That Creepy Momo Sculpture Has Been Destroyed

Screenshot: j_s_rock, Edited by Kotaku

The “Momo Challenge” is alleged to have caused children to unleash violence. It’s a viral hoax. Momo, however, is a real sculpture. Make that, was.

Since 2018, the Momo Challenge has been internet fodder, even inspiring a Minecraft mod. Recently, Momo has experienced a revival.

Her “challenge” was said to have been circulating on WhatsApp and has been blamed for inciting violence and causing kids to commit self-harm. Warnings about the Momo Challenge spread around Facebook, creating a feedback loop of fear, with even Kim Kardashian asking YouTube to “do something.”

Snopes examined the purported Momo links to violence but turned up nothing concrete. CNN ran a report titled, “Parents, Please Stop Freaking Out Over The Momo Challenge.”

Other publications like The Atlantic also debunked the hoax. Laura Hazard Owen of Nieman Journalism Lab told NPR, “There’s no proof that this is a real thing. It’s not a real thing.”

The sculpture, however, was.

Goodness.

Momo was created by Japanese artist Keisuke Aiso. The name of the work, however, is not Momo. That was a later internet addition. Shown in 2016 at a Tokyo art show, it’s called “Mother Bird” and was created and depicts a ubume, which is a type of Japanese yokai.

It ended up as internet “creepy” fodder on Reddit and eventually spawned the bogus Momo Challenge.

The sculpture, however, no longer exists. Aiso was quoted as telling The Sun (via Asia One and News.com.au) that the work, which was never intended to be long-lasting, was rotting and falling apart so he threw it away. Aiso added, “If you’d have seen it in the state it was in, it would have probably looked even more terrifying.”

Aiso said when he originally created the piece, he wanted to frighten people. He did not intend it to be used to make kids cause harm to themselves or others. But what does the artist think about his work being used for this hoax? He said he has mixed feeling because it caused him trouble, but did show his work to the whole world.

“The children can be reassured Momo is dead—she doesn’t exist and the curse is gone.”

If you have thoughts of inflicting self-harm or suicide, there are those who can help. Visit Lifeline Australia or contact 13 11 14.


Comments

    I've never seen the whole sculpture before now. I fucking love yokai. I had no idea she was supposed to be a Ubume!

    Sculpture was gorgeous work.

    Momo was absolutely, literally (and I meant that in the literal sense) classic internet. Millennial makes something up, Boomer believes it way too readily and spreads it, it goes like a bushfire across the internet, ends up being shared a million times on FB by more boomers and millennial that should know better. Classic.

    Man, that pixelised version used in the header is actually more creepy than the actual sculpture. I think it's because you know something is there but you can't quite make out what it is so your brain is leaping to all sorts of worst case scenarios.

    I'm not reassured by the sculpture being dead now. All it means is that her spirit is no longer contained within a vessel and now roams the shadowy corners of the internet as she waits to unleash her curse on the world once more.

      Soooooooo... basically were back in the 90s with those creepy pasta/scarey/cursed hoax chain mail stuff? =P

        If you don't forward this comment to 10 people you will be visited by a Nigerian Prince asking you to sign up for pics of Anna Kournikova.

      Man, that pixelised version used in the header is actually more creepy than the actual sculpture.

      100% this. I had seen the pictures before without reaction, but this one gave me a bit of a chill.

      Horror is all about the visceral distrust for the "unknown other". The less detail and information you give, the better people's brains will fill in with their own custom terrors.

    I had so many "Won't somebody please think of the children!" conversations in the past fortnight due to this.

    The funniest thing to come out of this apart from the pearly clutching from moronic mummie bloggers, Was the media attempting to report on filthy frank. Seeing serious articles with the quote:

    Remember kids, sideways for attention, longways for results

    Made me laugh.

    Heck and to think back in my day it was all about goatse and lemon party.... boy how the Internet has changed.

    I like how the article quotes a Japanese tweet and reacts to it as if it was English. Couldn’t afford to translate it for the rest of us?

    Wasn't the sculpture destroyed about a year ago? If so this is fake news, trying to create the impression that the destruction had a relationship to the Momo thing.

    I asked my daughter just yesterday if the kids at school were talking about Momo.

    She said: "Dad, that's a dead meme."

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