An 11-year-old boy killed himself after leaving a chilling final message to his parents in Italy, sparking fears that he took his own life while playing a new online ‘suicide game’ similar to Blue Whale.
The child jumped from a ten-storey window in Via Mergellina in Chiaia, Naples, at around 1am on Tuesday.
Officers later looked at his tablet to find his final words that read: ‘I love you mum and dad. I have to follow the black man with the hood.’
Investigators have not ruled out speculation that the boy was making reference to ‘horror challenges’ linked to an online fictional character called Jonathan Galindo, according to Italian media.
Galindo is a mysterious figure disguised as a humanoid dog in a dark hood who dares children to perform increasingly extreme and dangerous acts – culminating in their suicide.
The child was described as healthy, sporty, popular and from a middle-class family.
It is thought he could have been playing the new online ‘game’ that begins when players, usually children and teenagers, add Galindo on all social media channels.
The tasks start with fairly banal orders such as ‘wake up in the middle of the night’ or ‘watch a scary film’.
But the tasks gradually escalate as Galindo urges players to self harm or put themselves in mortal danger like ‘stand on the ledge of a tower block’.
The final challenge is a demand that the user kill themselves.
The face of Galindo was created by a makeup artist who is against suicide and has denounced the association between his art and the character.
Galindo has been compared to the Blue Whale Challenge which sets 50 tasks over 50 days before also urging users to kill themselves.
Blue Whale, which has been around since 2015, has been linked to more than 130 suicides of youngsters across the globe.
This was later re-created by the Momo Challenge which was first reported in July 2018.
It started on WhatsApp and challenged users to contact ‘Momo’ by sending messages to an unknown number.
The user was then hounded with frightening images and violent messages leading to calls for ‘players’ to kill themselves.
No one knows where Momo originated, or who was behind the disturbing trend, though it was linked to at least seven phone numbers beginning with codes from Japan and multiple countries across Latin America.
An investigation into the boy’s suicide is still ongoing.