People love trolling on the web, but one Redditor learned sometimes playing along with a troll can have really weird consequences.
The story begins almost a year ago when our hero was on Google Plus, a site that he describes as ‘a madhouse of weirdos.’ While scrolling through his feed, a notification popped up, someone wanted to add him to their circle. Intrigued, he checked out who tried to add him and was surprised to see the picture of an eighty year old woman named Valerie.
Thinking it was strange that a random old lady had added him he checked out her profile and found bizarre ramblings about being a ‘home schooler’, and a ‘mother helper’. There were also a number of posts linking to clickbait websites offering free shit and odd ‘hello, how are you’ statuses. The Redditor couldn’t believe that this person existed, and thought he knew who was behind such an obvious troll account.
He and his friend loved to troll each other and he suspected that ‘Valerie’ was really his buddy. When he noticed that Valerie claimed her age was 18, despite the photo being of an octogenarian, he knew he’d rumbled his friend. That’s when he accepted the add.
Time went on and the Redditor thought nothing of it, until one day Valerie posted her phone number. Knowing that his friend was behind the account he sent a text saying hello. Valerie soon replied and the pair began talking, she even sent him a picture, again of an 80-year-old woman. He jokingly told the woman that he was a super hacker and sent her a faked photo.
The pair continued to text on and off for a few months. Until one day she asked for help hacking. He replied with some vague bullshit to shut her up and she sent him some photos. The pictures were of Amish people playing mini-golf, she claimed that they were friends who’d gone missing and she wanted to find them. Valerie asked him to ‘hack’ the security cameras in their house to see if they were okay. This proved that the account was his friend trolling – the story was just too funny to be true. However things got weirder…
About a week later, she began asking whether our hero believed in telepathy. He answered yes, and not only did he believe in telepathy, but also claimed to possess it and could read minds thanks to his professor, ‘Charles Xavier and his machine, Cerebro.’ Valerie said she was pleased to hear this because she too was telepathic, which the Redditor found hysterical.
Later Valerie declared that she could trust him and asked for help saving her family from a powerful wizard in the Klu Klux Klan named Bobbie. She said he had her mum under a spell and the police couldn’t stop him. Bobbie was trying to take their trailer and their cow and chickens. Bobbie was apparently so powerful, he was number one on her “hit list.” She asked for the Redditor’s help as a hacker to “take out” the powerful magician. Despite this being funny to him at first, Valerie’s insistent pleading for help began to worry our hero.
Deciding he’d had enough, he told her that he couldn’t talk because ‘there were bad guys in the house’. She sent a panicked response saying they were in her home to and that she could hear their voices. One of the Redditor’s friend’s wanted to get in on the action, so sent a text saying that his name was Gage Lan and he could help find the Redditor. He told Valerie she needed to text ‘it won’t fit’ every hour for 24 hours. Valerie even called and in a ‘strange muffled voice’ and said that bad guys were about to find her. The two friends found the whole thing hilarious.
Taking things further, the Redditor’s brother told her that he was an ‘evil crimeboss’ who’d kidnapped our hero. He gave Valerie 24 hours to deliver CMAC to him or the Redditor would die. CMAC is an acronym for salads at the fast food place that the brother works. Valerie said that her friends in the military would free the Redditor.
One hour later the police phoned. They had traced his number and were helping the FBI deal with a kidnapping. It turned out that Valerie was not a friend who was committed to a prank, but a very real and very disturbed woman. The police arrived and explained that an elderly lady from Florida had called them. They said from the call she sounded around 80-years-old, and was most likely a paranoid schizophrenic. Apparently the poor woman had been ready to take out her life savings to pay the ransom for her online friend. Nothing more came of the event, except that the Redditor is now on the FBI watchlist… oops.
More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism.
Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV.
He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.