It's wild what people think they can bring on planes.
You're thinking it will just be a normal airport security moment, and then all of a sudden, security is unpacking an entire kitchen from somebody's carry-on luggage. But that's if you're lucky. You never know what else you might find, in earnest.
Security have seen it all. Nothing can really surprise them anymore. But maybe, once in awhile, they will be surprised. And then you shall be afraid. Very afraid.
Here were some of those answers.
The Suitcase Of A Dead Person
I worked in left luggage/lost property in an airport and we found some... Weird things. We had to take all the bags over to be scanned if they were found or handed into us. People had a month to call us or collect or it was donated to charity or disposed of. Here's some I can remember: Samurai swords, a backpack full of live crabs, a suitcase filled entirely of empty monster energy cans, I'm talking maybe 30 cans, a bag of reborn baby dolls, a LOT of moldy food, a LOT of large knives, weird looking adult toys, people's ashes, like how do you carry the ashes of your loved one and leave the bag in the airport?
I used to love the days where we got to sort through out of date stuff because we'd see who found the weirdest thing! Sometimes you would come across a bag that just didn't make sense that had like a towel, underwear and then completely random items that you wouldn't travel with! The stuff people try and get on a plane with is absolutely crazy, we had a lot of 'campers' and 'explorers' who tried to use that as an excuse to take their machetes on board with them!
Ohio Is Freaky This Time Of Year
Didn't even need an x-ray, it was in plain sight.
Working a baggage pier in the sorter, coworker drops off an odd sized item, looked like a regular folding table at first in one of our clear plastic bags. Coworker tells me it is an S&M table. Being the new guy, I thought he was messing with me, but then I looked closer. It was a folding table, but on one side was a T-shaped item labeled "The Jackhammer" down the side. On the other side of the table were some silver handcuffs. So it was an S&M table. Was going to Ohio.
Bags O' Fun
Not the airport but coming onto a military base overseas was running the X-ray machine at the walk-in gate. Seen a very tiny chick come in wearing a grossly oversized backpack and she had an odd expression on her face like she was uncomfortable. So, naturally I chose her as my random bag check for the group. Ran the bag through the x-ray machine and let me tell you she had this giant back pack stuffed as tightly as she could with what only looked like nothing but huge adult toys. I never seen a woman turn as red and as fast as this woman did.
All Horrifying In Different Ways
Lots of loaded fire arms, weapons really. You'd be amazed at how many people try to fly with guns and use the excuse "I didn't know I had one in my bag." Tasers, batons, switchblades, you name it.
Runner up: three sculpted rubber vajayjays/lower torsos with the liquid still on them in Ziploc bags. The guy was bringing them to Hawaii I guess and didn't feel like cleaning them.
Third place is a bag full of cockroaches skittering among regular clothes with crumbs everywhere. The guy kept them as pets.
Cliché To Insane
Finding adult toys was always a bit yuck. Especially if nasty. Owners varied from young adults to old folks. (I don't care what consenting adults do. I still don't like handling their toys.)
Had a bleeding deer head once. Was not allowed into the x-ray.
Nothing like having your gloves start melting while searching a bag.
Found vials of DNA stripper in a bag once. Nice big warnings, "DO NOT INHALE, DO NOT GET ON SKIN, WILL CAUSE CANCER, MAY CAUSE DEATH. Airline loved having to find a disposal company that would come get that stuff.
Rotten meat on occasion.
I make my own soap and like to take it with me on vacations because I generally dont like hotel soap. However, it is a problem when I fly. My homemade soap has gotten flagged by the chemical sensors in TSA check points three times and they always have to tear my bag apart as a rest. It's just a basic fat and lye soap some fragrance added, but on 3 separate occasions now their machines have flagged it as a bomb. When they open it up to find a block of handmade soap, the officers inevitably look at me weird while I explain that I'm just a dude who likes to make his own lavender and lemongrass scented soap.
Not really weird, but a guy came through with legit gold bars. He mentioned they had been in his family for a very long time. They were completely black on the X-ray, and he asked for a private screening I was the one who checked out the bag. I don't remember how much they were, but it was kinda cool since I'd never seen real solid gold bars before. In the 4 years I was TSA, I never once found a gun.
On border patrol someone had like cured snakes in juice in mason jars. They made it weird and gross enough so officers wouldn't further inspect. Turns out there was lots of heroin stuffed in them.
We're Used To It
We have this tradition of giving a bag of dirty gifts to family members at their wedding. We make them open it at the reception in front of aunts, grandmas, and everyone. It will usually contain some sort of adult toys, his and hers edible underwear, flavored lubes or massage oils, novelty size Kama Sutra, fuzzy sex game dice. Stuff like that.
My younger brother did a destination wedding and were flying straight from there to Thailand for their honeymoon. As far as I know they filled one of their suitcases with all the goodies. So they had to go through international airports with all that.
My mother was flying to visit my sister in another state. TSA took my moms bag out of the x-ray machine. He was shaking as he opened my mothers bag. I thought he was going to pass out. The agent asked her if she knew there were chopped up baby parts in her luggage. My mother smiled sweetly and said "Yes. why do you ask?" An alarm must have been set off because there were now a dozen airport police surrounding her, and looking at the fleshy limbs. At the time, she was making life sized, anatomically correct baby dolls. My sister was going to help her assemble them. TSA was not amused.