An unnamed teen girl is believed to be the 1st US victim of the viral suicide game ‘Blue Whale Challenge.’ After taking her life in May, her family discovered she foreshadowed her fate in her artwork.
SO sad. A 16-year-old girl whom CNN has referred to as “Nadia,” in an effort to keep her true identity private at the request of her family, committed suicide back in May. After doing some digging, her devastated family now believes she was a victim of the horrific suicide game called Blue Whale Challenge. Why? They found hidden messages connected to the game throughout her artwork. And if her loved ones’ suspicions are correct, Nadia is the first known Blue Whale Challenge victim in the U.S. after it gained major popularity in Russia.
Nadia’s family told the news outlet that the teenager was a gifted artist as well as a beloved sister, daughter, and friend. “I still don’t believe it. I still think that it’s a bigger dream. Some bad dream, and I will wake up, and she will text me,” Nadia’s mother told CNN while clutching her daughter’s stuffed animal. “Parents need to know that [the Blue Whale Challenge] true, that it’s not some story that is coming from somebody to get attention. It’s true.” Desperate for answers after Nadia took her life, the teen’s brother, Marty, went through her things to see if he could make sense of the tragedy. He ended up finding clues in an unexpected place — her artwork.
Marty noticed an unusual pattern in her drawings and journal entries — including a small sketch of a girl with a name beneath it in Russian. He searched the name on the internet and discovered the girl, Rina Palenkova, was a 17-year-old who committed suicide in Russia back in November 2015. The girl posted a “goodbye” selfie moments before taking her life, which later went viral on the Russian social media site VK.com. The attention from her death led to the discovery of her alleged involvement with the online game Blue Whale.
The discovery was shocking to Marty, who continued to research. “None of us knew about the Blue Whale game. I spend a lot of time online and hadn’t come across it until it happened,” he said. Marty remembered his sister had a picture of a blue whale taped to her mirror. He began looking through her sketches and soon found pages of whale drawings and magazine cutouts with the words “I Am a Blue Whale” pasted over them. He also saw drawings indicating self-harm, suicidal statements with words of goodbye, and multiple entries written in Russian.
The Blue Whale game is an online suicide challenge that reportedly began in Russia two years ago. Since its creation, suicides suspected to have been inspired by Blue Whale have been reported in parts of central Asia, Europe, and South America. Nadia’s suicide however, appears to be the first in the United States influenced by the concept. Earlier this month though, a Texas teen named Isaiah Gonzalez, 15, took his own life and is also suspected to be linked to Blue Whale.
Much is still unknown about the “game” at this time, but it’s said to be administered by an online administrator and takes place over 50 days. The administrator gives players daily tasks to accomplish and requires them to take photos of each completed task to prove it’s been done. Tasks are said to begin at 4:20 a.m. and vary in intensity. At first, children may be asked to draw a blue whale on a piece of paper, but tasks soon escalate to watching horror movies all night and secretly cutting oneself.
It’s even reported that the administrator sends teens to scope out the location of their deaths in advance as one of the challenges. On the 50th day of the game, players are reportedly instructed to commit suicide. What’s been reportedly hard for Nadia’s family is that the signs were apparently there for a while — it’s just no one saw them. “She was an artist,” Marty said. “She drew a lot of random stuff, so if I had come across the Blue Whale game online or heard about it from somewhere, maybe I could have pieced it together a little bit faster, just like I did when I found the sketch of Palenkova. It took me less than 20 minutes to figure that out.”
Even more chilling, Nadia did an abstract painting of blue whale skeletons for a school project, and the school had it framed and displayed. After her death, the painting clearly took on a new meaning. Along with her journal entries, Nadia’s family recovered some of her social media posts from the days leading up to her death. A photo of her legs dangling over the roof of her house, pictures of self-inflicted cuts on her body and a final post of train tracks with the words “good bye,” made the morning she died, all resembled other reported accounts of Blue Whale victims.
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — are you shocked the Blue Whale Challenge has been taking teens’ lives? Please leave your condolences for the victims’ families below.