We all take our vehicle’s trunks for granted, using them as a convenient storage space for luggage groceries, tools, and a spare tire, as well as a dumping ground for all sorts of unusual bits and pieces which may never see the light of day again.
The word “trunk” comes from the old coach and horses’ days of the 19th century when actual trunks were strapped to the back of long-distance stagecoaches to provide extra storage space for passengers’ belongings. As far back as the 17th century, these storage spaces were attached to the side of the coach and were known as “boot lockers” or “boots” - which is where the UK term for the trunk comes from.
In the 1950s auto manufacturers started putting time and money into developing better, more user-friendly trunks. Innovations like the trigger catch, which allowed for one-handed lifting, was first seen on a 1950s Ford, while the 1958 invention of remote activated trunk opening systems was years ahead of its time.
Most drivers are used to having their trunks at the rear of their vehicle, but rear-engined cars have to rearrange their features, putting the trunk at the front where the engine would usually be found. It can give passengers quite a surprise if they go to open the trunk, and find there is no room for their suitcase because of the engine!
Here’s how people use their trunks, based on 20 weird things that were found in them.
You would have to start asking some serious questions about just what the previous owner of your vehicle had been getting up to if you found yourself stumbling upon a potentially lethal weapon hidden away in the back of the trunk.
However, if that weapon was a beautiful replica sword, the chances are they were more likely to be involved in war re-enactments than anything a little shady.
The new owner should count themselves lucky that they didn’t do themselves a mischief while clearing out a trash-laden trunk that just happened to have a fully-sharpened sword buried underneath all the garbage.
19 Rusty Handsaw
Let’s hope the rusty handsaw which one new owner found in their second-hand vehicles was just a long-forgotten tool and not the sort of tool which might have been used by Michael Myers in Halloween! Handsaws aren’t an especially expensive piece of equipment to lose from your toolkit, but it is worth checking out the trunk of any car which is about to be sold, just to make sure your buyer isn’t getting some accidental freebies. After all, trunks are where a lot of people keep their toolkits, which makes a lot of sense; there’s no use having tools at home if your car breaks down on the road!
18 Prosthetic Limb
The mind boggles as to how anyone could leave a prosthetic limb behind in the trunk of an old car – how can you fail to notice that you’re missing an arm or a leg when it comes time to say goodbye to your old set of wheels? The idea of an abandoned false leg may conjure up images of drivers or passengers limping away from the car, thinking to themselves “Something is different today”, but the truth is that many amputees or others who use prosthetics keep old limbs around as spares – so the one which a new owner found in his trunk was probably a well-loved old model.
17 Swiss Silver Ingots
Discovering an engine where you expect to find an empty trunk is one thing, but many people have come across much weirder things in the trunks of cars they have bought second-hand. One man, who bought an old Mercedes 350SDL, was at first disappointed when one of the car’s tires went flat after just a few weeks on the road.
However, that disappointment was replaced by surprise and then joy when he discovered 32oz of Swiss silver ingots in the recess where the spare tire should have been.
Feeling no obligation to return the precious metal to the former owner, he instead sold the silver and got his old car a new paint job.
16 Fifty Lightbulbs
Everyone has left the odd bag of groceries in the trunk from time to time after coming back from the store; things only go really wrong when those groceries are forgotten about for days, and the fresh food goes moldy! However, one bemused owner found that the previous occupant of their vehicle had been buying some unusual items in bulk – and had then clean forgotten to clear out the trunk before they handed over the keys. When they went to explore the trunk, they found an astonishing fifty brand new lightbulbs, practically enough to fill the trunk to the brim with lightbulbs.
A lot of the things that people have left behind in trunks after they sold the car on may be weird or a little unexpected, but you can at least understand how the previous owner managed to forget that they were ever there. Not so the case with the item on this list; a fully opened parachute, which had been badly folded and stuffed into the trunk. Aside from the fact that parachutes are surprisingly bulky, and therefore would have probably filled the trunk regardless of the type of vehicle, they are also quite expensive – not the sort of possession that is easy to replace!
14 Mud Wrestling Trophy
When it comes to American sports, baseball, basketball, football, and hockey are the big four, with contests involving golf, tennis and even soccer still commanding a great deal of respect and admiration from the fans.
Mud wrestling is almost a joke sport; an invention designed to encourage attractive women in bikinis to wrestle in a paddling pool full of mud.
It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that someone found a trophy from a mud wrestling competition nestled in the trunk of their new car when they got it home – a second place trophy at that – as who would really want to be reminded of their lowest moment?
13 Hand Grenade
We have already heard how one startled owner found a replica sword in the trunk of his used car, but at least a sword is only dangerous in the event that it finds its way into the wrong hands. Other weapons can be pretty lethal no matter how careful you are, and that includes hand grenades. Why the previous owner of the car was driving about with a hand grenade rattling around in his trunk is a question for another day. Luckily for the new owner, the grenade turned out to be harmless, and they lived to tell their epic tale.
12 Suitcase Of Cash
Weapons are far from the only dodgy items that have been found lurking in the trunks of used cars. There are several signs which may suggest that the previous driver of your vehicle was on the wrong side of the law, including unusual hiding places in the bodywork or under the seats, and perhaps most tellingly, a suitcase of cash. After all, it’s only crooks who carry their dollar bills around that way, so when staff found a suitcase stuffed with cash in the trunk of a rental car, they knew there was a very good chance some unsavory characters would be looking for their money!
11 Mannequin Dressed As An Old Lady
Time for a discovery that is more like something from Psycho than The Godfather – and one that would certainly have given the poor new owner of the car involved a serious scare.
For some reason probably best known to themselves and their therapist, the previous owner of the vehicle had left a mannequin in the trunk of their vehicle when they sold it.
And this wasn’t just any old mannequin either; no, this particular shop dummy was dressed up – quite realistically – to look just like an old lady. Was this genuinely something the previous owner forgot was in their trunk, or an elaborate prank on their buyer?
10 Hedge Trimmer
Sometimes, when people buy used cars, they get a lot more than they bargained for. Often these can be unpleasant surprises, but sometimes they can actually be pleasant if confusing ones. Take the guy who happily drove his new used car home, only to open up the trunk and find a full-size hedge trimmer in there. For some, this might provoke an ethical dilemma about whether or not to return the expensive gardening tool to the previous owner – but a lot of people would simply see this as good fortune, and add the trimmer to their own collection of gardening equipment.
9 Human Skeleton
Luckily for those who are of a nervous disposition, this next trunk-based discovery is not nearly as sinister and spooky as it sounds. Yes, someone did find a full human skeleton in the back of their car – more than enough to give you nightmares for months – but there was nothing gruesome or even criminal about this particular discovery. This skeleton, you see, was one of those very sterile and very legal anatomy skeletons, which hang in the corner of science labs at high schools and colleges. Although how this one managed to wander off campus remains a mystery to this day.
8 Scottish Piper's Hat
If you have ever been lucky enough to enjoy a vacation in Bonnie Scotland, then you will have also enjoyed the fascinating, if slightly, annoying sound of the bagpipes – that most Scottish of instruments, which is commonly played by soldiers in Scottish regiments of the British Army.
One of these regiments also has quite an eye-catching uniform, which includes a very tall hat made from black ostrich feathers.
It may look impressive on the parade ground, alongside your brothers-in-arms, but quite how one of these unusual hats found its way into the trunk of a used car in the US is another matter.
As with the prosthetic limbs which were found in a used car, it is difficult to imagine a set of circumstances which led to someone leaving their wheelchair in the trunk of their vehicle when they sold it to a new owner. Hopefully, this new owner did the right thing on this occasion and at least made sure that the car’s previous occupants didn’t need their other set of wheels returned urgently. Chances are that this was a spare wheelchair, kept in the car for use on journeys. Or at least let’s hope that’s the case, and that no-one was left trapped in their home waiting for their wheelchair to be returned!
6 Computer Printer
File this particular lost object in the same place as the hedge trimmers from earlier. If you found an expensive item, like a computer printer, in the trunk of a car you had just bought second-hand, how much trouble would you go to in an attempt to return to its rightful owners?
Or would you say that they had the loss coming, for being so dumb as to leave the printer in the trunk of their car in the first place?
And why would anyone be carrying a computer printer around in their trunk anyway? Mobile offices may be a recent innovation, but that’s taking it too far.
5 Suit Of Armor
Remember the sword which someone found in the trunk in their used car? It would appear that the suit of armor which went with that sword was also left in the trunk of a completely different vehicle!
Hopefully, the suit of armor which someone found in the back of their used car was just a cheap reproduction and not a genuine antique.
Either way, the noise created when a pile of metal is rattling around in the trunk makes it difficult to figure out how anyone could have forgotten the suit of armor was in there in the first place – or how the new owner didn’t notice when they were driving it away.
Some poor driver got simultaneously the shock of their lives and a pretty dramatic reality check when they opened the trunk of their newly acquired second-hand car to discover a headstone instead. Their surprise, however, would have been nothing compared to the panic of the previous owner, who had to explain to their family why grandma or grandpa’s gravestone had gone missing. This is definitely the kind of lost property that someone would make the effort to return to its rightful owner; unless by some quirk of fate, the name on the headstone matched the name of someone in the new owner’s family!
3 Dirty Gym Kit
Lots of people admit to keeping their workout clothes in the trunk of their car – both clean workout clothes, in case they feel a sudden inspiration and urge to work out, but also dirty workout clothes, which have been dumped there after a long and sweaty session in the gym. This is unpleasant enough if you stumble across your own dirty gym kit after it has been festering the back of your car for several weeks – it’s a whole different level of disgusting if you find someone else’s sweaty clothes buried in the trunk of a second-hand car you have just bought…
2 Wedding Dress
Finding a wedding dress abandoned anyway is either a happy ending or a sad ending to someone’s story – or maybe you can be the savior of the story by returning the outfit to the blushing bride in time for her special day. The person who found a brand new, unworn wedding dress in the trunk of their recently-acquired used car was probably a little concerned about returning it to the previous owner in case it brought up bad memories of being jilted at the altar – and surely no-one who was looking forward to their big day would lose their dress anywhere?
1 Ouija Board
Back to the world of the supernatural and occult now, with the tale of buying a second-hand car, and finding that the previous owner had left their Ouija board in the trunk.
Supposedly used to contact spirits from beyond the grave, Ouija boards are more usually found at teenage girls’ sleepovers or in cheesy horror movies than in the back of a car.
Of course, if the previous owner of the vehicle had taken the Ouija board seriously, it might not be the only thing left behind in the trunk of the car; there may even have been a few stray ghosts and spirits in there too!
Sources: Mensxp.com, thevintagenews.com, thrillist.com, nypost.com, smithsonianmag.com