Two schoolgirls in China committed suicide in an attempt to travel back in time after one of them lost a remote control to a door.
Xiao Hua told her best friend and fellow classmate, Xiao Mei, that she was worried about coming clean to her parents.
In an effort to avoid potential consequences, the girls allegedly took inspiration from a popular television show and committed suicide to travel back in time.
They left notes explaining their decision before jumping — and subsequently drowning — in a pool.
Xiao Hua wrote in her note that her older sister must take care of their parents.
Xiao Mei wrote that Xiao Hua was killing herself because she was afraid of being scolded for losing the remote control and that they decided to die together because they were the best friends.
Xiao Mei also wrote that she had two dreams: She planned to travel back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to make a film of an emperor; and she wanted to visit outer space.
“Schoolchildren are rich in curiosity but poor in judgment, so this kind of tragedy happens in every era,” said Sun Yunxiao, deputy director of China Youth and Children Research Center.
“I have heard of children jumping from high buildings after watching an actor flying in a magic show. This kind of imitative behavior is in the nature of young children, but it’s very dangerous. So we should give some sort of warning for children on TV programs,” Sun said.
Time-travel TV series have become very popular in recent years. Typically, the story is about modern people accidentally traveling to the ancient past and falling in love with a royal family member.
According to a media report in February, a 19-year-old Liaoning province woman, Xiao Dan (not her real name), told police she had paid 1,800 yuan ($285) to a Net friend who claimed she could help her travel to the ancient past but disappeared after receiving the money.
Because of several stories along these lines emerging, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television banned prime time – 7 to 9 pm – broadcasts of this kind of TV series at the beginning of this year.