January 23, 2017

Slenderman Documentary

 

Please don't think I have deplorable taste, but I think a post on the Slenderman documentary premiering tonight on HBO has a place here on EC. Here goes:

As many of you know, in 2014, two young girls attempted to stab a third girl to death in order to "please" Slenderman, a character that came to "life" on the internet. The two would-be killers were 12, as was their victim. 

Here is a link that tells the whole story, with lots of other links to help you understand it:

And here's another: http://tinyurl.com/hvtau2x

Why am I bothering to write about this tragic, weird story on a fairy tale site? Because the story of the Slenderman crime involves internet folklore, and how it happens. The story shows us the power of imagination and how myth develops online, just like it did at hearth sides when fairy tales were born. And, as with old-fashioned fairy tales, different sources and people added layers and twists to the narrative.

But unlike stories that grew and shed layers over decades, as is the case with fairy tales, the Slenderman narrative grew quickly. And it took a real-life victim, who, thankfully, survived, but what terror and betrayal she has faced. Like Snow White. Or Donkeyskin. Or the miller's daughter in Rumpelstiltskin. 

I don't have HBO, but for those who do, I hope you'll watch and tell us about it.

About the picture: Countless Slenderman images are now on the internet. Since he is not real, there are many interpretations available. The picture with this post is the one I'm most familiar with, but I'm not sure who photoshopped it. Eric Knudsen is said to had created the Slenderman concept on a site called Something Awful, but it really took off on creepypasta.

Look closely. You'll see him.

What do you know about Slenderman? What do you think about the crime it helped generate?

10 comments

  1. I never heard about this, but it sounds interesting. I do have HBO but I had to work Monday night. Hopefully, it will be on demand on my cable service and I can watch this. I'll let you know.

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  2. Just found out it is available to stream. Yay.

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  3. I'm completely intrigued by urban legends as the modern fairy tale. I had a great time writing an urban legend/Robber Bridegroom story a while back. I don't have HBO either, but hope that this documentary will eventually come around to Netflix or Hulu. Thanks for sharing the information, Kate!

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  4. Documentaries do often make it to Netflix and Hulu. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. This would have made a fantastic XFiles!

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  5. I just watched this documentary last night. I thought that Slender Man was a bit like Krampus but they compared him more like to The Pied Piper, a sort of guardian angel for lonely, bullied children. In other words, he could be perceived as evil or good. Whatever the case, it is a sad story for all involved, the girls who perpetrated the crime and the girl stabbed and all the parents involved who are trying to make sense of the mess. Turns out the father of the girl who did the stabbing was Schizophrenic and the girl has been diagnosed now as well. Tragic, creepy story to be sure.

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    1. Are you familiar with the mystery writer Anne Perry? Have you seen the movie Heavenly Creatures? It's a true story. And the two girls actually planned and went through with killing one of their mothers. They were not tried as adults. They were treated in mental hospitals and released. One of them grew up to be Anne Perry. But that was New Zealand in the 50s. And this is the US in the 21st century, so the Slenderman girls are being tried as adults.

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    2. No, I did not know this story but yes, I am familiar with her. That's very intriguing. Although I don't understand the ruling of the court to declare these young girls adults, I do believe that at this point they certainly should not be in society from the callous way they described their crime. However, I know they must be deeply disturbed and I hope they are able to get the mental health help and medication that they need to make them functioning adults. This story is very sad all the way around.

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  6. I watched the Slenderman documentary on demand. First, as a Wisconsinite (and possibly irrelevant to this discussion), I wonder what in our environment makes us so susceptible to high-profile murders: Steve Avery, Slenderman, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ed Gein. I came away with no insight there (unsurprisingly).

    Second, I was intrigued by Richard Dawkins' (I think it was him) take about how all it takes is one person talking to another person to spread urban myths throughout the population. One susceptible girl talks to another, and they are fully into an alternative reality. This answers questions I've had about how people can believe some of the political mud thrown (like the pizza parlor story) and how witch accusers flared up in Salem. All of the sudden, civilization seems so much more fragile than I thought.

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    1. I can honestly say, that in my nearly 55 years on Earth, I never thought we'd be where we are in the US today. And you are spot on about the fragility of civilization.

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