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The Weirdest Things Left on Planes

Posted: September 28, 2017 at 2:12 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, is a 40,000-square-foot warehouse designed like a department store, where you can browse—and buy—thousands of items that passengers have forgotten in seat-back pockets or that airlines failed to reunite with their owners. They stock between 500 and 700 items every day, with shipments they purchase through a contract with most of the major U.S. airlines. “We get a lot of tablets and e-readers,” says spokeswoman Brenda Cantrell, who’s been working there for 19 years, “but you just never know what you’ll find: shrunken heads, African tribal kinds of things. I don’t get surprised by what arrives anymore, but I’m sure lots of people would.”

Some of the stranger things that have made it through the store have been a West Point uniform from the 1930s, Neil Diamond’s xylophone, a functional 14-foot-long rocket, a full-size headstone, and a coin purse made from an actual frog. Hoggle, an animatronic puppet from the Jim Henson’s 1986 cult classic Labyrinth, which got lost on the way back from filming in England, also made its way to the center.

On the more luxurious end: a presidential platinum Rolex valued at $64,000 (someone bought it for $32,000, Cantrell says), Versace runway samples, and a loose 40-karat emerald that sat in the store for five years.

Once, they even got a haul of celebrity-worn designer clothes. “We got two bags in last summer that must have belonged to a Hollywood stylist,” Cantrell says. “There were all these different brands inside and when we were researching them, we found all of these photos of Rihanna and the Hadid sisters wearing the same pieces. It was crazy.”

“I am still kind of baffled over the wedding dresses,” Cantrell says, noting that they’ve even gotten a few from the designer Vera Wang. “You don’t know if they were on the way to the wedding or on the way back! Those always throw me for a loop.”



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