OK, readers- this blog is 100% non-WLAN related. I want to get that right out there. But it does feature observation, conspiracy theory, mystery, and just an odd data set that I believe is not what it seems on the surface. At the end, there may be no real point. But if you’re in the mood for a weird tale, read on.
The Quest Begins
Now that our kids are grown, my wife and I are looking at different ways of filling our time. We’ve always camped in some form or fashion, and we got it in our heads recently that we want to get a modest, used Airstream. One of these, if you’re not familiar:
They are somewhat hard to find (and at a reasonable price), yet at the same time those who have them tend to love them. And they are still being made.
So… how is this weird? Stay with me… that’s coming up soon.
Figures Lie, Liars Figure (maybe)
We’re doing the usual routine. I’ve looked at many used camper websites, on Airstream owner forums, and all over Craigslist. Which gets us closer to the mystery. I stumbled across this web site, which I thought could be useful.
After all, it’s a nice collection of Airstream adds. Or does it show something more? Something…systematic and nefarious? I’ll tell you straightaway, I don’t think that many of these adds are valid, and that they are actually conveying some non-obvious information to unknown parties. Or just as likely- this is a massive scam.
Yeah, I get it. You think I’m nuts. I’m OK with that. Let’s keep going, though, as I will back up both theories.
Something is Wrong Here
Have a look at this series of 2003’s, clipped from that list:
- 11 Similar adds in 10 different states
- All prices within a few bucks
- All prices start with $3,4xx
- All dates awfully close to each other
This particular camper just doesn’t sell for these prices- EVER.
The Scam Theory
In digging around the Interwebs for information to support my gut feeling that something is wrong in The Republic of Used Airstreamia, I came across this very similar plot.
Coincidentally- the one from the big list above in Syracuse also said in the add that they were selling it for $2,500, just like the “Jessica Walker” fraudster shown here. (Sadly, scammers are everywhere- like on Amazon.)
Bullshit Ads- The New “Numbers Stations”?
My gut tells me that I stumbled across fraud and scam. But- I promised intrigue, and I darn well deliver what I promise, I tellya. First of all, if you are not familiar with the Cold War concept of “numbers stations”, go get educated. All set? Good, let’s finish up here.
What if these sorts of orchestrated BS adds were a new way of hiding information in plain sight? Where you and I see a simple Craigslist (or similar) ad, but anyone from spies to drug cartels to terrorists see encoded information? If their phones or PCs were confiscated, all their browsing history would show is that somebody was interested in Airstreams. Or cameras, or whatever- assuming there is more of this assery afoot out there.
But with some sort of key, those odd-looking ads might be decoded to give the mysterious bad guy or spook instructions or status updates of some sort. Hmmmm.
I have no doubt that these sorts of activities occur in some form or another. Whether these Airstream ads are fraud or hidden messages is something I can’t definitively know, but I do know that they are one or the other. And I also know that things are often not what they seem in this crazy world.
Meanwhile… anyone selling an Airstream?