Slenderman: Born Online & Coming Soon To A Television Near You

The Internet can be a magical place. It’s a place where friendships are formed, conspiracy theories thrive, a simple Google search can lead someone to believe they are an expert on everything and provides a never-ending vortex as a place to release their “knowledge.”

But the Internet can be a scary place as well. On January 23, 2016 a documentary will premiere on HBO focusing on a 2014 case where two young girls attempted to stab their friend to death for a meme. You heard me right…. a meme. They did it for Slender Man.

So who is Slender Man? He was born in June 2009 as a submission to comedy web forum Something Awful when a competition for a modern myth was posted. User Eric Knudsen photoshopped a tall, faceless figure in the background of a photo with an attached text saying 14 children and the photographer had gone missing.

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It blew up. Before you knew it people were selling jewellery, t-shirts and art with Slender Man plastered all over it. Video games, drawings, fan stories and even “The Slender Man Challenge” bombarded the Internet. Slender Man went viral and people were either genuinely terrified or overly invested in this myth. This is what fuelled the 2014 case and soon to be documentary, Beware the Slenderman.

For these two 12-year-old girls the line between fact and fiction was blurred. And that’s why the Internet is so terrifying. Yes it brings people together and yes it can be an outlet for thoughts, but it is also a dangerous place where imaginations can run so wild that reality and make believe become intertwined.

 Just watch the trailer and keep in mind that all this was caused by a meme. A make believe figure that went viral after been submitted online as an entry to a contest seven years ago.

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4 thoughts on “Slenderman: Born Online & Coming Soon To A Television Near You

  1. When I read about this, it kinda freaked me out. It’s mostly because this is terrifying. These children killed their friend because of a story. That’s absolutely insane. In some ways these kinds of memes are similar to urban legends, myths, superstitions and such. Though, with all of these similar examples, there are consequences for extreme actions, such as attempted murder.
    It partly freaks me out because I enjoy horror. I love scary stories, horror movies, and being scared. I can relate to the fascination of Slenderman but nothing more. Liking scary things is not the same. This example is taking the horror genre to a whole new murderous and criminal level.

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  2. Haha, this is the first time I’ve ever read about Selnderman’s origin. I was aware of him for a while, but my first real exposure to him was when the entire internet became obsessed with the Slender video game when it first came out.

    In any case, it is really interesting and disturbing to know the lengths people will go to and the lives memes can take on. I bet the person who first submitted that image is completely flabbergasted to know that this meme has resulted in an actual murder. It really does call to mind Ryan Holiday’s example of feeding the beast.

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    1. It’s really interesting that they make no mention of the video game at all. I was under the impression that the meme exploded after the game started trending on Youtube, with all of the “scare” reaction videos that everyone was doing back then. I assumed that this is where the girls’ obsession came from, but I could be wrong. Usually video games are the go-to scapegoat in cases of childhood violence. Can’t wait to hear the full story when this documentary comes out.

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