"He was very instrumental and I don’t think Zionists would have anything against him.”

Winston Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert has documented what he termed Lawrence’s “little known romance with Zionism,” including Lawrence’s comment prior to WWI on Jews in then-Palestine: “The sooner the Jews farm it the better: their colonies are bright spots in a desert.”

Rosen, who has the world’s largest collection of different foreign language versions of T.E. Lawrence’s biography Seven Pillars of Wisdom and has written and lectured on Lawrence, said Lawrence was “mentally exhausted” after he was released from his military service and he does not think he would have accepted an appointment to oversee the United Kingdom’s intelligence community.

“I am a diplomat and want to see the full picture,” Rosen said about the movie’s claims. “Let him present the evidence.”

Benjamin Weinthal reports on human rights in the Middle East and is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.

Chilling Crusader discovery: Trove of coins and 900-year-old earring found at massacre site

Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered a trove of rare gold coins and a 900-year-old gold earring at the site of a Crusader massacre.

Officials announced the discovery earlier this week, explaining that the artifacts were found at the ancient city of Caesarea on Israel’s coast. A small bronze pot, which contained 24 gold coins and the earring, was found hidden between two stones in the side of a well located in the remains of a 900-year-old house.

“The coins in the cache dating to the end of the eleventh century, make it possible to link the treasure to the Crusader conquest of the city in the year 1101, one of the most dramatic events in the medieval history of the city,” explained excavation directors Dr. Peter Gendelman and Mohammed Hatar of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in a statement.

AMAZING CRUSADER DISCOVERY: GOTHIC HALL FOUND AT KNIGHTS' HILLTOP CASTLE

Citing contemporary sources, the experts noted that most of Caesarea’s inhabitants were massacred by a Crusader army led by King Baldwin I of Jerusalem. “It is reasonable to assume that the treasure’s owner and his family perished in the massacre or were sold into slavery, and therefore were not able to retrieve their gold,” they said in the statement.

The bronze pot with gold earring inside. (Photo: Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation)

The stunning artifacts were found in the area of a sacred compound built by King Herod the Great more than two millennia ago. Other treasures have also been found nearby. In the 1960s, for example, a pot containing gold and silver jewelry was discovered at Caesarea, while a collection of bronze vessels was found in the 1990s.

The house where the latest treasures were found was built about 1,000 years after Herod’s reign.

CRUSADER-ERA HAND GRENADE SURPRISES ARCHAEOLOGISTS

The turbulent Crusader era in the Holy Land began in the 11th century and lasted until the 13th century.

The Gold earring discovered at Caesarea. (Photo: Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation)

The excavation project at Caesarea is sponsored by the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation and involves the Caesarea Development Corporation, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, as well as the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The discovery also came just before the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, when it is traditional to give children “Hanukkah gelt,” which are chocolate coins. “It is symbolic that the gold coins were discovered on the eve of Hanukkah,” said Caesarea Development Corporation CEO Michael Karsenti, in a statement. “For us, this is certainly ‘Hanukah gelt,’ and a testament to how much more is still hidden within Caesarea.”

900 YEAR-OLD JEWELRY FOUND IN CRUSADER CASTLE

Israel’s Crusader sites continue to be a source of fascination. In a separate project, for example, archaeologists recently discovered a Gothic hall at a medieval Crusader fortress in northern Israel.

Caesarea Maritima, general view of the archaeological excavations (Photo: Yaakov Shimdov, Israel Antiquities Authority).

Last year, amazing medieval jewelry was found during the excavation of a Crusader castle on Tittora Hill in the town of Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut.

In 2016, a centuries-old hand grenade that may date back to the time of the Crusaders was among a host of treasures retrieved from the sea in Israel. The hand grenade was a common weapon in Israel during the Crusader era.

MORE DEAD SEA SCROLLS MAY BE HIDDEN IN NEWLY DISCOVERED CAVES

Over decades, archaeologists have also uncovered the ruins of the once-thriving Crusader city in the modern Israeli city of Acre.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

China’s ancient ‘pyramids’ reveal their stunning secrets

A researcher has uncovered fascinating new details about the construction of ancient “pyramids” in China.

There are over 40 “pyramid” mausoleums in China, which are huge artificial earth hills. Only two of these sites have been partly excavated, according to Giulio Magli of the Politecnico di Milano in Italy, author of a new study on the pyramids.

The research, which examines the role of astronomy and Feng Shui in ancient Chinese necropolises, used satellite data and field surveys to collect a wealth of information on the archaeological sites. One of the sites is the pyramid tomb China’s First Emperor Qin Shi Huang, which is guarded by the famous Terracotta Army.

MYSTERIOUS REMAINS OF EXTINCT APE DISCOVERED IN ANCIENT CHINESE TOMB

In a study published in the journal Archaeological Research in Asia Magli notes that the ancient Chinese pyramids fall into two categories. One group of tombs is oriented “with good precision” to the cardinal points of north, south, east and west.

Terracotta Warriors protecting the Qin Mausoleum’s east front. (Giulio Magli)

In a statement, the researcher explains that, like their counterparts in Egypt, the ancient Chinese emperors saw their power as “a direct mandate of the heaven, identifying the circumpolar region as a celestial image of the imperial palace and its inhabitants.” As a result, the orientation of pyramids toward the cardinal points should come as no surprise.

However, the second group of pyramids is oriented away from true north. Specifically, these tombs orient to the west of north, when looking toward the monument. “It is out of the question that this second family may have been due to errors of the Chinese astronomers and architects,” Magli explained.

ANCIENT GREEKS MAY HAVE HELPED DESIGN CHINA'S TERRACOTTA ARMY, EXPERTS SAY

Instead, the study proposes that the ancient pyramid builders were accounting for the rotation of the Earth’s axis, which, over long periods of time, alters the position of stars in the night sky.

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“The explanation proposed in the article is thus astronomical: the emperors who built the pyramids of the ‘family 2’ did not want to point to the north celestial pole, which at the time did not correspond to any star, but to the star to which the pole would be approached in the future: Polaris,” he explained.

Polaris, also known as the North Star or Pole Star, is located in the constellation of Ursa Minor and has long been used as an important guide for navigation. While modern astronomers are used to identifying the north celestial pole with Polaris (although it is not a perfect alignment), at the time of the ancient Han emperors in China, the pole was still far from Polaris, Magli explained.

Other discoveries are shedding new light on ancient China. In 2016, archaeologists revealed evidence that ancient Greeks may have helped design the Terracotta Army, potentially offering fresh insight into China’s early contact with the west.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

The colorful history of the New York City subway map revealed

New York City, 1932 – at that point, the New York City subway has been around for a whopping 28 years. With 472 station stops, around 800 miles of track, and over 20 different subway lines, one might be shocked to hear that in 1932, the NYC subway system was attempting to label all 27 subway lines with only 3 colors. To even get close to understanding how NYC subways went from 3 colors to today’s 10, one would have to speak to a man named Peter Lloyd.

Lloyd is an amateur historian of the New York City subway system. He not only knows the system’s ins and outs he also knows the story of the creative geniuses that brought the system to where it is today. The New York City subway system has a long and outstanding history, but in order to learn where the color-coding system originated, we need to talk about 2 key players.

First and foremost, there is Raleigh D’Adamo, winner of a contest that the New York City Transit Authority held in 1964, and technically the creator of the modern color-coding system that exists within the NYC subway system today.

MYSTERIOUS FLORIDA TUNNELS’ SECRETS REVEALED

In 1964, the NYCTA contest called on graphic designers to attempt to design a way to organize the extremely disorganized subway system. D’Adamo wasn’t a graphic designer by profession, but he was a subway map guru and a man with an idea, so he entered the contest and to his surprise, he was one of three winners.

Although not the focus of the contest, his background in practicing law came in handy; D’Adamo says, “to explain it [his idea] I wrote a 19-page report comparing New York City’s system with other systems like London and Paris.” D’Adamo went on to explain that the key phrase that caught the eyes of the judges was, “It’s clear that the maps of the New York City subway system are using too few colors to do too much work.” All in all, D’Adamo's idea was that every line would be assigned a color, and so the modern coding system was born.

This organizational strategy worked for a few years but having a map with over 20 colors on it eventually started to confuse people. This is where John Tauranac enters the picture. Today, Tauranac is a professor at NYU, but back in the day, he was the leader of a key team in the MTA when the NYC subway map was going through some important changes. To simplify the color system, Tauranac and his team decided to incorporate something called “trunk lines.”

TIME CAPSULE HIDDEN IN WALL OF CALIFORNIA LIGHTHOUSE GIVES 'FASCINATING' GLIMPSE INTO CITY'S HISTORY

Trunk lines made it so subway lines that ran on the same avenue were all labeled the same color. Lloyd explains it best when he says, “Lexington Avenue has 3 lines running down it, the 4, 5 and 6. Now back in the 60’s and 70’s each of those routes had its own color. John Tauranac’s idea was to paint those 3 routes the same color and that meant he can draw a single line instead of 3 lines, saving space.” This trunk line system is still in effect, and New York City has John Tauranac to thank for the easy-to-read maps of today.

New York City is home to the largest rapid transit system in the world. However, when it comes to reliability, it finds itself towards the bottom of the list. This may change, but after understanding the rich and longstanding history of the NYC subways, it can be agreed upon that the properly organized and accurately colored system we currently have is far better than the one of bygone days.

See the exclusive video interview with Lloyd above to get the full story.

British Library set to reveal real-life ‘da Vinci code’

The British Library in London is set to showcase a number of Leonardo da Vinci's most important notebooks, all written in his famous “mirror-writing.”

The "Leonardo da Vinci: A Mind in Motion" exhibit will include notes and drawings from three of his most revered scientific and artistic notebooks, the Codex Arundel, the Codex Forster and the Codex Leicester.

“These remarkable pages, written in Leonardo’s distinctive mirror writing, illustrate how his detailed studies of natural phenomena – and in particular of water – influenced his work both as an artist and an inventor,” explained the British Library, in a statement.

LEONARDO DA VINCI'S EARLIEST WORK DISCOVERED?

In addition to using his own shorthand, da Vinci also wrote his personal notes starting on the right-hand side of the page. It is not clear whether this so-called mirror writing was a way to keep his notes private or simply a means to prevent smudging, as da Vinci was left-handed.

File photo – Sheet discussing how to read water for navigation from Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester (Photo by Seth Joel/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Another famous southpaw, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, bought the Codex Leicester, for $31 million in 1994. The Codex, a 72-page collection of notes, is widely considered to be one of Leonardo’s most important scientific notebooks, according to the British Library.

The British Library exhibition, scheduled for next year, will mark the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance master’s death.

LEONARDO DA VINCI'S $450 MILLION 'SALVATOR MUNDI' PAINTING HEADS TO THE LOUVRE ABU DHABI

The library said Tuesday it will mark the first time selections from the three will be displayed together in Britain. The Codex Leicester is also being shown in the U.K. for the first time since its purchase by Gates.

Sketch of Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519). (Photo by Mansell/The LIFE Picture Collection)

Curator Andrea Clarke said da Vinci's notebooks "show him to be an extraordinarily dynamic thinker who was able to make connections between multiple phenomena and disciplines."

The da Vinci exhibit will run from June until September.

HISTORIANS SAY THEY'VE FOUND LEONARDO DA VINCI'S LIVING RELATIVES

Da Vinci continues to be a source of fascination. Earlier this year, experts in Italy said they had found the earliest surviving work by da Vinci. The small glazed terracotta tile, described as a self-portrait of the artist as the Archangel Gabriel, was unveiled at a press conference in Rome.

However, the tile’s authenticity was questioned by noted Leonardo expert Martin Kemp, professor emeritus of the history of art at the University of Oxford.

There has even been some debate about the authenticity of Da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” painting, which sold for a record $450.3 million last year.

The painting grabbed headlines around the world when it was sold at Christie’s auction house in New York. "Salvator Mundi," Latin for "Savior of the World,” is one of fewer than 20 paintings by da Vinci known to exist and the only one in private hands.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Mysterious Florida tunnels’ secrets revealed

A newspaper article from almost 100 years ago has shed new light on the mysterious tunnel network beneath the historic neighborhood of Ybor City in Tampa, Fla.

A National Historic Landmark District, Ybor City is located northeast of downtown Tampa. The district’s tunnel network remains a source of fascination for historians and a recent report from Fox 13 gave a glimpse of the strange subterranean world.

One theory suggests that the tunnels were used by Prohibition-era smugglers and bootleggers. There has also been speculation that the tunnels were part of a network that transported Chinese prostitutes from Cuba to the Port of Tampa to Ybor City in the early 1900s.

MYSTERIOUS TUNNELS DISCOVERED IN FLORIDA

A 1921 newspaper article, however, offers fresh clues as to the tunnels’ uses.

Michael Strickland, a professor at Amridge University and independent historical researcher, contacted Fox News after seeing the Sept. 25, 1921 issue of the Tampa Tribune.

A Tampa Tribune reporter accompanied police into the mysterious tunnels as part of an article. “Underground tunnels, hidden panels, solid, barred doors, veiled passages, lookout poops and signal devices, all relics of a bygone day and age in this city, were discovered,” the article says. “In addition, gambling paraphernalia of all kinds, celo tables, poker and bolita layouts, every device known to the ingenuous minds of the gambling fraternity, were found in what were once notorious resorts.”

“Organized vice as such no longer exists in this city,” declares the article’s headline, with the reporter noting that former gambling joints are empty.

MYSTERIOUS HIDDEN ROOMS UNCOVERED AT CHURCHILL’S PALACE BIRTHPLACE

Of course, it is possible that the tunnel network was put to various uses at different times in its history.

Founded in 1886, Ybor City is renowned for its rich architecture, which includes former cigar factories and social clubs. Fox News has reached out to Ybor City with a request for comment on this article.

The Tampa Tribune ceased publication in 2016.

Historic tunnels are also found in other U.S. cities, such as the Cobble Hill tunnel in Brooklyn. Built in 1844, the massive tunnel beneath a busy Brooklyn street has been described as the world’s oldest subway tunnel.

In Canada, a network of early 20th-century utility tunnels beneath the city of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, was used as shelter by Chinese immigrants and also by bootleggers in the 1920s. Some anecdotes even link Al Capone to the tunnels, although it has not been proved that the famous gangster visited Moose Jaw.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

More Dead Sea Scrolls may be hidden in newly discovered caves

More Dead Sea Scrolls may be hidden in two newly discovered caves in Israel.

LiveScience reports that the caves, dubbed 53b and 53c, are near caves where the famous artifacts were found. However, archaeologists excavating the sites have yet to find any new scrolls.

In a paper presented at the American Schools of Oriental Research annual meeting in Denver last month, archaeologists Randall Price of Liberty University and Oren Gutfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explain that cave 53b has revealed some of its secrets. Earlier this year, a rare bronze cooking pot and an ancient oil lamp were found in the cave. “Other finds included large amounts of pottery representing store jars, flasks, cups and cooking pots, and fragments of woven textiles, braided ropes and string,” they explain in an abstract from their paper.

DEAD SEA SCROLLS DISCOVERY: TECH REVEALS HIDDEN SCRIPT

Archaeologists note that the caves have at least partly escaped the attention of looters in previous decades. “The significance of this discovery involves the new evidence it provides that the caves south of Qumran represent sealed loci, despite the attempts by Bedouin to loot these sites,” they write, in the abstract.

The Caves at Qumran on the western edge of the Dead Sea, the location of where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. Dated 1950. (Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

The first Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1946 and 1947 in the Qumran caves in the Judean desert. Further scrolls were found in subsequent years, up to 1956. In total, 1,000 ancient religious manuscripts were discovered. The delicate fragments of parchment and papyrus were preserved for 2,000 years thanks to the dark, dry conditions in the caves.

LiveScience reports that most of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 11 caves discovered between 1946 and 1956. A single, blank scroll was found in a 12th cave that was discovered in 2017. Scroll jars, scroll wrappings, an Early Bronze Age seal, Neolithic arrowheads and pottery were also discovered in the cave.

DEAD SEA SCROLL FRAGMENTS DISCOVERED TO BE ‘FAKES’ AT THE MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a continued source of fascination. Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Haifa announced that they have translated one of the last two parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

In October the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. confirmed that five of its 16 Dead Sea Scroll fragments are fakes.

Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers