In the 1990s book and film of the same name, Silence of the Lambs, FBI trainee Clarice Starling and convicted murderer Hannibal Lecter taught us to expect the worst whenever heading into a storage unit. Similarly, The Simpsons also poked fun at the notoriously spooky and creepy atmosphere of self-storage facilities in one notable episode featuring a crime-fighting Cartman. But what do real-life self-storage horror stories teach us?

scary self storage crime

If the idea of a person living in a storage unit, or a family living in a storage unit isn’t scary enough, consider how terrifying it would be if that person wasn’t so much living as… well, read on.

If these fictional worst-case scenarios didn’t put you off ever visiting self storage facilities, I’m willing to bet the 13 totally true tales definitely will!

1. The Meth Lab

Gone are the days when the worst that could happen to your stored belongings was a bad case of mildew. A couple was arrested for operating a fully functioning Walter White status meth lab in their storage unit in New Jersey.

Is the idea of having your treasured possessions within spitting distance of career criminals not scary enough? Well, think of the damage done if that meth lab had gone the way of Breaking Bad, and all your items were destroyed in a drug-fueled explosion. Pretty scary.

true horror stories self-storage

Luckily, full service storage with Wayforth is responsible for keeping the criminals out of the storage game, and provides peace of mind for those looking to maximize their space.

2. The Bat Man

While your possessions might get blown up in a meth lab explosion at a self storage facility while you’re safe at home, if you ever do head to the storage unit yourself be sure to look out for a baseball bat wielding psycho like the one threatening to murder customers at a self-storage facility in New Mexico.

self-storage horror stories

Turns out, you don’t have to be an upstanding citizen to rent a self-storage unit! That means any of those renters loitering around the facility could be scoping out the area for any number of criminal exploits. That’s why Wayforth full service storage is the safest and easiest option – not to mention far less expensive!

The only people who’ll be milling around the facility are the ones we pay to be there – protecting your stuff, not chasing you with a bat.

3. Increasing Self-Storage Related Burglaries

For something potentially a little closer to home, Seattle-area residents using self-storage units beware! Self-storage thefts are happening at an increasingly alarming rate, answering the question of do storage units attract crime or not. Answer: they most certainly do.

Police spokespeople have identified storage-unit burglaries and self storage break ins as a growing trend not only in the Seattle area but everywhere. A string of some 60 robberies of storage units in the Bellevue area alone has generated warnings from police who urge customers to re-think their current storage choice.

self-storage horror stories

Unlike self-storage units, Wayforth has around the clock security systems in place. By removing the confusing element at work in conventional storage facilities – mainly, individuals loitering around units who could be owners or thieves – Wayforth can provide peace of mind. Full-service options like Wayforth can finally put the association between storage units and crime to rest.

4. Scream! Self-Storage Edition

Bringing all of your worst nightmares to reality, a suspect was identified in a string of self-storage facility robberies in New York. The scary part? This suspect was wearing the Ghostface mask popularized by the Scream franchise. This is one of those self-storage horror stories to really keep you up at night.

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Yep. Not only are self-storage facilities already just straight-up creepy, there’s some guy jumping out from behind the units wearing the actual mask of literal nightmares.

5. The Cats

Okay this is where things get a sadder and scarier. In a self-storage unit in New York City, some 40 cats were found frozen. One had even been skinned. We take no pleasure in relaying this gruesome tale. Just goes to show that without proper monitoring lots of weird and disturbing things can go on in storage facilities.

true stories storage unit

6. A Bomb

Right so if the meth lab hasn’t blown up the self-storage facility yet, there’s a chance a live hand grenade, like the one a Michigan man found in a self-storage unit he won at auction, could do the trick!

The man took the grenade (the pin was still inside) to the local authorities. They then sent out a bomb squad to the self-storage facility to make sure there weren’t, you know, other bombs lying around.

scary crime storage facility

Just saying, with Wayforth we don’t accept literal bombs in our storage facility. Along with other objects that could pose a threat to the safety of you, your items and our employees. But we do help you store those bulky and weird items that you can’t find space for in your home. Stuff like kayaks, chairs, lamps, etc.

You don’t find haunted kayaks in most self-storage horror stories, so it just seems like good business to us!

7. Rats. Just so many rats.

This is a gross one. One California area woman found that her child’s baby blanket, which along with other possessions had been stored in what she believed to be a secure self-storage unit, had been eaten by a bunch of rats.

Not only did the rodents chomp on her son’s baby blanket, the rats grew their family and ended up nesting in the blanket inside the storage unit. Which is basically too gross to think about.

Having a bunch of dirty rodents cozying up to your possessions is bad enough. What’s worse is that this woman paid for a storage unit specifically to avoid damage! By storing these items for free in her garage the same could have damaged them the same way! Worse still, the self-storage facility didn’t so much as offer an apology!

8. A Missing Woman’s Body

Warning this next true story is the most horrifying by far. Seattle’s SEA-TAC Airport was recently the site of the capture of a man who murdered his girlfriend and put her body into a storage unit in Colorado, authorities say.

This is one of those truly terrifying true crime tales that raise the hair on the back of your neck and are responsible for the well-founded fear of self-storage units that so many of us have. This poor woman’s then boyfriend senselessly murdered her, and then attempted to flee to Hong Kong.

9. A Missing Man’s Body

Again we have a ghastly story of murder and cover-ups involving self-storage units. A man in California was reported missing by his worried family members and nearly two years later his body was found in a self-storage unit in SoCal.

Authorities suspect that the man was around 57 when his then-girlfriend’s son murdered him in cold blood. This girlfriend then aided her son in hiding the body in a freezer inside a self-storage unit. Not to get too graphic, but authorities cite the freezer as the reason the body wasn’t detected sooner by way of odor.

Eerier and creepier still, is that the self-storage facility owner claims the accused murderer was an incredibly diligent renter. One who visited the facility nearly every day. 

Still not convinced that self-storage is the scariest storage option out there? Read on!

10. A Not Empty Coffin

Pretty creeped out by now, aren’t you? But, here’s another of our true and terrifying self-storage horror stories. Seems that some family thought it was a good idea to store their dead grandmother’s body in her coffin in a self-storage facility. And then never pick her back up.

The facility owners told the family they were going to auction off the contents of the unpaid unit. Only then were they alerted to her remains. The family told them that they couldn’t because their grandmother’s body was still inside. As if having a creepy storage facility as her final resting place wasn’t bad enough!

11. A Baby Mummy

This is an incredibly sad story of family secrets and murder. It ends with a self-storage facility discovery that forever changed the way one daughter saw her deceased parents.

When a Florida area woman’s parents died, they left a self-storage unit filled with possessions. The woman was sorting through the detritus of their lives when she came across something horrible. A partially mummified body of a baby boy wrapped in newspaper.

Authorities say the tiny body is from the 1950s but have yet to determine the cause and manner of death. The woman’s parents had been renting the self-storage unit since the mid-1990s and both passed away in the early 2000s. Extremely distressed by the horrifying discovery, she gave the police permission to search the unit further without a warrant.

So are we. If this doesn’t rank among the most horrible of self-storage horror stories, then I don’t know what would.

12. Body Parts Galore

No surprise here, but this crazy true story comes from Florida. Police became aware that the dismembered parts of more than 100 people were found in a self-storage unit auctioned off for around $900.

In true Halloween-style gore, various totally unsuitable household containers and trash bags stored the body parts. The investigators learned a medical examiner had formerly rented the unit. But regardless, that’s just horrifying. I’m sorry but surely a medical professional would store dismembered limbs in appropriate containers. Right?

Of course, I would also assume that no medical practitioner would store limbs in a self-storage unit. But that seems pretty obvious. Luckily, Wayforth doesn’t store human remains! So there’s no chance your possessions will end up next to some poor person’s severed limb. Thank goodness for technology, right?

If only this was an anomaly in an otherwise normal and safe industry. Self-storage facilities are known for harboring devious secrets such as these and more. At least this self-storage horror story doesn’t involve a murder and cover-up. I guess?

13. Magic Mushrooms

We’re rounding out this list of terrifying self-storage horror stories with something a bit more lighthearted. Some 20 year-old genius thought it would be a great idea to use a self-storage unit as a garden to grow magic mushrooms.

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It was not a good idea, as you can probably guess. He built his garden in his self-storage facility, deciding the low security and already creepy vibe would conceal his illegal dealings.

Well, he was successful for quite some time. A fellow student eventually alerted police to the man’s criminal enterprise, leading to his capture. When asked where the dealer was growing the psychedelic mushrooms, the student told them in his storage unit.

Goes to show self-storage facilities have earned their bad rep of having a creepy and freaky vibe. Not trying to become a victim of more self-storage horror stories?

Luckily, the self-storage industry finally got the customer-oriented update we’ve all been waiting for with Wayforth full-service storage. On-demand storage offers pickup and delivery of your items whenever you want them! All that at around 15% less than self-storage options. Sign up or get your free Guaranteed Estimate today! Self-storage horror stories are a thing of the past when you avoid storage facility crime and use Wayforth!