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Momo’s Mystery: an Internet horror story that caused concern in the West, and in Russia it became a meme

From Japanese legends to comparison with the “Blue Whale” and jokes about the fact that the pension reform “will be more terrible.”

Since July 2018, in social networks you can find an image of Momo – a frightening girl who became the heroine of the new Internet legend. According to the stories in social networks, she can write to WhatsApp, but this communication will not end with anything good. Over the last month, dozens of Momo accounts appeared in the messenger, which caused concern in the West because of the possible connection between the horror story and suicide in Argentina.

But the Russian users of social networks were the first to attack the mysterious girl, turning the correspondence with her into a meme.

From ancient myth to horror stories in WhatsApp

In 2016, Japanese Instagram users began publishing a sculpture of a dark-haired girl with a twisted face and bird’s legs. This is the work of Link Factory for the local “otherworldly” exhibition held in August of the same year.

The sculpture, exhibited under the name “Woman-bird” ( Ubume ) – a reference to the monster of the same name, popular in Japan. According to legend, several centuries ago, the deceased pregnant girl turned into a ghost. She cannot get into the afterlife because of too much love for her child, so she goes to cities in search of clothing and food.


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#Repost @sfxatlas ・・・ MOTHER-BIRD by LinkFactory/Keisuke Aisawa. — Via @Between.Mirrors — #creepy #cute #sculpture #sculpt #horror #horrorlover #horrorfan #motherbird #nightmare #creep #captionthis

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For almost two years, the sculpture was not remembered, but in July 2018, the sculpture became popular in the Spanish-speaking segment of the Internet under the name of Momo. There, “The Woman-Bird” has a new story: it is supposedly to be found in the WhatsApp messenger. Users of social networks claimed that if you write to her, she will answer in your language, tell the facts about your life, and then begin to threaten death.

On July 10, Momo appeared in the English part of Reddit , and on July 12, on the 4chan imageboard . At the same time, the horror story acquired and imitators, posing as a monster in various messengers. The number of such contacts in WhatsApp increased dramatically after popular YouTube bloggers began recording videos with a reaction to communication with Momo.

Comparisons with the “Blue Whale”

In mid-July, Momo appeared in the Western media, but under the guise of a “suicidal game”: the reason was the statement of the Argentine police investigating the suicide of a 12-year-old girl near Buenos Aires. The officers found in her correspondence a dialogue with Momo, who allegedly forced her to commit suicide as part of the Challenge.

The authorities of the Mexican state of Tabasco warned residents about the game in Momo, asking not to respond to aggressive messages in instant messengers and not to disclose personal information. The Japanese monster was also mentioned by the Spanish police, calling not to believe “fashionable virus stories in WhatsApp”

In August, the British tabloids began calling Momo a new “Blue Whale”, hinting that attackers could continue to incline teenagers to suicide under the guise of a game. But, apart from the case in Argentina, the media did not report crimes related to the Internet horror story.

Then Momo got to Russia. Some publications, including Komsomolskaya Pravda, began to publish materials about her with titles like “A new frightening game for teenagers Momo came to Novosibirsk”.

A 14-year-old schoolgirl from Novosibirsk, an active user of social networks Varya, told KP-Novosibirsk that she is now scared by this game. He is afraid to enter the social network and answer unfamiliar calls.

“They say that they are calling from Japan, and if you pick up the phone, you can hear your breath first, and then a voice informs you that in two days and 24 hours you will receive a task that you cannot refuse – otherwise death,” said the schoolgirl.

from the material “Komsomolskaya Pravda”

Reaction to Momo in Russia

But in the Russian segment of social networks, users were not afraid of Momo, but, on the contrary, began to look for her contacts in WhatsApp. Correspondence with people pretending to be a horror story hero quickly became a meme on VKontakte and Twitter.

As a result, the Russian users declared their unconditional victory over the horror story.

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