I’ll assume you all know about the deep web. Well, what you’ve heard is true, it’s not a great place. While some people are there to score weed or firearms, or even out of sheer curiosity, others… well they’re obviously not up to anything good. But I’m not here to talk about those sickos. I’m here to talk about what lies beyond that point. The more cryptic and unexplainable part of the internet. The part that nobody’s really supposed to see.
There was an info-graphic that cropped up a while ago. Not sure when. “The 8 levels of the internet”. Maybe you’ve seen it. As interesting as it was, it’s complete bunk. I’m sorry, but “Polymeric Falcigohl Derivation” means nothing. And the “Primarch system”? I guess somebody’s a fan of Warhammer. No, there’s no quantum mechanics involved here. However, that doesn’t mean it was an easy place to find.
Now, I’m not going to begin to tell you how to get here. It’s unlikely that’d you be able to, even if I did. I’m not tooting my own horn here, I just didn’t have a life outside of this. I was warned, of course. Everybody told me I wasn’t going to like what I saw. That I wouldn’t even understand it. Now I’m passing off that warning to you. Don’t try to look for this.
There’s no official name for this place, or at least I haven’t seen one. There were rumors, however. These ranged from an illuminati chat room to a virtual holding cell for an experimental AI gone rogue. In reality, it’s a lot worse. After a long and painful process of breaking down firewalls, encryptions, solving bizarre philosophical riddles, and following hidden links, I was finally directed to a blank page with one line of text and a text-box underneath. “Quid quaeris?” Latin for “What do you seek?” I remember feeling surprised. But in retrospect, I didn’t know what I was expecting. I’ll admit, I was a bit stumped here. Partly because I didn’t know the answer to that question. I had no objective, I just wanted to see if I could do it. I tried some generic answers at first. I typed in “the truth” and “enlightenment”. You know, matrix shit. Nothing happened. I tried a bunch of answers, but none of them worked. I was getting frustrated at this point. Maybe this was a gag page. Maybe I really hadn’t figured anything out. If only.
I tried something off the wall. Not sure how this came to me or why I thought it would work, but I typed in “what also seeks me”. Now that I think about it, this thing might have been an AI. To my surprise, the page went blank. Like fully blank. I waited. After about five minutes, I was directed to what looked like a forum. No, not even that. It was more basic. Just a list of links over a brownish-yellow background. The links themselves were indecipherable. Just seemingly random sequences of characters, symbols and letters. A lot of them I had never seen before. It almost looked like an alien language. Obviously, just a code I didn’t understand. At this point, expectations were off the wall. Each link was a shot in the dark. I clicked on the first one. It loaded up a live-feed of what seemed to be the Paris catacombs. I watched for a while, but it was ultimately uneventful.
I moved on to the next link. It was a shaky video in a dark setting. But I could make out men in tactical gear. They were in a house, opening doors and sweeping each room. Eventually, they kicked one down to reveal a creature. Tall and humanoid, with scaly skin. It was gnawing on a dismembered arm. They tried shooting at it, but it escaped out the window. The video stopped there. Well, I was floored. What the hell was this? It looked too real to be unreleased film footage. I was officially intrigued. Maybe this was worth the months of headaches and bloodshot eyes after all. I couldn’t stop now. I started working down the list of links. With each click, everything got more and more bizarre. More disturbing. I stumbled upon a document called “The Paragon project”, detailing trials of human experimentation that would lead to superhuman levels of strength and durability. It was an apparent success. Looked official too.
There were essays on space-time anomalies, glitches in reality, and apparent pictures of alternate dimensions. There were detailed explanations regarding Area 51, the Bermuda triangle, assassinations, disappearances, and the true nature of the Holy Grail. One of the more upsetting ones was a document referring to a “world-ending bomb”. A nuke that’s 720,000 times stronger than the one dropped on Hiroshima. I don’t want to know why we would need that. I found contingency plans for different kinds of Apocalypses – nuclear winter, biological weapons, viral outbreak. Some more peculiar ones were called “The Marianas Trench abnormality”, the bluntly labeled “Strange man on the fifteenth floor”, and one simply referred to as “Blackout”. Recovered logs of skin-walker hunting expeditions, 911 transcripts from residents of a town in Texas that went missing in 1977 and even the journals that belonged to the people involved in the Dyatlov pass incident. They didn’t go insane because of the snow.
I spent hours on there, looking through pages and pages of things I felt like I wasn’t supposed to see. I came across a trailer to a silent film made back in 1910. One that apparently made people claw their eyes out after watching that nearly derailed the whole industry. There was a live stream of a hooded man sitting in front of a camera, head crouched down. He eventually lifted his head. Even though he had no mouth, a deep, guttural, “Hello” came through my speakers. Somehow, I knew it came from him. I didn’t stick around for that. There were obscure sets of step-by-step guides that involved things like cutting off your own limbs and sewing on a corpse’s, performing religious incantations in the middle of the Siberian forest and going to coordinates that apparently housed captive fallen angels. It was unclear what any of these were supposed to achieve. There was also a 20 second long clip titled “The futility of the living”. I didn’t watch it. That’s when I realized there was no way even the highest form of organized government had full control of this. One of the scariest things about this whole experience was that I didn’t find an end to the list. No matter far I scrolled down.
I think I had a meltdown and passed out eventually, because I woke up on my floor in the middle of the night. I looked at my computer screen to see looped helicopter footage of a massive, crab-like creature tearing apart a coastal island. I clicked off of it. I just sat there for the longest time. I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing, and I don’t think I really wanted to. Now, I’m not really sure why I kept going. My brain was screaming for me to take my computer out to the lawn and smash it into pieces. But I didn’t. I noticed something I hadn’t before. A small message at the bottom left hand corner of the screen. I don’t know if it was always there or not. It was hard to read so I had to squint. More Latin. Translated into “Are you satisfied?” There were two options underneath it, yes and no.
Now, I knew the answer to this question. Hell no I wasn’t satisfied. I was horrified, scarred for life. But I should have clicked on yes. If I just clicked on yes it would have taken me out of that godforsaken place. Back to comfort and sanity. Even right now, I can’t tell you why I clicked on no. But once I did, the page seemed to refresh. It was still the same basic setup, except there were only four links. This time, there were no recognizable numbers or characters. Hell, it didn’t look like anything that could have come from this world. Just a collection of extremely crude symbols that didn’t give off any sense of pattern or direction. I clicked on the first link.
After about 20 seconds, I slammed my computer shut. I can’t describe to you what I saw. All I know is that I wasn’t supposed to see it. NOBODY should ever see something like this. It’s not only that it didn’t make any sense, I can’t tell you why it didn’t. I couldn’t begin to grasp the images I was seeing. It wasn’t graphic or anything, not like that. I just couldn’t recognize anything. I could make out things moving, but not in a way any creature on earth has ever moved before. Colors that I’d never seen before. Just thinking about it gives me a splitting headache. This is my best attempt at visualizing it. We have 3 dimensions here on earth. We can move forwards, backwards, left, right, 72.4 degrees southwest etc. These things weren’t restricted to that. I can’t explain it any further. All I know is that I didn’t want to watch one more second. I don’t think I would have been able to.
I left my room. For the first time in a while, I was planning to leave my house. I needed fresh air. To take a walk or something. Hell, I was thinking about running a marathon in the middle of the night just to get my mind off of that shit for a few hours. I was putting on my jacket when I heard a knock at the door. I stopped dead in my tracks. Obviously, I wasn’t opening up. About a minute and five more sets of knocks came before somebody spoke up. “Open up. We know what you did, but we’re not here to hurt you. We just want to talk”. The tone wasn’t threatening. Eventually, I obliged. I opened up my door to two tall, slim men in suits. They smiled at me. “Can we come in?” I still don’t know how they found me. I thought for sure that I was off the grid.
We sat down on the couch. I guess I was just waiting for answers at this point. One of them looked at me and said “What were you looking for?” “I don’t know. But I’m not going back”, I responded. He smiled again. Like this is what he wanted to hear. The other one piped up: “Who do you work for?” His tone was a bit more aggressive. I just shook my head. “Look, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I wasn’t looking for anything.” They just stared at me for a while. “I’m not gonna tell anybody. Trust me”. They finally responded: “We’re not worried about that. Doubt anybody’d believe you.” Another smile. Somehow it felt genuine. “We just wanted to know what your priorities were.” In retrospect, that was a very strange question. “Just do us favor and we’ll leave”. I perked up. “Give us the device you used to access it”. I didn’t ask any questions. I ran upstairs and basically tossed them my laptop. They both smirked at me one last time before heading for the door. Just as they were about to leave, one of them turned back. “I don’t think you need to be told, but don’t try this again. And don’t show anybody else how to get there either. We’ll know.” I didn’t ask who they were. I’m not sure I would have wanted to know.
It’s been a week now. I don’t go on the internet so much anymore. After this, I’m going to try and forget. To try and not to think about it anymore. I’ve started having horrific nightmares. Been seeing a therapist for that, but I don’t think it’s helping. Anyways, I’m not going to let this consume the rest of my life. The thing is, I’m afraid this might not be possible. There are some things we aren’t supposed to know about. Probably for our own safety and sanity. Don’t try and seek them out. It’s better that way. However… it might be a bit too late for me.