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tv   Strange Inheritance  FOX News  February 21, 2015 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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>> do you have a strange inheritance story you'd like to share with us? we'd love to hear it. website. strangeinheritance,.com. coming up next is "strange inheritance." thank you for joining 100,000 creepy crawlers.?0"s >> spiders will cover your whole face. >> all collected from the far reaches of the world. >> wait is it alive? talk about a bug -- >> walt disney went into the museum and wanted to buy the collection. >> but there's a bigger story behind this bizarre collection. eye opening experience.a ♪ ♪ ♪♪ ♪ú82ñr]22r >> i'm jamie colby and right now, i'm driving on the
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outskirts of colorado springs x°=iî9ñ i'm looking for the turn off to a strange inheritance which includes, believe me one of the most unique collections and my marker, it's a giant beatle.% j +$;n/"ó÷ijmñ÷ >> hi, jamie. >> how are you? >> my name's rj steer. in 2007, my grandfathery may, passedi#cm away an$á pd left the largest privately owned collection of insects in the world.=é5ñffaa at the time,subñ i didn't know what want to do with it. >> it's housed ina vñ this little museum. nestled in a small canyon. it's one of those classic american roadside attractions. of all the strange things you few thousand drawers, canisters and cases full of bugs, it's probably not on your list. would it change your mind if]]h içv, told you it's been appraised for
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millions? somebody tells you you're 6. sitting on >>6a=ñ there are some insects that have never been seen since. there are some thought to be: extinct extinct2;j cf1 o >> for bugs. this whole place feels like a time capsule. to the may family/me the collectiona legacy, but i learn it's also a scientific marvel of sorts.u!; >> you must be jamie. >> hey, are you sam? sam johnson has beenrp!eñ coming to the may natural history museum for more than six decades. it inspired a childhood passion that paefedriou the way for a -- and high school biology teacher. >> i bring my classes here every year and we look at literally the best examples in the world. >> this place is old school.
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wooden displayyjf"j cases with goose neck lamps. the handwritten description and a collection that includes many species that have never been seen again. >> i've never seen so many insects. >> each carries with it this b@mv incredible story about its niche and environment. >> have we spanned the globe here? >> absolutely. from everywhere.ruax >> the story behind this collection is almost as spine tingling as this spider, which happens to be where the tale begins. it was captured by the ben factor of this strangehb cw2é,ezuhp &hc% inheritance in 1903. james may was a british national who fought inpifdw the second world war in africa. for dead. thankfu[!; by a tribe ofk>1 zulu ss and d57q his convalescence, he passes 4jvj he hours by.
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boyhood past time. bug collecting andqcvñ pinning.pi÷ when he regains!= his health, he continues a life of adventure whichc with bugs. steer is james' great grandson. >> he immigrated to canada, which was still part of the british crown and worked as a park ranger in manitoba and hunted big game and also continued tor1dztd >> james gets married and has three son ss, only one of whom, john, borngyr÷ in 19 sa, shares james' love forf3qnr bugs. carla harris is john may's daughter. >> hezafjb went on trips collecting around canada. heg and loved the collection. >> when the great depression hits james loses his job as a but his teenage son, john who unlike his father, hasué$ a head
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turn dad's unusual hopbby into)xedj a money making adventure. >> john may learned how to create wooden type display cases from+ realities of traveling with the collection. >> by 1930, the entire family hits the road. in both canada and the u.s. with their traveling displays of bugs. all frontedé"r by 15-year-old john may. >> he was a teenager. he had grown men working for him.á >> a whole group of menpm who wereiréañ working as rous abouts andjern they were destitute. but he helped a lot of people along the way adñlso intrigued a lot of people with his collection. >> he wanted it to be interesting to the general public and i really think'sdx he did a good job of it. >> by 1936, u starts his own family and before you know it, their threeiy& daughters join the entourage as they bounce from fairground to exhibition hallwa)gt with more of their shows drawing
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standing room only;;dt12 zcrowds. >>!út i remember topeka kansas a lot and des moines, iowa-f we went to expositions in madison square gardens and rockefeller center. >> while james focuses oná expanding the show, his father collecting more specimens, often by trading them through the mail. >> they relied heavily on missionarieséjhks in borneo or maybe the localzbbá÷ postmaster in the middle of africa somewhere and they just swapped specimens. >> and so it goes through the depression, but by thezja5k early 1940s after more than a decade(6a÷ living like no jman, the may clan is ready to settle down. john and vicki in0+7çparticular. >> when we were at a fair, my mom would have to find water/gdz buckets ofka$ñ water to wash our clothes. he wants a:dp permanent museum so he wouldn't have to continue the o-4.áq'uous circuit. >> during their travels, the
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entire family fell in love with colorado's scenery. but there's another reason john bought a piece of ranch land here. >> colorado is the perfect location. it's÷2ready a dry climate, so the specimens are better. >> true to form john mays designs the museum that would exhibit his father's collections. he even helped build it himself. rj an argumen amazed at wh! do. >> my grandfather taught himself he figured out how to adapt any pieces he could get. >> with an eye for the future, the shrewd business man insistsq%$ on paying÷#h+w extra for something he thought he needed to expand. >> he made sure of the water $cw rights, built six reservoirs, a series of ditches accordingly, all learning how to operatepg)nñ the heavy machinery to do so.
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>> on may 1st 1952, the may natural historym) w museum doors. the may family is is finally home, only to lose their master bug collector when he dies in 1956 >> we probably had somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 is 00,000d"lm specimens and more or less, my great grandfather's legacy is that he is the essentially all) >> the future of this strange inheritance is in the hands of john may, who has even bigger plans for it. >> those plans include the biggest name in themeuwoparks. >> walt disney wanted to buy the collection. >> that's next. >> but first ourt strangev/flñ inheritance quiz question. how long is the longest insect in the world? is it seven inches 22 inches or 36 inche=áhypi &háhp &hc% the answer in a moment. copd includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
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his son, john, takes charge of the collection. john's
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father's name on it. walt stands firm. sale or no deal. >> dad says if we sell it will we get credit? will there be a plaque saying this is james william's collection? they said, no they don't give credity,w to anything in l4q6qdisany land. the may family opens a second bug museum in aó e popular thebmfrw park. he straps his signature beetle on to his pick up and drives across-country. >> what did you think as kids when you had this big beetle. >> it's a real traffic stopper. pmdr really is. but thereldfç he is. he thought if he could lease lot more money, but there he hada of metal. i mean, it was a major project to be able to display without the whole collection being a@%!.z destroyed. >> ultimate hily, john may's s+"ál venture in florida runs into same problem he faced:
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disney. >> the reason we left is because abc paramount took over. they wanted to buy it or wez had to leave. >> in the mid 1960s, johnsd) carts the bug collection back to colorado, but the experience makes him realize he needs more than a bug museum to drawltk =0.e customers, sà in a camp site.tvczlb!@r(t&háhp &hc% >> them)1[g original- &d parcel was 180 acres. my grandfather added on to the land when ever anything became " u available. somewhere around 950 acres. >>v lo we ended up campgrounds. >> thanks dpoodness he tied up those water writes before. now, his bug museum is not just a place for science or curious road trippers. tackvdx on the campground and it's an overnight adventure. the beetle statue is an
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irresistible inside the museum there's a 17 inch walking stick@7b with a ten-inch wingspan, butterflies in every color of the rainbow and a black widow spider that brxdeserves its dead lily rest. >> the black widow is not just a myth. >> no, it's not at all, althou7 individual to individual, but;q,tr(t&háhp &hc% they've killed a lot o f people. i had a friend who was this close to dead before the4ee emts got there and saved her life. >> okay these bugs are giving me the even before sam johnson insists i try my hand add bug pinning. so pinning 101 and you had to pick locusts? >> i just couldn't resist. >> luckily sam is joking and we move along to.wú ó something more tolerable. if i see correctly, youñ
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somebody much more beautiful. >> yes yes this is an admiral butterfly. >> beautiful butter tr(t&háhp &hc% >> it can spread its wings like that and we teh/g a pin and i can put a pin not through the wing, but rightñ-aak next to the wing. see how you do here. put the pin= through that÷wbdy paper. good. you're like a doctor. >> at least i got through one. for decades, the museum with its old fashioned displays continues to chugfl family members working at it full time. but as the 21st century getting underway interest in the museum and campgrounds%mm steadily drop off and after vicki passes away, becomes clear that running a museum i
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easy if for an october gentlemen nar yab. >> he wanted to do itb and so as he was declining in the last year, he couldn't do those things anymore and the ranch began to de50r >> on november"?b may dies in his sleep at the age >> i was in the kitchen quietly doing dishes.#@% he wasqmjiô in the room next to me. i could hear him breathing and all of a sudden, i heard my mother, who had died wx in 2000,,rzijj!q we're going to leave soon and walked into the room and he died.uhmfeìáhp &hc% my feeling was they were all through the universe. >> now, john's earthbound air faces a çmhcyup'dary. theuzjpm museum iso o survive? >> that's next on strange inheritance inheritance. >> here's another quiz a has the most toxic venom the world.
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single novell. and now the answer to our quizc question. what's the:l"ñ with the most toxic vennom in the world? it's an ant found in arizona. its ant is more powerful per something than any otherf$! kninsect. >> in #&fv2007, when insect épa/ improsario john may dies he leaves behind a strange inheritance, a museum that contains thousands of bug specimens from around the world,i @r(t&háhp &hc% many rare, some extinct. the museum's collection has been+lf.2 uhp &hc% appraised at between $5 million and $6 million. but with dwindling attendance,
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the family is doubtful museumtçqeñ can survive. carrie york worked throughout the years with grandfather, john may, maintaining the museum's ground. >> sincáo '70s there have been a lot of changes. i knew that i needed to increase myu
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>> my mom, my cousin, continued doing the roles that they had b before, but continued with a a bun tremendous amount of stress. >> from the time of the first great depression when their r grandfather and great-grandfather took their show on the road, those bugs had supported the may family.was was it timefinally time to fold up the tent it. >> i asked each person in turn what they thought they wanted toa see happen to the existing is operation, and what they wanted y want out of it. that was an eye-opening all o experience all off its own. >> find out whatat happens as the family sits down over tea to have a civilized talk and theo financial gusher that makes them all think twice. >> a joke in colorado that whiskey's for drinking but water's f fightor for fighting. >> that's next on "strange inheritance."thno b deal... until your insurance company jacks up your rates. you freak out. what good is having insurance
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natural history museum which bears his name is limping along. during a family meeting in february 2012, the heirs have to decide what to do. should they sell the land? close the bug museum? and if they keep it open, how are they going to get it back in shape? that's when they realize john may's true genius, tieing up all those water rights decades ago when he purchase thed the land for his museum and campground. >> there's a joke in colorado that whiskey is drinking and water is for fighting because water is so valuable. >> the estimated value of the land with that water they're told $25 million. so what would you do? millions from the water millions from the land millions, perhaps from the bug collection, too? i'm with you. i'm thinking it's time to take the money and run. the heirs of james and john's take a vote, it's unanimous.
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the water money would be used to keep the operation going. >> all eight of us essentially said the same thing, nearly word for word, and with such a unanimity. there was just really no question that it was worth a shot. >> r.j., grandson of john great-grandson of james, gives up his career as an architect to head the operation. in the back of your mind, did you think to ourself, okay we'll take a shot but it's not going to be easy? >> we are literally standing in one man's 50 years of effort and creation and it takes a lot to get up off the floor dust yourself off and find things that need improving and things that need ending. >> the may legacy will soon find itself being fulfilled by a fourth generation, all of them united by these crazy, creepy crawleys. >> you hear very commonly when a
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businessowner dies, his children start fighting about it or they start selling it off right away or they run it into the ground. all of us are all totally invested in keeping the business going, keeping the museum open for people to enjoy. >> the heirs to this strange inheritance all vividly withdrawal their grandfather, james may, trusty butterfly net in hand fascinating them with his stories and adventures of insect hunting. he explained that most of the bugs he collected were docile, they were not poisonous, and they were even big enough to easily get ahold of like the fellow over here, the hercules beetle. it can lift 850 times its own weight making it the strongest creature on earth for its side. try finding a roach motel big enough for a family of those. i'm jamie coblby for "strange
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inheritance." remember, you can't take it with you. do you have a strange inher tans story you'd like to share with us? go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. hello, and welcome to "justice." i'm katie in for judge jeanine. thanks so much for being with us. tonight the latest on the 21 christians brutally murdered by isis, the hunt to track down their killers and what's being done to protect christians in the middle east. another obamacare blunder. this year, 1 million americans could have their tax returns delayed. first, this week the white house finally held their big countering violent extremism summit but there seems to be a lot of meetings and we know there are a lot of speeches but there's one giant thing that was missing. any mention of islamic extremism. take a look. >> countering violent extremism begins with political, civic

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