Big eyes out of their orbit, wide nightmarish smile, black hair stuck on a ghostly skin: Momo terrifies young teenagers on WhatsApp and could be the cause of the suicide of a girl of 12 years, in Argentina.
The creepy face has become the image of the “Momo Challenge”, a dangerous challenge that is spreading especially on the WhatsApp messaging application. The operation of the challenge remains unclear, but according to several testimonials of teenagers harvested, “Momo” challenges teenagers to engage in conversation with the character, otherwise he sends violent images or threats to the interlocutor if the latter refuses to follow his instructions.
So far marginal, the challenge has grown since the Argentinian authorities established a possible link between the “Momo challenge” and the suicide of a 12-year-old girl, found hanged at the foot of a tree .
The police believe that the girl wanted to publish the video of his suicide on social networks by crediting the “Momo challenge”. According to the Buenos Aires Times, several classmates actually saw the video, leading the authorities to believe that the girl was pushed to kill herself.
Others testified that they received terrifying images during the night. Others say that the character threatened to materialize during the night to curse them.
Some even said they received calls in which all they could hear was screaming and horrifying sounds. In the most troubling cases, the account would send several challenges, the last of which would be to commit suicide.
This challenge is reminiscent of the “Blue Whale Challenge”, which has taken the lives of many young people around the world. This challenge told his “players” – again teenagers – to perform a series of exploits for 50 days, the last being to end their lives.
The terrifying face used by the “Momo Challenge” is from a sculpture by Japanese artist Midori Hayashi, entitled “Mother Bird”. Hayashi is known for his straight out of a nightmare that mixes human and animal characteristics. The artist is however not at the origin of the “Momo challenge” and never wanted to see his work be diverted in this way.