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History of Slender Man: The Meme that Caused a Brutal Murder

Updated on May 22, 2018
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Slender Man History

Slender Man: The folklore behind a drawing that led Wisconsin Girls to Murder a Classmate

By: Meredith A. Iager


Over the past 38 and in recent years, audiences have seen creepy figures in horror films with no face images of demonic, disturbing humanoid like creatures in films like Hush, Silent Hill (originally a video game turned film; Radha Mitchell) Knowing (Nicolas Cage), The Mothman Prophecies (Richard Gere) and some say the creature was first depicted by horror genre film writer, H.P. Lovecraft in 1979 with his film, Phantasm.

Some have even said, H.P. Lovecraft is the Slender Man or Tall Man – Angus Brimm plays The Tall Man character in the Phantasm Series. The Slender Man has apparently been around for a long, long time. This slender figure has been drawn on the walls of Egyptian Pharaoh Tombs as hieroglyphics, seen on wood carvings found in Germany, and even in drawn on walls in Brazilian Caves. So, it is clear, Hollywood is using the folklore to scare people.

He is something out of a nightmare or from the wild imagination of Tim Burton – like the cartoon character Jack Skellington (voice of Chris Sarandon, Jerry Dandridge himself) a tall gangly black skeleton like insect looking fictional, supernatural demonic creature. You could say that the Slender Man is a symbol in folklore like an angel of death and destruction. Over centuries, people have come to know a similar creature known as, The Hat Man. Sometimes he is referred to in other documentation as “shadow man” who is a symbol of death or what is to come for that person or someone close to that person. Slender Man is a tad different looking, but holds the same meaning; death, potentially evil; bad news. It’s all about interpretation.

Regardless of folklore and/or personal beliefs, tragedy struck in 2014 due to a meme entitled Slender Man. This particular meme was created by a Something Awful Internet forum user named Eric Knudsen; better known by his online handle, “Victor Surge” in June of 2009. The Slender Man figure is a tall, thin, and without a face who wears a black suit. According to folklore and other online content the creation abducts, traumatizes people, particularly children. He is also known as, The Operator and has become a popular cult icon online and has infiltrated imaginations that see him as nothing but folklore, and has unfortunately inhabited the minds of mentally disturbed children, who committed heinous crimes in his name.

The meme and other images of the Slender Man depict the creepy images of a stick like man figure mixed in with trees in a forest like setting. They are all black and white photos; eerie and sparked interest in youngsters who like mystery and folklore, but caught some darker minds who needed more than therapy.

As if the images of this creature, fiction or not, weren’t insane enough, an innocent female fell victim to a horrific circumstances because of ‘him’. The Slender Man drawings on the Creepypasta.com site for all things horror and folklore related weaseled its way into the minds of two psychopathic 12-year-olds in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier were charged with the stabbing a classmate 19 times in the woods near a sleepover on behalf of the mythical character Slender Man in June of 2014. Geyser has been diagnosed with early on-set schizophrenia. Geyser, now 15, plead guilty to avoid jail time and in October 2017, and was sentenced to 40 years in a mental institution and her accomplice Weier was sentenced to 25 years in a mental institution.

Whatever the origin may be, whether he is real or not, Slender Man should stay a legend or myth that is spooky. No one should delve into it too deeply. Too many people are impressionable and artists who are creative make fantastical images that become reality for some individuals.

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