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Ah childhood and all the adorable trinkets associated with it: Lisa Frank, mood rings and the infamous Hello Kitty.

The other day I took my lunch over to sit with some of my students in the cafeteria. One girl complimented another’s Hello Kitty shaped lunch box, which led me to comment on how surprised I was at Hello Kitty’s popularity even today. Lots of my students have something Hello Kitty, and lately I’ve been seeing the girls with big plastic HK rings.

I took it to be no more than a cutesy fad, but boy was I off the mark. The students I was sitting with proceeded to tell me the truth behind HK, and I really wish they hadn’t.

You may be familiar with this scary story but in case you’re not, here is the version I got:

Hello Kitty

Once upon a time there was a mother and a daughter. The daughter had cancer of the mouth, and the mother was constantly trying to find a solution. She prayed and prayed to God, but no help came. Finally, the devil offered her a deal instead. The devil agreed to cure the daughter’s mouth cancer if the mother would agree to create a character and make it famous. The devil wanted a popular character as a way to attract more kids to his side. So the mother created the Hello Kitty cartoon and made it famous among children. Apparently HK not having a mouth is representative of her daughter’s mouth cancer. So she created the cartoon, made it famous, the mouth cancer went away but then soon after both the mom and daughter disappeared.

At this point the kids started telling me something about someone being dragged off but I stopped them because I am so much of a wuss that I actually had to watch an episode of Community on Hulu while simultaneously writing this paragraph to ease the fear I felt. They also told me that in Korean, Kitty means Demon. “Cover the O and you have H-E-L-L Demon,” they said.

Needless to say this story majorly creeped me out, and now HK haunts me every time I see it. Every time I see a demon HK ring on one of my 12-year-old’s tiny fingers, I feel a sense of fear for myself and for that student. And that HK lunchbox? Poison food!

It doesn’t seem like this is a fad that will die down anytime soon, so I suppose I’ll have to suck it up and keep my fears of possessed students under control. [This is mostly a joke].

Makes me wonder about Lisa Frank. And Spongebob – I know he’s annoying but is he evil, too? Watch out world.