“‘We did not want to go, we did not want to kill them, but their persistent silence and elongated arms horrified and comforted us at the same time …’ 1983, unknown photographer, supposed to be dead. Slenderman is born here.
The above images, if in doubt, are the product of Photoshop. The website ‘Something Awful’ had started a competition for its users to edit photos as if they were supernatural. Slenderman was going to become something more than a meme or a viral: this elongated entity is perhaps the first myth created on the internet, a unique example of digital folklore that has transcended the online world. Sometimes with terrible consequences.
Slenderman spread on the internet at an astonishing rate, as should have been the stories of witches and vampires in his day. Eric Knudsen, the real name after the forero Victor Surge, was quick to add more images and bits of history to his mythology. Soon other users of pages like 4chan were added, feeding more and more the legend with photographs and videos.
This supernatural being harasses, abducts and traumatizes human beings, with special attachment by children. It is tall, thin, with very long arms that at times seem like tentacles, and often appears in forests and abandoned places. His face is white, without any feature, and he wears a dark suit and tie. His vision can cause episodes of insanity, the “Slender disease”, characterized by attacks of paranoia, nightmares and nosebleed. This is just an outline of Slenderman’s mythology, which varies by source.
On May 31, 2014 Slenderman’s name came out on the internet and entered news and newspapers. In the city of Waukesha (Wisconsin, USA), two twelve-year-old girls lured a classmate of her own age into a forest and stabbed her nineteen times. The victim was able to crawl to the road, where a cyclist rescued her. After rubbing the death and spent six days hospitalized, recovered.
The dramatic case became ominous when the suspects stated that they wanted to kill their friend to impress Slenderman. Parents, teachers and journalists rushed to the internet to see who this man was and why there were children stabbing in his name. The phrase with which the myth was born and which began this article had become prophetic. The Waukesha district blocked the Creepypasta horror story page and revived the everlasting debate about the influence of the Internet on the little ones. The aggressors were diagnosed with schizophrenia and delusional disorder.
An urban legend is because of its difficulty to be proven, but the birth of Slenderman can be traced without difficulty until the post of June 2009 invented by Knudsen: “Many people, despite understanding that it was created in a forum, still contemplates The possibility that it may be real. ” The Internet has not changed our desire to believe.
It all began as a Photoshop competition, but it has ended up proving that online culture is also capable of generating a folklore not unlike that of centuries past. In the end, Slenderman exists in a certain way, but it’s just as terrifying as we want it to be.