Otis Eugene Ray created the Time Cube website in 1997 and the Internet has had a collective fascination with it ever since. Ray’s bizarre blend of incoherent rambling, ill-informed pejoratives and profanity-laced philosophical waxings satisfied the amassed cravings of the Internet for the mysterious and unusual.
But the well of strangeness runs deep on the Web, and the further your dive, the darker the waters become. Beneath Time Cube — the surface-level of Internet eccentricity — are a host of other obscure and furtive sites. In the immediate vicinity of Ray’s creation, we have the website of Hollywood actor Jim Carrey.
Certainly not hidden, Carrey’s site caters more to those hungering for the curious and inexplicable. Like a living Salvador Dali painting, Carrey’s website bombards its visitors with a series of surreal tableaus. From a tongue-in-cheek recreation of Michaelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” to apocalyptic landscapes overrun with hordes of inappropriately-sized creatures, Carrey’s site harnesses the power of the bizarre and uses it to promote his unique brand of humor.
Further below the surface, however, lie even more unusual — and enigmatic — creatures. Like the fang-toothed angler fish that dwell in the ocean’s depths, so do the most mystifying websites often find themselves relegated to less accessible areas of the Internet. Poorly indexed on Google and largely disseminated by word of mouth, the existence of these sites is like the white whale of Melville’s Moby Dick, they are expressed in whispers amongst the like-minded and rarely believed in until they are witnessed.
On this list we have gathered a collection of six such creatures. From the depths of the Internet, we have dredged up the remains of an untold secret perpetually trapped upon the lips of its unknown author. We have brought ashore the perplexing remnants of a long lost bridal shop theology. Here, we examine six inexplicably weird websites.
After a brief teaser that promises, “a secret so big it will shock the world,” visitors to The Biggest Secret of the Internet are presented with the world’s easiest puzzle. Faced with an apparent “dead end” that displays only a single image depicting a row of drab bricks, interrupted by a single golden brick, visitors are rewarded — in this case, a term used very loosely — after clicking on the golden brick.
In the most recent update, the site’s author — identified as Sarah P. Kirkmeyer — uploaded an “exclusive clip” that is in some way related to her closely-guarded secret. The video hits all the usual conspiracy theory high notes: Osama Bin Laden, the antichrist, Freemasons, the Kennedy assassination, nuclear proliferation and — for some reason — flash drives. However, with no updates since 2009, patrons of The Biggest Secret have been waiting five years for the site’s author to reveal what she hails as a secret that will, “[change the life] of millions of people around the globe.”
The author of HYBRID, referring to himself only as “C#,” claims that the game — a pen-and-paper roleplaying game — is unparalleled in its ability to model physical reality. Originating on Usenet, C’s compilation of rules, exceptions and equations has been updated every day — sometimes multiple times per day — for years. Presented as a series of blog posts, the rules are an intricate web of vitriolic rants strung together and suspended within a nightmarish tangle of word salad.
The game’s newest iteration, version 6.78, became a necessity because of the, “inability of HYBRID 0.3 to properly represent the sharpness of Wolverine's claws.” With intuitive rules such as, “RULE # 22: ON HUMAN SCALE, MARTIAL ARTS EXPERT @ [4.(1D6)] C2 DP, WHERE (1D6) = GPA IN MARTIAL ARTS, WHERE 4.56789 C2 DP = EXPERT !” Hybrid has garnered reviews that point out that it is, “generally considered to be unmitigated nonsense.”
According to Alexa, John.com is registered to John Little of Cupertino, California. One of the Internet’s early pioneers, Little founded Portal Software, Inc., a company that grew to become one of America’s first Internet service providers. With John.com, however, Little’s — if the site does, indeed, belong to him — intentions are less than clear.
Displaying a matrix of twelve stock photographs — hats, footwear, tools, vehicles and animals — John.com directs users to enter an “Access Code” whenever an image is clicked. Examination of the site’s source code reveals that the site is set up to alert the owner whenever a successful login occurs.
With no successful login attempts to date, hypotheses range from the site being a recruitment program similar to Cicada 3301 to an obscure alternate reality game to an inexperienced web developer experimenting with AJAX implementation, though, the latter seems unlikely, considering the site is valued at a whopping $850,000.
A strange combination of vectors, garbled ASCII art and HTML, wwwwwwwww.jodi.org is the product of Jodi, the combined name of Internet artists Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans. Jodi.org, their Internet gallery, is host to a number of bizarre projects including a supposed map of the Web, a modification of the ZX Spectrum game Jet Set Willy and a site that purports to create fonts for major cities based on their Google Maps.
On the theoretical front, a number of explanations for the purpose of Jodi.org have been proffered. Some visitors have noticed that a handful of the ASCII illustrations resemble outdated nuclear weapons technology. Others have voiced suspicions that the site operates as a government front for unspecified nefarious activities. Either way, with the material’s disjointed presentation and puzzling array of subjects, the site — reportedly created in the mid-1990s — has been equally accused of being “stuck in the years of when the cold war was at its’ [sic] best” and celebrated as a shining example of Internet art.
Upping the creep factor, Shaye Saint John is a character who was apparently created by deceased punk artist Eric Fournier. Donning a rigid two-piece mask, a bird’s nest wig and a seemingly endless number of ratty, shopworn dresses, Shaye Saint John starred in one of the weirdest collections of YouTube videos ever created.
According to Internet legend — and her “official” DVD — “Shaye was once a supermodel until a horrific car accident grotesquely disfigured her. In distress, she created a new body for herself made out of old mannequin parts.” Throughout her videos, Shaye suffers from unpredictable bouts of telekinesis, coins a number of catchphrases that could best be described as “not worth repeating,” and interacts with her best friend, Kiki, a disfigured doll who appears to live in a wicker basket.
Located in the heart of Panama City, Yvette’s Bridal Formal is a legitimate business that had one of the strangest websites ever created. Viewed through the nostalgic lens of the Wayback Machine, Yvette’s site is like a macabre game of pin the tail on the donkey. With a myriad of links — all presented in clashing, garish colors — overlaying and adjoining one another it’s impossible to know where, exactly, you will wind up. As such, navigating the site often proves problematic and is eventually effected by fully submitting oneself to chance or clicking links based on arbitrarily defined criteria such as color, font or sound.
Rumored to have been created by a relative of the shop’s owner, the webmaster — self-proclaimed “World Famous Artist Sean Terrence Best” — uses the commercial site as a platform to espouse his philosophies, shill his art and promote a mysterious religion that he has coined and dubbed, “V8+.”