The 13th Floor

This Deep Web Search Revealed a Nightmare of Depravity and Death

[NOTE: This creepypasta report contains subject matter which some people may find disturbing]

This is one of many horrific tales that begin in the uncharted virtual underworld known by many as the “Deep Web” — a seemingly endless landscape of hidden sites and digital media which can’t be reached by conventional web browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and so on (does anyone reading this still use IE?).

Sure, anyone can explore the Deep Web with the right tools. But without a proper road map, so to speak, you might find your computer taken over by malicious software… or stumble across something much, much worse.

That’s what reportedly happened to a former police employee named Mark Spielman. This is his story, allegedly written himself, as found in a word document on his office computer’s hard drive shortly after he was reported missing.

Also found was a case file of police documents, to which was clipped a hand-written note containing just three words:

“Who is Janice?”

Image Credit: iStock/David Hills
Image Credit: iStock/David Hills

A self-described introvert who seldom ventured outside the confines of his home, Mark prided himself as an expert in exploring the darker corners of the web.

“I know the Internet inside out,” he wrote. “I just sit by my computer and look for fucked-up shit… I’m well-versed on all the current memes, YouTube fads, and the best porn sites.” But his knowledge extended way beyond that.

It just so happened that someone with his particular skill-set was needed by the local police department to assist in criminal investigations where critical evidence might be hidden in undisclosed locations on the Deep Web. Mark saw it as a great opportunity to get paid for what he already did all day long.

The job began with tracking sites and secret networks alleged to share child pornography, and other concealed illegal activity which is unfortunately quite common to the Deep Web.

Image Credit: iStock/triloks
Image Credit: iStock/triloks

Mark could track down just about any user — even those who hid behind multiple proxies — and the evidence he uncovered helped the department crack several difficult cases. His work even extended to tracing perps who hacked into police databases to alter evidence and other information.

Then, one fateful day, everything changed for the worse.

It began when he found what he believed to be one of the largest child-porn rings ever discovered: tracing a single lead — the URL “Sweet15” — led him to a virtual warehouse of depravity.

Mark saw an opportunity to become a hero by helping the police shut down such a huge criminal operation. Selfishly, he also saw a means to a big fat bonus and a possible promotion.

As he began investigating further, Mark saw dozens of links to image files, each marked with a name: “Katie.jpg.” “Peggy.jpg.” “Jessica.jpg.” Holding his breath, he clicked on one of these links, labeled “Cathy.jpg.”

Image Credit: iStock/Oleg Ermak

He was presented with the photo of a girl, around 15-16 years old, standing in a dimly-lit room, smiling faintly. The photographer did not depict the girl in a sexual way, nor did she appear to be nervous or threatened.

Mark prepared to move on the next link when he noticed the URL corresponding to the image: it read not “Cathy.jpg,” but “Janice.jpg.”

Puzzled, he tried another image link, this time “Susan.jpg.” He got the same result: the same photo of the smiling young girl he saw before, again under the URL “Janice.jpg.”

Mark’s confusion turned to unease as he clicked more and more links… each one leading to the same picture of “Janice.” By the end of the day, he had clicked on hundreds of links, both to images and video, but each and every link opened the same image.

That night, he began to worry that there was something more going on at Sweet15 than a subversive re-directing of links. His instincts told him they were hiding something even more horrible.

Image Credit: iStock/virusowy
Image Credit: iStock/virusowy

Unable to shake his obsession, Mark decided to use his home computer to dig into the deepest picture file logs he could find on the site.

That’s when he saw, on the last page of the logs, the single filename “TrueJanice.jpg.” Nervously, he clicked on it.

His computer immediately erupted into a flurry of critical error messages before completely freezing. He restarted the machine, only to discover that it had been infiltrated by an extremely malicious application, which deleted every one of Mark’s pre-existing files and replaced them with hundreds of newly-downloaded image files.

If Mark had any doubt that he had meddled with something truly dangerous, that doubt was obliterated when he saw that his desktop screen was now the image of the same young girl.

But this time, the photo was different. “Janice” was not smiling anymore. She looked scared.

Image Credit: iStock/Vesna Andjic

Nevertheless, Mark pressed onward, hands trembling as he tried to open one of the many image files now residing on his computer.

The image of “Janice” popped up… but this one was also different. The girl was clearly horrified, her look of distress replaced by one of panic. The room in which she was sitting was also much darker.

He clicked on another image. This time “Janice” seemed to be photographed while preparing to scream.

Each subsequent image revealed a progressively more horrifying scenario, with the girl’s expression turning from terror to agony, and the room became darker and darker… until finally there was nothing but a black screen. This continued for several more files.

But Mark kept on opening the images… until he saw something that made him recoil in horror.

The photo showed a small candlelit room, unfurnished except for a single bed. On the wall behind the bed were smears of what could only be blood. On the bed, wrapped in a blood-soaked blanket, is what seemed to be a human body.

Mark kept on clicking… and that’s when he saw the man.

The large male figure was standing over the bed, his face hidden from the camera, and was shown reaching for the stained blanket.

Image Credit: iStock/Ken Rygh

In the next image, he had pulled the cover back to reveal “Janice” tied to the bedframe. At first, Mark thought she was dead… but the next image indicated that she was still very much alive, and apparently regaining consciousness after an unknown length of time.

The man was now standing by the bed, arranging a tray of sharp implements.

Mark seemed to be on autopilot — horrified by what he saw, but unable to stop progressing through the images, even though he knew what was coming.

Image Credit: iStock/1001 Nights

Even as the man began to use the instruments of pain and death on his bound victim, even after it was clear “Janice” was dead from blood loss, severe trauma, or both, Mark continued clicking on one image after another.

Toward the end of the file list, most of the JPG images were solid black again. However, by the second-to-last file, Mark was shocked to see “Janice” facing the camera as she had in the beginning… but this time, her eyes were sunken, her skin drained of color, and her face dotted with dried blood.

Image Credit: iStock/Ian McDonnell

Mark knew that Janice was dead. But somehow, he also knew that she was staring directly at him.

He clicked the final file, and was met with a single line of text:

Janice_09

According to the police report, Mark’s documentation of the entire ordeal is the only evidence police found on his computer. The hundreds of files which he’d claimed to have seen were missing, and police could find no trace of the Sweet15 directory he had been allegedly investigating. The report also states that Mark disappeared after he’d left work that day, and to date his whereabouts are still unknown.

Further documentation relating to the case was finally uncovered, including the possible identity of Janice: her name and description matches that of a missing girl at the center of an unsolved 20-year-old kidnapping investigation… in which the missing girl’s parents had also mysteriously disappeared.

Police also found one file on Mark’s work computer which had previously eluded their examinations: the original image of a sweetly-smiling girl, marked “Janice.jpg.” Further analysis of the image allegedly revealed several hundred lines of embedded and encrypted code. After weeks spent deciphering it, experts discovered a link to a single video file.

The contents of that video were promptly marked as classified, and no details have ever been made public. Shortly after this classification, the case of Mark Spielman’s disappearance was closed.

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