The internet is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge. And there are hundreds, and thousands of detectives online, all willing to give you a helping hand. The subreddit ‘What is This Thing’ is overflowing with amateur and professional detectives, and experts who help others identify the unusual, peculiar and weird things they came across. This online community’s combined wisdom and pursuit of the truth are second to none.
This is why Bored Panda compiled a list of the most bizarre and interesting things, along with the subreddit’s guesses of what they are. Scroll down, upvote all the finds you liked, and don’t forget to leave a comment about what you thought each thing was. And when you’re all done, take a look through Bored Panda’s other lists about the strangest finders keepers here and here.
More info: Reddit
I Found This Ring In My Backyard While Doing Gardening. After Cleaning It, It Doesn't Look Like A Normal Ring. Any Ideas ?
Answer: It's a Georgian/early Victorian mourning ring. The initials belong to the lost loved one.
They were typically made from gold (18k+) and enameled in black. Yours looks like it was made around 1820s-40s.
What Is This Big Hole That Is Usually Found On Milk Cartons?
Answer: It’s a pressure relief hole. If you dropped it, instead of exploding, the hole would pop out.
Found At Myrtle Beach, Sc. What Is This Thing?
Answer: that’s a broken megalodon tooth.
The ‘What is This Thing’ subreddit is very large: more than 1,170,300 people (and counting) are part of this community. Which just goes to show just how many people are drawn in by a desire to figure out modern mysteries about vintage things. Or how many Sherlock Holmes and Castle enthusiasts actually prowl the streets at night, looking for cases to solve. You never know, your own neighbor could be one of these everyday heroes, helping others figure out answers to questions that won’t let them sleep at night.
This Weird Wrapped Car. The Lights Were Wrapped In Cloth. Serial Numbers All Around. Anything Significant Or Just Tacky?
Answer: It obscures the car while being test driven, so the yet-to-be-released models are not photographed and published. The random "wave" patterns effectively hide the body contours and lines.
Scanning Family Slides From 1964 - This Was Over My Parent's House In Texas. What Is This Thing?
Answer: it's a residue of a rocket launch. It's called Twilight effect. It was done right at sunset so the sun lit the vapor/exhaust trail from underneath.
This Was Found By A Cleaner Hidden Under My Dresser In My Bedroom (She Told Me Very Discreetly About This Which Has Me Concerned), I’ve Tried To Google It To No Avail. What Is This Thing?
Answer: voice recorder, doesn't transmit using wireless though so whoever placed this thing, will be back. If this was in your home, chances are there are cameras as well.
Some of you might be thinking that my talks about mom-and-pop internet detectives are a bit far-fetched. But, the interesting fact is, that there are plenty of amateurs who have solved major mysteries! For example, BBC Future writes how Carl Koppelman got fired from his job at Disney and became a detective in his spare time.
Saw This Cat In Texas First Thought It Was A Domestic Cat But When We Got Closer That Seemed Less Likely. What Is It?
Answer: Black bobcat.
I Saw This In My Yard. Is This Just A Type Of Worm? Or Is There A Parasite On It? (I Saw It Breathing/Have Some Sort Of Heartbeat, So It’s Alive)
Answer: that's two worms making more worms.
Found This Small Kettle Years Ago. Tried Searching For A Similar One But Have Always Come Up With Nothing. Anybody Have An Idea Why This Has This Unique Shape?
Answer: a portable men’s urinal for bedbound patients. It is used to pee when you cannot get out of bed.
Koppelman is now the moderator of “The Unidentified” subforum on the Websleuths website and holds himself personally responsible for solving three mysteries. He matched three unidentified people in coroners’ reports with their missing person profiles. Among them is Lynda Jane Hart, whose remains were found in 1988, but identified only in 2011. If Koppelman can do this in his spare time, imagine what other mysteries we could solve if we joined forces!
4in By 4in Scissors. Uncomfortable To Hold, In Either Hand, Two Or Four Fingers. What Is This Thing?
Answer: they're childrens' training scissors. Like for pre-schoolers. The extra holes are so a grown-up can co-scissor and help the kid.
What Is This Random Structure I Found In The Middle Of The Forest?
Answer: a WWII one man bomb shelter.
Found In My Dads Room, Really Hoping Its Not A Sex Thing. What Is This Thing?
Answer: it goes over shoes to give grip on ice. They are called yak tracks.
In A Multi Storey Car Park. Is It A Passage For Rats? There Are Also Small Holes In The Floor And Ceiling With A Tiny Ladder Connecting Them
Answer: Secret Industry by John Pym: The stairwells and lift lobbies of multistorey car parks are not usually areas where people pause to admire the architecture, so John Pym used this to his advantage. The model walkways and ladders replicate their full-scale counterparts and are a playful way of suggesting an alternative, unseen service industry at work within the building. Superficially mundane, some people may use the car park for years without being aware of their presence, while others will notice straightaway. The artist sees it as a reward for those who look more closely at their surroundings.
Looks Suspicious But Has Several Interchangeable Sized Tips And Appears To Have A Purpose. What Is This For?
Answer: It's a snowman kit.
Found In My Aunts “Treasure” Collection. Seems Like A Heavy Metal Weight Inside. What Is This Thing?
Answer: This is a "tracker pebble" used for tracking longshore drift. The pebbles have a serial number, are buried in a location and then refound further down the coast in the shingle by metal detector.
This Purple Sky In Southern California Seen At 1:30am And Lasted For Only About 5 Minutes Before Fading Away. What Is This Thing?
Answer: the glow is related to a commercial cannabis growing operation. That's the color of grow lights.
Clock In Assisted Living Facility
Answer: Bedsore prevention. You would refer to the two hour intervals as a turning schedule.
My Friend Just Moved In To A New Flat And This Is Her Neighbours Garden. What Is This Thing?
Answer: a Voodoo altar
This Just Trundled Across The Road In Front Of Me, Zoomed Down The Sidewalk Before I Could Get A Better Look At It. Spotted In Melbourne Australia. What Is This Thing?
Answer: it's an automated delivery, possibly for food.
Silver Capsule Camouflaged Inside A Wooden Container Hanging In A Tree In A Public Park. What Is This Thing?
Answer: it's a geocache. Judging by the size, it'll likely only have a list inside for people to sign that they found it.
What Is The Purpose Of This Mirrors? I Came Across Them In Trosa, Sweden, Near The River. They Are On Almost Every House
Answer: In Denmark they are called a "gadespejl" It is an old invention, basically a mirror that made it possible to view the street from the comfort of your couch.
Found This While Beach Combing In The Olympic Peninsula. I've Never Seen Anything Like It. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Squid eggs.
Noticed This Weird Urinal In A Brauhaus Bathroom In Cologne Germany. What Is This Thing?
Answer: it's called a Papst (german for Pope). It's for puking.
Took This Picture From My Airplane Window On Trip From Dc To Las Vegas. Any Idea What It Is?
Answer: a mineral mine. It's the world’s largest lithium deposit.
What Is This Fish With Strange Writing?
Answer: The Lucky Iron Fish. I recall hearing that iron deficiency was a serious problem in developing countries due to improper diets that consisted of mostly pastas and rice, which are a poor source of iron.
The solution was to boil chunks of iron with food to increase the iron content but many were skeptical and hesitant to cook with chunks of metal in their food. The iron was shaped into a 'lucky fish' that would provided addition health benefits when you boiled water with the fish in it.
What Is This Signs Purpose?
Answer: It means do not scare the flamingos. Many people would cross that sign to scare them so that they could fly and get a picture.
All-Wood Things Seen With Someone's Trash Set Out For Pickup, About 1 Foot High. What Is This Thing?
Answer: we call em bee hotels, like many people already mentioned, it is for 'solitary' bees (solitary because they don't love/work/do in hives, but clearly, they live close to one another in this setting) although it can also attract many other animals. These things help the ecosystem.
What Is The Purpose Of This Chain?
Answer: it is a rain chain, an alternative for traditional downspout of a gutter system.
What Is This Paintball Gun Looking Thing Being Used By Police In A Real Life Drug Raid?
Answer: Pepper Spray Paint Ball gun. Technically it is a paintball gun, however the paintballs it fires have pepper spray powder inside of them. It's less than lethal defense.
What Is This Weird Half Truck And Why Is It Pushing A Flatbed Trailer? Is There Any Sort Of Advantage Of Pushing Rather Than Pulling It?
Answer: Float Plane Mover. This truck's job is to move planes up and down a boat ramp into the water. Backing up an ordinary truck+trailer combo down a boat ramp is not easy. With this vehicle, the driver can look straight forward down the ramp rather than in his rear-view mirror, and since the steering wheels are at the back it's easy to align the truck's bed with the plane. Most trucks only load at a boat ramp once in a while, since this one does only that, it makes sense to design it specifically for that job.
It’s Been Submerged In Water For Years Near A Creek Where I Live. Can’t Google Because I Don’t Know Where To Start. What Is This Thing?
Answer: The Quester, the private submarine built to salvage the Andrea Doria, now in need of salvage itself.
My Mother Left Bleach In Her Sink For About A Week While We Left On Vacation, And We Came Back To This. Is It Mold?
Answer: the bleach oxidized the metal parts of your sink.
20 Years Of Research And Reddit Is My Last Hope! What Is This Thing?
Answer: The Black Drum fish fossils. The Black Drum had a short deep body with a high arched back, but a flattish belly. The jaw teeth were small and pointed, but the throat was armed with large, flat, pavement-like teeth with which the drum crushed shellfish, for food. This characteristic separates it from the weakfish and the king fish.
What Are These Perfect Sets Of Beach Holes? Flip Flop For Scale
Answer: the remnants of a scientific clam survey.
We Had A Party The Other Night And Found This On The Kitchen Counter In The Morning. It Has White Powder In It And The Cap Just Comes Off, It’s Not Secured In Any Way. Bottle Cap For Size Reference. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It’s a refill container for a marking tool used in sewing. The tool dispenses a fine line of powdered chalk when drawn across fabric. I have some in several colors.
What Are These Blue Tubes That I Keep Seeing In Berlin?
Answer: to transfer groundwater to rivers because of the water level. Since the early 1990’s the groundwater level in Berlin has been rising. Due to lower water consumption the abstraction of groundwater has diminished and the city now has to cope with an extraordinary high level of groundwater.
Bit Into A Mcdonald’s Double Quarter Pounder With A Cheese And Noticed A Chemically Flavor. Opened It Up And Saw This. What Is This!?
Answer: Former employee, it’s more than likely from their gloves they use to put the meat on the grill.
Falling Out Of The Sky? What Is This Thing?
Answer: contrails from a passenger plane. Being close to sunset, the vapor clouds are taking on the same color as any other cloud would have under the same late-day sun.
Found Under A Bed. What Is This Thing?
Answer: small scale meth making device.
Empty Gel Container In A Sealed Coca-Cola Bottle. What Is This Thing?
Found This In A House Built In 1930's. Colored Part Made From Glass, Handle Is Brass And Screwed Into It. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Candle cover, possibly home made. You'd have a glass or metal tray with a candle or two on it, put this over it to diffuse the light and make it prettier. They'd slowly snuff the candles as the flame ate up whatever oxygen was under the dome, so it was kind of like a night light that would 'turn itself off' after a couple hours.
Found In The Yard Of My Old House (Agra, India). What Is This Thing?
Answer: They are Portuguese Terracotta figures from the 3rd to 4th century.
What Is This Thing? Found It Clearing Out My Great Grandfather's Loft
Answer: MG-42 that can fire 1200 rpm. This is an exceptional original WWII fully functional German MG42 light machine gun. These were probably the most feared WWII German weapon on the battlefield. They were mass produced, highly effective, had a high rate of fire and were easily transported by the average German soldier and they were the corner stone of every German Infantry company. These MGs were actually a wartime improvement over the early fully machined MG34, in that they utilized new and innovative mass production techniques of stamped steel parts that were welded or riveted and combined with limited machined parts. Together they allowed the German factories to manufacture well over 400,000 of these MGs during WWII.
Just Moved To New Apartmant, Found This In The Living Room. What The F Is This?
Answer: this is an antique Turkish-style bell brazier. Referred to as a mangal. Typically used by nomadic peoples of the Middle East for heating and some cooking, since you cannot have a hearth in a tent. Instead, you burn charcoal in a specially designed brazier, which contains the fire and radiates the heat. This one is compact and plainly decorated, with a short base to hold the fire bowl and a simple cover. This style is known as a suleymaniye brazier, for the district in Istanbul in which is was popularized. Other designs feature a taller decorative base, a tray to catch sparks, and elaborately designed covers. It may have come with a pair of tongs.
Found In Grandfather's Basement. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Ocarina! Musical instrument, you blow into it.
Bony Marine Skeleton Found On A Beach Near Charleston, Sc. About 3.5 Feet Long And Slightly Leathery In Some Places. Dog For Scale. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Sturgeon. Sturgeon is the common name for the 27 species of fish belonging to the family Acipenseridae.
A Local Bar Found This Giant Wheel Beneath The Floor While Renovating. Any Idea What It Is/Was? The Space Was Formerly A Garage
Answer: turntable for rail cars. They would bring in the cars and rotate the wheel until it lined up with a short section of track. Then they would move it to there and work on it while being able to move additional cars to other “spoke” rails to be worked on.
A Ring My Sister Picked Up Of The Ground In The Woods, The Writing Is All Around It And There Are Two Pool-Green Jewels On Either Side. Anyone Have Any Idea What The Symbols Mean?
Answer: OM MANI PADME HUM - Indian mantra (Sanskrit). The blue green stone is most likely turquoise. Turquoise and silver are common combinations in Tibetan jewelery.
Found This Door At An Empty Hospital Floor That Leads To The Patient Room. What Is This Smaller Door Used For?
Answer: The small door swings the other way from the main door. The main door swings into the room so as not to impede traffic in the hallway. The small door swings opposite so that if patient barricades themselves into room staff can gain access.
This Shower Knob Marked With An H Is Behind The Bathroom Door. We Just Bought This House And Have No Idea What It Is For. Water Rushes Through Pipes When We Turn It On But Have No Idea Where The Water Is Going
Answer: heated floors in the bathroom.
On A Kitchen Cabinet, Above The Sink. The Piece Only Swivels Side To Side. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It is a recipe card holder... It swivels down to clamp on the card (or sheet of paper), so you can read your recipe and not worry about getting it dirty or stealing counter space away from you cooking efforts.
My Friend Sent Me This, Was Found In An Oil Mine. What Is This Thing?
Answer: a thrombolite fossil.
Found At An Estate Sale, No One There Knew Anything About Its Origin. Was Thought It Was Made From Baby Teeth But Had It Inspected By A Dentist, They Are Adult Teeth. Stored In It's Own Small Leatherette Case. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It's a voodoo charm used to protect the owner from evil magic. A gris gris bag. However, the practice soon changed, and the gris-gris were thought to bring black magic upon their "victim." Slaves would often use the gris-gris against their owners and some can still be seen adorning their tombs. During this period, there were also reports of slaves cutting, drowning or otherwise manipulating the gris-gris of others in order to cause harm. Although in Haiti, gris-gris are thought to be a good amulet and are used as part of a widely practised religion.
Hit And Run Tail Light. What Car Model?
Answer: Acura RL MY2004
This Little Brown Sack On The Bottom Of A Cup?
Answer: roach egg.
It Is A Fairly Strong Magnet I Found With A Metal Detector. Found In A Person's Yard In A Small Town. It Is Really Smooth. What Is This Thing?
Answer: that's 1 out of 2 rattle magnets. Used to have them in school. You throw them up in the air and they make a crazy loud rattle.
Weird Sealed Pouch Inside A Baggie Filled With Some Sort Of Gel And Some Metal Oval With Raised Lines On It. Randomly Appeared Inside Someones Backpack In New Zealand. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It's a reusable handwarmer, 'pop' the metal and the gel with begun to crystallise creating heat then simmer it in hot water to reset.
Medical Devices? But For What Kind Of Surgery?
Answer: the drills in the kit are called trephines, and sometimes the word "trephination" is used for this variation of the procedure. "Trepanning" is more of a catch-all term referring to surgery in which a portion of the skull is removed.
Was My Grandmother’s. A Small Ivory Ball With Ivory Nails Poking Through. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Chinese Ivory, Spiked Balls. These devices are termed "ladies pleasuring balls," and that they were used, or originated, in China for this very purpose. How widespread their use, or how actual, is up to the viewer's imagination.
My Parents Saw This Rubber Looking Thing Strapped To A Truck In A Parking Lot And Haven't Been Able To Identify It. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Art, "Molecule 2", By Mario Martinez (Mars-1).
My Dad And I Buy Foreclosed Storage Units. We Have Had This For Two Years, Taken It To Multiple Experts, Google Searches Galore, But Still Cannot Figure Out What This Is. What Is This Thing?
Answer: the spectrometer for mineral exploration. A Sharpe A-3 Magnetometer (serial No, 220), This instrument, which can be used either as a self-levelling, self-orienting dip needle or as a vertical force magnetometer was used as a vertical force magnetometer for this survey. The instrument was designed to have an accuracy of approximately plus or minus 50 gammas at levels of moderate magnetic force, but its accuracy is dependent upon the magnetic range in which it is being used. For readings of 100,000 gammas above the base control reading its accuracy would be plus or minus 1000 gammas. For a reading of 3000 gammas above the base reading, its accuracy would be expected to be within 30 gammas.
Does Anyone Have Any Info On This Nazi Dagger I Received From My Grandfather?
Answer: Nazi Diplomat Dagger.
Found In A Garden Back In 1959, Still Haven't Been Able To Identify What It Is
Answer: It's a broche or pin featuring Napoleon.
Can Someone Please Explain What Is Eating The Fish In This Video?
Answer: these are nassarius snails. They are scavengers and when they smell the dead fish, they pop out of the sand to eat. They will make short work of that fish, by the way.
A Concrete Thing On An Empty Property. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It's a hot tub upside down. I's a concrete hot tub.
What Is This Thing That My Friend Found In The Water?
Answer: this is a figure of the Santerian Orisha Olokun. One hand holds a snake, the other a mask. They typically come off because these figures are kept in water 100% of the time. If you found this in the ocean, then this is more evidence towards that as Olokun is tied to the ocean. This was probably disposed of ritualistically and replaced with a new one.