Internet Daredevil
Written By Ezio Bondi, Illustrated by Jane Mai

I

’ve always fashioned myself an Internet daredevil of sorts. Back in the day, I was one of the first kids on the block with AOL (Green Desktop Icon Edition) and I remember one of my first forays into the underbelly of the Internet being searching of The Jolly Roger’s cookbook on Webcrawler..

I really wanted to make a smoke bomb. Like, REALLY wanted to make a smoke bomb. But, I was too young to procure the strike anywhere matches the recipe called for, so I settled on stapling two sheets of A2 paper together, stuffing it with newspaper and match-books, I lit that baby up and smoked out the empty field across the street. A concerned neighbor pulled over in his car to ask if there was a fire. I assured him it was just a smoke bomb.

He drove away.

Lets flash-forward to the mid-2000s. I’m an older, seasoned Internet surfer and I’m fascinated with shit like bbxchange.net, a spot for HIV Gift Givers. Yes, you read that correctly.

After that, sites like 2girls1cup made it OK for regular internet folk to look at gross shit, and I found that there wasn’t any new territory I could cover; no thrills to be had.

Until I found out about Tor.

Without getting too technical, let me just say that Tor is this little Firefox add-on that you can run to access a network of sites that end in .onion. You can’t search for .onion sites via Google, so links have to essentially be given or sent to you or you have to search through other, non-traditional ways them out. I found out that Tor was actually invented by an offshoot of the CIA and, consequently, a lot of exit nodes on the Tor network are located near or around Langley, Virginia. This has a lot of people on the internet paranoid about their anonymity when using Tor.

I ended up finding a popular jump off point most people come to when they fuck with Tor--The Hidden Wiki. I tabbed out almost every page that wasn’t listed as dead on this thing (stayed away from the section labeled HARD CANDY, for obvious reasons). Here’s some shit I found:

The Silk Road:

A drug market! It’s actually a pretty tight operation that uses an escrow system to make sure buyers don’t get scammed. All Transactions are made using the virtual currency Bitcoin. The forums are pretty active and the “community” recently decided that the site should sell only drugs. You see, when it first started a couple of months ago there were vendors offering things like falsified identity documents, some guy from Russia was selling slaves and hand grenades (no one knows if this guy was a troll or not but he was totally ready to send out a free hand grenade sample). Another enterprising individual offered “frozen dog or cat meat”. Now, the coolest thing you can buy besides Mescaline-infused truffles is a pair of night vision goggles. Meh.

Assassination Market:

Cool idea. I went in here really thinking I was going to stumble into some serious Al Qaeda plotting that was going to require some liberal Google Translating. Instead, it’s mostly used as an email exchange where buyers and sellers can get in contact and discuss the fine details privately. One gentleman claims to be a former Army Special Forces Member. But he only kills people in Germany at a rate of $50,000. Some Russian chimed in to tell him his prices were too high-- in Russia it’s only $40,000 for someone’s life. Interesting.

Data Bay:

A place to buy and sell files. I found this little gem for sale that came with a kind warning:

ujahideen_poisonss.html, 37409 bytes

Warning: Be very careful when preparing poisons. It is much, much more dangerous than preparing explosives! I know several Mujahids whose bodies are finished due to poor protection etc.

The Secret Story Archive:

A very misleading website. Contains a bunch of erotic furry fanfics. Theres a whole section devoted to Lion King Fan Fiction. Here, read this:

But Scar discovered it was not what he thought when he felt his nephew’s paws grab him around the waist. He let out a roar of pain as he felt his newphew’s large erection forced deep into his virgin ass.

The Deep Web is pretty deep, I learned. It was difficult for me to get any deeper without actually having to e-mail or private message someone. I’m pretty sure somewhere there is a message board buzzing with Al Qaeda operatives, but I’ll never find it it my lifetime. Most of it though, is just a haven for pedos, drug addicts and dudes that want to bone lions.

Originally published in Spring 2011, Issue 5.2.