Herobrine

Who is Herobrine?

Herobrine is a fictional creepypasta character with glowing white eyes rumored to stalk the computer game Minecraft.

Examples of Herobrine

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Examples of Herobrine
“Everyone is sick of Herobrine threads. You don't just get 'no support'. You get negative support.”
Ildac Minecraftforum.net [user comments] (November 16, 2012)
“i had a nightmare about herobrine and almost peed my pants  - fearful face emoji
@uMentalOW Twitter (April 21, 2017)
Here's to another year of mining, Endermen, and crazy schoolyard rumors sparked by Herobrine 'sightings.'
Nadia Oxford, “Over 25 Million Copies of Minecraft Have Been Sold on PC,” USgamer (January 3, 2017)

Where does Herobrine come from?

Herobrine
Know Your Meme

Herobrine was popularized in 2010 by a video game streamer called Copeland in a hoax on Brocraft, his livestream channel of the video game Minecraft. In an email interview with Minecraft administrators, Copeland credits the /v/ thread on Reddit with the origin of Herobrine, who first appears in a creepypasta, a genre of online horror fiction.

In the original creepypasta, an anonymous Minecraft user reports running into another character while playing in single-player mode. This other character had “empty” eyes and ran away whenever the user tried to pursue him to get a closer look. The user then noticed small, unexplained occurrences in his world—tunnels, sand pyramids, and trees without leaves—which the user attributed to the spooky, elusive character with the empty eyes.

The user created a forum topic to ask if anyone else had had the same experience, but the post was always deleted no matter how many times he tried to publish it. He then received an email from someone calling himself Herobrine telling him to stop posting. Through investigations with another Minecraft forum poster, the user discovered that the brother of Markus Persson (aka Notch), the creator of Minecraft, was named Herobrine. The user says that when questioned about his alleged brother, Notch replied that his brother was dead and presumably haunting the game. Notch has since denied this claim.

In 2010, Copeland says, he took the creepypasta into his Brocraft stream by photoshopping an image of Herobrine, whose empty eyes look like they are eerily and menacingly glowing, onto the wall of one of his houses in the game. During a livestream, he walked into the room, screamed at the sight of the figure, then left the room and shut down the livestream. Copeland then spread the video of the livestream around forums and chatrooms, which spread the legend of Herobrine.

According to the same email thread between Copeland and Minecraft administrators, Minecraft user Patimuss staged his own Herobrine hoax after Copeland’s, repainting a door as the Herobrine figure and “discovering” it in a field of lava during a livestream. Soon afterward, though, he was heard on livestream talking to his wife about staging the hoax. Minecraft users, including Copeland, expressed frustration when this hoax was exposed.

Around the time of Patimuss’s hoax, according to the email interview, Copeland posted links to a website in several chat rooms. The website—which included the word “him” in the domain name, the origin for Herobrine’s nickname “HIM”—featured a close-up image of Herobrine’s face: the face of a normal Minecraft character, but with dark, realistic eyes. Under the face was a jumbled-up message that, once decoded, referenced another creepypasta, “Wake Up.” This creepypasta holds that prisoners or victims of trauma retreat into their own minds to evade their personal horrors, and they could only emerge from their fantasy escape world by finding a note in that world that told them to wake up.

As the Herobrine legend spread, the character’s supposed powers have also spread. In the original creepypasta, the user reported seeing tunnels, pyramids, and trees stripped of leaves, which were odd in this computer game. Other users who have picked up the story have added more aggressive traits to the character’s toolbox, such as attacking users.

Copeland pretended Herobrine was real for about a year as other users expanded the creepypasta on their own. Notch has since denied that Herobrine was ever in the game and shut down discussions about adding the creepypasta to the game in the future. Interest in Herobrine on Google Trends peaked in 2013–14.

Who uses Herobrine?

Since 2010, Minecraft users have uploaded videos claiming to prove Herobrine’s existence or using Herobrine to prank others. Books have been written by fans of Herobrine, and figurines of the character have also been put up for sale.

Some users have published modified versions of Minecraft that introduce Herobrine to the game, and a number of official Minecraft forums are dedicated to ideas about how to integrate him into the official game. Most mentions on Minecraft forums of adding the creepypasta to the official game are met with annoyance.

According to Urban Dictionary entries added around the peak of Herobrine’s popularity in 2013, some Minecraft players used Herobrine as a humorous name for “someone who appears out of nowhere” or as a scapegoat when they destroyed someone else’s creations in the game.

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