Slender Man – Can an Urban Legend Come To Life?

I wonder how many of you out there are already familiar with this creepypasta internet meme. It seems to be very popular with the teen crowd which is where I first heard of it. The night my husband’s half-brother told me this creepy legend I ran straight to my computer to do further research and let me say, I did not sleep well at all that night. There is something to it that triggers all the creepy centers of your mind and once in your head it is hard to ignore. It’s almost psychologically designed to scare you and keep scaring you. I’ll tell you the stories first just as I heard them so you can enjoy the creeptasticness to its fullest, but stay tuned because there is a shocking surprise at the end!

The Slenderman is an unnerving supernatural creature that is inhumanly tall with the ability to seemingly alter his height. He has long spindly arms, sometimes only two but sometimes more. They often look like tentacles with which he can raise his body into the air, or climb walls. At the top, a featureless blurry face with no mouth, no nose, and no eyes. German folklore speaks of a similar being called “Der Großmann”, translated as “The Tall Man” in the Black Forest. He has a disfigured face with only white orbs for eyes and is described as being incredibly tall and thin.

He is often sighted in the woods and seems to be attracted to children as shown by several photographs showing his gangly figure stalking the edges of playgrounds. His presence interferes with electronic devices, cameras, lights, and cellphones. They often begin going haywire as his proximity increases. People who reported seeing Slenderman cannot bring themselves to stare at his face due to an overpowering feeling of nausea and dizziness. He is also said to be responsible for mass disappearances of children.

If you see him, he has also seen you, and once he finds prey he stalks it with the full use of psychological terror only Slenderman can bring. He lurks in the periphery of your vision, always there in the shadows. Eventually witnesses see him in the shadowy corners of their very own bedrooms and are often driven to violence or madness, whichever comes first. He is rumored to cause insomnia, paranoia, and bouts of illness termed “slender sickness”.

This is the video I found on Youtube that very night which sent chills up my spine. The fact that one of the kids at my half-brother’s school reported seeing him did not make me feel any better. I don’t know what it is about the appearances here, but it gave me the shivers.

Now that you are probably going to be up all night staring into the dark corners of your room, I can tell you the surprising news. Slenderman is not real. There is no German legend of “Der Großmann”. You’ll find references online, but only after 2009 which is the date “Slender” was created by a genius imagination. On a forum called “Something Awful” they held a Photoshop contest. The creation is described here on

"The contest required participants to turn ordinary photographs into creepy-looking images through digital manipulation and then pass them on as authentic photographs on a number of paranormal forums. Something Awful users soon began sharing their faux-paranormal creations with layered images of ghosts and other anomalies, usually accompanied by a fabricated witness account to make them more convincing. On June 10th, SA user Victor Surge (real name Eric Knudsen) posted two black and white photographs of unnamed children with a short description of “Slender Man” as a mysterious creature who stalked children."

It seems it was at least partially inspired by a combination of many things including an old cheesy video game, but I have to give him credit for putting it together in such a way. This creation was so masterfully put together with the storyline to trigger people’s psychological fears that it went viral. Soon more and more sites were portraying the legend as if it were real and people began reporting more and more sightings. In my opinion it hit a popularity peak around 2012 – 2014. And this is where things got really interesting.

Just five years after the creation of this creepy urban legend, things got terrifyingly real. In the spring of 2014 there were not one but two documented attempted murders by stabbing done by pre-teens under the guise of “pleasing Slenderman”. It’s frightening enough to even think of a 12 or 13 year old girl wielding a knife and attempting to kill. But what is also striking is that these two cases occurred less than a month apart in both Wisconsin and Ohio. The Waukesha Wisconsin event is particularly chilling for many reasons.

Twelve year old stab best friend for Slenderman

Twelve year old stabs best friend for Slenderman

In May 2014 two young 12 year old girls took a friend out into the woods and stabbed her viciously multiple times leaving her for dead. Luckily she had the strength to crawl to the road for help and was rescued by a bicyclist, but while their intended victim lived, it does not take away from the horror of this tale. The idea came to friends Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier around February. They believed that Slenderman was very real indeed, living in the Wisconsin woods, and decided that they wanted to become his “proxies” and enter his world. The key, and the only way to do so,was to kill. This plan was so premeditated that the two girls whispered about it on the bus, giving the plan the nickname “camping trip” and even decided on a date, Geyser’s 12th birthday, May 30th.

They lured their best friend out to go skating and then to a sleepover. The girls initially planned to kill her at night in her bed but decided to give her “one more day”. So instead they ended up taking her into the woods where one girl held her down and the other, in her own chilling words, “stabby stab stab”. They then told their friend to lay still while the pair went for help, but instead they ran, leaving their friend for dead. What truly strikes me about this case is the almost sociopathically cold things the girls, especially Geyser, are reported to have said. It seems almost inhuman.

For instance, when police found the girls on a highway hours later, and discovered a five inch bloodied blade in their backpack, Geyser had this to say to explain herself: “I believe it’s ending a life, and I regret it,” Weier then responded. “The bad part of me wanted her to die; the good part of me wanted her to live.” (quoted from Newsweek) Later Geyser commented that the killing “seemed necessary” and that “It was weird that I didn’t feel remorse.” Courts are attempting to charge the girls as adults, though there is some question about competency to stand trial.

The second event took place less than a week later in Ohio. A 13 year old teen attacked her mother in their kitchen. According to an article in the New York Post:

"I came home one night from work, and she was in the kitchen waiting for me, and she was wearing a mask, a white mask. She was someone else during the attack."

She was treated with multiple minor stab wounds at the hospital and the 13 year old has been charged as a juvenile. The Cincinatti mom started to wonder about the connection when she heard about the Wisconsin attack. She admitted her daughter had mental issues but nothing to suggest this violent act. To her horror, she found the connection she was looking for:

“We found things that she had written and she made reference to Slender Man,” the mother said. “She also made references to killing. She even created a world for Slender Man in the game Minecraft.”

To believe in a myth so strongly you would kill your best friend or mother for it, and to be able to speak of murder so nonchalantly makes me wonder just what lies in the minds of these girls. Is it mental illness, or did normal girls somehow get sucked so deep into the dark corners of fantasy and the internet that they lost a part of their humanity? And what about Slenderman? Is it just a reflection of a darker side of the human imagination, or could we all be bringing our own mythos into actual real life? Many New Age teachings talk about thoughts being linked to our reality. Even popular movies like “The Secret” speak about  manifesting your thoughts. But can we actually make something real just by thinking about it? Would you believe that there is actually a case study in the field of paranormal research that indicates this answer may be a resounding YES.

In the 70’s, a group of Canadian parapsychologists put together an experiment that would be later termed, the “Phillip Experiment”. The goal was to see if they could actually “create” a ghost through expectation, imagination, and visualization. The actual experiment took place in Toronto, Canada, in 1972, under the direction of the world-renown expert on poltergeists, Dr A. R. G. Owen. There were a lot of very interesting experiments and forays into para-science in those days, but this is one of the most striking ones.

He gathered people that had no claim to any supernatural abilities of their own. No mediums, no one with ESP, and no channelers of any sort were allowed. Then they went through an intense and painstaking process to create an identity for their ghost. They gave him a name, a time of origin, complete life story in intricate detail, and even threw in a love affair and a death by his own hand. Then they journeyed to England and visited the place where “Phillip” was to have died. All along this process they meditated and concentrated intensely for long hours on the existence of “Phillip”. Once he was clearly established, at least in their own minds, they would try to “contact” him.

Simulating an 1800’s style spiritualist séance, they made attempt after attempt to contact him. Initially nothing happened, but after about a year of persistence, “Phillip” finally cam through. Starting with raps, the phenomenon moved quickly to answering questions, and eventually to “Phillip” being able to move and shake a table, manifesting change in the real physical world. This experiment was repeated by Dr. Owen several times with different groups and were able to create several interesting personalities including a French Canadian spy named Lillith and even a man from the future. All manifested quickly in similar ways. This torch was then picked up by an Australian group who did their own experiment with similar results.

Now there are several ways in which we can interpret this. Either through their meditations they contacted an evil deceptive spirit, or they could have been a victim of internal fraud from a trickster in their group. But because of the number of separate versions of this experiment, I lean toward the third option, that intense mental concentration, especially in a group, can actually bring about thought-forms that can interact with reality. This opens up a whole can of worms which I may come back to at a later point because it is just so fascinating.

But let’s get back to Slenderman and see how many parallels there are. In 2009 his “backstory” was created, and continues to be fleshed out into all sorts of detail. Then as he grows in popularity children become fascinated with seeing and contacting him and people begin reporting supposed “sightings” more and more. And from what we’ve just seen recently, three young girls have actually tried to kill to reach out to him. This sounds an awful lot like the progression of events in the “Phillip” experiment though of course with a much more deadly and sinister tone. In this case, there is also a much larger group of creepy meme-loving fans out there to lend their collective concentration power. If such as the Phillip Experiment shows us a hint of what our minds might be capable of, then following the logic, perhaps Slenderman is not quite as “fake” as we think. Who knows for sure. But be careful, because your thoughts may in fact be betraying you and bringing your worst fears to life.