Storage auctions capture people’s imaginations, as evidenced by shows like “Storage Hunters,” “Auction Hunters,” and “Storage Wars.”
More often than not the units storage-stalkers bid on turn out to hold broken down furniture and dusty files. But sometimes they find whopping surprises.
Here are some of the craziest things found in storage units.
- An embalmed corpse. Apparently a Florida woman stuck her mother’s dead body in storage in 1995 and had kept it there ever since. The corpse-hoarder herself died before this nightmarish discovery was made.
- Human organs. The man who bought the storage unit of Florida medical examiner Dr. Michael Berkland was in for a nasty revelation: human brains, hearts, and lungs stored in Tupperware, plastic bags, and cups. (What is it about Florida? Something in the water?)
- The coffin BBQ. A metal coffin was recently found inside an auctioned storage unit. The mysterious coffin was revealed to be more unusual than your run-of-the-mill casket. It was converted to be a meat smoker, or the final resting place of twenty pounds of brisket. I certainly hope the coffin wasn’t occupied before it became a barbecue. Regardless, my taste buds’ curiosity is piqued. Glenn Danzig was unavailable for comment.
- A burglar. Police responded to a call at a Missouri storage facility to find Ronald E. Dennis trapped inside. The guard had shut and latched the open door after Dennis had entered, presumably to rip off the joint.
- 32 dead snakes. Henry Ward Atherton was given 30 days in jail, barred from owning animals for two years, and forced to pay $1,085 in fines and fees for leaving cages of ball pythons to die in the cold at a Minnesota storage facility.
- A live grenade. A man in Muskegon, Michigan, bought a storage unit only to discover a live hand grenade waiting for him inside. He rushed it to the fire department, where a bomb squad disposed of it safely.
- 1937 Bugatti 57S. The nephew of UK surgeon Harold Carr discovered this rare supercar in his late uncle’s storage unit, where it had resided since the 1950s.
- A NASA countdown clock and a rocket. The cast of Spike TV’s “Auction Hunters” discovered a trove of space memorabilia in a South Florida (again?) storage unit not far from Cape Canaveral.
- Nicholas Cage’s $1M comic book. The actor had reported his 1938 Action Comics No. 1 Superman comic book stolen in 2000. It turned up in a Southern California storage unit 11 years later.
- Unreleased Michael Jackson recordings. A Toronto man discovered a wealth of master recording by Jackson and the Jackson Five in a storage unit he bought in 2010. Among the recordings are hundreds of unreleased tracks.
- Aretha Franklin’s wardrobe. Some Detroit storage-auction hounds stumbled onto something big when they bought a unit full of jazzy clothes and discovered receipts to prove the wardrobe belonged to famous songstress Aretha Franklin.
- Lotus Esprit S1. Hoping for some treasure, a Long Island man who rented tools for a living, offered the winning bid of $100 for an abandoned container. Inside he found a “lump” under a bunch of blankets. Under those blankets was an old car. Not just any old car, however, this funny looking Lotus Esprit S1 automobile had no wheels, just moveable fins. Other than a dented roof, the vehicle looked to be in decent shape, so he and his son loaded the car on a flatbed trailer and towed it home. On the trip home a passerby engaged in a conversation and informed the new owner that it was the famous Lotus submarine car driven by Roger Moore in the 1977 James Bond Film- “The Spy Who Loved Me.” The buyer had never seen a James Bond film. On September 8-9 2013, RM Auctions in London will be auctioning 7 classic British racing cars along with the famous Bond Lotus. Expectations are high for the car and estimates are that it will bring between $1 – $1.5 Million. How’s that for a return on a $100 investment?