Who is Behind Cicada 3301?
If you think you’re smart enough to break codes, you may want to wait around for the next Cicada 3301 set of puzzles. Very few people know why you would want to try to break the various puzzles put forth by the mysterious organization save the few that have jumped through the hoops in time. Those who have broken it aren’t talking.
The short version of the story is this: someone set forth a set of puzzles that led to more puzzles. They started posting them on sites like 4chan and Reddit. Amateur and professional code breakers started going through the puzzles that initially seemed like some fun had by an individual or small group but that turned out to be a much larger operation. Those who broke the code and made it to the end in time were rewarded with… something. Those who broke the code later were told that they weren’t fast enough.
So far, this has happened twice.
You may want to read the longer version of the story before seeing who I believe are the likely people behind these “tests”. First, check out the story on Telegraph:
After a designated number of solvers visited the address, the website shut down with a terse message: “We want the best, not the followers.” The chosen few received personal emails – detailing what, none have said, although one solver heard they were now being asked to solve puzzles in private. Eriksson, however, was not among them. “It was my biggest anticlimax – when I was too late to register my email at the TOR hidden service,” he says. “If my sleep-wake cycle had been different, I believe I would have been among the first.” Regardless, a few weeks later, a new message from Cicada was posted on Reddit. It read: “Hello. We have now found the individuals we sought. Thus our month-long journey ends. For now.” All too abruptly for thousands of intrigued solvers, it had gone quiet.
Now, let’s speculate about who it could be that’s doing this. We know that they are organized. We can speculate that there’s a real reason for something so elaborate, though it’s not out of the question that it’s something meaningless or mundane like a hobby or an intellectual prank. We know that it’s likely well funded or at least being organized by a larger group of people based on the international reach – someone would either have to be investing a good amount of money to travel across five continents or they have people on the ground close enough to get there inexpensively.
Judging by the complexity, the organization is putting a ton of effort into crafting the puzzles in a way that requires those trying to break them to be both extremely dedicated as well as extremely intelligent. These aren’t crossword puzzles. One must have enough understanding to recognize brainy concepts like number theory and classical music. It’s done in a way that goes beyond the scope of someone with Google and Wikipedia; they have to be able to pick out the right pieces from a large set of data in order to know where to explore.
The last speculation is debatable but very clear to us. This isn’t a “good” organization. Their use of notorious elements in their puzzles such as religious doctrine from Aleister Crowley acts as a double-layered filter. Seekers are assisted by knowledge of bad people and they cannot be spooked by it. The willingness to push forward combined with the ability to see through to the end leads us to believe that the organization behind it has evil goals.
Here are some of the possible organizations behind Cicada 3301 listed in order of most to least likely:
- Freemasons/Illuminati/New World Order: It doesn’t matter what you call “them” – they exist and are much more embedded in the world than most would ever believe. Some say that JFK’s assassination was the father of all conspiracy theories, but the reality is that the real father of them is over a thousand years old.
- Anonymous: This may be the most likely scenario and it would be encouraging if this were the case. It fits in with their modus operandi and would demonstrate a much more developed infrastructure than most give them credit for, though much like the US Government scenario, they would likely be pawns rather than instigators.
- The US Government: This is highly unlikely for two reasons: they’re usually not this creative and they could recruit people more easily with more open methods. If they are behind it through organizations like the NSA or CIA, it’s likely as pawns for one of the other organizations.
- Luciferians or Satanists: One of the biggest appeals of certain elements of the occult is the separation of “better” people. They position being in their ranks as an honor bestowed only to the privileged few who were worthy.
- Demons/Nephilim/Aliens: Again, this is unlikely and would almost certainly involve manipulating one of the organizations above.
- The Vatican: If this one were true, then we have a bigger problem than just about anyone knows.
- Foreign Government: It can’t be ruled out, but it doesn’t fit with any of the methodology used by anyone with the capabilities and needs to pull it off such as Israel, a European country, China, or Saudi Arabia.
- People Having Fun: It’s a lot of effort for a fun project and might even be considered a “masterpiece” to those who would see it, but one would think that it wouldn’t have gone so far if there was no purpose behind it.
- Scientologists: This would be nice. At least we know that they would be pretty harmless… at least we’d hope.
There are obviously limitless possibilities and the likelihood that it involves more than one of the organizations above is high. The reality is that the “who” isn’t really the important question here. What we really want to know is “why?”