An eight-legged "metal-starfish" found in the ocean off Rhode Island is baffling many.
"Many locals don’t remember seeing it before last summer," said Peter Brockmann, president of the East Beach Association, reports WPRI. "The harbor master has never seen it or heard of it before so it's a real mystery.
The circular stainless steel object, capped with concrete, was found 10 feet off shore in East Beach in the town of Westerly.
"It looks like a metal starfish because it has these eight legs that go down from the center," explained Brockmann, who adds the association plans to remove it by the end of August.
"How it got here," he continued. "It’s the strangest thing because this not something that floats. It’s very heavy."
Some think it's likely a part of a device used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to monitor currents and sediment flow.
"Some scientists at [University of Rhode Island] think that it is a sea floor mount for an acoustic Doppler imaging apparatus," said Brockmann.
Not everyone is convinced by that explanation. Some wonder if it is alien equipment.
"Yeah, that must be it ... except no one has heard of any such projects and no one remembers seeing anyone burying such an object on this busy beach," writes Paul Seaburn for the website, the Mysterious Universe.
"I swim in RI beaches every summer and I'm telling you the water has magical powers," wrote one Daily Mail reader. "RI has the most beautiful beaches. The beauty of that place goes on and on."
"It has nuts and threaded bolts on it," commented another person in Mysterious Universe's comment section. "So unless ACE Hardware has been opening stores in other galaxies I think we can safely assume whatever this thing is it is terrestrial in origin."
Whatever it is, the association is approaching it with caution. To keep beachgoers safe, the association painted a fence to mark off the area.
Others online were not convinced the object has extraterrestrial origins.
"Yes this looks very 'alien' to me," sarcastically wrote one individual on the Unexplained Mysteries forum. "Almost as if some advanced technology from an ancient space faring race created it. Those look like 3/8-16 bolts. It probably came off a boat or was tossed out in a storm, who knows."
"Loving the capped in concrete bit," added a Daily Mail reader. "So, aliens have the technology to fly to earth but they also use concrete."
"I can't believe a metal object washing up on a beach has confounded and flabbergasted so many people," a third commented.