The Story Behind The Faceless

Many Ebaumsworld users probably never even thought twice about the default avatars which resemble humans lacking their faces. This site isn't the only one who has them, many different websites designing their own default faceless avatars. But why don't they have eyes or mouths or noses? The designers were too lazy? They got paid a lot of cash to prepare something that's BETTER than the other candidates, so why would they give the users something that resembles a shit-covered egg as the default avatar? More than that, the site didn't change the default avatars since 2006.


 The reason is something not many know about. It had to do with a Japanese urban legend about the faceless murderer who killed off a bunch of admins. In 2002, a popular Japanese forum had to be closed down, because 6 of its 10 workers died on the same month in weird ways. One of them fell from the stairs and broke her neck. Three (!) people got  hit by a car. One jumped out of the window. One cut his own throat. When the police investigated the case, they checked their computers. 

It turned out the 10 workers were using their accounts to get a rise out of people in the most disgusting way so that the forum gets more views. Telling people with suicidal tendencies they should kill themselves and be sure to tell who they are before they do it, so that they had proof when they read the names in the news paper, for example. One of the 4 who lived says at some point there was a power shortage and their server got damaged. When they fixed it it turned out the avatars for the 10 admin accounts which were an animated picture of a smiling man in a suit by default, had their faces smudged like someone censored them. Every account had the same avatar set by default, so it was strange that only the 10 site workers had them changed. The surviving worker said that they were using a different path for the avatar and that it seemed to have been created in their parent directory. The conclusion was a hacker did it.

The company hired a few extra people to keep the forum safe from hackers. The workers continued to harass people, finding new ways to get more views and users. For example, they used the information they received when the users registered and acted like they are serial killers who promised to find them. The weird thing is there were six users who continued this and 4 stopped even before the hacker crashed their server. The site was becoming popular, so their new task was to find advertisers. On November 2001, two of the workers died. Norifumi Harada got hit by a car when he was reading a news paper waiting for a bus. The car didn't stop and nobody remembered the registration number. Satomi Ishihara fell from a staircase in the same company she worked in. The security camera indicated that she was pushed by a woman nobody has ever seen there before. The cameras had a shitty quality, so her face was a blur. 3 different cameras caught her, but there was no trace of her coming in or out of the building. She wasn't any of the workers.

Soon other workers got into strange accidents. Tetsuo Hoshii and Ranmaru Nakamura went to dinner to a bar nearby on their break, like they used to go every day. They didn't come back. It turned out that they were found on a highway 2 kilometers from the company. Witnesses said that they were trying to cross the highway in a hurry and one of them got hit by a car. The other seemed to have tried stopping the cars for help. Many people gathered around the accident and the traffic stopped. After a moment it turned out that the other man got hit by a car coming from the opposite way.

Sachiko Harada, the sister of the first worker hit by a car jumped out of a window. The police indicated suicide, although some of the cameras recorded a strange man walking around the offices that day - again, nobody knew where he came from and how he got out. There was no camera in the room Harada jumped out of, so they didn't know if he had anything to do with it. Again, no face could have been recognised from the camera footage. 

On the next day another worker went into a frenzy. He started thrashing the office saying a faceless woman is coming after him and he keeps seeing her for weeks - in the bus, passing him by on the pavement when he's going to work and even in his dreams. During the whole case there was an interview with one of the workers and he spilled the story about the smeared avatars and the story about the faceless killers on the cameras and stalking his friend. He even showed the reporter the avatars with smeared faces saying it might have something in common with the case and that the hacker who did that might be somehow trying to kill his friends. 

The users who saw the TV report soon began to use a faceless avatar that one of the users drew and used as his own - it reminded the one shown on TV, but it was a different one. The other users found it cool that they used it and even formed some kind of an alliance. They said that the people got what they deserved. Some of them even tried to convince people reading the forum to find the worker who left the office and was hiding somewhere. They also said that anyone who keeps him safe will face their anger. The owner of the website decided that they start banning the users who used the faceless avatar, but this caused more and more forum members to use it. One of the Faceless even said that the fact that they (the remaining) are one of them is the only thing that keeps them alive. Being "one of them" was soon interpreted as "they didn't change their faceless avatars from the ones the hacker set for them."

Before the end of the month the worker who became a bounty for the Faceless was found dead in a mental facility he was hiding in. He slit his own throat. The website was shut down due to the Faceless becoming something like a troll assassin's guild - they were naming people that should get killed. 

The weird thing is the same users set their avatars to the Faceless on many forums and websites. The trend became popular and more and more forums around the world set their default avatars as the Faceless following the trend, not knowing what they meant.

Uploaded 07/22/2012
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