The Internet can be the most beautiful place on Earth. At the same time, it can also be the darkest cesspool of unspeakable horrors and shadow killings. I’ve gone to weddings of people who met on the Internet. It can be a powerful place to make friends and lovers, but it is also the place where psychopaths have the most access to you and your well being. While we continue to have fun on the web, let’s always keep in mind how dangerous it can be.
Philip Markoff was a seemingly normal guy. He was engaged to be married to a girl he met in college and was about to graduate medical school at Boston University. He was pretty normal, except for the fact that he would lure women to his house using Craigslist so he could murder them. His method was the inspiration for the 2011 film that also took his moniker, “The Craigslist Killer.”
20 teenagers in London got on Facebook Chat to plan the murder of Sofyen Belamouadden, a boy from a rival school. They found out where the boy takes the train home and ambushed him with knives, screwdrivers, and samurai swords. The attack killed Belamouadden in front of hundreds of witnesses. Only three were convicted of murder.
Two 12-year-old girls were charged this past May as adults and sentenced to 65 years in prison for the attempted murder of one of their classmates. The reason? An online YouTube series character named Slender Man told them to. Slender Man is an online phenomenon with stories and videos often written in a realistic style, so it’s easy for kids to believe these stories.
Part of the fun of Facebook is organizing your hobbies into one comprehensive list to show people who you are. When 15 year-old Alyssa Bustamante cheerfully listed “killing people” as one of her interests, people assumed it was a dark joke. Nope. Alyssa stabbed her 9-year old neighbor before slitting her throat and attempting to bury her in a shallow grave she dug ahead of time. So as creepy as it is to scour people’s profiles, maybe we should be paying more attention.
Teenager Marissa Williams was irresponsibly using the Internet by inviting strangers to her home for drinks and sex. Her aunt, who was housing Marissa, decided to teach her a lesson. She went online with the persona of an eligible man named “Tre ‘Topdog’ Ellis” and tried to woo Marissa online to gain her trust. Marissa quickly confessed to Topdog a plot to kill her aunt, her cousin, and the family dog. She also tried to get Topdog to do the dirty work.
Miranda Barbour says she joined a satanist cult at the age of 13 and was responsible for 22 murders… until the last one got her life in prison. Miranda and her husband, Elyett, created a Craigslist ad advertising sex with Miranda for $100. When Troy LaFerrara responded to the ad, he met Miranda in a small town in Pennsylvania. When Miranda gave a signal, Elyett emerged from the back seat of the car and the two strangled LaFerrara to death with a cord.
Welp… I dunno about you, but I’m gonna take it easy on Facebook for a bit (except the ViralNova page, of course).