A few months ago, a strange viral sensation called “Momo” began popping up in children’s videos on YouTube and alarming parents. Momo is a strange puppet that looks a bit like the ghost from the movie “The Ring.”
The puppet looks like a thin woman with a long face and large circles around her bulging eyes, with greasy and stringy hair. It wasn’t just the look of the puppet that was creepy either, it was widely reported that the puppet was appearing in popular children’s videos and encouraging them to do violent, destructive and even suicidal things.
As media reports about Momo went viral and parents began to raise concern, YouTube made an announcement saying that they banned any content encouraging violence from their platform and that they would continue to keep an eye on the situation.
We want to clear something up regarding the Momo Challenge: We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.
— YouTube (@YouTube) February 27, 2019
Shortly after YouTube made their announcement, new media reports surfaced suggesting that Momo was nothing more than a hoax. Media sources suggested that since no children were hurt or killed, and no actual violence was reported, that the story was nothing more than a viral hoax. However, disturbing clips featuring Momo were actually appearing in children’s videos and giving very gruesome and violent instructions, so even if no one has been hurt yet, somebody out there is trying to instigate harm.
Police also still seem to be concerned about Momo and have issued a new warning to parents.
The new warning from police has indicated that the Momo puppet has been injected into different versions of the viral “Baby Shark” videos. “Baby Shark” is a children’s song about a family of sharks. Baby Shark was initially a campfire song, but it has been popularized since the mid-2010s by social media, online video, and radio.
The new reports are even more disturbing than the stories from a few months ago, because now it is being reported that users were receiving graphic images as well as suicide instructions. In the previous renditions of Momo, children were given violent instructions, but graphic images were not included in the previous videos.
Spanish police warned on social media that the new version of Momo is a threat to children. Multiple families in the country have reported seeing suicide instructions in recent Baby Shark videos.
A warning from police said that Momo has “resurfaced with some damaging modifications.”
“No, Momo does not exist, it is an old viral character that has resurfaced with some damaging modifications. We have to work together to not allow it to spread,” a warning from police said.
Local Spanish media reported that in one of the videos the character said, “Hi, I am Momo. I want to play with you. Look for a knife in your kitchen and cut your little hands. If you do not do it, Momo will come after you.”
Police said that parents should supervise the videos that their children are watching and warned not to leave them alone to watch YouTube videos on their own.
The creator of the Momo doll was very upset about the hysteria that his puppet created, so he publicly destroyed the doll.
Japanese sculptor Keisuke Aiso is the creator of the doll, and he told The Sun that, “the curse is broken.”
“The children can be reassured Momo is dead. She doesn’t exist and the curse is gone. (The sculpture) doesn’t exist anymore, it was never meant to last. It was rotten and I threw it away,” Aiso said.
“It is a ghoul, about the death of a woman in childbirth, in a way its reason for being is to scare children, but it wasn’t supposed to be used in the way it has. It was never meant to be used to make children harm themselves or cause any physical harm,” he explained.
Even though the original doll is gone, that has not stopped copy cat pranksters from creating their own versions of Momo that are even more terrifying. If you have children, the best way to handle something like this is to simply sit down with them and talk with them, make sure they know that these types of things are going around, and explain to them that they can’t be hurt by something that they see online.
Photo Credit: The Daily Mail