20 Times People Had No Choice But To Ask The Internet For Help Identifying Something Weird

Ashley Hunte
A hand resting next to a blue reflective object on a post.
reddit | Z1337M

There's really no shame in asking for help when something has you completely stumped. We can't all know everything, no matter what some people might want you to believe.

These people needed a bit of help figuring out what these mysterious things were. They asked Reddit's r/whatisthisthing community, and got answers, and now we all get to learn a new thing or two today!

"Orange sculpture seen while vacationing in the Poconos of North Eastern PA. Multiple homes have this in the front yard."

A large, orange, mushroom-like structure in a home's front yard.
reddit | whitebeltwhitecoat

One user figured out that this is some kind of stump sculpture. Apparently, it's a service offered by a tree removal company in the area.

"Friend found both together while diving at Makaha, Hawaii. Orange/brown, hard, and looks like they have layers."

Two pebble-like objects resting on a hand.
reddit | doublecheekedup123

The comment section figured out that these are the dental plates of a fish, most likely a pufferfish. Apparently, this is just how their "teeth" form in their mouths. Weird, huh?

"Cast iron, maybe 8 in tall. Marked 'M. A. Herman St. Louis.' Found a 1908 ad. Maybe a hat or shoe holder?"

A cast iron stand with ornate embellishments along the bottom legs.
reddit | Silhavy88

Some thought it could've been a shoeshine stand, but the real answer ended up being a shoe display. At least anyone who figured it was related to shoes was, like, half right.

"Irregular shaped tapestry with animal patterns (50x40 inches)."

A large piece of cloth with images of horses and other animals adorning the middle, surrounded by a floral border.
reddit | Dusseldoregon

I guess the horse-like pictures should give it away a little bit. As the comment section on this post figured out, it's a saddle blanket, which is exactly what it sounds like.

"Strange hanger left on basement stairway wall by previous homeowners… what is it for??"

A wire rack with plastic clips running along the sides.
reddit | 3cupsofcoffee

Apparently, there's a rack for everything. This particular one, as Reddit sleuths figured out, is for hats. Like, baseball caps and stuff. I really never would've guessed that.

"Ceramic mug with lid featuring inner cup."

A ceramic mug next to a smaller insert, also made of ceramic.
reddit | britblam

Sometimes, the answer is so easy, it makes you feel kind of dumb for not figuring it out sooner. In this case, it's a butter bell, and it's making me feel a little bit like a dunce right now.

"Found with a bunch of old tools. When you pull the handle out the end spins. We think maybe a hand mixer?"

A long rod hanging from a chain.
reddit | RedHotGiblets

One Reddit user had a very good answer for this: "Paint brush dryer. Put your clean, wet paint brush in the end and it spins the brush dry."

I would've been staring at this thing in confusion for hours if no one spelled it out for us.

"Why are there two open arrows and two close arrows? What’s the difference?"

A panel for elevator buttons.
reddit | RationalVaultDweller

If you've ever wondered about this, then you're finally getting an answer! One set is for the front doors, and the other is for the back. Something only frequent elevator users think about, I guess. And how many elevators even have back doors?

"These plastic loops I see on door handles in Europe."

A door handle with a plastic loop attached to the end.
reddit | NotLaFontaine

The Reddit comments for this post said that this mysterious little thing is just a doorstop. I guess they don't use the ones on the adjacent wall in every country, huh.

"M&M heavy, painted cast iron object."

A red plate with a handle and "m&m" etched into it.
reddit | RESPEKTOR

The Reddit commenters were very confident that this thing is a tractor weight, which would just help balance a tractor out and keep it from tipping over. And you know what? That actually makes perfect sense.

"Bought a box of Victor Allen's Coffee K Cups from Wal-Mart and found these hard, grey, tubular things in the bottom."

Strange, papery pellets in a person's hand.
reddit | Inane_Asylum

"The consistency is kind of 'papery' when broken. I'm hoping they're some sort of packaging byproduct and not rat poison or something."

Fortunately, it's nothing to worry about. Just cat litter pellets that were probably put in there to absorb moisture.

"Black Tool/Key/Part with 3mm Hexagonal Key, two Pins 1cm apart."

A black, plastic object shaped similarly to a gun, with prongs sticking out of one end.
reddit | zeig0r

From the looks of it, this seems to be some kind of device used to operate warning lights at a construction site. OP apparently found it near a bus depot, so that might make some sense.

"Signs around Boston with red circle, numbers and letters."

A red street sign with a white target/circle, and text that reads "300 N 306," followed by an arrow pointing to the right.
reddit | bernadetteee

This one was a little trickier, but the Reddit sleuths figured out that it's used to indicate the location of a fire standpipe. I wonder if this is specifically a Boston thing or something.

"Decorative Ceramic Item with String on End."

An urn-like object with a string looped around  one end.
reddit | Barkmywords

As it turns out, this very pretty item is a hummingbird feeder. But apparently, it's missing its spout. And here I was thinking it was some kind of burial urn or something.

"Metallic cabinet with two doors, one with two holes with springs inside, found in northern Italy with no further context or brand names."

A metal cabinet with circular dispensers at the top, and a shelf on the inside of one door.
reddit | -----------

The Reddit comment section figured this one out a little too quickly, if you ask me. It's a stand for a coffee machine. I guess cups would go in those spring dispenser areas on the top.

"What is this large concrete structure inside an abandoned building?"

The interior of an empty concrete dome with an opening in the top, revealing the warehouse outside of it.
reddit | camsonn

It looks like this thing is a torpedo trainer, which was used probably around WWII. Since it's in an abandoned building, that would make a lot of sense.

"Found in a house in eastern Oregon (high desert area). Described as 'oozing' when touched."

A dark red fungal or mold spore on a wall next to a light switch.
reddit | Lt_Toodles

As much as it looks like something straight out of a horror movie, it's really just some kind of slime mold. I mean, that doesn't really make it any better, but still.

"This spherical electronic prototype contraption with environmental controls."

A white machine with a large glass dome on top, as well as some kind of vacuum tube.
reddit | pump_up_the_jam030

One Redditor found the answer in a surprising place: the government of Canada website. It's some kind of device for "conducting experiments and demonstrations under controlled conditions." Don't you just love it when the answer ends up being something super specific?

"What are these blue reflecting markers for? Mounted on a pole, facing the field."

A hand resting next to a blue, rectangular reflective device that's resting on a post by a road.
reddit | Z1337M

According to the Reddit comments, these kinds of things are used to keep animals off the road. They reflect light from passing cars in order to deter animals and keep them safe. Pretty neat.

"Iron cone on either side of a gate outside the entry to a building in Bath, England."

A hollow cone made of cast iron on a post outside of a building.
reddit | pepperjobe21

My guess was that this is something that people haven't needed to use in a loooong time. One Reddit user sort of confirmed this by saying, "It's a snuffer. A visitor to your house would use it to put out their torch."