HE began as a series of mysterious avatars popping up on my Multiply viewing history. He didn’t bother me at first, because I was used to friendly strangers visiting my site. But when he began visiting on an almost daily basis—and under different usernames, although with the same avatar—I started to wonder who in the world was Pablo Banila.
Visits to his websites offered no clue. His avatar showed a creepy-looking guy with matted chin-length hair (think Severus Snape from Harry Potter) and a flashing sign that read, “Pablo Banila has a crush on you! That’s why he visited your website!”
That would have been almost flattering had I not already known that he had visited the websites of at least a hundred other people—all under different usernames and the same annoying avatar. He also has a dotcom, http://www.pablobanila.com, but it offers no clues, only rambling passages of text and close-up photos of himself.
People started complaining. “Please get a life, you pervert,” wrote one girl in her blog, after listing down his many usernames—pablobanila, ppaabblloobanila, rainbowinmycoffee, carrotperfume, laughingmankuze, edwardward, blackbetweenthestars, theblackbetweenthestars, etc. People left similar comments on that entry, saying, “OMG he viewed me too!” or “He views mine too, it’s so creepy!”
Others chimed in, “He views me every other day, more often than I check my own Multiply site,” while guys posted nervous comments like, “He checks me out too, and I’m a boy.”
So far, his visits to sites have been harmless (all he does is view homepages; he doesn’t leave comments), but creepy—there’s just no other word for it. Attempts to discover his identity have so far been futile. But identity aside, what everyone wants to know is, how does he find time to check out all those Multiply pages?
Is Pablo Banila actually a team of high school kids with nothing better to do?
Is Pablo Banila actually a group of college students doing a psychology research project for their thesis?
Is Pablo Banila a new Internet virus?
Is Pablo Banila actually just the government looking for suspected terrorists by combing through the pages of unsuspecting Multiply users?
Is Pablo Banila merely the victim of pranksters who are out to get him?
Or is Pablo Banila just really a sad person with no friends and nothing better to do?
In any case, Multiply users are waiting for an answer. But until then, Pablo Banila continues to stalk our websites—and our nightmares.