What Is This Thing? The Internet Solves Odd Mysteries


Miracle Eye?

Reddit user u/blkdev posted, “Switch on the back of an old clock labelled “Miracle Eye”. What is this?”

ANSWER: Well, as it turns out – it’s a sensor that depicts light or dark. And if this is toggled ‘on’, then it will not chime or ring an alarm unless there is light sensed. AKA – a tool designed to not wake people up at 3AM. Pretty cool. NEXT: You’ve seen it a million times…but what is it for?

Escalation Clause

Reddit user u/kristhecadet said, “What is this thing that you always see on an escalator?” And he/she raises a good question – we always see this thing, but what’s it actually for?

ANSWER: There is a small gap under these bristles and it is a danger area for shopping bags, pants, children’s hands, etc. so although many of us use this as a makeshift shoe shine – it’s actually a protection device. NEXT: What could you buy with this?

Dolla Dolla Bills, Y’all

Reddit user r/mfyunker posted, “Got this $2 bill in a tip jar a few years ago, just found when moving. Does anyone know anything about why it’s so decorated?

ANSWER: From the creator, Danbury Mint: “Each eye-catching enhanced $2 bill is genuine U.S. legal tender – but these breathtaking works of art cannot be found at any bank – not even the Federal Reserve! Each note is privately colorized to become a full-color, heirloom-quality work of art.” But note – one of these costs about $25. So it’s up to you to decide if this is a good investment or not. NEXT: What in the world is in that bag?

Rattle Snakes

Reddit user r/ xCLINTx22 posted, “Arrived in the post for me. Small glass tubes with 2 tiny ball bearings in them. No idea and not something I’ve ordered.” So what in the world are these things?

ANSWER: They’re for fishing! These small metal balls inside the glass tubes are rattles that you can put inside of fishing lures so they make noise to attract fish. Who knew? NEXT: Safety is important, but who needs that many locks?

Locking Mechanism

A reddit user posted, “This is a on gate blocking road access to some cell towers. Why so many locks, and how would someone even open it?”

ANSWER: You can open the gate by unlocking only one padlock. The way it’s designed means that multiple people can use the gate, and if one person loses their keys, only their padlock needs replaced. As opposed to one padlock with many keys, you’d need to give tons of people the new key. NEXT: The weirdest shower knobs you’ve ever seen?

Hot & Cold

One reddit user posted, “Found this in my bathroom in Germany…” while he was on a trip. It was something he’d never seen before. What are those things?

ANSWER: cold water and hot water meters. Expanding on that, the knobs are probably the main shut offs for the apartment/hotel the user was in. It’s entirely possible that you’re billed for usage of each hot and cold water from the building’s common system based on these meters. Pretty efficient, and fair. NEXT: What’s that, doing there?

A Sink for Ants

An unusually shaped sink possibly in a corridoor, spotted in a property listing on an older house. Looks quite narrow, probably too small for washing boots??

ANSWER: It’s called a butlers sink, or cleaners sink. It’s used for cleaning, filling buckets, emptying out waste so housekeeping can wash down surfaces without wandering through the house. Pretty efficient, huh? Rich people problems. NEXT: The wildest cloud formation we’ve ever seen.

Houston, Do We Have A Problem?

A Reddit user in Florida said, “This was taken this morning. It’s a very odd shaped cloud, or maybe even vapor trail. I’m guessing it’s illuminated by the approaching sunrise. This is from Clearwater, Florida, facing east. Google lens said maybe a rocket launch?”

ANSWER: Definitely a rocket launch aftermath. Confirmed. NEXT: What’s that doing around the entire truck?

One Heck of a Roll Cage

Why does this truck have a giant frame around it?

ANSWER: To haul building materials like sheetrock or lumber, without putting undue strain on the vehicle itself. A smart solution to a common problem. NEXT: Is that from the Colonia Era…and what is it?

A Walk Through The Woods

Someone found this round metal object on the grounds of a Colonial-era house near New England, and they have no idea what it is.

ANSWER: A gravity fed mill. Think: similar to a modern burr coffee grinder. So it was probably for anything like corn, oats, etc. NEXT: This man is on trial, with what on his head?

The Justice Department is so Accessible

A Reddit user posted, “What is this thing on this alleged serial killer’s head while he was in court?”

ANSWER: It’s so he can hear his own trial, a right guaranteed to him by the Constitution. He’s partially deaf. It’s basically a giant hearing aid (sound amplifier headphones). NEXT: Please don’t touch that.

Live Action

What is this thing we found while renovating? The person who found it said, “we havent touched it since my dad thinks it’s an explosive from WWII. It’s about 10″ long.”

ANSWER: EOD confirmed that it’s a mortar round! They did not use chemical weapons in WWII so the filler is likely high explosive but could be WP or Illum. Dangerous, so good thing they didn’t mess with it. NEXT: It’s leaking!

Drip, Drip

This photo was taken in a forest in Sweden, about three feet off the ground. This item is roughly the size of a softball Hard to the touch, but drips liquid when knocked. What is it?

ANSWER: a polypore fungus that is exuding excess moisture, called guttation. Obviously, you knew that though right? NEXT: The neighbors are just trying to be rude at this point.

Psy Ops

A reddit user posted, “Are my parents neighbours engaging in psychological warfare? This is attached to a dolly pointed in their yard and sounds a very loud alarm twice a day for 10 minutes. What is it?”

ANSWER: One popular answer was, “Looks to be a vibrating horn (maybe 874 series) made by Edwards signaling. Data sheet states an output of 103dB. These type of horns are usually used in an individual setting where ambient noise is high. I would guess the neighbor has hooked it up to cause a disturbance or just to be a general nuisance. How nice. NEXT: That’s not the kind of kiss we were expecting.

Kisses, Please

Someone found this solid metal “kiss” that was in a bag of candy cane kisses. Is it part of the machinery?

ANSWER: Definitely not a part of the machine. Since it is the same size and shape, we’re thinking it’s a QA “guage” to help operators verify shape and portion size at a glance. NEXT: The weirdest chair we’ve ever seen. What about you?

Skis Doubling As A Chair?

A Reddit user said, “Ok, I know it’s a chair, but what’s with the extended arms?”

ANSWER: Plantation Chair. You’d put your sore swollen legs up on the arms after sitting on a horse all day, like a pregnant woman with her legs up in the same fashion. This is why the back is so sloped as well. In a reclined position it’s good for blood flow and air flow. NEXT: Something from an ancient civilization.

Ancient Times

Reddit user r/CloudiaNYT said, “My grandfather told us to NOT remove this when renovating.” So….why not?

ANSWER: It’s an Aztec Calendar! Probably an ancient artifact and possible even wildly rare and expensive. NEXT: A time capsule


This medal was found in a grandparent’s old belongings. Written on the back is “The Great War for Civilisation”. What was this used for?

ANSWER: It was something of a dog tag. If you look on the rim it will tell you about the soldier. Really precious and personal item – especially since it might be about someone that person was related to! NEXT: This was mailed in from China…

Rose of Jericho

A Reddit user posted, “I got a bag containing 6 of these from China. I have no idea why! What are they?”

ANSWER: Rose of Jericho plant! This is a common Chinese “cold-call” business tactic called a “brushing tactic.” Basically, they mail you something and then come back weeks later demanding that you owe them money. If this happens to you, you don’t owe anyone a dime! NEXT: Funky looking blocks look like they are straight out of Indiana Jones.

Someone said, “These lead blocks were found in a UK river. 125g each. Can anyone positively identify them?”

ANSWER: These are lead ingots. They’re numerals of the Devanagari script from India, used in some of the middle and new Indo-Aryan languages. India has 22 official languages and a lot of them have their own script.