Mind-boggling Discoveries: 45 Times People Turned To The Internet To Identify Strange Objects They Found

By Sachin P December 23, 2022

The internet has to be one of the biggest resources mankind has ever had. Thanks to its existence, you can now earn a whole degree online, buy or sell anything to people worldwide, and talk to friends and family from wherever.

To this day, one of the most valuable features of the internet is its ability to provide answers to literally any query you may have. Aside from search engines, there are now online communities dedicated to finding answers to niche questions. For example, there is one that offers answers to mysterious objects people come across.

How it works is that web users post pictures of unusual objects that baffle them. The members then explain what it is if they can. It’s actually quite impressive! So, we’ve gathered a couple of those bizarre items here, and we hope you enjoy this journey of discovery as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

Wait a minute, is that what we think it is?

Okay, if we were to channel our inner geek, this would remind us of two different things. The first one would be a headband pattern from Naruto. The symbols on the headband denoted which village a character from the series was from.

yeti_button / Reddit

It also reminds us of the poster for the 1984 movie Amadeus. In it, the human figure has a headgear that resembles the shape of this plate, with rays emanating from it. However, this is just a drip tray from a Keurig coffee machine. How disappointing.

What’s a funnel doing all the way here?

Now, what is this contraption? It kind of looks like something you would use to measure the amount of rainfall an area receives. But what’s with the three openings on the sides, and why is it placed in the middle of what looks like a playground?

PietOnTheRoad / Reddit

The location is the key to finding out what this is. It’s a three-way basketball hoop (Balltrichter it drei Ausgängen). Because there are three exits, you don’t know who will get the ball once you score! Pretty neat, isn’t it?

Why do these stair corners have metal medallions?

Sweeping is one of the least taxing activities when it comes to household chores. You don’t need to wear any cumbersome or bulky gear, and the straightforward, repeated actions can even be relaxing. That is, till you reach a challenging location.

LocalSalesRep / Reddit

For example, stairway corners can be tough to navigate when sweeping. Regardless of how hard you try, removing dust and dirt particles trapped there is almost impossible. To solve this odd problem, people in the Victorian era installed these stair dust nooks.

Slides in and out of the couch

Someone encountered this strange sliding part on a couch one day. It had these small holes drilled into it, which made it look like a remote of sorts. But it’s not since there are no buttons in sight. Or is it some artsy covert cigarette holder?

belokan / Reddit

Well, the clue lies in the couch. It is a contraption for you to place food. It’s used together with a special tray that comes with pegs that go through the perforations and sit in place firmly. So, you have a makeshift table on which you can enjoy your dinner while watching TV.

Now, what are these used for?

This is a blue reflector marking that was discovered on a post in Germany, close to Sollnitz. The Regional State Road Construction Authority in the country put these tools on a 400-meter section in response to accidents involving wild animals throughout the region.

Z1337M / Reddit

They reflect light from oncoming traffic from the roads to the field at night. Once animals see the light, they refrain from crossing since they know there’s a vehicle approaching. No deer get caught in the headlights in this part of the world.

Victorian-era fidget gadget?

It kind of looks like a baby’s rattle, doesn’t it? But having what seems like glass beads makes it a bit of a hazard. The glass could break and cut someone, and there’s always the risk that a child could swallow a piece.

samburket2 / Reddit

Well, it is none of the above. Apparently, it’s a sharpening tool for razor blades. You put the blade between the spheres and sharpen it by moving it forward and backward. Thank Heavens, we have moved on from those days.

What’s this? The Northeastern States’ Baba Yaga?

Someone discovered this while taking a walk in Southwest Pennsylvania behind an old mine. These happen to be open or closed-off structures used by hunters named tree stands or deer stands. As you’ve probably already guessed, they give hunters a better vantage point.

Ok_Olive_6733 / Reddit

These structures are pretty popular among hunters and have been in use for years. Luckily for the poster, they didn’t find anyone lurking in there when they took this. You wouldn’t want to run into an angry armed hunter or get caught in a trap meant for an animal.

Is this used to pick locks?

Now you guys aren’t wrong if you thought this was a lockpicking tool of some sort. It does look the part now, doesn’t it? The only snag is that the tapering end seems too wide for it to fit snugly inside the standard keyhole.

Mist4h20 / Reddit

This tool is quite popular in Southeast Asia as it is used to clean ears. That’s right. If you have earwax buildup inside your canal, this is what they use to get it out! However, we recommend seeing a doctor if you aren’t familiar with it. We wouldn’t want you to poke something delicate!

Looks a bit like Jerry’s door

A boot-scraper, also known as a decrottoir, is a permanent fixture with a metallic edge, either basic or sophisticated, that’s common in the UK. It is mounted to the wall or pavement at a building’s door so guests can remove snow, dirt, mud, or dung stuck to the bottom of their shoes.

Kattfiskmoo / Reddit

It kinda reminds us of Jerry’s tiny doors on Tom And Jerry. Scrapers first appeared alongside sidewalks in the late 18th century and became popular in large towns during the 19th century. This was when horse-drawn carriages and dirt roads were still quite normal.

As long as these aren’t ticks…

This is not the kind of thing that should be falling from your pet’s fur while you are combing them. Seeing this can be extremely unsettling especially because they are too large to be ticks. Could it be some sort of new parasite?

Fortunately, the truth is nothing that macabre. These are actually small rubber bumps found on a furminator brush handle. Continuous use of the brush can dislodge some of them, and they could end up in your pet’s fur. Such a relief!

World’s biggest glass chess pawn?

Lamps using whale oil were in use from around 1780 to 1860. A genuine whale oil lamp can be extremely valuable because there aren’t many unaltered versions of these antique items in existence. Most of these lamps were modified to use kerosene instead of whale oil.

Red-Bell-Pepper / Reddit

After that, the world transitioned to electricity. At the time, there were many varieties of whale oil lamps. They came in many shapes, sizes, and hues. The person who answered added that colored ones like this one were actually rare. Particularly if the lamp base is intact.

Chainmail for the thumb?

Wait! Was there chainmail for the hands as well? Apparently, that’s not what this is. What we have here is a really old fishmonger or butcher thumb guard. These are a bit hard to come by these days, but before, they were worn when hand-cutting fish or meat.

deceptiveshadow / Reddit

After wearing it, you had to firmly hold the old leather clasp in your hand. This item dates from about the turn of the century and was all connected by metal. For something that old, this one must have been well-kept since there’s very little rust.

Have instant coffee by soaking this garment in hot water

This poster bought a coat dress from an old-timey store in the Northeastern United States. While they were altering it, they found a brown substance that looked strangely like ground coffee. The powder appeared to be sewn to the entire garment.

captainlexan / Reddit

That raises the odd question of why someone would sew coffee inside the seams of a garment. However, that is just decomposed rubber foam. The brown color is a result of the polymer bonds breaking down over time. Either way, we’re not sure we’d be comfortable wearing this.

Looks like some sort of braille…

Expanded polystyrene items, also known as styrofoam, aren’t manufactured like plastic objects. Normal plastics frequently contain little markings indicating where liquid plastic was pumped into the mold. With styrofoam, the process is different; it involves treating tiny plastic granules with steam.

spencerwnelson / Reddit

This causes the granules to swell into tiny foam pellets. As more steam is pumped into the molds after the foam pellets have been put in, the pellets continue to expand until the mold is fully filled. The tiny dots you can see in the photo indicate the injection sites.

Good luck keeping your heel away from this!

If you own or have owned a bicycle at some point, do you recall seeing something like this on it? It certainly looks strange. And dangerous. Look how pointy and sharp it is! Makes you wonder why it exists in the first place.

Newhousewhodiss / Reddit

Well, as we always say, the truth is always stranger than fiction. This pointy arrow-like thing is called a bicycle pump peg. Just like the name suggests, it is used to hold an air pump in place. Pretty neat in a way, no?

New Age Ghostbusters

Modern problems require modern solutions. The saying also applies to supernatural problems, like ghosts. Guess the new-age ghostbusters happen to have a bit of money in their coffers these days. Otherwise, how can they afford a swanky setup like this?

ThisIsLukkas / Reddit

But this looks too high-tech and official for people chasing ghosts. Something related to a government agency, maybe? Someone answered that it was a mobile direction-finding device. It is most likely employed by law enforcement or other agencies to locate illegal radio transmitters.

Now, what’s this for?

There are a few reasons why this homemade fly repellent works. The most logical one is explained by the nature of a fly’s eyes. These bugs’ eyes are much more intricate than those of a human. That is mainly because these bugs have compound eyes.

Charker21 / Reddit

This means that their eyes are composed of hundreds of tiny lenses. These lenses are extremely sensitive to variations in light. The idea is that whenever light strikes the bag of water packed with shiny pennies, it refracts and distracts the flies.

What could be inside that?

Someone spied this vented box with a crosshair emblem etched on the side in an airport. It was one of two identical crates that were unloaded with the plane’s luggage. They also noted that it didn’t seem that heavy when staff were lifting it.

fitzwillliam / Reddit

As it turns out, this box is a reusable crate used for storing machine parts. The old part is put in a crate and then sent back to be repaired once you receive its replacement. We definitely wouldn’t have guessed that.

It kind of looks like a secret compartment

This picture shows a kitchen counter made out of repurposed wood. But that’s not hard to tell. The depression seen here is obviously there, so you can put your fingers inside to pull on it. That is not the odd thing, though.

pinkwhitney24 / Reddit

Below, you can see a couple of cupboards. So, what’s this for if there are cupboards at the bottom? The answer lies in the fact that the counter is made of repurposed wood. Specifically, wood that was part of a hatch door probably taken from something like a ship.

Surely this can’t be?

Now the overall shape of this peculiar instrument can raise some well-founded questions. The most prominent one would be, “Is that what I think it is?”. Well, as it happens with everything on this list, no, it’s not what you think it is.

shape_reality / Reddit

This is a magnetic bottle holder made out of silicone. So, you slip the lasso-like thing over your bottle, and then you take the pointed end and slip it through the opening near the neck. So basically, it creates an arm for you to hold onto.

What’s this?

So, this particular user encountered this iron cone on one side of a gate somewhere in England. It kind of looks like a miniature cannon. The kind they had on ships for close-quarter combat. Could it be a horn or a primitive doorbell?

pepperjobe21 / Reddit

Well, it is actually called a snuffer or a douser. You know, to snuff out torches before you enter the house? When you spot this somewhere, it could be an indicator of a very old house. It must have been quite handy after a busy day of storming around the castle!

Oh lord! Hope that’s not a sea mine

The United States Navy created the Sound Surveillance System in the 1950s. They did this by exploiting the special characteristics of sound transmission in waterways (SOSUS). The SOSUS system, which tracked Soviet submarine and warship activities under the code name “Jezebel,” was crucial.

TheRealWarrior0 / Reddit

It was particularly useful in detecting when submarines traveled through the vital oceWeches connecting Greenland, Iceland, and the UK. Although not many people could identify it at first, this is one of the submarine detectors that washed up on a beach in Iceland.

Well, this is one way to take care of a “bugged” room

Has this poster encountered a surveillance device in their room? The answer is, no. This is actually a device for trapping bed bugs. Passive bed bug detectors operate on a more basic method: the bugs struggle to climb on slick, vertical walls.

kikogeruk / Reddit

You can find these tiny devices in places like hotels and Airbnb. While the interior is slick, the outside is a bit rough. This unique design makes the tool work by allowing the bed bugs to crawl inside and making it impossible for them to leave.

Pen with a bottle opener?

Okay, you can probably guess what the metal part is for. If you thought bottle opener, you were right. On the other hand, the rest of the tool doesn’t look like the handle of an opener. We think it actually looks more like a pen.

PRG013 / Reddit

Apparently, that red part is made out of dense plastic and acts as an opener for old-style push-tab beer cans. It prevents you from cutting your finger on the sharp edges of the opening. Evidently, every day is an opportunity to learn something new.

What’s with the futuristic headgear?

The metal-like plates on the headgear of these women caught this poster’s eye. They are called Oorijzers. In English, they are known as “Ear-iron” and were a component of the traditional Dutch dress worn by women. They are found particularly in Zeeland.

Tod_Lapraik / Reddit

It’s found in the Northernmost provinces as well. The original oorijzer was used as a metal frame to secure a cap. However, it later evolved, as most things do, into a fashionable accessory. Though it’s a known fact that fashion trends tend to make comebacks, we doubt this one will.

What in the name of the Matrix…

This kind of looks like a battery pod used by machines to harness bioelectricity in The Matrix. Well, it’s just an air-activated hand warmer. As the name implies, these hand warmers function when they are unwrapped and exposed to the air.

nullbuilt_ / Reddit

Iron dust, water, salt, carbon, and cellulose are found in most air-activated hand warmers. They all work with the air to produce a chemical reaction. The hand warmer takes about 20 minutes to heat and can keep you warm for several hours.

Breaking bad vibes

Is the house excited to see its owners, or is there something else going on here? The clue lies in the covering around the tube. We thought it looked like the whole place was being fumigated, and as it turns out, we were right about that part!

GreatScot4224 / Reddit

This is a positive pressure vent. It is normally used during mold remediation. Since mold is a common problem, this tool and the entire ventilation process are very important if you want to prevent mold from thriving in your house.

What are you capable of grinding?

Now, what could this be? Some sort of a portable torture device? It kind of looks the part now, doesn’t it? If a culprit refuses to loosen up their tongue, would their fingers be placed on the scary contraption and the lever turned till he talks?

pantalonedilimone / Reddit

Well, luckily, that’s not the case here. Sorry about the gory intro. Happens when you’ve been watching too many Scorsese movies. This is actually a cheese grater! You place a block of hard cheese near the spikes and grind on it till it’s grated.

Finally, something we actually know in this list

Now, this brings up a very distant childhood memory. An awesome Physics experiment, to be exact. What happens is that the fluid here has a boiling point that is lower than the body’s normal temperature. But the vessel is airtight with a slight vacuum inside.

sciip / Reddit

Due to the equilibrium created by all of this, the fluid and gas inside become extremely sensitive to variations in temperature under their boiling point. Additionally, the two chambers’ temperatures become unequal if only one is held, creating a circular flow between them.

Part of a carving, perhaps?

We are sure that your mind first went with ‘piece of art’ once you saw this strange object. This is a gemstone commonly known as Whitby Jet. Queen Victoria made the very popular during her reign as jewelry for funerals.

The_Eret / Reddit

This particular one looks quite old. Although, one would argue that all Whitby Jets are old since it takes millions of years for one to be formed. These ornate pieces of jewelry are found all over from Asia to the US, but the best ones are found in England, just like this one was.

Whoa! Could it possibly be?

Now, what’s this? A cog from a Jaeger from the Pacific Rim movies, perhaps? Nah. Sadly it is just a ring gear of a rotary dryer. The rotary dryer is a piece of machinery used to dehydrate materials and is mostly used in food and mineral industries.

lysolmax / Reddit

It does this by exposing whatever material it is drying to hot gas. It has a rotating cylindrical shell or long sloped drum that have internal flights called lifters which allow the materials to flow in a cascading or tumbling motion.

What’s this? A ladder for ants?

Well, this was not done by termites, that is for sure. Unless they have equipment that enables them to dig tunnels in a precise perpendicular manner like this, there seems to be no evidence that this could be their handiwork.

this-is-me-2018 / Reddit

When a piece of wood absorbs water and then lets it go, it stretches and contracts, just like a dried raisin. So, with that said, it’s possible that the gum or resin inside this door is the reason for this pattern based on our explanation above. Such precise patterns, though.

Now here’s a honeycomb “Wednesday Addams” would love

Now, this is a very goth-looking honeycomb if there ever was such a thing. But that is not the case here. This honeycomb structure is from the inside of a catalytic converter of a car. Catalytic converters are installed in the exhaust unit.

RossGriffon_Bmore / Reddit

These units lessen the amount of toxic gases and contaminants emitted into the atmosphere each day. It includes a whole system with components that convert these gases into less harmful versions. It’s hard to believe that it’s that important based on its looks alone.

Strange buoy

This strange large thing is not another sea mine. It was identified as a part of a marine buoy. A buoy is typically associated with boats and fishing, and they’re usually either allowed to flow with the ocean current or anchored down.

CrissCross4850 / Reddit

These devices are also known as bobbers and can “float” at different depths or remain on the surface. They can also be used to help people at sea determine where they are in case they get lost. Next time you’re at the ocean, you can try locating one.

Beach cleaning discovery

Finding plastics near the beach is an unfortunate fact of life. The tiny things pictured here happen to be Evolution K1 filter media. The purpose of this filter medium is to give bacteria a surface to settle and establish colonies.

na_na_whats_my_name / Reddit

In order to maintain a safe and non-toxic environment, fish waste is broken down by bacteria that live in this filter. Therefore, though they may look inconsequential, these little wheel-like devices are very crucial for the survival of marine life.

Main character energy intensifies…

Well, what do we have here? This looks like a contraption from a fantasy or steampunk novel. From the looks of it, the suspended crystal-like object is probably used to collect something. Turns out that it’s a “New Age” crystal energy piece. 

Parisbruv / Reddit

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how much work it took to shape the crystal in the middle? According to an expert, it was probably done using a Dremel tool. Whoever owns this must have such great energy.

Could this be a piece from the red carpet?

Whenever there is a huge forest fire, have you ever seen planes dumping red powder over the flames? Well, that’s flame retardant powder, and this looks like a chunk of that. These chemicals known are used to stop or delay the spread of fire.

youneednewshoes / Reddit

From the 1970s, they have been utilized in numerous industrial and consumer goods to lessen the potential for ignition. Since then, numerous flame retardants have been discontinued over the years since they are difficult to degrade and thus quite harmful.

Now that’s one strange light bulb

Some of the things on this list appear so strange to us, mostly because they aren’t used in the modern world. For example, though it may look like a weird cross between a bulb and a spider, this is actually a Mercy arc rectifier. A very important device in the early to the mid-20th century.

woxak / Reddit

It was used to convert alternating current to direct current. This current was used for important tasks, including running radio transmitters and the New York City subway system. As the world advanced, they were gradually phased out in the 1970s.

These kind of look like fly eyes!

Here’s the story behind this discovery. When diving in Makaha, Hawaii, this poster’s friend discovered these two objects sitting together. They described their texture as hard and their color as something between orange and brown. Also, they appeared to have layers like you find in an onion.

doublecheekedup123 / Reddit

Well, this is too uniform to be an egg sack of sorts. But the grooves are the key to solving this. So apparently, these are the mouth plates of a puffer fish. The grooves you see are a result of their diet.

What’s that doing all the way up there?

This kind of looks like a barrier, doesn’t it? Or it could facilitate a game of table tennis. The world’s smallest game of table tennis that is. Without going for the obvious Zoolander reference, what is a piece of sheet glass doing there?

thecowardlylion8 / Reddit

Is it a part of something bigger that we can’t see? Well, the sprinkler next to it provides the answer. This acts as a barrier, so when the sprinkler next to it is activated, it prevents water from reaching the other sprinklers, which would mess with their activation.

This is looking pretty sus…

Surely this can’t be another bed bug monitor, right? Aren’t those things supposed to be round and fixed on a bed’s foot? Well, apparently, those little bugs are such a big nuisance that there’s such a wide variety of traps available for them, including this one.

Pineapple_Incident17 / Reddit

Just like the one we saw, these ones are also quite common in places like hotels, which makes sense since bedbugs just love wooden furniture. This particular one is a bedbug monitor that’s controlled remotely. You have to check it for bugs every once in a while.

Spying device?

This kind of looks like a tag, doesn’t it? That’s what we thought at first and why we concluded that it must be related to some type of surveying. This is what a survey prism looks like. These instruments are mostly used to monitor buildings.

brenex / Reddit

When we say monitoring, we mean that these devices can be used to track movement in a building. Additionally, accuracy is very important during construction, and that’s basically what this little device does. It can be used to determine where something, e.g., a new window, needs to be placed.

Is this a dome of some sort?

Next on the list, we have a very ancient-looking object. It looks like a vessel or something. Wait, is this like a baptismal vessel? But who would throw away such a thing? It also looks like something that belongs on a museum display.

irl_rage_quitter / Reddit

This is a cast stone urn in the Assyrian style. It served as a model for the reconstruction of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in the late 20th century. It has sloping sides. There are etchings on both sides depicting Assyrian deities.

This is some cold war era gadgetry

People find the craziest things in their hotel rooms. Most of the time, it is something creepy, like a hidden camera. Other times, it could be something disgusting that room service didn’t pick up on that the previous tenants left.

ryangh24 / Reddit

But that wasn’t the case with this contraption right here. Apparently, it’s an extended audio jack that was discovered in a hotel in Rome. It was probably installed so you can watch TV while your next-door neighbors are sleeping, and it won’t disturb them.

Some kid’s science project sitting outside?

Now, what could this be? A makeshift burglar alarm? An abandoned project? By the way it looks, that seems like a logical conclusion. But, like nearly everything that we have encountered so far, we can’t be so sure about that.

ugliestparadefloat / Reddit

The key to this would be the location. It was found outside a second-story window. As it happens, this is a bird feeder or trainer. Be honest, would you have guessed that correctly? We suspect you were just as wrong as we were.