Bizarre Travel: TSA scans carry-on corpse! Naked in a National Park!

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Talk about a full-body scanner at TSA

(SFX: Airport background noise)

Love them or hate them, you have to give at least a little appreciation for people willing to be TSA agents. It is a highly necessary and largely thankless job, especially the part about dealing all day with entitled passengers who don’t leave enough time to catch a flight, don’t follow instructions and don’t bother to ask in advance if they can take those two bricks of C-4 plastic explosive in their carryon. 

(That happened, by the way, at Syracuse Hancock International Airport in 2019.)

The TSA’s humorous Instagram account chronicles some of the Items that are not allowed, but that people have tried to take on the plane, including:

A replica of a claymore landmine.

A homemade cigar humidor that closely resembled a pipe bomb.

A stun gun disguised as an iPhone 4.

Prank exploding golf balls.

A full-size antique whale harpoon.

And a Mission-style burrito with beans, extra cheese, and a big bag of crystal meth inside.

Amazing, right? I mean, seriously, who still has an iPhone 4? And all of those catches were just in the past year.

An item that passengers are allowed to bring with them, apparently, is a rotting corpse. Or at least something that looks a lot like it.  Jason Guy of Augusta, Georgia, who collects memorabilia from the movie “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2,” was at Atlanta International Airport in 2016 on his way to Arizona with a realistic full-size corpse, a prop from the film. 

Jason was taking the prop, which in the movie was the body of character “Nubbins Sawyer,” to a gathering for the 30th anniversary of the 1986 flick. While surprised at first, according to reports, agents did their job and fed Sawyer headfirst into the x-ray scanner the way you might for a funeral home cremation. Then agents followed strict security protocol and posed for pictures with the corpse.

The TSA posted on its blog that the prop was “An odd thing to pack in your carry-on?” but was perfectly legal. Although it’s unclear from reporting at the time if the corpse had its own seat, or if it took off its shoes going through the TSA scanner.

Jason told News Channel WJBF out of Augusta, Georgia, that the corpse, which has its own Facebook page, is really popular with the selfie-seekers — and not just other fliers. He said when the flight was over, the pilot made everybody else get off the plane first, then they rolled the gruesome prop up to the front and the captain took pictures with it, even putting his captain’s hat on its somewhat decayed head.

Eventually, the photos from the checkpoint at Atlanta were posted on TSA’s Instagram account and became a sensation. Said the person who posted a corpse at the airport:

“Talk about deadheading.”


(SFX: waves and seagulls)

The state of New Jersey, apparently, isn’t a big fan of the sun shining where the sun doesn’t usually shine. Specifically, on nude bodies. Especially on beaches.

In 1999, Gov. Christie Whitman signed a bill that gave cities and counties the ability to ban nude beaches. It’s worth noting that New Jersey has more than 90 strip clubs, topless bars and bikini bars, about one for every 95 square miles, not including all the ones that closed during the pandemic. So state officials aren’t anti-nudity, per se, they just don’t want it where there’s, well, sunshine.

While enforcement of city and county bans on unofficial clothing-optional spots has ranged from robust to skimpy over the years, the Garden State doesn’t have a single legal nude beach on state land. 

Well, except one.

Fortunately for free-spirited sun-worshipers, there’s Gunnison Beach, known less formally as Sandy Hook, the only legal nude beach in New Jersey. 

The  beach itself isn’t a particularly well-kept secret — in a normal summer, the clothing-optional stretch of what was once Fort Hancock attracts 5,000 nude or topless revelers per weekend, and there’s ferry service from Manhattan and a free shuttle. Because of its proximity to New York, Gunnison has been written about many times over the past two decades in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, the New Yorker and Vogue, among others.

What’s less talked about is how Gunnison can be a “legal” nude beach in the state of New Jersey. Simply, the beach is in the Sandy Hook portion of the Gateway National Recreation Area, a barrier island at the entrance to New York Harbor. It’s a National Park, and therefore federal land, not subject to the no-nudity-in-the-sunshine rules of New Jersey lawmakers. 

Not surprisingly, the portion of state law that Whitman changed in 1999 includes other things that cities and counties have the right to regulate, including: vice, drunkenness, immorality, disorderly assemblages, restraining and punishing drunkards, vagrants, mendicants and street beggars, as well as to “prohibit persons from appearing upon the public streets, parks and places clad in bathing costumes or robes, or costumes of a similar character.”

That worked out well. Just ask anyone who’s seen an episode of “The Jersey Shore.”  

The pandemic made for an odd situation on National Nude Day in July 2020, after Gov. Phil Murphy signed an order requiring the wearing of masks in crowded outdoor spaces, including beaches. He tweeted: “Clothing: Optional. Mask: Mandatory. #NationalNudeDay”

There are other nude beaches on federally protected lands, although some are more “unofficial” than others. We’re sure President Teddy Roosevelt, one of the great advocates of National Parks and a frequent skinny dipper, would be happy about Gunnison Beach.

Legend has it that the president occasionally would go for a nude soak with Gifford Pinchot, Chief of the Forest Service, in natural pools in the woods near Washington, D.C., and that on one instance in 1903, they invited the french ambassador. All three men stripped down and jumped in. 

Roosevelt asked the etiquette-minded ambassador why he left his formal white gloves on, to which the otherwise naked dignitary said:

“We might meet ladies!”