Background: The informant is a 25 year old male who lives in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. He was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. The informant has been playing video games for about 15 years, is on video game chat platforms, and watches videos reviewing games over the year.
Context: The informant was talking with me about the new minecraft updates. He has not played Minecraft in a few years but still remembers the story.
MC: Yeah, it reminds me of when I used to play Minecraft, which hasn’t been for years. Well, there were these Youtube videos that came out about random structures being built in a server, or tunnels randomly appearing. Eventually, there was a picture taken of the culprit, named Herobrine. There was a big myth that Herobrine was the… ghost of the Minecraft creator’s dead brother, somehow having infiltrated his way into the game and wreaking havoc in servers. There’s no evidence of this, though.
Me: What does he look like?
MC: Just like the Steve skin, looking like a human. I believe he has white eyes though, which isn’t normal for the game. That makes it seem more like a ghost coming to life.
Me: So, there were a lot of stories that came out?
MC: Yeah, a lot of streamers and Minecraft players started sharing about how they would encounter someone in their single player world — which isn’t supposed to happen – and he would always quickly run away. Whenever they would explore their world, they would find tunnels, and leaves cut down from trees, and more. It just kept spreading that some uncoded entity was in the game. I know a few streamers did fake encounters with Herobrine to get views.
Me: Did you ever encounter Herobrine?
MC: Not me, but, yeah, it was all over the place. It’s faded out of popular consciousness somewhat, but Herobrine is still alive in the Minecraft world.
Informant: The informant seems unsure what to believe in regard to the Herobrine story. They have never seen Herobrine, themselves, and cannot confirm if it’s true or not.
Mine: Herobrine’s story incorporates many different ideas. For one, the concept of the creator’s dead brother entering the game and embodying Herobrine is the equivalent of a modern day horror story. It is haunting but not in the real world, which asks more questions about how ghosts work, especially if they can inhabit any space, even virtually. It may signal that the brother has something left to do on the Earth, or wants to message his brother and the best way is virtually. It’s the equivalent of a ghost texting. Herobrine also demonstrates how folklore can be utilized for one’s personal gain. Streamers used the ghost story in order to boost their own views, taking advantage of a lot of people’s real beliefs in the existence of Herobrine. By making a prank out of it, they essentially mock the entire belief of hauntings. However, their mocking of the game may be a way for them to beat their fears, almost like a modern day exorcism.