50 Times People Had No Idea What They Were Looking At And Asked The Internet For Help (New Pics)
Curiosity isn’t a sin, so long as you don’t go poking your nose into spooky dungeons and haunted fortresses without preparation. I firmly believe that curiosity and the bright-eyed search for knowledge are what truly make us human. Many of us are willing to put our ego and pride aside to ask for help when we’re stumped. Even more fortunate still is that the world’s chock full of people willing to lend a helping hand.
That is where the popular ‘What is This Thing’ online community comes in. A subreddit that’s home to nearly 2 million members, r/whatisthisthing helps people identify mysterious artifacts and peculiar-looking items, wherever they might be found. They’ve got a great track record and it sometimes feels like there’s nothing that their collective wisdom can’t figure out. Either that or they’ve got an endless supply of Scrolls of Identification hidden somewhere safe.
Today, we’re featuring the subreddit’s best recent posts. We’re pretty sure that these will awaken your inner sleuth, not your inner sloth. Scroll down, upvote your favorite pics, and let us know in the comments if you’ve got any bizarre unidentified items at home. In the mood for more amateur detective work? Don’t sweat it, Bored Panda has got it covered. You’ll find our previous articles about r/whatisthisthing right over here, here, and here.
Posts With Nets On Top On Side Of Street In The Netherlands
Answer: these are to help bats orientate themselves, until the trees are larger. Did they recently cut down trees along this road? Bats need to hear reflection of their sound to know where they are going. These things will replace the leaves in that.
Weird Glass Ball, Suspended By Screws, In A Metal Frame, Bronze Or Gold Colour In Appearance
Answer: It is a Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder. You place a strip of card into one set of grooves in the piece that curves behind the sphere, point the opposite side of the sphere towards the equator, and the sphere will focus the sunlight to burn a track on the card. The card has hours marked, and more the card is burnt, the brighter the sunlight was.
Found This Glass Like Tube “Shell” Washed Up On A Beach In North Carolina, Any Idea What It Is?
Answer: Stingray teeth
The subreddit has been steadily gaining fame and helping solve mysteries, simple and serious alike, for over a decade. It was founded way back in September 2010 and has grown by leaps and bounds since then. Just a couple of years ago, the sub had 1.17 million fans. Getting nearly a million extra members in that time is quite an achievement.
However, it’s very easy to see why the subreddit’s such a big hit online. First of all, the photos pique our curiosity. We’re not know-it-alls, so naturally, we’re a bit intrigued when we see something unfamiliar and can’t wait to expand our minds.
Secondly, the subreddit’s community is incredibly warm and friendly. They’re always happy to lend a helping hand and assist others with their queries. And finally, it really does look like the sub’s got everything figured out. There are rarely any cases when somebody doesn’t respond with the correct answer.
My Neighbors Shared An Unsettling Video Of A Woman Holding This Device Up To Their Ring Doorbell. She Walked Up, Held It Directly In Front Of The Camera While It Made A Clicking/Buzzing Noise And Then Left Quickly. Any Ideas Of What It Might Be Or If We Should Be Worried?
Answer: It's a frequency scanner. Often used by car thieves. These can read the codes from that distance and enable thieves to get into your vehicle, disable the security features in the process, and drive away with your car.
Found On A Hike In The Highlands In Scotland. Looks And Feels Handmade, Wooden Handle And Mesh Made Of Wire
Answer: Fire beaters. Used to extinguish small fires
Found These Soft Metal Objects While Metal Detecting Under A Pier At Low Tide
Answer: they’re good luck/prayer charms that are tossed in the water on purpose.
A while back, one of the moderators helping manage r/whatisthisthing told me that there are several reasons why people become amateur online detectives. Part of this is due to the “thrill of the chase” and folks wanting to show off their research skills. While another reason why people help others identify obscure items, they told Bored Panda, is that everything simply looks incredibly interesting and they can’t help but get drawn in.
“Many [people] have unique and obscure knowledge and they like to use it. Get enough of them together and they cover most things,” the moderator explained to Bored Panda that the community has a lot of great experts in their midst.
According to them, it’s very rare indeed for someone to share a photo on r/whatisthisthing and for nobody to know what exactly it might be. They told me at the time that under 10 percent of all cases don’t get solved on the subreddit. Which is a tiny fraction when you consider how large the online group actually is.
“A majority of things are solved within 15 minutes of posting,” the moderator said.
Just Bought A Lake Home And Found Three Of These In The Water Next To The Pier. Criss-Cross Stack Of Corrugated Pipes Wrapped In Plastic Netting All Weight Down By Bricks
Answer: It is a fish crib. It is a device to give baby fish a place to hide from the big boys. They also make for some good fishing as the lunckers will hang around hoping for a few little ones to come out
Ammunition With A Weird Shiny Tip, Could Be 30mm? Worried If Inert Or Not. Found On Glacier In Swiss
Answer: Artillery expert here
What you have there is a projectile from the 35x228mm Oerlikon Flab Kan 63/90 (Same gun that is on the Flugabwehrkanonenpanzer Gepard).
From the fact it has an aluminium dummy fuze (the large cutouts make it obvious there is not enough space for the fuze mechanism) and it looked like it was painted bluish-grey, that makes it an "Übungsgranate" - a Target Practice shot. Be advised that doesn't mean it's inert, because even a TP shot can have active pyrotechnic devices like tracers and I can't see the bottom of it.
My advice, is, as always, call EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal, AKA the "bomb squad") and they'll sort it for you, because you don't do demining over the internet.
Found Inside A Musical Instrument, It Is The Size Of A Big Grape But There Aren't Any Holes Big Enough For It To Have Fallen Inside
Answer: They have these in violins. They call them the mouse. It’s just years and years of fluff and detritus. If they get repaired the repairer will put ‘the mouse’ back into the violin for good luck. It could be something like that.
It’s not all just fun and games, however. Internet users are putting their deductive skills to the test in real-life scenarios as well. The subreddit has an offshoot called Trace an Object that searches for objects linked to child abuse cases, posted by Europol.
“We've had some luck in identifying some things, but there's more yet unsolved and more to come as Europol does release some new information every few months,” the moderator said.
Flying Over An Area Outside Of Tucson We Saw This Hole And It Looks Like It Has Water In It
Answer: Pit mine, the spiral you see is the actual road trucks drive on to transport the materials mined from the bottom to the top.
What Is This Random Set Of Stairs With A Platform? It’s Located At The Entrance To A Local Forest With Walking Trails
Answer: This is for horse mounting.
Trunk Full Of Chemicals In 1920's Home, What Is It/For?
Answer: It says "International Correspondence Schools" which still exists.
Probably a course on chemicals?
Now, be careful. Chemical regulations in the 20's were not the same as now. Based on your pictures, you could have nasty toxic chemicals that can go through a glove and kill you (the mercury vial), explosive degradation products (ammonium) and other surprises like that. Earth near from them could be contaminated too.
I suggest you do not linger near from them. Perhaps you can arrange a meeting with a university chemical lab and know more about the set, including safe disposal options.
If you’re planning on joining r/whatisthisthing, there are a few rules that you need to be aware of. Naturally, you’re encouraged to be helpful and civil. What’s more, members are not supposed to joke around: they ought to be serious and to the point.
Meanwhile, if you’re answering someone’s query, you really should add a link so that others can help fact-check things. On the flip side, if you’re the one asking for help, you should reply ‘Solved!’ when the mystery’s been unraveled. Though don’t delete the post once you’ve got the knowledge you sought. Leave it up there for others to find so they can sate their curiosity, too.
It’s Upside But Looks To Be A Feeder Or Nester Of Some Sort, Attached To The Top Of The Fence By Previous Owner. What Is This Thing?
Answer: It's for bees, particularly Mason bees
What Is This Thing Hanging Outside My Fireplace. It Seems To Have Gears Inside Of It, And Pivots Into The Fireplace
Answer: it's a clockwork spit turner for turning a roast or other meat automatically.
Blue Nets Tied Between The Trees. Found While Hiking In The Cinque Terre National Park In Italy
Answer: these are nets for catching the fruit from the tree - currently rolled up because there is no fruit. They were spread out to cover the area beneath the trees when I was there in late summer.
What Are These Strands/Threads Coming Out Of My Crackers?
Answer: This is 100% frayed edges of the conveyors that take the crackers through the sheeting process before being transferred to the oven band.
This Fancy Hotel Has A Shallow Tub With Two Sides. When The Button Is Pressed, One Side Lights Up With A Red Light And Hot Water For About 30 Seconds. Then The Other Side Lights Up With Blue Light And Cold Water And Shuts Off After The Same Amount Of Time
Answer: This is very common in Germany, we call it "Wechselbad". You're supposed to keep your feet in the warm water first and then quickly put them in the cold water (repeat a few times). This is supposed to help with circulation although I'm not sure if there's actually scientific evidence for that.
We usually have these in spas and other wellness or health related facilities.
I Know This Isnt Exactly An Object But Was Hoping You Guys Could Still Help Me Out. What Is This Purple Smoke?
Answer: it's a byproduct of burning rubbish with a high iodine content
Real Life Looking Eyeball, Maybe Glass? With 3 Holes On The Metal Piece. Found At A Flea Market
Answer: Its a promotional key ring for a company that makes glass eyes for taxidermy
What Are These Vest With Liquid Pouches Worn By Olympic Sailors For? Worn By Dutch Sailors Bekkering And Duetz During A Post Race Interview
Answer: They are cooling vests
Two Of These Buildings On A Lot Where New Housing Is Going To Be Built
Answer: Bat house
Full Tub With Deep Front Half. USA. Listing Calls It A Mailman Tub. Google Results In Rule 34
Answer: a hip bath
Heavy Black Balloon (?) Hanging Under White Net In A Field
Answer: Home made horse fly trap
These Strange Dust Patterns Keep Showing Up On Screens Of My Apartment Windows
Answer: Previous tenant smoked w a fan in the window. I’ve seen this so many times turning over apartments for work.
Found This Buried. It's Flat On One Side, Concaved On The Other And Has A Hole Right Through The Middle
Answer: this is likely to be a prehistoric or Roman quernstone
A Small Plastic And Metal Device, Found In The Card Slot Of An ATM
Answer: a Lebanese loop used in atm fraud
What Is This Pot Inside Of The Fireplace Of The Apartment I Am Renting In Italy?
Answer: Looks like a bed warmer. You put hot coals/embers in it and move it over your sheets (like an iron) to warm the bed up.
Metal, Plastic, And Canvas-Looking Fabric Clips. They Are A Few Inches Long And Some Say Flatex
Answer: the things attached to a garter belt to hold up stockings
What Is This Pool In The Middle Of Nowhere
Answer: a water reserve for fire fighting
What Is This Cling Film Type Stuff On Tom Daley’s Arms, And What’s It For?
Answer: Cling filmed ice packs
Part Of Silverware Set. It Has A Corkscrew Tip, But It Is Not Sturdy Enough To Be Used As S Corkscrew. Thoughts For Its Purpose?
Answer: It's a butter pick.
Witt Found In Older Tool Box (At Least 10 Years Old). Part With Spokes Rotates, Spokes (Of Different Diameters) Match Up To Hole In The Oposite Side Of The Tool. Sharpie Marker For Size
Answer: It is for punching holes in leather or similar things. Like, for a belt
Stainless Steel Curved Rods. Largest Is About 9 Inches. They Have Been In Family Since The 40s They All Fit Inside Of One Another. Best Guess So Far Is Glove Finger Stretchers
Answer: Nested set of seven plated medical cervical dilators
In The Middle Of The Wall In My 1906 House; There Is Also One On The Other Side Of The Wall And One In A Different Room Without A Buddy In The Other Side Of The Wall
Answer: It's a capped off gas line from when they used gas lighting.
A Kitchen Utensil With A Wooden Handle, Attached To A Round Metal Cup With 3 Spikes (With Holes In)
Answer: Funnel for making a portugese sweet called "Fios de Ovos" or egg threads.
This Thing Is Made Of Terracotta And Has Sunflowers On Each End
Answer: That’s a taco holder.
Any Ideas What Someone Left At My House Party? Small Green Ridged Brick, Hole In The Middle, Crumbles When I Scratch It
Answer: rat/rodent poison.
My House (Built In The Mid 70's) Has One Of These In Almost Every Room. Same Size As A Switch Plate, With Copper Wire Strung To The Eleven Sockets
Answer: The three prong ones were for TV and FM antennas, and the center one was for an antenna rotator, to get better reception.
Plastic And Hollow, Size Of A Big Suv, The Tide Never Reach It, Attached To The Ground
Answer: Large Ship bumper/fender. The are Used to keep huge ships from smashing in the pier.
What Are These Small White Balls That Keep Appearing In The Corner Of My Window?
Answer: Styrofoam, but if you cut it in half, you should be able to determine if it's a spider egg or Styrofoam pretty easily
What Is This Pink "Dust" That Keeps Reappearing In The Corners Of My Kitchen Ceiling Within A Few Hours Of Being Cleaned?
Answer: grain mites
Old Object With Mirror, Foldable, Can Be Opened And From "Longworth"
Answer: It is a laryngoscope
New Bra I Bought Online Has A “Microchip” Inside Of It. Looks Pretty Fake To Me But Can’t Pinpoint What Is It Exactly And Why Such Lengths To Have It Inside The Hems Like This
Answer: New age "healing" stuff, like the magnetic bracelets and such.
Found This In A Random Box Of Kitchen Supplies. Is This Just For Carving Meat Or Some Other Food?
Answer: It's to slice bread
Variable Stop Sign In Illinois
Answer: These are blinders, typically used so the sign can old be read from a narrow angle. They're also called directional shields. You'll see them on traffic lights a lot more often.
My Metals Professor In College Does Not Know What This Thing Is. We Dont Either And He Has Multiple Of Different Sizes. The Box Has No Info Besides What Is Shown In The Photo. It Is Some Kind Of Ceramic Material With An Inverted Dome In The Center. Any Help?
Answer: It is a slate dish for grinding flux.
Back in the day, you put a little water in it and rubbed a borax cone in it to make up the day’s flux.
This Object Is Hanging From The Ceiling Of Our Waiting Room At The Hospital. It’s A White Smooth Dome With No Numbers Or Labels Of Any Kind. Anyone Know What This Is For? My Thought Was WiFi Or A Signal Booster
Answer: Signal booster
What Is This S-Shaped Metal Ornament On This House?
Answer: Anchor plate or wall washer. It’s meant to keep masonry in place. And made esthetic because they are visible. There a bolt going on the other side, in the center. And hold the bricks in place
What Are These 2 Metal Studs On The Side Of This ATM?
Answer: Pretty sure they put those on there to stop skimming.
Opened Up An Old Motor I Acquired At A Garage Sale, Took This Part Off The Top And There’s A Sponge And Some Wires Inside. Why Is There A Sponge Inside?
Answer: The cover is for the start or run capacitor, foam is probably just to stop it from rattling
Note: this post originally had 117 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.