Targeting young people through Whatsapp and Facebook, the “Momo Challenge” is linked to the suicide of a teen who wrote the words “Illuminati” and “Devil’s one eye” on a wall beforehand.
The Momo Challenge has been spreading in several countries across the world, leading police forces to warn parents about the potentially dangerous effects of this disturbing “game”. It is the latest social media phenomenon that leads unsuspecting teens into a world of violence and pure darkness.
What is the Momo Challenge?
“Players” are challenged through Whatsapp and Facebook to contact Momo at an unknown phone number. The teens are then ordered to perform a series of dangerous tasks. Failure to do results in repeated graphic threats that include: Making personal information public (doxing), harming family members or casting evil magical curses. These threats are often accompanied with scary, gory and disturbing pictures. Some teens stated that they received terrifying images during the night while others claimed that the character threatened to materialize overnight to curse them. Other added that they received calls during which they could only hear screaming and terrifying sounds.
The “Momo Challenge” is reminiscent of the “Blue Whale Challenge”, which was linked to the death of dozens of young people around the world. The players were required to perform a series of exploits for 50 days with the ultimate challenge being suicide.
The Momo account uses as an avatar a picture of a grotesque woman with bulging eyes – a sculpture created by the Japanese special effects firm Link Factory. The firm denies any involvement with the challenge.
Little is known about the actual content of these chat sessions with Momo. However, the stories relayed in the media by teenagers who played the game speak of incitement to violence and the exchange of violent content. Experts believe that the exchanges are an exercise in desensitization as players are gradually exposed to hyperviolent pictures and images throughout the challenges.
The challenges also lead to extortion and piracy. Indeed, using various techniques, the people behind Momo were able to access the players’ phones and use their contents for blackmail.
How Many Deaths Are Linked to the Momo Challenge?
The Momo Challenge was linked to the suicide of a 12-year old girl in Argentina who was in contact with a Momo account. However, police investigation remains inconclusive.
On August 28th, an 18-year old named Manish Sarki was found dead in a livestock shed which had the words “Illuminati” and “Devil’s one eye” scrawled on the wall.
The Hindustan Time reports:
Manish Sarki, a class 12 commerce student of private school was found hanging inside a livestock shed, a short distance away from his home on Monday night. He had gone missing on August 20. The police are examining the sketches and words like “Hanged Man”, “Illuminati”, “Doped Up”, “Metal” and the name of a girl painted inside the livestock shed.
These graffiti had raised suspicion that the boy killed himself following the instructions from the game.
“We are trying to unlock the phone of the boy. Once we are able to do it, we might get vital clues on the reason of the suicide. Manish was found hanging inside a livestock shed on the night of August 20,” said Harikrishna Pai, additional superintendent of police, Kurseong.
“I had seen Hanged Man, the drawing Manish painted, in the Momo app. The game is responsible for his suicide,” said Arjun Ghatani, Sarki’s cousin and a class 10 student. Another friend Imon said he had told teachers that Sarki always hid something from them while using his mobile phone.
Momo challenge messages were reported in several countries around the world including Mexico, India, Argentina, France, Germany, and Canada. Some messages were reported in the United States, but no reports of harm yet.
Preliminary investigations determined that most of the messages originate from Japan and Mexico. Some sources believe that the “challenge” is most likely a form of “bait” used by criminals to steal data and extort people on the internet.
Another hypothesis is that these kinds of phenomena originate from underground rings of people who are into things that are extremely dark, violent and occult and who revel into leading gullible teenagers into a world of horror, self-harm and ultimately, death.
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