Some beachgoers enjoy digging through the sand looking for treasures, but what they find tends to be expected and pretty mundane. Once in a while, though, someone stumbles upon something totally out of the ordinary. Read on to see all the weird, creepy, sentimental or otherwise unbelievable discoveries that people have made on their seaside excursions.
40. Nintendo – with a game inside
The Nintendo Entertainment System as well as its many Game Paks such as Super Mario Bros., hit stores in the mid 1980s. And nearly 30 years later, one Reddit user found an NES that had washed up on a beach. The Redditor reported that the console had a game inside, too – although they couldn’t decipher which title it was.
39. Seaweed art
Granted, a piece of dried seaweed on the beach wouldn’t normally raise many eyebrows. But in late 2018 Reddit user chiken_cs shared a photo of a particularly eye-catching strand of undersea foliage. As they explained, the seaweed had “one end stuck in the sand,” so that when the wind blew and rotated it, it “drew concentric circles.”
38. Freaky fingers
At first glance, these bones, which were found by Sarah Gunberg on Bell Island, Newfoundland, might seem like they once belonged to a human. But the digits – and what look a lot like nails – apparently once made up part of a seal’s flipper. The skeletal remains look all the more creepy rested atop some rocks as pictured.
37. A key to…?
Reddit user ColdisWarned is certainly no stranger to bizarre seaside discoveries. That’s because in 2013 they shared a photo of “an old and rusted key [that their] cousin found by the beach [in] Bizerte, Tunisia.” And the ancient-looking trinket had fellow site users wondering what it might be able to open. “The worst part about this is knowing that there’s a treasure chest somewhere,” lamented one commenter, for instance.
36. Dirty dentures
In 2018 online magazine Atlas Obscura reached out to its readers, asking them to share images or stories of the strangest objects that they’d ever found by the sea. One of the most popular answers? Dentures. That’s right: writer Cara Giaimo revealed, “At least nine of you have found false teeth, and some of you have come across more than one set.”
35. Sushi roll rock
One Reddit user’s stroll along the beach yielded a very special find indeed: a black-and-white stone that looks a lot like a sushi roll. And when another redditor saw the picture, they pointed out that the gastronomical-geological find is in fact a slice of an ossicle. In other words, the rock is the stem of a fossilized crinoid – a marine animal that’s related to a starfish.
34. Nightmarish fish
Picking up an unidentified, scary-looking fish isn’t for the faint of heart. Perhaps that’s why Reddit user fictionfred used a mussel to clamp onto this undersea creature before snapping a pic. But what exactly is this monster of the deep? Well, online commenters theorized that the bright red creature is a male angler fish, as they’re much smaller than their female counterparts.
33. Giant squid
A picture of this washed-up squid on its own probably wouldn’t seem all that remarkable. So, James Bunyan of Ocean Hunter Spearfishing & Freediving Specialists lay down next to the enormous creature for scale – and he only covered around half of its length. Needless to say, Facebook users who saw the picture couldn’t believe their eyes. One commenter, for example, wrote, “Wouldn’t want to meet that in the water.”
32. Barbie bungalow
On a beach in the Bahamas, a strange, lifeless figure washed up in the waves. No, this wasn’t a crime scene; Atlas Obscura reader Ellen Bulger had bizarrely found a Barbie’s doll head and torso lying upside-down on the sand. And when she snapped a picture, she spotted that the toy had also become a bungalow for a Bahamian crab.
31. Ecosystem on an orb
According to Reddit user Tio76, a walk down a Hawaiian beach yielded this enchanting object. “I found this glass ball that had become the home of a small marine ecosystem,” they wrote. A fellow Redditor theorized that the orb had once served as a fisherman’s float in the days before modern metal and plastic equivalents had appeared.
30. A leafy skeleton
It’s easy to see why this barely-there leaf caught the eye of Reddit user SomeNorwegianChick as it rested on the beach. And while the fine piece of foliage may look out of the ordinary, it came to be through a totally natural process called skeletonization. In most cases, insects feed on leaves like this to create gaps, or the greens may come into contact with chemicals that cause deterioration.
29. Faux gold fossil
This glimmering fossil caught Reddit user udi90007’s eye both for its shiny mineral make-up and its perfect shape. It’s made up of pyrite – a mineral that has earned the nickname of fool’s gold because, well, it looks a lot like the precious metal. Ammonites, which are types of mollusc that created the fossil, went extinct around 66 million years ago.
28. Glacial recliner
Glaciers chill on roughly 11 percent of Iceland’s total land area. Ice caps, mountain glaciers, ice streams and alpine glaciers make up this staggering figure. Presumably less common, though, are giant, frozen items of furniture. Reddit user cheebdog was probably quite surprised when his walk on an Icelandic black sand beach brought him to a chunk of glacial ice in the shape of a perfect – albeit freezing – recliner.
27. Perfectly round rock
From a pristinely iced birthday cake or crisply folded laundry to a lawn mowed in angular, crisscrossing lines, we all derive satisfaction from aesthetically pleasing things. And when Reddit user Bonediddly found this perfect pebble on a beach in Iceland, it too hit the mark with its satisfyingly circular shape.
26. Modern beach house
If you’ve ever built a sandcastle, you probably used the typical tools: buckets, shovels and, if you’re lucky, plastic molds of turrets and battlements to give the structure an authentic look. But it appears as though none of these traditional supplies went into the construction of this ultra-sleek sandcastle, which was discovered by Reddit user pdmcmahon.
25. A… piece… of driftwood
At the mouth of the Quillayute River in Washington state, you’ll find the community of La Push. The village is known for its lively whale-watching scene and gorgeous natural landscape. But a walk on one of the area’s beaches led Reddit user the133448 to find more than just your average piece of driftwood; in fact, it looks as though an entire tree had washed ashore.
24. Extra-large Lego
The presence of giant Lego men in the surf on beaches in Florida, Japan, England and the Netherlands may have at first left people perplexed. Eventually, though, the source of the 8-foot-long figurines came to light. The mysterious Dutch artist Ego Leonard is thought to have been the person creating the Legos, you see, using the huge toys to market their exhibitions.
23. Organ-ic material
Reddit user xxviiparadise approached this beachside blob with a bit of trepidation. They thought that the mass might be an organ, after all. Fortunately, however, Live Science sought the expertise of marine biologists, who believed that the discovery may in fact be some variety of sea slug or a limpet – an undersea snail that apparently lost its shell.
22. A duo of dolphins
After a rough storm in Izmir, Turkey, tourists combed the beaches and found something truly shocking: the washed-up body of conjoined dolphins. The two-headed mammal measured in at just over 3 feet in length, and experts estimated that it had only been a year old when it died.
21. A real message in a bottle
While walking on the beach in Galveston, Texas, in late 2012, Reddit user freelancer365 found a real-life message in a bottle. According to the note inside, the sender had dropped the bottle in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico while cruising from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Cozumel, Mexico, on May 25, 2012.
20. Safari in the sand
Certain things that wash up on beaches at least make a bit of sense; they’re undersea creatures or natural foliage, for instance, or maybe they’re recognizable gadgets or toys. But when it comes to beachcomber Laura McMillan’s find that she shared with Atlas Obscura, we’re totally stumped. How or why might a papier-mâché rhinoceros come to arrive on a coastline?
19. A Hulking find
Coney Island sits on the southwestern side of New York City’s Brooklyn borough. And since the late 1800s, locals have flocked to the area for the amusement parks that have come and gone. Now, however, there may be another incentive: perhaps a visit will yield an exciting beach find, such as this barnacle-covered figure of the Hulk, which was discovered by Reddit user essmac’s roommate.
18. A-maze-ing find
In the 12th century, labyrinths started popping up across Europe as visual representations of the journey that pilgrims had to take to reach the holy land. Fast forward to the 21st century, and Reddit user overthejelly found a fresh take on this ancient type of maze – and it was outlined on a sandy, secluded beach in Australia.
17. Toe in the undertow
While walking the beaches of Topsail Island, North Carolina, Atlas Obscura reader James McKelvey happened upon a fossil that seems to be shaped like a tooth. But experts who examined McKelvey’s find revealed that it may be something even cooler: part of the skeleton of a giant sloth. And more specifically, it may have once been one of the creature’s toes.
16. Parched puffer
Puffer fish don’t always appear as spherically as we picture them. In fact, they only expand as a defense mechanism, filling their bodies with water to ward of predators. Unfortunately, however, it appears as though this one couldn’t make it back into the water after ballooning, so the creature remained on the beach and protected itself until the end.
15. Mannequin omen?
Atlas Obscura reader Dorothy Thompson shared her strangest beach find – and it came with a pretty terrifying visual. She said that, while cruising through the Andaman Islands in Asia, she spotted “what appeared to be a human head on a stick.” Upon further inspection, however, she happily realized that the creepy body part actually belonged to a mannequin. And a park ranger explained that he had placed the item on a stick after finding it on the beach. Phew.
14. A sizable skull
The person who found this hefty skull shared a picture of it via Reddit and wrote, “Not something you find on the beach everyday.” Commenters subsequently theorized that the colossal cranium had once belonged to a small humpback or minke whale. But it’s impossible to be sure without knowing the location of the find and the creatures living within that habitat.
13. Snowballs formed by the sea
Head to the beach after a winter storm, and you may just find a full arsenal of snowballs floating in the water. Why? Well, according to Live Science, the phenomenon occurs when clusters of slush and ice roll through the waves and toward the shore. The motion subsequently shapes them into spherical snowballs, which can sometimes be as heavy as 50 pounds a piece!
12. Bacon rocks
Many people travel to Italy just to sample the country’s famously delicious cuisine. As for Reddit user chronnor, even a trip to an Italian beach became food-centric when they found this stone that resembled a slice of bacon. Commenters suggested calling it a prosciutto or pancetta rock, though, to keep things authentic.
11. The biggest treasure chest ever?
This extra-large chunk of wood apparently washed ashore on Dillon Beach in California. And to convey the mysterious item’s massive size, Reddit user lemon_scented101, who stands at 5 feet, 10 inches, sat atop it. Later, a fellow Redditor chimed in to claim that the vast box is actually called a camel – a floating fender that protects a ship from contact with a pier or another vessel.
10. Unidentified eyeball
Imagine walking along a beach in Florida only to see a single giant eyeball staring back at you. Well, said unlikely experience happened to the beachgoer who found this mysterious peeper in the sand, according to National Geographic’s blog. And experts had varying opinions about where the enormous eye came from: some believe that it belonged to an extra-large swordfish or tuna, while others suspect it to be from a giant squid. Either way, it’s seriously creepy!
9. “Hell fish”
Queensland, Australia’s otherwise picturesque Mooloolaba Beach had a bit of a blemish on the day that this creature appeared on its shores. The monstrous-looking animal typically dwells in the sea’s deepest depths – hence the dark scales and enormous teeth. And so, when it somehow ended up on the sand, people started calling it “hell fish,” because, well… look at it.
8. Dummy in the dunes
To become a lifeguard, you have to know how to perform CPR – and, in many cases, you’ll learn with the help of a training dummy. Beachcomber Jennifer Jeffers told Atlas Obscura that she and her husband happened upon the mouth of such a mannequin. And while the object looks pretty creepy, the couple assumed that it had once been used for a first-aid class.
7. A kilo of cocaine – seriously
According to Reddit user raisingrebelles, this unassuming cooler appeared on the south Florida coast in late 2018. Apparently, their mother found the container and realized that it held something much more valuable than a few sodas. Hidden inside was reportedly a kilo of cocaine, in fact, which authorities said had a street value of about $150,000.
6. A friendly starfish
Fossil records show that starfish have lived on Earth for approximately 450 million years. And in that time, the creatures have become iconic figures in books, movies and TV shows. Plus, they’re apparently pretty friendly; the person who shared this picture said that they had found the starfish on an Alaskan beach, and it had appeared to be waving.
5. An out-of-order piano
Apparently, a piano rolled ashore underneath the Brooklyn Bridge totally in tact. However functional the instrument looked, though, it didn’t work. And perplexingly, no one had any idea how it had got there. But at least the Joanna looked picturesque with the city’s bridges and buildings in the background.
4. Pistol in the park
Discovery Park stands as Seattle’s largest stretch of green space, its 534 acres encompassing fields, trails and sandy shorelines. But according to Reddit user metrion, the park’s name is also rather apt. Their find? The rusty shell of a pistol, which they assure they promptly handed over to police.
3. An age-old watch repair kit
Somewhere, a watch repairman has been shaking their head for years, wondering what happened to their entire tool kit. Well, Reddit user RickyShmee discovered it completely intact on Curracloe Beach in Wexford, Ireland, with all of its contents still tucked away in a cookie tin. “I’m guessing it washed up there sometime in the ’70s,” the finder wrote.
2. Dicey die
From volleyball and frisbee to football and paddle ball, there are plenty of games that you can play on the beach – and none of them require you to bring any dice. And so, no one knows how this extra-large cube washed up on a beach in the U.S., but it understandably grabbed people’s attention when it did.
1. A special send-off
Reddit user jerrrrryyyyy shared this image of a touching discovery that they made at a dog beach. You see, the owner of a canine named Phoebe had placed a bin full of tennis balls in the sand to honor their pet who had passed away. And they wrote an adorable note inviting other doggie parents to take one. Plus, they offered some sage advice: “Remember to live each moment like your dog – with unconditional love, loyalty and happiness.”