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13 Craziest Things People Have Seen in Hotel Rooms

These unsuspecting employees and guests share their strangest (and for some, scariest) experiences at hotels around the world.

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Home away from home?

For most of us, the image of a hotel room conjures up thoughts of bubble baths and room service, clean sheets, and continental breakfasts. Sure, maybe we forget a toothbrush or a spare sock now and again, but we always re-use our towels to save water. But for others, hotel rooms are dark places, full of mystery and strange objects left behind by previous guests. Feeling squeamish already? Calm your fears with this list of the cleanest hotels to stay in.

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A prosthetic limb

“Yes, a left foot was left under a bed. (How did the guest forget that??) This was in London. I called the front desk. A security person came and put it in a large garbage bag, as he did not want to leave the room with a body part. I must say, it still bothers me to this day.”—Jim Angelton

Maybe the previous guest just wasn’t very good at dancing! You know, they had two left feet? Prosthetic limbs probably aren’t on the list, but here are the things you should make sure are in your hotel room.

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A tarantula

“I was taking a slow boat down the Mekong Delta from Thailand to Laos, and we stopped for the night in a small village along the Mekong. We wandered towards the nearest hotel, and didn’t worry much about standards it did or did not live up to. My girlfriend and I had a drink or two by the beach and enjoyed the sunset, then went back to our room, which was bare bones.

We put up the mosquito net, and turned out the light, which is when we noticed something moving. I got out of bed and got my flashlight and shined it on the wall, which is when I noticed the largest tarantula I’d ever seen in my life. It must have been the size of both of my hands combined. I opened the door and politely shooed the guy out of the room, mustering all the braveness I had within me. He begrudgingly left, but now, regardless of country, I always do a good old tarantula check.”—Christopher Mitchell, travel blogger 

Tarantulas are harmless to humans, and many people even keep them as pets! But there are some dangers you should watch out for in your hotel room—especially if you have kids.

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A book about salad

“As the owner of a bed and breakfast place for the last eight years, the craziest thing I ever found was an old battered notebook with “Why I love salad” written on the front and then literally 40-80 pages on why salad was amazing. There’d be the occasional suggestion that the author believed salad to be alive in some sense. Looked like it had been written on and off over the course of several years.”—Reddit user ShaneMcDeath

Maybe this guest was just looking for some motivation to get their five a day? Or researching a novel about… salad? The people in these stories have no such excuse-check out these crazy (but totally real) requests from VIP hotel guests.

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An urn

“There was a bag with a motorcycle helmet hidden behind the bushes. Patrol turned it in and I logged it in our system. If no one claims their item after 30 days, we have to go through the item and determine if it can be donated. So while doing so, I came across a box and when I opened it I found the urn, which is incredibly unusual. We then had to contact the coroner’s office to try and locate the owner and the urn was then returned to the family.”—Katharine Moffitt, Pechanga Resort & Casino Lost & Found

This certainly was a very urn-usual find! We just hope no one at the casino lost a bet. For other weird finds, here’s a list of the strangest things people have stolen from hotels.

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A loaded gun

“It was under the pillow. Evidently, the person before me must have slept on top of the bed covers and the lazy maid did nothing but make the comforter taunt. When I called the hotel front desk, they were deeply concerned and hotel security came. I did NOT touch the weapon. They called the police and moved me to the Presidential Suite. So that was not so bad…”—Jim Angleton

This sounds like a scene in a movie! The kind of movie you don’t want to have a supporting role in, that is. For a less extreme way to get a room upgrade, don’t miss these hotel booking secrets hotels don’t want you to know.

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A presidential pet

“A goat dressed like Abraham Lincoln. There’s no more story here, at least none that I know. Working as a cleaner in a hotel, went to clean a guest’s room, dreading it since they’d been there for a stag do, found the goat. Don’t know how it got there, or how it was removed, but it made a good story for a while.”—Reddit user bluepaul

Some people love history, some love their pets, and some really love both! But they really should stay in a pet-friendly hotel. If your goat is truly necessary for your happiness on vacation, make sure you’re up to date on these effective ways to get hotels to bend their rules.

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A fire hazard

“I stayed at a hotel outside of Boston. Upon entering my room, I found a giant container of lighter fluid thrown askew, all of the appliances removed from the bathroom, and the smoke detector disengaged. There was garbage everywhere. It looked like the room had been completely ransacked.”—Gianna Sollitto

Sometimes, it’s less obvious than this that your room isn’t properly clean. If you’re worried about germs, make sure you know the dirtiest spots in every hotel room to avoid.

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A ghost

“When my grandson checked in, we thought it would be just the two of us sharing a room. We weren’t expecting a ghost. It was probably about 2 a.m. when we heard the hangers in the closet rattling. Other than that the room was still. ‘Grandpa, someone is moving the hangers, but no one is there,’ my grandson told me. ‘Yes, it appears that way,’ I replied. Soon after we could hear the footsteps of someone pacing back and forth on the carpet outside the bathroom door. Very distinct footsteps. …

I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, we were in Gettysburg, one of the most haunted places in America, and in a hotel situated right where some of the fighting took place. Shortly after our ghost was gone, we even heard the distinct sound of a Civil War cannon reverberate on nearby Cemetery Hill. We got more history that night than we ever bargained for.”—Don Allison

Some hotels just come with a little more history than others. If you’re more ghost hunter than ghost avoider, bookmark this list of the most haunted hotels in America for your next vacation.

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A glass eye

“An environmental services team member found it in a glass of water by one of the slot machines. There was a man with an eyepatch who came in after he realized he had lost it and asked if we found it. They had all the proof they needed to give it back to him.”—Jessica Newton, media and public relations specialist at Pechanga Resort & Casino

You know that saying, “I’d lose my head if it wasn’t screwed on?” Well, for some people it’s more literal than figurative, and it’s an eyeball. After that, you’ll definitely need a fortifying—and free!—hot breakfast at one of these hotels.

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A microwave mix-up

“I had a guy who said his microwave didn’t work and I went up to the room and he locked a plate of food in the safe.”—Reddit user BurgleBoy

We respect a man who takes his food safety so very seriously. Do you know what we take seriously? Staying in the best hotel chains.

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An occupied bed

“For my brother’s wedding in small-town rural Alberta, we booked at the only motel available. When we arrived and were given a key, there was a naked man already in bed! They had given us the wrong room. When they gave us the right room, it had been straightened but not cleaned. The telling clue? Skidmarks on the white towel.”—Angela Grace. Follow these tips for a safer and healthier hotel stay.

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Topsy-turvy furniture

“I was working at a luxury hotel and we had a fairly big name band staying with us. There were no noise complaints, and they seemed to be perfect tenants. When they left and we went to clean the room, EVERY SINGLE PIECE of furniture was nailed to the ceiling in roughly the same configuration that it was in on the floor. I found it to be quite amusing. Management didn’t.”—Reddit user EyesWideStupid

Ah, the timeless pranks of rock’n’roll. Sometimes you just need to unwind after a two-hour guitar solo. We like to unwind by learning new things, like the answers to these hotel secrets.

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A mysterious magician’s box

“Last Thanksgiving, my daughter and I checked into the Westin Lake Las Vegas for a weekend of relaxation. As we entered our room, we found the luggage rack expanded next to the bed, with a black magician’s box sitting on top. It had a magician’s business card slipped into a slot on the front, and a combination lock, which was locked. The box was the exact size of a human head. (Full disclosure: I’m not actually positive it was a head in a box, but it totally could have been!)

My daughter thought it was some kind of contest put on by the hotel—if you can break into the box, you win what is inside. I was convinced it was a head. (I tend to go towards the macabre.) We tried to break in (“maybe the combination is the phone number on the business card!”), but didn’t succeed. We called the front desk, and they sent security. Not housekeeping—security! The guard said he had no idea why it had been left in the room, and promptly removed it. We never did find out what was inside. I still say it was body parts. Why else would a magician leave his box behind?!”—Jennifer Campana

We think it’s best not to follow in the footsteps of any of these guests, no matter how magical they are. In fact, here’s the definitive list of things you should never do in a hotel room.

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