Reddit | Jeuflo32

35 Mysterious Objects People Needed The Internet's Help To Identify

One of the greatest ways to derail the otherwise normal events of a person's day is to present them with a mystery. There's just something about a mystery that, once it gets inside your brain, it must be solved.

So it's little wonder that when people find a weird, mysterious object, they need to figure out what the heck it is. It's not always such an easy task, however - unless you ask Reddit's r/whatisthisthing community.

Just check out these little mysteries they solved for folks who just had to know.

"Found this in a drawer when clearing out a bunch of old junk. It is obviously old and solidly built."

Reddit | xcskr

Some jobs call for highly specific tools, and this is one of those. It's a gigot, which has one, single reason for existing: to hold a leg of lamb as you carve it.

The end slips over the shank, and the ring tightens it all down for fork-free carving.

"We do mystery kitchen gadgets each year in my family. This one has stumped me since last year. Any ideas? The part with the red top is springy and the round disc seems to fit underneath."

Reddit | WindomEar1e

There really are some odd kitchen gadgets in the world, aren't there? This sure doesn't look like any kind of nutcracker I've ever seen before, but that's its purpose.

Hard to even imagine it working well compared to the more traditional nutcrackers.

"I found this weird looking building in a youtube video and I can't figure out it's use. It's in Switzerland."

Reddit | jonecat25

The crucial piece of information that's missing to help identify this site is that it sits overtop of a tunnel. It most likely serves a couple of purposes for the tunnel, providing both ventilation and a way of exiting to the surface in an emergency.

"Strange strapped box shoe I came across online with 0 context."


Although these shoes are both fashion and they make you stand higher, they aren't exactly high fashion. Or maybe they're too high fashion. I don't really get how the fashion world works, to be honest.

But these odd looking shoes were popular in Japan for a while in the '90s.

"Found digging in my yard. Bomb squad verified it’s not explosive!"

Reddit | mle70

Well, that is some important information! And, despite the condition of this thing, with caked on gunk and rust, someone was able to identify it as part of a milk separator. These folks are good.

"Buddy of mine had this show up at his house via air mail from China, no idea what it could be."

Reddit | boocey_booce

Hmmm, a strange, small baggy of black stuff that arrived unexpectedly from overseas is never a great sign.

This is most likely just a bit of plastic pellets, sent as part of a brushing scam, meaning it's stuff that was sent for the sake of sending something.

"I saw this lightbulb filled with what looks like aluminum foil walking in the woods. It looks to be sealed tight. It’s hanging from some sort of a branch."

Reddit | extremeloverly

Why would somebody fill a light bulb with aluminum foil and leave it hanging on a tree in the middle of nowhere?

Funnily enough, there's actually a decent reason: photography. It's an old flash bulb: The aluminum will light up very brightly when current passes through it.

"Found this in the attic of a 300 y/o house in a miners’ village. Weight is 440g+405g, diameter is 10 cm. I can’t guess the alloy, but after brushing off the rust it has the color of graphite and leaves stains on skin. The two hollow halfspheres, with holes in both, fit together to form an orb."

Reddit | the-god-among-men

Okay, that's a lot of information to work with, and some good, shiny pictures, too. This ornate metal bauble again serves a very specific purpose, acting as a counterweight for a chandelier.

"What are these things I found inside a shoe I haven't worn in a while?"

Reddit | ath1337

A good, legit question that I would be asking as well!

Nobody wants to find that some kind of insect has made a home in their shoes when they haven't been looking. Thankfully, these are harmless rose of sharon seeds, however.

"Found in a cupboard in my kitchen. The button when pressed displays either 01 or 02 and the flames blink. What is this thing?"

Reddit | thisudernameistaken

Yet another kitchen gadget, but not much to go on with this one. All the same, someone who may or may not have owned the same model identified it as a timer that's meant to work with a particular pressure cooker.

Seems like a pretty important piece, knowing the reputation of pressure cookers.

"Found with a job lot of mixed action figures."

Reddit | wilbossman

Not a whole lot to go on there, but someone still managed to identify this as a hex bug. It's a toy that takes a couple of small batteries and, when it's turned on, lights up and wiggles around. Guaranteed to drive the cat nuts!

"This small book that I found in my car. It's filled with English letters but they don't form any words. This page was marked with a red sticky note for some reason. The cover is blank."

Reddit | JustSomeKid3876

You'd have to have some special knowledge to be able to read this book - the kind of knowledge that comes from freemasonry. As one person put it, "it's not a secret society, but a society with secrets."

So, if you want to know what's written on this page, you're going to have to join up.

"Customer brought this into our camera store. About 8cm tall with a 90° mirror built in protected with glass. There's a hook in the metal where it's standing on. Metal part can be unscrewed."

Reddit | Jeroe98

You would think the employees at a camera store would be pretty familiar with all camera-related objects, so it's safe to assume that this object has little to do with photography.

Rather, it's a prism used in surveying to find 90 degree angles.

"Strange object found on the beach."

Reddit | karmawv

Lots of weird stuff will wash up on shore, and this even has a good reason to be there. It's the tooth plate from a ray, like a manta ray or a sting ray.

I, uh, don't know if you want to keep something like that. Must smell something awful.

"Found on a UK beach. Some part of a NASA space shuttle?"

Reddit | Jeuflo32

Real NASA space junk would be a pretty cool find, for sure. However, the NASA logo contains one piece of information that indicates a more terrestrial, or aquatic, story.

The arrow through the 'A' appears on NASA's marine instruments like buoys, so it likely came from one of those.

"Seen while on the freeway, so I apologize for a somewhat poor quality picture. My first thought was a strange lawn mower but seems unlikely with the exposed bottom portion."

Reddit | Eyeberration

They sure do look like strange, large lawnmowers, but they would do a horrible job on your grass. These machines are hovercraft-like devices that smooth out large areas of concrete after it's been poured.

One user found this on the road and said that it was about the size of a U.S. Quarter.

Reddit | xuZzin

However, this is actually a medal commemorating someone's service to the royal family of Laos.

I'm guessing this either means that someone from the southeast Asian nation is seriously wondering where this went, or they became very disillusioned with whatever they did to earn it.

This odd dial seems pretty out of place on this power line, and that's the point of it.

Reddit | nicehappydog

This is apparently a bird diverter that moves, reflects light, and glows in the dark to ensure that birds and bats don't accidentally fly into power lines.

While the uploader was cleaning out a pool, they found something large and transparent that they suspected was an egg sac.

Reddit | TheVilleFonz

And as it turns out, they were right! More specifically, the little sickles floating around in this sac are the eggs of a spotted salamander.

Back in the 1980s, the uploader received this as a gift, but never actually learned what this two-inch medallion depicts.

Reddit | fifteenkeats

But after decades, they finally found an answer: The figures engraved into this brass represent the Tibetan zodiac.

Finally finding a solution to that mystery must've been satisfying.

Understandably, somebody wasn't sure what to make of this jar with a "fermenting" smell that they discovered along the Delaware River in Philadelphia.

Reddit | Shanked47

What they soon learned, however, was that by opening this jar, they apparently interrupted someone's attempt at a spell.

As far as one person who considers themselves a practicing witch was concerned, this is a "sour jar" meant to bring hardships into the lives of the people in these photos. A "honey jar" is supposed to have the opposite effect, but this seemed much more ill-intentioned.

While digging through a 20-year-old box of nuts and bolts, this person found these small, metal rings.

Reddit | ZayneJ

These are called shaft nuts and they come in different variations for different purposes, but the most common use sees them fastening toggle switches.

Although this is clearly a mailbox now, the stand that it finds itself on clearly had a very different purpose before.

Reddit | canIrerollpls

That crank and those plates seem pretty mysterious at first, but the pieces start to fall into place when it becomes clear that this is a manual cream separator.

Before electricity became widely available, this was the most effective way to do it.

Since the uploader was sent this picture, they didn't have a lot of context for what they were looking at other than the word "fire."

Reddit | 1531C

However, it turned out that this was enough of a clue to solve the mystery, as this is something called a fire grenade.

It essentially works as a fire extinguisher with the main difference being that you're supposed to throw it wherever a fire is spreading. Nowadays, however, it's better just to find a safe way to dispose of this because the chemicals inside are pretty dangerous.

Apparently, this stone pillar bearing the year 1908 also has "TC" and "BS" engraved on either side of it.

Reddit | noahomg

Apparently, this was put here by surveyors in the year displayed on the slab to mark township or property corners.

As for the initials, they were likely either the initials of the surveyors involved or the initials of the property owners on either side of it. Of course, that depends on what exactly this is marking.

The more variations we see in the types of holes featured in this little structure, the more use we can theoretically get out of it.

Reddit | jsun187

That's because this is an "insect hotel" that provides a shelter for bugs that we're interested in protecting and benefiting from, like bees and butterflies.

The only problem is that butterflies are reputed to almost never use these. At least they seem to make the bees happy.

As we've discussed here before, there seems to be no limit to how specific kitchen tools can be.

Reddit | AxiomeST

And this little utensil is a perfect example because it's apparently an olive spork that helps scoop up the last few in the jar.

This item kind of looks like somebody tried to make a metal toilet plunger, but its real purpose doesn't involve the bathroom at all.

Reddit | sarkar2020

This is an intake valve made for an engine and it's all in one solid piece so it can fit into a cylinder head.

This decorative egg was apparently found under a sink belonging to the uploader's in-laws and they couldn't remember where they got it.

Reddit | IamCreedBratt0n

Although it remains unclear exactly where they would have bought it, this is a painted egg of Japanese origins. Ironically, it's usually supposed to be a souvenir.

This was found in a kitchen pantry, which gives at least a minor hint as to its purpose.

Reddit | atltrickster

It's an insert for a refrigerator that's intended to hold a bottle of wine or something similarly sized, but the fridge's owner clearly thought it got in the way.

These were apparently found in a sever bunker in Germany that was raided in connection to some activities on the dark web, but they seem a little out of place.

Reddit | dracht

That's because these are oxygen self-rescuers that are usually used in mining operations in case a poisonous gas is released or an area is suddenly deprived of oxygen.

I suppose whoever bought them was concerned that their bunker was a little too solid?

"I found this in our kitchen drawer when I moved in, none of my flatmates have an idea. The smaller part has a bit of weight to it and it's made from rubber/silicon. What is this thing?"

Reddit | olavivalo

I swear, kitchens just have the absolute strangest devices. This odd looking doohickey with what appears to be a suction cup on one end is actually part of a tea infuser.

That suction cup-looking part fits over a basket that hold the tea. The dangly bit works as both a handle and a weight that keeps the infuser centered in the teapot.

"Resembles a pump without suction/pressure, solid plastic tube that slides into metal, no missing attachments, most likely a tool of the kitchen."

Reddit | diskobunny

Yup, once again, it's a kitchen tool, and it does not slice, dice, or julienne anything. Rather, it's a suction pump intended to be used on bottles of wine to keep the air from oxidizing it and to maintain freshness.

"This thing i found on a riverbank. It's hard and lightweight, almost like a crab shell. It was roughly 6 inches long."

Reddit | sooshey

This was a doozy, as many guessed it was either ambergris - stuff that whales vomit up that gets used in perfume manufacturing - or coprolite, which is just a fancy name for fossilized poop.

But this is neither of those - it's some polyurethane foam that didn't mix and cure as it should have.

"Found this with a lot of tools. Does anyone know what it is or what it is used for?"

Reddit | juki2020

It looks like some kind of bottle opener/key chain hybrid, and I suppose you could use it for those purposes, but this is really a travel lock intended to provide an extra level of security for hotel room doors.