COROLLA, NC (Mark Price/The Charlotte Observer) - Incredible things have a habit of washing ashore on North Carolina's beaches, including long-lost ships and pieces of space rockets.
But a large metal object that appeared at Corolla has locals stumped, leading to all kinds of wild speculation.
Some tease it's only the tip of something much larger that is buried in the sand, while at least one person has suggested it's an alien device created to spy on humans.
"That's a big hunk of iron to 'wash' anywhere," posted someone named Shaun, in response to an Outer Banks Voice article on the growing mystery.
It doesn't exactly look alien. The object is roundish, rusty, slightly taller than a dining room table and has a solar-powered light on top that spins.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which controls much of the land along the Outer Banks, says the object is just outside its jurisdiction. "I don't know what the object is," said Mike Barber, a spokesman for the National Park Service.
Sam Walker, news director at Max Radio of the Carolinas in Nags Head, is the one who first started asking questions about the object. He says it's sitting far from any beach access ramp, making it tough for heavy equipment to remove it. "Stuff washes up all the time, and if it's not bothering anything, it just stays," he told the Observer. "There's no telling how deep this thing is in the sand."
Dangerous things have appeared previously on the beach along the Outer Banks. Last year, vacationers found old training mines on beaches at Corolla and Avon, and military experts had to be called in to remove them, reported WAVY.
So far, no one has deemed the Corolla discovery as dangerous.
However, a June 18 story in the Outer Banks Voice posed all kinds of questions about it, including what it was created to do.
The U.S. Navy and Army Corps of Engineers say it's not theirs, said the Voice article.
Guesses have ranged from an "experimental radar reflector" to part of a Russian sub.
Someone named Greg King suggested somebody try opening the device to look inside.