A mysterious YouTube video shows an expressionless man staring at the camera, who concludes the video with a menacing smile. A story circulating online tells of people who have gone mad watching the video. Take we’ll take a closer look.
It’s an urban legend
Below we’ll break down all of the various elements which converged to create this modern urban legend.
Below is the 20-second “Mereana Mordegard Glesgorv” video, originally uploaded to YouTube on April 18, 2008 by the user Brokeanddrive (whose account has since been terminated).
For the first 18 seconds, we see an expressionless man in a red-tinted, choppy video.
In the final two seconds of the video, the man’s face changes:
In the days following this video’s appearance, other variations were posted, all of which were similar to the original video.
Days before the video above was posted, a scary story appeared online which described a madness which befell those who watched a video by this name. A graphic has also been circulated which includes the text of the tale.
There is a video on YouTube named Mereana Mordegard Glesgorv. If you search this, you will find nothing. The few times you find something, all you will see is a 20 second video of a man staring intently at you, expressionless, then grinning for the last 2 seconds. The background is undefined. This is only part of the actual video.
The full video lasts 2 minutes, and was removed by YouTube after 153 people who viewed the video gouged out their eyes and mailed them to YouTube’s main office in San Bruno. Said people had also committed suicide in various ways. It is not yet known how they managed to mail their eyes after gouging them out. And the cryptic inscription they carve on their forearms has not yet been deciphered.
YouTube will periodically put up the first 20 seconds of the video to quell suspicions, so that people will not go look for the real thing and upload it. The video itself was only viewed by one YouTube staff member, who started screaming after 45 seconds. This man is under constant sedatives and is apparently unable to recall what he saw. The other people who were in the same room as him while he viewed it and turned off the video for him say that all they could hear was a high pitched drilling sound. None of them dared look at the screen.
The person who uploaded the video was never found, the IP address being non-existant. And the man on the video has never been identified.
Urban Legend Explained
The tale above is reminiscent of the 2002 film “The Ring” in which those who viewed a video tape had only one week to live. This particular story appeared on the website Creepy Pasta, which is self-described as “a collection of various paranormal/scary short stories.”
YouTube user Brokeanddrive told PBS that he was inspired to create the video after reading the Creepy Pasta story above.
“During the first few days I watched with astonishment as the number of views grew and grew. I think it was the second day my video popped up on others’ YouTubes. One, two, then four then twelve, and that heralded the endless parodies. I particularly liked the one with the lampshade on his head that ended with the terrifying countenance of Michael Jackson. I received several messages about it; I mostly replied with ‘No, I didn’t put that video up there, what’re you talking about?’ Y’know, trying to keep the whole fireside ghost story element rolling.”
Almost immediately after the mysterious video appeared, another video surfaced which showed the same man in a much less menacing light:
The background in the photo implies the man was a marketing coordinator for a Los Angeles advertising agency. The photo was posted on a cracked.com forum several years earlier.
The person in the video is reported to be a man living in the Virgin Islands.
The chart below shows search popularity on the topic, which began in 2008, and peaked in February 2014.
The video of Mereana Mordegard Glesgorv was inspired by a fictional scary story posted on Creepy Pasta in 2008. The man in the video was a marketing coordinator for a Los Angeles marketing firm who apparently had no idea his likeness was used in the video.
Updated November 20, 2015
Originally published February 2014