Plastic skull being transported for trade show in Mexico halts baggage screening at Salt Lake City airport

The Transportation Security Administration recently added another oddity to its list of discoveries when an unexpected object was discovered in a traveler’s luggage: a molded skull.

According to a TSA news release, it all began on September 18 at Salt Lake City International Airport about 8 a.m. local time when a TSA bomb detection unit reported an object within a piece of checked luggage as a potential security threat. The X-ray image of what seemed to be a skull with unknown objects inside was examined by the officers. According to the announcement, the object resembled an improvised explosive device.


The Salt Lake City Police Airport Division was alerted by TSA authorities, and they collaborated with an explosive detection canine and the agency’s explosives specialists. Operations were halted for nearly two hours as authorities investigated and got in touch with the traveler, who was able to describe the item and their motivation for bringing it along.

It turns out that the skull can be utilized as a medical training tool to teach spine and neurosurgeons how to perform lobotomies. According to the press release, the passenger was bringing the skull to Cancun, Mexico, for display at a trade event.

TSA Federal Security Director for Utah Matt Davis said, “This incident and subsequent response is an example of how TSA must take every potential security threat seriously while ensuring that the transportation system is not put at risk.” “I was pleased with the professionalism of everyone involved who worked closely to fully resolve the issue, to ensure that security was not compromised, and to resume operations as soon as practicable,” said the person in charge of the situation.

The skull was ultimately refused permission to fly on a commercial airline and was taken into custody by TSA to be picked up when the passenger arrived back in Salt Lake City.

In recent years, TSA agents have also discovered raw chicken, blades concealed within laptops, and drugs concealed inside hair scrunchies in passengers’ checked bags at airports.

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