Late last week, a grisly attempted murder by two 12-year-old girls brought The Slender Man into the media spotlight. What is The Slender Man (also just Slenderman) and why would he or it be connected with an attempted murder? Keep reading below the cut to find out!
First, the murder. Two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin lured a classmate of theirs into the woods. There, they stabbed this other girl a total of 19 times. She survived, however, as she managed to crawl to the road and was found by a passing cyclist. The girls were later picked up by the police. They are on trial for attempted murder, as adults and they claim that they did this to become ‘Proxies’ of Slenderman.
Now, if you’re like me, your next question is “Who or what is Slenderman?” I had heard of it before. Seems to be a typical sort of urban legend/ghost story. I had never heard it growing up, so I assumed it was a regional thing, like Mothman or the Jersey Devil – two other stories I just never came across growing up near Providence, RI.
However, it’s even slightly more bizarre than that! Slenderman isn’t even an old story that goes back into local folklore. It actually qualifies more as something called ‘Fakelore!’ Fakelore is a story that is manufactured to appear as genuine folklore, but is usually created for commercial purposes.
So, Slenderman actually originated on the website Something Awful perhaps only as far back as 2006. Not even 10 years ago! It’s just an internet meme. It’s interesting, and very creepy. In fact, Slenderman stories have amassed quite a following on CreepyPasta. That’s where these two young girls discovered the story. They appear to have come to believe that The Slender Man is a leader in the world of CreepyPasta, and they wanted to do something to appease him and prove that he exists.
The girls’ lawyers are trying to get them admitted to a psychiatric hospital, rather than prison, because they are clearly disturbed in some way. There has also been some blaming of the websites that carry these stories…
This is a familiar tale though… Any time a young person lashes out violently we blame the media. Movies. Video games. Apparently even the web.
What do you think? Would these two girls have still committed such a violent act without this particular prompt? Is a violent person going to commit acts of violence no matter what?
Let us know in the comments.