In today’s digital culture, we may often think of the internet as the place where mysteries go to get answered. After all, thanks to the world wide web, every obscure fact you’d ever want to know is now seemingly a few clicks away. But there’s a more mysterious and often darker side to the internet as well, one that presents us with just as many questions as it does answers. The internet might hold vast swathes of helpful information, but it’s also home to deceptive sites, hidden forums, eerie creations, hackers, and a whole plethora of weird and sometimes wonderful things. And that’s without even considering everything hidden in the deep web and dark web.
Over the years, the internet has stumped users with many puzzles, enigmas, and anomalies. Many, such as the mystery behind “Webdriver Torso,” have been uncovered. Here though, we’ll be exploring ten mysteries from the internet that all remain unsolved, from trivial but intriguing puzzles to mass cyber-hacking operations.
10 Publius Enigma
Beginning in June 1994, Publius Enigma may have been one of the first internet puzzles ever to take fruition. But, despite some information having surfaced regarding its origin, there have been no confirmed reports of a solution. Nor is anyone quite sure whether it’s solvable or if there’s even an actual puzzle there.
The puzzle began on a Pink Floyd fan site where a user going by the name Publius Enigma told fans there was a secret message in the Pink Floyd album Division Bell. The user informed fans that a unique prize awaited them if they worked together to solve the puzzle. Over the next few years, fans began to discuss and theorize about the enigma. However, some were skeptical of the whole thing; what was there to say that this wasn’t some random fan playing with them? Publius promised to prove that the entire thing wasn’t some hoax and told fans to keep an eye out during the band’s gig at the Giant’s stadium. Sure enough, during this concert, the words “Enigma” and “Publius” briefly appeared on screen.
It all certainly sounded like experimental marketing, and according to the band, their record label was behind it all. But that hasn’t stopped fans wondering if there is some hidden enigma on Division Bell still waiting to be solved, with many videos and websites still trying to piece the whole thing together.
9 Lake City Quiet Pills
Okay, so there’s a somewhat convoluted conspiracy theory related to this one, but the enigma that is “Lake City Quiet Pills” nonetheless remains an intriguing mystery and rabbit hole. The story begins with a Reddit user named ReligionOfPeace, who expressed an interest in, and apparent knowledge of assassinations and a liking of the phrase “Lake City Quiet Pills.” Around 14 hours after his last post on the site, another user named 2-6 posted news of ReligionOfPeace’s death, explaining that the two had met in the army years prior and that ReligionOfPeace’s real name was Milo.
Things got interesting when Reddit users linked this profile to a user from another site going by AngelTwoSix, whose email led them to a website named lakecityquietpill.com. On this site (which no longer exists), buried under pages of pornographic material, Redditors discovered a hidden forum. Sure enough, on this forum was a user named Angel discussing Milo’s death and that he had bricked (made useless) his “IronKey” (an encrypted flash drive). Also on this forum were dubious job postings, which some believed may have been linked to illegal activity.
Some went so far as to link one of these job postings to the 2010 assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh (a Hamas leader). That would certainly be a stretch. Still, it’s hard not to imagine that any business going on in a private forum of a pornographic site could only be shady. But with no new evidence, the truth will likely never be known.
8 Who Was Behind Jack Froese’s Emails?
When you think of stories of people communicating from beyond the grave, you probably picture seances, Ouija boards, or plates flying across the kitchen. But when Jack Froese died unexpectedly at the age of 32, his family and friends were equally shocked and comforted when it appeared that he was communicating with them through his email address.
It certainly sounds like the work of a troll or hacker, but whoever was behind the email seemed to know intimate details regarding his friends and family. Jack’s best friend, Tim Hart, was contacted first, with an email telling him to clean his attic. According to Tim, before Jack died, they had been alone together in Tim’s attic, discussing what to do with the space. Meanwhile, a week after he broke his ankle, Jack’s cousin received a message that read, “I knew you were going to break your ankle, tried to warn you, gotta be careful.”
Whoever or whatever was behind the emails, it seems that Jack’s family found solace in them with Tim Hart commenting that “If somebody’s joking around, I don’t care because I take it whatever way I want.”
7 Who Is Chip Chan?
When internet users found a strange webcam showing a still figure draped in a blanket lying on the floor, some speculated that they were looking at a corpse. As it would turn out, though, they were not watching a lifeless figure but a reclusive South Korean woman. This woman would become known to them as “Chip-Chan.” Nobody knew who this person was or why she was filming herself, but people soon became hooked watching her day-to-day activities.
Observers soon noted that Chip Chan rarely left the house and only in disguise, sometimes slept for 20 hours at a time, and communicated through strange ramblings she scrawled across boards. When users tracked down a blog believed to have been written by Chip Chan herself, things only got weirder. Chip Chan claimed that a corrupt policeman called “P” had microchipped her and that this was the cause of her many hours of sleep.
Mental illness seems the most probable cause here, and it seems that police in Seoul are aware of Chip Chan and her condition. It’s also worth noting that Chip Chan’s activity online appears to have slowed down in recent years. But many questions regarding this unsettling case remain. Where is Chip Chan’s family? What is her real name, and how did she become such a recluse? Is there any truth to this “P”? As things stand, it seems we may never know the truth.
6 The Administrator Behind Valor por Tamaulipas
Some mysteries are best left unsolved. Such is certainly true when it comes to the identity of the original administrator behind the Facebook page Valor por Tamaulipas. The page provides security updates in the northern Mexico state of Tamaulipas relating to roadblocks, shootouts, and other drug-cartel-related violence. Not only a noble cause but also in a country where journalist assassinations are common, a courageous one.
Inevitably, the page would attract unwanted attention from alleged criminals. Soon after the page’s launch, thousands of fliers began appearing around Tamaulipas, offering 600,000 pesos (around $47,000) for any information that would lead to the capture of the person behind the page or their family. Thankfully, both the administrator and their family have remained a mystery.
5 Unfavorable Semicircle
In 2015, a YouTuber going by the name of “Unfavorable Semicircle” uploaded the first of many strange and unexplained videos. The video was only 4 seconds long, featured no audio, and contained nothing but a small black hole on a static brown background. Over the next year, the user would become one of the sites most prolific, posting some 72,000 videos, each as weird as the last.
At first, it seemed difficult not to draw comparisons with another mysterious YouTube channel, Webdriver Torso, which turned out to be nothing more than a testing channel. But there was something more inertly eerier about these videos, and Redditors soon began noticing strange anomalies buried within the channel’s immense back catalog. Distant screams, high pitch squeals, videos that featured nothing but hours of silence, a peculiar recurring voice: nothing suggested another testing page.
Speculation soon became rife, and Redditors began collecting a database of the videos. But just as the mainstream media began to notice, YouTube shut the channel down.
4 The Internet’s Most Mysterious Song
We’ve all had that moment where the name of a song or a band is on the tip of our tongue, but we can’t quite place it. Usually, the answer is just a quick Google search away. But when a man going by the name Darius tried to find the name of a track on an old cassette, he continually came up empty. So Darius’s sister, Lydia, took the search further and posted the song onto the internet. Soon, thousands of music enthusiasts from across the web banded together to track down its origin. But to date, no one has figured out who was behind the song or any tangible information concerning its origin.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of “The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet” is how eerily familiar it sounds. With its monotone vocals and new wave riffs, you could imagine it playing in an early ’80s club. Some would even suggest that it was an early Depeche Mode or Joy division demo (it isn’t). For now, Darius and Lydia’s hunt continues. But perhaps, though, in a world where seemingly all music ever made is a few clicks away, a little mystery and obscurity is something to be treasured.
3 Who Was Behind Ghostnet?
Ghostnet was the name given to a large-scale cyber spying operation uncovered in 2009. Infiltrating over 1,000 computers across 103 countries, Ghostnet has been described as one of the most extensive operations of its kind ever uncovered. Yet, no one knows for sure who was behind the operation.
The cyber-attacks were simple but highly effective. Emails bearing attachments or links were sent out to targeted individuals and organizations. By opening these files, users would unknowingly download a virus that granted hackers full access to their computers. Not only did this mean hackers could read, send, and move data, but they could turn on microphones and cameras as well.
Since the network originated within China, the Chinese government might be considered suspect no.1, though they have denied involvement. However, the answer may not be clear-cut, with Chinese patriots, Russians, and even the CIA all named potential suspects.
2 The Identity of Bitcoin’s Founder
Launched back on January 3rd, 2009, Bitcoin has become one of the most prominent and successful cryptocurrencies in the world, surpassing $1 trillion in market value back in 2021. Remarkably, however, next to nothing is known regarding Bitcoin’s founder, the enigma known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Moreover, no one’s even entirely sure if Satoshi is any one person or a collective.
Satoshi first appeared online in 2008, writing a paper entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” In the following months and years, Satoshi would not only create the cryptocurrency but also become one of its most prominent “miners” and advocates. Then he disappeared in 2011 after emailing a Bitcoin core developer that he had “moved on to other things.” Since then, speculation has been rife regarding Satoshi’s identity, with Australian scientist Craig Wight and Bit Gold (a precursor to Bitcoin) founder Nick Szabo identified as prime candidates. Whoever or whatever Satoshi is, they are still believed to hold a large amount of bitcoin, effectively making them a billionaire.
1 Cicada 3301
Back in 2012, an image appeared on the internet forum site 4chan. The image, which seemed to be nothing more than white text on a black background, read: “Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us.” What would follow would be a series of elaborate and challenging scavenger hunts that inspired IT experts worldwide.
Over the next few years, the group that would come to be known as Cicada 3301 continued to post elaborate puzzles that baffled all but a small few. These puzzles often required advanced code-breaking skills and esoteric knowledge of medieval texts and Mayan numerology. Although a few did manage to complete these puzzles, no one has been able to verify their purpose. Some have speculated that the puzzles were part of some elaborate recruitment scheme for MI5 or the CIA. Others have suggested that some cyber mercenary group or other shadowy organization is behind the whole thing. Then again, it might just be a well-crafted ARG (alternative reality game).