Is the Shadow Web a Reality? (Updated)
Short answer? Yes, I believe that something like it exists, but I don't think you can get there from the so-called “Shadow Web” site.
There was a site, at one point, that called itself “The Hidden Gateway to the Shadow Web,” and it looked exactly like this:
I had never actually paid my way through to the supposed sites, but as the story goes, there was some extremely sick content on there. Oddly enough, this very same site had a link to a creepypasta entitled A warning to those thinking of accessing the shadow web has increased its “urban legend” status.
My gut feeling is that the creepypasta was made up, but having seen some very sick and disgusting pages on the dark web myself, I was willing to believe that there were worse things in existence.
Photo courtesy of darknoise.co.za
Currently, there's yet another series of sites up on the Tor network that also refer to themselves as “The Gateway to the Shadow Web,” but I'm starting to become even more skeptical of these.
The new ones look like this:
I'm still suspicious, because the site above appears at least seven different URLs on Tor, which leads me to believe that it's some kind of trap by law enforcement, or merely a scam. Anything where they want you to download special software, or something like that, is something I would not want to get involved in.
It would be extremely difficult to do something like this over the Tor network, because its speed is akin to that of dialup networks (like the old internet of the '90s). On the other hand, if you were accessing the dark web through some other method, it would, in theory, be possible.
So What's the Answer, Damn It?!
Here's one of the reasons I'm not completely discrediting the “shadow web” idea. I did talk to one reputable Quora author (whom I won't named here) who said that not only does something like it exist, it was the sickest thing she had ever seen. Actually, she didn't specifically call it “the shadow web”; she just said it was another part of the deep web that was harder to access.
She said that she “invested in a non-American SSH Tunnel that I trusted and started digging even deeper. I had read stories on the surface web relating to these things, and I do not care what absolutely anybody has to say about it. I know that these sites are not a joke and for somebody to minimize the very real existence of these sites and their victims is not only abhorrently disrespectful but flat out ignorant.” On top of that, she said that it was her reason for getting off of the dark web completely.
Here's my take on it:
I think something like this could exist (though I have no proof). It may be technologically difficult, but if you were to have enough security protocols in place, I think it could be accomplished.
There are IRC chat rooms that you can access through the Tor network, where people are into some very sick and disturbing things (IMHO, at least). So, if you contacted someone in one of these chat rooms who had knowledge of such things, they could probably point you in the direction of a site like this.
The caveat, of course, is that if it were the real thing, not only would it be illegal, but it would probably cost you a very high amount of money. If a group was organizing such a thing, it wouldn't make sense to offer it for free.
I did come across a similar site on the Tor network, which supposedly offered films of women getting raped, as well as videos of real deaths (they just weren't live streams). It was more along the lines of something like Faces of Death, which was a shock film, but the filmmakers hadn't actually killed the victims. Not that I spent very long on this site, but they basically offered samples of the videos for free, and then you had to pay quite a bit of money to subscribe. (I've talked about the site in another post).
I imagine the same would be true of the so-called “shadow web,” that is, if something like it existed. I'm trying to be rational about this, believe me!!
So there's my two cents. Take it or leave it.