In 1995 The High school I attended got connected to the Internet. We had one computer classroom where students were allowed when it wasn’t in use for classes in spreadsheets,  simple programming or something like that. 

It was mostly the geeks who used it but because you could play games like Doom against each other on the LAN network they didn’t have it all to themselves. 

This was before the emergence of Google so it wasn’t always easy finding cool homepages – which weren’t that cool anyway once they finished loading. We were still passing around handwritten notes pages with addresses for downloading more or less legal stuff. You just had to remember that there had to be sufficient time between classes to download anything especially if it was anything with pictures in it. 

Somewhere in there between downloading pictures of naked girls and playing Dune and Doom a student found and downloaded The Terrorist’s Handbook. It wasn’t exactly a marvel of graphics or a huge literary experience but maybe it was because of the amateurish look and feel that it seemed to be the real real. 

Old screenshot of the handbook

To this day I still don’t know if it was fiction or if it really was meant as a handbook. But I am sure that some of the content was legit. There were recipes for explosives like acetone peroxide also known as Satan’s Mother. You could read how to build short distance rockets for carrying small bomb loads and there were several examples on how to make detonators, traps and the like. Some of the things were illustrated with drawings made by using signs like /Xo\ Ox | . 

Just like the other young guys I flipped through, and read some of, the pages that we printed on the matrix printer in the corner. We had heard rumors about someone who had gotten his fingers blown off and of some other guys who had tried some of the other things described on the pages. But it just added to the excitement of it all.

For me the excitement peaked when I was flipping thorugh the chapter on boobietraps and read about a special little thing called Dantrap. At first it just rang a tiny bell in my head that I didn’t take much notice of. However it kept on banging around in my skull for the next few days until it dawned on me where I had seen the name before. 

I had to re-read most of the diary but finally I found the passage where Dantrap occurred. It was the trap that the author had been so proud of.

The short description in the diary matched the device described in the handbook pretty well. Somebody seemed to have improved the design but it was still a fairly simple trap that only used gunpowder from a few cartridges and some wire og string. 

Discovering the connectedness between the handbook and the diary that had been standing on my shelf for more than two years shook me up. It had to mean that the diary wasn’t fake. It wasn’t a draft for a novel or some other form of fiction. It had to be a real diary and therefore the man who called himself The Dane and Ac Qui also had to be real. I couldn’t know if he was still alive or what had happened to him after the diary was written. 

I tried to track down the origin of the handbook. I wasn’t exactly a genius with a computer and searching the internet wasn’t as easy as today. Other powers than me tried the same but I don’t think they ever found out who made the handbook in the first place. The only step further I got was that I found out that some guys from DTU (Denmark’s Technical University) had tried out some of the recipes – and then also that some of the the handbook seemed to be copied from The Anarchist Cookbook from 1971. 

I wasn’t going to find The Dane this way. I was hoping to find the author and ask him how he knew about Dantrap. That way I might have been able to find out whether The Dane was alive or not. 

The failure hit me pretty hard. Maybe it was because I was so young and not used to failing and it didn’t help that I really worked hard for it and did my best to find out what happened.  

The Dane never really left my mind and I stayed alert to any news or other information that pointed in the direction of the existence of one or more persons called The Dane. The arrow pointed in the direction of a world in the shadows that we rarely come into contact with but which is just as real as the one we live in with mortgages and work related stress.

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