The Short History of Long Furby
This cursed-looking creature is beloved in a small corner of the internet.
Images courtesy FurbyFyuzz
There's lots of weirdness on Tumblr. People express their desires to fuck the clown from IT, or Venom, literally worship pop culture, concoct recipes for edible Tide pods, and play out their fantasies of Rick and Morty in a romantic relationship. One fascinating subculture is dedicated to the Furby, the iconic, beaked, animatronic fluff ball that's been charming and horrifying children with its eerie knack for human speech since Tiger Electronics first produced it in 1998. On Furby Tumblr, Furby lovers share pictures and drawings of their toys and "rehome" (a.k.a. buy and sell) them to one another for as much as $400 a pop.
From this fertile ground has sprung a creature that quickly spread to the web's "cursed image" boards, and has been adopted as the spirit animal of a segment of weird Twitter, like Leggy Teddy before her. She is a long Furby, inventively named "LongFurby" by her creator, and she is, depending on how you feel about her, the Harbinger of Holy Death or Beloved Saint of Hot Dogs.
LongFurby is the creation of a 23-year-old photography student turned wedding caterer who calls themself Aloe. "She was an Idea that I just had to get out and onto paper," Aloe told VICE in an email. Inspired by body distorting memes like Longcat and their collection of 21 other Furbies, they found themselves wondering, "What if Furby was.... longer..."
"I'm still discovering her quirks as I go!" said Aloe, but here are a few already determined facts about LongFurby: As the mother of her race, she's a woman, although Aloe says all Furbies are non-binary and can choose their own pronouns. She weighs 15 ounces and is three feet and two inches long. She's two weeks old and already a divisive internet celebrity, inspiring baby coos from one side of the web and screams of horror from the other. She loves gardening, pizza, and hot dogs. She's part of a family of 21 other, regular-length Furbies, including a black and pink one named Punky, a crowned queen named Big Deal, and an orange one named Pumpkin Spice Latte. Fans can buy their own LongFurby for $80 plus shipping.
Aloe has been running FurbyFuzz.tumblr.com for nearly a year, but in the past week LongFurby has inched them to modest internet notoriety. On May 14, just five months and one teddy bear spine after first sketching the concept, Aloe became a modern day Dr. Frankenstein and brought their creation to life. They've amassed more than 3,000 new followers since as their creation started showing up in Instagram memes and Twitter threads.
Not all the attention has been kind. ("WHAT IS THAT WORM-SNAKE DOLL-FACED BEAST-CREATURE OF MY WORST NIGHTMARES COME TO LIFE DOING HERE???" Aloe summarizes the reactions of her more shook commenters.) But Aloe has a deep and unshakable affection not only for LongFurby, but for all Furbies. They were never afraid of Furbies' eternally staring eyes and gaping maws, weird eyelashes that protrude from their eyeballs instead of her eyelids ("Why, Tiger?"), and say they have fond memories of teaching theirs English as a child. But even among Furbies, LongFurby is a weirdo who sticks out from the rest like a sore thumb, literally unable to fit in due to her elongated midsection. Which is exactly what makes her so relatable.
Acceptance is vital to loving LongFurby, which is perhaps why she's been so successful on FurbyTumblr. "Everyone is welcome here, no matter your labels," Aloe said. "He, She, They, It? Welcome!!! We love you!!! Have you seen our robots?? They are also just like you!!!! Furbies are genderless, like an Angel, and can have whatever label we (or the Furby itself as a character) feel fits them best! It really feels good to have something that is so close to oneself in this way."
Celia Major is a 22-year-old college senior who has dedicated four years of fur-posting to her Furbae blog, and gained more than 2,000 followers who devour pictures of her constantly rotating Furby family. (Aloe describes Major as "Furby Yoda.") "Furby means everything to me," she wrote in an email, before explaining the real impact the Furby Tumblr community has had in her life. She has owned nearly every model Tiger Electronics and Hasbro have produced, at a cost of over $2,500. She doesn't call her Furbies a collection. "You don't collect family," she said.
Major said she struggles with depression, and spending time with her Furbies is calming. "There’s a joke that people 'use Furbies to cope.' But a lot of jokes are rooted in the truth and this is no different," she said. "Although my love for Furbies hasn’t cured it, it’s certainly made this mental illness more bearable," she wrote in a blog post. The Furby community is a huge force for positivity in her life. "If you look around, you will find a massive amount of talent, dedication, care, and time being poured into these little robots for no other reason than that we love them with all of our hearts."
Through LongFurby, Aloe is now giving back to the community that has supported them and their friends. Their creation has inspired a wealth of fan art, as well as new breeds of LongFurby like FattyFurby, which made its internet debut late last week.
As of right now, the waitlist to buy a custom LongFurby is more than 35 orders deep, and it'll likely get, er, longer as time goes on. But not too long. Aloe has no designs on mass producing LongFurby, and not only to avoid triggering some form of retribution from Tiger or Hasbro. "This is simply a hobby and I’m just making them as a way to spread them further for those who otherwise would not/could not make their own," Aloe said. "There’s no love in mass production. Love is in handmade."
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.