Lifelike Human Face in Carry-On Bag Gets TSA’s Attention

August 14, 2011
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There was a face-off last week between a Central Florida entrepreneur and federal security officials at the airport in Newport News, Va.

In the end, the face won.

U.S. Transportation Security Administration workers balked initially when they discovered a lifelike human head in the carry-on bag of Michael Shulman, science officer for Looklikes, a Plymouth company started by former space-industry workers that replicates heads of the deceased for use on cemetery headstones.

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Shulman had taken a sample head north to see if it would be approved for use on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington. While Looklikes struck out at Arlington, the realistic face caused quite a stir at the airport when Shulman, on his way back, sent it through the TSA scanner.

“I put it in my zipper bag and put it on the conveyor without thinking much about it,” he said. “I walked to the place where they were waiting for bags, but the system wasn’t shoving bags out.”

Three TSA officers studied the image on the monitor before asking for the owner of the offending bag. With Shulman seated at a table, the workers searched his belongings and asked if he had taken the head on previous flights.

After consulting among themselves, they decided the head was not a prohibited item, and Shulman continued on his way.

“I offered to take a picture of them with it,” he said.

Article we posted last week on Looklikes

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