15+ Curious Finds Whose True Purposes May Surprise and Amuse You

2 years ago

Finding an unusual object is like stumbling upon a mysterious treasure. These items usually have unfamiliar shapes or strange designs, which makes it difficult to understand what their true purposes are. Luckily, some Internet users came to the rescue and helped identify the “what” and “why” behind these curious things.

Now I’ve Seen Everything found 18 bizarre objects, which, surprisingly, have interesting functions and histories.

1. “What is this velvet sack full of small, gold, metallic plates with a frosted texture?”

Answer: They are replica coins from the original (1970s) Battlestar Galactica. The characters wagered on space poker with these coins (“cubits”) on the show.

2. “Too small for the neck, too floppy for the wrist, no marking or branding...how on Earth do you wear this thing? Is it missing a piece?”

Answer: The strap goes around the wrist, and the ring goes on the middle finger. The style goes by the names, “Hath Panja bracelet,” the “belly dancer bracelet,” “harem bracelet,” and “hand flower.” It doesn’t have a specific origin since it gets re-used all throughout history and re-emerges in popularity with different names.

3. “What is the hollow part of this for? Never seen anything like it before. Cat is for size reference.”

Answer: A phone table with storage space for the phone book.

4. “A small red container — the lid has a small spoon attached to the inside.”

Answer: It is a snuff container. This is really established in the Mongol culture. My parents told me that it’s used because the winters are so cold and when you enter someone’s house it is a way to clear your nose.

5. “Found 4 of these capsules filled with what appears to be metal shavings.”

Answer: It’s a pill for ruminant animals. It helps kill parasites, the big one being barber pole worms.

6. “A door with a hinged section a quarter through horizontally?”

Answer: So it can fold around the corner when it’s open and not stick out into the room.

7. “A primitive structure off the sound side of the outer banks in North Carolina.”

Answer: It’s a duck hunting blind.

8. “What are these little porcelain angels/cherubs with rings in their hands? Found in an old box of Christmas decorations.”

Answer: They probably match a pair of candleholders of the right size for a taper candle, which these rings will work with. They slide down a taper candle and it looks like the angels are flying above your dinner table.

9. “A shallow tub with 2 sides — when the button is pressed, one side lights up with a red light and hot water for about 30 seconds. Then the other side lights up with blue light and cold water and shuts off.”

Answer: This is very common in Germany. We call it “wechselbad.” You’re supposed to keep your feet in the warm water first and then quickly put them in the cold water (repeat a few times). This is supposed to help with circulation, although I’m not sure if there’s actually scientific evidence for that.

We usually have these in spas and other wellness or health-related facilities.

10. “Found this digging around the mouth of a major Caribbean harbor (on my property). Did this come out of a cannon?”

Answer: There are a lot of cannonballs at the bottom of the ocean around the Caribbean. They’ve been known to wash up on beaches from North America to South America. I have a friend that found one on a beach in South Carolina.

11. “Found this on a hike in the Highlands in Scotland. Looks and feels handmade with a wooden handle and mesh made of wire.”

Answer: They’re fire beaters used to extinguish small fires.

12. “A friend received this passed down from his great great grandfather. It’s believed to be from Persia and about 2,000 years old.”

Answer: It’s a hairpin or a clothespin/brooch. If it’s something 2,000 years old, you need to see a professional at a museum/institute of archaeology to get it evaluated and then get it insured.

13. “These small ’rooms’ that are raised up from the ground are all over the Spanish countryside. Many of the old houses have one. What was/is it used for?”

Answer: They’re grain stores called “hórreos.” A vast majority of them are located in “Galicia” and “Asturias” the northwest of Spain. But there are differences between them. A common “hórreo” in Asturias used to be square, while those in Galicia are rectangular.

14. “I found these in my grandmother’s house (Germany), they are made of thin glass. Unfortunately, there is no box cover explaining what they are.”

Answer: They are for flower decoration. One singular flower goes in the tube. There is probably a stand for them somewhere around, but some people like to stick them in foam together with other decorations, or in pieces of driftwood with holes drilled into them, or even into other flowerpots.

I saw very similar ones in the Bodenmais Glasmanufaktur.

15. “Found this glass-like tube ’shell’ washed up on a beach in North Carolina, any idea what it is?”

Answer: It’s stingray teeth. Stingrays eat crabs and shellfish! These flat teeth are used for crushing their shells and grinding them up.

16. “This blue/brown crystallized looking chunk came out of my milk!”

Answer: Someone is in trouble. This is a resin commonly used in machine work, especially as glue, to help hold machine parts together. As for side effects, you should be fine. It’s mostly just plastic.

17. “Found this while cleaning a basement, it doesn’t open or anything. Any ideas?”

Answer: Got it open!! It’s a lighter.

18. “What is this weird cow foot thing with a metal top?”

Answer: It’s a Victorian inkwell with a cap.

Have you ever encountered an item that you were super puzzled by? How did you crack the case?


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