Games have always been addictive. People spend hours trying to cross levels to reach their destination, to make higher and unbeatable scores. Humans though do not like to take risks much but also have the tendency to do the same thing when it is given to them as a challenge. That way, we think that our ability is being questioned and we take it as our responsibility to correct it.
There have been challenges in the past like the Ice Bucket Challenge, Banana and Sprite Challenge, Condom challenge, Book Bucket challenge, Mannequin challenge etc. They spread like a wildfire and thousands of people were taking it, because it was a rage and also because they wanted to see whether they could do something like that or not.
These challenges have their own cons but they aren’t as deadly as the one I am going to introduce next. The Blue Whale challenge is a challenge which exists in several countries. Under this, a 50 day period is assigned to complete the challenge. Series of tasks are assigned to the players by the administrators, who have to send videos and pictures to show that they have completed it. Sounds good till now, right? The actual stuff begins now, as the tasks are related to the infliction of pain on oneself and others, with the final one leading to suicide.
The game began in Russia in 2013, and has caused many suicides there and in many other countries like Brazil, Chile, Argentina etc. The first case of India (allegedly) has also been registered in Mumbai where a 14-year-old boy committed suicide by jumping off the seventh floor of a building.
Having the drive in life to commit to challenges is good, necessary even but committing suicide? To prove what? And to whom? It is said that threats to the lives of their families’ are made, but when you know what are the repercussions of playing such a game, then why to risk everything for something from which you can’t even back out? People need to just stop following the herd and think for themselves, whether their life is worth a game or not?
Below is a journal that is claimed to be of a kid who participated in the blue whale challenge:
I have always been a hardcore skeptic. If someone tells me something is ‘true’ I often end up doing some due diligences to verify the claim. I’m a truth seeker by nature.
I heard about the online game; “Blue Whale” via facebook and instantly had to see if it was legit.
For those of you who may not know what the game is it’s a social game hosted on a Russian media site (I’m not going to be posting links so don’t ask). The game is a text driven interactive experience that lasts 50 days. The player must perform a daily task that is then proven via photographic evidence and then submitted to the game Administrator. The rumor is that the tasks become more and more extreme as the days progress with the 50th day resulting in the Administrator deliberating a final task of suicide.
When I heard about this game and the claims that over 130 people had, in fact, killed themselves because of it I had to check it out. The game is run by a group in the same vein as a facebook group or message board. If you want to play you find the URL, create an account and then contact the Administrators of the group. I created an account and joined the group 40 days ago. Here is a transcript of my interactions so far.
Me: “I want to play.”
Administrator: “Are you certain? Once you begin you cannot quit.”
Me: “I understand. Yes, I want to play.”
Administrator: “The game lasts 50 days. You must complete each task diligently and provide proof that you have done so via photographs.”
Me: “I understand.”
Administrator: “No one must know about the game or what you are tasked to do. Do you understand?”
Administrator: “At the end of the game, you die.”
Me: “What if I chicken out?”
Administrator: “I have your information. We know where you live, we know where you go to school, we know how to find you. We will come after you.”
Me: “I understand. I want to play.”
Administrator: “Very good. Let’s begin.”
Now at this point, I was thinking that the whole sinister angle was a bunch of BS showboating. They didn’t have my info as I falsified my account credentials. I guess they could track my IP address but whatever, I’m the US and they are in Russia.
I was wrong.
DAY ONE: Administrator: “Hello, your task for today is to wake up at 2:45 AM.”
DAY TWO: Administrator: “Hello, your task for today is to watch the film; “The Ring” at midnite tonight.”
DAY THREE: Administrator: “Hello, your task for today is to tell your best friend that you hate them.”
Tasks such as these went on for the bulk of the first 25 days but began to increase in intensity on day 26…
DAY TWENTY-SIX: Administrator: “Your task for today is to stick a safety pin through your cheek.”
Me: “I can’t do that, I won’t perform self-mutilation.”
Administrator: “You will perform the task and you will send me the photo. You have 23 hours left to perform the task.”
Me: “I’m done with this game. I quit.”
Administrator: “You will be done with the game in 24 days. You cannot quit. You will complete your task and all future tasks without fail.”
Me: “I’m calling the police.”
I did not hear back from the Administrator after that statement so I assumed I had ended the game and scared him/her/it off.
I was again, wrong.
DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: 12:01 AM Administrator: “Your task has not been completed. You will complete your Day Twenty-Six task and you will also be tasked with carving the word – INSIDERPROJECT onto your left arm.”
Administrator: “You will complete both tasks and provide proof within 23 hours or there will be penalties.”
I woke up to find these threatening messages from the Administrator and blew them off. I wasn’t about to go sticking a safety pin through my cheek nor was I going to carve words into my arms. It was crazy. I closed my browser and figured that my time within the Blue Whale game was over.
I was wrong.
Five days later I received a text from a blocked number:
“Did you think you could just quit the game?”
I deleted the text and blocked the number thinking it was one of my friends (whom I had told what I was doing with the game) and left it at that.
The next day I got another text:
“They will come for you if you do not complete your tasks and address your penalties.”
Ha, Ha, very funny – my friends were having a laugh at my expense. I decided to play along.
“OK, I’ll get right on my tasks. I’m sorry I flaked on them. What are my penalties?”
“Finish your tasks. Your penalties have already been applied.”
This made me a bit curious. What kind of penalties would my friends exact against me? I thought I would come home to a toilet-papered house or to an embarrassing picture placed up on facebook…
When I returned home I found my dog hanging from my backyard tree.
Administrator: “I am glad you decided to continue playing the game. Thank you for your photo submissions, they are all part of the fun.”
Me: “Just give my next task.”
Administrator: “Of course, of course, I appreciate your spirit in getting right to it. Your dog showed the same lust for life prior to her unfortunate end.”
“Now about your next task. You are instructed to listen to the mp3 I will send to your inbox.”
I was relieved that I was out of the self-mutilation task list at least and waited for the file to download.
The file was a mp3 around 3.5 megs in size. I scanned it for viruses and it came up negative. I listened to the file expecting some weird-ass psychedelic music but it wasn’t music at all.
It was the sound of breathing that went on for around 3 minutes.
Days thirty-one through thirty-five were all the same tasks, wake up at 4:20 AM. Listen to music files they sent me (only one bit of music was sent, the other files contained breathing and some muffled laughter).
Administrator: “Your task today is to wake up at 4:20 AM. You will then be contacted by another whale. You will give that whale the following task – that whale is to carve ‘f40’ onto their left cheek.”
Me: “I understand.”
Administrator: “Your task today is to wake up at 4:20 AM and then to listen to the mp3 we send you and to post the photograph we send you onto any social media site.”
I woke up at 4:20 AM and waited for the mp3 and photo. The mp3 was the same breathing sound followed by a very faint sound of giggling and what I thought were the words; “I love this game.”
The photo was dark and hard to make out. it looked like a room of some sort with the lights off. It was rather grainy too so the photo had to have been taken in the dark without the use of a flash.
I opened the photo in Photoshop and played with the brightness and contrast settings hoping to reveal anything that might give clarity on what the picture was.
It was a picture of me asleep in my room.
Administrator: “Your task today is to wake up at 4:20 AM. When you wake up you will choose your place and means of death and send a photograph.”
Here is where I am now. 40 days into this insane game with no way to get out. I went to the police and they told me they could nothing. I gave them the files and the photo and they told me they were both blank – nothing was on them. They accused me of wasting their time and said if I had anything actually concrete that they would ‘look into it.’.
I’m going to complete my tasks. I live next to an 8 story parking garage that should do the trick when the time comes. Day 50. Part of me just wants to end it on day 40, or day 41. Fuck them, at least I have control of how I go out. This other part of me wants to run. I want to make them do their dirty work. I just don’t want anyone else to get hurt.
As I write this I noticed a new piece of art tacked to my little sister’s bedroom door. She always tacks up her masterpieces which usually consist of fairies and unicorns and fantastical birds.
This picture is different, it’s larger and a bit more accomplished than her eight-year-old skillset.
It’s a drawing of a blue whale.