Martha's Vineyard Museum
In 1896 Prescott F. Jernegan claimed to have invented a method of extracting gold from sea water. The device used, called the Gold Accumulator, consisted of a box with holes cut through it to allow the free passage of water. Inside the box was a pan of mercury mixed with a "secret ingredient". After selling many of the "Accumulators" the elaborate scheme turned out to be a hoax. When it was discovered that Jernegan and Fisher had lied to their investors, they both fled the country. Neither Jernegan or Fisher were ever caught. Later, Jernegan did refund $75,000 of the money he had stolen from investors.