Whether they’re moved by trucks, boats, or even trains, shipping containers are usually a bit of a mystery. No one can see inside these thick metal boxes and, for the most part, everyone just assumes that they are carrying something industrial, like supplies for restaurants, stores, or factories. This list, though, might change your mind. Here are some of the strangest things found in shipping containers, so that next time you see one, you might be a bit more curious!
10. James Bond’s Car
In The Spy Who Loved Me, James Bond and his Bond Girl de jour escaped from his nemesis in an amphibious Lotus Esprit. Although the movie itself was fictional, the car was not, and it was later discovered by an average, everyday contractor in Long Island. The contractor bought the shipping crate for just one hundred dollars in 1989. When he and his brother opened it, they discovered a sports car inside with a dented roof and missing tires.
At first, the brothers had no idea what they were looking at. After doing some digging, the Ian Flemming Foundation (Ian Flemming wrote the James Bond novels) declared that the car was the car used in the Bond film. They authenticated it, and the brothers later sold the car at an auction for almost one million dollars. The buyer? None other than eccentric billionaire Elon Musk.
Unfortunately, the car is currently in its underwater mode and cannot be driven, but it is still surely one of the strangest things ever found in shipping containers.
9. Tear Gas Lipstick and Other Weapons
This item may seem connected to the fictional James Bond story mentioned above, but it has been proven to be real. While most people think that lipsticks that shoot poison or knives or even tear gas only exist in movies and books, this tear gas lipstick was completely legitimate – and completely operational.
In December 2013, a shipping crate was intercepted in Sydney, Australia carrying hundreds of weapons that ranged from these tear gas lipstick tubes to tasers disguised as cell phones to fake pistols that worked like real ones. A forty-nine-year-old woman was arrested in connection with this major import of illegal weapons and had been planning to sell the weapons to everyday people at outdoor markets in town.
8. A Clumsy Burglar
In 2011, a burglar named Ronald Dennis had the bright idea that shipping containers would make a great place to hide the things he had stolen. At night, he snuck around the storage unit facility, seeking out the perfect container to hide his loot in. He waited until a Saturday night when no one else was around, then he cut open the lock on the container and went inside.
Not long after he put his plan into motion, though, a security guard began to check out the perimeter. When the guard came across the open storage unit, he tried to open it all the way, thinking that the owners were trying to air it out. When the door wouldn’t budge, he decided to close it instead – trapping Ronald Dennis inside. He was found the next morning when a different guard heard strange sounds coming from inside the container and called the police. His plan was thwarted, and he was arrested. Maybe next time he will think twice about where he puts his loot!
7. The Engine of the HMCS Athabaskan
In 1994, a man named John Wilson bought a shipping container to use as a bridge on his property for four hundred dollars. Since he had no need to store anything inside it, the shipping container sat, unopened, for ten years, until one day Wilson decided to take his first look inside. He was surprised to discover that inside was a jet engine for the Canadian HMCS Athabaskan, worth over two million dollars when it was originally produced. The engine came complete with everything necessary to authenticate and sell it, and Wilson decided to look into it. Unfortunately, over time the value of the engine depreciated to just thirty thousand dollars. But, Wilson will always have the honor of having owned one of the many weird things found in shipping containers!
6. A Mystery
In Italy some years ago, customs workers at a port in Italy were doing a routine, random inspection of shipping containers. When they scanned one particular container for radiation, they found that it was emitting the highest level of radiation possible. Alarmed by the idea that something potentially very harmful could be inside, like a nuclear weapon or a bomb, they organized a team and opened the container… only to find a small piece of copper inside. The copper seemed harmless enough, and there was nothing else inside to justify the high levels of radiation they had picked up.
The team did some more investigating, using several different tests to find out why the radiation readings were so high when there was nothing inside the container at all. After several days, though, they found absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. To this day, no one knows what was causing the radiation.
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