Thursday, August 13, 2020 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Weirdest Things Found in Unclaimed Baggage

Virtually everyone who flies has left something on the airplane at least once. I’m perpetually paranoid about leaving my electronics on the plane, and as a kid, I left a favorite souvenir picture book in a seat back pocket (don’t worry – I found a copy of the same book years later at a used book shop). However, some people have left things on planes that are a little more concerning than a book or even an iPhone!

When you start opening up lost luggage, things get even weirder. Gems, bank rolls, and other valuable items are sometimes found, but more often than not, the stuff left behind is just plain bizarre! Check out this list of the strangest things left in lost or unclaimed baggage.
1    An antique violin

A violin made in the 1770s is a definite treasure! While the Unclaimed Baggage Center gets enough musical instruments to start the finest orchestra on the continent, this was one of the most valuable. This particular violin was so precious that it remained in a museum rather than getting a new home with an aspiring musician.
An Antique Violin
2  Ancient Egyptian artifacts

You might expect to find Egyptian artifacts in a dusty tomb or dry desert vault, but not in someone’s lost suitcase! In the 1980s, a lost Gucci suitcase was found to contain some freaky burial masks and a preserved falcon. They were dated to 1500 BC, never claimed, and sold to the highest bidder.
Ancient Egyptian Artifacts
3    Live tortoises

Imagine opening a couple of lost suitcases to find 300 tortoises crawling around inside! It’s little wonder that whoever lost these bags never came to claim them – not only is transporting animals in a suitcase considered abuse, but dealing in live tortoises is a black-market activity! Fortunately, the poor tortoises were just fine.
Live Tortoises
4    Vacuum-packed frogs

Why anyone would carefully vacuum-pack and transport 50 dead frogs is a mystery, but apparently someone thought it was a good idea. Was it a science project? A weird collection? Someone’s deceased pets? I guess we’ll never know!
Vacuum Packed Frogs
5    A suit of armor

The jury is out on whether this was a legit historic artifact or just a clever reproduction. In any case, a full suit of armor is a pretty nifty find at the Unclaimed Baggage Center! Now, why would anyone need that on a plane?
A Suit Of Armor
6    A space-shuttle camera

Yup, that’s right—a camera from outer space somehow found its way into the unclaimed baggage on an airplane! Of course, the Unclaimed Baggage Center sent this valuable piece of technology straight back to NASA. Whoever lost this was probably in hot water after misplacing something so valuable!
A Space Shuttle Camera
7    A missile guidance system

The military refuses to be one-upped by NASA, I guess. And their most famous piece of lost luggage is even stranger than NASA’s, believe it or not! Apparently, the Air Force didn’t use its own aircraft to transport this missile guidance system back home. If they had, it probably wouldn’t have been lost! Of course, the airline folks who found it sent it right back to the Air Force. Although between you and me, I think they should have kept it – it would have added a whole new level of epic to the look of an Airbus A320.
A Missile Guidance Syste
8    A shrunken head

You may have seen those rather frightening-looking shrunken heads at museums and in history books, but it would still give anyone quite a start to find one in a suitcase! Nevertheless, this has been known to happen. Yikes!
A Shrunken Head
9    A coffin

Fortunately, nobody was in the coffin when it showed up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center. Either Dracula is still on vacation, or someone had an interesting taste in suitcases.
A Coffin
10    An engraved headstone

I’ve seen engraved headstones in pawn shops before, and I’ve always wondered why they ended up unused. Perhaps the Zombie Apocalypse? The weirdest part about this unclaimed baggage discovery is that someone actually bought the headstone and made it into a coffee table for their home. Talk about having a morbid sense of humor! What would you do if you ended up with a stranger’s headstone?
An Engraved Headstone
11    18 human heads

Believe it or not, someone actually had a purpose for packing almost 20 severed human heads into a bag and taking them through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. I’m sure that this person lost his own head when he found out he had misplaced the other 18! Although the airport employee who opened the bag was certainly given a shock, the proper steps were taken. The bag was eventually returned to the owner, who was shipping them for legitimate medical purposes.

12    Rhino beetles

If you like bugs, then Rhino beetles are actually pretty cool. They’re also very rare, so leaving them on the plane would be quite a disappointment. Not too long ago, someone did just that! Fortunately, the airline packed them in a box and sent them back to the owner.
Rhino Beetles
13    A washing machine

Changi Airport in Singapore find all sorts of interesting things left behind. Generally, this includes bikes or TV sets – which are pretty strange anyway – but once they even found a washing machine! I wonder how much that would cost to ship? Maybe that’s why it didn’t make it on the next flight.
A Washing Machine
Wow, people sure leave a lot of interesting things in their luggage! If that’s what is found in lost luggage, imagine what’s being transported by plane that nobody ever finds out about. Want to see what you can find in lost luggage? Pretty much all baggage that goes unclaimed for 3 months or more is sold to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, which is open to the public. Who knows – you might find the next crazy news-worthy item.

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