I’m one of those lucky people that haven’t ever had to deal with the issue of lost luggage shipping, but I do know quite a few people that have had to. My mum lost a whole suitcase when coming back from a holiday to Spain once, my best friend misplaced her case on the way to Italy and my boyfriend’s mum just forgot to collect her suitcase and just walked out the airport once.
It makes you wonder though, what happens to all the baggage that isn’t claimed? Well, if you lose or don’t claim it in America it goes to USA shipping off to the Unclaimed Baggage Centre in Scottsboro, Alabama. Practically every country has one of these glorified lost and found boxes, where you can go to reclaim your belongings from the tens of thousands of suitcases sent there every year. However, if you aren’t quick enough it might just be auctioned off and in Alabama they even have a museum for the wackier finds.
So just what are just some of the weirdest unclaimed baggage items ever found?
Oh Jim Henson, you do create some terrifying models.
If you haven’t seen The Labyrinth, shame on you. This film was and still is one of my favourites, mainly for the quirky cast of puppets and, of course, David Bowie. One of the main characters was Hoggle, a grumpy puppet-dwarf. Some years ago, employees at Alabama’s Unclaimed Baggage Centre were unpacking a huge crate when they found – you guessed it – Hoggle! He was pretty beaten up, but after some surgery from puppet-doctor Gary Sowtazka he was right as rain.
2) A Navy guidance system
A guidance system for a F16 fighter jet belonging to the US Navy was found in amongst some lost luggage but was never claimed. The fancy GPS was worth around $250,000 and was eventually returned to the Navy.
3) Egyptian artefacts
In the 1980s workers opened a Gucci suitcase they’d had for quite some time, only to discover it was packed to the gills with Egyptian artefacts dating from 1500 BC. They included an Egyptian burial mask, a mummified falcon, mummified scarabs and a genuine shrunken head.
And boy, they were not happy at the size of the check-in line.
4) A NASA camera
If you thought the Navy’s guidance system was bad, how about a specially created camera for one of NASA’s space shuttles? Surely you’d remember to pick that up? Apparently not though – the facility returned it the NASA soon after its discovery.
5) A rattlesnake
Yep, there’s been a real-life ‘Snakes on a Plane’ incident. Workers once found a live rattlesnake in an unclaimed bag they were unpacked and quickly alerted the authorities.