Internet Mysteries

Can you solve these internet puzzles?

By Henry Luo

The internet is a peculiar place, full of curious findings and intriguing riddles. There are many mysteries out there that can hook your curiosity and make your brain go on hyperdrive.  

We’ll start with a lighter one: the Geedis and the Land of Ta. This little mystery began on June 21, 2017, when comedian Nate Fernald posted this image on Twitter. 

Ok? Not a big deal, right? It’s just an old pin somebody found. They could be joking around with their friends.

Ok…so Fernald somehow found four identical pins. Nothing too out of place; he probably won’t have a box of them somewhere- 

Fernald starts to amass a large amount of Geedis pins. They are ready for purchase, but no sellers seem to know from where they came. What on earth is a Geedis? On August 1, someone replied to Fernald’s post claiming to have found something related. 

Some internet mystery solvers decided to take on the challenge, trying to find the pins’ origin. The Land of Ta—which could include video games, board games, cartoons, or book series—is being searched. But since this is the internet, many people claim that they remember the Geedis. Some started citing the Mandela Effect: false memories possibly from people slipping between different timelines in parallel dimensions or realities. However, the mystery remains to this day. 

Now let’s take a look at a more interactive internet mystery: Cicada 3301. This mystery started on January 4, 2012, on Reddit when a simple message appeared: 

“Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in the image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few who will make it all the way through. Good luck.”

It was signed “3301”. The group that claimed to be behind this was called Cicada 3301 because of their logo. 

The message led to a series of puzzles, each harder than the previous. The first few were solvable by individuals who had mild knowledge of coding and wordplay. Let’s take the first clue, for example, which included the line “TIBERIVS CLAVDIVS CAESAR says lxxt>33m2mqkyv2gsq3q=w]O2ntk.” One could use a cipher to crack the message, leading to a website that had this image. 

With some cracking, one would realize that one needs to implement a stenography program with this image. However, as participants fell deeper into the rabbit hole, the puzzles started to get less obvious. One clue included the need to go to a collection of poems of medieval Welsh manuscripts. At one point, the game moved to the real world, as code breakers would follow provided GPS coordinates. They found themselves in Poland, South Korea, the west coast of the USA, Australia, or Hawaii, looking for a lamppost with a QR code and Cicada 3301’s logo. 

The Cicada 3301 game made its last appearance in 2017.

Internet mysteries like the two above are not as rare as one might have expected. Even now, there are many other mysteries for people to crack, such as The Plague Doctor Video and other similar riddles. You can find many clues or starting points on the internet just by typing in the name of the internet mystery or searching up “current internet mysteries.” However, one must be cautious of where they go, for wherever the mystery leads, more will follow.

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