People Asked For Help Identifying Some Bizarre Objects, Here Are 20 Of The Weirdest

April 12, 2021

Unless you're a total know-it-all, there are bound to be things that you don't recognize.

If that's the case, just head over to r/whatisthisthing and harness the hivemind of Reddit. They'll help you out.

"What is this weird staircase protuberance thing called?"

Reddit | Victoria_Eremita

Here's something that doesn't really have a name. Its purpose, if it has one, is to allow cleaners to more easily access areas without having to use a ladder.

"Found in an office in NYC, dolly or pry bar?"

Reddit | findaway66

This is, in fact a pry bar. It's a heavy-duty variant known as a Johnson bar, and can lift things like safes.

"It used to be used in World War 1 but we’ve got no clue what it was meant for."

Reddit | fatjezza

This is a curette, a tool that medics would have used to scrape away tissue from injured areas of the body.

"Shovel [handle] with a mud flap attached?"

This purpose-built device is sometimes known as a 'fly swatter' and it's designed for tamping out fires when water isn't available.

"Found in a molehill near a 17th Century graveyard at Kilmadock, Scotland."

Reddit | Spooged_Potato

This simple tool is likely a net weight: something small and heavy that could be attached to a fishing net to help it sink.

"Bundle of rubbery sheets found washed up on a beach in the Caribbean."

Reddit | trinisk8er

These things are literally sheets of rubber. They're the raw materials that are shipped out from a rubber plantation.

"Found this while cleaning a basement, it doesn’t open or anything."

Reddit | booberrykitty

With a little help, the original poster was eventually able to open this. Apparently, it's an old-fashioned lighter.

"About the size of my hand. Found in the trash."

Reddit | anxietyattacks77

This is a nifty device that can never go obsolete. It's a perpetual calendar, which can tell you what day a certain date falls on for any year.

"What is this called when a stove is inside a fireplace-type cubby?"

Reddit | MrsAnnaClark

Here's a relatively simple one: this kind of highly-specific area is known as an inglenook, a word that translates to "fire nook."

"This building was found in a country estate in Scotland. It's about the size of a large shed."

This looks like a tiny rock climbing wall, but it's actually known as a bee hotel, or a Slovenian bee house. Yes, bees live there.

"Found in my yard in Sonoma County, CA while I was doing some landscaping."

Reddit | vladimirpwnn

This is made of obsidian, and its purpose is simple: it's most likely a paperweight. Tchotchkes like this were popular in the mid-20th century.

"Seen built into the counter of a kitchen in a high end home."

Reddit | shion005

This is an electric hot water bath, double boiler, or chafing dish. Really, the possibilities here are endless.

"Found in a pile of scrap steel. About 1 foot across. Two handles and covered in spikes."

Reddit | braincube

This is called a dibble board, and its spikes are designed to make a series of small holes for planting seeds in trays.

"Found in a garden. Metallic object that closes in on itself."

Reddit | ScZi

This is a Hindu ritual box, but it's missing a piece or two. It would be used to store turmeric and other colorful powders.

"Strange weapon I found in a German news clip about the Turkish coup."

Reddit | lumpyluggage

His backpack looks like something a Ghostbuster might wear, but it's actually a device meant to jam drone signals and cause the drone to crash.

"What is this ring my Uber driver would randomly click?"

Reddit | DannyMThompson

His ring is a simple counting device and he's likely using it to count his silent prayers throughout the day.

"Staying at an air b&b, why does the vent have a green light inside it?"

Reddit | JackOfAllMemes

This eerie green glow comes from an ultraviolet sterilization lamp. The green color comes from the part of the light that's within a visible spectrum.

"Stainless steel, about the size of a tea spoon, no additional markings."

Reddit | ruthsb

This is a relic from the era where people needed a utensil for everything. It's a spoon specifically designed to ladle out mint jelly.

"What's the long-lasting trail behind this boat?"

Reddit | daitaiming

This is more of an illusion than an actual trail: the water disturbed by the boat hasn't coalesced with the surrounding water yet, and the sun's rays are just highlighting the difference.

"Found 100 feet underground in old cave/mine. It's rusted metal, about 2 feet tall with pipes attached."

Reddit | Tipilihc

This odd device with a knob-looking attachment is a hydraulic ram, a pumping device that uses the water's flow to power itself.