Unless you spend your days working at a funeral home or digging ditches at a cemetery, you probably don’t expect to see a dead body when you are going about your day. As the fine American citizen that you are, stumbling on a dead body while you are heading to the 7-Eleven for a Slurpee and some Doritos simply does not happen. Coming across dead bodies is something that happens to other people, not to you. Well, you are probably right not to expect a dead body around every corner you turn. It’s not supposed to happen. I certainly am not here to say that you are going to see a dead body today. But guess what? You might.
All of the people on this list did not think they were going to come across a dead body either. They were just minding their own business, at work, hiking outside, or doing whatever they were doing when all of a sudden they happened upon a dead body. Some of these bodies were found in cars that were right out in public view, others were found in some very out of the way places. Some of the causes of death were really easy to figure out, while others remain a mystery to this day. One thing that all of these bodies had in common was that they were found in some really odd places. And when it comes right down to it isn’t that enough? Here, then, are 15 of the most bizarre places dead bodies have been found.
15. Inside of A Metal Keg
Does the Czech Republic sound like a place that a band of killers would be roaming around? To me, not so much, but hey, what do I know? Back in the early ’90s there was such a group of killers. They focused on businessmen who appeared to be rich, or at least seemed to have something of value. They would rob them and steal all their money and valuables. Then they would take the bodies and put them in a metal keg and push them over a dam. At least five people were killed by this gang. I say at least because when five people are robbed, killed and crammed in a metal keg filled with lye, and then shoved over a dam, you know you are dealing with some people that are not real nice, and may have done some other crimes as well.
14. A Mountain
Finding a dead body on a mountain would not be the most pleasant thing in the world to happen. Kind of the whole point of taking a hike is some fresh air and exercise and to get a little zen in your life, not to be traumatized by finding a dead body. But in 1995 in Arizona, on a mountain ridge in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, a woman’s corpse was found. This would be bad enough, but she was pregnant when she died- the skeleton of a baby was found inside her. The real mystery here is that a woman who was as far along in her pregnancy as she was would have had a hard time making it as far as she did up the mountain, but if she was killed first it would have been even harder for her to be brought there.
13. In A Paper Mill Chimney
Sometimes being a maintenance worker is simply no fun at all. Okay, let’s be honest, it’s pretty much never fun to be a maintenance worker. But one time it was particularly no fun was at a paper mill in Bellingham, Washington in 1987, when a maintenance worker found a skeleton on top of one of the boilers. Don’t you hate when that happens? Forensics were done of course, but because of the extreme heat coming from the boiler all DNA was destroyed. The former public relations director for the paper mill said, “I took pictures of it while it was still in the flue… It was most disturbing.” You think? Yes, I would imagine finding a dead body in the flue of a boiler where you work would be totally disturbing.
12. In The Ganges River
The Ganges River is located in Asia and flows through the nations of India and Bangladesh. Sounds kind of cool, right? Yeah, no. Not at all. Check this out: “More than 100 corpses, many of them children, have been found washed up in a shallow tributary of the River Ganges.” So wait, there must be a serial killer on the loose, right? Nope. Just dead bodies getting dumped in the river. Many people in India are so poor that when people die they just drag them to the river and throw them in. So point being, if you ever decide to vacation in India, you just might want to forego swimming in the Ganges, unless you want to wade through a bunch of corpses, and I really get the feeling you do not want to do that.
11. In An Air Conditioning Duct
First of all, crime is bad; don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time, stay on the straight and narrow. You get the point. It isn’t worth it to try and break into a building and steal; getting a job is really not all that hard. But more importantly, if you do try and break into a building and steal, don’t get stuck in an air conditioning duct and die. This is exactly what happened in North Carolina in 2013 when a corpse was found inside of an air conditioning system of a closed convenience store. It was theorized that the person had tried to break in, but no one knows for sure, because at some point the store closed and his decomposing body was stuck for months before it was found. Stay in school kids.
10. In A Car
Sometimes the places bodies are found are pretty mundane, but the circumstances surrounding them are not. John Waldo was reported missing and had not been seen for almost two weeks. Meanwhile, his car was sitting “abandoned” and racking up a ton of parking tickets. Okay, you are way ahead of me on this one, aren’t you? His body was in the car. He got seven parking tickets in all before a man finally reported a dead body in the car. He found it by a smell that he thought was trash from a nearby dumpster. I know that being a guy that goes around ticketing cars is probably pretty boring, but hey, once you get around five or six tickets on the windshield here is a pro tip: look inside and see if there’s a decaying body in there.
9. The Roots Of A Tree
This one is a bit nasty. Wait a minute, on further thought, I guess they all are a bit nasty. When Hurricane Sandy rolled through Connecticut in 2012 it caused all sorts of damage. Some of that was in the form of downed trees. One tree had numerous human remains found within its roots. Upon further discovery it was discovered that where the tree had grown was a mass burial spot for people with yellow fever. The tree was located on a town green. According to ABC News, “Robert S. Greenberg, a local historian, said that the town green is the burial ground for as many as 5,000 to 10,000 bodies.” That really sounds like a great place for a picnic. I sure know what I am going to do the next time I am in that area.
8. An Office Cubicle
You know how a lot of people really hate the thought of working in a cubicle? You know how they are so impersonal, and are just plain soul-sucking? Rebecca Wells would probably agree, if she was still alive. She was found dead in her cubicle one day, which in and of itself is horrible, but the worst part is that her body sat there for a whole 24 hours before it was found by a security guard, who is probably still in therapy to this day. She went to a staff meeting, then set to work in an area of the office where no one else was working, and then no one saw her until her body was found. So here is another pro tip: if you work in an environment where you are in a cubicle, make numerous rounds to ensure that none of your coworkers have died.
7. In A Sofa
This one is more than a bit hard to believe, but hey, it happened. A man named Alan Derrick let a homeless man named Dennis Pring come over to his apartment to do some drinking and crash on his couch. While Pring was drinking and crashing out, he died. Derrick was “too scared” to let anyone know, so he just flipped the couch over on top of the body and left it there…for ten years. According to this article: “Neighbors had complained about hideous smells but local authority officials failed to notice there was a decomposing body despite visiting twice.” Obviously Mr. Derrick was not much of a housekeeper, and just as obviously the “local authorities” who visited probably had to find other jobs.
6. A Gym Mat
One place you simply do not expect to find a dead body is inside a gym mat. In 2013, a 17-year-old from Georgia was found dead inside of a rolled up gym mat at his high school. According to CBS News: “State and local authorities concluded Johnson died in a freak accident after getting stuck upside down while trying to retrieve a gym shoe. His parents insist their son was slain.” So the thing is, the gym mat was standing up, and somehow this kid gets his shoe in a rolled up gym mat and suffocates inside? The whole thing seems a bit odd, no doubt about it. The Justice Department has not filed charges against anyone because of “insufficient evidence” to this day, and the family is still wondering what is going on.
5. In A Water Tank
You may have heard of the case of Elisa Lam. She was a tourist from Canada and also a student who was kicking around Los Angeles for a while. The reason you might remember this case is that Lam was seen on video acting really oddly in and around the elevators of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. This would not have been that big of a deal if her body was not discovered floating in a water tank that was located on the roof of the hotel. Her body stayed there for 19 days, while hotel guests bathed in and drank the water as it decomposed. Guests at the hotel said that there was bad water pressure, and that the water tasted funny. Gee. I wonder why? What happened to Elisa Lam remains a mystery; one that will almost certainly never be solved.
4. In A Freezer
Sometimes you forget about what is in your freezer and you let things go. I know a lot of us, myself included, need to clean out our freezers, but this is taking it to the extreme. According to CNN: “Police officials in North Rhein-Westphalia (which is in Western Germany) told reporters a woman turned up at a police station in Wenden to tell authorities about the corpses. She admitted all three of the dead babies were her children, and said she ‘possibly’ was the person who put the babies in the freezer.” All kidding aside, this was a truly tragic case. The woman turned herself in after some other adult children found the corpses in the freezer. She was arrested and then put in psychiatric care.
3. The Set of CSI: Miami
Many of us like a good crime show on TV and the CSI franchise is one of most people’s favorites, mostly because of the really good scripts and plots. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, although often it is not nearly as exciting. This was the case on CSI: Miami. The crew was trying to get aerial footage in Bicentennial Park in Miami, Florida, when a dead body was seen floating right next to the set. It is unclear whether the stars and writers of the show attempted to solve the mystery, or if they just got totally grossed out and went back to their trailers, but if I were to guess I would bet on the latter. Oddly enough, previous to this discovery, another body had been found on the set of CSI: New York.
2. In An Elevator Shaft
Next on the list is an abandoned elevator shaft in a Detroit warehouse- the site for a really unpleasant discovery, and since you have read this far, you can probably figure out that it was a dead body. It was found encased in ice, with its legs sticking out. As in most of these cases, no one knows what happened for sure, but it was theorized that the body was of a homeless person who had lost something in the elevator shaft and was trying to get it back. Here is another pro tip for those of you that are keeping score out there: if you lose something in an elevator shaft in an abandoned warehouse in Detroit, then for the love of God, let it go! There is never a reason to go into something that scary and desolate.
1. Inside A Tiger Shark
Maybe this is not the strangest place you might find a body; we all know that sharks do kill people, but it sure is one of the nastiest on this list, and that is saying something. A man named Humphrey Simmons caught a tiger shark one day- yes, apparently people do that. According to him: “We tied the rope around his tail fin, and pulled him towards the boat. We were going to cut the hook out of his mouth and let him go when he regurgitated a human foot — intact from the knee down.” Inside of the shark was a body without a head. Gross.