10 Weirdest Things Spotted by the TSA

Chastity Belt
Hopefully the chastitiy belt the passenger was spotted wearing was a little more comfortable than this one. Science & Society Picture Library/SSPL/Getty Images

Privacy advocates lashed out at the full-body scanners the TSA began installing at its security checkpoints in 2007, likening the revealing X-ray images to an illegal "strip search" [source: Martín]. In 2013, hundreds of these scanners were removed from U.S. airports and replaced with less-invasive ones [source: Plungis].

But not before one unlucky passenger had her, uh, highly restrictive undergarment detected by a body scanner in 2012. Yes, the TSA agent on duty had to pull the traveler aside and confirm that she was, indeed, wearing a chastity belt. And no, the confusing piece of clothing was not confiscated, since it was not considered contraband. Plus, no one had the key [source: Burns].

If you're into weird lists like this, keep reading. We've got enough HowStuffWorks links below to fill 13 airport security bins.

Author's Note: 10 Weirdest Things Spotted by the TSA

My best TSA confiscation story doesn't involve the actual TSA, but an eagle-eyed airport security officer in Mexico. My wife and I were living in Mexico at the time and had just had our second child, a baby boy less than 6 weeks old. It was June, and we were flying back to the U.S. for an extended trip to visit both of our parents. We had our flights booked for months and roused the whole family at 3:30 a.m. to drive the hour-and-a-half to the airport.

Once we negotiated the usual confusion at the ticket counter, we finally breathed easy and made our way through security. I held our 20-month-old's hand and my wife carried the newborn in a colorful sling wrapped tightly around her shoulder and hip. Only after we had passed through the metal detectors and went to grab our carry-on luggage did one of the security agents ask my wife if she could take off her "shawl." My wife smilingly explained that "the baby's sleeping." "What baby?" asked the security officer. It was then that we realized that nobody in the security area or at the ticket counter had any idea that my wife was smuggling a newborn human. For the record, the baby's pacifier did not double as a stun gun.

Related Articles


  • Burns, Bob. "TSA Blog Year in Review: 2013." The TSA Blog. Jan. 24, 2014. (March 20, 2014) http://blog.tsa.gov/2014/01/tsa-blog-year-in-review-2013.html
  • Burns, Bob. "42 Firearms Discovered This Week at TSA Checkpoints (38 Loaded)." The TSA Blog. Oct. 26, 2012. (March 20, 2014) http://blog.tsa.gov/2012/10/tsa-week-in-review-42-firearms.html
  • Burns, Bob. "46 Firearms Discovered This Week at TSA Checkpoints (40 Loaded)." The TSA Blog. Sept. 20, 2013. (March 20, 2014) http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/09/tsa-week-in-review-46-firearms.html
  • Burns, Bob. "TSA Week in Review: Disassembled Gun and Ammo Found in Three Stuffed Animals." The TSA Blog. May 11, 2012. (March 20, 2014) http://blog.tsa.gov/2012/05/tsa-week-in-review-disassembled-gun-and.html
  • Burns, Bob. "TSA Week in Review: Eels on a Plane?" The TSA Blog. March 9, 2012. (March 20, 2014) http://blog.tsa.gov/2012/03/tsa-week-in-review-eels-on-plane.html
  • Burns, Bob. "TSA Week in Review: Gassed Up Chainsaw and Deadly Lipstick." The TSA Blog. Jan. 13, 2012. (March 20, 2014) http://blog.tsa.gov/2012/01/tsa-week-in-review-gassed-up-chainsaw.html
  • Burns, Bob. "TSA Week in Review: Inert Detonator Discovered in Checked Bag." The TSA Blog. June 8, 2012. (March 20, 2014) http://blog.tsa.gov/2012/06/tsa-week-in-review-inert-detonator.html
  • Burns, Bob. "TSA Week in Review: Inert Suicide Vest, Grenades, Guns and More..." The TSA Blog. March 8, 2013. (March 20, 2014) http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/03/tsa-week-in-review-inert-suicide-vest.html
  • Burns, Bob. "TSA Week in Review: Plastic Dagger Found with Body Scanner." The TSA Blog. May 4, 2012. (March 20, 2014) http://blog.tsa.gov/2012/05/tsa-week-in-review-plastic-dagger-found.html
  • Martín, Hugo. "Controversial full-body scanners to be removed from airports." Los Angeles Times. Jan. 18, 2013. (March 20, 2014) http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jan/18/business/la-fi-tsa-rapiscan-20130119
  • Plungis, Jeff. "Naked-Image Scanners to Be Removed From U.S. Airports." Bloomberg. Jan. 18, 2013. (March 20, 2014) http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-18/naked-image-scanners-to-be-removed-from-u-s-airports.html


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