“My friend found this scaffold-like structure on a trip. There was a paintball/airsoft field nearby, but I’m confused about the purpose of this. Located in Czechia, Europe.”
A: "It’s a 3D maze. Used in kid’s camps or other outdoor activity clubs (like Paintball, Airsoft, Trekking, etc.) In a paintball setting, it could be used to hold a flag or another capturable objective."
“What is this X-shape on the wall, often seen around old farms/barns/stables?”
A: "It’s the anchor plate of a “tie” — a big steel rod that stops the walls from bowing outward. Often added to older buildings, to help keep them together."
“It is not a pen, the tip is sharp metal and doesn’t write. No place for ink or graphite or anything. All one cohesive piece with a plastic cap. What is it for?”
A: "It’s a scriber. They’re used to make lines or marks on metal, wood, or a number of other materials."
“This old hand tool my father found”
A: "Appears to be a bladed ice chipper."
“These came with a pool table I bought from someone, he said it was some kind of game but had no idea how to play it or what it was called.”
A: "This game is called “Kelly pool.” Everyone takes a number and if your numbered ball gets sunk, you’re out. Last person standing wins."
“I started to peel and separate this orange into segments when I found this inside. Its ridges were growing between the orange segments where the pith would normally be.”
A: "Sometimes navel oranges can have a second orange growing inside the first one. This looks to be what happened here, but the second orange died and began to decompose."
“Found this sewn into the hem of a pillowcase in a hotel. Why is it there?”
A: "It’s an RFID for identifying the owning hotel at the industrial laundry place."
“Are my parents’ neighbors engaging in psychological warfare? This is attached to a dolly pointed toward their yard and sounds a very loud alarm twice a day for 10 minutes.”
A: "Looks to be a vibrating horn. The datasheet states an output of 103dB. These types of horns are usually used in an individual setting where ambient noise is high. This is how this horn sounds."
“Small plastic figurines found buried in the backyard”
A: "Hasbro produced a Monopoly mini-game in 2009 called Monopoly: Get Out Of Jail. It looks like these were the game pieces used."
“My parents have had this hanging on the wall for years, it’s like a French-to-English abacus.”
A: "This is a board that teachers hang in a classroom for learning English vocabulary/grammar."
“Some kind of metal faucet looking device in the bathroom of union hall in Lewiston, ID”
A: "It’s an old ashtray. Push the button for it to empty into the container below it."
“What is this thing in a lake in Ohio? Drains into a big pipe at the bottom of a hill.”
A: "It’s an overflow — the most important safety feature of the reservoir. Without a designated spill point (overflow), if the reservoir overflows, it will happen in an uncontrollable way, with the potential to undermine the foundations of the dam, resulting in the collapse of the dam."
“My dentist gave this to me after a checkup. How do I use... whatever this is?”
A: "You put it on the end of your toothpaste tube and slowly move it up the tube to squeeze the toothpaste out."
“Found on the shoreline of a beach in the Scottish Isles. They were scattered, not in one area. Feel like glass, one clear and the rest black.”
A: "The black ones are carbon rods from batteries. The clear one is a part of a broken thermometer."
“Wife found a jar of what looks like glass plugs.”
A: "They are glass bottle stoppers. They helped seal bottles before screw caps were invented."
“It looks like an old telephone but it has no speaker or way to plug something else in besides the plug attached.”
A: "It is an old-school number pad used for faxing/dial-up on old-school computer systems."
“Found this thing on the street ~2 years ago. The red light was glowing brightly for about 5 days and then dimly for almost 3 weeks before fully going out.”
A: "This is a bike backlight."
“A piece of metal 3-4 inches wide, with glass balls.”
A: "It’s an old reflector that could be used at railways."
“I’ve had this for like 15 years. I used to use while playing soldier as a kid. No idea what it is.”
A: "These devices were used in operation Igloo White, this particular piece appears to be either an Air Delivered Seismic Intrusion Detector or an Acoustic and Seismic Intrusion Detector. The camouflage paint leftover is original, as the whole point of these devices was to listen and not be found by the enemy."
“What are these square patches for on ‘military’ or ‘tactical’ clothing items I see, like this military sweater?”
A: "Generally, those were put on in high wear and tear areas. The shoulder ones were for the bag straps, and elbows are pretty obvious wear and tear spots."
"Found this hidden in the ceiling of my basement with a bunch of others. Made out of glass, appears to have some sort of tape or paper border around it. hining a light through it doesn’t project a clean image."
A: "Magic Lantern glass slide"
What are these brightly coloured string-like things that were washed up on an Australian beach?
A: "Sea hare eggs"
"Priority mail addressed to my wife at our exact address from Romania. Everything is written in Romanian and the letters GT is written on it. We dont even know anyone outside the United States. Syringe is empty."
A: "This is sort of like the way you would package mushroom spores. Golden teacher aka GT is a popular strain of psychedelics"
"It was my new-age moms in the 80’s."
A: "My Mother took me to a quack homeopathic doctor, and she actually used this on me. The patient holds the brass handle, and the “Doctor” places a small glass jar with some sort of food or other thing on the pad. The “Doctor” then will then use the other probe and touch the bottom of your bare foot. And somehow they can tell if you are allergic to whatever is on the pad with a reading on the meter."
"Found this amongst some charms in a vintange jewelry lot I got."
A: "It’s a Masonic Square and Compass! You’re supposed to spin it really fast and you can see it"
"What is this Scanner that a Rooftop Cop had at a Protest? Seemed to be shining a green laser at certain people in the crowd."
A: "Picking out specific targets for ground police. It’s easier to track an individual through a crowd from above. This may be because they are armed, or something else that makes them high priority. Snipers are out of the question, firing into a fast moving mass of people would only end badly."
"What is this thing on this serial killers head while he was in court?"
A: "He’s partially deaf. It’s basically a giant hearing aid (sound amplifier headphones)."
"What is this thing? It perfectly fits in each other and there was some sort of liquid in it"
A: "It’s a herb grinder (mostly for weed)."
"Heavy metal cubes on the end of chain with different shapes on each side of the cubes. AA battery for scale"
A: "Han Solo’s lucky dice"
"Small hard ‘pellet’ found inside a cooked King Crab leg, roughly the size of a pea"
A: "Crab pearl"
"My great grandpa, an Iowa native and WW2 veteran, passed away and left behind this tool or decorative piece. It is solid metal, has no markings, and weighs a few ounces. Screwdriver is for scale."
A: "I think your grandfather might have known someone in the Navy. Those are used in a ceremony when crossing over the equator. So I think your grandfather is what you refer to as a shellback. That is someone who’s been over the equator."
"My girlfriend lives in a basement apartment and in the closet under a false floor there’s this pipe in the ground. Smells terrible like sewage. Any idea what it is and how to fix it?"
A: "It appears to be an old broken drain, or more likely, a cleanout with a broken cover. That needs to be capped ASAP. Sewer gasses are a noxious health hazard. Note, tape and plastic are not an acceptable cap."
"What is the purpose of the “chip” in the one prong of this fork? At first, I though it actually was just a chip, but turns out its on multiple forks in my drawer. Any ideas?"
A: "They make one tine wider for cutting stuff, but the wider one wouldn’t stab as well as the others, so the gave it a clipped point."
"Arrived in the post for me. Small glass tubes with 2 tiny ball bearings in them. No idea and not something I’ve ordered."
A: "I believe those are rattles that you can put inside of fishing lures so they make noise to attract fish"
"Found buried in backyard in Austin. Very smooth glass"
A: "It is most likely a lump of epoxy resin of some description. Possibly used in construction, the leftover unused “slag” thrown away."
"Inherited this ornate large… Pendant? Wall decoration?"
A: "I have seen similar pendents back home in Nepal being worn by Sherpa people during the festival of Losar. Those typically are large, ornate and are suspended on a bead necklace. They also sell a lot of similar pendents in the antique and jewelry markets of Thamel in Kathmandu. One thing that stands out is the lavender jade because almost always, the nepali pendents (at least the common ones in display) are made using green jade."
"Cups on lanyard found on Lake MI beach (glasses for scale – didn’t have a banana)"
A: "Kayak plugs. Keeps water from entering holes intentionally built within the boat."
"Data logger I found in the parking lot"
A: "ROI used to make RFID inventory tracking products, so it’s probably from one of those."
"Brass metal cup with straight handles, no holes – so not a strainer"
A: "It is a specific type of jigger (for measuring alcohol) called a tipping measure."