The Truth About The Dark Web's Secret Red Rooms

The internet is a vast place, full of endless amounts of knowledge and information on everything from how to build a bookshelf to how to make the perfect apple pie. However, it also holds much darker content, which individuals can access through a more secretive tunnel of websites commonly known as the Dark Web. The Dark Web is something of a catch-all term for a wide collection of hidden, anonymous websites that are accessible, not through common search engines, but only via a specialized web browser, like Tor, according to Kaspersky.

Unfortunately, it is a fact that many of these secretive places on the internet host illegal activity like child pornography, which is a very real and terrible problem online. But some are convinced that the Dark Web goes even deeper than buying and selling illegal items online, such as child porn, drugs, or weapons, and contains even more depraved and grotesque content for those who know how to get there.

Red Rooms are rumored to be the darkest part of the Dark Web

Across the internet, particularly on popular message boards like Reddit and 4chan, rumors have been circulating for years that beyond what might be called the typical Dark Web lies an even darker web known as the Red Room. In this hidden corner of the internet, people are able to view live streams of horrible things like torture, human experimentation, rape, and murder, as well as gain access to illegal services such as hitmen, hackers, escorts, and even smuggling and human trafficking — for a price, according to The Washington Post.

To join these "Red Rooms," money must be paid in advance to receive a direct link to the site, known as an "onion." There they can watch the live streams, as well as chat with other viewers, offer suggestions, and even tip extra money to have their requests fulfilled (via The Infographics Show, posted on YouTube). However, while the urban legend of the Red Room has persisted across the internet for some time, many people doubt its existence, or that it has ever existed.

Are Red Rooms real or just an urban legend?

Although there is plenty of gossip floating around regarding what goes in the deepest of webs, most of these are second, third, and even fourth-hand accounts. Basically zero first-hand accounts of these rooms exist, which is somewhat suspicious, especially given how there are whole departments of law enforcement dedicated to finding and shutting down illegal activity on the web. If such rooms really did exist, it seems unlikely that there would be such little evidence of their existence left behind, especially when many different users around the world are supposedly invited into the rooms to partake in the illegal activity.

If anything, analysis of such websites would likely turn up intensely secure servers meant to shield the true identity of the people behind these crimes. However, a British "crypto enthusiast" nicknamed Cthulhu seemed to discover the opposite when they dug a little further deeper into hacker- and hitman-for-hire sites. According to The Washington Post, they found these sites had remarkably poor security for individuals offering such secretive services. It is more likely these sites are hoaxes or scams set up to collect money from gullible people, without any real intent to actually follow through on the promised illegal service.

Most experts believe Red Rooms are hoaxes or scams

Most experts, including Eileen Ormsby, a Melbourne-based author and journalist who writes on the topic, deem most of these postings that promise real live torture and death to be simply hoaxes. "It is not altogether clear what these people are hoping to find ... but they can usually be placated by sending them along to something like The Human Experiment. Later they will swear black and blue that it's REAL, they've SEEN IT WITH THEIR OWN EYES ... It's all there, if only you look DEEP enough. Of course, it is all crap. Oh, and hitmen? The Nigerian scammers of the dark web," Ormsby explained on her blog All Things Vice.

Unfortunately, the open internet is full of plenty of dark enough things as it is. So one can only hope that, if sites featuring such depraved activity as Red Rooms claim really do exist, they would quickly be shut down and the perpetrators arrested. But it seems the Red Room is likely just another great example of something else the internet does best: circulating creepypastas and urban legends that stick around on message boards and websites long enough to make people wonder: what if?