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30 Times People Asked The Internet “What Is This Thing?” This Year And The Internet Delivered

One of the more interesting corners of the internet is a place appropriately called “What Is This Thing?” where folks go when they need help identifying weird objects.

Whether they dug up a septic tank in their backyard or if they found a microchip in their food. Here are some of the most interesting items people needed help identifying in 2022:

1. Ornate brass vase with a weird mechanism in the base.

via reddit

More information from OP:

Hello all, I got this brass (?) vase from a friend the other day, who got it from a yard sale. The longer I’ve looked at it, the weirder it seems to me. Another friend suggested I make a Reddit account and post it here, so here I am.

I’m an amateur vase collector, so I have a few other metal vases to compare this one to. Looking at other ones, I’m fairly sure the designs were done by hand, but I’m getting thrown off by the fact that the base is perfectly flat. It looks like the surface was machined. The designs themselves remind me of Buddhist art I looked at in community college art class, but I’m hardly an expert in that area. Maybe they’re a hint as to where this came from?

The weirdest features are in the base; inside the vase, there’s a big nub with a divot in it. It looks like something meant to hold a candlestick, but it’s very narrow. On the flat bottom, there [are] inscriptions every 90 degrees, but none of them make any sense to me:

North: 143

East: 131

South: 76MM b-1

West: 16/52r

They look like they weren’t stamped by hand, but by machine; the typesetting is perfectly uniform. There’s also this odd mechanism in the dead center of the base that looks like it’s supposed to lock into something, but I’m stumped as to what it could be.

Answered by u/IndependentPlum8794:

That is a vase made out of an artillery shell.

Answered by u/nolodie:

Likely from a Yugoslav Mountain Gun 76mm M48, which is post-WW2 artillery.

The letters on the bottom are Cyrillic, possibly Serbian or Russian. The characters after “76mm” translates to “B-1,” which is the primary variant of the M48.

The charge at the bottom is manufactured by Unis Group in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is the TK M71. The shell therefore could have been manufactured for the M48 B1A5, by the same manufacturer.

How the shell got transformed into a vase with a motif of Shiva is a mystery. However, there are a number of M48 in service in India.

2. What is this thing? Found these small circular things sewn into the ruffles of a vintage 1970s dress while I was cleaning it. They are a little smaller than a clove and are different colors. They are hard.

via reddit

Answered by u/johnnydecameron:

Corn. Traditionally sewn into the wedding dress for good luck and fertility!

3. This wooden chair has a spike in the middle. It’s normal sized and I’m afraid to touch it. It’s tucked in the closet of a condo in the western US. Any ideas?

via reddit

Answered by u/The_Nightman_82:

It’s like a Judas chair but really scaled down.

Answered by u/EightEight16:

I second this.

One of the most brutal torture methods ever created. Normally you would be suspended above a much larger one and lowered until you were on top of it and kept there until you died, but this looks a lot easier to store and use.

I wonder why [it’s] there. And if it was used, on whom, and why?

Answered by u/2Pro2Know:

Definitely this.

I’m having a hard time finding a version that uses a chair like this, but the principle would be the same.

Here’s the Wiki article on them [if] anyone is interested.

These things date back a long time – no doubt it would be of some worth to someone interested in medieval technology. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find a local museum or university that would take it off your hands for a display. Even if this one is more recently homemade.

Question by u/rosconotorigina:

Is there some kind of mechanism below to make the spike come up and down? How is it activated?

Information from OP u/Smoking_Gnarl:

I’m not sure how it’s activated, but there appears to be some sort of contraption…

Answered by u/captain_crowfood:

A lot of people collect stuff like this. Anything odd or macabre brings a pretty penny in certain circles.

Comment from OP u/Smoking_Gnarl:

Where would I find these people? I want it out!

4. Relative found these eggs in her yard in Georgia, hanging from a tree.

via reddit

Solved by u/CWreck:

I’m betting a bird of prey caught itself a pregnant snake and had started tearing into it but flew off with the rest of the snake, and this uterine tube fell out due to the weight of the eggs.

Posted by u/LillyPip:

How on earth did you figure that out in four minutes? This sub is astounding.

Answered by u/CWreck:

Sorry for the long delay in replying, I was getting my talons done.

All jokes aside, I grew up in the country, still live in the country. You see, hear, and experience all kinds of things that many people would never have the chance to experience. Sometimes, it comes in handy. Ha!

Posted by a Redditor:

Could the eggs still hatch?

Answered by u/CWreck:

I highly doubt it considering they were still inside the animal, and [it] looks like they were laying out in the elements, too.

5. Came home to find this device attached to my front door covering the key lock. What is it and what should I do? Is it safe to open? Who would have installed it?

via reddit

Answered by u/abrams666:

It could be an electric lock picker; burglar may be disturbed and needed to flee.

Answered by u/The-Felonious_Monk:

Call the police, NOW.

Answered by u/thsvnlwn:

Yes, you should call the police, because someone is locking you out of your own house.

Note from OP u/soupywarrior:

We’ve removed the device. It’s an anti-lock device to pull out or detach locks so it was an attempted burglary. Thankfully they weren’t able to enter. The police will attend in the morning…

6. Covert sticker on my mailbox keyhole every month?

via reddit

Answered by u/Astrobelter:

100% thieves monitoring who is home and not home.

Answered by u/divertss:

Every time you see them, remove them all. Warn the neighbors.

Answered by u/mseuro:

Leave a note above the mailboxes for the neighbors and whoever’s casing. They’ll move on.

Answered by u/IAmMarwood:

Came here to say this.

Warn all the neighbors, then leave a big clear sign saying, “We have spotted tampering with the mailboxes and are monitoring the area”… Hopefully they’ll move on.

7. Went fishing and snagged this monster instead. What is this?

via reddit

From Redditor u/PaterPoempel:

Some kind of bristle worm. As there are more than 10,000 species in this class, we would need the location of your find for further identification.

Posted by a Redditor:

Bristle worm; don’t let the bristles touch your skin!

8. Small metal object found in a parking lot, weighs less than a pound and rattles just a little

via reddit

Answered by u/MrDorkESQ:

It kinda reminds me of one of these:


Put it down, call the authorities…

Answered by u/MeatPopsicle1969:

Yes, it is some sort of cluster submunition. Unless you know where it came from, treat it like it is explosive.

Update from the OP:

I reported it to the appropriate authority and they took it. I don’t have any more updates right now [other] than that I didn’t die!

Additional info: It was found in California, USA.

9. Found in a hotel room.

via reddit

Additional information from OP:

Anyone can help us decode this? Looks like Morse code? Found inside our hotel inside a weird book in a drawer.

Answered by u/spacecadet43:

Morse code.


Answered by u/moe-hong:

SOLVED! It’s the lyrics to the Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil,” written in Morse code.

Answered by u/DonGold60:

Mick rolled.

10. What’s growing in my apartment?

via reddit

Answered by u/Brave-Flight-7178:

You need to call your landlord. That will make you sick.

Answered by u/lahlahs-lands:

Do not touch that.

Years ago when my daughter was a newborn, [an] upstairs apartment also had a newborn and they were constantly sick. Long story short, the upstairs baby boy passed away from a toxic mold [just like that which grew in the vents.] The coroner said if a healthy bodybuilder huge man touched a piece of that mold it’s 9/10 fatal.

Please don’t touch that. Get out ASAP and all pets as well. Get next to an air purifier and seriously go breathe in some steam with lemon and ginger and aloe. Whatever citrus, any healthy herbs please. Clean your lungs somehow.

Make an appointment with your doctor please.

This is not good at all. Not even a little bit.

11. What is this animal? I found it on a wall and it looks like it’s 2-3” long and is upside down. It thought it may be a bat but I’m not sure.

via reddit

Answered by u/ms_boogie:

Definitely a bat!! Their little wings aren’t like dragon wings, they’re not so thick that they can’t be tucked in underneath them like this, AND bats do have the ability to hang off of brick walls like this, I see it all the time.

As I stated in another comment, bats have special toe tendons that kind of lock in place while they’re roosting, and it takes no energy to hang in place, unlike monkeys where a grip needs to be held. It only takes energy to disengage!

12. What is this thing I found in my shower that literally appeared within 24 hours?

via reddit

Answered by u/Roscoe_cracks_corn:

Sh*t, dude, it’s a fungus room. You’ve got a serious problem going on on the other side of that ceiling. Once it’s produced a nice big fruit like that, it’s been going on for a while. Yeesh! Sorry to see it!

Do you rent or own? Rent: Get out and call your landlord. Own: Get someone out there to assess the situation ASAP and don’t use that shower. Don’t use that bathroom. You could have some serious mold/fungal spores in the air that could be a danger to your health. Better safe than sorry.

13. A strange door in a cave on a beach in Okinawa. Any ideas?

via reddit

Answered by u/therightreverendpiff:

It is a war grave.

On Okinawa, thousands of Japanese soldiers and civilians [took their own lives] by jumping from cliffs onto the rocky beach below. Beginning in the mid 1960s, authorities began interring the bones in natural and man-made caves at the base of the cliffs, where the piles of bones had lain since spring 1945.

Entrances were sealed up with rocks as above, with an access plate able to be opened as more bones turned up.

Source: I’ve been there prior to the majority of the bones being sealed.

This site tells some of the stories with some somber pictures.

14. My neighbors shared an unsettling video of a woman holding this device up to their ring doorbell. She walked up, held it directly in front of the camera while it made a clicking/buzzing noise, and then left quickly. Any ideas of what it might be or if we should be worried?

via reddit

Answered by u/Sleep_on_Fire:

It’s a frequency scanner. Often used by car thieves.

People have a bad habit of keeping their vehicle keys close to their front doors.

These can read the codes from that distance and enable thieves to get into your vehicle, disable the security features in the process, and drive away with your car. Especially if the vehicle doesn’t require a physical key to be in the ignition.

Note the cars parked on the curb. Prime target for a fob clone theft.

Answered by u/the_ultimate_pun:

They’re hoping you keep your keys right by the door on hooks.

15. My girlfriend found these in her dinner. Are they seeds?

via reddit

Additional info from OP:

We had mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, and kale with dinner, so is it possible that they’re part of those?

Answered by u/Deerwhacker:

With a side order of Harlequin bug eggs.

16. I found this on the beach today during a low tide. I live in Seattle and we were on the shores of Elliot Bay which connects to the Pacific. It’s very thick and hollow. Possibly a tooth?

via reddit

Answered by u/drowninginidiots:

Broken whale tooth.

Note from the OP u/Afoxnamedrhi:

I was thinking maybe an orca whale? I’m not sure of what other sea life we have that would produce such a large tooth! Thank you!

Words of wisdom from u/raineykatz:

Just a friendly FYI: Be careful who you show that to and never try to sell it. Orcas and other whales are endangered and protected in the US and possession of their parts without proper permitting is illegal.

17. Found in a jar filled with vinegar buried in a parking lot. What does this say?

via reddit

Additional information from the OP u/gaffnaked:

I was geocaching with my girlfriend when we came upon a jar buried perfectly upright (this is almost certainly not the geocache). The top was level with the ground. The jar was filled with white vinegar, and this piece of paper was inside.

I think it might be Russian, but I have no idea what it says. Also, is there any reason someone would submerge in vinegar?

Answered by u/Communist-Lemon777:

Says a bunch of random things you would call someone in Russian. My guess is that someone broke up with another person and that person was so sad, they wrote all the bad things about that other person and put it in a vinegar-filled jar out of rage.

Answered by u/catarakta:

Translation from the start: “An enemy, lying friend, ill-wisher, consumer (LOL), toxic person, something hard to read, enemy (in different variation), sworn enemy, jealous, offender, enemy (again, Russian is [a] very rich language for synonyms), persecutor, mudslinger (actually Google translation, [that] just means somebody with unreasonable anger towards someone), gossiper, villain.”

A lot of the words [are] on [a] high-literary, old-fashioned level. I guess the [person] who wrote this has a very broad vocabulary.

Update from the OP u/gaffnaked:

Lot’s of you asked that we put it back… We replaced the note and the jar as we found them immediately after taking this picture. Thanks for all the insight and translations. Super weird discovery.

18. Any idea what someone left at my house party? Small green ridged brick, with a hole in the middle, crumbles when I scratch it.

via reddit

Note from the OP:

My title describes the thing. I’ve googled many variations of “small green brick.” I thought it might be a dog treat, but it has no discernible smell.

Answered by u/Woohoo451:

That looks like rat/rodent poison. Definitely not a dog treat.

Answered by u/Mackin-N-Cheese:

It’s a brick of rat/rodent poison.

19. Oxycodone bottle found in the woods with electronics inside.

via reddit

Answered by u/brazzybraz2102:

Appears to be a “bait bottle” used to track down pharmacy thieves.

Update from OP u/Buck_Thorn:

I just got back from taking it down to the cop shop. Seems I found evidence for a pending case against a local teacher who is implicated in three pharmacy robberies around here. Seems she lives right in the area where I found it. They seemed quite happy that I brought it in. Today, I’m a hero.

20. Found this in my coat pocket today. I’d really like to find out what it is.

via reddit

Answered by Redditor u/SpiritualPrize:

TileRec voice-activated digital voice recorder. Not 100% sure but it sure is a close match.

Answered by Redditor u/Ya-Dikobraz:

So someone slipped a voice recorder into your coat. Does that mean someone’s spying on you?

Answered by Redditor u/kkeennmm:

Don’t say anything about it and monitor who later goes to your coat.

21. What in the absolute f*** is ON MY CAR.

via reddit

Answered by u/sal9002:

A spiny oak-slug caterpillar covered in eggs from a parasitic Braconid wasp.

Answered by u/seaurchineyebutthole:

They’re actually cocoons. The wasp lays her eggs just under the skin of the caterpillar. When they hatch, the larvae eat their way through the body and eventually through the skin, where they spin these cocoons and pupate.

22. Ukraine National Police posted an image of this strangely textured object, they call it “dangerous to health and even life”… but what is it?

via reddit

Answered by u/Acidhousewife:

Butterfly mines.

From Redditor u/ecodrew:

That’s horrific. If I saw one, I might pick it up thinking it’s a piece of trash or plumbing pipe (to say nothing of kids thinking it’s a toy). All mines are horrible, but these are especially insidious and evil.

23. What is this hand-painted wooden object with lots of clips and a mirror? Seems like a Rube Goldberg Machine-esque situation

via reddit

Answered by u/alek_sandr:

This is a snuff canon… If you Google it, you’ll find it is a novelty object for rocketing snuff up your nose. My friend is German and had one at her house, originally bought in Berlin. The mirror is so you can line up the tray to your nose.

24. What is this red leather devil figure, found in a wooden box in an attic?

via reddit

Solved by u/doctoroffisticuffs:

It’s called a Jenny Haniver. They’re dried skates or rays modified to look like monsters.


“Turns out one of the weirder ways skates and rays have been used by people is as curiosities. These cartilaginous fish, related to sharks, were flipped over and “shaped” into gruesome likenesses of imagined sea devils or maybe evil-looking mermaids. After being dried out and shellacked they were sold in port cities and seaside towns as far back as the 16th century. The origins of the name are obscure, but some articles reference jeune fille d’Anvers which translates as girl from Antwerp.

Intentionally fishing and drying out sea creatures as tourist trinkets, whether sea stars, sea horses or Jenny Hanivers, has fortunately fallen out of fashion. But beach combing is still a great way to come upon all sorts of interesting bits and pieces brought in on the tide and tossed ashore by a wave to dry in the sun.”

25. What are these metal things on the corner of these stairs and what is their purpose?

via reddit

Solved by u/jackrats:

Corner dust guards. They make it easier to sweep dust out of the corners.

26. Second time I found this small crumbly disk in my garden (UK). Potentially thrown over from the neighbors?

via reddit

Answered by u/Kazgul:

Your neighbor is trying to kill your dog. Take photos, write down dates and times, and call the police.

Additional info:

I would agree with this- looks like water-bloated rat bait. If they have a dog that barks and has found multiple times, his neighbors are arseholes.


27. What is this green thing that came out from a packet of Haribo gummy bears?

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Answered by u/sarakir:

It’s a different kind of gummy, in France we call that “sucette”


28. Burying our dog in the backyard who passed today at 16 and came across this underground wall

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Answered by u/SameSoupReheated:

My guess is an old septic tank

Solved by u/oddmanout:

Nah. It’s got holes in it that’s a drywell. That thing fills up when it rains so the yard doesn’t flood.

29. Hotel room bed leg has red flashing light coming from the rubber piece…

via reddit

Answered by u/Asklisk:

There’s a YouTube video that says it’s a mesh bed bug detector. Video calls it Wirepas.

30. Small elephant filled with water left at flat after party. Debating with flatmates over what its purpose could be.

via reddit

Answered by u/xptx:

It’s a melted reusable ice cube

u/belltrina added:

Reusable ice cube for drinks you want cold but not watered down. Eg. Scotch on the rocks. But scotch on the elephants