Elmo doll says "Kill!"

Melissa Bowman of Lithia, Florida claims that her two-year-old son James's Elmo Knows Your Name doll kept repeating the phrase "Kill James." The doll can be programmed with new names and certain phrases via PC. The toy's manufacturer, Fisher-Price, has offered to replace the doll and will check into the alleged malfunction. From TBO.com:
With a squeeze of its fuzzy belly, the Sesame Street character now says, in a sing-song voice, "Kill James." "It's not something that really you would think would ever come out of a toy," said Melissa Bowman, James' mother. "But once I heard, I was just kind of distraught."

The Elmo Knows Your Name doll, which connects to a computer to learn certain phases and names, recently ran out of battery power, Bowman said.

About an hour after she put new ones in, "I noticed exactly what it was saying," Bowman said. "And my son was repeating exactly what it was saying."
Link (via Fortean Times)

Previously on BB:
• More from Evil Elmo Link
• Immolate Me Elmo Link
• Tickle Me Elmo fur coats Link

UPDATE: In the comments, Maurice Reeves kindly posted a link to the video report from TBO.com with footage of the "Kill? James?" Elmo. Link


  1. Surely I’m not the only person who finds “Elmo Knows Your Name” to be a vaguely unsettling and even threatening name for a toy. What’s next, the “Elmo Knows Where You Live” doll?

  2. Mom should offer to sell it back to Mattel/Fisher Price for $25 grand or so before the media shows up to hear Elmo say “Kill James”!

    Oh, and can you imagine the media tie-ins possible if the kid’s name was Bill? Get it? “Kill Bill”? Hello? Bueller? :-)

  3. @NOEN (#4), This is not old. BB has covered other Elmo oddities, such as those I link to at the bottom of the current post.

  4. We have a couple of these and I’m positive that this isn’t an accident. Someone has hacked it to say this stuff. I’ve looked into it and its really easy to change what elmo says (it’s just wave files played in certain orders).

  5. #4 – The timestamp on the linked article says it was published yesterday.

    Unless the BB editors are hiding time travel tech from us, there’s no way they could have talked about this before.

  6. @GUYSMILEY (#10), You didn’t even need to search for it. I posted that headline and link today right underneath the current Elmo post.

  7. Ok ok, sorry David. My mistake.

    The woman in the story won’t reprogram Elmo because she is afraid it could do the same thing even if she does. She won’t accept a replacement either (that won’t get you on TV, will it). It’s a little ambiguous but it appears that she thinks Elmo is possessed.

  8. “What’s next, the “Elmo Knows Where You Live” doll?”

    There’s an episode of ‘The Simpsons’ where Homer calls-in a fraudulent donation to PBS in order to get them to end their Pledge-A-Thon. When PBS found out that he didn’t intend to honor his pledge, they sent the cast of ‘Sesame Street’ (among other PBS stars) and as Homer was fleeing from the mob, Elmo says menacingly, “Elmo knows where you live.”

  9. #16 THANK YOU! I knew there was something familiar about the concept of a menacing Elmo; I could feel it tugging at my mind but I just couldn’t pin it down.

  10. Maybe it’s just because I don’t have kids, but I can’t be the only person who, upon finding such a toy, would treasure it for its oddness and its practical jokes potential rather than getting distraught.

    IOW, where do I get one of these things!

  11. THIS JUST IN! Pad of notebook paper can be scribed to say the words “Idiot!” By connecting an ink pen to the surface of the paper, a person can teach the paper new words. All you have to do is scan the paper with your eyes, and the message is clear. “James’s mom is an idiot.” Disturbed by what the paper has done, James’s mom has formed an action team with other parents to have all lined notebook paper removed from homes with young children…

  12. “…whether other Elmos are experiencing the same malfunction.” For all that we know, there might be an army of blood thirsty Elmos out there…

  13. She should program in her ex husbands name so the kid grows up with a toy hating his/her dad.

    I would treasure this toy, don’t think my daughter would care what it said.

    And besides, these toys are such pieces of dung, you can’t understand half of what they say anyway.

  14. Too bad Elmo doesn’t speak in a more authoritarian tone. A high pitched “Kill? James?” isn’t terribly threatening in my opinion.

  15. #18 yeah, ’til the night you woke up bound and gagged, with Elmo standing on your chest holding a large knife…

  16. Has anyone actually tried killing James? That seems to be the most obvious way to get Elmo to stop saying it.

  17. i think this story is just pointless. like they said u can record, so don u thin omeone would do this just t be put in the public or ge moneyot of it.this s just a pubicity act. but i ight be wrong thns have happened. bu not like this that i know of. i have read ont heinternt about dolsbein posessed,but never recent. and i think someting woud have happened o james by now????

  18. My wife’s plastic Elmo doll said, “I’m very deadly.” At least that’s what I thought I heard the other day.

  19. I’m betting $10 that a culture jammer did it.

    Either that or someones going on a suing spree.

  20. Actually the doll was probably resold to the lady in the story. I know people who have bought talking dolls and reprogrammed them to swear and say other un-nice things. Just a thought. I too would cherish the thing.

  21. #26 “i have read ont heinternt”

    Looks like I missed the memo on this one, and will be using this phrasing from now on.

    I completely missed the boat on pwns. Never again!

  22. I saw the video of this the other day, and I also thought it sounded a lot more like “Tell James…” and then it cut off. However, if it is reprogrammable, I bet they also have an open WiFi….

    Who will hack it to say “James’ Mom is dumb!”

    Oh, and the “Talking Tina” Twilight Zone episode was the creepiest thing I had ever seen.

  23. Looks like all the funny cultural references have been gobbled up already. However… this reminds me of a supposedly true incident from a coupla decades ago: the KILL MOMMY doll!

    A woman visiting Florida picked up a talking dolly for her daughter. It was supposed to say “I love Mommy!” But when her daughter activated it, it said “Kill our Mommy!”

    Horrified, the mother called the manufacturer. They had her put the doll on the phone so they could hear it.

    (I’d love to say that, like Talky Tina, the doll feigned innocence at this point. But…)

    It turned out it was saying “Quiero Mami,” Spanish for “I love Mommy.” In Florida they sell English- and Spanish-speaking versions, and due to a goof in packaging, an Espanol version wound up in an Ingles box. They sent her a replacement free-of-charge.

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