specsucks is a blog unhinged with hatred for the Spec. Those behind it take extreme measures to maintain anonymity. Efforts to identify any of them have so far been futile, but Sam Aarons, Alex Jones, Conor Skelding, and Brian Wagner took the case.
The Dark Hand is Nicolas Biekert, SEAS ’13.
We’d been wondering about the people behind specsucks as of February of 2012, but all leads went cold in April. They were intelligent. Their posts referenced internal Spec and Bwog gossip, and by late last semester, they had leaked some stuff from inside Spec. They had information.
Remember that CUCR/Ahmadinejad debacle last year? We didn’t actually break the news that Spec was wrong and CUCR hadn’t invited Ahmadinejad—specsucks did. This semester, specsucks covered campus in fliers, calling themselves, not unjustly, “[t]he premier secret society at Columbia.” They performed an obscene ritual as if moved to it by an occult hand. The Eye joked about it. Somebody chalked it in the Spec office.
What was last year a blog that appeared to be ravings of a questionably-stable individual now appears to be an organization made up of cells of informants across student groups that feed information to The Cloaked Mask and The Dark Hand.
As TDH later pseudonymously told The Blue and White in an email:
The Dark Hand isn’t really my idea, it’s more of an idea. Anyone could be the Dark Hand. The Dark Hand doesn’t really belong to me in this sense. […] My message is the Cloaked Mask’s Message. Spec has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die.
When bored@butler returned, we noticed that TDH had a strong voice there. So we waited. We got knee-deep in bored@butler. We lurked long hours in their chatroom. (It was totally a stakeout that we could conduct from our dorms.) On November 19th, we saw something: the specsucks and b@b people videochatting. We took screencaps.
So we knew what his face looked like, partially. And we had seen inside his room. Judging by the mantel and the orientation of the room, we knew that he lived on a room in the 21 line of Ruggles.
Later that night, we saw TDH and another user talk about a class they were in together. Again, we took screencaps.
From those, we knew that the The Dark Hand was in Fundamentals of Photonics. A week later, at 5:30 pm on November 27th, we waited outside the classroom: 227 Mudd. We made the positive ID from the video chat screencaps. He was tall. We tracked him to Uris and then broke off. One week after that, we again followed him from 227 Mudd. Switching the tail at College Walk, we followed him back to Ruggles. He didn’t look back, and we watched him enter his suite—a room on the 21 line of Ruggles.
We ran all the names on the door, and came up with Nicolas Biekert, SEAS ’13. He is an Applied Physics major, which explained Photonics. His residence was listed as Ruggles 21-line, which, as you can see from the floor plan, is in the back-right Ruggles suite, and has a mantel.
There wasn’t much to be found on the Internet about Biekert, besides two pictures that strongly resemble The Dark Hand from the video chat. He was valedictorian of Avon Old Farms School. His crowded resume included President of Habitat for Humanity, elementary school tutor, Model UN, and Special Olympics soccer helper.
So this afternoon, just before this post was went up, we knocked on his Ruggles door. Admitting us to his room, Biekert was a good sport. He did admit that he was The Dark Hand, but told us little else. When questioned about the structure of specsucks, he confirmed that he and The Cloaked Mask are in charge; but when we asked how many others made up the “lejun” he only smiled and said “thousands.”
Picture of Biekert from Avon Old Farms