Who Or What Is Slender Man

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The Slender Man (also known as Slender Man or Slenderman) is an urban legend character – in the same vein as something like Bloody Mary.  Slender Man is thought to stalk and abduct people, mainly children, in rural or wooded places.  His physical characteristics are depicted as resembling a thin, unnaturally tall man with a blank and featureless face, and always wearing a black suit.


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Slender Man might be the first digital age urban legend that leaped in popularity due to our connectedness on social media.  The legend has quickly bounced from person to person often adding new details and gaining many believers that The Slender Man is, in fact, a real creature. Whether you choose to believe this or not – this is the most common belief of the true creation of the Slender Man legend.


Slender Man
The Slender Man was created in a contest launched on the Something Awful forums on June 8, 2009, with the goal of editing photographs to contain supernatural entities. On June 10, a forum poster with the user name “Victor Surge” contributed two black and white images of groups of children, to which he added a tall, thin spectral figure wearing a black suit.  Previous entries had consisted solely of photographs; however, Surge supplemented his submission with snatches of text, supposedly from witnesses, describing the abductions of the groups of children, and giving the character the name, “The Slender Man”:

who is what is slender man slenderman

We didn’t want to go, we didn’t want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time… 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.

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 13th, 1986.


who is what is slender man slenderman
These additions effectively transformed the photographs into a work of fiction. Subsequent posters expanded upon the character, adding their own visual or textual contributions.

The Slender Man soon went viral spawning fan art, stories, and even videos.  One indie film on Slender Man can be watched for free here on iHorror.com by clicking here:  The Slender Man Movie.


who is what is slender man slenderman

However, there is evidence of a Slender Man character before this:

Der Großmann is german for “The Great Man” and is often translated into copypastas as The Tall Man.

It is rumored to be a German folklore concerning a tall boogeyman existing since the 16th century, which was introduced to the mythos as an “In Game” point of origin for the creature.

It was first first used in the Slender Man web series TribeTwelve and has then been reused in many creepypastas

Other recurring names are Schwarzwald (“The Black forest”), an actual place in Germany where the creature is said to have first appeared, and Der Ritter (“The Knight”) based on several 16th century woodcuts by Hans Freckenberg that featured a strange figure dueling another man (shown below, left).

On March 17th, 2011, Encyclopedia Slenderia published a post revealing that the original woodcut of Der Ritter did not show additional limbs (shown below, right).


slenderman slenderia

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11 Comments

    • There is an indie movie which we posted here
      The only Hollywood movie close to Slender Man was called The Tall Man. I didn’t care for it much – it wasn’t that much like the Slender Man legend.

    • You may… no–you *will* be interested in something called Marble Hornets. It started around the same time as the original SomethingAwful thread, and continues to this day. It is, essentially, a “Blair Witch”-type series of documentary/found footage that tells the (fictional, of course) story behind an aborted student film called “Marble Hornets.” The film was never finished and the filmmaker (Alex) went a little mad and moved away, leaving a bunch of tapes. His friend and sometimes collaborator (Jay) wants to find out WHY the project was dropped so suddenly.

      The story exists as a series of YouTube uploads (and some Tweets), most of which are not footage from the original film, but rather footage documenting Jay’s (with help from some friends) investigation. Slender Man, also referred to as “The Operator” makes regular appearances–I don’t think that’s too much of a spoiler, considering that I’m mentioning it in this thread.

      The acting isn’t great, but if you can suspend your disbelief (essential for enjoying fiction to begin with), it can be truly scary. I don’t care for much conventional horror–gore and startling effects do not elicit very complex emotions, which is what, in my opinion, makes art. But the uneasy, the uncomfortable, the unknowable–these elements can, in horror films and stories, cause some very disturbing emotions for which we have no name: how do we begin to describe what we feel when terror, which is there to tell us viscerally what to avoid, instead DRAWS US IN? And does so not merely because of the thrill of raw emotion, but because curiosity demands that we know–even when we cannot. It is a feeling at once both disturbing and compelling. It is a feeling that Marble Hornets deals with quite well.

      And the fact that Marble Hornets uses social media (mostly YouTube, but also Twitter and online forums) to tell the story, and that the story is still happening now, makes it notable. There is an added thrill in following a story as it happens. The last entry to the story appeared on June 9th. The next will probably come soon–it’s rare that they go more than a month without posting something.

      (Also notable: Marble Hornets is optioned to be turned into a theatrical release.)

      This link will take you to the main YouTube channel and will give you the “entries” in order, but read on before you click.
      http://www.youtube.com/user/MarbleHornets/videos?flow=grid&sort=da&view=0

      …because comments on these videos are now disabled, which means that you won’t see the video responses. The above is the MAIN YouTube channel, but there is a supplementary one that is quite creepy and beautiful. So, after viewing the ninth entry, refer to this slightly more dangerous (because of brief spoilers) page:
      http://marblehornets.wikidot.com/the-entries

      Just follow the links on that page, don’t read. Each entry has a one-line synopsis that is a bit of a spoiler. But it will guide you through the main entries and the cryptic video responses in the order that they appeared online. The site also has lots of supplementary information that you will find interesting as you get immersed. Enjoy!

      –Bo.

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