What is Momo and why are so many people sharing this creepy image online? Is it the new Slenderman? Let’s investigate.
We can’t talk about Momo at all without sharing the image that started this whole thing. But the image is straight up creepy as hell. You’ve been warned.
This image of a girl with huge eyes and a creepy, stretched-out grin, began appearing widely on the internet in early July. It was posted by AlmightySosa00 to the “creepy” subreddit on July 10, and within days, a new kind of urban legend emerged online. More on that in a minute.
But before we go any further, let’s get this out of the way and mention that there is nothing ghostlike or supernatural about the image itself. he first time it appeared, most of the internet seems to agree, is on an Instagram post from nanakoo on August 25, 2016.
It’s actually a sculpture that appeared in an art exhibition in Japan called Ghost Gallery III: Jasper in the Underworld, in 2016. It’s an intentionally creepy ghostlike creature with bird legs created by Link Factory, a Japanese company that designs creatures like this for film and television.
Some articles have incorrectly identified Japanese designer Midori Hayashi as the creator, because she also makes terrifying dolls, but she squashed those rumors on Facebook, saying “That famous bird is not my work.” So that’s it. Just a creepy-looking sculpture from Japan – and there’s no indication that it was ever affiliated with the name Momo…until recently.
In early July, people started seeing a series of mysterious phone numbers posted to Facebook. I know that sounds vague and unhelpful, but that tends to be the case with urban legends like this.
When people searched that phone number, it appeared only to be connected to accounts on WhatsApp. According to YouTuber Reignbot, most people who message Momo don’t get any sort of response, and that appears to be the case of others’ experiences, as some people have tried calling the Momo numbers, also with no luck.
But here’s where it gets super urban legendy. Some people, most notably Spanish YouTuber El Rincon de Giorgio, claim to have received messages from Momo. According to his video, Momo responded with the messages: “I know who you are. This is how you and your parents are going to come to an end. You have little time left.”
And the meatball on top of the creepypasta is Momo also, maybe, sends videos of decapitated children to you. The Fine Brothers had some YouTubers message Momo in one of their patented “React” videos… but it mostly sent silly messages instead of threatening ones.
So…is there someone else on the other end of those Momo WhatsApp accounts? Probably.
Is it a ghost? Hmmmm….no.
The panic over Momo hit a crescendo this last week, as one of the accounts is being blamed for the suicide of an 12-year-old girl in Argentina. According to police, the girl was planning to upload the act to social media, somehow in conjunction with what they call “the Momo game.”
The information coming from Argentina is a little bit murky – it’s unclear what any of the messages said or if it was one of those Momo accounts she had contacted. However, the police believe the girl had spoken to an as-yet-unknown 18-year-old whom she met on social media, and that this person had encouraged her to commit suicide.
Authorities throughout the Spanish-speaking world are worried we could have a new Blue Whale Challenge or Slenderman on our hands. The Mexican state of Tabasco has warned people not to call the numbers on WhatsApp, as they could be encouraged to cause harm to themselves or others.
What do you guys think? Is some random person responding to people as Momo on WhatsApp? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.