Next time you ask why they perform random full cavity searches, just remember what some travelers tried to stuff in there. Just in case you still have wacky ideas left, check out the list of 17 craziest things found by airport security throughout the years.
It seems that all those instructions written in bold in the airport serve no purpose. People continue to make the same mistakes and push their luck. Some even cry when officers toss away their improvised bombs.
1. Stuffed Armadillo Sheriff
A stuffed armadillo dressed like a sheriff can make anyone laugh, except Australian Customs.
Do Aussie officers have something against taxidermy? Are they too picky when it comes to art?
None of the above questions can explain why a man flying from Texas to Sydney could not take home his prized possession. The answer will shock you.
The strict laws on wildlife importation apply even to dead animals. Everything that contains genetic material that is not native to the continent will get rejected at the security check. Art or no art, the armadillo is native to the Americas and is not welcomed in the outback.
Even the carefully crafted hat, holsters, and sheriff badge failed to impress the officers. We think it is evident that the man denied entry was furious. The stuffed Armadillo was shipped back to the States and gain a comfortable spot in the airport’s museum.
It can go even more macabre! Stuffed armadillos are nothing compare to the next crazy thing found by airport security.
2. 18 Severed Human Heads
The Chicago O’Hare International Airport probably holds the record for the most gruesome discovery made by law enforcers.
18 severed human heads were stopped in their tracks, but not for the reasons you might suspect. No, no serial killer was trying to get rid of his collection by rerouting it through airports located halfway around the globe.
The eerie shipment had a very simple purpose. The heads have been commissioned for medical training and were on their way to a Chicago facility. In fact, that is a very common procedure, and airport authorities know about it. Human body parts travel more often than one suspects.
What caught their attention were some errors in the paperwork. No mystery here, just the bureaucracy that threatens to engulf our world some day.
We hate breaking it to you, but some passengers with a medical purpose in mind often check in blood, organs, and other nasty stuff. Just make sure you don’t stare too much at that lunch cooler positioned above your seat.
Even cute looking toys are subject to inspection, as you will see next.
3. Gun inside Stuffed Mouse
TSA officers at T. F. Green International Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island couldn’t believe their eyes when they spotted the unusual payload.
Tucked inside a stuffed Mickey Mouse and two other toy animals were all the parts needed to assemble a handgun. Nothing escapes the X-ray vision, not even things surrounded by stuffing.
Details on the incident stopped here, but it should be clear that the man didn’t get away with it. Blaming China for their poor product quality check made everyone chuckle. The man was trying to do something radical, either mid air or once arrived at the destination.
Just imagine someone tearing apart stuffed animals the moment the plane leaves the runway. It doesn’t sound like Al Qaeda’s signature, but it can be equally deadly.
The case comes to show just how meticulous TSA agents need to be. Even passengers accompanied by their children are not risk-free. Cut your tongue the next time you curse them silently for performing a pat-down screening.
Keeping things in small proportions can make you get away with it! That’s not the case for the next crazy story.
4. Hundreds of Exotic Fish
When the TSA spots something fishy inside your luggage, you can bet your eyes they will go through it.
A man’s attempt to transport 240 living fish off all types and sizes ended in failure at the Los Angeles International Airport. However, the man was politely instructed to ship them via cargo.
For most people, checked in luggage becomes a heaven for transporting odd stuff, mostly because there are fewer restrictions than those imposed on the carry on bags. Even so, liquids in vast quantities (as the one needed to keep the exotic fishes alive) always raise suspicions.
You don’t have worry about taking your only golden fish with you on vacation. As long as the plastic bag holds no more than 100ml you are clear to board.
The real problem starts when you try to relocate your whole aquarium at the cheapest cost possible.
Let’s move to another medieval item that was denied by security.
5. A Giant Wooden Mallet
Ready to depart on holiday? Don’t forget to bring along your giant wooden mallet, just in case you need to whack someone.
Just kidding! The woman that attempted to pass it as checked luggage was in for a severe disappointment. No rule states such an object can’t come with you onboard. However, it’s common sense not to show up with such an impressive tool at the airport.
The case is by no means isolated, and authorities linked it with the increased popularity of the Harley Quinn character. No dress up is complete without a giant mallet. The heavier it is, the more authentic the cosplay.
Just how far are passengers willing to go? The answer will stun you!
6. A Baby
An Egyptian couple went through airport security crossing their fingers. They attempted to smuggle their five-month-old baby.
The remarkable case occurred at the Sharjah International Airport, United Arab Emirates. The two did not have a visa for the newborn and were told to wait two days in the airport for the immigration office to reopen. Restless, the couple decided to put the baby inside a bag and go through security anyway.
It might sound silly, but they were completely unaware of the fact that the scanner can see inside with ease. The mother and father were arrested for putting the baby at risk and were themselves illegal aliens.
The following creepy discovered turned the airport into a crime scene, but not for the apparent reason. You must read about it.
7. Human-Skull Fragments
Ancient human skull fragments emerged after a routine checkup at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Why is that bad? Let’s just say that before any analysis, such pieces serve as evidence. That particular security lane became an ad-hoc crime scene and investigations followed.
The women flew them from Cuba and believed the fragments possessed magical spell-lifting powers. The suspecting cargo was stopped in its tracks while going through customs.
How did the story end? After months of investigations and lab work, the passenger was entitled to claim possession. The remains were century-old and held no sign of violence.
It’s safe to say that TSA officers were lucky this time. Old dusty bone fragments are easier to bear than the collection of perfectly preserved heads we mentioned earlier.
For obvious reasons, not everything you stumble upon is safe to take back home. Some have to learn it the hard way.
8. Old Cannonball
Ever wondered how museums transport weapons and other dangerous stuff they uncover?
Let us tell you a little secret. Archeologists never use commercial airliners. The passenger that tried to push an 18th-century cannonball through security learned this the hard way.
Not only did he disrupted traffic on Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, but he also ended up without the prized collectible. As you probably guessed, someone blew it up in a remote shooting range.
Discovered at the bottom of the sea by an amateur diver, the cannonball held no guarantee. Although unlikely to blow up, it had that 0.1% risk the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is never willing to take.
Keep in mind. Next time you discover a WWII tank or Hitler’s secret nuclear arsenal, don’t assume they will hail you as a hero through customs and grant you priority boarding.
Sometimes the simplest objects can have a deadly side attached to them. Check out the next item that didn’t pass security!
9. Dagger inside a Hairbrush
Hairbrushes that include a knife can be bought online, a sign that someone was evil enough to invent an easy way for domestic violence to escalate.
Nevertheless, packing such a brush for your city break will not cut it with passing through security. You might have the laziest or poor-sighted agent on duty in front of the scanner, but he/she will see it.
The first case occurred at the Kahului Airport on Maui Island (Hawaii), but the phenomenon quickly grew out of control. How specific should TSA instructions be to counteract similar situations?
Contemplating the future is scary. A woman’s purse might soon contain a laser lipstick or pepper spray mascara. Pack light and only use such harmful objects on your husband at home.
Just a look at the photo below. TSA complimented the unwary passenger with a full hair search. She might be smiling, but the agent quickly turned rough on her.
Smuggling rare animals is not a cool thing to do. They will never allow that!
10. Tiger Cub
Customs officers at Bangkok (Thailand) first thought of a miracle when a bag filled with stuffed toy tigers included one alive.
The cub was drugged and belonged to an endangered species, raising once more the issue of trafficking endangered animals. The incredible capture was made possible by X-ray analysis which revealed real life organs instead of artificial filling.
The precious cargo was heading for Iran, and the case soon made headlines around the world. As flights increased in numbers, smugglers grow bolder in their attempts to test the vigilance of authorities.
If they tried with a tiger, we could only wonder what is next. A crocodile? Or maybe an elephant? “Officer, I genuinely do not know how that ended up in my bag. It must have crawled inside for comfort.”
Popular culture should tell you what the most dreaded animal on board a plane is.
11. Dead Snakes
TSA was seconds away from calling Samuel Jackson when they came across 30 venomous snakes in someone’s checked luggage.
The good news was that the animals were dead and kept in jars for preservation purposes. The bad news was that the passenger had not informed the authorities about the eerie cargo that was about to go through customs.
The incredible discovery was made at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and was the result of additional screening. The passenger flew from South Korea and had the snakes packed in jars and bottles of various sizes.
You might say that dead snakes killed no one. Well, that’s a partial truth. Although breathless, the animals do conserve the venom in their bodies.
Just imagine the scenario in which such luggage is mishandled or gets stuck in the conveyor belts. That beats breaking a jar of pickles.
Ready for more snakes on a plane?
12. Snakes in Bra
What is worse than dead snakes on a plane? Living ones, of course!
Security officers at Stockholm Arlanda Airport were more than excited when they caught someone trying to board with 75 live snakes. However, that’s not even half of the story.
The woman used a large bra to conceal the tiny reptiles. What started with “Fanny Pack, Lane 1” (slang for signaling an attractive female passenger) ended with one of the most productive days at the job.
Sweden is rather relaxed compared to the United States when it comes to passing security. The woman gave herself away by scratching repeatedly and acting nervous. Let’s just say it is not comfortable providing shelter to many crawlers at the same time.
Snakes on the plane just got one order of magnitude closer to becoming a reality.
Sometimes pets do the unbelievable and put their owners in uncomfortable positions with the law.
13. Chihuahua in Checked Baggage
You believe you have seen it all. Then, a Chihuahua shows up while screening checked luggage.
The catch made the day brighter for the Transportation Security Administration officers at LaGuardia Airport in Queens. Not the same can be said about the owners.
Although somehow relieved by the fact that their mutt was safe, the incident ruined their vacation. The Chihuahua was supposed to remain home due to recent misbehavior but found its way in the luggage during packing. Clothes tend to be cozy and the small dog fell was asleep the whole time.
At this point, it helps to know that most airlines allow travelers to come along with their pets. Small animals are admitted in the cabin while bigger ones should go with the checked luggage in crates that are breathable.
The incredible case made the TSA update their pre-flight recommendations. Always keep an eye on pets that want to travel for free!
Noobs trying to smuggle drugs are an easy catch.
14. Marijuana Stuffed Inside a Grenade
It might sound silly, but some passengers were foolish enough to show up with marijuana stuffed inside a grenade.
Many flights were delayed at Bellingham International Airport when officials found a grenade-shaped marijuana grinder filled with the drug. The Darwin Award had to create a special category for the man who selected the worst possible place to hide illegal substances.
“Oh, how cute, it is a grenade! We will not check this hippy and congratulate him for matching the color of his backpack with that of his pants.” That is how a foolish mind pictures a stunt that had zero chances of succeeding.
Real or replicas, weapons, and explosives trigger a big red flag and will always get your luggage checked. And that’s not all. Expect a prolonged body massage and full cavity search from that one TSA agent they keep for cases like this.
If you kept marijuana in a grenade, you deserve the ordeal!
Can it get even worse? It certainly can.
15. Fake C4
Replicas of C4 explosives were found in a carry-on bag at Honolulu International Airport, triggering panic and hour-long delays.
You will be relieved to know the boxes didn’t have drugs inside them. However, they were part of a dummy detonation kit typically used in drills.
Why don’t declare it from the beginning? It seems that flying makes some individuals anxious enough to ignore common sense and do stupid stuff.
They teach this rule from TSA kindergarten. C4+planes spells trouble.
The “wise” man that wanted to take the C4 on board also got “the special treatment.” Suitcase surgeons were more than delighted to justify their paychecks and augment their bad reputation.
Every TSA dreams of playing with the big guys. Uncovering C4 might entitle their aspirations of one day joining the CIA or FBI.
Sometimes it is superheroes who get in trouble at the airport.
Even Batman needs to take a day off. Right?
Workaholic as he is, the caped hero always packs in a couple of batarangs. Unfortunately, the bat-shaped metal weapons will always alarm the security officers.
Just look at the dire consequences not complying with flying regulations can have. Batman and his sidekick Robin had to spend the night in an airport terminal, waiting for security clearance.
That might sound like a bad superhero movie plot, but it happened to real people. The scene has become rather common on Gotham International Airport as fans can keep themselves from packing dangerous memorabilia.
One’s misfortune becomes another’s lucky day. Guess what the TSA will be playing once their shift is over. As long as people turn up with weapons, those people are in for a lot of fun.
Now that we explored some of the worst items to ever to show up during a security check, it’s time to crown the champion.
17. A Dead Body
Ever wondered how to sneak in with a dead body and put it on a plane?
Don’t be that guy that though no one would bat an eye about passing a corpse through the scanner. Fooling the TSA agents is just the first step. The hardest part would be comforting your seat neighbors.
Come on! Who likes the idea of having a dead body falling from the overhead bin along with the oxygen mask? Not a pleasant start for a life-or-death scenario.
Nasty as it is, there is one substantial reason some passengers attempt to smuggle corpses on board. Paying for cargo will never beat the low-cost airlines. However, the photo below shows the right way to do it.
It all worked well until someone figured out the method. There is one good reason why good old grandpa doesn’t like to chat and wears thick sunglasses. Yes, the craziest things found by airport security are dead people carried by their relatives in wheelchairs.
Add that to the list to fear during your flight!