Sometimes we come across items that we simply cannot explain. They can be hiding in our backyard, on display at the neighborhood antique store, or even inside an old closet in our home. What is these items' purpose? Where did they come from? Sometimes these questions seem unanswerable. Fortunately, nobody can identify a mysterious, unidentifiable object like the internet sleuths of the world. For some of the strangest items people actually found and the story behind them, read on!
Old Mailbox Has "shelf" Where You Put Coins to Buy Postage Stamps
These days, mailboxes aren't nearly as important as they used to be, mostly because our bills and other important mail are pretty much all delivered digitally. However, in the ancient past, twenty or more years ago, mailboxes were the primary method for people to receive bills, personal letters, job offers, and more. Because these devices are becoming archaic, a lot of people don't know the purpose behind the little spoon shelf in old mailboxes.
This little thing provides a spot for the mailbox owners to put coins. These coins were left to pay the mailmen and mailwomen for postal stamps. Rather than go to the postal office and buy them, you could just leave money for the mailman to stamp your outgoing mail.
If You See Someone Holding This Device, They're Probably a Car Thief
When this person posted a photograph from her front door camera's security footage, we all knew that whoever we saw would be up to no good. But we couldn't figure out why the man in the photograph is carrying around what appears to be a massive box and why he is holding it up to the front door. What is he up to? What could the possible purpose be behind the box? Thankfully, some internet users knew the (creepy) answer.
This man is a car thief. The machine in his hands helps scan for keyless car keys. If left near windows or doors, he can scan them and easily get into the car.
Is It a Swing Set or Something Else?
Any parent knows that each playground is different and has different equipment. So when these parents visited a new park and found this odd swing set, they were left confused about why it looked the way it did. Well, it turns out that it's much more than a swing set. This special piece of playground equipment provides a place for kids with limited mobility to climb, explore, or swing since sometimes they can't use the traditional stairs or other playground features.
Who knew that such a random feature could actually have a truly beautiful purpose behind its design? While abled-bodied people might not notice, a child with disabilities certainly would.
This Chain of Balls Is Meant to Measure Balls
The person who shared this next photograph with the internet found the mysterious item in their doctor's office. But somehow, their doctor had no idea what it was for. Then again, maybe they were just embarrassed to say it because, according to the online world, this string of different-sized balls is used to measure the same thing it's made of. That's right: this is a measuring tool used to measure the size of a patient's testicles.
Its official name is an orchidometer. Honestly, we're a little confused that this person's doctor didn't know that... we'd consider changing physicians.
The "Chip" on This Special Fork Was No Accident
Ever noticed how some forks seem to be made differently? For example, this cake fork has one tine that is thicker than the rest and seems to have a chip on its top. But its distinct shape and "chip" was done on purpose. The extra thickness allows for cutting a cake, and its chipped top allows for effective piercing. Before this design, these cake forks were made without a chip, and users found it difficult to stab their piece of cake after cutting off a bite. Hence, the chip was added.
The lesson here is that not all forks are created equal. Some forks were created specifically for cakes and pastries. Those forks are obviously superior.
South Korea's Quarantine Care Packages Included This Little Thing
During the COVID pandemic, some governments gave out little care packages to their citizens, and South Korea was one of those countries that did. But when an expat living in Korea received their care package with this inside, they had no idea what the oddly-shaped item was for. It had spiked sides and holes on either end in the shape of a pentagon. Was it a cool, futuristic eraser? Was there candy inside?
It turns out that this was actually a hand massager. The blunted spikes on its sides access the pressure points within the palm of your hand - how genius!
The Tiniest Porcelain Dining Set We've Ever Seen
Most of us have played with a doll house or have at least seen one in our lifetime. Dollhouses usually come with miniature-sized objects to accompany them. We're talking dining tables, chairs, sofas, and even little artwork. But when you find one of these tiny creations outside the dollhouse, it's not always obvious that that's what it's for. So this person was at a total loss when they came across the little things pictured below, and there was no dollhouse in sight.
Luckily, the internet was able to help. Pictured above is an entire porcelain dining set made in miniature. The details are exquisite and were obviously once the property of a genuinely high-class doll house.
Antique Wine Decanter Includes a Surprise Compartment
If you are anything like us, then you pretend you know much more about wine than you actually do. Whether it is to impress our partners or our friends, we can't help but want people to think we know all about wine and the processes that go into making and consuming it. Therefore, when we saw the photo below, we quickly decided it was a wine holder with one hole to pour the wine inside and a different hole to pour it out. We were wrong.
This is a wine decanter, but the special cork on its side is not for wine. That's the opening to a special compartment where you can put ice to keep the wine cold.
Even Knives Need a Place to Rest
We all have that junk drawer or random box in storage filled with various objects that, if we're honest, we don't actually know what they're for. And the person who posted the photo below is no different. They had a box filled with these little glass items and no clue what they were. Doorknobs? Ornaments? They ultimately took their question to the internet and got an answer: these are knife rests, a piece of kitchenware that has largely fallen out of use.
Honestly, we wouldn't be surprised if these made a comeback. After all, everything else is coming back, so why shouldn't these classy accessories? Imagine how elite your next dinner party would look.
If You Think This Is a Kitchen Tool, Think Again
You know those odd kitchen inventions that people use but you have never discovered the need for in your own kitchen? Things like a taco holder, for example. This family's kitchen had something similar in this miniature cast iron. The family's matriarch claims that it is for pouring hot oil, but the son has never seen a kitchen utensil like this before and has asked the internet for answers. It turns out this device doesn't belong in the kitchen.
This is a cast iron that is made for a foundry. This one, in particular, is used to melt down metal to be formed into bullets. So, not a kitchen utensil.
The Shelf on This Vintage Table Has a Very Specific Purpose
Finding odd furniture at thrift shops or your older relatives' homes can be interesting. This person found this strangely shaped table and couldn't figure out its purpose. Fortunately, the internet quickly informed them that they had an old-style phonebook table on their hands. The oddly shaped object was built specifically to snuggly hold someone's phonebook. With the rise of smartphones, there's hardly a need for this, which explains why few people knew what it was.
But just because phonebooks are out of fashion does not mean that someone couldn't find some use for this piece of furniture. In fact, this person's cat seems quite fond of it.
Apparently, Snail Shell Castings Look Like Corkscrews Once Fossilized
This image shows a curly piece of stone that was discovered at the bottom of a river in Virginia. It appears to be too perfect to have been created by nature. If not man-made, then perhaps its origins are alien. Okay, fine, it's not alien. This odd-appearing stone was once a part of an organic being right on Earth. This is a fossilized piece of a snail casting. So we guess nature is capable of making things all too perfect.
We might try our luck at uncovering fossils. If some random person can find a fossil in a local river, then there is no reason why we can't do the same, right?
When Light Pollution Looks Like a Paranormal Phenomenon
Flying shows you a view that you're never going to get anywhere else. This couple was flying over Canada when they saw some bright yellow-colored clouds and grew curious. The eerie glow probably led their minds down several rabbit holes. For instance, this was somehow connected to aliens or, even worse, some ghostly invasion occurring at night in Canada. This couple decided to ask the internet to get more concrete answers about the clouds' mysterious color.
These oddly orange-colored clouds flying over Kingsville, Canada, were actually not paranormal. This seemingly supernatural occurrence is just the result of the growing lights in a massive greenhouse, AKA this is light pollution.
Perfect for a Baby or Toddler's Bedroom
When a couple with a newborn was gifted this odd device, they were left understandably confused. What could this possibly be? It turns out that this is a door silencer. Wrapping this around a door-locking mechanism allows it to close silently and also prevents it from being locked. This might sound like a great tool for assassins, but that's not its intended market. Its official purpose is to silence nursery room doors and not wake a sleeping baby.
Not only does it make tiptoeing around a sleeping child easier, but it also prevents the danger of a child or baby accidentally getting locked inside a room alone.
Not Your Average Toolbelt
Goodwill and other thrift stores hold some perplexing finds. For example, the mystifying tool belt below. Its design and position seem to indicate that it's meant to hold a specific body part, but thankfully, it's not. This belt is a fisherman's belt and is used to hold the fishing rod when waiting for the fish to bite the bait. Now that we know this, the design suddenly makes a lot of sense.
Although, thinking about someone using this is still funny to us. Just imagine someone standing with this belt on and their fishing rod coming out of it. What do you do in the meantime with your free hands? Eat a sandwich?
People Took Their Card Games Very Seriously Back in the Day
Every house is unique and has specific characteristics that make it that way. This house, for example, has a small little door next to its linen closet. If you're a "Harry Potter" fan, then you would assume that this is a door made for the house elves. Unfortunately, it isn't, which is a disappointment. This little door is a closet designed to hold card tables. Their small-sized entry and extra-long space inside are designed for a card table's exact dimensions.
We can understand why this would be a mystery to someone who wasn't aware of these special storage spaces. However, we still feel that this is a missed opportunity for house elves.
The "Beauty and the Beast" Mask From the 1980s
If you are a fan of Dinsey movies, then you know how special this find is. This person discovered some mask that looked like a man-lion or maybe even a lion-man while thrift shopping and bought it. Little did the new owner of the mask know that the Beast used this in "Beauty and the Beast" during the 1990s. If we were him and the internet told us we'd just bought an old prop from the Disney classic, we'd be freaking out.
Not only have you found yourself a perfect mask for scaring your neighbors, roommates, or family members, but you now are the owner of some old-school theater effects.
Perfect for Anyone Walking Over Frozen Water
If you are an expert in ice fishing, then you probably already know what this unique device is and what it does. However, those uneducated on the practice of ice fishing (like us) might not understand how a jump rope would be useful on an ice fishing expedition. Don't worry; the internet has all the answers. This is actually a paracord that connects two spikes covered with a spring mechanism. And it serves a life-serving purpose.
If you're ever ice fishing or doing anything over frozen bodies of water, you can put this tool under your clothes and pull one end out of each of your sleeves. Then, if the ice below you breaks, you can grab hold of the handles and stab the spikes into the remaining ice, preventing you from completely falling into the freezing cold waters.
When the Fire Retardant and Its Surroundings Don't Get Along
This person discovered white spots all over the back of their television. They were able to clean them off, but they just reappeared after a few weeks passed. The oddest part of this mystery was that these spots didn't appear anywhere else in their house, just on the back of their TV, so that ruled out certain things like mold. But after some investigation (asking the internet), they learned the cause of the white spots: the television's fire retardant reacting with the local environment.
If this happens to you, don't call the fire department; this is perfectly harmless. If the problem were to continue after applying a wet cloth to the spots, then the back of the TV could be replaced.
This One's Perfect for the Bookworms
This one is far from obvious. Sometimes these old devices that have fallen out of use are obvious and present a straightforward solution to a problem, and then there are devices like this. This odd contraption is a wooden handle with strips of fabric on either side that connect to a metal bar. The fabric can be rolled and unrolled. Clueless as to its intention, the owner asked the world to uncover this mystery.
This is an old-style book carrier. The fabric can be unrolled to the needed size and then locked in place to prevent any books from falling out.
Someone Call the Bomb Squad
If you are the proud owner of an older home, you know that unknown stories and objects are probably hidden throughout the walls and floors. This person, while renovating their old home, discovered this odd piece of history. While it might look like some ancient, mud-covered vase, it is actually an artillery round. So if you come across something similar, you should call the local bomb squad to your house.
These types of ammunition are fired from artillery vehicles such as tanks and planes, meaning that whoever found it unknowingly handled an explosive.
A Match Extension Useful for Lighting Candles
The person who posted this kept on finding these metal tools inside the matchboxes they bought every once in a while. They figured it must serve some purpose but had no idea what. Fortunately, the internet had the answer for the exact function of this odd piece of metal. It is a match extension and allows someone to light a candle's wick that might be a bit outside of your area of comfort when handling your average-length match.
This device is one of those that we see everywhere, but no one actually understands its exact function. Too embarrassed to ask anyone, most people will live their entire lives never knowing.
This Little Pendant Is a Portable Sundial
This odd-looking ring is from the 18th century and has a metal slider in its center. The ring is covered with engraved numbers on the inside and outside. To the normal person, this looks odd, but to the Prussian forest monks of the 18th century, this was a must-have. This little device is a sundial and would allow someone to calculate the time of day based on the sun's position in the sky by using the ring's numbers.
Nowadays, we have our phones, and before them, we had massive clocks throughout the cities. However, before that, we had the sundial to tell us the time of day.
Evaporation Ponds by Mineral Mines Look Like Giant Makeup Palettes
Exploring Google Maps is a modern way to explore the world. You can see wonders from across the globe in the comfort of your living room. Occasionally, your exploration might uncover something interesting such as this seemingly massive paint palette in Utah. Maybe this is some secret government experiment or evidence of giants? Sadly, neither are true. These are actually evaporation pods, massive shallow pools of water used to gain access to minerals.
By having the mineral-rich water placed in these shallow pods, the water will gradually evaporate and leave behind the minerals for collection.
These Purple Packets Are Used on Inseminated Sheep
You might wonder what packets of purple dye and inseminated sheep have to do with one another. Unfortunately, the connection is nearly impossible to guess. Fortunately, we have the answer. These purple packets of dye, found on a rural property in Australia, are used to mark the sheep in a herd that has been inseminated. After the sheep are inseminated, the farmers will mark them by tieing these purple packets to the underside of rams.
This assists farmers in avoiding inseminating the same animal twice. The color is likely to assist in assuring that the farmer can see the inseminated sheep from afar.
Someone Found This Mysterious Ancient Axe in Their Home
When this person discovered this object, they had no clue what they had in the palm of their hand. The ancient copper artifact could be easily mistaken for an old paperweight forgotten in some random attic and allowed to rust over the years as the exposed metal underwent oxidation. Its holder had no clue they were likely holding some pre-Columbian artifact that belonged in a museum.
It can make you wonder what artifacts and historical pieces might be hidden in your attic or basement. Who knows? You might just be sitting on a lost fortune.
Something Makes This Sand Different From the Rest
When going to the beach, there are some wonderful and odd finds all around. Forgotten beach equipment that has aged with time, sea shells, alien creatures such as jellyfish, and more. However, while enjoying the beaches of Ecuador, a person discovered this odd, dark sand that reacted with the metal around it. The only explanation that would make sense is that this has to be some alien creature, but the truth is much simpler.
This is Ironsand, sand that has a high concentration of iron. This high concentration changes the sand's color to black and makes it magnetic. So, no, it is not an alien, sadly.
Don't Mess With the Voodoo Doll
Geocaching is an outdoor activity where you can follow GPS coordinates to fun containers worldwide. While participating in this activity, someone discovered this creepy-looking doll made out of a cross wrapped in paper and cloth and tied together with twine. The initial reaction may be that this is bad news, and you wouldn't be too far off the mark there. This turns out to be a voodoo doll from the Haitian religion.
Voodoo dolls are often used in popular media to express bad news. For example, the fictional "Blair Witch" and her use of voodoo dolls to utterly horrify and entrap her victims.
A Persian Hair Accessory From 2,000 Years Ago
Receiving family heirlooms is quite the occasion. You can get something amazing, like a ring passed down from generation to generation, or something less spectacular, like an antique tissue box. This person received this 2,000-year-old Persian heirloom, and since it looks a lot like a modern-day fly swatter, she turned to online forums to figure out what she'd inherited. It turns out the item pictured below is way more unique than a thousand-year-old fly killer.
She inherited a 2,000-year-old Persian hairpin which, in our opinion, should immediately be brought before some specialists for evaluation. This thing looks like it could be in a museum!
Looks Like One of the Factory Worker's Had a Slip
Chocolate kisses have led to many misunderstandings over the years. They have also provided the perfect opportunity for many great puns. However, no matter the circumstances, we are pretty sure no one wants a metal kiss. Therefore, the question must be asked: why did a metal kiss end up in a bag of Candy Cane Kisses? This was likely a mistake and probably is a metal model that somehow ended up in the bag.
Who knows, maybe you could get a lifetime of Kisses by telling the company what happened. Or you could just keep this unique find.
Antique Bread Warmer Right Out of a Fairytale
Some devices that have fallen out of use are seemingly useless due to modern inventions, and others leave us wondering why they haven't stayed in use. This one falls into the earlier category as this odd antique contraption that opens and closes on three sides is actually an old-style bread warmer. With modern-day ovens and heating plates, these contraptions are subpar to their modern equivalents. However, that doesn't mean we don't want one.
Like, this is actually so cool. Imagine showing up at a dinner party with this bread warmer in your hands. It's a great icebreaker and just makes you feel high-class.
This Person Inherited an Antique Tibetan Ornament
Once again, inherited items can be pretty marvelous and sometimes confusing. This person received this object in inheritance, and due to its larger size, they are left wondering if this is some pendant, a wall decoration, or something else entirely. It turns out that this is some Tibetan ornament that can be attached to clothing, so pretty close. Its intricate carvings of mountains and animals show the artifact's Tibetan roots and follow their cultural customs of wearing their wealth.
Hearing about people receiving such items as this in their inheritance makes us wonder why we're born into a family whose inheritance amounted to an old toaster.
We Would've Never Guessed the Purpose Behind This Book
Someone discovered this odd-looking book without a cover and filled with pages of odd symbols. Some of these symbols seem to be in a foreign language, and others appear to be some complex mathematical formula, and there is no clear language present. The appearance of this odd book feels like we just came across the journal of some alien race that is spying on Earth's human population. Unfortunately, we would be very off the mark with this guess.
This is a Handbook of Royal Arch Masonry, a guidebook for officers of the Freemasons. While not aliens, this is the book of an ancient organization, so still cool.
Native American or Nazi Pendant?
This silver bird pendant is a unique find. However, its previous owners remained a mystery to its current owner. The bird symbol and the swastika engraved on its center makes us feel like this is some Nazi artifact. Fortunately, that is not the case for the pendant's new owner. This is the "Whirling Log Fred Harvey Thunderbird" symbol of the Navajo people. It is also a valuable piece of jewelry from the Native American culture.
The swastika is known as an ancient religious symbol that groups utilized across Eurasia, Africa, and the Americas. It wasn't until recently that the Nazis adopted it.
This Old Apartment Mailbox Used a Combination Lock
This mailbox appears to have some complex meaning behind its simple function, as shown by the letters inscribed around its locking mechanism. Perhaps, this is a secret message meant for the mailbox's owner and will lead us on a grand journey throughout the apartment building. Or it is just an old mailbox that used to be locked with a combination but was later retrofitted to be unlocked with a key.
Sadly, the case would appear to be that of the latter hypothesis. It does seem odd that a combination lock would use letters rather than numbers, and perhaps there is more to it.
This Highlighter Grew Crystals Because of a Very Simple Reason
Ever had a highlighter or a crayon start to form crystals? Us either. However, this phenomenon is entirely natural and can happen to anyone. This crystallization occurs when your highlighter or crayon is moved into varying temperatures over weeks or months. This change in temperature causes the oils in the highlighter or crayon to destabilize. This results in oils separating and then the formation of crystals. Unfortunately, it also means your highlighter is now garbage.
It turns out this is also a great science fair idea. Too old for science fair projects, you say? You're wrong because you're never too old for a science fair.
Ancient Artifact or Boy Scout Project?
While turning over their garden in the Appalachian mountains, this person came across this odd-looking knife buried in the ground. Naturally, your first assumption should be that this is a buried murder weapon. Unfortunately, your initial assumption is wrong. Rather this is a knapped flint knife that has been sharpened; therefore, it is not a very strong blade. Likely, this was crafted by a boy scout or a survival class student during a wilderness session.
Perhaps, we've been reading too many murder mysteries, which was the cause for our assumption that this was a buried murder weapon. The fact is that a flint knife wouldn't work.
This Clothes Pin Is Thousands of Years Old
While transversing the globe, it is important to take a second and remember the lands we walk on. These lands are often filled with history, from ancient cities to historical battles. Since the world is filled with lands that have thousands of years of history, we sometimes forget, and it takes finding something to remember this fact. Take this iron object found in the Midlands of the UK. Seemingly insignificant, these are iron-age cloak pins.
Sometime between 1200 BCE and 600 BCE, someone lost the pin to their cloak, and thousands of years later, it was rediscovered by someone in the modern-day UK.
Open Pipe and Horrible Smells Are Bad News
This person posted the photo below on behalf of his girlfriend. She lived on the basement level of an apartment complex, and one day, her nose came under assault by a stomach-retching smell. After some inspection, she realized the source of the smell was this open pipe that seemed to be busted open. Perplexed, she sent a photo to her boyfriend, who posted it online. And they got some very concerning responses.
This is likely a sewer pipe that has busted open or a cleaned-up drain with a broken cap. Either way, it was potentially hazardous and needed attending immediately. Those kinds of fumes are toxic to everyone.
Mysterious Tunnel Found in Pennsylvania Home
In the basement of a Pennsylvanian rowhouse, there is a tunnel. This tunnel seemingly goes nowhere as it immediately turns dark after the entrance, and there is no end in sight. Our human instinct for survival is to go nowhere near this tunnel because if there is a gate to Hell on Earth, then this has to be it. Fortunately, it is not a gate to Hell but a tunnel used for coal delivery.
This tunnel is incredibly creepy, and we would understand why you would not want to venture down there even if you now know it's just for coal delivery.