People Share The Greatest Online Mysteries From The 'Early Days' Of The Internet

Knowable

Hail to ye citizens of internet who still remember "the before times" - back when this was all a series of message boards and geocities - in the days when the fanciest bit of coding to be found was that one scene kid's Myspace page with the twinkling background. This article is for you, old timer.


Reddit user NightmareExpo decided to take it way back when they asked:

Those of you from the "early days" of the Internet, what online mysteries do you remember that remain unsolved?


We're going to be honest, we didn't even know about some of these - but now that we do, we're itching for answers just as much as the commenters are! Put on your sleuthing hats, folks. We're going in.

Immortally Bad

Whether "My Immortal", famously the worst fanfiction of all time, was written by a troll or not.

- MerylSquirrel

It's like the saying that a broken clock is right twice a day. A badly written story with an author that is really trying should still have occasional redeeming qualities.

My Immortal is bad in a fractal sense. Every individual part is just as bad as the whole. That strongly suggests it was intentional.

- Crashvoncrash

If it was intentional, it kind of takes away from the magic of it all, I feel. I just like the idea of someone typing that garbage all out, and legitimately, delusionally thinking it was a masterpiece.

- Dahhhkness

Fixing Foot Pain

Anybody remember cutoffmyfeet.com? A guy had terrible foot pain and wanted to amputate, so the website said. He was taking donations for entry into a contest to be the person who, via the internet, would be able to push a keyboard key that activated a home made guillotine to remove his affected feet. The whole thing was planned out with a scheduled date and audience. Ambulance would be already called. Never heard what happened.

- PutnamPete

Simpson's Did It

Giphy

When The Simpsons did the Who Shot Mr. Burns cliffhanger, they had a contest to see if anyone could solve it. On the Simpsons usenet there was one commenter who solved it using the clues correctly (as opposed to just a lucky guess.) The showrunners tried all that they could to find the person but never did...

- das_goose

The Final Puzzle

Grngecko.com/torment was crazy to me. I don't remember how I found it but it started you out on this puzzle that wasn't too difficult to solve, but it just kept giving more puzzles with increasing difficulty. I remember having a full notebook from writing stuff down trying to figure out how to solve them.

I eventually got stuck and went to some forums to find out there were people who put in some WORK trying to complete it but I don't believe anyone ever reached the end. They eventually took it down and the creator put up a new series of puzzles that was solved within the first couple days.

I was always curious what was at the end of that grngecko puzzle. That website is what made me have a love for puzzles and riddles.

- ThreePieces

Suddenly Nothing

I had a previous Reddit account made during the Digg exodus. This was at least a decade ago when Reddit was pretty new. I came across a post from a guy who swore that a particular website that looked like a generic local news site with the usual AP & Reuters news feeds was actually a government run intelligence program.

It functioned like a numbers station in plain site. Meaning that the exact wording used would match up with a one time use pad and provide intelligence info.

I can not remember the exact website, but it looked unimpressive and the domain was registered in Bahrain, despite appearing to cater to a midsize US city.


He then said he was being harassed in real time since he made that post. Then he said he got doxxed and strangers were calling him telling him to cut it out.

I tried to reply to his post a few minutes later, but then found that his Reddit account and every post he made were deleted.

What was that all about?!

- e2hawkeye

Time Traveling Segways?

I remember the mystery surrounding John Titor, the time traveler.

- nathanosaurus84

I was around for the whole John Titor shenanigans and it was awesome/weird/fascinating at the time. The logo, the way he posted, everything.

The funny thing is that I know that since then people are pointing at two brothers in Florida who were behind the whole thing, but in terms of what he actually wrote- that unless humanity changed certain things, that we were doomed - could actually be true if you believe in the multiverse theory.

- UniversalChamp1on

I have a theory it was Dean Kamen trying to viral market the Segway. He kept asking what we thought of "It", referring to the Segway as a future transportation device.

"Dean Kamen, prolific inventor. Portable insulin pumps, Segway, portable dialysis machines, Coca Cola Freestyle...

"But the biggest reason to fanboy him, IMO, is because he's the main guy behind FIRST/FIRST Robotics Challenge/FIRST LEGO League/etc. It's a wonderful set of programs; I coach at a couple of levels and the impact on kids is terrific."

- twomanynotes

Bonsai

Back in the day there was a site called bonsai kitten claiming to sell real kittens grown in glass jars. It was a hoax website but people actually believed it. I was probably 11 or 12 so I totally bought into it too. The internet was new-ish and people were more gullible back then.

- MissSangwitch


I was around that age also and it really screwed me up for a long time. I had watched documentaries on those ladies who wore shoes too small and their feet never developed correctly and molded/grew into the shape of the tiny shoe...so to my child brain the bonsai kitten idea made sense.

- hfuga

Hermione 

Just after the first Harry Potter film was made there was a creepy website with photos of Hermione's face VERY BADLY photoshopped onto various "sexy" celebs bodies. There was no nudity but it was still creepy, especially as he had a countdown clock until Hermione was "legal".

The mystery, I suppose, is whether the person who made the site was a "for real" weirdo or if it was some weird sort of parody/satire. I never saw the site again so don't know how it progressed in later years, and you'd never find it now without getting yourself on some sort of list.

- hitonatsu-no-keiken

Leprechaun

The leprechaun sighting in Crichton.

I want to know if an entire neighborhood came together to fake it, if something was in the water, a real leprechaun was seen, but most importantly, I want to know where the gold at.

- JudgementalChair

I live in Mobile, and it was just a crackhead. But other people picked it up and ran with it because they thought it was funny. There's a really great Irish Bar here that puts the sketch of the leprechaun on it's St. Patrick's Day t shirts.

- endorrawitch

I'm a native of Mobile, Al and still live here. We still talk about this event and every year celebrate its anniversary! We love it! There's t-shirts of the composite sketch available. My sister and her husband put the damn leprechaun on their wedding koozies (beer huggers, whatever they're called)!

Crichton is a low-income neighborhood in Mobile and is known be riddled with drugs. Buncha sketchy things go down there but damn if they didn't put us on the map!

Pretty sure it was a hoax but it's a classic.

- kellephant

Early Worm

Who wrote SQL Slammer, an early internet worm. I work in cybersecurity; I remember at the time it was released it was crazy the damage it did: took down 90% of all infectable hosts within 10 minutes or so. Many believe it was an early cyberweapon test. If you get into the technical details of the thing it's wild: so crazy efficient it's entire source code sat in a single packet.

- best_ghost

When the SQL Slammer worm hit my workplace, it was like 5:00 AM after our yearly holiday party. Someone else got paged first, came in and decided to page me. I tried to log in remotely, but all the network links were so saturated I couldn't really troubleshoot anything. The guy that paged me neglected to tell me that there was a worm on the loose, so I just threw on shoes and a jacket, not changing out of my PJs and headed to the office.

I got into the office and was able to console into my devices and saw that every link coming out of the server farm was at 100%. I asked the other guys what was going on, and then they told me about SQL Slammer.

I called my boss and told him to stop by McDonalds and buy $40 worth of breakfast sandwiches, because we were about to have a lot of hungry and hungover people at work. The moron shows up with 4 sandwiches, one of which he ate. Once he realized the scope of the problem, he turned around and got another 40-50 of them.

I ended up spending 15 hours sitting in the datacenter in my pajamas. Fun day.

- arnie_apesacrappin

The Dashcam Vid

Back when I was a teenager, I had just heard about 4chan from my brother. So I would browse different stuff on the site. One day, I came across a video that looked to be someone's dash cam on a highway. It wasn't great quality as this was sometime before 2010. You could see people passing on the other side and it was dark. You could only see what was illuminated by the headlights. After a few seconds of driving you see a girl crawling on her hands and knees across the road and it ends right before she is hit. I THINK she may look up, but I'm not sure. I kept replaying it because I wasnt sure what to think about it. I hadn't really seen anything like it at that point in my life. I have looked EVERYWHERE to see if I could find the video or get a follow up on what happened to the girl. I wanted to know if it was real. I have never been able to find the video or anything about it since.

- Mjw95

Infected

Giphy

Does anyone else remember something similar to what I'm about to describe?

You accessed it from google. You could choose to be either a vampire or a werewolf. Then you emailed others your URL link. If they went to it, you got another number in your "infected" count.

I remember this from around 2003-2008

- Flaky_Armadillo

Text

I used to love all of the text files from all over the place in the late 90s and early 00s. Does anyone have or know of an archive of them? Most of the sites don't exist anymore. Even if they did, I don't even remember what all of the sites were called, or what the majority of the texts were called. This makes the internet archive hard to find these things in.

A couple of good examples:

"Soap Opera" a hilarious journal style narrative of one man's battle with hotel housekeeping over their daily soap resupply during an extended stay.

"The Other People" credited to Oberon Zell. It is a conversation style explanation of why the author is not subject to the laws and oversight of the Christian God because his ancestry does not come from Adam and Eve, but from the other people in the east.

- StockTraitor

Nazi Tunnels

Oh man. There was a thread on PistonHeads (UK Car forum) about a guy who found a nazi tunnel in his back garden. The thread was like 400 pages long with updates and hiring diggers and everything.

Last I read he was going to excavate it and turn it into a garage. Wonder what happened...

- flabbergash

Pink Floyd

Publius Enigma

So I was a massive Pink Floyd fan and there was a cryptic series of riddles on alt.music.pink-floyd that had some sort of mystery that needed solving.

At first I was super skeptical, but then to provide proof it was all real there was in block letters in the lights at one of the concerts ENIGMA PUBLIUS at a specified time. I remember our dorm trying to solve the issue and devolving into drinking but it was a big deal at the time. Then Penet got closed down and that stopped the messages.

The riddle was never answered and seems to be forgotten now.

- CompletelyFlammable

Looney Tunes

Giphy

I kept trying to go to the looney tunes website once, but it kept directing me to a website with a wall of text and picture of a naked with woman with her nipples covered with tiny stars.

I wasn't old enough to understand the sexual nature of the picture, I just wanted to go to the looney tunes website. I remember bringing my dad into the room to try and help me.

I have no idea what I was doing wrong to be redirected to that website instead of the looney tunes website.

- hafuhafu

Ninjas And Credit Card Fraud

Ninja burger. Supposedly you order a burger from this website and wherever you are, a ninja shows up and breaks into your house to deliver this burger without being seen. Never ordered it but always wondered what would actually happen...probably credit card fraud lol

- left-lung-lingula

You May Also Like
Hi friend— subscribe to my mailing list to get inbox updates of news, funnies, and sweepstakes.
—George Takei