Who or What is Behind These 3 Unsolved Internet Mysteries?
Despite our human fascination, when we wade into the ocean or gaze at the stars, we often feel at least a faint sensation of horror because it’s scary to be faced with so much mystery. Yet we find ourselves plunging head first into the alien terrain of the internet, emboldened by a false sense of security through sheer anonymity. We hide behind screen names, the exaggerated importance of Facebook profiles, and the distance afforded by a computer screen. We can be heroes or super villains from the comforts of our own home. Though so much that we put out on the internet is at least exaggerated if not a straight out lie, we rarely stop to really ponder who’s on the other side. Rather we accept things at face value and keep playing Farmville or ignoring our co-worker’s daily requests to play Farmville. These 3 unsolved mysteries of the internet remind us that the world wide web is as much a stranger as our friend.
1.) Webdriver Torso: If Jean-Luc Godard and David Cronenberg collaborated on a nightmare, it would be Webdriver Torso. Webdriver Torso is a Youtube channel responsible for approximately 80,000 videos, each lasting 11 seconds, each posted roughly an hour apart. The videos simply consist of blue and red squares shifting across the screen, possibly in a pattern, making them vastly more interesting and culturally relevant than any given episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Webdriver Torso’s Youtube account started in late 2013 though briefly went on hiatus in 2014 because even internet phantoms have trouble keeping up on the bills sometimes. However, Webdriver Torso is back and as cryptic as ever. BBC correspondent Stephen Beckett did an in-depth analysis on the Youtube channel but came up almost empty-handed, save for wagering that the source of the videos may be France. Even the Social Network meets Silent Hill name “Webdriver Torso” sheds no light on the subject but manages to sound somehow grotesque.
2.) John Titor: After John Connor there was John Titor, a regular on several message boards at the turn of the millennium, claiming he was on a mission from the future and in need of a specific IBM computer. The IBM 5100 was coveted by John Titor for its ability to translate a myriad of code types. Titor also praised the IBM 5100 for its adept mainframe mimicry and system debugging. These traits of the IBM 5100 were little known to the public, yet IBM engineer Bob Dubke verified Titor’s claims. Unfortunately for us, Titor claimed the reason he’d returned to get his hands on the IBM 5100 involved a nuclear war in 2015 that pretty much destroys the world as we know it. Titor’s posts ceased in 2001 so either he got the IBM 5100 or a T-1000 got him.
3.) Cicada 3301: In January 4, 2012, the shadow organization known as Cicada 3301 publicly released an intricate, ornate puzzle potentially designed to recruit master code crackers. The challenge lasted approximately one month and similar series of puzzles were posted on the same date for the next 2 years. Then January 4, 2015 came and went without a new puzzle. Perhaps Cicada 3301 has enough cryptography geniuses in its ranks now or maybe skipping 2015 is a clue in an even larger puzzle. If anyone has successfully completed the full series of puzzles, s/he has remained unknown to the public as has anyone affiliated with Cicada 3301 but the vast knowledge and allusions deciphered in the yearly challenges indicate that the minds behind Cicada 3301 are brilliant. Try to sleep soundly tonight knowing a brilliant mysterious shadow organization is recruiting the Riddler.
It’s startling to consider the strange forces at work behind the glass of your computer screen. Think about it enough and you won’t even be able to do that weird Youtube trick that lets you play Centipede while your video loads without driving yourself into a panic with conspiracy theories about the illuminati and Atari. But if anyone from Cicada 3301 is reading this, please take mercy on me, my dark masters.