Storage Unit Auctions: The Not-So Desirable Finds

Storage Unit Auctions

So, the other day, Chelsea, who works here at and is an amazing and creative writer, researcher and finder of Far Out Facts, came to me with this piece she had worked on and asked me what I thought.

"Whoa!" I hollered. "Everyone needs to read this!!!!! OMG!!!! Amazing!"

So, with that being said...Chelsea and her fascinating work, takes over the blog today!

Very very Interesting!!!

What do YOU think?

What really lies behind the doors of storage units...?


Nancy Theken offers an impressive statistic in her own storage unit auction blog post; stating that, “It is estimated there are over 50,000 abandoned storage units across the United States containing over $1 Billion in contents.”

That is quite astonishing -- but not that surprising considering that the self storage industry has become one of the fastest growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry in the past couple of decades.

And while everyone wants to be the lucky bidder who wins a storage unit filled with $500,000+ worth of gold and silver (it does happen; just ask one San Jose resident who bought a storage unit at Contra Costa County auction for $1,100), it is more likely that you will come across some rather undesirable items.

Honestly, it is amazing what people will pay to keep in storage only to leave it behind for some poor unsuspecting bidder to find.

The items included in this Top 10 Worst Items found in Storage Unit Auctions, serve as a little reminder of the maladjusted and even deranged, individuals living in our world--just in case you had forgotten.

It also serves as a reminder to ALL Storage Facility Operators to check into who is renting their units and what they are storing in them!

  1. An Amputated Leg.

This story actually made it to Judge Greg Mathis televised courtroom drama!

The storage unit auction winner was a North Carolina man named Shannon Whisnant who, with his win, acquired a lovely BBQ Smoker. While my first reaction to the news of what lay inside the smoker was that the previous owner must have been a cannibal, that was not the case. Inside the smoker was a severed, human leg!

storage-unit-auctions-top-10-worst-finds BBQ Time, Anyone?

While the leg was not intended for a delicious BBQ dinner, it did belong to a South Carolina man, a Mr. John Wood, who, after a plane crash in 2004, had his leg amputated below the knee. Apparently, he wanted to be buried with his leg and was storing it in his storage unit for safe keeping!

The case made it onto the television courtroom drama because Mr. Wood wanted his leg back (can you blame him?) but Mr. Whisnant had big plans for that leg and was not willing to give it up without a fight. Mr. Whisnant planned to set up his newly acquired BBQ smoker, complete with severed leg on grill, as a some kind of carnivalesque attraction, charging viewers $10 a pop. Mr. Whisnant did not win the suit.

  1. Grandma


It’s actually not that abnormal to “win” urns filled with human ashes from storage unit auctions. But this, this is just too much!

When a family, residing in Clearwater Florida, fell behind on their storage unit payments in 2011, the truth came out - or rather, grandma came out….in her blue coffin!

Authorities identified the woman as Ann Bunch, born on January 1, 1900. Poor Ms. Bunch had been residing in that unit since her death in 1995, giving her stay in the unit (or tomb?) a grand total of 17 years!

While I could never discover why this grandmother was not properly buried in the first place (her body had apparently been properly prepared for burial which reasons why there was none of that decaying body smell lingering around the place) - I guess we will never know!

  1. Never-released Michael Jackson tunes.

While this may not be nearly as grotesque as our other examples, can anyone say, storage unit auction goldmine!?

Over 250 Michael Jackson songs were found in his father, Joe Jackson’s, storage unit. The songs were recorded at a time when MJ was between record labels, meaning that no recording companies had any legal claim to them - some of them were even recorded with Tina Turner! Without a doubt, this find is worth millions of dollars.

  1. Rare Cars

Again, not the weirdest of the weird but there are so many unique, rare cars found in storage unit auctions, I had to mention a few of the best! A 1937 Bugatti 57S was found in an English storage unit after sitting untouched for 50 years. Only a handful of these “original supercars” were ever made and experts believe it to be worth as much as $9 million.


Or take the famous Lotus submarine car, also known as the Lotus Esprit S1, driven by Roger Moore in the 1977 James Bond Film “the Spy Who Loved Me”. This gem was discovered by a man who only paid $100 for the unit!

Okay, one more.

After 26 years in a storage unit, a Mr. Bill Fair of Kansas stumbled upon a 1966 Shelby Mustang. One of only 1100, mind you. The car was in near-perfect condition and what’s more, it had been originally sold from American legend, Caroll Shelby’s, personal car lot! Similar cars have sold for as much as $2 million!

  1. Madonna’s Stalker’s Storage Unit


Robert Dewey Hoskins, perhaps better known as “Madonna’s Stalker” after he was convicted of threatening to murder the cultural icon in 2012, had, what I’m sure you can imagine, a bizarre collection of tchotchkes found in his storage unit.

LA Weekly even has their own list of the “10 Creepiest Things” found in his storage unit alone!

Items include, a headless baby doll, knives, knives, and more knives, a home video of a children’s play (Hoskins had no children…), shirtless photos of himself, a Barbie backpack, a Sumo wrestling doll, a very scary clown mask, and needlesstosay, tons of Madonna memorabilia. Back to the insane asylum for you, sir.

  1. More...severed body parts


This delightfully creepy story comes from Pensacola Florida, where former medical examiner, Dr. Michael Berkland, harvested body parts that he acquired during private autopsies performed inside funeral homes!

Hidden in Tupperware containers, trash bags and specimen cups, Dr. Berkland hoarded the body parts of over 100 different people!

The Pensacola News Journal reported that Dr. B had lungs, hearts, tissue samples, and 10 brains in his storage unit. Auctions like these really make you want to reconsider if you really want it.

  1. Used Toilets

Some things should just never be held onto! And stinky, used toilets may be at the top of that list.

Bidders were horrified, repelled backwards even, when a storage unit door revealed dozens of used toilets. That’s it. Someone eventually bought the unit for $5. To do what with, remains unseen.

  1. A “Dead” Mannequin


When you are about to view a 10 x 30 foot storage unit at auction, you expect to find a treasure trove full of items!

But storage unit auction bidders were shocked to find only ONE thing in this unit. A “dead” and bloodied mannequin. The female doll was naked and covered in stab wounds and red paint.

The “murder” weapon, a knife, lay on the floor beside it, also covered in red paint. It seems like someone needs to find a better way to let their aggression out….

  1. Adult Toys, Anyone?

Perhaps the funniest bit about this story is the way it is unfolds. It is not uncommon for a loved one to come to storage unit auctions with the hope of bidding, and winning back, their husband/sisters/mothers/etc. delinquent unit.

And while this sometimes works, it is even worse (or funnier) when your loved one wins and discovers what you have, perhaps intentionally, been hiding from them!

This occurred when a traveling business woman, behind on her payments, asked her locally based boyfriend to bid on her 50 square foot storage unit at auction. He won, offering way more than anyone else offered. What did he find? Boxes and boxes full of sex toys of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Talk about embarrassing...

  1. A dinosaur jawbone along with some other dead animals.

Like cars, there are so many dead animals found in storage units that I have to mention a few of the most impressive! I will however never understand why anyone would think it was a good idea to store animals (dead or alive) in storage units...

storage-unit-auctions Recreated Pterosaur

In Alberta, Canada, a woman named Victoria Arbour discovered what she thought was a bone from some type of fish or marine reptile, only to find out later that it belonged to a Pterosaur!

While describing the small, tightly packed teeth to the Toronto Sun, Ms. Arbour said, "They reminded me of piranha teeth".

Pterosaurs lived from the Triassic until the Cretaceous period (about 65 million years ago) and are described as "giant flying reptiles” by Live Science with a wing span that can reach more than 30 feet! The jawbone is the first pterosaur found in British Columbia and the first istiodactylid from Canada.

Other honorable (dead) animal mentions include: 32 pythons (found dead after a failed breeding operation), a fish tank with petrified fish, the dried out husks of two dead iguanas, and a dead cat.

That's it folks - the Top 10 Weird/Disgusting/Incredible Items found in Storage Unit Auctions. Of course, the chance of finding something as strange and bizarre as these items is just as "unlikely" as finding a real treasure - but they are out there! And you won't know if you have found trash or treasure until you start looking! :)

Until Next Time

Keep on Junkin'


Amy's Heart

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