For some, the dark web is synonymous to an evil that never sleeps, but, to most Internet users, it’s a greyed-out area where few dares to venture.
What’s even more daunting is the fact that nearly all people who have had dealings with ‘the undergarments of the Internet’ returned with more questions than answers. In all fairness, the dark web, by design, doesn’t imply this sense of portentousness. In fact, it’s far from it.
What we call the darknet or dark web is a system designed to guarantee anonymity, thus protect the users’ identity.
In our latest article, we’ve outlined the fact that some news outlets, such as ProPublica, employs dark web type communications in order to safeguard the identity of people who want to submit tips. Such deployment is warranted in this case, since official, transparent channels may put their lives at risk.
Ever since the term gained traction and, of course, notoriety, research into the dark web has escalated to the point where Government-approved cybersecurity entities constantly monitor these channels in an attempt to root out illegal activities.
Which brings us to the topic du jour – since almost every user has regretted his decision of ‘taking the dive,’ we have compiled a list of the very best tales that recount their experiences.
We should warn you that although some of these stories are quite humorous, while others can be very graphic, if not disturbing. With these parting thoughts, we cordially invite you to bellyflop with us in the unseen world of the dark web.
#1 Carrots for your Bitcoins?
They say that the dark web’s best place to purchase under-the-counter items. True, for the most part. But, according to one user who wished to remain anonymous, his dark web experience was really, well, amusing.
Apparently, while navigating through Tor, this user stumbled upon an ad from a guy who would sell real carrots for Bitcoin. In wanting to see where this is going, the user contacted the ad owner and arranged for an exchange.
A week later, he received a large package contained carrots. What can we say? Win-win.
#2 A friend in need is a friend who got scammed
This story, which was shared by Reddit user thrwy22123, begins with him (or her) ordering a substance; we can safely assume that it was something illegal.
As the tale unfolds, the Reddit user posted his request on a dark web forum. Days later, he got a reply for someone willing to sell him that very substance for $200. Unbeknownst to him that the whole thing can be a scam, the Reddit user sent him the money.
Since dark web activity cannot be tracked, the wannabe dealer pulled the wool over his eyes and “suckered” him out of $200. In response, the user used the same forum to blackball the scammer.
We really don’t know for certain if this is the way things went down, but according to the story, after posting the rant on the topic, another user, who identified himself as another dealer, answered that he knows that person because he, himself, was the victim of a scheme.
Apparently, the guy who outwitted the Reddit user ordered some ‘stuff’ from the second dealer, but would receive a package containing sugar crystals instead!
Long story short, the guy asked the Reddit user for his Bitcoin address and graciously returned the $200. Talk about a friend in need!
#3 And I would do anything for…fans
There’s a grain a truth in the saying that every aspiring artist would do just about anything to build fandom. Well, apparently, Death Grips, a Sacramento-based experimental hip-hop band managed to raise the bar back while promoting their 2012 album called No Love Deep Web.
As the story goes, a great part of their PR campaign involved a scavenger hunt-type virtual reality game which was hosted on a private dark web server. Users who accepted to participate in this strange charade were instructed to move from city to city. The purpose: to answer a designated Payphone 3 am.
Upon picking up the phone, they were greeted by a snarly voice, followed by heavy breathing. Ten seconds later, the caller would hang up. That was it – no explanations!
#4 An explosive affair
One user, who obviously wanted to remain anonymous, recounted how he managed to get step-by-step instructions on how to successfully sneak a homemade bomb past the metal detectors. As the story goes, the user looked up information on how to construct a small incendiary device.
To what end, we can only speculate; somehow, we guess that rowdy friends and alcohol were involved. Anyway, the user said that while searching the dark web, he came across a downloadable text document with the above-mentioned instruction. Needless to say, he became aware that the NSA might come banging on his door.
#5 When the act of eating becomes too mainstream
To some, eating’s a run-of-the-mill thing. Nothing too preposterous about it. However, according to a Tor user who wounded up on the wrong side of the Internet, seeing someone eating can be an outlandish thing, perhaps bordering on pornography.
Anyway, the anonymous user wrote that he came across this video depicting a little girl wearing a WWII gas mask. The girl was sitting on a stool in what appeared to be a decrepit bedroom.
We don’t know for sure just how long the video is, but, according to the user’s story, it features quite a lot of freeze-frames; almost Tarkovskian, come to think of it.
Long story short, the girl would try to eat something off of a plate, but the food would wind up on the floor since it can’t get through the tiny orifice in the gas mask. Calling this ‘strange’ would certainly be an understatement.
#6 Caller ID not available
Reddit user 1SensFani shared quite a fascinated story about what appears to be a hyperrealistic story. In one of his posts, he wrote that his experience concerning the dark web came to a very abrupt conclusion, which, in his case, was a mysterious phone call. As always, we can’t be sure where reality gives quarters to fiction.
As the story goes, after installing the notorious Tor, he spent several minutes exploring the dark web. Soon after that, he received a call on his cellphone with no user ID. He answered, but there was no voice on the other side – just breathing sounds. The caller hung up on him after 10 seconds.
Again, no explanations. What do you make of this? Pure coincidence or something more?
#7 Big Brother is watching you!
Perchance one the quaintest dark web story comes straight from Reddit user fake_fakington, who wrote that he received a Big Brother kind of message minute after opening what appeared to be an empty HTML file.
The user employed Tor to call up various blogs and GeoCities sites. At one type, he stumbled on a link which took him to some sort of forum where people would discuss various experiences regarding their trips to one city or another. What stroke him was the fact that the messaged passed down had the demeanor of a Cabala as if someone tried to conveyed a secret message of some sort.
User fake_fakington wrote that all the HTML files appeared to parts of a physiologist’s records, who kept tabs on patient outgoing faxes.
This is the point where the story takes a sinister turn: the user noted that the subdirectory on top contained an HTML file which was named “1-.HELLO-THERE.html.” These networks are riddled with content that may be disturbing in nature, but the odd part was, as fake_fakington noted, the timestamp. Apparently, that particular HTML file was created around the time he accessed the parent directory.
After opening it, he saw a single text string: “we see you.” Probably the most peculiar aspect of the entire story was the fact that the user mentioned something about the server crashing seconds after he opened the HTML file. Truth or fiction? We’ll let you decide.
#8 Scary encounter
Another Reddit user, which goes by the name of neverlurking77, wrote that his dark web experience began and ended after only 20 minutes after installing the notorious Tor browser. According to his recollection of the facts, he installed the browser and called up some hidden wiki links.
As dark web on-screen elements piggy bank the user to random pages, the user clicked on such a button which, eventually, took him to another page. Oddly enough, although his browser had no trouble loading the previous pages, this one took some time to load.
Probably the best analogy, in this case, would be to try and load Facebook on an old DSL connection. Anyway, when the page finished loading, a single message popped up on his screen, written in bold letters: “YOU BETTER START RUNNING!”. Needless to say, he immediately severed the connection and uninstalled Tor.
#9 Your name has quite a ring to it!
There’s nothing wrong with someone calling you by name. However, as Hamlet would put it, there might be something very rotten in Denmark when an unknown person calls you by your given name.
This dark web story begins with an anonymous Reddit user watching a video on a random darknet website. The use wrote that when he finished watching the said clip, he posted a comment on the video.
Apparently, sometime later, when he got back to the video, he saw a comment reading: “That is very astute of you Mr. (and here the unknown commenter used the Reddit user’s real name).”
#10 Who said eating alone is lonely?
The last story on our list comes from Reddit user /u/cletch. Apparently, for quite some time, the user had been using Tor to access dark net websites.
On one occasion, he went out to eat at a restaurant called Five Guys. While eating his meal, the user continued browsing various websites. Sometime later, while using the same browser to access dark web content, the user stumbled upon a picture depicting him sitting at a Five Guys’ table, eating a hamburger.
We really don’t know what to say about this, apart from the fact that you should be careful about your web-surfing activities, especially when you decide to access content that’s labeled as ‘hidden.’
Regrettably, there is no colander large enough to sift truth for fiction. However, we can state, for a fact, that all these stories have a common denominator: every encounter with what we call the ‘dark web’ has ended in a less fortunate manner. Apart from the user who managed to whip up a nice carrot side-dish, we can’t think of another happy ending.
Now, if you’re interested in learning more about the inner workings of the World Wide Web, you should indeed take a leap of faith and check out what Tor has to offer. However, each step comes with a clear warning label: wonder off in the wrong direction, and you will certainly end up in the corner of the Internet that may put you at risk.
There’s nothing to justify that an attempt on your life might be imminent; in all aspects, everything you will witness on the dark web is just content that would otherwise be labeled as inappropriate for mainstream search engines such as Google or Bing.
Also keep in mind that the darknet isn’t just a “wretched hive of scum and villainy,” as Obi-Wan Kenobi put it in the Star Wars franchise. The entire purpose is to maintain anonymity and safeguard the user’s identity.
Interested in learning more about the dark web? Watch the video below for additional information.