All things have a purpose and function. However, some objects are so peculiar, so strange, and so weird that it takes amateur detectives and internet occultists to decipher their meaning. The ‘What Is This Thing’ subreddit is a treasure trove of everyday artifacts whose purpose was lost to the world… until Reddit’s resident Sherlock Holmeses took a look at them and explained exactly what people were looking at.
We’ve collected some of the best examples of odd things, so scroll down, have a look, have a read, and upvote your faves. Let us know in the comments if you learned something new and share the most obscure objects with your pals to test their knowledge.
Be sure to read on for Bored Panda’s interview with one of the subreddit’s moderators. And when you’re done with this list and if you’re still hungry for weird things whose purpose is unclear, then be sure to have a look through our previous posts about strange objects right here, here, as well as here.
According to one of the subreddit’s moderators, there are several reasons why people become amateur detectives online and help others figure out what obscure objects are. The first reason is that interesting items show up and some folks can’t help but get involved. There’s also the “thrill of the chase”—people want to show off their great search skills.
“Many [people] have unique and obscure knowledge and they like to use it. Get enough of them together and they cover most things,” the moderator told Bored Panda.
The mod revealed that it’s very rare for a thing to get posted and for nobody to know what it is. They estimate that under 10 percent of ‘cases’ don’t get solved on the subreddit. “A majority of things are solved within 15 minutes of posting,” the mod added. With over 1.5 million members in the community, it's no wonder that mysteries get solved so quickly.
“We've had some luck in identifying some things, but there's more yet unsolved and more to come as Europol does release some new information every few months,” the moderator explained. The Trace an Object subreddit currently has more than 52.6k members who are putting their sleuthing skills to good use.
It’s not just the modern world that is full of mysteries: the further back into history we go, the more secretive things get because the purpose of some things has become lost in the fog of time. One of the most cliched and well-known examples of this is Stonehenge.
We all have our personal theories as to what it was used for (burial site, cosmic map, astronomical calendar, druidic circle, UFO landing site, etc.), but the real answer still eludes us. Researchers are still scratching their heads how the stones that weigh around 8,000 pounds (3,629 kilograms) were transported more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) to the place where Stonehenge still stands.
Something else that has captured the imaginations of many individuals is a series of carvings in Peru made by the Nazca tribe. Nobody knows why exactly the Nazcas made these drawings of animals, plants, insects, and other things.
But two things are for sure: they are huge and they can be seen from the sky. But their true purpose is still shrouded in mystery. Perhaps, one day, we’ll figure out the answers to the secrets of the Nazcas, as well as solve the mysteries of Stonehenge.