Last week, a TikTok video of teenagers finding human remains in Seattle went viral, both captivating and horrifying online viewers.
But for many, it’s still confusing how they managed to land on those human remains in the first place.
Enter ‘randonauting,’ the online trend that has some smartphone users traveling to randomly-generated coordinates to explore — and in some cases, find some unexpected and even creepy things.
What the kids are up to: Randonauting is a trend that has some smartphone users traveling to randomly-generated coordinates to explore
What: Randonauts use several different apps and websites to generate random geographical coordinates, and then travel to those coordinates for an adventure
People who participate in randonauting call themselves Randonauts — a word that comes from the root ‘random’ with the suffix ‘naut,’ which means sailor or, more widely, explorer.
Randonauts use several different apps and websites to generate random geographical coordinates, and then travel to those coordinates for an adventure.
For some, it’s about exploring ‘Blind Spots’: places they would never normally encounter in their lives.
For others, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Part of randonauting is embracing the theory of Mind-Matter interactions: that our minds, thoughts, and intentions can impact the things around us.
With that reasoning, Randonauts may set intentions when they generate coordinates, and those coordinates are supposed to lead them to something that has meaning based on their intentions.
Why: For some, it’s about exploring ‘Blind Spots’: places they would never normally encounter in their lives
Part of randonauting is embracing the theory of Mind-Matter interactions: that our minds, thoughts, and intentions can impact the things around us
According to Medium, there are a few methods that Randonauts use: Messaging @shangrila_bot on the Telegram app, visiting the Web Bot, and, most popularly, using the Randonautica app, which is available for both iOS and Android.
Using the Randonautica app is quite simple.
First, users choose a type of ‘quantum point,’ or coordinate point, they want to visit: attractor, void, or anomaly. They then set a radius for how far they will travel.
Finally, users set an ‘intention,’ a word or phrase that will supposedly guide the coordinates toward a place with deeper meaning.
For example, Distractify explains, a person might set their intention as ‘love.’ The app might then send that user to coordinates where there is a heart carved into a tree, or something loving present.
The coordinates, however, are in fact randomly generated — so finding something related to the intention that was set can be seen as either a coincidence or the results of a Mind-Matter connection, depending on a person’s beliefs.
Going exploring: Users are sharing their experiences on TIkTok, Reddit, and YouTube
Surprise! One TikTok user was shocked to be taken to a cemetery where he found his last name on a headstone; he later learned those buried there were relatives
Intentions: Another set her intention as finding her mom’s lost dog; She then went to the location the app told her
Eerie: There, she found a dog she’d never met before — but who was very friendly with her
Exploring: Another has earned millions of views for his videos in which he has traveled to secluded places
Treasure: In one, he found an old, abandoned car in the woods
While there is no scientific evidence that something mystical or paranormal is going on, Randonauts have still taken to exploring with the method, and many are sharing their discoveries on social media.
A Reddit group, YouTube channels, and TikTok videos have been dedicating to randonauting, with explorers sharing photos and videos of their discoveries.
Some people, of course, merely discover new and interesting places, like picturesque forrest scenes, beautiful bodies of water, and peaceful meadows.
One Redditor, for example, set their intention for ‘someplace magical that would inspire creativity’ and was taken to a beautiful creek surrounded by flowers.
Others encounter the unexpected, like a random recliner in the middle of a field, a building missing a door, or bizarre sand patterns on the beach.
Creepy: On Reddit, a user was taken aback when he arrived at his destination and found this ‘unexplainable’ pyramid of sand
Sweet! A couple was taken to this outdoor setup that looks ready for a wedding — after the man had set his intention to find a place to propose
Pretty: Many people discover new and interesting places, like picturesque forrest scenes, beautiful bodies of water, and peaceful meadows
TIkTok user, Matt Hall, has gone a few adventures, and his first one has been viewed 6.7 million times on the app.
The app led him to the middle of the woods, where he found an old, broken down car that was rotting away and has been slowly reclaimed by nature.
Then there are those with eerie discoveries. Some manage to stumble upon things that are shockingly coincidental, while others find things that seem to perfectly match the ‘intentions’ they declared.
TikTok user Alex Bennett has earned over six million views for his video, in which the coordinates that were generated took him to a graveyard — where he found a tombstone with his last name.
He soon learned that it belonged to relatives of his whom he didn’t know.
What a find! One Redditor set their intention for ‘someplace magical that would inspire creativity’ and was taken to a beautiful creek surrounded by flowers
Weird! This Redditor found a ‘glitch in the matrix’ — a spot for a door where there is no door
That’s odd! This first-time user wanted to ‘see something unexplainable’ and was randomly taken to a meadow with a recliner in the middle
Another TikTok user, Sluglexa, set her intention as her ‘mom’s lost dog’ before generating numbers. Those numbers took her to the middle of the desert — where they saw a single dog running around.
Though they’d never met the dog before, she said he was very friendly ‘and kept leading us to the right director toward our actual point.’
On Reddit, one user said they set their intention as ‘happiness,’ and by chance, was taken to a spot where someone had arranged a bunch of rocks into a smiling sun.
Another said she and her boyfriend had both secretly set their own intentions before setting out.
When they arrived at a spot seemingly set up for a wedding — complete with an altar and pews — they discovered that she had set her intention as ‘love’ and he had set it as the place he would propose.
Yikes! In a few cases, randonauting has led to some particularly horrifying discoveries, like the human remains that teens found in Seattle
Oh no! At first, the teens were excited to discover a black suitcase that had washed ashore, wondering what it might hold — but they were soon calling 911
In a few cases, randonauting has led to some particularly horrifying discoveries, like the human remains that teens found in Seattle.
TikTok user UghHenry shared video as the group explored a waterfront in Washington state on Friday.
At first, the teens were excited to discover a black suitcase that had washed ashore, wondering what it might hold.
‘We found this black suitcase. We were joking that maybe the suitcase would have money…[But] the smell was overwhelming,’ the video caption explained.
But when one teen went to open it, she found a dead body.
The teens immediately called the police.