The Weirdest Things Confiscated by TSA Agents

Snakes, birds, Freddy Krueger gloves and a meat slicer are just some of the things TSA agents have confiscated from travelers. TSA

Spare a thought for America’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents. As well as dealing with thousands of grumpy, jet-lagged passengers at airports across the country, TSA agents also have to deal with a plethora of bizarre items found stuffed into suitcases.

The things people try to bring onto planes is so strange, in fact, that the TSA started an award-winning Instagram account in 2013 to document the kind of nonsense they deal with on a daily basis.

From snakes to bombs to so many guns, @tsa has been keeping its 925k followers amused with tales of airport contraband, as well as the bemused staff and cute sniffer dogs who keep the airports running.

Considering that TSA agents only spot less than half of the contraband smuggled through security, the account could put you off flying forever. Alongside the run-of-the-mill knives and guns regularly packed into carry-ons, the TSA has also found human remains, snakes in hard drives and a meat slicer, along with a number of other petrifying items.

Travelers bringing guns to the airport checkpoint can be arrested and fined up to $11,000. That doesn't seem to deter people: the TSA seized a record-breaking 89 guns in a single week in July last year.

Recent reports that the TSA is considering saving money by cutting security screenings at 150 small- and medium-sized airports around the country become even more worrying. Would you want to share your flight with someone wearing a Freddy Krueger claw?

We’ve collected the weirdest ever items seized by the TSA, from the bizarre to the frightening. Be warned, some of these provoke a lot more questions than they answer, and some are so gross they will leave you despairing about humanity in general. Buckle up for a journey through TSA hell.

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An Elm Street claw
The razor glove was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on bag at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. No word from the TSA regarding what the yellow claw gunk is, though.
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Human remains
A passenger was bringing home some freshly purchased flower pots through the Fort Lauderdale International Airport when TSA officers discovered they contained human remains. The passenger claimed ignorance of the grisly find, but “they slowed down the screening process because the screening area became a crime scene,” said the TSA.
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A gun hidden in modelling clay, hidden in a computer
It’s hard to imagine the logic process here—perhaps the gun smuggler thought the clay would shield the gun from showing up on the X-ray machine? Either way, it was thankfully discovered at Houston airport.
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A comedy bomb
Even though this bomb is clearly fake—the painted-on clock face gives a clue—the Chicago Police Bomb Squad was still called to clear the item. “When our officers spot a potential explosive on the X-ray monitor, they cannot just take the traveler’s word that the item is not real,” said the TSA. Thinking about it, this may actually be the best disguise for a real bomb ever.
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A very real bomb
This inert mortar round was found in a checked bag at the Evansville Regional Airport in Indiana. “These types of items can lead to hefty fines and arrest,” the TSA warns.
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A prop corpse
“This crusty ol' chap is actually a prop from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 movie,” said the TSA. “His name is Nubbins, and he was brought through a checkpoint at the Atlanta International Airport, where as you can see, he was screened and sent on his jolly way.” Let’s hope somebody remembered to book him a seat.
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A baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire
This zombie-killing device is less terrifying than it looks— the barbed wire is made from rubber and the blood is fake. Still, baseball bats must be stored in checked luggage, so this baby was confiscated.
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A weapon disguised as a snack
This enchilada was unwrapped at the Sonoma County Airport to reveal an 8.5-inch knife inside. “The passenger’s intent was delicious, not malicious, and she was cleared for travel,” the TSA said. Gross!
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A bullet-covered gas mask
This fetching Mad Max-style face accessory was found in a carry-on bag in Miami. Aside from the mask being completely terrifying, replica bullets are banned in carry-ons.
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A suicide vest
Although this harmless homemade suicide vest, found at Richmond airport, was intended for a live-action roleplay game, explosive experts were called in immediately and airport police were alerted.
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This murky green plastic bag filled with eels found in a checked bag at Miami airport was just the tip of the fishberg. “The passenger was attempting to transport 163 marine tropical fish and 22 invertebrates to Maracaibo,” said the TSA. “The passenger surrendered the items to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.” Hopefully, these cramped-looking eels have found a happy home.