Let’s start off by stating the obvious: It is a very, very bad idea to booby trap your home. Not only booby traps are prone to malfunction but, statistically speaking, those who live in said house are at great risk of suffering injuries or plain death from them. Also worth mention is the fact that most jurisdictions look upon this practice as negligent and as the use of excessive force (meaning, people paid frigging damages to burglars who were injured by booby traps). Booby traps could never deter or detect perpetrators legally like a good security system would. With that said, here’s our countdown of home booby traps gone wrong:
5. Ed and Elaine Brown – Explosive Tax dispute
By 2007, the Browns owed more than 500K in back taxes, which they did not pay for their New Hampshire properties during a period of 11 years. Their reason for not paying – Taxes are unconstitutional for their kind of work. No kidding. Naturally, the authorities thought otherwise and instructed to foreclose but the Browns had other plans: When marshals arrived to execute the foreclosure, they were dismayed to find the Browns’ compound rigged with explosives through and through. A siege ensued, lasting a year and a half until the marshals got wise and infiltrated the compound by saying they were supporters of the cause. The compound was hard to auction off, as no full guarantee was ever made that all explosives were removed.
4. Amanda Pollard – Hell Hath No Fury…
After being jilted by her boyfriend and evicted from his home, Amanda Pollard of Pekin, Illinois swore revenge. She returned a few days later to execute, pun not intended, her plan. She laid a few “surprises” around the house, including rat poison pellets in the coffee grounds and cereal, also some of her urine in her Ex’s mouthwash and the icing on the cake – cutting the heated blanket’s electrical cord and stuffing it into the mattress. Luckily the plan failed because her Ex asked a friend to watch over the house while he’s away.
3. Jumer Selimovsky – Fiddling on the Roof
After a violent altercation with another man in Epping, Australia, Mr Selimovsky decided to put a stop to the harassments his family was suffering and ASAP. As he believed people were always climbing his home’s roof… he decided to electrify it to the tune of 254 volts, a potentially deadly charge. Eventually, the police found two exposed wires connected to the roof’s gutter. When arrested and asked about it, he retorted “All I was doing was protecting my family”.
2. Edward Briney – The Buck (shot) Stops Here!
Farming in Oskaloosa, Iowa, ain’t easy. After many break-ins, Mr Briney decided to booby trap his farmland, including abandoned farmhouses. Into one of these stepped the
unfortunate Marvin Katko and all he got for his trouble was an ankle full of buckshot. This was because Mr Briney lodged a loaded rifle into a bed frame and connected it to the door.
Later, Briney said that he wanted to aim the rifle higher but his wife dissuaded him. Consequently, the perp sued him AND WON, which started a whirlwind of lawsuits that, years later, made Mr. Briney comment that he should have aimed the gun higher.
1. H.H Holmes – The Granddaddy of All Booby Trappers
Compared to Mr Holmes, all the Gentlemen and Ladies featured in this list are mere yokels, peaceful denizens of serene homes. This Mr Holmes appeared in late 19th century Chicago, took over a pharmacy (by making its previous owner scarce) and subsequently built on it a fully fledged “murder castle” which was his home, also a hotel. The specs read as a horror story – Gas pipes to kill off lodgers in their sleep, secret rooms for foul practices (dismemberment, mostly), many windowless rooms with corridors and doorways leading to nowhere in particular and a kiln to dispose of corpses (after the skeletons were sold off to medical schools). The number of victims that perished here is still disputed, but H.H Holmes is commonly considered America’s first serial killer.