Mystery Files

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Wednesday 17 February, 5.30pm

Cleopatra, Egypt’s last pharaoh – the beautiful queen who seduced Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, the two most powerful men in the world. Yet throughout a land full of ancient temples and statues there is only one carving of Cleopatra which remains unspoilt. Why has the image of history’s most famous queen disappeared from the face of the earth and who is responsible for its removal? An international team of experts reveal how Cleopatra’s legendary sex appeal led to her memory being systematically erased.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 16 February, 5.30pm

The US President is assassinated and a lone gunman is caught and blamed, but the facts don’t add up. Why did the killer leave a friendly note for the Vice-President hours before the murder? And why did a man called Lewis Payne unsuccessfully attempt to kill the Secretary of State on the same day? The Vice-President, pro-slavery factions, disgruntled Confederates and Lincoln’s Secretary of War all have the finger of suspicion pointed at them. But who was really behind this treacherous crime?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 15 February, 5.30pm

1881. A courthouse in New Mexico holds the Wild West’s most famous outlaw, Billy the Kid. But not for long. In cold-blooded murder, Billy shoots his jailers dead and escapes. This is the accepted story of the daring escape that made the Kid a legend. But a new forensic investigation has thrown the myth of Billy the Kid into a cloud of gunsmoke. And a new interpretation of letters written by Billy himself has forced historians and modern-day law enforcement to reopen the case.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Friday 12 February, 5.30pm

Visiting the darkest dungeons of imperial France, using modern scientific experiments and researching long forgotten documents, investigators build a compelling and scandalous account of the true story behind the myth of the Man in the Iron Mask. The modern myth comes to us from two well known French figures. The philosopher Voltaire and writer Alexandre Dumas both wrote accounts of the prisoner. Dumas’ exciting fictional take on the events is perhaps the best know, as it forms part of the tales of the Three Musketeers. However, it is Voltaire’s historical account that is particularly important in attempting to decipher the truth. Our journey takes us to the dark heart of 17th Century France – a time and place where the King’s word was law. Even the nobility in France were not protected. The practises of torture and imprisonment without trial were widespread. In the midst of this time of fear and arbitrary arrest, several high-ranking prisoners are known to have been stripped of their identity.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Thursday 11 February, 5.30pm

The world’s most celebrated artist, 600 years ago he invented machines that belong in the modern age: the tank, the diving suit, the helicopter. His advancements in the field of flight were truly ahead of their time. He broke the mould of medieval thinkers. Or did he? Startling new evidence suggests Leonardo was not the revolutionary engineer legend has portrayed him as. Using cutting edge laser technology to analyse what lies behind the Mona Lisa, Leonardo’s most famous painting, this investigation delves deep into the technological genius of the Renaissance.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Wednesday 10 February, 5.30pm

In 1483, the rightful king of England Edward V and his nine year old brother disappear from the Tower of London amid rumour of murder – an infanticide which alters the course of British history. It changes the royal bloodline, nearly bankrupts the country and leads to a break from the Catholic Church. Their uncle Richard III has long been accused of the crime but modern investigative techniques are throwing his guilt into doubt, exposing the medieval spin doctors who turned Richard into a murderous villain while concealing two other prime suspects.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 9 February, 5.30pm

One of the greatest unsolved murder cases of all time, in 1888 Jack the Ripper terrorises the city of London, killing 5 women in gruesome attacks. Still the most infamous name in English criminal history, Jack is an enigma. But a new approach is uncovering evidence that turns the case on its head. Never before seen evidence and modern crime scene analysis reveal there could be not one but two Jack the Rippers. Both questioned then disregarded by the Victorian police.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Monday 8 February, 5.30pm

Desperately searching for ways to make sense of the 9/11 catastrophe, there are those who quickly connect the falling of the Twin Towers with the predictions of 16th-century astrologer Nostradamus. Famous in his own lifetime – European royalty heeded his warnings – his legend has grown over the centuries. Yet controversy shrouds not only his prophecies but Nostradamus himself. Could this mystical man from another time really have seen into the 21st century? Was he a genuine seer or a clever charlatan who has repeatedly bluffed a gullible public? Putting Nostradamus predictions to the test and unravelling the methods behind his uncanny powers takes us into the secret world of medieval astrology.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Friday 5 February, 5.30pm

France in the 1420’s: a teenage girl hears voices – words only she can hear. And she says they come from God. Joan of Arc then embarks on her holy quest: to defeat the English and win the crown of France for her king. Divine messenger, witch or warrior: how could a 19 year old have overcome the extreme pain and suffering she endured? Searching for the truth with rigorous scientific and psychological analysis, the miraculous life of Joan of Arc is re-examined.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Thursday 4 February, 5.30pm

December 17, 1916, St Petersburg, Russia. Grigori Rasputin self-styled mystic and confidant to Tsar Nicholas II is fatally shot in the back of the head. His Russian assassins fear Rasputin’s control over their ruling family has gone too far. The facts of Rasputin’s murder have gone unchallenged for almost a century. But documents reveal he had other enemies who wanted him dead. Historians now reinvestigate the official autopsy photographs and use advanced ballistic evidence to unravel who really held the smoking gun.