The internet became widely available to the public in 1990-27 years ago.
Reddit user themannamedme reached out to users of the internet from the early days with a curious question:
People who have been online since the 90's, what mysteries from the early days of the internet are still unsolved?
Here are some of the answers:
Dude, Where's My Chat?
I want to know what happened to all the chatrooms from those days. You can't even find a reference to most of them on today's net. thedudefromnc
Who Ya Callin?
I had a beta release of Windows Chicago (Win 95) on my machine, which had a modem hooked to a phone jack. There was nothing else on the machine, (like AOL). One night I couldn't sleep and came down to snack at 3am. As I walked by the machine, I heard the hard drive spin up and start reading. The modem then started beeping and dialed out! I stood there in amazement as the hard drive flickered as if it were reporting back to the Mother Ship. I yanked the power cable out of the wall and never left the computer alone with an open phone line again. AtHomeToday
Bad Luck For 27 Years
Why chain mail messages from the 90s have continued to circulate to this day.
In AOL / AIM , if you added the screenname 'Operators' they would always be online. Sometimes they would sign off but then sign back on again immediately. They would never reply to any message you sent and this was after years of trying. Mrfuc (RIP AIM)
Away In A Winker
Before animated gifs were popular there was a website called the miraculous winking Jesus that would wink at you after about two minutes. It was great because so few people even knew what animated gifs were. Turdsworth
Back in my AOL days like 96 or 97 I remember if you typed in the word "blue" into their search function a message would pop up saying "you don't have permission to access this" or something like that. There were other words that did the same thing but I can't remember them. TheClerk83
There was a time when you ordered things online by printing out the order form from the website, filling it out with a pen, and mailing it to the company with a check or money order. This is also how you paid for stuff you bought on eBay when it first came out. Of course, scams were everywhere and people were constantly getting ripped off. A lot of people actually thought Amazon was a scam site when it launched. The worst were sites where you bought porn or sex toys, because it was pretty unlikely you were going to press the issue if you got ripped off. People thought the clever thing to do was to make a small purchase from the site to make sure it was legit before you made a big purchase. This is how I actually bought porn for the first time. I ordered two cheap VHS tapes(that was the prime format at the time), and they showed up a few weeks later. So, next time I ordered six tapes and spent about $70(so hilarious looking back on it). Six weeks go by, no tapes. Eight weeks go by, no tapes, and I'm accepting it was a ripoff. Well, the tapes show up about three months later. I'm kind of in disbelief so I go to the website but everything's gone and it has one of those "Under Construction" things on it. The site never came back online. So. Who sent me those tapes? coryandtrevorforever
So there was this joke that went around that was a picture of a guy in a go-kart, like one of those really hardcore ones, so he was in the fireproof suit and helmet etc. Of course we're on dialup so it takes awhile for stuff to load. The joke was "look at this pic for ten seconds without laughing" then around 5 seconds in depending on your connection an audio file starts of someone making engine noises with their mouth, kind of pitch-shifted a little so it's high pitched as well.
So that was popular for a bit. Next thing you know, someone made an animation of a crazy frog synced up to the noise, and bam, you've got the crazy frog animation which became the mascot for Jamster! mobile club, a subscription-based service where you could download wallpapers and message tones, as well as ringtones such as the infamous Crazy Frog remix of Axel F (the Beverley Hills Cop theme) which was so stupidly popular that it actually charted, going Gold in the US and double platinum in Australia. kermi42
I wonder what happened to the following search engines:
The New Carmen San Diego
WHERE in the world is Tom from MySpace?? abcriminal
Riddle Me This
There was a geocaching style puzzle that some famous person/author put together years ago, back in the 90s or early 00's. It was a series of riddles and there might have been some images to go along with it as well. The puzzles relied on having to visit the location and look around in order to solve them and be able to dig up the cache. The cache's supposedly had items that had collector value.
A few of the puzzles were solved but when I last heard about it years ago, no one had made any headway on the other riddles. I don't recall what the name of the "treasure hunt" was but there were locations across the US. It had some interest on the net in some communities years ago. vix86
The Second Nostradamus
Guy that shows up on internet message boards in the early 1990s claiming to be from the future. I think he actually made some accurate predictions about disasters and stuff (?) [edit, nevermind about that "some accurate predictions" thing]. I doubt this would technically be a mystery because it was pretty obviously a hoax, but still, it's kind of interesting stuff. Nugatorysurplusage
Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary...
There used to be this rumor that if you were chatting on IRC you couldn't mention this one name or he'd take you away and you'd never come back. I think it was Candlejack or something but I can't be sure. MrQuickLine
Where's Kevin Bacon?
The original social networking site was called six degrees. The goal was to prove that everyone on the internet was separated by six degrees. You submitted you address book. Not enough people participated. Im curious if Facebook could run the numbers on something like this. Turdsworth
I always wonder what happened to mapquest and how they would print out five pages of maps as default instead of just the text directions. lulz_seeker
Looking Up The Net
Does anyone else remember when they had internet phone books with lists of websites? Google wasn't around yet, but you could still search for things. Who bought those?
Better Off Ted
Guy called Ted made a website about his experience with a particular cave, basically describing events over the course of several months. He starts off going into said cave by himself. Explores a bit, finds a hole with wind coming through and the old caving adage "if it blows it goes" prompts him to enlist the help of a friend/fellow caver called B in digging out more of the hole so they can get through it and see what's on the other side.
There's a whole bunch of entries about them progressively widening this hole and things getting eerier, hearing noises etc. Eventually they break through to what they call Floyd's Tomb where they find weird hieroglyphs, a big perfectly round rock and what seem to be carved doorways in the cavern. They get the help of a third guy who goes through but is thoroughly freaked out when he gets back out and refuses to talk about the stuff in the Tomb.
Ted goes back with the first guy and they explore some more, but get the sensation of there being something inside the cave. They escape from it, but something pulls their ropes down from the entrance. All three of the guys start to experience visions and waking nightmares, Ted sees strange shapes moving around his house. He gets a message from B who says he wants to go back to get closure, Ted agrees.
The last entry is him talking about going back to the cave to find answers. I'm probably forgetting a lot of stuff because it's been years since I read it, but that's the gist of things. I believe the guy said it was just creepypasta, but it was one of the best back when creepypastas were more popular probably because he had pictures to go along with it and because it was an authentic experience that he got creative with to make it scary. Urslef
Time Enough At Last
Maybe I'm just perpetuating another part of an urban legend through my questionable memory, but I seem to recall that when I first heard about Time Cube, I also stumbled upon a forum discussing a murder and/or suicide involving a Time Cube believer that was a member of this forum. I don't remember if this forum was dedicated to Time Cube, or if the topic was tangential to the purpose of it, but I do seem to remember people on this forum discussing how a member became a Time Cube acolyte (for lack of a better term) and began stirring up trouble. This led to conflict between members which eventually resulted in someone getting killed. Either the acolyte committed suicide, or killed another member. Maybe it was a hoax, or maybe I misinterpreted the posts, but I do remember reading discussion by users on a forum, and not just a creepypasta retelling of a story.
Does anyone remember anything about this? apmihal
Smells Like 90s Spirit
The publius enigma, a weird puzzle that was posted anonymously on the pink floyd usenet group right around the time "the division bell" came out in 1994. someone with the handle "publius" made some really cryptic posts that promised a treasure could be found and all the clues could be found by listening to "the division bell". there was a pretty devoted following trying to figure out what the treasure/answer was. it was proven to have some connection with the band via videos and lights at shows on pink floyd's tour, but "publius" disappeared off the internet and nobody knows the final status of this or even how it was created. omarcomin647
And Finally, The Most Important:
What time is Peanut Butter Jelly time really? lirio2u