A college student committed suicide by hanging himself after he reportedly took up the Blue Whale Challenge.
The Blue Whale Challenge has seemingly claimed a life in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai. A 19-year-old college student from Thirumangalam — Vignesh — committed suicide by hanging himself on Wednesday. Vignesh was a second year student at Mannar College in Madurai. He was found hanging around 4:15 pm.
Police confirmed the image of a whale carved on Vignesh’s left forearm with a blade and the words “Blue Whale” were written beneath it.
A note was also recovered from the spot which said, “Blue Whale- This is not a game but danger. Once you enter, you can never exit”.
Vignesh’s friends told the police that they saw him attempting the Blue Whale Challenge on his phone. Since there are no applications or website for the challenge, friends would have meant they saw Vignesh using his phone more than usual because the challenge involves conversing with a curator over messages, or sometimes, calls.
Tamil Nadu Police had recently released a circular asking parents to keep an eye for children attempting the Blue Whale Challenge on the computer or their phones and to monitor their behaviour.
WHAT THE BLUE WHALE CHALLENGE IS
The Blue Whale Challenge — a dare-based “game” that requires participants to complete 50 tasks in 50 days, and the ultimate task being committing suicide by jumping of a high-rise — originated in Russia in 2013. The creator of the challenge, Philipp Budeikin, was arrested in May and sentenced to three years in prison. He had confessed, in an interview, that he deliberately incited 17 teenagers into committing suicide. Philipp, 22, said that he was eliminating people ‘who do not represent any value, cause harm or will cause harm to the society’ from the face of the Earth.
The Blue Whale Challenge, at least when it originated, had a curator who gets in touch with people who are curious about the game and posts from their social media accounts asking to be found. They use different hashtags for this purpose. Once the curator stalks those who posts with these hashtags and realises they’re vulnerable, they talk to these people, mostly teenagers, in private messages.
Teenagers take up the challenge to prove a point to themselves and to their peers. Many think they will stop taking the tasks if the curator asks them to do dangerous deeds like jumping into a river despite not knowing how to swim, but usually they don’t succeed in avoiding the urge to do the task.
Tasks range from listening to certain songs (we have heard some, and it’s quite disturbing when listened to on loop) at 4 20 AM, isolating oneself, cutting oneself, travelling alone, watching horror clips, movies curators send at 4 20 AM, talking to fellow players over Skype, spending time in cemeteries, accepting one is about to die, accepting the date the curator says one will die on, and finally jumping off a high-rise killing oneself.