Evil season 3: Is Visiting Jack a real meme?

L-R Aasif Mandvi as Ben Shakir and Katja Herbes as Kristen Bouchard in Evil episode 2, Season 3 streaming on Paramount +, 2022. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+
L-R Aasif Mandvi as Ben Shakir and Katja Herbes as Kristen Bouchard in Evil episode 2, Season 3 streaming on Paramount +, 2022. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Fisher/Paramount+ /

Evil season 3 introduced viewers to Visiting Jack in episode 2, “The Demon of Memes.” The creepy figure compels teens to do blasphemous and risky “licks” in order to avoid death.

It’s a case that’s brought to David, Kristen, and Ben’s attention after a string of incidents escalate beyond “Captain Kirk is Christ” being yelled at priests to young people committing suicide over the meme. This one hits close to home for Kristen whose daughter Lynn knows a boy who’s in the middle of his own encounter with Jack.

The story goes that if you see Jack, you must complete his list of seven licks within the next several days otherwise he’ll drag you to hell.

Like many myths, the story surrounding Jack changes throughout the episode. He’s known as Wandering Jack to some by evidence of the graffiti desecrating a holy site. Where someone may come upon him changes; he’s not located in one place. Jack even changes appearance.

Who is Visiting Jack on Evil season 3?

When Jack’s first seen in the episode, he looks like a supernatural creature of some kind like a demon or a vampire. He’s pale, in an all-black outfit, and is the lone figure shown in an abandoned house’s window.

When we see him again, thanks to street view imaging, his face gets more and more blurry until he’s unrecognizable. It’s possible even the licks Lynn comes across differ from the one’s her friend, Ren, was instructed to do. According to her list, anyone who sees Jack must:

  1. Yell “Captain Kirk is Christ” at a priest
  2. Destroy a holy object
  3. Punch a teacher in the face
  4. Have sex with a virgin
  5. Steal your parents alcohol and drink it all in one sitting
  6. Find a 13th floor ledge and do 13 jumping jacks
  7. Carve “Jack” into your cheek with a razor. Make sure it’s deep enough to draw blood.

There are even rules to the licks. Those who see Jack can only go outside to complete their licks, otherwise they have to remain in their homes. They’re also not supposed to tell anyone about the licks but, of course, that rule isn’t adhered to otherwise this meme wouldn’t have spread like wildfire among teens.

Some of the kids who “see Jack” get a kick out of him. It’s nothing but fun and games to them. They don’t take whatever ridiculous list they come across seriously. However, for kids like Ren and the teens that killed themselves, this isn’t a game. Just like them, he was very much close to taking his own life in order to protect his family and everyone he cares about.

Ren truly believed in Jack and that’s the scariest part of “The Demon of Memes,” the power one Internet meme can have on the safety and well-being of others. What Ren didn’t know was that Jack was the creation of a homeless college student named Phoebus and a streetview driver. He’s not real, but his power lied in the susceptibility of youth who couldn’t separate fiction from reality.

Speaking of the real world, Visiting Jack isn’t a real meme. But, the character was based on a large than life meme, Slender Man.

Visiting Jack on Evil season 3 is inspired by Internet myth Slender Man

Like Jack, Slender Man was created on the Internet. According to a complete history of the figure from the Washington Post published in 2016, he was created by Victor Surge in 2009 on the web forum Something Awful.

The character caught on and before long other users began creating stories and images just like Surge did to further Slender Man’s story. It was all myth-making. Through doctored reports, storytelling, and photoshop, imagination and creativity thrived. The unfortunate effect, however, was that as Slender Man’s legend expanded, it also began to take root in the minds of youth who took fiction and spun it into reality.

He became a myth, a piece of Internet-created folklore, that began to take a life of its own. Depending on the user, forum, or website, Slender Man’s story changed. He could kill you or make you kill others. To some he was a tall, lanky, pale figure and to others he had multiple arms or tentacles. It truly depended on where you first encountered his story.

And, while one forum’s fun and community storytelling isn’t responsible for two Wisconsin girls stabbing their classmate in 2014, the mythos of Slender Man clearly grew the kind of legs no one could have imagined five years prior. As stated in the Post by Shira Chess and reported by Caitlin Dewey:

"“We tell ourselves stories because we (humans) are storytelling animals,” she wrote in an e-mail. “And, to that end, horror stories take on a specific significance and importance because they function metaphorically — the horror stories that are the best are often metaphors for other issues that affect our lives on both cultural and personal levels.”Slender Man, Chess says, is a metaphor for “helplessness, power differentials, and anonymous forces.” He’s an infinitely morphable stand-in for things we can neither understand nor control, universal fears that can drive people to great lengths — even, it would appear, very scary, cold-blooded lengths."

So, while Visiting Jack and Slender Man aren’t real, that doesn’t make memes and legends like them any less powerful in the human conscience. Belief is very much a potent force that can cause people to do the most wondrous things as well as the most heinous.

Next. Evil season 3 - What is the Entity (and what do they want with David)?. dark

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