20 Weird Objects That Had People Completely Baffled

A 'spiky glove' multi-sensory calming resource
reddit | Hafnium-Isotope72

It stands to reason that with all the weird gadgets, gizmos, widgets, and whatsits that humanity has created, some stuff is going to be tough to identify.

For that stuff whose purpose is unclear, we don't have to live in ignorance. Instead, we can consult the geniuses over at the r/whatisthisthing subreddit for a definitive answer for virtually every possible object.

"Giant blue metal thing. Blocking traffic in Dallas. Looks like some kind of duct or manifold."

Air plenum blocking traffic after falling off truck
reddit | MyGrownUpLife

This one's easy, since it was featured in the local news. It's a big, metal object known as an air plenum that fell off a truck. What's an air plenum, you ask? It's a..thing...used in heating and HVAC systems.

"Found this in my hotel room, it has a dial that goes up to 60 minutes and it has a fabric cover on the inside."

A pants press in a hotel room
reddit | KaasKoppusMaximus

You know how lots of hotel rooms have an iron and ironing board? This is kind of an extension of that philosophy. It's a pants press.

"This thing was owned by a relative in the 50's. Mercury inside a glass globe. Hollow handle. No electrical or mechanical components. He was a chemist."

A boiler de-scaling device
reddit | JohnnyF00tballHero

This is a...boiler de-scaling device. It's used to remove scale from a boiler, I would assume.

"What is this thing? Black balls inside an air vent. Small, loose, shiny-ish."

Insulation inside an air vent
reddit | King_Stranger_weeb

This is a kind of insulation you don't see very often. It isn't that the air vent is supposed to be insulated; it's more likely that some of this got blown into the vent and never retrieved.

"Friends clearing out parents' house found this framed. Looks to be some sort of processor chip but hoping somebody can give me some more details for them."

Vintage leadframe in a frame
reddit | RXTeck

This isn't a processor chip. It's a leadframe — the part that makes the electrical connection. It's likely from sometime in the '70s. No idea why it's framed, though.

"This was about the length of a AA battery but a bit fatter. Connected to it was a small plastic cap with white lace tied to it with a blinking blue LED between them. It was found dead center in an empty parking spot in a private lot."

Battery and heating element of a portable vape device
reddit | Swk238

I was thinking that this was a tracking device, but it's actually far more mundane. Turns out it's the battery and heating element of a handheld vape device.

"What is this plastic thing? It's 2¼" tall, 2 ½" wide & very lightweight."

Tool for carrying multiple plastic shopping bags
reddit | libby-bee

You're looking at a handy-dandy little tool for carrying multiple plastic shopping bags. Just feed the bag handles into this thing and carry it by its handle to eliminate strain.

"Old concrete bunker-looking thing on a trail in Shenandoah National Park, no other manmade objects nearby. Does not appear to be a grave marker."

A concrete springbox for gathering water
reddit | GuitarJazzer

This is what's known as a springbox. Place one at a spot where underground streams emerge, and it'll fill up with water.

"Found at my house after a 4th of July party. Black part is plastic with a detachable metal cap. Lighter for scale."

Plastic handle for a metal utensil next to a standard Bic lighter
reddit | Breeze_P

This thing is the bottom of a handle for a metal utensil like an ice cream scoop or pizza cutter.

"Nail clippers for a keychain with a strange bit on the opposite end, what’s this for?"

Tool for clipping fishing line
reddit | Psycho_Snek

Anyone who spends time at outdoors stores will immediately recognize this as a tool for clipping fishing line. The other, pointy piece is for cleaning out fishing hooks.

"Got it at a thrift store. The yellow spoke wheel spins. It’s fascinating and hypnotic, I’m sure it serves a purpose but I have know idea what. What is it?"

A gyroscope or top
reddit | nonameorgame

I don't even need Reddit's expertise here, because I had one of these things when I was a kid. It's a gyroscope or top, and can be manipulated to spin. The payoff isn't really worth the setup, though.

"15-inch-long object found while metal detecting in Germany."

Unexploded ordnance from World War II
reddit | NotACop10-4

These things always turn out to be unexploded bombs from World War II, and that's likely what this thing is. It may be an M-50 series British explosive, or it may be something else.

"Around half the houses on my street have these white posts on the tip of their roofs, what do they signify? (Brampton, Ontario for reference)."

A colonial-style house with decorative roof finial
reddit | SpaceNinja25

They're lightning rods, right? I can't think of any other possible utility. Well, as it turns out, they're totally not lightning rods. They're 'roof finials', an entirely useless, decorative element typically seen on colonial-style architecture.

"What is this thing I've seen attached on the back of this Toyota? Appears to have some lasers or LiDAR system."

Mobile direction-finding system for finding radio transmitters
reddit | ThisIsLukkas

We're not totally certain here, but this appears to be a mobile direction-finding system, the kind that's typically used by government or military agencies that are looking for interfering radio transmitters.

"Plastic and metal bullets? Some are in a chain together like in a machine gun, some are loose."

Plastic blank ammunition
reddit | Angusburgerman

This is a chain of plastic blank ammunition, the kind that's typically used in re-enactments. You can load it into a gun like real ammo, but it won't harm anything when it's fired.

"Small, dense wood-effect plastic piece with X slightly off centre. No other marks. AA battery for scale. Potentially a game piece?"

Rune used for fortune telling with a AA battery
reddit | PeeledHumanGrape

OP was kind of on the right track when they guessed that this thing was a game piece. It's actually a rune, likely the type that's used for fortune telling.

"What is this wooden contraption sitting on the ledge of a second story apartment window?"

Crow or bird trainer or feeder on a window ledge
reddit | ugliestparadefloat

I was thinking this was some sort of homemade weather station, but it's actually a trainer or toy for crows. It allows the user to put food in it, and the crows have to figure out how to access the food.

"Found this strange submerged shed in a forest near us, The hatch wouldn’t open easily and from the missing brickwork I could see a reflection of water at the bottom of it."

A water storage tank for firefighting
reddit | VX_UK

The reflection of water shows this thing's true purpose: a water storage tank, used for...storing...water for firefighting. These things are commonly found in logging areas.

"What is this removable cover on several gravestones at a Catholic cemetery?"

Cup for flowers on a tombstone
reddit | optiplex7456

This isn't actually a hatch designed to let the undead spirits out of the grave, even though it may appear that way. It's actually just a little cup to place flowers in. Pull it out, flip it over and it's ready to accept flowers.

"This was found in an old tool box. It's orange. It's very elastic, and very sticky."

A 'spiky glove' multi-sensory calming resource
reddit | Hafnium-Isotope72

This thing looks kind of like a spiky glove, right? Well, it turns out that it's literally the name of the product: a Spiky Glove, intended as a multi-sensory, calming thing for kids.