Author Archive
Digital
Game
Legends

Herobrine

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I began by simply asking, “What do you know about Herobrine?”

The informant first heard about Herobrine from a Youtube video in middle school, around the time when Minecraft was getting very popular.

 

Informant: “Uhh I know that it was, umm uh, a popular myth surrounding the game Minecraft. Uh, the idea it that it was, uh, an entity hidden in the code that would sort of on a random case-by-case basis do things to your game. Um I also know it’s not true. Uh, you can go through the codes of all, of every single version of Minecraft and see that there’s nothing. Um, but the creators had fun with people and would constantly tease about it, and all of their change logs ever since the old myth came up, they would put, like, ‘Herobrine removed,’ ‘Herobrine removed,’ like ‘he’s finally removed.’ And, um, yeah but it was really popular and it’s a common thing that people who play video games like to do. It’s the same concept as creepypastas of just writing haunted versions of games, especially because they think people are interested in exploring ghost stories as they relate to modern media and modern technology, um, as opposed to the old jaded, like, haunted house that no one’s scared of anymore because we’ve rehashed it in so many works of fiction. But something as ubiquitous as a software that can be downloaded that can be haunted is more interesting.”

Interviewer: “Do you know his origin?”

Informant: “Uhh, something about… the creator, Notch’s, brother passing away? Something like that? Which isn’t true… in the slightest. Other than that, not too well-versed.”

Interviewer: “Do you know anyone who claims to have seen Herobrine, or know someone else who claims to have seen Herobrine?”

Informant: “Umm… I knew a, I knew a lot of uhh… a lot of kids in uhh… uh middle school that would claim it. Uhh… and who no one would ever believe.”

Interviewer: “What does Herobrine supposedly do? If he appears in a game.”

Informant: “Umm, I’ve heard various accounts because, obviously, it doesn’t actually happen, so people’s stories like to vary and people like to one-up each other. Um, but it very, it can be something as just suddenly killing you, suddenly appearing and disappearing, things moving around, um, a lot of things you’ll find in a lot of other ghost story literature.”

Herobrine

This informant does not believe in Herobrine, and provides very logical explanations for why he was such a phenomenon. He is in the age group of people who would be playing Minecraft at its peak of popularity, and being interested in game design, he is well versed in gaming culture.

Digital
Game
Legends

Herobrine

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I began by simply asking, “What do you know about Herobrine?”

The informant heard about Herobrine in middle school, primarily through videos and chat rooms online, around the time when Minecraft was getting very popular.
Informant: “So the Herobrine, at least that I know of, is a character within the Minecraft game that is your player? Basically, he’s the Steve [the name of the Minecraft player character] pro-, like, character pro-protagonist but, but he doesn’t have pupils. And the game developers keep trying to delete him, but every update he finds his way kinda back into the game. And what, most players never really see him, but yet there still seem to be leaks and rumors about him kinda k-existing in the game and doing weird stuff. And that’s all I’ve got.”

Interviewer: “What kind of weird stuff does he do?”

Informant: “Like glitches and some people like, who you ask later are like, ‘Oh my goood, he came out of my computer,’ and I don’t know if that’s all that true, but people get really into it.”

Interviewer: “He what their computer?”

Informant: “Came out of their computer.”

Interviewer: “Oooh okay…”

Informant: “Yeah that’s one I read. It was, I mean — And again, a lot of this is just like in. like, online boards and stuff where people are like talking about him. So I don’t know how much of it you take as… really happening, but it’s worth noting that people seem to take him very seriously.”

Interviewer: “Do you know anyone who claims to have seen him, or know someone else who claims to have seen Herobrine?”

Informant: “Personally, no. I’ve yet to meet anybody that’s actually seen him, but I – I do see posts like online about him, and there’s like Game Theory videos and…”

Interviewer: “Do you know his origin?”

Informant: “Umm, the most I know is that it was part of the g-, like they put him in the game at one point and then they were like, ‘Nah we’re gonna scrap him.’ And they kept kinda deleting it, but every update he seemed to find his way back into the Minecraft updates and… that’s that.”

Interviewer: “So is he real?”

Informant: “Uhh, I mean… [informant looks like he is about to speak, but takes a few moments] I guess? He’s not supposed to be there, anyways. So they’re like, ‘Ah g- let’s delete him?’ I mean now I kinda wonder whether they’re leaving him in there because people are making such a big deal out of it, but… real enough.”

Interviewer: “Okay! Um, anything else to add?”

Informant: “Mmm… I like the idea that there is this kinda like… computer ghost in a way? Like the idea that people are being haunted by a computer ghost is quite funny to me, the fact that he keeps trying to get deleted, and he’s not deleted is hilarious. Like I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but I appreciate it.”

Herobrine
While the informant has not seen Herobrine, or knows anyone who has, he does believe in him. He also believes that Herobrine was put in the game purposefully, and was then deleted. Because of this, his version of Herobrine’s origins does not originate from the Internet, but rather from a story involving the game’s creator’s brother. Interestingly, he has heard that Herobrine can be separate from Minecraft, coming out of the computer and haunting people instead of just the game. While the informant is not a game designer, many of his friends are, so he is fairly knowledgeable about gamer culture.

Digital
Game
Legends

Herobrine

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I began by simply asking, “What do you know about Herobrine?”

The informant has not played Minecraft in recent years, but used to when it was first popular. He heard about Herobrine through the Internet, around middle school and early high school, when it was very popular.
Informant: “Herobrine is constantly being removed from Minecraft even though it was never there. Like I don’t know the exa- I don’t know what form Herobrine’s supposed to take, but it is some… NPC, before there were NPC’s in the game, who was supposed to appear and be spooky. And basically people used to think it was removed, and then, I think, Notch started adding in the patch notes that it was removed every time, and then it – now it’s in every single patch note; They just have a thing saying it’s removed.”

Interviewer: “Do you know his origin?”

Informant: “I don’t know the origin. I assume it started somewhere on the forums, but…”

Interviewer: “Do you know what he does in the game?”

Informant: “I don’t know what he does. I was playing the Alpha of Minecraft, a friend of mine gave me the Alpha when it had just come out, so I played it for years, but I’ve sort of forgotten.”

Interviewer: “Do you know anyone who claims to have seen Herobrine?”

Informant: “I don’t. I didn’t have any friends who were like, ‘If you look under the truck in Pokemon, in, in Pokemon Red, then you can get a hundred master balls.”

Herobrine
The informant does not believe Herobrine ever existed, and was created by fans. Although he has played Minecraft, he is not very immersed in gaming culture, and does not know much about Herobrine.

Digital
Game
Legends

Herobrine

Collected in a college apartment while the informant was preparing to cook lunch.

The informant played Minecraft in middle school, and, being a game designer, is well-versed in gamer culture. She, unlike many others, first heard about Herobrine from a friend rather than from the Internet.
Informant: “To my understanding – Sorry, I’m going to be a little noisy. [informant rustles plastic wrapping, preparing to cook] Okay. Herobrine, from my understanding, is, yeah, it’s like the Minecraft uhh… the Minecraft ghost? He’s got, like, white eyes and people claim that… I don’t know, that he behaves kind of similarly to Slenderman? Like he’ll just kinda show up. Um, I don’t remember if he does anything bad to you? I don’t think he does? But, there’s just like screenshots that are, like, very obviously edited [laughs]. Um, but those got a lot of traction, and then mods came out that had an actual Herobrine, but I’m pretty sure that it was just, like, another mod skinned to be looking like Herobrine… But I remember being kinda freaked out about it, like every time I’d play at night I’d be like, ‘Oh my god, what if I wake up in the middle of the night [in Minecraft] and instead of, like, a zombie… being over my bed in Minecraft it’s Herobrine’ and I’d be like, ‘OH SHIT, IT LOOKS JUST LIKE ME! [laughs] Except it has white eyes!’ And that was about the extent of, like, how deep the lore was for me [laughs]. And I kinda loved it, I don’t know.”

Interviewer: “When do you remember hearing about Herobrine, and through what?”

Informant: “Oh god, [chuckles] that was, like, middle school? One of my friends was like, ‘… [In a mocking, purposefully deep voice] Have you heard of Herobrine?’ And I was like, ‘ [In a mocking, purposefully high, airy voice] NO?! What’s Herobrine?!’ And he was telling me all about it, but it was like total fucking bullshit, like he told me the same thing three times, except each time was a little bit different about, like, the first time he’d seen it. So I was like, ‘Ian, you’re a jackass [laughs] .’ But… yeah then I, then I started digging into it on my own… because it was way more fun than listening to fucking [in a mocking voice] Ian talk about it. And then I told my other friends… and they all looked into it, except I was a much better storyteller than Ian was [laughs]. Do you have any other Herobrine questions?”

Interviewer: “Do you know what he does? So he appears in the game, right?”

Informant: “Theoretically.”

Interviewer: “Do you know what he does?”

Informant: “I don’t remember off the top of my head, no. Does he steal your shit? What does he do?”

Interviewer: “I don’t know, that’s for you to tell me.”

Informant: “[Laughs] I’m pretty – From my memory, he just was, like, jumpscare-man. Like he would just pop up, like all of the screenshots he wasn’t doing anything; He literally was just there. Uhh… like when people turn around they were like, ‘[In a mocking voice] And then Herobrine was right there!’ Or they’d be in, like, the desert, where you have a lot of visibility, and they’d see in the distance, like, the shape of, of Minecraft, you know, the Minecraft avatar, um, except they would have, like, glowing white eyes and they’d be, like, ‘[In a mocking voice] That’s not me.’ Uhh [laughs] yes. And that is my understanding of what Herobrine does.”

Interviewer: “Do you know Herobrine’s origin?”

Informant: “Umm, I’m pretty sure someone just, like… I feel like I, I saw, like, a 4chan screenshot? There was, it was literally just, like, the, the, the base avatar from Minecraft except with, like, Photoshopped white eyes. Umm, and then someone was telling this story about, like, their creepy interaction with Herobrine and how, like, Herobrine watched them. That’s, like, my most distinctive, and it feels like the most original [laughs].”

Herobrine
The informant is clearly amused by the notion of Herobrine, and by what, to her, is the sheer silliness of the character and her memories from middle school. She does not believe in Herobrine. Interestingly, while most others associate Herobrine with the statement, “Removed Herobrine” in every patch note, the informant had not heard of this ever being done.

Legends
Narrative

“Humans Can Lick Too” Story

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I asked them if they knew, “the scary story where a girl gets her hand licked,” or, “the hand lick dog story.”

The informant first heard this story around the age of 11 in a drama class during a “ghost stories session.”
“Okay, I’ll probably get some of the details wrong, but, um… There’s this woman who lives alone… Well not alone, she has a dog. And every time she goes to bed, she gets into bed and hangs her hand over the bed because the dog licks it and it gives her comfort and all that. Um… she does that, dog licks her hand and she goes to sleep. Um… I, I’m missing a lot of details, but it’s like, that regularly happens. Until one day, she goes to bed, and of course the dog’s there, it’s under her bed, licks her hand. But one day she wakes up, goes to the bathroom, her dog is, like, bloodied, beaten, torn up in the bathroom and on the mirror it says, ‘Humans can lick too’ [laughs nervously]. And that’s how I remember that one [laughs].”
This version includes the dog being dead in the bathroom, but does not specify that the dog is under the bed. It also does not specify the dripping noise that wakes up the protagonist that appears in many versions.

An analysis of several versions of this story, as well as some folkloric history, can be read here: https://www.thoughtco.com/humans-can-lick-too-3299487. Additionally, a video portrayal of the same story can be seen here at http://urbanlegendsonline.com/humans-can-lick-too/, in which the girl actively sees her hand being licked by an intruder, and does not see her missing (presumably dead) dog.

Legends
Narrative

“Humans Can Lick Too” Story

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I asked them if they knew, “the scary story where a girl gets her hand licked,” or, “the hand lick dog story.”

The informant most likely first heard the story in summer camp at the age of 11.
“So, um… I think a girl was scared of monsters under her bed, so, um, her parents got a dog and the dog lived under her bed, and whenever she’d get scared, she’d put her hand under the bed and the dog would lick her hand and she’d feel safe. And then one day, she got scared and put her hand under the bed and something licked it, and then the dog ran into her room… I mean there’s probably more to it than that, but that’s… as I understand the plot of that story… The dog may also – there, there’s probably a version of it, if not immediately, where the dog is dead.”
This version of the story interestingly does not include the titular message of, “Humans (or People) can lick too.” In fact, it does not involve the dog dying. Insead, it simply presents the dread of the intruder currently licking her hand by having the dog run into the protagonist’s room. It does, however, specify that the dog generally licks her hand from under the bed. This version does not specify the dripping noise that wakes up the protagonist that appears in many versions.

An analysis of several versions of this story, as well as some folkloric history, can be read here: https://www.thoughtco.com/humans-can-lick-too-3299487. Additionally, a video portrayal of the same story can be seen here at http://urbanlegendsonline.com/humans-can-lick-too/, in which the girl actively sees her hand being licked by an intruder, and does not see her missing (presumably dead) dog.

Legends
Narrative

“Humans Can Lick Too” Story

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I asked them if they knew, “the scary story where a girl gets her hand licked,” or, “the hand lick dog story.”

The informant does not remember when or where she first heard the story, but assumes it was from a long time ago. She is aware of the variations, but her telling is what she considers to be the true one.
“Uh, I know there’s a bunch of variations on it, but the general gist of it that I remember is that there was a girl… who was having a slumber party with a bunch of friends. And they’re like, ‘Ah let’s all go to sleep.’ And they do, and she had a pet dog who slept under her bed. And when she was feeling scared, she’d, like, put her hand down, and the dog would lick her hand, and she’d be like, ‘Cool, my dog.’ And then she’s like – In the middle of the night, she, like, thinks she hears something, or something? So she puts her hand down and the dog licks it and she’s like, ‘Cool! … My DOG.’ And then she wakes up in the morning and all of her friends are dead, and her dog is dead, and the person wrote on the wall, ‘People can lick too,’ or something of equal stupidity. And that’s the version I remember.”
Unlike other tellings of the story, the protagonist is not alone in her home, but at a slumber party, and wakes up to find everyone dead, including her dog. This version does not specify the method in which the intruder killed, or how the bodies were found, but does specify that the dog was “under her bed.” It also is worth noting that the words on the wall read, “People can lick too,” not “Humans.” It also does not specify the dripping noise that wakes up the protagonist that appears in many versions.

An analysis of several versions of this story, as well as some folkloric history, can be read here: https://www.thoughtco.com/humans-can-lick-too-3299487. Additionally, a video portrayal of the same story can be seen here at http://urbanlegendsonline.com/humans-can-lick-too/, in which the girl actively sees her hand being licked by an intruder, and does not see her missing (presumably dead) dog.

Legends
Narrative

“Humans Can Lick Too” Story

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I asked them if they knew, “the scary story where a girl gets her hand licked,” or, “the hand lick dog story.”

The informant heard this story for the first time at a sleepover many years ago, around the age of 11.
“So there’s this girl, and she has a dog, right? And her dog – She g-, she goes to bed and either wakes up in the morning and her dog’s licking her hand or she goes to bed and the dog’s licking her hand. And so that’s the typical, kinda, way her day goes. And then… for some reason something… [stumbles over his words] There’s some point… in the night where, like, some – where something’s licking her hand, but then it’s not – then she figures out that it’s not the dog anymore cause the dog is, like, dead in the closet or something. And then she goes to turn on the lights and realizes that there’s, like, written in blood it says… it says, I think, ‘People can lick too,’ or something like that, or something implying that it… the point is you figure out that, that the dog is dead and somebody else has been licking her hand. And that’s all I really remember.”
This version specifies the location of the dead dog, but it is the closet instead of the usual bathroom. This version does not specify where the dog is when it licks her hand. It also is worth noting that the words on the wall read, “People can lick too,” not “Humans.” It also does not specify the dripping noise that wakes up the protagonist that appears in many versions.

An analysis of several versions of this story, as well as some folkloric history, can be read here: https://www.thoughtco.com/humans-can-lick-too-3299487. Additionally, a video portrayal of the same story can be seen here at http://urbanlegendsonline.com/humans-can-lick-too/, in which the girl actively sees her hand being licked by an intruder, and does not see her missing (presumably dead) dog.

Folk Beliefs
Homeopathic

Psychic Abilities

Collected privately in an empty hallway while his friends played a horror game in the other room, which he returned to after the interview. I originally asked the informant about his experience with ghosts, or the supernatural, but the conversation quickly shifted when he mentioned that his great grandmother was apparently a psychic.

The informant has deep Jewish roots, with ancestors having fled from Germany during World War II, and has a deep interest in the paranormal, and other odd subjects.
Informant: “I have never seen a ghost. Um… I have heard stories of people who have seen ghosts, and my family maintains that my great grandmother was a psychic.”

Interviewer: “Your great grandmother was a psychic?!”

Informant: “Yes.”

Interviewer: “What can you tell me about that?”

Informant: “Um, so there – we have two stories. Um, so my great grandmother was a holocaust survivor, and the story goes that, um, they – she and my great grandfather, who I’m named after – lived in Berlin for a long time. Um, like, as things were getting worse. Um, but before it was immediately obvious that every Jew in Germany’s life was in imminent danger. But my grandmother had a dream, and she told my great grandfather, ‘We need to get out of Germany now.’ Um, and so they go – like it wasn’t, it still wasn’t easy for Jews to get out of Germany at that time, and there’s a follow up story that is not supernatural about them getting out of Germany, but that’s the first one. And then the second one, um, is someone in my family was going through a particularly painful birth, and, um… and she had – she heard her grandfather’s voice in her head saying, ‘All will be well. Do not worry.’ Um, and the bir- and after that, like almost immediately after she started screaming that she heard her grandfather’s voice, the birth started going better and the next morning, they got a call from the funeral worker, er, from the cemetery worker that her grandfather was buried saying that the tombstone was cracked.”

Interviewer: “Wow. And so do you believe that she was psy-”

Informant: “[Said immediately and with a lot of conviction, interrupting me] Yes.”

Interviewer: “Okay, do you have anything else to add about that?”

Informant: “Um, I mean [laughs] the only reason I think she’s psychic is cause I also sometimes have weird dreams that are either deja vu or the future [laughs]. Um, like, I think the best example of that is when I was in fourth grade, the night before we got assigned to our reading groups, I had a dream that accurately called [laughing] which students would get put into which reading groups. And I just maintained, ‘Oh, that’s weird. I don’t know what to do with that [laughs].’”

Interviewer: “Has anything else like that happened?”

Informant: “Um, a couple times, but they’re all harder to remember than that, because that one was just, that was the first time it happened to me, like, every so often, I’ll, like, I’ll run into something and I’ll remember, ‘Oh wow that, I’ve seen that before.’”

Interviewer: “Is it kind of like, ‘Oh I’ve seen that in a dream,’ or…”

Informant: “[Adamant, perhaps defensively] No, it’s like I know I saw that. Like it’s a definitive, ‘I’m, like, remembering a series, like, a really specific series of events that I had already seen hap,’ like, cause I could – When it happens I could almost always pinpoint when I remember seeing it, but, like, I don’t know?”

Interviewer: “But you can’t think of it in advance?”

Informant: “No… I feel like it’s prob – if if if it is anything, and I don’t know if it’s anything, it’s probably a That’s So Raven-type deal [An older Disney Channel show about a girl - Raven - who has visions of the future] where the thinking about it is what causes it to happen?”

Interviewer: “Was the fourth grade thing something that you dreamed about and then remembered later when it happened, or… ?”

Informant: “I remember, so I remember having the dr- so I had the dream, and in the morning I talked to my family about the dream, then went to school and it happened. That one, that’s like, that’s the why that one stuck out to me, cause I remember, like, there distinctly being a dream, a conversation about the dream, and then the events unfolding. Yeah that one, that one’s wild.”
I have met multiple people in the past who claim that they are somewhat psychic, yet their “psychic” moments sound exactly like deja vu, a phenomenon that almost everyone, myself included, experience. The informant seems to be one of these people who thinks these to be physic moments, though he won’t claim anything as truth. However, his case of him having a dream, describing that dream to his family, then it occuring is indeed an odd coincidence, if it is just a coincidence. I cannot say whether he is psychic or not, but including the incidents with his great grandmother, psychic abilities may be hereditary, if they exist.

general

Poltergeist

Collected in the informant’s office on his free time. I asked him to describe a time where he experienced something that he couldn’t explain.

The informant attended the University of Southern California many years ago. The apartment he discusses is not known to be haunted.
Informant: “Um… Well, uhh… When I was in school here at USC, uh, there was a series of very strange events in my building. And, uhh… one night there was a loud, uh, series of noises from my living room of my one-bedroom apartment. I could see that my, uh, cla- my roommate was asleep next to us, and but there was clearly someone in the other room. And when I went in to investigate, things had been knocked off the shelves and walls, but the room was not broken into. Uh, and I am convinced that it was a poltergeist.”

Interviewer: “What would you define a poltergeist as?”

Informant: “Uh, well poltergeists are, uh, unmoored spirits traditionally, uh, kept from the afterlife by their own unfinished business, uhh, frequently revolved, or revolving around, like, rage, hate, or anger – Negative emotions that have kept them tethered to the world. But, uh, poltergeists traditionally, uh, travel. Uh, they’re not tied to one singular location. Um, so I believe at the time, uh, there was a, it was simply a poltergeist was moving through our apartment complex.”

Interviewer: “Interesting… Were there any other details about the incident?”

Informant: “[Sighs and smacks lips, thinking] Um… Only that a apropo of nothing, a similar incident was reported by our downstairs neighbors the night before, and, uh, a very strange occurrence happened a few days later when everyone was watching a movie together, and in the same moment, everyone screamed, uh, because we all saw, in the same moment, a face in the screen. It was like a, just an image of like, the characters were standing in front of a bush, and the green bush, for a moment, shifted, and we all saw it.”

Interviewer: “You saw the face too?”

Informant: “I saw the face, yeah.”

Interviewer: “What did the face look like?”

Informant: “Uh, it was just a brief moment of, like, an, an angry man’s face. Like a screaming face.”

Interviewer: “What do you think that was? Same thing?”

Informant: “[Sighs deeply in thought] … Yes? It couldn’t have been a different poltergeist. Like probably the same spirit infesting the building, uh, for that period of time.”
The informant has an interesting claim of poltergeists being able to move from location to location, not tied to a person or place like other sources claim. He also has a reliable account due to other people also being witnesses to multiple accounts of this “poltergeist.”

[geolocation]