Climate change is wreaking all levels of havoc on our planet. Aside from instigating deadly mega-storms like the recent Hurricane Harvey and causing both temperatures and sea levels to rise, shifting climate patterns are bringing about a host of unforeseen and strange effects. Earlier this year, a strange new island began rising out of the waters of North Carolina’s Outer Banks in response to changing tidal patterns. While the island began as a small sandbar surrounded by sharks and stingrays and only accessible by boat, it soon grew into a full-fledged island which can be walked to. Locals have dubbed the island “Shelly Island” due to the abundance of shells found on the virgin sand, but that’s not all that has been found lately. True to the island’s mysterious nature, a host of strange objects have been turning up lately.
A few months back, the island had to be evacuated after a distinctly bomb-shaped object was found buried in the sand. Officials from the National Park Service, Dare County Emergency Management, the U.S. Coast Guard, and a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance team were called in to examine the object which was finally declared to be a leftover World War II-era training device. Just a week later, an actual bomb was found on the island, prompting the Navy ordnance disposal teams to detonate it.
Now, another strange object has drawn the attention of beachgoers and local historians alike. The object was found by the Hoffman family of Virginia who were visiting the island while on vacation. “I told my son-in-law, Dan, that he found treasure,” Dina Hoffmann told WBTV, “with all those hundreds of shipwrecks off the Outer Banks, I’m just fascinated at what it might be. Clearly, whatever it is, it’s been rolling around in the ocean for a long time.”
The family contacted local historian Jami Lanier from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, who has so far been unable to identify it. “I cannot say for sure what this object is, but my initial thought was some type of watercraft instrument,” Lanier says, “It’s hard to tell with the encrustation.” Lanier plans to enlist the help of marine archaeologists to try and determine what the mystery object might be.
Mystery objects on beaches have become somewhat regular lately; from the odd metal “starfish” found off Rhode Island to the unidentified wooden structure found in Canada, this year is proving that the seas are still a source of wonder.