Over the last month I have observed a chilling and dangerous new YouTube "game," for lack of a better word, often referred to as the Dark Web Challenge, where video creators are spending stupid amounts of money to purchase a "mystery box" from unknown sources on what is called the "Dark Web", filled with creepy, strange and in some cases very ominous items.
The Dark Web is a part of the internet that cannot be accessed through most browsers and requires a special type of software, such as the TOR browser, to search through. The type of services that can be found on the Dark Web includes everything from purchasing illegal drugs and weapons, to pedophile groups, terrorists, sex traffickers, child pornography, and other criminal activities, and even has a crowd funded "Assasination Market," all using the Dark Web to keep their activities secret.
Now the whole concept of spending hard earned money on a mystery box, without even knowing what is inside, is not new, as people have been getting them from Ebay, and even Amazon has them, but the difference is those sellers can be tracked down, should their boxes contain items used in a crime, or stolen, or illegal.
The sources for these Dark Web Mystery Boxes cannot be held accountable in the same way because the Dark Web is where criminals go to hide their identities in order to keep their illegal activities a secret.
(YouTube screen shot from children's book)
THIS IS A DANGEROUS GAME YOUTUBERS ARE PLAYING
Given the type of activities that can be found using the Dark Web, the idea of YouTubers purchasing some mystery box, then opening it on camera for their subscribers, may be their idea of "fun," but as Jonathan Pace, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University, told ShortList, the "black market activity is hazardous."
In researching this strange new "challenge," which is racking up millions of views for video creators, I tried to stick with channels that had a significant amount of subscribers, and a decent reputation for credibility, despite their questionable choice to participate in this dangerous game, in order to avoid hoax videos.
What I have seen is chilling.
While some of the contents are simply silly, broken phones and other items that are not noteworthy, I have also seen huge knives in plastic that have a red substance which could, or might not be, blood, dolls, childrens backpacks with strange and creepy items inside, stuffed animals with boxes sewn inside with disturbing contents inside of the boxes, unknown powders, dripping wet underwear, bags of pills, childrens clothing, and some seriously evil images in books, with childrens eyes crossed out in red..... and so much more.
The problem here is these "mystery boxes" are being purchased from the underbelly of the internet, where people sell children and crowd fund assasinations, so the items that obviously belonged to a child, underscores the fact that while some selling these items might just want to creep people out, others could very well be disposing of evidence of criminal activity, and these YouTubers, would now be in possession of that evidence.
There are hundreds of these videos from the last month over at YouTube and some of the items found in the boxes were downright creepy and evil, such as what appears to be a drugged-stuffed teddy bear, doll parts with Swastikas, and Satanic children's books, along with a weapon and clothing, opened by a man named Tom Stanniland, who goes by the name of Kill'em, according to ThisInsider.com.
Stanniland has over 2.5 million subscribers, and his Dark Web mystery Box video has racked up over 5.5 million views since July 27, 2018. While they later add music and blur certain images, the contents are strange to say the least.
The first Dark Web mystery Box I saw when beginning my research of this dangerous YouTube challenge, came in two parts. The first was videographer Mind Seed TV, with 67K subscribers and has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times, where he with a friend witnessing, opens and delves through the contents. The second was a follow up where he looked at the mysterious flashdrive that was in the box.
His video description says it all:
So Today I finally received the package I ordered about a week ago from the Dark Web. I wanted to know if this new hype was real. I see so many people making videos about these mystery boxes that can be found on the deep web so I decided to investigate a little further for my self.
After buying a mystery box for $300 from an anonymous seller using bitcoin on the dark web, I was surprised to find that the package arrived at my PO Box Today. You will never believe the scary and creepy things that came inside this box. I am literally beside myself after making this video. I have felt very uneasy the last few days. I hope you guys enjoy this video and take my word. Never go on the Dark Web. It's not a good place!
From downright evil to possibly illegal, the traffic and views for a YouTuber simply isn't worth it. Hazardous materials could risk their lives, but if items, coming from the Dark Web where illegal activities run rampant, including trafficking, murder and pedophilia, are identified as evidence of any crime, especially one that took a life, these YouTubers have just publicly shown they are in possession (or were because some say they disposed of the items) of information or evidence that law enforcement may want to get their hands on.
No doubt some are hoaxes, which is why I tried to only show a few from those with large subscriber bases that generally have been known to have a good reputation among their audience, but these Mystery Boxes are available on the Dark Web, so no doubt many of those showing up on YouTube are real.
I have researched the Dark Web for a piece I did a couple of years ago, and believe me, it is not a place you want to be, and no one should be purchasing these Mystery Boxes.
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