The last time we wrote an article about the subreddit "What is this thing?", it had 894,000 members. Now, the number has grown to 1.8 million. No wonder -- it delivers. People keep going to the community with photos of possessions they need identifying, and they keep getting answers, too.
From the roof plate of a drum fish to a fancy sugar cube holder, these Internet detectives don't shy away from any case. "About 75-85% of all the items posted to this subreddit are solved, and out of those about 50-60% are solved within the first 30 minutes of the post going live," a moderator of the subreddit told Bored Panda. "The average time of solving what an item is around 20-30 minutes, and about 15-20% of the posts made here don't go live at all, because the moderation team has solved it through modmail, or by commenting on the post before it goes live due to the sheer amount of different things the moderators have seen."
Continue scrolling and check out some of the most memorable recent posts!
I Found This Blue Disc In A Packet Of Sour Cream Crisps. Its Has The Words "Ferrous 25mm Bst, Cert Number 213026b" On It. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It's a testing chip. It goes through the metal detectors to ensure they're working. There's a problem here though. You send X number of testers you get X number back. If you get X-1 or some other number you stop the line until you find your chip. The entire purpose of the test is to make sure that stuff like this--which is supposed to simulate a foreign object--does not get through. There's usually paperwork to document this. Write to the outfit and tell them what you found and rest assured there will be a s**tstorm on the other end.
It's worth mentioning that every now and then a case goes unsolved no matter how popular it becomes. For example, when an active redditor submitted a thing that strongly resembled a specific model of an anti-personnel landmine. "The active account went completely silent for months, causing many to fear that there was a fatal accident, to the point of people scouring news sites for any stories about ordnance fatalities," the moderator recalled. Luckily, the person turned out to be fine; another user tracked them down and contacted them on another website. "Unfortunately, what that sleuthy user did to track down the submitter counts as doxxing, which is against reddit sitewide rules, so his elaborate write up of tracking the person down had to be removed." But that just goes to show how much this community is dedicated to the common cause.
What Are These Characters Found On The Back Side Of A Sign On A Woodland Trail In Alaska?
Answer: It's Stafir Móti Aðsókn an Icelandic magical sigil/stave to protect against ghosts and evil spirits
Sometimes, redditors themselves get in the way of all the detective work. "The most common breach of guidelines is people making jokes, which makes it harder for people to see the correct answer," the moderator explained. "Jokes will get people a temporary ban; more jokes get a permanent ban. It's a pretty simple rule, but a great deal of time is spent weeding those out."
Help Identify What These Are And What They Were Used For? Passed Down By Family - UK
Answer: An apprentice final piece before becoming a journey man engraver.
The moderator said they think the popularity of the subreddit boils down to human nature -- we're curious creatures. "My guess as to why this subreddit is so popular is the instant gratification of managing to solve something using your own knowledge, and people's intrinsic need of figuring out what something unknown is. It's also a great place to learn how to find information quickly, as most of the time there seems to be a race between people to solve the items that have been posted," they added.
Blue Glass Token Found In A Field In France, Though One Of The Ships Flags Kind Of Looks Like A Union Jack. Game Piece Or History?
Answer: It's a part of a ring warn by somone important on one of the shipping companies in the 18th century
Experts think that the roots of our ever-hungry curiosity can be linked to what is called neoteny. This term from evolutionary theory means the "retention of juvenile characteristics". It means that as a species, humans are more child-like than other mammals. Being relatively hairless is one example. A big brain relative to body size is another. Our lifelong curiosity and playfulness, they think, is just another behavioral characteristic of neoteny.
I Found This Metal Object. No Text Or Numbers. Can Retract To Be The Size Of A Bracelet. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It's the top (closure part) of a purse or small handbag.
Metal 3-4 Inches, With Glass Balls. What Is This Thing?
Answer: These were how old reflectors were made, like for railroads
I Know It’s A Chair, But What’s With The Extended Arms?
Answer: It looks like a plantation/planters chair. You’d put your sore swollen legs up on the arms after sitting on a horse all day, like a pregnant woman with her legs up in the same fashion. This is why the back is so sloped as well. If you sit up straight it wouldn’t be comfortable to put your legs up like that, but in a reclined position it’s good for blood flow and air flow.
Ditches In A Field Next To An Airport. Didn't Use To Be There Before. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Before construction, they are required to look for sites of archaeological interest. This is the pattern that they use to search for those. They trench a line and the dots on each side of the trench are the dirt which has been removed
A Silver Utensil. When You Press The Button On One End The Grips Open. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Sugarcube holder.
For tea parties with scones.
Or coffee and cake.
Switch On The Back Of An Old Clock Labelled "Miracle Eye". What Is This?
Answer: I think it is a light sensor that can be turned on and off. When on the clock will not make chime noises unless it senses light. This way at night it does not wake people up.
I Bought This "Thing" Years Ago, But Never Knew What It Was, I Just Thought It Looked Cool! The Center Globe Piece Spins And Is Weighted At One End, So Even If You Give It A Spin, It Always Ends Up With The "10" Facing Up. The Numbers Are 10-130, In Increments Of 10. What Is This Thing?
Answer: This is a thermometer. My grandfather had the same exact device. Look at the number where it aligns with the convex (upper) portion of the plane, that should be the approximate temperature in Fahrenheit. I was always told to not spin it because it would mess with its accuracy
Found 14 Years Ago In A Hole In A Log On Dallas Road Beach In Victoria, Bc, Canada. A Mystery That Remains Unsolved
Answer: Pieces from an art installation http://www.dianathompson.net/2nd_Nature/kag.html
My Grandad Dug This Up? Found In Liverpool, Possibly WW2, It Was Found With The Decoration On, What Is It?
Answer: Yea ! It’s a thing ! Called trench art , google it there will be tons of beautiful engravings on shells
Cones Of Dunshire Found In German Supermarket?
Answer: It's a so called "Schultüte". When children have their first day of school, they get it filled by their parents with gifts and sweets
Found In A Public Park/Disc Golf Course. Everything Not Screened In Is Removable. What Is It For?
Answer: It’s a bee and bug house, it’s filled with different materials for lone bugs to overwinter
What Are The Purpose Of The Metal Plates On The Ground In Front Of Some Of The Water Fountains At Universal Studios Orlando?
Answer: Blind people and their walking stick.
Found On A Beach Of Lake Erie. I’ve Lived Near The Lake My Whole Life And Never Have Seen Something Like This. What Is This Thing?
Answer: the roof plate of a drum fish
Found This Washed Up On A Beach In Massachusetts. It’s Wooden And Looks Handcrafted. Maybe A Piece Of A Chair?
Answer: It looks like a Davis Quadrant or Backstaff, a navigational instrument predecessor of the sextant. Maybe you should take that to a museum, with nautical expertise
What Is This Appliance Built Into This Kitchen Island?
Answer: I had one of these in my kitchen and I loved it! It was near my regular sink so I could pull the faucet head over to fill the “pot” then I would turn it on to boil the water. It has a pot that goes inside it that has holes in it - like a strainer. You put the strainer inside the “sink” and then toss your items that you want to boil inside the strainer and cover it. Once your food is cooked you lift out the strainer, flip the switch and all the boiling water drains out. The biggest advantage was not having to carry a large pot of boiling water over from your regular stove top to the sink to drain out the water. I used it for boiling pasta, potatoes, corn on the cob and I loved it!! I started to have trouble with it not holding water and when I contacted Kohler the said so sorry, but the model was discontinued. It was great while it lasted!!
Chest Of Drawers With No Drawer Sides And A Hole At The Front Of The Drawer. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Looks like an Artist’s Cabinet or Flat File. It’s a set of drawers for storing drawings, architectural plans, etc.
Found In Forest In Sweden, About 1m From Ground, Roughly 20cm In Size. Hard To The Touch, But Drips Liquid When Knocked. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Looks like a polypore fungus that is exuding excess moisture, called guttation.
My College Sent Me This And I Have No Clue What Its For. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It's called a germ key
What Is This Slack In Power Lines? What Purpose Does It Serve?
Answer: Former CATV tech here. It's called an expansion loop. Coaxial cable (for cable tv) is mostly aluminum which expands and contracts with temperature changes moreso than the steel supporting strand to which it is attached.
If this expansion loop wasn't there, the cable would literally suck out of the compression fittings in the Winter and kink in the Summer.
Clock Thing Numbered 0 Through 5 Found In Prague, Czech Republic. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Water level indicator - limnigraph
Found This Hidden In The Ceiling Of My Basement With A Bunch Of Others. Made Out Of Glass, Appears To Have Some Sort Of Tape Or Paper Border Around It. Hining A Light Through It Doesn’t Project A Clean Image. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Magic Lantern glass slide
My Great Grandpa, An Iowa Native And Ww2 Veteran, Passed Away And Left Behind This Tool Or Decorative Piece. It Is Solid Metal, Has No Markings, And Weighs A Few Ounces. What Is This Thing ? Screwdriver Is For Scale
Answer: I think your grandfather might have known someone in the Navy. Those are used in a ceremony when crossing over the equator. So I think your grandfather is what you refer to as a shellback. That is someone who's been over the equator.
Small Hard ‘Pellet’ Found Inside A Cooked King Crab Leg, Roughly The Size Of A Pea. What Is This Thing?
Answer: crab pearl
Heavy Metal Cubes On The End Of Chain With Different Shapes On Each Side Of The Cubes. Aa Battery For Scale. What Is This Thing?
Answer: Han Solo’s lucky dice
My Friend Found This Scaffold-Like Structure On A Trip. There Was A Paintball/Airsoft Field And A Hotel Nearby, But I'm Confused About The Purpose Of This. Located In Czechia. What Is This Thing?
Answer: it is a 3D maze. Used in kid's camp or other outdoor activity clubs (Paintball, Airsoft, Trekking, etc.)In a paintball setting, it could be used to hold a flag or another capturable objective.
What Is This Thing? It Perfectly Fits In Each Other And There Was Some Sort Of Liquid In It
Answer: It's a herb grinder (mostly for weed).
Small Plastic Figurines Found Buried In Backyard. 1” Mustachioed Bald Men With Hands On Head, Printed With Arrows. (Ca, USA)
Answer: Hasbro produced a Monopoly mini-game in 2009 called Monopoly: Get Out Of Jail. It looks like these were the game pieces used.
What Is This?? It Is Not A Pen, The Tip Is Sharp Metal And Doesn’t Write. No Place For Ink Or Graphite Or Anything. All One Cohesive Piece With A Plastic Cap. What Is It For?
Answer: Looks like a scriber. They're used to make lines or marks on metal, wood, or a number of other materials. That looks like a metalworking one to me but may not be that specific.
What Is This Thing On This Serial Killers Head While He Was In Court?
Answer: He's partially deaf. It's basically a giant hearing aid (sound amplifier headphones).
House On My Running Route Partially Sunken Into The Ground
Answer: Just a guess, but maybe built during the 70’s energy crisis. A home near where I grew up was built with a berm around most of it to save on heating and cooling
What Is This Scanner That A Rooftop Cop Had At A Protest? Seemed To Be Shining A Green Laser At Certain People In The Crowd
Answer: Picking out specific targets for ground police. It’s easier to track an individual through a crowd from above. This may be because they are armed, or something else that makes them high priority. Snipers are out of the question, firing into a fast moving mass of people would only end badly.
These Lead Blocks Were Found In A UK River. 125g Each. Can Anyone Positively Identify Them?
Answer: These are jyotish tokens with the Rahu yantra to be used for a Rahu Ranga Mantra recital and practice. Likely for personal gain.
You are right that these are magic squares, but more specifically they are called Navagraha Yantras. There are traditionally 9 of them (one for each "planet"), each having a distinct combination of 9 numbers. Together they can be combined to form their own "Magic square".
The words on the bottom are some form of either:
- om raam rahave namah
- om raag rahave namah
- or simply, om rahave namah
These are called Beej (seed) mantras.
The placement of Lead (raanga) in running water is particularly important in this practice as a remedy for specific things and astrological circumstances.
Curious about the cube form though. May have something to do with counting and keeping track of the number of times the mantra has been recited (supposed to be 18,000 over 40 days)
Found This Amongst Some Charms In A Vintange Jewelry Lot I Got. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It’s a Masonic Square and Compass! You’re supposed to spin it really fast and you can see it
What Are These Brightly Coloured String-Like Things That Were Washed Up On An Australian Beach?
Answer: Sea hare eggs
Priority Mail Addressed To My Wife At Our Exact Address From Romania. Everything Is Written In Romanian And The Letters GT Is Written On It. We Dont Even Know Anyone Outside The United States. Syringe Is Empty
Answer: This is sort of like the way you would package mushroom spores. Golden teacher aka GT is a popular strain of psychedelics
Arrived In The Post For Me. Small Glass Tubes With 2 Tiny Ball Bearings In Them. No Idea And Not Something I’ve Ordered. What Is This Thing?
Answer: I believe those are rattles that you can put inside of fishing lures so they make noise to attract fish
Note: this post originally had 142 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.