They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but more often than not, those words will lead you astray—and you’ll most definitely need context. If you see a photograph of a frowning bride and groom at the altar, for example, you might assume it’s because they both got cold feet, but you might not realize it’s simply because the best man forgot the ring. (Oops!)
Put simply, there is often a lot of background information that might help you appreciate images more. In fact, some pictures can seem completely unremarkable… that is, until you learn what exactly you’re looking at.
You may not think much of these 20 photos at first, but the explanations behind them are sure to blow you away!
1. Boo! This strange little item looks like a spooky ghost from a breakfast cereal, doesn’t he? In truth, it’s a pebble that somebody found on the beach. Perhaps the beach is haunted… or the pebble is a creepy omen of some sort of terrible things to come.
2. This picture shows how dust formed on this car when somebody got shocked with a jolt of static electricity from the vehicle’s door. It looks almost creepy, doesn’t it? It’s as if some sort of evil spirit put a spell on the window.
3. This relaxed-looking frog looks like he’s hanging out in an aquarium, but he actually lives inside the fence of the man who took this photo. Many small animals would probably get freaked out if somebody got this close to them, but this little guy really doesn’t seem to mind one bit!
4. This might seem like some kind of art piece by Salvador Dali, but it’s actually a (formerly) sturdy brick wall. It was completely misshapen by the transformative effects of the ocean! One should never underestimate the sheer power of the sea.
5. It may take more than a little while to notice, but this is a photograph of a smart phone inside a cup holder. (See? Its screen is reflecting the mesh part.) It’s so perfectly reflective, in fact, that it makes the phone look nearly transparent!
6. These tree branches blocked the sunlight from reaching certain parts of this snowy roof—effectively creating what look like “white shadows.” Everything else around the branches’ shadow was touched by the sun and melted! It’s truly like something out of a dream.
7. This strange thing is what happens when a tree “girdles.” In layman’s terms, the tree was in the same small pot for too long. With nowhere to grow, its roots wrapped around the inside of the pot, and the tree eventually strangled itself.
8. A nearby wall must have crumbled apart a long time ago, but this strong old tree is still dutifully holding up the rocks that it formed around. There’s no telling how long this tree has been cradling these rocks, but it’s certainly a testament to the power of nature. Check out the stones on that tree!
9. This book was 231 years old when somebody found a remarkably well-preserved butterfly between its similarly well-preserved pages. What do you think? Is this more creepy and disgusting, or fascinating and amazing?
10. This picture was taken to show how drastically the weather conditions in this Colorado home can change within the course of just 48 hours. The fact that all that snow disappeared so quickly is truly incredible! It’s like two full seasons came and went in just two days. Talk about a time lapse!
11. Somebody at this office was so protective of their partially used carton of milk that they put a small lock on it. Talk about crying over spilled—or stolen—milk! Is it really worth all that trouble? If someone was so desperate for dairy, they’d just open the other side.
12. You’re probably wondering, “Why on Earth are all of those crazy goats on top of that small tree?” It’s because these creatures, known as “the tree goats of Morocco,” are hungry—and the only way to get to the tree’s fruit is by jumping on its branches!
13. That’s a pretty nice outdoor patio. Must belong to an upscale restaurant, right? Nope! Can you take a wild guess at which popular chain it belongs to? You probably wouldn’t have guessed McDonald’s, but if you did, you were correct! Who knew fast food could be so fancy?
14. This extremely unusual-looking Krumholtz tree had been gradually reshaped by the wind over the course of many years. Similar to strong ocean currents, the powerful effect that strong winds have on objects over time should never be underestimated!
15. These students in Ottawa, Canada, were forced to take their final exams in the middle of an ice hockey rink. It doesn’t get much more stereotypically Canadian than that, does it? Hopefully they didn’t get too cold in there!
16. If you saw this from a distance, you might panic and take cover. Is it a missile falling from the skies? It certainly looks like it, but it’s actually just a peregrine falcon. These birds of prey have been known to dive as fast as 200 miles per hour!
17. This definitely looks like a massive tree with no trunk floating above the road, doesn’t it? Yet, if you take a closer look to the right, you’ll notice that it’s securely attached to its trunk on the sidewalk. The middle was just trimmed to accommodate the power lines!
18. Most people think that the Blockbuster movie rental stores died a slow and painful death across the entire country at least a decade ago. Apparently, however, there’s still at least one that remains fully functional in a small town in Oregon.
19. That’s right: this is a massive cluster of frozen peas… formed to look like the letter “P.” Believe it or not, this happened completely by coincidence. It would be kind of a waste to eat something so special, huh? Better preserve it!
20. Before you mix up a large bucket of paint, the oils and colors may look like this. It may seem like some kind of terrifying sea monster, but just a few swirls of a paint stick should fix that soon enough.
Pictures like these prove that some things do get better when they’re explained. There’s just so much that needs context in order to be understood!
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