6 Terrible Examples of DIY Home Booby Traps

posted by Chris Valentine

Getting a security system is smart. Trying to create your own with homemade booby traps? Not so much. Check out six fails in this post.

No one likes unwanted visitors.


But have you ever disliked them so much that you built a snake pit? Sure, it will deter your Great Aunt Ethel from visiting, but at what cost?

In real life, most of us just put up with annoying visitors and then post about it on Twitter later. But that just wasn’t enough for the six individuals on our list. 

No, for these intrepid McGuyvers, privacy was worth the materials cost, the build time, and the bodily mayhem.

Seems like a lot of trouble and risk when you could just invest in a good security system. But hey, what do we know?

So if you’ve ever thought about taking Legends of the Hidden Temple-style measures to home defense, take a look at these six stories of homemade booby traps gone wrong. 

The Killer Wheelchair 

All this real estate agent wanted to do was sell a house. 

Unfortunately, the entire property was rigged up worse than an old Egyptian tomb movie set. 

When a bomb squad entered the property at the request of a realtor in charge, they were met with a side-turned hot tub rolling toward them. They managed to dodge the jettisoned jacuzzi, but then had to navigate the rest of the property, a veritable maze of tripwires and booby traps. 

Even being as careful as bomb squads are wont to be, once, inside the house, one of them pushed aside a wheelchair, triggering a shotgun blast, wounding one of the agents in the leg. 

The owner of the house had to extradited from an Arizona to answer for his crimes. 

Shotgun on the Stairs 

We don’t condone breaking and entering. But we also don’t think it should be a death sentence. 

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it became for a home intruder in Alabama in 1996. 

The homeowner, a 29-year-old Alabama native, rigged a shotgun on his staircase to shoot at anyone who stepped on the tripwire just inside the front door. 

When Leroy Woodard entered the house, he did just that and died of a shotgun wound to the neck. 

In Alabama, killing to preserve your own life is legal, but to preserve property, not so much. And a self-defense argument falls flat, as the homeowner was a state away at the time. 

Blank Box Break-ins 

Getting your Amazon purchases snatched from your porch is the worst. But one man got so fed up that he channeled his inner Edison and invented himself a solution.

He calls it the Blank Box, and it’s something. 

Essentially, the box contains a 12 gauge blank shell rigged to explode if an intruder tries to take it. “Just like any alarm system!” says the creator. 

Well, no, because a LifeShield system can deter theft AND send a report to authorities, but who are we to judge?

This one hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but we had to add it to the list for the sheer bonkers mindset behind it. I mean, we get having a hobby, but this is ridiculous.

Treasure Chest of Death

The classic story: Belgian pensioner rigs up his home to murder his family who doesn’t want to visit him anyway, and ends up dead by his own contraption. You know, classic. 

That was the story, though, when 79 Louis Dethy was killed in his apartment in 2002. 

We simply can’t imagine why his family didn’t want to visit since he sounds like a delight, but his house was a veritable death maze. 

After an investigation was nearly killed by the same “Gun-in-a-Chest” that killed Dethy, they called in the mine replacement squad, who spent the next few days deciphering cryptic hints left in Dethy’s journals to uncover the rest of the traps, which included an exploding cask of beer and poisoned dinner plates. 

Honestly, it seems like there are less grisly ways to exact revenge on a family who doesn’t want to see you. 

It’s Electric! The Doorknob, That Is 

Speaking of family revenge, who’s up for a little electrocution between estranged spouses?

When Ashley Wilson received a text message from her estranged husband telling her to “use the front door” and dropping other cryptic hints about the house, she trusted her instincts and called authorities. 

What investigators found was grisly, to say the least. Wilson’s husband had rigged the doorknob so that anyone who first inserted the key into the deadbolt and then grasped the doorknob would be jolted with enough electrical current to kill an adult.

And did we mention the intended victim was pregnant at the time?

Again, can’t imagine why she was divorcing him. 

Squirrels and Shotguns 

In another “home-booby-trap-traps-the-booby,” we’ll wrap up with this gem from North Carolina.

Edwin Smith just wanted to feed some squirrels and apparently forgot to take heed of his own sign, which warned that “crack heads, meth heads, heroin users, drug dealers … and illegal aliens” would face dire consequences for stepping foot on the property. 

And considering his house was well supplied with methamphetamines, you would think he’d have taken more notice of the warning. 

Alas, no. Smith stepped outside to feed squirrels and triggered a trip-wire rigged shotgun, shooting himself in the arm. he then called 911 and spent the entire call saying goodbye to the cruel world, and lamenting that he was done with life anyway. 

What a disappointment to himself that he did not die, but simply ended up with a shell-riddled arm and a felony charge. 

Protect Your House Without the Booby Traps 

Look, we get it. Everyone wants to be Kevin Mcallister once in a while. What’s better than a little slapstick comedy at the expense of child-napping goons?

But away from the Hollywood cameras and trained stuntpeople, the results are not so entertaining. And they’re more likely to wreak havoc on their creator than on an unsuspecting victim. 

So go with an actual security company, kids. And leave the booby traps to ancient tombs and old-school game shows. 

Want more weird and wonderful stories? Take a look here!

You may also like