I know where she comes from, but that doesn’t make it any better, really. The creepy image is actually a photo of a sculpture called Mother Bird created by the Japanese special effects company Link Factory. Last year, authorities around the world began sharing warnings of the “Momo Challenge,” where WhatsApp users adopting the image would supposedly tell children to perform increasingly extreme acts, sharing gory images if they didn’t, and allegedly driving some to suicide. Some news outlets warned of the challenge, while others realized that most Momo-related claims were poorly supported and the whole thing stank of a hoax. The panic reignited again this week, when an Irish police department shared yet another warning on Facebook—and concerned parents signal-boosted the message.
Writer and avant-garde publisher Tosh Berman discusses growing up in postwar California, hipster sexism, the hippie horrors of Topanga canyon, his impressions of family friends like Cameron and Brian Jones, and his charming new memoir Tosh, about growing up with his father, the remarkable underground California artist Wallace Berman.
When Mick Jagger sang ‘Just call me Lucifer’, pop music changed forever, but the tragedy of Altamont lay ahead, writes Simon Hardeman
Fifty years ago this week Mick Jagger became the Devil. Everyone had known the Rolling Stones were misogynistic, drug-taking, all-round bad boys but as he sang, “Please allow me to introduce myself / I’m a man of wealth and taste…” the genie – or, rather the demon – bolted from the bottle. The results would be devastating. For pop, it laid a new path for some of the biggest bands ever, but for the Rolling Stones it led to a vicious murder at an infamous concert exactly a year from the song’s release, and an abiding reputation for evil.
Why parents are freaking out about this terrifying “game”?
From Slender Man to kids eating detergent pods, there’s a long and rich history of creepy internetchallenges freaking out parents. The latest addition to this time-honored tradition is Momo, an online challenge that’s purportedly sort of a combination of the Black Mirror episode “Shut Up and Dance” and Blue Whale. Momo allegedly targets young children by encouraging them to text a number on WhatsApp, which then sends them instructions to complete a series of increasingly bizarre and dangerous tasks from watching a horror movie to engaging in self-harm to taking their own lives.
A new movie tells the appalling true story of Norway’s ‘black metal murders’. Nicholas Barber explores the dark tale behind the film.
Jonas Åkerlund’s new film, Lords of Chaos, is a rock’n’roll biopic, with all the wigs and gigs that that implies. But it is also a grisly, stranger-than-fiction comedy drama about murder, suicide, self-harm, devil worship, and a spate of arson attacks that scandalised a nation. Chronicling the outrageous crimes committed by a few Norwegian black metal bands and their hangers-on in the early 1990s, the film probably won’t appeal to lovers of Bohemian Rhapsody – and there have even been calls from some church groups for the film to be banned.
Penny Lane’s documentary about The Satanic Temple’s grassroots activism is hilarious but thought-provoking
In 2013, an organization billing itself as The Satanic Temple made a minor news splashwhen it mounted a press conference at the Florida State Capitol to praise Governor Rick Scott for signing a bill to permit student-led “inspirational messages” at school events. The group issued a statement in support of freedom of religion, saying that the bill “has reaffirmed our American freedom to practice our faith openly, allowing our Satanic children the freedom to pray in school.” It was a puckish take on a thinly disguised, widely unpopular attempt to return religion to public schools, but while the event itself only featured a handful of self-declared Satanists in black clothes and Halloween-costume robes, it drew a fair amount of press attention for its sheer outrageousness.
On a sunny morning in early 2000, Joseph Matheny woke up to find conspiracy theorists camped out on his lawn again. He was making coffee when he noticed a face peering in a ground-floor window of the small, three-story building he rented in Santa Cruz. Past the peeper, there were three other men in their early 20s loitering awkwardly. Matheny sighed and stepped outside. He already knew what they wanted. They wanted to know the truth about Ong’s Hat. They wanted the secret to interdimensional travel.
From the “God Hates Fags” vitriol of the Westboro Baptist Church to the white supremacist and homophobic totalitarianism of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the violent neo-Nazi advocates of “racial holy war” in the Creativity Movement, examples of hate metastasizing via religious dogma abound.
The Twelve Tribes, a Christian fundamentalist cult born in the American South in the 1970s, is little-known to much of the country, and on first impression its communes and hippie-vibed restaurants and cafes can seem quaint and bucolic. But beneath the surface lies a tangle of doctrine that teaches its followers that slavery was “a marvelous opportunity” for black people, who are deemed by the Bible to be servants of whites, and that homosexuals deserve no less than death.