40 Weird Items that Made No Sense Until Internet Users Solved the Mystery

By: Samantha Parker | Last updated: Oct 22, 2021

People who love niche content know that Reddit is the place to visit. It’s a popular discussion site where you can look up topics that pique your interest. One subreddit that’s getting a lot of attention is r/whatisthisthing, where people share weird items whose purpose they can’t figure out.

There are a lot of peculiar things to be found on the r/whatisthisthing subreddit. If you’re into that type of content, then you came to the right place. We’ve gathered 40 of the strangest items ever shared on the forum. Let’s take a look at some of the weirdest things people have discovered!

1. Silver Oval Thingy

At first glance, this object will have you puzzled. Is it more than just a flat silver ball? If you found this in your home, what would be your initial thoughts? We say it’s the perfect object for skipping stones. Just look at its shape!

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The reality is that this silver oval thingy is stainless steel soap. It’s a kitchen item where you rub your hands on it to remove the smell of onion and garlic. Who would have guessed, right?

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2. A Row of Hanging Threads

In this picture, we’re faced with a creepy image of bug eggs hanging on the edge of a cabinet. Look at how evenly spaced those threads are! The OP posted this on Reddit, and he quickly got a response from insect experts.

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Upon further research, these specks are called lacewing eggs. The insect hangs its eggs on hardened mucus, which is why they’re suspended in the air. If that’s not disgusting, we don’t know what is!

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3. A New Style of Hammock

The person who took this photo has a good eye for detail. You’ll find public art like this in big cities where they love featuring geometric sculptures. However, if you ever see sculptures like this, you should know that they do have an intended purpose. The question now is, “what are they for?”

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This Redditor noticed the hooks attached to the metal rings, which helped solve the mystery behind this art installation. It’s a hammock stand! Public parks have these so nearby walkers can use them for resting or sleeping. It seems you have to bring your own hammock, though!

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4. Random Blue Chip

Here is an example of a random object that requires a clear explanation. This person found a round chip inside their bag of chips, and we’re not entirely sure why. Eager to discover the truth, the OP posted this on Reddit.

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Apparently, it’s a testing chip! These round objects go through metal detectors to ensure they’re working. This means that the test failed, and the chip somehow made its way inside the bag. Just make sure not to eat it if you ever find something like this!

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5. Scuttle Mug

As technology advances, some objects become obsolete. With the invention of electric razors, many old-fashioned shaving tools were quickly forgotten. Another example can be found in this weird-looking mug with a perforated side.

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Is this a mug from the early 1800s? No. It’s a shaving scuttle! It keeps soap lather thick and warm, which makes shaving that much easier. These cups are having a renaissance, and that’s a good thing since men deserve a bit of pampering as well.

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6. Cow Magnet

This strange-looking object has left many people wondering exactly what it is. It looks like a magnet that you wave at cows to draw them close. As usual, the owner of this object took to Reddit to find out its real purpose.

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Thankfully, someone came to the rescue and responded with, “it’s a door stopper!” It goes underneath the door to stop it from fully closing. One thing’s for certain – that doesn’t look like a door stopper to us!

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7. Yawning Mask

This yawning mask was spotted by a Redditor in New Zealand. At first glance, it looks like a bottle opener as the wide-open mouth fits that description. However, that’s not the case. The OP learned about its unique purpose thanks to r/whatisthisthing.

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After posting it on Reddit, he quickly discovered that this object is a yawning dance mask! It’s a miniature version of the real masks Balinese dancers wear during their performances. These masks are considered sacred, and the owner was lucky to find one.

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8. Wooden Staff

Peru is a beautiful country that’s full of history. You’ll find plenty of artifacts and ancient objects there, and many of them have great historical value. This person found a long, wooden staff on a beach in Lima. Curious to learn more about it, they took to Reddit for some answers.

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According to responders, the object is called a ceremonial chonta. People in Peru use this as part of their traditional healing ceremonies. It’s so-called because the staff is made from the wood of the chonta palm.

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9. Makeshift Bird Diverter?

Some objects fall into the category of weird, and this one is a prime example. It looks like something that would inspire conspiracy theories about aliens or government spies. What does it do? Does it prevent birds from sitting on the power lines?

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If you guessed it was all about the birds, you were right! The object is intended for identified flying objects rather than unidentified ones. This bird diverter is an economical way to discourage flying creatures from hanging onto the power lines.

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10. Underground Bunker Access

Judging by the way this metal contraption is designed, it looks like it leads straight to an underground bunker. We’ve all seen something like this in the movies! It’s understandable why a person would be curious as to what exactly this object does.

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So, is it an entrance to some kind of secret research facility? Responders say that this metal structure is a vent to let underground gasses escape. Well, that was a boring explanation!

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11. Military Beads

The great thing about r/whatisthisthing is that you get to see weird items from across the globe. From crawl spaces in Florida to the deep forests of the Czech Republic, odd items show up everywhere. This person found a strange tool near a military camp in the Netherlands. It looks like a paracord or carabiner of some sort.

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If you’re wondering what that thing is, it’s a set of “ranger beads.” Military personnel use these beads to count distance at a known pace. Pretty interesting if you ask us!

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12. Ancient Arrowhead

While this object looks recognizable, there’s an unusual story behind it. Is it a genuine arrowhead? Or is it just a prop from a play or a parade? The owner found this item in his backyard and was curious about its origins.

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It turns out that this arrowhead was used by Native Americans more than 2,000 years ago. One Redditor said that this object was part of the Hopewell Indian culture back in the Middle Woodland periods.

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13. Peculiar Oil Jar

The person who found this jar immediately thought of its historical value as the item looks like it’s aged pretty well. This dainty object was dug up in a garden in the Netherlands, and the owner has been seeking answers to what it is.

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Reddit provided an answer, with many people saying it’s a Roman oil jar made from terracotta. Ancient Romans loved creating terracotta pieces, and you’d best believe this ancient piece holds significant value to historians.

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14. Sinister Ax

From the looks of it, this mystery ax could do some serious damage. That’s why the owner of this object took to Reddit to make sure it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. We don’t even want to think about what might happen if a child got a hold of this thing!

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The object hails from Japan and is not an ax but a delimbing tool. People use this to reach high limbs and cut tree branches with ease. They’re razor sharp!

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15. Drip Drip Drip

Imagine going down your basement and seeing this weird contraption hanging from the ceiling. It appears to be connected to the waterline, but why is it there? The OP saw water leaking from this object, arousing his curiosity more.

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Despite its disturbing appearance, this object is a sediment filter. Its purpose is to remove salt, dirt, and other unwanted materials from the waterline. It was leaking because the filter inside was dirty and due for replacement.

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16. Mystery Demagnetizer

Another example of a weird object is this roller-looking thing. It’s hard to figure out its purpose at first glance due to the cable and the roller attached to it. The item surely must have been used for something, right?

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Well, this object is an audio head demagnetizer. People used this back in the 60s to remove the built-up magnetism in the tape paths of cassettes. Who knew you needed this back in the day to listen to good music?

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17. Weird-looking Spacer

This item looks like an oddly shaped cookie cutter or a carousel wheel from a child’s toy. The owner thought the object was meant for making designs in sand, but it’s too weird-looking for the answer to be so simple! As usual, the OP took to r/whatisthisthing for clarification.

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Reddit came to the rescue and said that the object was a spacer wheel. It’s used in construction to hold rebar in place before concrete is poured. What a neat little item!

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18. An Ornamental Piece

Perhaps you’ve encountered this ornamental object in museums or movies. This person found one in a vintage shop and was curious about its intended purpose. You’d think that this item is part of a grandma’s kitchen collection, but no.

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This isn’t meant to store hot or cold drinks. In reality, it’s a double inkwell where you place ink in one well and water in the other. This allows you to wash your pen and prevent ink from drying on the tip.

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19. Spiky Disk

A metal object that has eight legs? Careful – it might be a spider zapper! This pointy item certainly looks puzzling. The owner found it in his garden, but it wasn’t his, and he had no idea how it got there.

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One helpful Redditor clarified this object’s purpose, explaining that it’s an electrostatic animal guard. It’s not meant for arachnids but for keeping large animals out of your backyard. When they touch it, they receive a minor electrical shock. Don’t worry – it’s not meant to harm wildlife! It just sends them scurrying off. 

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20. Perforated Disc

What possible purpose could this object serve? It’s hard to think of where this thing could prove useful. Is it part of another item? You’ll be surprised when you find out! The OP claims that her uncle found this perforated disc, and he’s been trying to find information about it ever since.

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As it turns out, the item is called a flower frog. Florists use these to arrange flowers by putting the stem through the holes. What’s interesting is that these discs come in different shapes and styles!

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21. Yellow Mesh Object

There are plenty of inventions around the world that have solved many of our problems. For example, reflective driving aids were invented in 1930, and pavement markers came about in the 1950s. This particular object appears to serve a similar purpose, but why was it installed on a telephone pole?

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This yellow square thingy is called a grid reflector, and it helps drivers see telephone poles at night. Far too often, we hear stories in the news about drivers accidentally hitting poles. This object helps to reduce those types of accidents!

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22. Huge Concrete Contraption

This large contraption is one of the stranger-looking things on this list. If we were to guess, this could very well be a location for storing dead bodies! Maybe it’s an outside bunker for storing goods, but we definitely can’t tell what this concrete structure’s precise purpose is.

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Redditors gave a clear answer, explaining that this is for stormwater retention. Concrete structures like these are built to accommodate stormwater so the sewers don’t get overwhelmed.

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23. Radioactive Chamber

Here’s a sign that would make you turn and run, especially if you found it in your crawlspace. After discovering this metal label that reads “do not enter,” the OP took to Reddit to obtain more info.

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A team of radiation control experts chimed in, saying that the warning label was from the 1950s, and it was warning that toxic gases may rise up from underground. The good news is that the red boxes next to it contained no harmful substances. What a relief!

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24. Metal Bracelet Thing

When you discover an object like this, you know it’s made for something. Who would want to wear a metal bracelet? You’d get nicks and scuff marks after wearing this thing for only a few minutes.

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A helpful Redditor clarified the purpose of this peculiar object, stating that it’s a piece from a purse or handbag. The circular ring is attached to the purse and is opened by expanding the metal.

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25. Weird Sippy Cup

It’s rare to find a cup that looks as weird as this one. Is this meant for soups where you can eat on one side and drink from the other? We’re not exactly sure. The only thing we know is that the owner was just as puzzled as we were.

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A Reddit user explained that this cup is an older version of a sippy cup intended for sick people. The design allowed them to drink while lying down without the risk of spilling liquids all over the place.

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26. Eerie Seashell?

Some people may find this image rather disturbing, and we agree. This thing looks like it came straight out of a horror movie, and we can’t figure out what it is. The only thing we can say is that those bumps look like many rows of teeth.

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As it turns out, they are teeth! However, the creature that owns them isn’t scary. These are the teeth of a freshwater drum fish. These fish have molars similar to humans, allowing them to chomp down on mussels and oysters.

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27. An Alarming Creature

Since we’re already on the topic of horrifying creatures, let’s take a look at this abomination right here. Someone found this on their lawn chair, and their instant reaction was “What is that thing?!” Might as well burn the whole chair at this point, right?

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Redditors responded that this horrific beast is a hag moth. Also known as “monkey slugs,” these creatures aren’t harmful, and they pose no threat to crops nor humans.

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28. UFO Ring?

You’ll find a lot of UFO theories online, and this one is up for discussion. People pulled over to observe this weird phenomenon in the sky. What exactly is it? These are the kind of posts that’ll leave people infinitely guessing (us included).

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According to Reddit, the phenomenon is called a soliton. “It’s a self-reinforcing wave that behaves like a particle.” UFO experts can calm down now, knowing that this is nothing more than a natural phenomenon!

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29. Styrofoam Bits

Judging by the picture, the small, white dots look like styrofoam balls. The OP of this post claimed that the white dots reappeared after he cleaned them. Who’s crushing styrofoam in his cupboard?!

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Alas, those aren’t styrofoam bits. They’re insect frass! Those white dots are bits of wood caused by insect activity. In the words of a wise Redditor, “call pest control ASAP!”

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30. An Aptly Named Light Sensor

If you were to discover a switch labeled “Miracle Eye” on the back of an old wall clock, would you turn it on? It sounds like you might unlock an almighty crystal ball! Something has to be amazing to be considered a miracle.

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So, what does this switch do? Well, it’s a light sensor that, when turned on, prevents the clock from making a noise if it doesn’t sense light. That way, people won’t be woken up by the annoying ticking sound – a miracle indeed!

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31. Hot Air Balloon?

We’d be stumped if we ever came across something like this at the beach. The person who found this described the object as having a honeycomb shape within a flimsy aluminum casing. If that doesn’t sound complicated, we don’t know what is.

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Redditors had to do some research to figure this one out. They eventually determined that this thing was rocket debris. A Chinese rocket launch failed, and these were the remnants that fell into Guam’s shallow waters. Very interesting!

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32. Giant Aztec Coin

Grandparents are very particular when it comes to their beloved possessions. This was exactly the case with this person’s grandpa, who told him not to touch this giant Aztec coin-looking thingy. It looks like it came straight out of a Tomb Raider movie, and we have to admit it’s a cool-looking object.

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One Reddit user hinted at this object’s purpose. Apparently, it’s a jade Aztec sunstone. The stone contains hieroglyphs of days, months, and suns. No wonder grandpa kept it as one of his prized belongings!

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33. Another Ancient Artifact?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this object is an ancient artifact similar to the Aztec sunstone. Just look at the writings inscribed there! While it may look like a valuable piece of history, it’s just a part of a horseshoe game.

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Disappointing, we know. Reddit broke the news by saying the object was missing a red peg in the middle. It’s a stake that came with a rubber horseshoe in a child’s indoor horseshoe game. What a shame this one turned out to be so bland!

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34. Bottle Opener Key

This one doesn’t seem hard to figure out at first glance. It’s a bottle opener on one end and a key on the other. Or is it? The longer we look at it, the more confused we become.

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The OP had no idea what this thing was for, so he took to Reddit to obtain clues. A user responded by saying it’s a germ key! You use this to open doors without having to touch them. It’s a nifty tool in this day and age, that’s for sure.

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35. Disgusting Fungus

You’ll probably avert your eyes within two seconds of seeing this post. Is there anything more disgusting than this? The way the liquids ooze out is gross! The OP had to take a photo and share it with r/whatisthisthing for clarification.

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A friendly Reddit user revealed that this disgusting thing is called a polypore fungus. It expels moisture through its pores in a process called guttation. Perhaps the most shocking part is that you can eat it! That’s a hard “no” from us.

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36. WWII Missile?

We’ve only seen one piece of military paraphernalia on the list so far. The second one is here, and it is pretty impressive. Just look at that massive missile! Of course, the OP had to know why it was there and whether it might still be functioning or not.

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He got the location of the missile from his brother. They eventually discovered that the missile used to be mounted on a plinth near a military school. It’s crazy that it was just left in the woods, and no one bothered to remount it!

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37. Massive Wrench

This object here is no mystery, but we’re curious to know why it’s so massive! Is there a huge nut or bolt that would fit in this thing? If there is, how do you even tighten it? We suspect this wrench is for a gigantic safe protecting some highly important stuff.

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OP claims he inherited this wrench and was wondering whether it’s a novelty piece or a functional tool. One user said that the wrench is completely functional and could be used for an old vault at the Federal Reserve. Pretty cool!

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38. Wooden Scaffold

This scaffold-like structure made out of wood looks like an eerie setting for a horror movie. Imagine escaping from a group of bad guys in this wooden maze. Crazy! According to the OP, his friend took a picture of this while on a field trip.

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Redditors struggled with this one. Since there’s an airsoft field nearby, there’s a good chance that the structure may have once been part of the field. However, with no certain answers, this object remains something of a mystery.

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39. Concrete Coffin?

Say you were digging in your backyard, and you unearthed a coffin-like concrete slab. What’s the first thing that would come into your head? The person who posted this wanted to know whether he should call the police or just leave the concrete slab where it was.

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According to r/whatisthisthing experts, it’s an old-style septic tank. They said that if OP were to dig further down, he’d find a sewage pipe on one end. These tanks were supposed to be buried 1-3 feet underground so that people wouldn’t be able to access them.

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40. Monster Gum

If you love drinking Monster Java, then you’ll find this image haunting. This nasty gum-looking thing was found inside a Monster can, and the OP was wondering how in the world it got there.

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Some clever Redditors revealed that the milk solids from the drink must have separated and got mixed with sodium alginate. The end result is this squishy lump that looks and tastes horrendous! This was likely the result of production errors.

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