by Emma Brewer and Parisa Karami
Every day, all over the world, fake online identities are created to pursue everlasting love, credit card information, or both. We’re here to investigate what happens to those invented personas, after they are abandoned by those who made them. Do they disappear forever? Do they live on in our hearts? Or do they inhabit some sort of liminal space between the internet and the afterlife? Read on to discover their unique fates.
1. “Brad” was a Canadian hockey star created in a Pasadena mancave, using photos of young Clive Owen paired with a tragic backstory. For years, the man who invented “Brad” lured women to Wetzel’s Pretzels, where he’d watch them eat a Wetzel dog alone. One day, he went to prison, and now “Brad” wanders about, confused and yearning. On moonless nights you can hear a hockey puck’s mournful clattering, and when you catch a whiff of pretzel butter on the wind, you know that “Brad” is sad nearby.
2. “Yanina” was crafted by a pragmatic mother putting her daughters through dental college. With a figure inspired by the St Olga’s Vodka logo, and many airtight reasons for never being able to video chat, “Yanina” describes her personality as: frequently horny. If only she could borrow a couple thousand bucks, she’d fly anywhere to meet her newest lover! Eventually, with dental college paid for, the “Yanina” operation was shut down. Now “Yanina” is what’s known to paranormal investigators as a horny ghost. She and her enormous but incorporeal breasts bounce along the in-between. Just a couple thousand bucks will set her spirit free.
3. “Meg the Librarian” allowed Tim to overcome his shyness and flirt with his confectionary shop coworker, Klaus. After several weeks, Klaus made it known to Tim that he needn’t hide behind “Meg the Librarian,” and they could joyfully commence real-life flirting, while “Meg the Librarian” was left to drift up, up into the taffy shop rafters, and away.
4. “Obi” was made in an internet cafe using “handsome + prince + oiled torso” stock photos. The connection between “Obi” and his Texas sweetheart was so powerful that, even after the lies were exposed and the bank accounts emptied, their love endured. “Obi” may not exist but, in a way he kind of does.
5. “Millie” was the perfect woman for Joshua to spend hours and hours with each day, laughing and sighing as he cuddled with all of his cats. She never asked questions, she played Wish You Were Here on the guitar, and man, was she quick with a quirky response! After watching some TedX clips on Maslow and Jung, Joshua at last accepted that he’d been exchanging messages with a bot all this time. “Millie” is now free to spread her song throughout the land.
6. “Rumi” arrived early to check out the daring motorcycle maniac they’d been chatting with for months. “Mack” nervously waited to meet the enchanting “Rumi” he’d grown to love. But their table remained empty. Hovering in the ether, “Mack” and “Rumi” met eyes, and realized what had happened.
7. Each alter ego was created by someone on a personal journey, a journey that no longer required “Rumi” and “Mack.” In these rare and sparkling instances — a double catfishing — a certain magic unfolds. “Rumi” held out their hand. “Mack” followed.
8. They fluttered away together across the city, following the music…
9. To find all the other catfishing entities, frolicking and dancing and exchanging their shimmery banter for eternity.