A member of the notorious internet chatroom known as /b/ on the discussion site 4Chan apparently tried to kill himself over the weekend by first sedating himself with pills and vodka, and then setting his room on fire and crawling under a blanket -- waiting to burn alive. Oh, and he broadcast the whole suicide attempt as 200 other 4Chan users watched online.
As the attempt progressed, some viewers posted messages urging the young man to stop, while others suggested more efficient methods of suicide.
Though the apparently college-age adolescent has not been definitively identified, the Canadian news site Canada.com reported that the 4Chan user who gave his name only as “Stephen” is a 20-year-old student at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario.
The Guelph Mercury news site said that the student was rescued by firefighters and taken to the hospital with “serious, but non-life threatening injuries.” Two campus police officers were hospitalized wth smoke inhalation, but released. The student's name has not been made public.
Though the local site did not immediately connect the dorm-room fire to the online suicide attempt, it did report that Guelph University issued a statement saying that “disturbing social media activity has been circulating in connection with this incident.”
Canada.com then linked the incident to the “Stephen” video.
Other reports connect the “Stephen” incident to a house fire in Pittsburgh, Pa., Saturday in which one person died. That incident was reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The 4Chan site is where many of the internet’s most famous and often infamous “memes,” that is, viral phenomena, originate. The internet social activist group Anonymous got its start there, though at the time, the group was more interested in seemingly pointless pranks than in the type of online justice that it has more recently become famous for dispensing.
For those with a truly morbid sense of curiosity, the video of the youth's macabre atempt to take his own life is below.
Before carrying out his plan, “Stephen” asked other 4Chan users to set up a video chat where he could broadcast his death as it happened. Someone obliged, and 200 other 4Chan users tuned in to watch the young man attempt to terminate himself.
“This is it. Tonight I will be ending my own life,” wrote "Stephen" on the message board. “I’ve been spending the last hour making the preparations and I’m ready to go through with it. As an oldfag who’s been on 4chan since 2004, I thought I would finally give back to the community in the best way possible: I am willing to an hero on cam for you all. All that I request is for you guys to link me to a site where I am able to stream it for you guys, then I will gladly fulfill my promise.”
The term “oldfag” is used on 4chan to refer to longtime users of the message board. The phrase “an hero” is internet jargon for “commit suicide.”