20 Terrifying Internet Urban Legends

20. Hell.com

Once upon a time the internet wasn't a homogenised series of news sites, social networks and YouTube videos perpetually feeding into each other like an oroboros/Human Centipede (delete as applicable). It was an untested, unregulated new digital frontier, where people could do basically whatever they wanted - within reason - so long as they could stump up the cash for a domain and had a bit of imagination. One of the strangest and scariest examples of these early, anonymous web sites was Hell.com which, even a good half decade after it disappeared from the internet, still keeps us up at night. The homepage most curious surfers would be presented with once navigating to Hell.com was a black screen with an arrow pointing downwards, accompanied by the disclaimer "hell.com is a private parallel web, there is no public access". From there...well, it depended. The site was a maze of blank pages with strange and unsettling messages, JavaScript tricks that stopped you from leaving the domain, interactive forms like the "soul redemption program" and creepy music. Even discovering it was all a poncy modern art project, rather than the actual presence of Satan coming through our 56k modem, didn't satiate our nightmares.
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Tom Baker is the Comics Editor at WhatCulture! He's heard all the Doctor Who jokes, but not many about Randall and Hopkirk. He also blogs at http://communibearsilostate.wordpress.com/