The Myth of Slender Man

Aaron Ruacho, Columnist

Almost every teenager in America has heard of Slender Man, the freakishly tall albino bald man with no face and a taste for nice suits. This horrifying figure stalks people, lures them into the woods, takes 20 dollars from them, then kills them. He has tentacle-like appendages coming out of his back and he can stretch or shrink his arms at will. Of course, Slender Man isn’t real, but that hasn’t kept him from being a fear of people around the world.  He has become popular enough to spawn two games, mockumentaries, and thousands of prank videos.  But where did he come from?

It all started when a contest on the Something Awful forums online required participants to find a normal image, Photoshop something supernatural into it, and post it on different supernatural forums, passing it off as real. Forum member Victor Surge posted two pictures of children with Slender Man in the background. He says he was “influenced by H.P Lovecraft, Stephen King, the surreal imaginings of William S. Burroughs, and a couple games of the survival horror genre: Silent Hill and Resident Evil.” He wanted to formulate something whose motivations can barely be comprehended and causes general unease and terror in a general population. The reaction was surprisingly good, so he started making more. Other people started making their own pictures as well, bringing Slender Man to fame and the status of “Internet Urban Legend.” People have also added Slender Man to history through references to old German folklore and stories that have been around for ages.

Slender Man’s popularity spawned Marble Hornets, a Youtube series based off the faceless fiend. Marble Hornets shows footage of a young man looking for his missing friend, and is in its third season. Some of the Marble Hornets videos, called “entries” have missing audio, and when Youtube user brett824 posted a video titled “MARBLE HORNETS ENTRY #6 MISSING AUDIO FOUND!” showing the original Marble Hornets video along with the audio from the song “Gimmie $20 dollars” by Ron Browz; it created a joke explaining the real motivation for Slender Man’s attacks.

In June 2012, Parsec Productions released Slender: The 8 Pages, a free downloadable game in which you must find eight pages scattered in the woods while Slender Man is chasing you. The game is absolutely terrifying, and has been hailed as the scariest game ever. Slender Man’s Shadow is a series of games created by Marc Steene and Wray Burgess. They currently have seven maps released including Hospice, Sanatorium, Elementary, and Prison. Each one creates a new scary environment and some are perhaps even more terrifying than the original game. Slender: The Arrival, by Parsec Productions, is a game coming in Spring 2013, and it is the first game that will not be free to play. It is an expanded version of Slender, with lifelike graphics, new locations and a story line. The beta is currently online. Another game, Haunt, was inspired by Slender, and has amazing graphics and a written story line.

Even though he isn’t real, the idea of Slender Man is still terrifying enough that camping is an almost unbearable experience. Creator Victor Surge has stated, that an urban legend requires an audience ignorant of the origin of the legend. It needs unverifiable third and fourth 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. Despite this, it still spread. Victor Surge has created something truly terrifying, and it has taken the place of the boogeyman for billions of people. Surge went on to say, “The Slender Man, and other newly created entities, are just the newest addition in the progression of a long, very real, human tradition. You’ve seen him, now you can’t unsee him.”


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