A Transportation Security Administration officer guides a person through a ‘millimeter wave’ scanner during a demonstration.
Long lines, invasive patdowns, and short, shoeless walks through full-body scanners have earned the Transportation Security Administration a reputation as a kind of heel for casual and frequent flier alike.
But remember that their jobs protecting the public involves actually dealing with the public. In this slideshow, explore some of the most bizarre items confiscated by TSA agents that your fellow passengers attempted to bring with them abroad a plane.
A pen pistol discovered at a Pennsylvania airport.
Guns and ammunition is routinely found by TSA screeners, who often pick up dozens of firearms a week. Some passengers, however, still try to get away with it, occasionally in especially sneaky ways.
If you thought pen pistols could only be carried either by super spy or total maniacs, you'd be half right. A pen pistol was found by security agents in Allentown airport in Pennsylvania.
The passenger denied the device was in fact a weapon, though later owned up to it.
This lipstick knife is not useful as lipstick or a knife.
What collection of crazy weapons that look like ordinary objects would be complete without a lipstick knife? This weapon was confiscated by TSA screeners working at Chicago's Midway International Airport.
A backscatter image produced by a body scanner
Sometimes it's not what a passenger is carrying, but what a passenger is wearing that can set off alarms. Body scans can reveal hidden items that fliers did not want revealed.
A TSA screener stopped a passenger following a suspicious item found during a body scan. The item turned out to be a chastity belt, which was not confiscated. Instead, the passenger was allowed to move right along to the flight.
Inert explosives are a surprisingly common find.
When TSA officials forbid bringing explosive devices onto an airplane, that doesn't mean they're suddenly acceptable if you deactivate them.
Passengers at several airports, including Chicago O'Hare, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas among others, attempt to carry inert hand grenades with them abroad airplanes.
These grenades were confiscated at Glacier Park International Airport in Montana.
Artsy or dangerous?
Keeping up with technology can pose a challenge for TSA screeners. But a watch like this is bound to raise suspicions no matter what extra features it purportedly has.
Although the watch was entirely harmless, TSA agents at Oakland International Airport were concerned the timepiece might have been a component of an improvised explosive device.
A sword isn't going to be hard to catch on an X-ray scanner. Two swords are practically a gimme.
Carrying a couple swords in a guitar case is good for neither the swords nor the case. Attempting to bring them on a blame, however, isn't good for anyone.
A passenger in Salt Lake City International Airport tried to bring the swords as carry-on luggage, claiming he didn't realize they were prohibited items.
This isn't the first cane sword found by TSA screeners, and it won't be the last.
Passengers with disabilities or in wheelchairs sometimes need extra care from TSA screeners. Potential fliers trying to create the appearance of a disability by carrying a cane sword will also get additional attention from TSA personnel.
This cane sword was found in Colorado Springs Airport.
A walker equipped with a knife
Outside of an airport, where it clearly doesn't belong, a cane sword could actually be kind of cool in the proper context, perhaps if it's owner were an elderly gentleman who found himself in a lot of duels.
A knife attached to a walker, however, doesn't make much sense in any situation.
This combination mobility medical device/deadly weapon was discovered by TSA agents working at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Disguising your drugs as explosives won't make you look any less suspicious.
Attempting to smuggle drugs onto an airplane is never a good idea. But using a novelty grinder/stash case to hide your marijuana has to be one of the worst ways imaginable to try to hide your dope.
This container was discovered by TSA agents at San Diego International Airport.
These eels were bound to look suspicions in carry-on luggage passed through an X-ray.
In addition to smuggling illegal drugs aboard, some passengers have tried to get through airport security concealing live animals.
One passenger attempting to board a flight from Miami to Maracaibo tried to transport "163 marine tropical fish, 12 Trachemys Scripta (red sliders), 22 invertebrates, 24 live coral pieces, 8 pieces of Scleactinina with mushroom polyps and 8 pieces of soft coral," according to TSA.
The passenger was handed over to U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials.
One of two endangered birds rescued by TSA screeners
The same week that the passenger attempted to smuggle marine life out of Miami, another flier was stopped in Los Angeles International Airport trying to conceal exotic birds onto a plane bound for China.
This bird was stuffed into a sock before TSA screeners found it and freed it.