Netizens Were Enlisted To Help People Identify Strange Things They Found

By Olajide O

“Curiosity killed the cat,” they say. But what does it make of a man? A brilliant go-getter? The perspective varies, but we reckon that you have had your good and bad times bumping into information that poked mercilessly at your mind. We would not measure up to our true nature as humans if we never explored anything that interested us. We read books, watch videos, and ultimately, ask others when we just cannot seem to make headway by ourselves. There are always people on hand to release us from the pangs of curiosity. People get curious about many things, especially artifacts. This is why a particular Reddit group (r/whatisthisthing) is popularly known for answering any form of question regarding identifying artifacts and their locations. The group seems omniscient with their wealth of knowledge; they technically know everything about anything like they have got all information in some archaic library. This article will check out some of the weirdest posts people came across on this Reddit page.

Campbell-Stokes recorder

The object in question is known as the Campbell-Stokes recorder, and it was invented by a man named John Francis Campbell early in 1853. You can guess the source of the name Campbell. Stokes got added much later when English man Sir George Gabriel Stokes modified the item in 1879, thus earning it the name it was identified by on the Reddit forum.

Image Source: Jolly-Challenge-3924/Reddit

People used it to record the intensity of sunlight. The oddly shaped object is about 169 years old, and its discovery by the user was unprecedented. It is common for you to be baffled by its strange appearance. The user could only identify the item as an odd glass ball with screws in a golden or bronze frame.

Stingray Teeth

This object was reported when it washed up on a beach, and its appearance was nothing like they’d ever seen before. The best description for identifying it was that it resembled a tube with a glass-like shell. This user found it on the shore of North Carolina, and it looked a bit uncanny, as seen from the image below.

Image Source: OpenMagazine8906/Reddit

The user got curious and posted it on the Reddit page hope someone would recognize it, and it was identified as Stingray Teeth. Stingray is a species of cartilaginous fish whose teeth possess nearly the same material composition as human teeth, though starkly different.

Frequency Scanner

The item posted on the mystery-solving subreddit channel was picked up from a suspicious figure approaching a user’s neighbor’s doorbell and holding up a strange device to the camera positioned at the doorbell. It made a buzzing sound, and as if alarmed, the woman ran off immediately. The homeowners were shocked as a result.

Image Source: thedudeabides227/Reddit

Out of curiosity, they moved to identify the item, and it was revealed that it was a tool often used by thieves to disable the security features of a car, and this time, they tried it on the house. It is able to read out the codes used to lock the door, making it easy to break-in.

Fire Beater

A couple of hikers discovered what appeared to be wired mesh with a wooden handle hanging on a hiking trail in Scotland. From its looks, it seems handmade, but the holes in the mesh ruled out any suggestion that it could have been used as a sieve. That would probably be the most natural consideration.

Image Source: SumYungHoe98/Reddit

The subreddit group noted an old fire beater often used to put out wildfires in the bush. The modern types of the item seemed to be made of flat surface industrial-grade rubber. It can halt the spread of bush fires in open areas. It looks like a pretty handy tool!

Fish Crib

Imagine buying a beautiful lake house, and while examining the surrounding water, you find a sort of cube-shaped cage. The subreddit group identified the object like a fish crib used to house baby fishes in ponds. The aquatic world can be dangerous for newly hatched fishes as the bigger ones tend to feast on them.

Image Source: LardLad00/Reddit

That being said, the fish crib comes in handy as a protective cover against predators. It can also capture the bigger fishes who hang around waiting for the little fishes to drift out of their safe zone. Good karma, right?

Awkward looking grape

We are pretty confident that a grape looks nothing like this, and it is funny how something that looks like this is being misrepresented as a grape. The user found the object inside a musical instrument, and he didn’t really specify what kind of instrument has a hole big enough to hold this “Grape.”

Image Source: ItIsNotBecause/Reddit

The answer to this identity crisis that a user pointed out is that it belongs to a violin, and it acts as a sort of fluff that plays no critical role in the instrument. The subreddit group claimed that the item is often called a “mouse.” When detached from the musical instrument, it can be restored following repairs as a sign of good luck.

Pit Mine

A user captured the aerial view of what appeared to be a crater with water inside it. The observation was from a distance, and from what we gathered, specific patterns were observed in the outline of the hole that couldn’t be random. The dark core appeared to glisten hence the thought that it holds water.

Image Source: Calrner/Reddit

It appeared as a pit mine with a cascading spiral of roads that allowed trucks carrying mined materials from the bottom of the pit to the top. The streets are in levels, and it seems like the truck can only move one way. It honestly looks terrifying.

A trunk full of chemicals

It is not very often that you check the attic of a century-old building and find an old trunk loaded with harmful chemicals. And you wouldn’t know until some of it spills on a piece of leather, or you feel the warmth through one of the vials. The discovery of the chemicals got the group curious about what it could have been used for.

Image Source: Duckinhumansuit/Reddit

Some of the chemicals are pretty toxic and could burn through a glove. It could also endanger the life of anyone who inhales it. The chemicals have the potential to contaminate the earth’s face and degrade materials pretty quickly. Hence, their use was restricted via some pretty stringent regulations and, people were warned from coming into contact with them.

Bee hotel

A user found this strange contraption with an intricate design hanging upside on a fence when moving into a new house and couldn’t help but wonder what the box was for. The holes in it made it appear like a feeder or nest for some species of birds that probably have long beaks or lay eggs in it.

Image Source: descendin9/Reddit

A member of the subreddit group enlightened us that it was a residence for bees in general where they can lodge and at times form a hive. It seems like a pretty effective way to gather honey with the voluntary birds who might be looking to take a bit of a rest from a long journey.

Clockwork Roast turner

Moving into a new home can come with many surprises, and this home’s fireplace was definitely one of them. We have seen a lot of fireplaces and, not many of them were like this. A clockwork roast turner is a device often used to turn the meat that is roasting over a fireplace.

Image Source: burnout641/Reddit

It seems like something that should be attached to some fire grill or barbecue machine. Hence, it appears to be in the wrong position. It is clear why the new homeowner could not tell what it was for. A fireplace often provides warmth, and we assume the owner will keep it this way and stick to the barbecue for cooking.

Fruit Catcher

People harvest fruits in different ways and, many of those are often not effective in preventing the wastage of ripe and unripe fruits. It’s kind of like seeing your favorite fruit trees with so many of their fruits resting under them on the ground. Sure, a more exciting way of saving these fruits should exist and, here is what this person found.

Image Source: WemiGod/Reddit

A hiker observed many blue nets tied to trees in a national park in Italy, and he was curious about their purpose. The answer to his request was that the nets were often spread out to catch ripe fruits that fall from the trees during the summer. They help prevent wastage.

Strands in Crackers

Someone found some odd white strands in a piece of cracker. In consuming any type of food, people are always wary of contaminations and anything that could put the consumer’s health at risk. Food regulatory agencies have constantly ensured that the foods meet specific sanitary standards.

Image Source: IAMA_KOOK_AMA/Reddit

But it appears certain things may tend to escape their keen observation and, this was a typical example. The subreddit group revealed that the strands within the crackers were obviously from the frayed edges of the conveyors that mixed in the production of the crackers right before they were put in the oven.

The Wechselbad

It is a hot-cold tub with two faces: one for dispensing cold water and the other for hot water. According to reports, the tub can be simultaneously activated with a button. One tub starts off with a red light and releases warm water for about 30 seconds, while the other tub releases cold water.

Image Source: kjax016/Reddit

This kind of tub is commonly found in spas and specific health and wellness centers. Users are told to dip their legs first in the warm water and then a few seconds to dip them in the cold water. It has some kind of therapeutic effect on blood circulation.

Glass Eyeball

The flea market holds many attractive items. You can find any object you might miss in a regular market. That also accounts for rather strange things such as this one. It appears like a glass eyeball with a metallic attachment with holes. It sure doesn’t look like it was meant to fit in an empty eye socket.

Image Source: hippie-mom-2901/Reddit

It was identified as a key holder hence the holes at the end of the metal piece. As for the eyeball, the subreddit claimed that it was a keyring made as part of a promotion for a company that produces glass eyes for taxidermy.

Goodluck/Prayer charms

We don’t think anyone could have guessed what these items represented if they just stumbled upon them out of the blue. The level of confusion projected by the person who asked to identify this specific object on the subreddit platform was definitely noticeable.

Image Source: PastorJames2020/Reddit

They found the items underwater, and they appeared metallic but not hard in the way metal objects should be and with some sort of mystical symbols etched on them. In certain shamanic or gypsy cultures, these items are seen as totems that ward off evil or grant good luck to the holder.

Purple Smoke

While “whatisthisthing” is strictly a group for identifying weird objects, they often receive requests that can only be deemed out of context and, this is a case study. The questionnaire asked about the process that yields purple smoke, as seen in the image.

Image Source: SpriteUnicorn/Reddit

Any substance or material with a high iodine content would inevitably produce purple smoke. But could it be toxic smoke like other by-products of industrial processes? Who knows? Most of the materials capable of producing purple smoke are harmful to humans.

Cooling Vests

Cooling Vests are unique pieces of wear that are nonetheless fashionable. They are usually worn during hot weather and in exceptional sporting cases. A question was posed in the subreddit group to identify the strange vests that two dutch ladies partaking in an Olympic sporting event were wearing.

Image Source: graansmoothie/Reddit

The cooling vests are known to protect athletes against the rare occurrence of a condition called hyperthermia. It lowers the body temperature and decreases heart rate while engaging in high adrenaline-inducing sporting activity. Such vests often contain between 4-6 cooling packs injected with water to optimize body temperature.

Bat Houses

Exploring a new housing estate sprung a bit of a surprise when two giant wooden contraptions were observed to be standing at strategic positions on the vast trek of land. The answer to the question about what they’d stood for stated that they were remarkable homes built for bats.

Image Source: gempir/Reddit

Given the space is yet unoccupied and most likely recently cleared, there must have been a need to create a home for the bat population to prevent bats from infesting homes. When people started building houses in the area, the bats would build their own communal homes and inconvenience homeowners.

Homemade Horse fly trap

Like cattle, horses are often bothered by ticks, lice, and annoying insect pests like flies that are constantly sucking the life out of farm animals. Horseflies are rightly named so for all the trouble they represent to our beautiful horses.

Image Source: ShiningStand/Reddit

A horsefly trap is often erected in the middle of a range where horses are meant to ride or graze. The Reddit group identified a particular homemade one with a heavy black ball object heated by the sun. The ball swings in the wind and catches these insects that try to sting horses.

Weird dust pattern

An individual complained about these unusual dust patterns that never seem to go away every time the window is cleaned. It is not something you see every day for the dust to accumulate by your windows, especially in patterns like this.

Image Source: throw_me_away1993/Reddit

The weird thing about this report was that the image showed a rather perfectly curated pattern with the dust. And the shocking thing was that it always reappeared in that same pattern no matter how much they cleaned the screen. It was revealed that it was most likely the imprint left by the previous tenant, who smoked with a fan near the window.

Lebanese Loop

Group members identified this particular item known as the Lebanese loop to be an efficient tool often found at the scene of someone who is trying to steal from an ATM. It appears as a small-sized plastic device with a metallic slit that is attached to the card slot of an automated teller machine.

Image Source: Conte_Vincero/Reddit

One of the comments we found with respect to this item stated that it would be a safe practice to examine the card slot of an ATM before inserting your debit card. Check out any looseness, glue, or anything like the pictured device.

Roman Quernstone

It is not every day that you see someone describing an ancient form of grinding stone concaved on one side and flat on the other with a hole going right through the rock. Well, that is to be expected; it is nothing like the grinding stones we are familiar with.

Image Source: mark727/Reddit

Roman quernstones were useful tools for grinding herbs and other food items. The stones appear different because they are created from pure lava rocks produced from active volcanos in the ancient roman empire. The first quern dates back to about 9000 BCE, and, since the disintegration of the Roman culture, this quernstone makes a rare appearance on social media.

Garter Clip

In layman terms, this next item is often referred to as a garter belt attachment that pretty much tells you what piece of clothing it goes with. The primary purpose of the garter clip is to aid in holding up the stockings. It’s usually metallic or plastic.

Image Source: Puppyluv4lyfe/Reddit

There were two major types of garter clips, but the most preferred type is the suspender, while the other kind, the loop-and-button type, may not have been so common. However, that didn’t mean that it was any less effective than its counterpart.

Bed Warmer

A metallic pot with holes riddled through the top is one of the rather strange tools you may discover when you move to a new home. The apartment was located in Italy, and until we saw this post, we were unaware that bed warmers used to look like this.

Image Source: aroyalsnake/Reddit

While it is not a cool invention like we are used to, it could come in handy every once in a while. The bed warmer is used by loading hot coals or burning embers into the pot and moving it over the bed as if you are using a pressing iron. It could warm up the bed just enough for a toasty night.

Water Reserve

It is not very often that you stumble upon a clear pool of water in the middle of nowhere, and when you do, you would never think to jump in straight. It seems most natural to be curious and observe the surroundings, but nothing feels natural about this random pool.

Image Source: ERENSAVAGE/Reddit

It is not some mid-jungle spa or swimming pool. Further inquiries revealed that it’s a pool constructed for firefighters (not for swimming) but for fighting fires that break out in the surrounding woodlands. Firefighters would have a hard time stopping wildfires with just one of these, though.

Butter Pick

If you bought a full set of silverware tools simply for all things food-related, you will most definitely stumble upon a butter pick as one of these tools. But you wouldn’t be able to identify it, would you? It is not a popularly used item like spoons and forks.

Image Source: Ciecie33/Reddit

It can also be mistaken for a corkscrew but, it may not be as sturdy. This particular butter pick is used for picking up pats of butter of any size and shape. It has a narrow handle and can come in different forms depending on the creativity of the maker.

A capped off Gas line

Have you ever wondered how home lighting systems worked before the advent of electricity? We have come a long way with technology and, it is easy to forget what people used to use in the past. This next piece of old apparatus takes us back in time to what represented ancient lighting systems that dominated the 1900s.

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The wealthy families were the only ones who could afford gas lamps that were often passed through the walls of their homes. Houses that have survived over a century tend to retain some of these features, like the sealed gas line, which was a source of light.

Egg threading funnel

Portugal is not only known for its history and beautiful culture. It also boasts a culinary list of food worth dying for. One of those delicacies is the Fios de Ovos called the Portuguese sweet or egg threads. The food cannot be made by ordinary means. You need this odd-looking cooking utensil.

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After prepping the cuisine, it is poured out through the three spiky-ended pores of this funnel to attain the long threadlike form of the egg threads. The egg threads are made from egg yolks that are finally boiled in sugar syrup to give them their sweet taste.

Taco Holder

Tacos are a delicious treat that almost everyone loves for their incredible taste and deep flavors. Depending on your preference, you can make them with soft or hard tortilla shells filled with cheese and any marinated meat with vegetables.

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The addition of cheese and sour cream means that serving them can be a bit messy if you don’t have the right tools to use. Using a plate is not as efficient as utilizing this custom taco holder. It primarily holds your taco in place and prevents the contents from spilling.

Large Ship Bumper/Fender

We are not sure if every harbor has this kind of huge-sized fender. The plastic hollow SUV-sized container is reportedly used for keeping larger ships at bay when they come to the pier. It is better known as a Yokohama fender which may contain foam-like props to prevent ships from colliding with piers.

Image Source: severance8/Reddit

It also functions to cushion the effects of a large ship colliding with another vessel at the docks. The type of fender shown in the image is old and was probably custom made as ship bumpers now are much more evolved and would most likely function smoother.

Antenna sockets

Homes constructed in the 70s presented several installations such as this. The use of colored television was starting to become a reality. Unlike now, when everything is wireless and fully remote, reception wires made of copper wire were often passed through the walls of homes back then.

Image Source: the_never_mind/Reddit

A homeowner observed several junctures attached to the walls of his home, and he was quick to ask the group for clarification. The three holes appear twice, and they were mainly used for TV and FM radio reception antennas, while the center of the socket held the rotary antennae that were common technology for detecting signals at the time.


Styrofoam is a small piece of white plastic of varying textures that are often used in insulation pipes and product packages. It is not uncommon to find minute particles stuck to certain parts of the home as they may be used when building.

Image Source: floorlight/Reddit

They are pretty hard to find, and the ones in the image could very well be spider eggs. After all, they appear stuck to the webs in the corner of the window. The only way to identify if the white balls attached to the corner of your window are Styrofoam is by cutting into them.

Is this a Wifi or signal booster?

Someone observed this object that appeared like a smooth dome hanging from the ceiling in a hospital’s waiting room and couldn’t help but wonder what it was. You’d think the person would have something more to worry about, given the location.

Image Source: Emotionally_Rich/Reddit

But on the other hand, someone identified it as a signal booster. It is not uncommon for hospitals to have signal boosters attached to certain parts of their establishments to improve cell phone reception in an otherwise heavily crowded atmosphere.

Anchor plates

These are also widely referred to as a floor plate or a wall washer. It is effective in holding specific units of bricks together in buildings to provide specific levels of structural reinforcement since the units are often laid out individually. An anchor plate is attached firmly to the wall by a bolt in the middle of the metal plate.

Image Source: cerrosafe/Reddit

The plates are made with cast or wrought iron and maybe steel with a decorative style comparable to the one in the photo. The most popular anchor plate form is the star-shaped design with five-pointed ends. Anchor plates are common in Europe on the walls of buildings in older cities.

Odd typewriter with keys in alphabetical order

Typesetting in the early years was full of rambling keys and striking noises that came from typewriters in offices. The QWERTY system of keyboard arrangement was adopted since then and, it was befuddling to find an old piece of junk that appeared to be a rusted old typewriter.

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The keys were the only recognizable part of the keyboard. The arrangement of the keys in alphabetical order and the numbered keys that appeared at the base of the lettering sure discredited any possibility that it could be a typewriter. It was later identified as a keyboard panel attached to a jukebox selector.

A snow/rain guage

Given the location of the discovery of this particular meteorological instrument, it would be best to address it as a snow gauge. The metallic construction was found in the snow-dominated swiss alps with barbed wire wrapped around it with a collector in the middle of the contraption.

Image Source: c0ndy/Reddit

It was erected in that region for measuring the amount of snowfall or rainfall as the weather may apply. It might be less effective as a digital gauge but reliable considering the heavy snowfall citizens experience annually in this geographical region.

Manual butter maker

It can be pretty expensive to acquire a modern butter-making machine, but how have farmers succeeded in making local butter without any mechanical or electrical device? You can find this butter maker on farms (at least those that appear a bit mechanized) to produce the finished butter you see in grocery stores.

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The apparatus might be wooden and lack a source of viable heat to keep the butter from solidifying too often. The friction generated from swiveling the arm causes the drum to spin as the butter flattens out on the surface.

Wired Trellis system for a living wall

The building in this picture seems to have a network of cables attached to weights (known as the wall trellis system) meant to keep the wires taut. Living walls are a trending form of interior décor that consists of natural plants growing on a vertical wall.

Image Source: grimskin/Reddit

Unless you have come across living walls before, you’d be unable to identify the function of a trellis system. The network in the image showcases an extensive vertical wall holding system for several living walls within the building’s structure.

Stinkhorn Fungus

This is an uncommon form of fungus with an arguably greyish coloration and is soft and squishy to touch. According to Wikipedia, they can appear in colors such as reddish-orange, and they can grow as long as eight inches. It looks gross from afar, and you can find them growing beneath wet vegetation.

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They got their name from the kind of odor they give off, ranging from pleasant to downright irritating. Do they pose any threat to plants, animals, and human health? No! Scientists have stated that they can aid the decay of materials to provide nourishment for plants.

Random circular holes in concrete sidewalk

The appearance of these drilled holes located on several sidewalks in a town sparked a curious discussion about why they are necessary on a sidewalk. Sidewalks are supposed to be safe zones for passersby on foot. Many comments on Reddit challenged the action due to their risk.

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It appeared like the holes were there since they built it because they seemed precise. An electrician responded that it was a system used for determining the existence of underground utility lines and can then safely drill under the road without hitting existing lines.

Maple sap collection pipes

Coming across a collection of pipes linked from tree to tree in a woody area may seem strange if you never learned about what goes into maple sapping. The system in use here is an advanced system of extracting syrup on a large scale.

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Under a less extensive tree population, each tree is assigned its own tap and buckets. But the use of such crude tools tends to be labor-intensive for large-scale production. The pipes all lead to a large container where the sap from the trees is accumulated for use.

I found gold in my water filter

No, it is not gold. Water filters often come with certain elements that enhance the extraction of some impurities in the water. The gold-like particles show the presence of copper-zinc in the filters. An efficient water filter like this one can help to extract heavy metals present in the water.

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Some of the copper-zinc elements are insoluble in the water, and in a way, they can help restrict the growth of bacteria in water. But the presence of these elements in water can be harmful to human health if present in larger quantities. Regular backwashing is necessary to prevent the accumulation of copper-zinc in a filter.

Old-fashioned countertop bottle opener

The Coca-Cola branded countertop was commonly found in English pubs in the past. But it seems pretty convenient since you can easily open bottles on either side. However, such countertops are not stationary, and bartenders can easily remove them. Modern pubs more or less never use it as bottle openers with more flexible options available.

Image Source: FyraTjugo/Reddit

They are pretty much old-fashioned now as bars use different types of bottle openers. In a way, it makes it easier for bartenders to keep track of those they have served beers to, as opposed to the bar getting overcrowded with several people using the old-fashioned countertop and drifting out of sight.


A Reddit user uploaded an image of a bag of husks they found in a home they recently bought whose former owner was a man from East Africa. He thought the husks were meant to be smoked since he found them alongside the equipment. It must be consumable but, how? What kind of fruit could it be?.

Image Source: stinkyelbows/Reddit

It was identified as “Hyphaene,” a form of sweet palms that can be cooked or eaten raw. When boiled, the juice can be extracted and ingested in liquid form. A typical example of hyphaene is the ginger breadfruit which has a characteristically sweet taste.

Expanding foam

Imagine digging the ground in your yard and observing a strange purplish gooey substance bubbling to the surface, and it continues to surface when you dig a bit further? It wouldn’t hurt to be curious about this, and Reddit user whatisthisthing has just the right answer for this.

Image Source: ckal9/Reddit

Have you ever seen an expanding foam? Apparently, it can be used to fill voids beneath concrete or insulate electronic devices. It is also useful in keeping pipes from rattling. Generally, the substance can be used for several repairs in a building, such as cracks and holes in a wall.