An online creation that plays on people's biggest fears, Slender Man has even convinced some to attempt murder...
An urban legend and cult figure that became so real to some that two 12-year-old girls were willing to kill for him, Slender Man cuts a terrifying figure.
Unnaturally tall and thin with elongated, tentacle-like arms and legs, dressed in a black suit and with a gauzy, white, featureless face, he is usually found around children, lurking in the background and carrying out abductions. He’s often found stalking wooded areas and forests – similar to many traditional fear-inducing figures of folklore, such as the Headless Horseman or the Big Bad Wolf.
Slender Man is able to stretch out his arms (or in some versions, tentacles) to his victims, hypnotising them and leaving them helpless to do anything but walk into his clutches. Generally, no-one knows where his prey end up – be it on Earth or in another dimension – as they are never seen again. He also enjoys psychological torture, often showing himself to people who’ve become particuarly paranoid about him – and will therefore be even more petrified than others to encounter him.
Slender Man was created on 8 June 2009 on an Internet forum (or was he?) on which contributors challenged each other to alter everyday photographs to appear paranormal, and upload them to a thread called Create Paranormal Images on the site Something Awful.
One photographic entry by a user who called themselves Victor Surge was exceptionally creepy – the black-and-white image showed a group of children walking in the woods, but among them lurked a tall, spectral, dark figure. Surge – whose real name is Eric Knudsen – even gave the creepy photo a fictional caption in the form of a ‘first-hand’ quote.
He later said that he wanted to create a modern myth that would cause unease and terror – something that the vague, shifting figure certainly manages to do.
Slender Man quickly became an Internet meme, with people creating their own disturbing images and writing fan fiction about Slender Man, creating art and dressing up as him – even making toys and jewellery styled on his appearance. People added to the mythos by sharing stories and so-called real-life experiences of Slender Man. People could even buy a Lego Slender Man if they wanted.
Disturbingly, many actually claim to have seen him lurking in the woods and peeking out behind trees in playgrounds. But much worse, some have used Slender Man to justify their violent crimes.
In 2014, two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin, USA – Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier – spent months planning the murder of their friend in order to prove their dedication to the sinister mythical man.
The plan was to sacrifice the young girl to Slender Man – who they believed was real. The girls lured their friend into the woods, and then attacked her – stabbing her 19 times. Their friend was close to death, but managed to crawl to safety out of the woods and attract the attention of a passing cyclist.
And, in Ohio, a daughter stabbed her mother after becoming obsessed with Slender Man.
‘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,’ reported the mother.
Have you heard any disturbing urban legends like Slender Man? Let us know…