Slender Man: A Modern Legend Was Born
Often hidden in plain sight, he blends in with arms that bend in unnatural ways, he stands seven foot tall or taller wearing a black suit and has a featureless face, though, some will say that what you see when you look him in the eye is that of your worst nightmares coming to life. He stands by watching you like a silent stalker patiently taking in your every move. He may decide to follow you home and when he does, if you see him from your window it won’t be long until you are never seen again. He leaves no trace of his presence, no evidence of a struggle or that he even has you, but you will never return. He mostly abducts little girls and boys whom some say he can control through hypnotic powers to lure his victims into his lanky arms. Often pictures will depict tentacle-like extensions that sprawl from his back and slither outward like extra rubber-like arms. We are talking about the newest of modern legends and dark lore, The Slender Man.
Many people believe this fast growing legend to be fake, and in a way they are correct, but maybe not as correct as they think they are. For you to completely understand that statement I must go back to tell you the entire story of how and why Slender Man was brought to existence as we know him today. Back in June of 2009 a website called Something Awful held a photoshop competition on their forums in which contestants had to enter altered photos that were real but had something added to them to make them feel awkward and scary and most of all real looking. As part of the contest contestants then had to post their photos on various paranormal based forums, to try and convince people that their alterations were in fact real encounters with ghost or some type of paranormal being. One photo alteration contestant, Victor Surge, created a creature described much like I had described him in the opening paragraph of this article, he gave him a minimal background and called him Slender Man. His character was carefully placed doing the one thing that the old legend of The Boogeyman was most known for… watching children with the intent to abduct them forever.
It didn’t take long for Slender Man to catch on and many others started adding their versions of Slender Man to photos, often of him blending into the environment just out of the way enough for no one to acknowledge that he was there, stalking children. These photos went viral as did the new modern legend of the dark and mysterious Slender Man. And as any myth or legend does, the stories grew bigger and the fans became more scared of what they believed was another cryptid creature or unexplainable killer of children, devourer of souls. Proud of the creation of his paranormal legend Victor Surge released this statement to the public, “It was amazing to see people create their own little part of Slenderman in order to perpetuate his existance.I didn’t expect it to move beyond the SA forums. And when it did, I found it interesting to watch as sort of an accelerated version of an urban legend. It differs from the prior concept of the urban legend in that it is on the Internet, and this both helps and harms the status of the Slender Man as one. In my personal opinion, an urban legend requires an audience ignorant of the origin of the legend. It needs unverifiable third and forth hand (or more) accounts to perpetuate the myth. On the Internet, anyone is privy to its origins as evidenced by the very public Something Awful thread. But what is funny is that despite this, it still spread. Internet memes are finicky things and by making something at the right place and time it can swell into an internet urban legend.” There is even an article on a what culture.com that will tell you the entire story of how Slendy came from Victor’s creation, to a full fledged belief of dark abductions. Aleks Krotoski, a commentator for BBC Radio called The Slender Man “The first great myth of the web”
Something Victor and many others may or may not have known at the time, is that an entity or creature much like… just like Slender Man, had been spoken of for a long while before the photo competition ever took place. While it was never called Slender Man before and may not have had as much of a background story or such an intense involvement from the public to tell the story, the being has been here for a long time, maybe even longer than humans themselves. There used to be a German legend that spoke of the same type of being and scenarios, and for centuries there have been stories of a creature with stretched out arms that would abduct the children. There are many skeptics that believe fans of the legend created the idea of Slender Man’s existence in Germany as well. The German legend was that children in the 1600’s would see him in the Black Forest just before they would disappear forever, with no evidence of their fate left behind. Some think this being has the ability to teleport and use hypnotic abilities to control his victims, hence the lack of screaming or signs of any struggle during an abduction. Personally, I think it may even be the Tall Whites, in which are one of four known species of aliens that our governments all talk about. They may be one and the same, or it could be something else. Who is to say that it is just one being that has been spoken of? I know that Victor has admitted to creating what we know as The Slender Man, but the fact is, he wasn’t the first to speak of such a being. And when you see a child’s face on a milk carton side, it may not have been an evil human that stole the person or another case of a runaway. There are things that go bump in the night, and for all we know this creature that The Slender Man was accidentally or purposely based on might be out there now, watching your home.
It is said that this creature may stalk adults on special occasions, and many believe that the adults may have seen him once during their childhood and he has come back for them. Once he stalks an adult they see him from time-to-time and they begin to get what is called the “Slender Sickness’ which may include some or all of the following: nose bleeds, nightmares, paranoia, hallucinations appearing to only the sick person, and various other symptoms. If he is stalking an adult, many people believe he will eventually abduct them, take them into the woods and impale them on branches of trees, allowing them to bleed out in agonizing pain.
Real or not, it’s hard to say – but one claim to an encounter with such a being was that of a man named Nelson from West Virginia in 1997. He said, “It was dark, and I could see it in the woods behind my house. It had been stalking me for days. When I turned on the porch light I finally got a clear look at it. Its proportions were impossible, definitely not human. Its face however, my God… that will haunt me until the day I die, which I’m sure is soon.” Some whom believe in The Slender Man, or a being that is out there doing the things he is capable of doing, has said that the more you talk about or research Slender Man, the more likely you are to encounter him, bringing life to a supposed legend. Which brings me back to an old saying in which people used to believe that if you speak of an evil, it may be so.
Until next time…
~ William C. Raustler
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