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Anonymous Pranksters Mass Message Russian Children, Saying Gas Leaks Will Make Them Fairies

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Police in the Russian city of Vladimir are looking for the people responsible for a dangerous prank: mass messaging local children, and telling them they can transform into fairies, if they leave the stovetop gas running overnight.

“After monitoring social networks, we’ve collected a large amount of information that an online newsletter is distributing messages about how to become a fairy: leave the gas running, and the next morning you will awake a fairy,” a representative for the regional police told the news agency RIA Novosti.

The messages borrow language and images from the Italian animated TV show “Winx Club,” which is all about — you guessed it — magical fairies.

“At midnight, when everyone is sleeping, get out of bed and walk around the room three times,” the messages tell children. “Then repeat the following magical words: ‘Kingdom of Alpheus, cute fairies, give me powers, I ask you!’ Next, go quietly to the kitchen, trying not to be seen, or else the magic won’t work, and turn the gas burner all the way up, but don’t light it! You don’t want to get burned!”

The people behind these mass mailings are apparently sending them over multiple channels (including SMS and the chat app Viber), and adults have received them, too. “I got one myself just two days ago,” the regional police spokesman told reporters, explaining that his office first learned about the problem from concerned parents whose children received the messages.

Still unable to identify the pranksters, Russia’s Interior Ministry is encouraging parents and teachers to explain the dangers of inhaling gas to young children. “Our task is to prevent a tragedy,” the ministry told the media.

In May last year, identical messages were distributed in Russia anonymously to young children over social media. The case in Vladimir seems to mark the first time this has happened in a concentrated geographic area.

Winx Club is broadcast in more than 130 countries worldwide. There are also three feature-length animated films, and Warner Bros. is currently working on a live-action movie.

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