Whoever came up with the idea to sell space for personal belongings certainly knew what they were doing. Storage buildings of all types have been used around the world to store our belongings and keep what we hold dear safe from harm. However, the idea of self storage as an operating chain didn't come to fruition until the 1960's. Since then, plenty of people have used these storage facilities for numerous reasons. Personal storage is a fine way to keep your items in a safe place. However, when those items are of murderous or devious intent, things tend to get complicated.
It just so happens that many people end up forfeiting their rights to their storage buildings by various means, such as death, failure to pay rent on the storage area, or even damage to the property or surrounding area. Whatever the cause, the owners of the storage units must go in and retrieve the items, either holding auctions for the belongings within or simply throwing everything out. Most of the time the items are sold, but certain items are sometimes found that require special care to remove or even require a call to the police. Examples of this include bodies, body parts, and even murdered family members. The list of disturbing items is extensive. People are into some very crazy and terrible stuff nowadays, which means there is no way of knowing what you will find behind the locked doors of a storage unit.
15 A Mannequin
During an auction for items found inside storage units, people were highly anticipating what items lied within. The unit was the last on the list, measuring 10 feet by 30 feet. The auction was doing fairly well as they racked in the bills. Because of its large size, bidders were expecting many different treasures and trinkets. However, when the door was opened to the public eye, people were speechless. The unit appeared to be empty apart from a single mannequin sitting in the middle of the space. While this was certainly disappointing, it was also terrifying, since the mannequin was splattered with blood. A closer inspection determined that the white and bloody form also held stab wounds. They glanced to the side and noticed a butcher knife, which was most likely the weapon used. After some investigation, they learned that the red "blood" was actually paint. So what had happened? Was it just a mere prank carried out by someone, or perhaps a murderer practicing for a ritual?
14 Human Body
In 2010, a show known as Storage Wars started up and has been on TV ever since. The famous series racks up views with each episode, so it's no surprise that it is still airing to this day. Throughout the series, the stars of the show have found various strange and exciting things. In 2011, the series aired a rare episode called "Unlocked #1: Buy Low." In the episode, the main stars of the show are sitting at a poker table at the Sahara Casino, located in Las Vegas. They each go through their most unusual discoveries while auctioning off storage units. When it came time, the camera panned to Darrell Sheets, who told his story. Sheets said he once found a body in a storage unit. In the episode, he didn't really go into much detail about what happened. However, he did further the story with Reality Weekly a little later on. The magazine was curious about what other details he could give them. Sheets said that the body was wrapped in plastic when he found it. Later, he learned from the San Diego police that a man had murdered his wife and stored her body for safe keeping.
13 A Stalker's Fetishes
In 1995, a man by the name of Robert Dewey Hoskins broke into Madonna's estate in California. He made his way to an entrance and encountered a security guard. Hoskins assaulted the guard and after a bout of confrontation, Hoskins was shot. He survived the gun wound and carried out his sentence of ten years in prison. He was eventually sent to a mental hospital where he continues to receive treatment. Then, in 2012, he escaped the facility. It took officials some time, but they eventually caught him. While this is certainly creepy, what officials found in his storage space is more than terrifying. The mix of strange items included a Barbie backpack, a strange and creepy sumo wrestling doll, a scary clown mask, and more knives than one person should ever own. Of course, pieces of Madonna merchandise were scattered everywhere, but the creepiest item of all was the headless Barbie that accompanied all the other weird storage items.
12 Grandma's Dead Body
In 2012, the residents of Clearwater, Florida probably didn't expect to hear a story about a storage unit that held the body of an elderly woman. While it's true that many people store some pretty weird stuff behind storage walls, the owner of the storage facility certainly wasn't prepared to find a casket. After the family had failed to pay rent, the owner called the family to tell them that the items within would be auctioned off. Of course, the family didn't want this to happen, and begged the owner not to do so. Later, after the family's constant begging, the owner decided to take a peek inside and found the body within. After the police were called, it was learned that the body was their grandmother who had been kept by the family since 1995. She was found inside a blue casket and, according to the granddaughter, she had no knowledge of the body until the previous year. Officials carefully examined the situation and determined that the grandmother had not died by suspicious means. However, not properly disposing of a body is considered a crime. At the time, no one was convicted.
11 Live Hand Grenade
When you go searching for items at storage auctions, you really want a deal that's going to blow you away. Maybe not literally, but that's almost what a man experienced when he found a live hand grenade inside a storage unit he purchased. The man was rummaging around inside trying to sort through the items he wanted and the ones he would throw out, when he came across a gun case. When he opened it, he expected to find all sorts of guns. Instead he found a single hand grenade sitting quietly in the case. He delivered it to a local fire department where they were able to send it somewhere it could be disposed of properly. This is certainly a scary case considering the circumstances. One wrong move and the man would have been blown to bits. It proves that you have to be careful when purchasing mysterious storage units. You never know what might be hidden within.
10 Dead And Live Animals
A lady by the name of Tammy Lockwood is the vice president of the St. Petersburg's Storage Protection Service. Throughout the years of her work, she has had some pretty crazy encounters. Among what she considers to be the strangest finds includes fish tanks that were thankfully empty but some of them were not. The dried corpses of iguanas, petrified fish, dead cats, and even dead snakes. However, the fact that the dead animals can't do any harm gives a somewhat peaceful state of mind. Unfortunately, Tammy said she has also come across living things as well. For example, she has found snakes, three tarantulas, two of which were eating each other, and many other weird creatures and insects. Probably the scariest find is discovering there's someone living in a unit. It's rare, but Tammy says that people do indeed try to live out of their units. It's hard to imagine a person living out of such a space. But when you're in dire need of a space, desperate times call for desperate measures, it would seem.
9 Human Organs
A shunned medical examiner in Missouri owned a storage unit that was eventually auctioned off. What the new owner found inside was terrifying. More than 100 organs were spread about in Tupperware containers, boxes, and bags. There were even large containers of formaldehyde. What's even creepier is that the medical examiner, Michael Berkland, was fired in 1996 from the medical examiner's office in Jackson County, Missouri due to incomplete autopsy reports. He was also found to have removed parts of brains for the purpose of teaching, but due to the findings within the unit, the brains were probably used for other purposes. It's thought that after he was fired he may have gotten most of the organs from funeral homes where he performed private autopsies, but officials are not entirely sure. Either way, a guy who was fired and stripped of his medical license had a storage unit full of organs? It sounds like something out of a 90's horror film.
8 Celebrity Storage Units
When it comes to celebrities, we all know that most of them have money to blow, which means they need plenty of space to store all of their belongings. One of these celebrities who is best known for being such a pack rat is Burt Reynolds. According to co-stars and other sources, he houses many different random items. A look into his collection of items was revealed when he failed to pay the rent for one of his storage units. Within it was a selection of random pieces that didn't quite make sense. Everything within was auctioned off and of course, with Reynolds being a celebrity, people flocked to buy the stuff. Among the clutter was everything from a 1955 letter from a doctor who performed an emergency surgery on the celebrity's spleen, to a very large horse carriage created by Dolly Parton. While these items weren't necessarily creepy, they were downright weird. For someone to have so much memorabilia in one place just collecting dust is simply astounding.
7 Human Leg
Finding a human body part is not the first thing you think about when it comes to the finds of a storage building. For Shannon Whisnant, it certainly wasn't what he wanted to find within a storage unit he had just purchased from an auction. When Whisnant first walked in, he noticed a meat smoker. Deciding to take a closer look, he opened the lid and couldn't believe his eyes. A human leg was laying inside. It turned out that the leg belonged to a guy named John Wood who was the original owner of the storage unit. After a plane crash, he lost the leg but decided to keep it. Wood stored the leg within the unit for safe keeping. When he passed away, he wanted it buried with him. Whisnant had been making profit on the leg by charging adults $3 and kids $1 to see the leg. So, after he gave the leg to the police, they sent it to the appropriate owner. Whisnant tried to get the leg back to once again "advertise" it, but Wood refused.
6 A Burglar
Breaking into a storage locker requires a sort of expertise, which is why it's so hard to do so. But imagine trying to break out of one. That in itself seems like a trial worth forfeiting. For Ronald Dennis, this proved to be a failed feat. In 2011, he decided to try and break into storage units in the St. Joseph, Missouri area. He successfully made it into one but as a security guard rounded the end, he came to the storage locker and noticed it barely open. After he couldn't get it to open any further, the guard shut the gate, making sure to lock it. After a while, the same security guard heard Ronald trying to break out of the storage unit. A quick call to the police and officials were able to get Ronald out of the storage unit and into cuffs. It would be terrifying if the owners of the storage unit had opened the door to find a burglar ready to take anyone out just to escape. It's a scary thought and beckons caution for anyone who owns a storage building or unit.
5 Another Human Body
Darlene Bourk owned a storage unit with many different items. Her wedding glasses, photos, and other objects and keepsakes were tucked away in this average space. However, when payment failed to go through for the unit, the owners decided to sell her stuff. After Bourk had learned about the sale, she contacted the owners in a frantic state. There was one box in particular that she was very concerned about and kept saying she needed the box for sentimental reasons. However, the box had already been purchased and opened by one of the buyers. They discovered the remains of a man who would turn out to be Darlene's husband Robert Bourk. Robert had disappeared in 1996 when he was 27, and no one had heard from him since. Darlene was charged with his murder and while she pleaded not guilty, the truth was obvious to the police. The owners commented on Darlene saying that she was a very nice lady and they never would have expected her to do such a terrible thing.
4 A Group Of Snakes
If you have a deep fear of snakes, this entry will most likely terrify you. In Minnesota, thirty two snakes were discovered inside a storage space. They were pythons that had been left in the unit for breeding purposes. Sadly, all of the snakes that resided within were dead. It was a sign of animal cruelty and it didn't go unnoticed. Officials filed animal cruelty charges against the tenant. This is certainly not the first thing you want to see walking into a space, whether the snakes are living or dead. However, if the snakes had been alive, the detectives who discovered the mass group of slithering pythons might have had a different story to tell. Even though it is terrifying, it's also very sad that someone would go through the trouble of placing living creatures inside a crowded space and leaving them there to die without a word to anyone.
3 Frozen Cats
Last year after a man bought a storage unit in New York City, he had no idea he would be opening himself up to some very creepy finds. Within the storage unit were a total of forty cats, every one of them dead and frozen. There were two freezers, and in one of them was a cat that had been skinned. Both freezers held cats; one which had them stacked atop each other, and the other had them wrapped in paper and plastic bags. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stepped in and performed necropsies on all the cats. It's disappointing and tragic, but imagine walking into a mysterious unit with two freezers holding a lot of dead cats. It isn't exactly something anyone would want to do on a normal afternoon. The woman who rented the unit was unidentified and police had no leads at the time.
2 An Explosion
Earlier it was mentioned that a grenade was found in one of the storage units on this list. While the man who found it was lucky and smart enough to dispose of it properly by giving it to the right officials, sometimes certain people are not so fortunate. Take for instance the situation that occurred on Storage Wars. On one of the episodes, they open up a storage door and trigger a bomb to explode on the other side. Of course, those standing around in the general vicinity took off running. Apparently, the person who had owned the storage unit had set up a booby trap-styled bomb to blow up whenever the door was opened. The people on the show were not happy, and while there were a few laughs here and there, it certainly opened up people's eyes to the dangers of what might be hiding inside such a small space.
1 The Locked Coffin
Throughout the article, there have been dead bodies along with body parts found. However, this next entry details something entirely strange. This event also occurred on Storage Wars and the people who opened the door to the storage space were very surprised. Normally, when the door slides up, you expect to see a large amount of random objects. However, this particular storage area held only a single coffin. Further inspection determined that the coffin had been locked, not with a simple lock, but padlocked. Could it be that someone didn't want something getting out? They decided to open it. Within the coffin was not a body, but a suit along with an urn. When they opened the urn, there was nothing inside. These are very strange items for a coffin. If you were going to be buried, why would you need an urn? Perhaps the owner was getting ready for his own demise?
Sources: nbcnewyork.com, tampabay.com, dailymail.co.uk, downtownstorage.net