If you've been introduced to the mysterious deep web, your introduction was probably in the form of either a medium for buying drugs safely or the classic urban legend of the Red Room. Since I don't use recreational drugs, my introduction was in the form of the latter.
Red rooms are allegedly websites where you can pay to watch or participate in the live-streamed killing of human beings—animals as well. There are many people who swear to have seen this kind of content and others who are convinced that it doesn't exist. Today, I hope to put the legend to rest.
The legend of the Red Room is very much related to the legend of the snuff film. Snuff films are defined as films sold with the promise of containing actual murder for the sake of entertainment or sexual gratification. Creating snuff films is not as lucrative as one might assume, given the very small demand for them. There is no way to prove the validity of a surfaced video because of how convincing practical effects and CGI can be. We can only rely on videos that have been presented in court and verified as legitimate snuff films. These cases, however, are very rare. Videos depicting violent sexual acts on children, dubbed "hurtcore", are far more common and are absolutely confirmed to exist.
Almost all of the stories involving Red Rooms have to do with a relatively new TOR user stumbling onto a live-stream of usually a woman being raped, tortured and then murdered. The chances of someone inexperienced with TOR finding such a highly coveted discovery that has so far eluded legions of hackers and internet-spelunkers is thin and none. Regardless of how a user found the stream, how did they get in without getting through a pay-wall? It becomes obvious that these stories are nothing but works of fiction from such practical analysis—aside from the numerous technical inaccuracies in stories such as "The Monkey House", better known as "Why I Quit Hacking...".
A brief history:
Exploitation films have existed since the early days of film but became especially popular in the 60s and 70s as a result of the relaxing of film censorship laws. Many of these exploitation films have been mistaken for or rebranded as authentic. Some of these films include: August Underground, Snuff (1976), Guinea Pig: Flower of Flesh and Blood, Murder Set-Pieces, Cannibal Holocaust, Faces of Death and Begotten. All of these films are edgy art-projects and standard B-grade exploitation films. Some clips of these films and others can be found on P2P filesharing networks and TOR, being presented as both real and original material. Most of the time, the material you will see in splatter films is much more grotesque compared to real life acts of violence.
There are many possible origins for the concept of live-streamed killings with audience participation and the term for red rooms themselves. The term "Red Room" could possibly just be a play on the backwards spelling of the word 'murder' which is "redrum" made infamous by Steven King's The Shining. There have been many movies that depict live torture streams, dating back to the 80s. Rooms with red lights have been associated with BDSM sexual acts and torture in various movies.
The Red Room Movies:
The earliest definitive reference to the term "Red Room" I could find is in the Japanese exploitation films Red Room and its sequel, Red Room 2—released in 1999 and 2000, respectively. In both of these disturbing low-budget films, four participants of a forbidden game force each other to do increasingly depraved things in order to either kill or scare the other players away and emerge victorious with a hefty sum of money. The films depict rape (on one occasion, with a light bulb), violence, murder and urolagnia. All of these acts are committed in a red-lit room where the game master watches through a camera.
The Red Room Curse:
In the early 2000s, a flash animation surfaced named "The Red Room Curse", sparked a popular urban legend in Japan. In short, the legend is about a pop-up that appears when a boy was surfing the internet. The pop-up reads in Japanese: "Do you like the red room?". The next day, the boy is discovered having committed suicide, painting his room red with his own blood. This urban legend is often credited as the inspiration for the actual term, because of the involvement of murder and a creepy website.
On June 1, 2004, an unnamed 11-year-old schoolgirl murdered her 12-year-old classmate, Satomi Mitarai, in an empty classroom during the lunch hour at Okubo Elementary School in Sasebo. This incident was dubbed the "Sasebo Slashing". After the murder, the killer then left Mitarai's body and returned to her own classroom, while being covered in Mitarai's blood. The killer later confessed to police that she had been slandered by Mitarai online.
The killer was reported to be a fan of flash animation "Red Room", having it as their top bookmark. The killer was also a fan of the novel Battle Royale and its film adaptation, centered on classmates fighting to the death. With this in mind, it is not certain what inspired the murder in the young schoolgirl.
Why is this incident in this article? The Sasebo Slashing brought widespread attention to the flash animation, over shadowing the little-known Red Room movies. This might have been the actual place where the term came from.
It is definitely possible that the stories of deep web red rooms have happened offline for people with gore and rape fetishes. There have been many occasions where such acts have been filmed and posted online, leaked or not.
Real Snuff Films
Let's get it out of the way, snuff films are real. There has never been any evidence of professional producers or distributors of these films, leading to them becoming an urban legend. Like I said a little while back, there is a very small demand for these films. In addition, many people who want to see these films are looking for shocks, not entertainment, thus less willing to pay thousands of dollars for professionally produced material. This has not stopped bonafide killers from creating films of them murdering their victims and defiling their corpses though.
I am aware that there are subreddits dedicated to watching people die or photos after the fact. There have been many occasions where death has been broadcasted on live television such as JFK's assassination. Depictions of similar acts are not considered snuff films because they are not planned nor specifically created for entertainment, moreso for documentary purposes. There are, however, films created specifically for entertainment purposes such as those described below.
3 Men, 1 Hammer is the Internet-dubbed name of an infamous 4-minute leaked video of the Dnepropetrovsk maniacs murdering a 48‑year-old man, Sergei Yatzenko, with a screwdriver and hammer. The Dnepropetrovsk maniacs were teenaged Ukrainian serial killers convicted of 21 counts of murder in June and July of 2007. It was reported that the killers had a plan to get rich from selling snuff films to a foreign website operator, who had allegedly ordered 40 of such films for a very high sum of money. There was no evidence of any foreign buyer and thus the possibility of the films being sold was ruled out.
Yatzenko, the victim, is seen lying on his back in a wooded area, and is struck repeatedly in the face with a hammer held inside a plastic bag. One attacker stabs Yatzenko in the eye and abdomen with a screwdriver. Yatzenko is then struck with the hammer to ensure he is dead. The photographic and video evidence of this incident was shown in court on 29 October 2008, as part of a larger presentation of over 300 photographs and two videos.
Valery Voronyuk, an expert on film and video editing, testified that the video was not faked or altered. The court rejected all defense objections, accepted the prosecution's argument that the material was genuine and indeed a snuff film. If you find this footage online—which is not difficult—you just watched a real snuff film, enjoy the rest of your life!
Some other infamous videos of real murder include the murder of Bernd Brandes and the Christchurch massacre. Armin Meiwes, a convicted murder and cannibal, shot a 4-hour video of him fucking, killing, dismembering and eating Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes, a voluntary cannibalism-fetish victim. This video is under lock and key in the German police archives and will never be shown to the public. There are other cases of serial killers producing VHS tapes of their crimes and have also been locked away for good.
The Christchurch massacre had a live-streamed 17-minute snuff film on Facebook which shows a man kill over 50 people at a mosque with an assault rifle, leave the building, and then return to double-tap whoever still seems to be moving. The footage is 100% legitimate and I watched 50+ people die while researching for this article. The footage has been blocked from multiple websites and by multiple ISPs.
1 Lunatic, 1 Icepick is another shock video. Though not necessarily a snuff film, it does contain mutilation of a dead body and necrophilia. Videos like these are not uncommon if you really look for them. There are many legally hosted gore sites dedicated to showing this content for the shock value.
To close this chapter of the article, snuff films and live-streamed snuff videos do exist on the regular web.
But what is the closest thing to a Red Room found on the deep web?
Peter Scully is a convicted child rapist and child pornographer. This man was the creator of the infamous multi-part hurtcore film, Daisy's Destruction in 2012, which was sold as pay-per-view on the TOR network for up to $10,000. The film features Scully and his two girlfriends torturing and raping three Filipina children: Cindy, Liza and Daisy. The youngest of the victims, Daisy, was 18-months old.
Liezyl Margallo, one of Scully's girlfriends, was the sole hands-on victimizer of Daisy, encouraged by Scully. The introduction to the film invites the viewer to watch Daisy's "mental ruin" as she "learns how to please her mistress"; implying Margallo perpetrated the rape and torture.
Liza and Daisy survived with lasting physical injurges. Cindy had been murdered, allegedly by Scully, who filmed the incident. Before being strangled to death with a rope, the girl was subjected to bouts of rape and torture, and was made to dig her own grave. It is not clear whether Scully ever live-streamed any torture or killings or not.
The most notable person who acquired the film was Matthew David Graham, who owned many hurtcore child pornography sites including "Hurt 2 The Core" and "Love 2 The Core". Graham was hoping to increase traffic to his sites with the film. Hurt 2 The Core and other illegal sites such as alleged Hitman services were featured on Hidden Wiki before Operation Darknet and Operation Onymous, but has since been removed—along with all direct links to child pornography and extreme content. By time the TOR darknet went mainstream in late 2014—2015, most of the infamous content had been removed and the creators were serving hefty prison sentences.
Daisy's Destruction was certainly a depraved film, showing the darkest urges of humanity, but wasn't actually a snuff film. Scully's other alleged creation, Dafu Love—described to be worse than Daisy's Destruction—was described as being an actual snuff film, but has never been brought to court or had any evidence of existing, and has thus been ruled out as an Internet myth. Don't believe the creepypastas or people like TakeDownMan, who cannot cite any source or evidence of the things they describe as ever having happened.
Is it even possible to livestream over TOR?
Live-streaming online commonly uses UDP packets, which are connectionless. Using UDP allows you to send out data without caring if all packets arrive at their destination or not. This is beneficial for streamers since you don't care if every frame arrives to your viewers. One of the main technical arguments against the existence of Red Rooms is the absence of support for UDP (with the exception of DNS) in the TOR project. You must be connected—key word—to TOR in order to access its content, thus TOR only using TCP packets.
However, one year ago, The New York Times live-streamed the Mark Zuckerburg trial on their TOR hidden service. There was a Reddit post where the OP boasted this as being proof of the possibility of Red Rooms existing. This was probably accomplished by linking to a stream on the clearnet, thus mirroring it on the darknet. I need to see a demonstration of how this was set up and made possible to be sure.
You can also install Adobe Flash Player on your TOR browser for the ability to livestream on a TOR hidden service. Furthermore, with the recent advancements of HTML5, live-streaming is becoming much more easy with native support for it. We might soon see a real Red Room streamed directly from TOR in the near future because of these advancements. Allegedly, child pornography hubs on TOR such as Lolita City and Playpen leveraged Flash Player to stream content but neither are still online, so we cannot be sure.
There's one more issue that needs to be discussed, The NY Times has no reason to be anonymous. The NY Times does not need to route its traffic around so much, thus improving the quality and speed of any streams. Sites that are very illegal that want to stream will inherently struggle with speeds because of the nature of TOR and proxies needed to stay anonymous. Live-streams can also be very helpful in tracking where you are at the moment.
We can assume from this information that live-streaming over TOR is possible but that doesn't prove that Red Rooms are real.
The long awaited conclusion:
Do snuff films exist? Yes. Can you find them on darknets or other filesharing protocols? Yes. Have there been live-streamed killings online? Yes. Have there been live-streamed suicides online? Yes. Have there been live-streamed torture on any darknets? No evidence. Do red rooms exist? Probably not...yet...
Creating dedicated live-streams for killing other human-beings is just not profitable nor cost-effective to create. Leveraging technologies such as TOR to maintain the anonymity of the streamers would also make any sort of quality of live-streaming very difficult. I can enchant you with a little mystery though; maybe we've been looking in the wrong place.
Sadistic murders happen everyday; rapes are commited everyday. There is a much bigger possibility that there are real-life Red Rooms for very powerful people. If you've ever seen The Purge movies or know about Jeffery Epstein's private-island, Little Saint James, some very sick things could be happening comparable to the Red Rooms in the deep web stories.
The following images are some of the painting of Ria Pratt—one of the personalities of the mentally-plagued Kim Noble. Kim is suspected of being abused as a very young child by a rich child-sex cult. These paintings might shed some light on some of the activites that went down in Little Saint James, dubbed Pedophile Island by the locals.
These paintings are surely disturbing and I did not include the more graphic ones. Sargon of Akkad made a video dedicated to the topic of child trafficking which shows much more disgusting paintings. Check it out if you want to know more about the story behind these works of art.
In the end, the internet is just a medium. If you take some disturbed people off the internet, they will continue in the real world. Human trafficking for all sorts of fetishes are going strong to this day and has very poweful people helping to fuel and protect it. Evil will always exist and is not restricted to the darker parts of the internet. We don't know if Red Rooms online exist, but there is the possibility—and the probability that these do exist offline. The stories might some day inspire someone to go out and create such a twisted form of entertainment for sick people. We cannot be sure...
I wish you safe travels and happy hacking. Don't get kidnapped, please.
If you find any errors in the article, please contact me or the site administrator, chovy.