(Gray News) – The “Momo Challenge” has terrified parents on social media since 2018, when online rumors began circulating about the “suicide game” for kids connected to a ghoulish being called “Momo.”
As part of the “challenge,” kids are supposedly encouraged to harm themselves and others, and even commit suicide.
The sinister image of Momo – a woman’s grotesque head attached to a birdlike body – has reportedly appeared on WhatsApp and YouTube videos aimed at children.
Kids are said to have received anonymous messages tied to the Momo image, telling them to attempt dangerous stunts.
Still, law enforcement officials from around the world have been warning parents about it.
Though the challenge is likely a hoax, Momo herself exists in the form of a sculpture made by 43-year-old Japanese artist Keisuke Aiso – or, at least, she did.
Aiso told The Sun the sculpture is no more. He threw it in the trash after it had “rotted away.”
“It doesn’t exist anymore. It was never meant to last,” he said. “If you’d have seen it in the state it was in, it would have probably looked even more terrifying.”
Aiso said the sculpture, which he titled “Mother Bird,” was inspired by a Japanese ghost story about a woman who died in childbirth and reemerged as a bird woman to haunt the place where she perished.
Though Aiso made “Mother Bird” to frighten people, he said he felt “responsible” after online trolls started using images of it to scare children.
“The children can be reassured Momo is dead,” he said. “She doesn’t exist, and the curse is gone.”
Aiso said he’s glad his work has been seen all over the world, “but the way that it has been used now is very unfortunate.”
Another consequence of the sculpture, Aiso said, has been death threats against him and another artist mistaken as the “Mother Bird” creator.
“I have no regrets that it is gone,” he said.