Not everything in this life is so easily explained. Indeed, there are countless objects out there that can completely baffle us, leading to more questions than answers. Thankfully, that’s where the internet comes in. Yes, it seems there’s always someone out there who does have the answers. If you’re equally mystified by these bizarre objects, then, read on for some illuminating insight into their origins.
20. These underwater mounds
It’s no wonder the person who spotted these was left confused. After all, they’re not something you see every day, even out on the ocean. And that’s because they’re not actually natural. Indeed, they’re artificial reef balls, and are designed to provide a habitat for marine life.
19. This terrifying plant
Yes, it does look like something out of Stranger Things. But thankfully there’s nothing odd about this plant – beyond its unusual appearance. Indeed, it’s merely a skunk cabbage flower, so-called because it emits an odious scent when damaged. You’ll find it in eastern North America, between Nova Scotia and Tennessee.
18. This glass cylinder
History enthusiasts may recognize this one. Yes, it’s a vintage-style oil lamp. These items are handblown by a skilled glassmaker and encased inside a tall, glass cylinder. Of course, these days we really have no need for oil lamps, so it’s no wonder whoever discovered this one had no idea what it was.
17. This transparent creature
It might look like discarded plastic, but this is actually a living, sentient creature. Yes, it’s the jellyfish-like velella, more commonly referred to as a by-the-wind sailor. While they usually live in distant oceans, this particular specimen was found washed up on a beach in Vancouver, Canada. That’s not out of the ordinary: they move with the wind, so can drift ashore in vast quantities.
16. This also-transparent fish
The velella isn’t the only transparent organism you’ll find out on the water. Indeed, this bottle-like sea creature is called a salp. This planktonic tunicate can be found in single numbers, like this example. But they can also appear in huge chains, which are produced and released by the solitary parent salps.
15. These oddly hairy plants
We’re sure you’d be alarmed to find a set of dodgy wigs growing out of the ground too, so it’s no wonder this person was so confused. In fact, they’re simply fern fronds, or in layman’s terms, the leaves of a fern. They can grow in multiple different shapes and sizes. They also have various characteristics, including glands, scales, and – just like these ones – hair.
14. This bumpy lime
Okay, so it’s not actually a lime, but its real name isn’t any more illuminating. Indeed, this appears to be an oak apple gall – but that doesn’t mean you can go ahead and bite into it. That’s because, despite the moniker, “apple” only refers to its appearance. It’s actually a build-up of tissue caused by gall wasps, and is created for the wasp larvae to feed off – hardly as appetizing.
13. This strange tool
Unless you work in a very specific trade, there’s a good chance you’ll have no clue what this device is. Fortunately, the internet chimed in to reveal the truth. It is a watch link remover, which you can pick up for a few dollars online.
12. This bizarre bracelet
Let’s face it: you probably wouldn’t wear this as a fashion accessory. Fortunately, you wouldn’t have any need to, because that’s not what it’s for. Indeed, the “sailmaker’s palm” actually has a very specific purpose – it is designed for heavy-duty stitching. Essentially, the honeycomb-patterned area pushes the needle for you, protecting your hand from strain.
11. This horrifying insect
They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Well, if it’s all the same to you, we’ll make an exception this time, thanks. Sure, this is really just a certain subspecies of moth, the creatonotos gangis. In this shot, the creature is bearing extended scent glands for mating purposes. But knowing that doesn’t make it any less skin-crawling to look at.
10. This strange sea creature
Not only does this washed-ashore creature look super strange, but it’s also potentially very dangerous. Indeed, it’s actually a Portuguese man o’ war, a kind of siphonophore. In simple terms, that’s an animal made up of several smaller organisms. And it has an incredibly powerful sting, which can prove fatal to humans. So picking it up probably wasn’t the best idea.
9. This freaky fish
What’s more bizarre here: the fish itself, or the fact that it was found in someone’s garden? Either way, this creature is apparently a short-spined sea scorpion. And no, knowing that really doesn’t make things any more comfortable. After all, when was the last time you wandered merrily up to a land scorpion?
8. These puzzling circles
If you’ve ever taken a bus, you might recognize these curious circles. But they’re not just for show. Indeed, they’re applied using something called frit, a kind of ceramic paint that helps strengthen sealant, and protect it from ultra-violet rays. The circular pattern is just because it looks nice. And now you know.
7. This tiny robot
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in the future, when machines patrol the streets? Well, wonder no more: we’re already there – In Washington D.C., anyway. That’s where this little bot was spotted going about its business. Apparently, it’s a semi-autonomous drone that can deliver food to people, pioneered by a company called Starship Technologies. What year is it, again?
6. This colorful lizard
It’s no wonder the person who spotted this lizard didn’t recognize it. After all, the red-headed agama isn’t native to Florida, where this photo was taken, but Africa. However, the colorful critters first began showing up in 1976 in the Sunshine State, where they’re technically an invasive species.
5. This peculiar tool
Apparently, it wasn’t just the person who found this tool that was completely confused by it. Indeed, numerous antique dealers and four Antiques Roadshow appraisers were also left totally bamboozled as to its origins. Fortunately, an anonymous internet user chimed in, claiming it’s simply part of a device used to stretch carpets.
4. This stringy sea creature
At first glance, this looks like a few pieces of frayed rope. But on closer inspection, you can see that it’s actually a living, sentient being – albeit a highly unusual one. In fact, it’s a crinoid, also known as a feather star. If that seems too lovely a name for such a bizarre creature, well, it probably is. But as a relative of the starfish, it at least makes sense.
3. This beautiful stone
It may be bizarre, but there’s no denying the natural beauty of this stone. It goes by a few names, but the most accurate is coquina jasper. For those who don’t speak Spanish, coquina translates to “shellfish,” or “cockle.” This particular example was discovered in Australia in a sapphire mine. But they’ve also been found in Florida, North Carolina and the U.K.
2. This tiny tech
To be honest, we’d probably have felt better not knowing the answer to this one. That’s because this is a tiny wireless camera, discovered inside someone’s bedroom atop a bookshelf. That’s unnerving enough already. But just think: whoever placed it there could easily have placed more around the house.
1. This tentacled brain
Okay, so it’s not literally a brain with tentacles, but that’s sure what it looks like. In reality, this alarmingly bizarre object is cedar-apple rust, a fungus that spawns where those two species of tree meet. As well as its strange appearance, it has a complicated disease cycle that spans over two years.