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


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. This instuctions 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. "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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22. "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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