Dark Dreams
Slender Man: Birth of an Urban Legend

Devan Sagliani | 14 Jul 2014 21:00
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After reading up about their new dark obsession on Creepypasta Wiki and sorting through untold hours of regurgitated fan fiction the accused hatched their plan to make him a sacrificial offering. They called their plot "Stabby, stab, stab" saying they honestly believed Slendy would reveal himself to them if they killed in his name. They explained that Slender had threatened them and their families and could even read their thoughts. They believed he would take them to his special realm and make them his privileged acolytes according to the Milwaukee police report.

Once the story broke the media predictably latched on like a rabid dog, fomenting a frenzy in the name of saving and protecting the children. Stories quickly began popping up on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX warning parents of the dangers of The Slender Man, telling them to talk to their kids before it was too late. Ironically the same paranoia the well-dressed ghoul was rumored to instill in victims gripped the hearts of parents nationwide as they scrambled to learn more about this new threat to their offspring, taking up the virulent opposition with the same intensity former generations used to rally against such previous child corrupting influences as electronic dance music, Salvia, and rainbow parties. Naturally the internet and its unrestricted access to all things took the brunt of the blow, with the Creepypasta Wiki coming under the heaviest fire for corrupting the youth. While the idea that the actions of a deranged pair of murderous young adults forcing a fan fiction bulletin board to defend itself may seem absurd to rational adults, the pressure from mainstream media outlets grew so intense that eventually the site was compelled to make this statement:

"This is an isolated incident, and does (not) represent ... the Creepypasta community as a whole," the statement reads. "This wiki does not endorse or advocate for killing, worship, and otherwise replication of rituals of fictional works. There is a line of between fiction and reality, and it is up to you to realize where the line is. We are a literature site, not a satanic cult."

In fact The Slender Man is just one of dozens of characters on the site, a fact Knudsen points out as he expressed his own disbelief that the meme was still alive and kicking. When the news of the stabbings reached him, Eric, a father himself, was understandably shaken. He released this statement:

slender_man_in_rising

"I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Wisconsin and my heart goes out to the families of those affected by this terrible act."

He's since been unavailable for comment or interviews. He filed a copyright back when the character began to spread on social media, finding it's way into video games, ARG's, and now even a popular app. But Knudsen is the first to admit that while he spawned this alluring devil he's not in charge of his destiny anymore. "I feel like less of a creator and more of an administrator, in a lot of respects, or the manager," he told NPR in the interview last January. "I feel like I'm Slenderman's manager, and he's out there doing his thing, and I need to just kind of watch him and take care of him."

When reports first surfaced that a deranged youth referenced Stanley Kubrik's A Clockwork Orange after a violent attack on a schoolmate the director had the film pulled in the U.K. Likewise author Stephen King let his school shooting themed story Rage go out of print in the wake of Columbine. But Knudsen can't simply censor himself to collude with the current knee-jerk reaction hysteria surrounding his fictional demon. No matter how much he wants to he can't just unplug the Slenderman because he doesn't belong to him. The ghost is in the machine and will continue to thrive until we stop feeding it.

The victim, whose name can't be released due to her being a minor, has received outpourings of support and donations from a site set up online to ease the financial burden brought on by the horrifying assault. The girls behind that attack will most likely be tried as adults for their crimes, although one of the alleged stabbers has since been ruled mentally incompetent. Shortly after the news of the stabbings broke, just around the time of Slenderman's creation, a Cincinnati woman came forward saying her teenage daughter had attacked her as well. The mentally ill girl was said to be obsessed with Slenderman as well. And so the legend continues to grow and evolve, doing its best to avoid becoming just another victim himself on the ever growing trash heap of dead internet memes.

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