6. William Cantelo
William Cantelo (possibly pictured above) was the inventor of an early form of machine gun. Cantelo kept a laboratory in the basement of the pub he ran in Southampton, England, and neighbors would often hear sounds like rapid gunfire coming from below. Sometime in the 1880s, Cantelo told his sons he was going on a business trip to try to sell his new invention and was never seen again.
It was first assumed that Cantelo had met with an accident on his travels, until his sons saw a newspaper photograph of another inventor named Hiram Maxim. Maxim is credited with creating the Maxim Gun, a type of machine gun. And he bore an uncanny resemblance to William Cantelo.
Cantelo’s sons certainly believed that Maxim was their father and hired a private investigator to establish the truth, without success. There is also some evidence that Maxim visited Southampton and may have met Cantelo, if, indeed, he wasn’t Cantelo. Whatever the truth, Hiram Maxim died an extremely rich man, while William Cantelo’s sons inherited a pub with bullet holes all over the basement.