Cicada 3301 Super Puzzle – Internet’s Biggest Mystery

Cicada 3301 Super Puzzle – Internet’s Biggest Mystery


In 2012, the so-called hardest puzzle on the
Internet was born: Cicada 3301. It was posted on 4Chan and this was the beginning
of the message, “Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test.” They said that if you could complete this
test you would have more chance of finding out who they were. They signed off, “3301”. What was actually presented was a series of
puzzles with each one getting a bit harder. To pass them you had to know something about
coding, or cryptography, or just have general smarts when it comes to wordplay and references. Who was doing this? A cult? The government? Was this the work of the dark arts? Was it dangerous? Will we ever find out who was behind it? Keep watching for the answers. Ok, so first we need to know a bit more about
the puzzles. We won’t pretend that here at the Infographics
Show we are master puzzle breakers, so we’ll just cheat and look at some puzzles and the
solutions. We should say it took some people a long time
to figure those solutions out. The puzzles were undoubtedly put together
by very intelligent individuals and we know that simply because to create what was called
the “the most baffling and enigmatic mystery on the Internet” you had to be smart. We are looking for people who no doubt already
hold high positions and likely work in IT and Internet security. There are also rumors that an organization
such as the NSA or MI6 could be doing it as a recruitment strategy, or that some cyber-cult
was just messing with people’s heads. So, in that original image and message when
the 3301 guys invited people to play, there was a hidden clue. You had to download that image and then you
would see some lines of code, and in that code you would have read, “TIBERIVS CLAVDIVS
CAESAR say lxxt>33m2mqkyv2gsq3q=w]O2ntk.” What does that mean? Not much to most of you, but it’s a cipher,
which is a way to say something using disguised language or symbols. Gangsters sometimes use cyphers when they
pass notes in prison. A man named the Zodiac used cyphers to communicate
with police and lead them on a chase. You get the picture. You could have worked out how this cypher
worked or you might have used the Internet to find the way to decode it, but if you were
successful you would have ended up with this image
If you read that you might see a clue that tells you a certain stenography program needs
to be implemented with this image. Stenography by the way is like shorthand,
you know, like when journalists used to take notes fast and they had to shorten the words
and sentences. Some people ran that image through a stenography
program and they were taken to a place with more puzzles with images or sets of numbers. This is what we mean by the rabbit hole, it
just kept getting deeper and deeper. There were more images and more hidden messages
and this seemed endless to those taking part. They might have found some text that read:
“The key has always been right in front of your eyes. This isn’t the quest for the Holy Grail. Stop making it more difficult than it is.” It seems the people behind the puzzle were
really enjoying their game. There was text from some of the earliest known
written fictional stories, such as the tales of King Arthur. At one point a person could have found a phone
number and had to call that. There was of course a message awaiting them. The accent was north American, but that doesn’t
mean the sender was American. This is what he said, “Very good. You have done well. There are three prime numbers associated with
the original final.jpg image. 3301 is one of them. You will have to find the other two. Multiply all three of these numbers together
and add a .com to find the next step. Good luck. Goodbye.” Later the problem solvers came up against
something even stranger, and that was a bunch of coordinates from all over the world. What did this mean? Well, if you followed one of those coordinates
you might have found yourself in Poland, South Korea, the west coast of the USA or in Australia
or Hawaii. At the spot you’d find a poster with a print
of a cicada on it and also a QR-code. There were more clues in that code. What did this mean? It meant that these guys were a big team and
could put up posters in locations all over the world. This wasn’t some solitary outfit working
in a dark London basement or a New York penthouse loft. It was about this time people started thinking,
who the hell are we playing with? These guys are serious. They are global. The fact the people at cicada kept using strange
references just made this whole thing more mysterious and perhaps frightening. At one point they referenced something called,
“Agrippa (A Book of the Dead).” The words and images in this book were printed
with photosensitive chemicals so with time they’d disappear. There is also a poem stored on a floppy disk,
but it’s single use, meaning after use it becomes encrypted and you won’t be able
to see it unless you can crack the encryption. Sometimes people had to go to the dark web
to get more information, and in every case the person had to know a fair bit about encryption
and code breaking to get farther. There was even a musical cryptogram. It sounded like this and contained a hidden
message. Sometimes when a person solved a puzzle they
would be taken to a page, but if they arrived there too slow they might have read a message
that said leaders were wanted and not followers, and the game was over for them. Only a select few could win, and those folks
were promised the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or at least a big reveal. So, what happened if you got that far? Well, cicada 3301 posted a message on Reddit
when the first game was over and stated that they now had the intelligent individuals they
were looking for. “There will be no more opportunities like
this one,” read the message, which signed off with a P.S. This was again a bunch of numbers that needed
unscrambling. Then a year later another puzzle ended up
on 4Chan and again people were sent on puzzle trails and only the fastest and best passed. Some folks had actually been waiting for another
opportunity, having failed the first time. Some of those people believed that a great
job or something wonderful and mysterious waited for them where the rabbit hole ended. They will have read this message at one point
in the puzzle, “Hello. Epiphany is upon you. Your pilgrimage has begun. Enlightenment awaits.” Sounds cool, eh, but many people failed to
finish their pilgrimage and become enlightened. The digital Holy Grail was hard to find, worthy
of Arthurian legend. It wasn’t always about cracking code, either,
you had to be well-read. An example to back that up is a reference
they used to the 19th century American transcendentalist writer named Ralph Waldo Emerson. They might have cracked so many techno-puzzles,
but then if the nerds on the net hadn’t also read some philosophy then failure likely
awaited them. To win you had to be an all-rounder. The third and last set of puzzles was in 2017
and then cicada 3301 just vanished from the Internet. But what happened to the winners, the guys
that did find the grail? What happened to the Internet’s Sir Galahad? There is one reliable source as to proof of
Cicada 3301 correspondence and that comes from a person who allegedly finished one of
the puzzles. He leaked an email that was sent to him by
members of Cicada 3301. Many people think the email is genuine. Here it is:
“You have all wondered who we are, and so we shall now tell you. We are an international group. We have no name. We have no symbol. We have no membership rosters. We do not have a public website and we do
not advertise ourselves. We are a group of individuals who have proven
ourselves, much like you have, by completing this recruitment contest, and we are drawn
together by common beliefs. A careful reading of the texts used in the
contest would have revealed some of these beliefs: that tyranny and oppression of any
kind must end, that censorship is wrong and that privacy is an inalienable right.” So, to join the club you have to win the game
and then the only rule of Cicada 3301 club is you don’t talk about Cicada 3301 club. The email makes it sound like a secret organization
that is filled with intelligent individuals who likely did ok in their latest IQ test. They obviously advocate freedom of speech
and internet privacy, so if those guys were working for the NSA then they would be hypocrites,
since the U.S. government has spied on its own people. This message sounds slightly antagonistic
and anarchistic, and not related to the mechanisms of the establishment. It’s is probably a bunch of friends rather
than an official organization, but they are good at keeping secrets and they are spread
around. So far physical stuff used by the group has
been found in 11 U.S. states and eight countries. It’s likely they are from the USA, but they
reference British stuff a lot, too. We found one guy who finished the puzzle and
he is a Swede named Joel Eriksson. On his website he calls himself a “IT-security
freak.” In an interview with Fast Company, he said,
“Initially, I just thought it would be a nice little brainteaser. I’ve always been interested in anything
that can challenge me, and I never give up. In the case of Cicada, the puzzle in question
turned out to be a lot more than I thought it would be when I started it.” Yep, that rabbit hole was a bit deeper than
he was expecting. He also said that he did all the solutions
by himself, but others collaborated and it was kind of cheating. They could get past a puzzle and find the
next one without actually having solved it. Eriksson got right to the end, but what happened
then? He said he didn’t think it was a recruitment
tool and he certainly hasn’t been recruited by anyone. The governments of the world just wouldn’t
sneak around on 4Chan. When the British Government Communications
Headquarters put out a puzzle to crack when they were recruiting, they didn’t hide. Eriksson believes the group is not an organization
or a business. He went on, saying that these guys are not
just coders and they have certainly read some far out stuff. That might be the British man named William
Blake, an 18th/19th visionary poet and artist who later was a staple in western counter-culture
movements. The CIA and William Blake just don’t go
together very well. The NSA and the “doors of perception”
don’t exactly go hand in hand. Cicada also mentions the English occultist
Aleister Crowley, another far out writer that became associated with counter-culture movements
from the hippy 60s to the cyber-punk movement of today. Eriksson said in the interview, “They are
likely intellectual, anti-establishment, ideologically driven and they seem to be valuing logical/analytical
thinking highly. They seem to share a lot of ideology with
the crypto-anarchy movement, and old-school hackers.” But he didn’t get any prize for winning,
except the fact he can now call himself one of them. Who knows, he might be the movement. We doubt that, though. We can tell you that we found no one online
who claims to know who Cicada 3301 is or who says they collected the grand prize. They are out there, somewhere, tapping away
in the digital forests of the night. They might even be watching this video. Many people think Cicada will pop up again. The path they created might have led to nowhere,
but they certainly created a fascinating trail. You might say the final puzzle is to figure
out who the group is, and that remains unsolved. By the way, we just planted two references
in that last bit of dialogue. We wonder if you can guess what those references
were? If you can’t do that, don’t even think
about trying to solve Cicada’s own puzzles. Once you’ve figured that out we think you
should watch some of our other videos that feature puzzles that have never been solved. One of those is “The Sinking of USS Indianapolis
– What Happened to the Men on Board?” and the other is “Why The Zodiac Killer Was
Never Found.” And if you enjoyed this video don’t forget
to Like, Share, and Subscribe for more great content!

100 thoughts on “Cicada 3301 Super Puzzle – Internet’s Biggest Mystery

  • January 29, 2020 at 11:57 am
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    Infographic repeated someone else's content

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 12:10 pm
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    Lemmino did it better

    Change my mind

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 12:19 pm
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    too old

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 12:21 pm
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    Lemmino

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 12:37 pm
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    This feels like a repost, I remember watching this elsewhere!
    Also WHEN DO WE GET THE SOLUTION of the referrences. Me wanna know!
    ~Just a Random Forgotten Discord Starry☆♕

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 12:39 pm
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    Cicada3301: "WE ARE LOOKING FOR HIGHLY INTELLECTUALS"
    me: Bruh Im sure many can get high but real big brains are smol in number!
    ~Just a Random Forgotten Discord Starry☆♕

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 12:45 pm
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    the answer is 4

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 12:51 pm
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    700th to comment

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 12:53 pm
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    No thank you 🙏🏻

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 1:12 pm
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    I think the first reference was Doctor Who: season 8, episode 10:In the forest of the night

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 1:23 pm
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    Was this video reposted?

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 1:28 pm
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    “But this, was just the beginning”

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 1:44 pm
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    LEMMINO made a better video on this subject.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 1:52 pm
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    Ok, I'll make my guesses:
    First reference: 9:45 "tapping away in the digital forest of the night", reference to a Doctor Who's episode, also reference to a William Shakespeare's play As You Like It.
    Second reference: I'm quite certain it's "The path they created might have led to nowhere, but they certainly created a fascinating trail." but not sure where it comes from thought.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 1:54 pm
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    How can you be anti establishment AND ideologically driven?

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 1:58 pm
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    I recommend LEMMiNO's video about cicada 3301

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 2:17 pm
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    -Highly Intelligent Individuals
    -4chan

    pick one

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 2:42 pm
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    imagine if its turn out they are the creator of bitcoin.. its must be huge

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 2:46 pm
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    I know who cicada 3301 is. Its obviously joe.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 2:51 pm
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    Lemmino needs to do an update video

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 2:52 pm
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    Guys in this video there is a code.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:00 pm
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    I'd recommend watching LEMMiNO's video about Cicada 3301, their video is way more informative.

    I have been a long time subscriber of this channel, and this is by far their least informative video. If you knew about Cicada 3301 beforehand, you'd realise that they missed on heaps of important information in this video.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:03 pm
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    Bro you are soo boring

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:21 pm
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    someone send this to game theory

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:26 pm
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    Stop copying other's content
    😡😡😡

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:28 pm
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    LEMMiNO already did that

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:34 pm
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    Dr. Who & Ralph Waldo Emerson ?

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:43 pm
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    The answer is 5
    Roadhouse

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:53 pm
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    Of course *** will return. That is the nature of the Cicada

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:55 pm
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    So im not very smart or at least not the smartest but the moth, the key is right in front of u, the book of the dead the only thing im thinking is the moth it self is death and the wings look like the pattern of the brain so could that have meant brain dead or something ? (And yes i know moth have wierd pattern just ignore my comment, its just my imagination going wild)

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 3:56 pm
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    I'm clever and intelligent but not THAT smart.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 4:06 pm
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    What are the references? If anyone found please tell.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 4:08 pm
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    😉

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 4:12 pm
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    Me: sees puzzle*
    Also Me: Puts down Uno reverse card

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 4:18 pm
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    LEMMiNO, is that you?

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 4:21 pm
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    didnt get they references. Don’t worry though, i gave up before i even started.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 4:39 pm
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    Kinda late….

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 4:39 pm
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    Why I couldn't understand anything

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 4:49 pm
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    LEMMINO

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 5:15 pm
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    What if those who solved the puzzle actually working secretly with them and try to deceiving Everyone May be they reading my cmmnt and tracking everyone moment lol

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 5:27 pm
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    hey
    i am from denmark and am not the smartest but what can i do to become more intelligence

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 5:31 pm
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    you guys are a little late to the party ngl

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 5:38 pm
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    Intelligent people : trying to solve the puzzle
    Infographic : NO WE JUST CHEAT

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 5:46 pm
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    It's the Goverment trying to find intelligent people who could pose a threat to the Govermenrts cyber networks
    Those who solved were considered a threat to the Goverment so they were killed

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 6:00 pm
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    Just Lemmino

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 6:00 pm
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    No need for complicated puzzle solving to figure this one out. That's the catch, isnt it? If you truly are intelligent and skilled, you know the answer already. 🙂 gl chaps

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 6:16 pm
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    Einstein is living in Cuba with Stephen Hawkins and decided to prank eveyone

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 6:33 pm
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    Martin solves the puzzle

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 6:48 pm
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    Watch Lemmino's video on Cicada3301 instead of wasting your time on this low-effort F-tier content.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 7:01 pm
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    pop up and trail were the references?

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 7:04 pm
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    This is a but too late. I alr know this when it was popular. Like if u were one of them too 🙂

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 7:07 pm
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    Created by No0bMaSteR69

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 7:08 pm
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    not a hater but ur a bit late lol

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 7:14 pm
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    So, if that guy you mention at the end is in fact a solver of the whole thing and not the head member or a “public face” member, solving their riddles is pointless. You don’t get a prize or anything out of it, you don’t draw the eye of job scouts, you don’t get anything more than “bragging rights”; bear in mind, that’s bragging rights for a series of puzzles and stuff that don’t actually matter. They claim not to advertise, yet, according to you, they post on social media(s) such as Reddit. So what’s the point of this “Cicada 3301”? Anything?! Or is this just a collection of international internet friends making complex codes and puzzles for nothing more than s***s and giggles? I’m leaning towards a conclusion somewhere along the lines of that last sentence.
    Cicada 3301 sounds like a total waste of time.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 7:17 pm
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    So it still hasn’t been solved yet

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 7:29 pm
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    I'm pretty certain this was actually a secret recruitment.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 7:42 pm
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    Imagine if LEMiNNO did a video about this more than a year ago

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 7:45 pm
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    Oooooh watch dogs in real life this is going to be very interesting! a shadow organisation wanting privacy

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 8:23 pm
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    Flashback noises

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 8:28 pm
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    Anyone know where i can find this puzzle

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 8:50 pm
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    or shreck saying outta my swamp and you cant lave the web site

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 8:57 pm
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    1:31 is me when I read an essay in front of people

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 9:15 pm
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    Probably some Russian hackers sitting back and laughing at this.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 9:27 pm
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    Is it bad that I saw how to do a lot of this ??

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 9:41 pm
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    The must difficult puzzle known by man is the Rubik’s cube

    Change my mind

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 9:48 pm
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    Ya can’t beat lemmino

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 9:54 pm
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    Macht sich die Motte in Deinem Leben breit, dann frage Dich: "Was steht schon lange zur Lösung an?", "Woran halte ich fest?", "Was lasse ich nicht los?"

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 10:33 pm
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    Cicada 3301 was merely a distraction to keep people away from Project ARCD.

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 10:41 pm
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    🕑⏳

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 10:57 pm
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    He didn't read out the line of code to get to 10 minutes, right?

    Reply
  • January 29, 2020 at 11:18 pm
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    anonymous,,Q, think you are the news now wwg1wga.

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 12:13 am
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    Is this reuploaded?

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 12:15 am
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    Cicada is a very mysterious organization, It has been around for some time but it has not been decoded by us. Only a higher rank of people can solve this. It will take a while to decode this. This is not funny, this is not a troll. Cicada 3301 is a very serious organization. They have known all the strategies for others for a while. This will take some serious great coding violations. This is a rumor for others but don't let this boggle your mind. It will take hours trying to code this.

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 1:14 am
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    I just want to know if these Individuals were recruited for something… If so, did they only target intellectual people or perhaps others with different talents as well… And if this was the work of an unknown organization… There’s just so many Questions

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 1:19 am
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    Oh man i just remembered i already watched a video about it like a year ago

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 2:05 am
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    Imagine at the end of the puzzle is the message:
    "Ffffffffool! German science is the best in the world!"

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 2:48 am
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    When you win you are presented with a golden statue of Keanu Reeves

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 3:07 am
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    Blake: Tyger, Tyger burning bright/ In the forests of the night. (referenced in the movie "Apocalypse Now') The other is Erewhon, a palindrome for nowhere (referenced in the movie"The Day of the Dolphin" ) Both anti-establishment stories. Is infographics Cicada 3301? lol.

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 3:19 am
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    Metalica sound

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 3:22 am
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    This was still easier than trying to understand women…..

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 4:10 am
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    I like that little tune

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 5:16 am
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    LEMMiNNO

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 5:34 am
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    Mr. Robot

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 5:39 am
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    The solution is:
    Don't think about it!

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 5:44 am
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    FAKE… no one can keep a secret …. NO ONE

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 5:54 am
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    Anonymous.

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 5:57 am
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    So not even gonna mention Liber Primus?

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 5:57 am
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    follow lemino's channel. he covered this

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 6:05 am
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    End of puzzle ..

    “Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine.”

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 6:16 am
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    That’s a dumb thing. Sounds like a waste of time

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 6:28 am
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    Wasn't there movie like this

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 6:29 am
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    7:14 Insert Fight Club reference here.

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 6:30 am
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    Infographics is a little late to this one lol

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 6:33 am
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    Well this was odd

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 7:02 am
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    Albert Einstein: Hold my Beer

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 7:03 am
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    Albert Einstein: Hold my beer

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 8:15 am
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    Sounds like the Anonymous to me. Also I studied about Blake and Emerson in my course recently and it's pretty crazy to hear about them in this context

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 8:17 am
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    Can I Googled it?

    Reply
  • January 30, 2020 at 9:41 am
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    If it were me, I would try to build a safteynet of smart tech-savvy people to prevent human rights violations. It's a group like Anonymous except hyper exclusive membership.

    Reply

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