Metal mystery object at beach has everyone baffled

Aliens haven't landed on a Rhode Island beach, but pretty much all other guesses are on the table for a strange object found embedded in the sand.

Amanda Kooser
Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
2 min read

People love to be baffled. 

A mysterious object embedded in the sand under the water at a Rhode Island beach has everyone speculating. It's big, about 4 feet (1.2 meters) wide. It's mostly metal and has radiating spoke-like pieces with concrete caps. It's also too heavy to move. So what is it? 

It's unknown how long the structure has been there, but it's currently visible at low tide and has attracted the attention of curious beachgoers.

Peter Brockmann is president of the East Beach Association, which maintains the ocean front property in Westerly, Rhode Island. He told WJAR NBC 10 he showed pictures of the object to fishermen, the US Navy, a wind farm and ocean scientists and none had a definitive answer. 

According to The Westerly Sun, oceanography professors at the University of Rhode Island suggest the strange structure could be a mount used for an instrument that monitors the flow of ocean currents, though it's unknown how it might have traveled so close to the beach or if that identification is even correct.

Nobody is certain how deep the object goes, but a local tree service company will attempt to remove it this week using heavy machinery. A better look at the complete structure might finally give us some answers about what it is.

In the meantime, we can turn to Twitter users for their best guesses, which range from high-end flying robot to a Star Wars Christmas tree stand. WJAR reporter Tony Gugliotta has a favorite: "extraterrestrial fidget spinner."

Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET.

Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.

Yetis and UFOs and sea monsters, oh my! (pictures)

See all photos