Disclaimer: This Article was First Published On Forreason.com and is published here with approval.
We all have a lot of questions going on in our heads, but it's not always easy to find someone we know who has the answers. But isn't this what the internet is for? When you can't find an answer, go online and ask an expert. On Reddit, there's a subreddit called, 'What Is This Thing.'
On there, people can post photos of unusual items and get to the truth of what their things are. And to our surprise, most of the questions are answered, and the mystery is solved. Here are some of the best examples of weird and crazy items that had most people scratching their heads.
What Are These Circular Metal Things On These Stairs?
You don't really those every day on public staircases. Sure, it could just be for design, but we all know they probably serve some sort of purpose. What do you think they're used for? We know! These are actually a pretty clever way to keep skateboarders away from stairs.
This device prevents the board from grinding against the edge of the wall. Though we love watching skateboarders to tricks and flips, it looks like they'll need to find a new spot to do it.
What is this weird squirming thing?
When you wake up, grab your coffee and go outside to sit on your lawn chair, you're not expecting to see something like this. It's really quite a turn-off when you think about it. Is this a leaf? Or is this something else? Something...living?
Well, it's actually a hag moth caterpillar. It has "fake arms" on it's back to camouflage itself, making it look like a dead leaf. That's pretty cool camouflage if you ask me. The pink area of the caterpillar is the stomach.
This washed up on a beach in Florida, what is it?
It's normal for crazy and wild things to happen in Florida, but it's rare that something like this appears on the beach. So, what is this exactly? Well, actually, the answer is pretty cool. It's a wave-powered desalinator, but it's not from Florida. The company that owns it, Oneka Technologies is actually a firm in Quebec.
What it's doing in Florida is a good question. This machine takes seawater and turns it into fresh, drinkable water. To turn seawater into freshwater, it relies on being powered by wave motion. How cool is that?
These are in an outdoor area of the hospital. What are these?
Maybe you've seen this at your local hospital or maybe not, but now you definitely want to know what these are used for. They're actually, believe it or not, outdoor emergency showers. Now, why would you need an outdoor emergency shower area?
Well, if someone is affected by a chemical spill, for example, they need to douse the person with tepid water. The person needs to be in the shower for 15 minutes at around 20 PSI until they can stop the shower.
These grainy-like things showed up in a closet. What is it?
This isn't what you want to show up in your closet, especially if they keep reappearing after you clean it up. But they must be coming from somewhere, right? They do not appear out of thin air...right? This sounds like it's going to be a horror story. Well, the answer to this is pretty simple as one Reddit user said, it's termite poop.
Yup, there's no delicate way to say it. This is the poop of an insect that's chewing through the wood of your closet. It looks like someone is going to need to call pest control, or else the entire room will be covered in termite poop!
What's the purpose of the pool?
When we see a stream, most of us don't have any interest in investigating it. But this person decided to take a closer look and discovered something unusual. At some point in the stream, it came to a large circular pool, with the stream continuing on into the woods.
But what is the purpose of the pool? It turns out the settling pond is to prevent erosion and improve the downstream water. This helps the fish out, and honestly, no one wants to have unhappy fish swimming around.
Found this weird slate in the backyard, what is it?
Oh, well, this is a little spooky, don't you think. It looks like something biblical. Maybe it could be that? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but this is actually a practice gravestone. Yeah, it's kind of weird to think people would practice writing on a gravestone, but imagine if they didn't?
How horrible people's gravestones would look. The gravestone carver would practice on a scrap of stone, making sure to perfect their letter engraving and drawings. This is a piece of that practice stone.
Found this in the bedding of a hospital room.
This person was changing hospital bedding when they came across something unusual. This mini harpoon-like device was stuck in a hospital blanket. But what is this? Well, the answer isn't very pleasant, especially when you know what it's used for. This is a taser dart.
Yeah, ouch. It's used by law enforcement for people who aren't following instructions and pose a danger to officers. A taser dart helps to control and subdue the person. Not the most pleasant of answers, but at least you now know what it is.
Saw this is a forest in Germany.
We can imagine forests in Germany are just spooky. And if history and fables have taught us anything, it's that creepy things can be discovered in forests. This one Reddit user came across what appears to be a small home built inside a hill in the forest.
Well, it turns out that it's a fridge or a 'cold room.' This is essentially a room that's covered in dirt to insulate the food. Sorry to break the news that this wasn't something crazy. But it is a cool find.
What are these swirly things?
Some of us will spend some time exploring the Earth via Google Maps, seeing what's going on in places outside of our city or country. Well, this one user certainly came across something weird. They spotted these swirly-looking rivers in Cogdell, Georgia.
What was weird is that there are three of them next to one another. Well, the Reddit community joined forces, and after checking tax records, it was discovered that this was actually an alligator farm. In those swirly waters are swimming a bunch of alligators.
Found this creepy thing in a creek. What is it?
There's only one word we think of when we see this, Ewwww. What is that? And are we sure that comes from Earth? If you take a closer look at it, it's giving strong alien-specie vibes. Right? Well, sadly, this isn't an alien. Instead, this is stonefly larvae.
Though they do look kinda gross, the stonefly larvae is a good sign. If you notice these in your water source, it means the water is of high quality. This insect is particularly sensitive to water pollution.
Why is this a thing?
Obviously, you can see what's going on...kind of. But why is this device even a thing? Why would you want to turn a cow on its back? Leave the cows alone! Well, the answer to this is pretty interesting. This is basically a cow operating table.
This machine is used for when needing to perform surgery on a cow. They have these machines for small livestock as well, and they can be used to rim nails or hooves. They just attach them to the machine, flip them over, and do what needs to be done.
Found this plaque on the sidewalk.
Most of the sidewalks in the world are made of boring and interesting concrete or bricks. There's nothing to get excited about. But this Reddit user came across this plaque with numbers on it outside of their university building. What could this be?
This is called a Magic Square. It's a popular decoration that's placed in front of math departments. This one seems pretty old. Take a look at the plaque and try to figure what number each side adds up to.
This was hanging in a basement of a 100-year-old house.
There's nothing that unusual about this item, yet, there is something strange about it. This was found hanging from the basement of this Reddit user's 100-year-old house. It's two marbles sitting in a hanger. Now, it's nothing wild, but what was it used for?
It turns out it's a razor blade sharpener. Dating back to the 1930s, this was what salesmen were all about. But it doesn't really sharpen the blades. Instead, it realigns the edge to give the user a couple more shaves.
Is this a nazi key?
Really? Were there really keys used with the swastika symbol on them? This isn't something anyone wants to discover. This Reddit user found this key in the belongings of his grandfather after he died. It's easy to start making assumptions, but the truth was discovered.
The swastika was Britain's lucky charm during WWI. They had this symbol on cushions and badges. Of course, the symbol of the swastika changed with WW2. In the 30s and 40s, there was a massive clearing of these items, and now this key is extremely rare.
They keep popping up at London bus stops. What are they?
Well, this one is pretty strange. You certainly don't expect to see these alien-like things near bus stops. Why are they only in London? Do you think this is a sign from aliens? Well, before you put your tin hat on, you should now that this is potato art.
Yup! Though the artist is unknown, if you search "London bus potatoes art" online, you'll see a lot of articles on this potato artist. Pretty cool; if you ask me. One person's potato is another person's art.
What's the thing at the bottom of the mug?
Have you ever looked at the bottom of your IKEA mug and thought to yourself, why does it have that little dip at the bottom of it? Well, if you didn't think about it, now you probably want to know the answer anyways.
The small dip at the bottom of the mug is so that water doesn't pool on the bottom of the mug when it's washed in the dishwasher. It also stops mugs from suctioning to the bottom of coasters. Such a small change to the mug, but makes a huge difference.
Before the dishes get done, what is this?
This looks like a crazy piece of art, yet since there's a spoon or fork in it, we have a feeling that someone left this dish in the fridge for a little too long. Gross. This isn't really anything unusual. When you leave your food unattended for a long period of time, bacteria flourishes and grows on it.
This is called bacteria pellicle. But what we want to know is how long were this person's dirty dishes just sitting there. Come on! Bacteria is a pretty good sign you need to get some soap and start scrubbing.
Found these slabs of ivory with days of the week on them.
It's not every day someone can say they found slabs of ivory with days of the week written on them. But, that actually happened to this person. They discovered the slabs of ivory in their closet. So, naturally, they wanted to know what this was. It's actually an early Victorian chatelaine aide memoir from the mid-1800s.
That was a mouthful, right? It's made of bone that hung around the neck of a lady's chatelaine or kept in her pocket. She used it to make notes and write down her appointments for the following week. The days of the week were Monday to Saturday, never Sunday.
Found these squiggly-things under a piece of wood.
Don't they look like fingerprints? Maybe these are fingerprints that have been lifted off of this piece of wood? Did we just go a little too sci-fi? It is a pretty cool thought, though. But, we're not right. So, what are these squiggly-things that were found under a piece of wood?
These are actually midge eggs. Or, in other words, an aquatic fly. Though no one really likes flies, you have to admit their eggs look pretty cool. But we'll secretly stick to the idea that they're fingerprints.
Why is this on every escalator?
We use the escalator thousands of times within our lives, yet most of us never question why it's designed the way it is. When you're on an escalator, near the stairs, they have a set of bristles that run all the way up. But why are they there?
It turns out they help to keep shoes, dresses, and bags from getting snagged into the sides of the escalator as there's a tiny gap. And if you have time, you can use them to shine your shoes as well. See? One small add-on does so much.
What are these traditional Indian sweets made of?
When it comes to food, we all love trying new things, but sometimes we don't know what we're eating. This one user's boss got married and brought his employees some traditional Indian desserts. But their boss left before they could ask what the desserts were.
The white blocks are made of cashews and sugar; they're called Kaju barfi. The yellow blocks are mango-flavored barfi, while the circular dessert is made of dried fruits, stuffed with nuts. The desserts wrapped in foil are made of cashews, almonds, and pistachios. The best part is they're all very delicious desserts.
Found this is the middle of the Asian Desert.
Well, what we want to know is: what were you doing on Google Earth in the middle of the Asian desert? Nevermind, that's for another day. Well, this is an interesting discovery. While this Reddit user was exploring the desert, they came across this cluster of water. Why is there water in the desert?
It turns on these are evaporation ponds for the Xinjiang Lop Nur Potas Co. Ltd. It's one of the largest potassium sulfate production mines. Good to know! If you want to see it the coordinates are 40 2637 N 90 48 00 E.
What are those things on her fingers?
When we're taking public transport, we usually end up passing the time staring at our phones or looking at other people. Well, this one Reddit user did the latter and came across something unusual on this woman's hand. They noticed her fingers had a plastic covering about the joint area on both hands.
Why? What is this used for? These are oval finger splints for treating cases of arthritis, fractures, swan neck, trigger finger, and other issues. No, this isn't a trend or a new style, it's for health purposes.
This keeps growing from the basement ceiling.
Well, if this was just hanging off the ceiling without any change, it probably wouldn't be so concerning. But the fact is this was growing from this Reddit's basement ceiling at an alarming rate, also leaving grayish particles on the table below. What is it?
Well, it is pretty gross. It turns out that these are the studs from the walls that have been eaten and pooped out by termites. The more they eat, the bigger this thing will get. Uff, this gives us the heebie-jeebies.
This came out of the kitchen tap - yikes!
Imagine waking up late at night to get a glass of water, and then you see this floating at the bottom of your glass. It would gross us out. Well, that's basically what happened to this Reddit user who found this floating in their water the next morning. But even though it looks horrible, it's nothing to worry about.
This is the most likely material used in the tap-water treatment that made its way past the treatment system into the glass. These chemicals are used to attract particles in the water to easily remove them.
Little pins come out, what is it used for?
This doesn't exactly scream out, "I'm friendly!" If anything, this looks likes something you don't want to get your hands on. When you pull the ring out of the device, four little pins pop out. But why? Well, that's a good question with an interesting answer.
This is actually an anti-theft device that's used for pocket watches. It's a little dated now, but we have to admit, it's a great way to keep people from stealing your pocket watch even though it looks like a painful punishment.
What in the world is this?
This is going to give us nightmares. Okay, we're pretty sure this is a foot, but there's no way this is a human foot. What kind of creature has a foot like this? Yikes! We're scared to go to the beach now. Imagine swimming next to that?
Well, thee Reddit community managed to figure out what it was. This is a hairless seal flipper that was discovered on the Norfolk coast. Poor little seal. But man, this is not a pretty flipper to have.
This was found on Guam in shallow water. What is it?
While walking their dog on the beach, this one Reddit user came across something completely unexpected. It's a 3-meter diameter disk, that's top is a honeycomb shape of fiberglass and aluminum. It's something you'd see out of a movie. But what is it?
Well, it's definitely out of this world. There was a Chinese Long March 3B rocket launch that failed, and it was recorded that its payload was seen entering the Earth's atmosphere near Guam. It looks like this user came across that.
An ancient fur ball?
This ball of hair, or whatever it is, looks pretty ancient. Plus, it's on a fancy silver tray, giving it a regal vibe. This was discovered on a beach in Spain, but this wasn't the only one. This Reddit user said the beach was full of these balls. But what are they?
This cute little ball is actually a seagrass ball. They're extremely lightweight and are a natural part of our seas. Pretty cool, right? They're pretty cute; it looks like we need to head to Spain. That's a good excuse, right?
Is this a special rainbow?
Well, this is something you don't see every day. Of course, it's rare enough to see a rainbow, but have you ever seen one like this? There's something strange about this one; why isn't it a semi-circular in the sky? Well, as one Reddit user answered, "a rainbow is a rainbow."
The user continued explaining, "The cause is refraction/dispersion of light due to water in the air. It looks like it's raining over there. The shape is just a matter of angles and height." So, this person managed to see something neat, but it's nothing to lose sleep over. The good thing is they have a cool picture of it.
This was found in a classroom - what is it?
Is this some sort of Nanny camera? It looks like a miniature robot. Well, the mystery was solved as it was discovered that this is a personal avatar for children suffering from a long-term illness. It helps them to maintain a presence in the school and continue their normal routine, even though they're unable to physically attend class.
It's controlled via an app, which lets the child watch lessons through the robot's eyes and speak through the robot to interact with the teacher and other students. It's a pretty cool way to make sure no child gets left out.
Found this in the crawlspace of a house built in the 80s.
Sometimes, we like to explore our houses and see if there's anything we can find that someone before us left behind. Well, this is definitely not what this Reddit user expected to find. They came across a series of red boxes in their crawlspace, with this label lying nearby.
As you can tell, it's not a good label to have sitting in your crawlspace. It turned out this label was used in the 50s and 60s for materials with gamma and neutron emissions. Yikes! But not to worry, the Utah department od environmental quality came and tested the house to make sure everything was fine.
While walking the dog, they came across this.
Well, this certainly looks like something that came out of Chernobyl. While this one Reddit user was walking their dog in a forest, they came across this thing. The forest belongs to Estate Wedellsborg, Vestfyn, Denmark. With this information, what did the Reddit community discover?
Well, the answer is surprising. This is actually an underwater mine. Uff, this gives us a little shiver up our backs. But, the dog doesn't seem too concerned, it's more interested in chasing squirrels.
What are those things called?
You know what we're talking about. Those things. They're typical in Gothic Architecture, yet not many people actually know what they're used for. Well, they're called flying buttresses. That's a neat name, but what do they do? Are they just for decoration? Nope.
Their purpose is to help transfer the weight of the roof outwards, which prevents the walls from bowing and collapsing inward. Back then, there was a reason for every small design feature on their buildings. And this idea worked very well as most of those buildings are still standing.
What does this wall art symbolize?
It's not every day we see a piece of art that makes us think maybe there's something more behind it. This Reddit user was told by their grandfather not to remove this when renovating their house. But what's the big deal? The wall art is actually an Aztec calendar.
Though, we still think the grandfather's reaction was a bit extreme. Nothing will happen if you move the calendar from one place to another; unless he positioned it perfectly to tell time.
An opening to the bottom floor.
It's every child's dream to find a hidden door or floorboard and crawl through into a different world. And for the Reddit user, they didn't expect to uncover this. Their home is from the 1850s, and they wanted to know what this hidden floorboard was used for.
Well, the answer wasn't exactly exciting. It was discovered that this was a way to access one's crawlspace where the plumbing and wiring are mainly located. And we were so excited for a moment.
This is a sci-fi looking place in Poland.
Is this located on planet Earth? Doesn't it look like something that would be set up on Mars? The next assumption is maybe it's some sort of military compound. But the Reddit community quickly shot those answers down.
They found out this is actually Alvernia Studios, a film studio that's located near Krakow, Poland. They also have offices in Mumbai and Warsaw, but we want to know why they would design their studio to look like something out of a sci-fi movie?
A broken key?
When you first look at it, you're not quite sure what it is. At first, you assume maybe it's a key or a horribly designed shoehorn. But then you see the brand name Hermes on it, and then you get confused. Well, if you thought it was a shoehorn, you had a pretty close guess.
The thing is this shoehorn isn't designed for people. This is actually a hoof pick that's used to clean out a horse's hooves. You can't still buy them today, but they're not cheap (it's around $300!).
This was underneath a cabinet inside a house built in the 70s.
Well, this is kind of weird. Whenever people find things in old houses, they automatically assume it's something sinister. Is it the case for this thing? This was discovered underneath a cabinet in the kitchen. It has plastic metal teeth on one side, and it's very dull.
Well, it's nothing to be scared of. It's actually a jar opener. Who thought it would be a good idea to take these out of kitchens? That's a pretty neat idea; we want one now.