Who Is 'The Slenderman' That Supposedly Inspired Wisconsin Stabbing?
Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, the 12-year-old girls accused of stabbing their friend 19 times, reportedly told police that they attacked their friend hoping the violent actions would make them proxies of the Slenderman.
The Slenderman, a sort of mythical, supernatural being that has a heavy presence on the Internet, mostly on horror fan sites and supernatural fiction sites. According to legend, the Slenderman is a long, lanky, faceless man who appears wearing a suit and can stretch his limbs to frightening effect. He is also sometimes illustrated as having 4 or 8 long tentacles instead of arms, which he uses to snatch children: his victims of choice.
“Often times it is either reported or recorded that he [the Slenderman] can be found in sections of the woods, and these generally tend to be suburban. He also has been reported seen with large groups of children, as many photographs portray. It is commonly thought that he resides in woods and forests and preys on children,” reads the Slenderman page on CreepyPasta.Wikia.com.
A simple online search for Slenderman (or Slender Man) turns up thousands of entries. Some sites treat Slenderman as a real figure, linking the myth with historical accounts of tall, thin men who kill and kidnap children. Others acknowledge that the Slenderman as a fictional character, whose origin story and folklore is made up by online writers, in horror-themed chat rooms.
Slenderman Created In 2009 Photo Contest
Many sources agree that Slenderman was actually created in a 2009 photo contest on SomethingAwful.com. The “Create Paranormal Images” thread asked users to create strange, yet realistic, photos. User ‘Victor Surge,’ real name Eric Knudsen, submitted a photo showing a fuzzy silhouette of a faceless man with tentacles amongst children at a playground.
Each photographed was captioned with a fictional scenario, which began the mythology of the Slenderman.
Original photo from 'Victor Surge'
“One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as ‘The Slender Man.’ Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence. / 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13, 1986.”
The photos quickly went viral and the Slenderman was accepted as a horror legend, publicized through short horror stories published online, known as ‘creepypastas,’ and online games – one particularly popular one is called ‘Slender: The Eight Pages.' As the Slenderman became more popular online, its mythology became more complex, and, in fact, different websites or online communities will have different mythologies for the character.
Geyser and Weier told the authorities that they read about the Slenderman on a website dedicated for creepasta writing, Creepypasta.com. Geyser and Weier claimed that an online story instructed readers to kill in order to become a Slenderman ‘Proxy.’ As defined by TheSlenderman.wikia.com, a Proxy is a person “under the influence or control of Slender Man."
“It is suspected that Proxies do the actual, physical work for Slender Man, such as creating and manipulating objects, destroying and leaving evidence, creating videos and responding on Twitter, and influencing victims as needed…a Proxy does the direct bidding of Slender Man,” the site continues.
Geyser and Weier have been charged as adults with preliminary charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and bail was set at $500,000.
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