The web that you surf includes all the legit stuff that is linked to Google and other conventional search engines. But, there are other places on the web – deep, dark places – that hide themselves from Google. The dark web, sometimes called the deep web, is anonymous, unfettered, and beyond the reach of international law, at least some of the time. That's made it the home of notorious sites like The Silk Road, where you could buy anything from guns to drugs, and more drugs – until the FBI shut it down in 2013 and sent its owner, Ross William Ulbricht, to life in prison. Staff tried a reboot, but Silk Road 2 was shut down in 2014.
Naturally, replacements like Agoradrugs have popped up – there's always a will where there is money to be made. The most common browser on the dark web is called TOR, or The Onion Routing project, and it was actually a project developed by the US Naval Research Laboratory for clandestine communications. The Hidden Wiki is where to find link to sites on the dark web, and bitcoins is how you pay for your purchases.
Criminals aren't the only ones using the dark web. In oppressive countries where internet access is blocked, it's a place where activists can communicate freely. In fact, it's where the media first found out about the Arab Spring and other activist movements.
Many of the stories that come from the dark web come from Reddit users who've explored and recorded their experiences. Here's a look at some of the weird and wonderful things found on the darker side of the net.
15 Recipes For Human Flesh
The dark web has answers to those questions you just can't ask anywhere else. For instance, if you're a budding Hannibal Lector, how do you start out? Turns out there's plenty of good advice on how to be a horrible human being, including if your tastes run to human flesh. Maybe the whole thing boils down (pun intended) to someone who just watched too many episodes of Criminal Minds – that would be the best case scenario here – but one of the creepiest in a serial killer kind of way things found on the deep web has to be a detailed guide to cooking women. The guide was quite comprehensive, apparently, and went into really sick details like how to butcher them, what cuts to use according to body type. There were even provisions for how to make her live the longest. A variation on this was the Cannibal Cafe forum. Here, people would advertise their own flesh to eat and arrange cook ups (hahaha) online.
14 DIY Vasectomy
Some things are illegal for a reason. A very, very good reason. The dark web and places like Silk Road and its more recent successors have naturally become a marketplace for all kinds of goods, especially the illicit variety. But, that doesn't always translate to drugs and weapons. Sometimes, it's about gaining access to things that, quite frankly, really should be left up to the professionals. A site that sells DIY vasectomy kits is a case in point. A Reddit user described it as "a kit of weird dentist tool looking hooks and some tube thing" and that's about as close as we want to get to imagining the device and exactly how it worked. Hooks? Dentist tools? The price was reportedly a very reasonable $20.00, but seriously. There are better ways of saving money.
13 Sad Satan
An indie game called Sad Satan sounds a little silly, probably satirical, maybe even funny, right? Not a chance. This is the dark web, bitches. Back in 2015, the owner of the Obscure Horror Corner, a Youtube channel where he tried out little known horror games, was sent a link to Sad Satan on the dark web. He played the game and recorded his findings. Much of it involves negotiating long, dark hallways in a maze. Occasionally, there are images that flash by, including one of notorious accused British child sex abuser Jimmy Savile with Margaret Thatcher, JFK just before he was assassinated — the usual creep show. Then children appeared in the game with the player, along with messages in wingdings that have been deciphered as statements like "I can track you, kill kill and kill again, and hail 666." Another section features Charles Manson talking over eerie images. The Obscure Horror guy ended up deleting the game because it was getting weirder and weirder, and kept making a notepad file with obscure messages pop up on his screen.
12 No Love Deep Web Scavenger Hunt
No Love Deep Web was an album by U.S. group Death Grips. It was self released in 2013 by the band after a dispute with their record label. To help promote the CD, they ran an alternate reality game (ARG) that ran from August 12 to 16, 2012 and that was hosted on the TOR network. By playing the game, fans could get free single downloads. The game was a treasure hunt, and one Reddit fan related how one of the clues had been a video with a telephone booth, and when he identified it at a location in NYC, the band's rep told him to drive there and answer it at 3am. He drove to New York City in the middle of the night, and when the phone in the booth rang, someone called with yet another clue. The ARG reportedly failed somewhere along the way, but while it lasted, sounds like good, pointless fun.
11 Imaginative Drug Deliveries
It's taken for granted that a lot of users are on the dark web at any given time looking for drugs. Hell, you can buy raw opium and 99% pure cocaine, among many other options. And, in the unfettered world of the deep web, it's possible to be more creative than usual. One intrepid customer reported receiving a puzzling shipment of comic books. They were perfectly wrapped in plastic, and seemed to be mint copies of new releases...until he got to the last page, which he discovered was a whole sheet of LSD tabs. Another enterprising photographer got into the habit of scanning Silk Road for drug dealers with lousy looking product shots. He'd offer professional photography in exchange for samples, which he reported came in the form of buds and huge shards of crystal meth. But, all the fun and games can have a cost too. Another user told the tale of how his fraternity had done a business analysis and concluded they had the perfect spot to start a drug business, supplied by the dark web. In no time, they were subject to a massive armed raid by agents of ICE.
10 Wanna See Dead People?
There is apparently a site called Dead Girls, and the title is pretty self explanatory. There are zillions of shots of girls aged 5 to 16 who've died of various causes. And because that isn't messed up enough, writers at creepypasta.org – the site where you can submit your very own horror and paranormal stories – have come up with a series of stories that feature the website, all ending with the protagonist driven insane by the spirits of the dead girls. A cursed site? It does seem rather fitting. On a related note, there's another site called Child Spirits where you can use your bitcoins to bid on the spirits of dead children from abortions and miscarriages, with worldwide shipping from Thailand. Apparently, the going rate is about $120USD. We're not sure what you'd want one for, but you won't have to break the bank if you do.
9 Blow Your Mind...Or Not
You know how, sometimes you'll big $0.99 on some weird or possibly questionable gadget that's running out of time on eBay, just to see what it is? Sometimes people buy stuff on the dark web just to see what it is too, except the offerings are a little more diverse. One user reported buying an anonymous item that promised him a "mind-blowing" experience. When he got the package, it was a Dust Buster. Another intrepid dark web explorer found an entrepreneur selling a wish pill. The idea was, you buy it, take it, and your wishes will come true. A site called Black Ban is run by a woman who says she'll write whatever you like on her boobs. She's wearing a bra, we should add, so it's more cleavage writing than full-on boob writing. But, what we can see of her is pretty hot, and it's only $20.
Go problems with certain people that just won't go away? Even if you don't have any personal connections to the criminal underworld in your own home town, and you're hesitant to cross the border to hire a Mexican sicaro for a few hundred dollars, you can still hire a hitman to bump off your enemies on the dark web from sites like The Unfriendly Solution or C'thulhu Resume – but they don't come cheap. Hitmen services are popular on the dark web, with professionalism guaranteed and most offer pictures of hits that certainly look convincing as proof of their expertise. A hit on an ordinary civilian goes for about $45,000, with the fee jumping up to just under $200,000 for public figures. Separate rates are given for police, politicians, and even children. The fees are slightly less for maimings and cripplings, about the same for bombings and that old classic, making a person go missing without a trace.
7 Counterfeit World
Naturally, along with the drugs, the fanciful, and the plain weird stuff, the dark web is where you can find all kinds of fake goods too. Need a passport, but you just don't have all that pesky documentation? The Fake Documents Service site says they can manufacture passports and documentation from just about any country on earth, and that includes fake United States passports for about $1,000. Need a credit card but you don't have the credit, the identity, or anything else? Your bitcoins can buy the credentials and password to get a duplicate credit card of some mug who's been hacked. On a more mundane scale, you can grab some fake coupons for your fave grocery items. A site called Golden Lotus was busted by the feds – apparently all those 50-cent off coupons added up to a million dollars or more in fraud. There's even a site where you can download a template and guidelines for counterfeiting Gucci products.
6 Thievery To Order
One enterprising crook has a site on the dark web where he will steal items to order, as in, you tell him what you want stolen from where, and he gets it for you. He'll even send you a picture to prove that he got it. That's where it gets weird. Apparently, the service isn't really for people to actually acquire the items – it's mostly just for the satisfaction of seeing them stolen. The dude even has items for sale that he's surreptitiously acquired and that his clients didn't want. The dark web can be useful for stolen things that you actually want to keep as well. If $7.99 for your Netflix subscription seems a little too much, you can buy a stolen account for about a buck. You can also reportedly buy stolen Uber accounts, although Uber has denied any security breaches on their side. As with anything, it's buyer beware.
5 They See You
The whole 'raison d'etre' of the dark web is anonymity. You can surf the web without some big corporation (or the law) tracking your data and buying habits. But, as some deep web explorers have found out, doesn't meant no one is watching. Without Google to guide us, and other than online stores and weird forums, a lot of the dark web consists of single pages that people have put up with experiments and random thoughts. That's what one Redditor thought they'd found when they came across a server loaded with documents that seemed to be faxes dealing with the military, and notes on psychology. Then, a page popped up with the message "We See You" and the server went dark. Another user reported surfing on the web with TOR, then going out to eat at a restaurant. When he got back home and back online, he found a picture posted of him eating dinner that evening. Bigwiseguy55, another Reddit user, claims to have posted a comment on a video, only to have someone reply using his real name.
4 Need A New Job?
Looking for a new job? The dark web has that too if you look hard enough, but it's probably not worth your while if you're a high school drop out, or you have one of those great liberal arts degrees. In fact, it's probably not worth your while to look unless you possess skills of a very specialized kind. That, and a sense of mystery and adventure...and it probably helps if you have few family ties – certainly no girlfriend or boyfriend who's going to want to call you everyday. One Reddit user claims to have found a job listing that was looking for a nurse – specifically, with the credentials of an RN – along with actual combat experience. The deal was $255,000 for six months on board a ship, with no way of communicating with anyone for the entire period. Drug ship security/first aid detail? Pirates? Assisting a HYDRA operation? We can only guess.
3 Inexplicable Obsessions
In this libertarian paradise that is the dark web, people naturally go after their deepest, darkest desires... the kind that require the absolute anonymity of untraceable web surfing. You'd think. It turns out that at least some of the time, people use the dark web to indulge their eccentric obsessions. Take the train recordings forum, dedicated to the automated voices that inform us of the next stop on the train. That's right, people felt they needed anonymity to share and comment on recorded train messages, presumably from various trains. What would they talk about? We can only guess. Other odd gems from the dark web include a German entrepreneur selling pretzels — just lots, and lots, of pretzels — and another specializing in carrots. We're not sure why anyone would need to buy carrots or pretzels on the sly, but there may be a method to excessive niche selling. You'd have to assume tax evasion might be easier if there was no electronic trail to follow.
2 A Safe Space For Wizards
Wizard Talk Radio. Now, this wasn't a show for Washington's basketball fans, or even the New Age-y online radio show where you are supposed to access your inner wizard. If you're a wizard, you face some serious social stigmas. The general public just doesn't understand what you do, and even ordinary witches, who might get it, are jealous. It only stands to reason that they'd look for a safe space on the web far away from the prying eyes of mere mortals. For a time, there was a radio station on the dark web just for them. At Wizard Talk Radio, self identified wizards could get together and discuss the daily difficulties of wizard life. A Reddit user reported it, but then sadly couldn't find it when they went back for a second look. It's not the only radio station on the dark web, but others seem fairly conventional, like Radio Clandestina, that plays "music to go deep and make love".
1 DIY Explosives
If you want to destroy and blow stuff up in the real world, the dark web has a plethora of options. Black Market Reloaded was a site where you could buy all sorts of destruction. A Florida man went to prison for nine years for selling ricin, a highly toxic poison that can kill someone with a few grains. Need military grade weapons for your next incursion? There's more than one place on the dark web to score rocket launchers or a stinger missile or two. And, if you receive your tripod-mounted grenade launcher with automation package and it doesn't come with instructions, there's another site where you can find tutorials, including how to make your own bombs. If you get tired of all that big, showy stuff, there used to be a Chinese site where you could buy a pocket EMP generator – that's an electromagnetic pulse device that can fit into your pocket. Now, it was being marketed as something you could use to add credits to casino slot machines, but hey, you could disrupt cell phones and other electronic communications, shut down the neighbor's annoying classic rock radio station, and much more.