Herobrine Persson, or better known as simply Herobrine, is the main antagonist of the 2010 Minecraft Creepypasta story of the same name, as well as its popular Minecraft mod and countless other mods, videos and even books. He is a widely popular urban legend originating from the 2009 sandbox video game Minecraft.
He is an enigmatic figure by nature - his character, motivations and backstory are not explicitly defined, but following official descriptions from the original Creepypasta, this entity could be Notch's dead brother somehow embedded into Minecraft who appears as an omnipotent and malevolent spirit - although Notch stated that he never had a brother.
Herobrine has become somewhat of an icon in the Minecraft community: despite having no official appearance in Minecraft, he has appeared in many forms of fan-made medias, most commonly in Youtube videos.
Herobrine is also the main antagonist of countless Minecraft mods, maps, theories, fanfics, webcomics, books, songs, and videos.
Despite many knowing the story of Herobrine, many question just who the entity is. It's very rare to suggest that Herobrine is an otherworldly entity from another dimension that has somehow manifested itself into Minecraft. Herobrine could also very well be a Tulpa and has been manifested in the game as a sentient entity created by the imagination of everyone that claims to have seen him. Others suggest that Herobrine is a virus or glitch that somehow found its way into Minecraft and started wreaking havoc, it's also possible that Herobrine was once a mob or boss in the game that was removed for unknown reasons.
Because of Notch's rejection of Herobrine's existence and the many people that still claim to see him, it's possible that Herobrine is a figment of the player's imagination, and that all the players who have 'seen' him are just imagining Herobrine haunting their game. Another theory is that Herobrine is somehow related to Steve, the protagonist of the game, which makes sense, as Herobrine is a carbon copy of Steve with white eyes, possibly hinting at Steve being the real brother of Herobrine, and not Notch.
The most likely answer to Herobrine's existence, the answer that was suggested by his original Creepypasta and the answer that makes the most sense is that Herobrine is a vengeful ghost. Many people assume that before Herobrine passed away he used to be a miner who died and was mysteriously brought back to life and haunts not only Minecraft, but also the abandoned mineshafts where he presumably worked at when he was alive. This explains why he not only haunts the other world, but also the various cave systems of the game. Other interpretations of the ghost theory interpret him to be Notch’s dead brother, such as his original Creepypasta.
Despite all the theories, Herobrine's enigmatic existence allows for many interpretations of the character, either portraying him as an insecure entity with misunderstood intentions, or a cataclysmic warlord that wants to see the world burn and bring everyone in Minecraft down to his knees. Furthermore, several versions of Herobrine have portrayed him as a very tragic character, rather than a terrifying horror. In fact, Herobrine's backstory is and will presumably remain surrounded by mysteries, unless his creator reveals his true origins.
Herobrine first appeared in a single image detailing an encounter. It was posted on the 4chan's /v/ board, and gained very little attention. It stated how Herobrine had appeared in someone's single-player game, building various strange pyramids and tunnels. It is the first media to name him as Herobrine and explain his origins as the supposed dead brother of Notch, the creator of Minecraft.
It was only later that Herobrine grew in popularity when the Brocraft streamer "Copeland" photoshopped Herobrine into several screenshots to show to his chat. He had recently taken a liking to the story, and wished to be a part of it. After getting largely good reactions, he decided to stage a hoax. He has explained exactly how that took place in an email.
Copeland had played through the world as a normal lets-player would, deliberately avoiding the work-in-progress room he had set up for the hoax. Herobrine was introduced to the stream about 20 minutes in. He is confirmed to be a retextured painting. Copeland then screamed and ran out of the room, promptly ending the stream.
Copeland pretended to be shaken up in the chat, and later posted a message onto the forums, providing links to the video to spread it on the internet, hoping to get similar reactions. After a while, Copeland removed the painting and reverted to normal textures. He proceeded to stream further, pretending to be scared. He announced that he would delete the world to never meet Herobrine again.
Later on, another user Patimuss made a video showing Herobrine in a user-made lava field. This Herobrine was free-standing unlike the previous video. Due to this, it is likely he was a retextured door. The live stream went down after Patimuss ran away and saved his game, only to resume ten minutes later when Herobrine had disappeared.
Later on, during the second stream, Patimuss can be heard talking to his wife, stating he was trolling. This flooded the live stream chat with outrage. He then proceeded faked a game crash. Copeland disliked that Patimuss outed Herobrine as a fake. It is unknown when exactly it happened in relation to Patimuss' video, but Copeland then posted links in chat, leading to a website named GhostInTheStream. This is likely where the nickname "Him" originated from. The page features Steve's face, featuring small real frantically rolling eyes in the place of his block eyes, which are modified to be completely black.
Below the face, there is a jumble of characters and letters. After removing all non-alphabet characters, the following message is revealed:
The message keeps telling the viewer to "wake up", implying that they are living in a fantasy world, and this text hidden in the page is their "note". The above text is from another creepypasta, entitled "Wake Up". The stream proceeded later with no further Herobrine sightings. Copeland continued to adamantly state Herobrine was real for about a year onward. The Minecraft wiki asked Copeland several questions regarding the event, which can be found on the official page about Herobrine on the Minecraft Wiki.
Since the stream, there has been a huge increase in his popularity, propelling Herobrine to meme status and making him an icon of the community. There are countless mods, animations, pieces of artwork, skits and constructions of Herobrine that have been created.