Reddit | KittyJPEG

12+ Strange Finds That Only The Internet Was Able To Identify

Amy Pilkington 15 Mar 2020

Have you ever stumbled across something in the world and wondered "huh, what is that thing?" Of course you have, but did you know that there is a place on the internet devoted entirely to finding out?

The subreddit r/whatisthisthing is a place where people post a photo of something and the hive mind of the internet digs up the answer for them.

1. "My girlfriend's flat has recently had this fluff coming out of the walls. It looks like some kind of water damage but we can't figure out the source." —failedepicardiectomy

Reddit | failedepicardiectomy

It's called "efflorescence" and it is salts and minerals leeching out of moisture in the walls. Hopefully, it's just localized dampness that's easily fixed and not a major water problem.

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2. "What's this thing on my bathroom sink pipe?" —A-CHINESE-GUY

Reddit | A-CHINESE-GUY

It's just a squirt of pest killer left by an exterminator last time they visited. They often leave these in high traffic areas to help cut down on future infestations.

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3. "What are these soft shelled egg like things scattered in the yard grass?" —Erlula

Reddit | Erlula

When broken, a blue goo came out of them, which would be mildly upsetting if you didn't know they were paintballs.

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4. "Little dark balls in an old ant hill, a little bigger than BBs." —johnnymysto

Reddit | johnnymysto

These squishy balls aren't as mundane. They are likely very old slug or snail eggs. Ew.

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5. "What is this miniature sterling silver cauldron/tea kettle thing? Has a perfectly sized glass piece inside, and a spoon." —homestead_house_wife

Reddit | homestead_house_wife

It's an adorable salt cellar and ground pepper shaker that I now really need in my own kitchen.

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6. "Any ideas what this was used for?" —murraki

Reddit | murraki

It's a watchman's watch! As an old watchman would go along his patrol route, there would be small keys found as designated locations. By inserting that key into this watch, it would record the time he reached that location, logging his movements.

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7. "Found this thing in our hotel bed - Airpod for size comparison." —F*ckretails

Reddit | F*ckretails

It's the tip of a glass ampule, likely used for medicine or some natural supplements.

Not necessarily dangerous, but it does mean that the hotel staff probably didn't change the sheets between visitors. Ew.

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8. "What are these cards that showed up in my mailbox today?" —sulaco83

Reddit | sulaco83

They are placards used in USPS sorting facilities and likely ended up in the mailbox by accident.

If you're feeling like a good person, you could drop them off at your post office.

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9. "I was checking our dryer for a missing sock and this fell out as I was spinning the tub." —HP-DP-69B

Reddit | HP-DP-69B

Having a random piece of metal fall from an appliance would be unsettling, but this is just a tool used to open the SIM slot on a cell phone.

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10. "Found in southern Ontario Canada near the Thames River." —ginniper

Reddit | ginniper

This is most likely an antique chatelaine, which was worn at a woman's waist to hold keys and other small necessities like tiny scissors or a small pencil. Like a decorative version of the bowels of my purse.

Ontario's Thames River runs through London, Ontario, where a famous steamboat disaster occurred in 1881. It's possibly an artifact from that event. Which is a pretty cool find!

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11. If you catch sight of this on Google Earth, you're not looking at some kind of secret government installation.

Reddit | StopLookingAtMyName-

Whether that information comes as a relief or a disappointment to you, these are actually evaporation ponds for potassium sulfate mines owned by the Xinjiang Lop Nur Potash Company in China.

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12. Despite how it looks, this foam has a perfectly innocent purpose.

Reddit | CuddlesTom

Apparently, the space in this foam pillow is supposed to accommodate the nose and mouth when someone undergoing surgery has to lie on their stomach.

Why it was sent home with the uploader after they had ankle surgery, however, is another question entirely.

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13. It can be surprisingly maddening to find a tool that almost seems familiar, but that you can't figure out the use for.

Reddit | _McLeod_

But not to worry if this little device has you feeling that way because I'll tell you right now that it's a chain breaker for bicycle chains.

Using this, someone can replace the links as needed.

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14. The uploader guessed that this might be a key and they were close, but that's not quite what this is.

Reddit | buttercream-gang

It turns out that it's used to reconfigure locks to match new keys so this house's new owners don't have to replace the locks entirely.

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15. If you see this bright glow when you're flying over land, it's unlikely that it's because a field caught on fire.

Reddit | Laurent925

Instead, this is apparently the kind of glow that can emanate from the lights of greenhouses. Depending on the plants involved, some of these lights can be purple or blue, but this bright yellow isn't unheard of.

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16. The instructions could be a little clearer, but someone was still able to figure them out.

Reddit | Snoopadoo1

It may be a little hard to recognize the image in the middle, but one commenter realized that putting a banana, two eggs, a quarter tablespoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of oil together yielded some banana pancakes.

So yeah, that's supposed to be a stack of them.

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17. The quality of this picture and the chair-like shape might arouse suspicions that it's a torture device, but this machine has a less cruel purpose.

Reddit | Jarji1234

As far as commenters could tell, it's a die-cutter used for making shoe leather.

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18. This wouldn't get much use nowadays, but it nonetheless found itself on the uploader's dorm room floor.

Reddit | Boltforge

So what is it? Well, old CRT TVs had one of these static convergence adjustment ring magnets on the necks of each cathode tube to make sure the red, green, and blue lights that came together to give those TVs color lined up correctly.

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19. "Wondering what this orange tag on this rabbits ear is for and what it could tell me about this abandon rabbit?" —BurgerBoss_101

Reddit | BurgerBoss_101

That's a livestock tag, so the bunny was likely bred for meat. So yay for not being meat!

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20. "Saw this on the Appalachian trail in NJ." —EatPrayFart

Reddit | EatPrayFart

If you're suddenly imagining the sound of a banjo, I don't blame you, but this is actually just an old sign. The dark squiggles are the old glue that clearly didn't do its job very well.

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21. "Found this thing while doing a spring clean up. Not really sure what's it for." —tarkovnika

Reddit | tarkovnika

It's a shampoo "guard" device for kids to slide over their foreheads and keep the suds out of their eyes.

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22. "Found these in my cooked spaghetti. The sauce was canned." —Rokdout

Reddit | Rokdout

Finding something weird in the dirt is one thing, but finding something weird in your food is an even scarier experience. One user identified these as "rosary peas," an extremely poisonous seed whose poisoning symptoms include vomiting, convulsions, liver failure, and death. Good news though, the original poster is just fine. None of the sauce was eaten.

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23. "I found this metal object. No text or numbers. Can retract to be the size of a bracelet." —s1l4z_behr

Reddit | s1l4z_behr

Though it looks rather complex, the purpose it serves is simple. It's the clasp/top closure part of a small purse!

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24. "Cones of Dunshire found in German Supermarket?" —hullguy1

Reddit | hullguy1

This person happened to stumble upon a cute piece of German culture! These are called Schultüte, which are filled with gifts and treats and given to kids on their first day of school!

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25. "What is this one-meter tall octagonal thing?" —AlanEsh

Reddit | AllanEsh

Not a usual addition to a playground, but an interesting one, this is a ga-ga pit for a game called ga-ga ball. Ga-ga ball is a variant of dodgeball that's played one-on-one inside the pit.

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26. "I was cutting my watermelon and was confused when i saw these hard stems in it, does anyone know what it is?" —Peter_g3

Reddit | Peter_g3

Upon learning what this is, I felt a sudden kinship with watermelon. This is just a stress reaction the watermelon had due to harsh growing conditions, usually drought. Still edible, but certainly not good.

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27. "Any idea what these pipes coming out of the lawn are? I just moved into a house built in the 30’s and would like to get rid of it if possible." —adam7hansen

Reddit | adam7hansen

Not a hilarious plumbing mishap, but instead the old foundation to a teeter-toter! That means, person who uploaded this, you can cut away!

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28. "Can be used for wood working, been in my family garage for years. Is it a type of nut? Or something more profound?" —ryan4loco

Reddit | ryan4loco

Certainly not a type of nut, this here is called a banksia pod. Banksia is a type of tree in Southwestern Australia that produce and drop these pods that, if large enough, can be used in wood working!

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29. "A weird door I saw in the sea wall in Biarritz, France." —jerrycat88

Reddit | jerrycat88

This is not a door to a secret underground city (unfortunately), but instead a gate for storm water runoff that drains into the ocean.

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30. "I saw this weird ice formation on the side of the road. I live in central New Jersey. Still baffled about this?" —occultfruitsalad

Reddit | occultfruitsalad

These were identified not by looking at the ice, but the plants behind it. Phragmites, or common water reeds, have stalks that are strong enough to support ice buildup like this, leaving these odd pillars of ice.

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31. "An inmate was hiding these. Anyone know what he might be doing with them?" —funnyralp

Reddit | funnyralp

Apparently a common inmate invention, stick these two prongs in an outlet and use the electricity arch to light things on fire, like cigarettes. Necessity breeds innovation, as they say.

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32. "I had some large rolls of paper sitting in the shed for years, cleaned it out today and found them like this. Any idea as to what happened?" —KittyJPEG

Reddit | KittyJPEG

There's good news and bad news.

The good news is that the results are pretty darn cool looking.

The bad news is that you've got termites in your shed. Sorry.

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33. "What is this little extra sink?" —serra627

Reddit | serra627

Not for washing little sugar spoons and teacups, it's a separate food processor/garbage disposal!

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34. "Found in a thrift store for $1. No idea what it is but I love it." —pyxiestyx

Reddit | pyxiestix

For the longest named entry on this list, this is a three mouthed round bottom flask. The numbers on the top indicate their size, and apparently three mouthed flasks are used for a number of chemical processes in synthetic chemistry.

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