Slender Man creeps into the hearts of Fairmont students

A sketch of Slenderman, along with some disturbing photos of him in the woods and the Operator symbol. (Photo Illustration: Lindsay Breslin)

A sketch of Slenderman, along with some disturbing photos of him in the woods and the ‘Operator’ symbol. (Photo Illustration: Lindsay Breslin)

Imagine yourself in the middle of the woods at night with nothing but a flashlight. All of a sudden, you see a tall, creepy figure lurking behind a tree. He follows you, watching your every movement. His name is Slender Man.

Slender Man, created on the forums of Something Awful, a website where people make up monsters and creepy creatures, is a complete work of fiction. But that doesn’t mean that the descriptions and stories of Slender Man don’t strike fear into the hearts of some Fairmont students.

Who is Slender Man?

Many different descriptions are out there about the fictional horror character called Slender Man; students have their own beliefs as to what they think he looks and acts like. “He’s a tall, slender man, with zero face whatsoever, long arms that don’t seem to end with hands, and tentacles growing out of his back that grab you,” said Fairmont senior A.J. Breslin.

Slender Man is said to lurk in wooded areas at night and where children play. He tends to show up when a person is alone without a way of contacting help. Rumor has it that if someone speaks about him, he’ll come to them that night and kill them while they sleep.

It is not known whether Slender Man absorbs, kills or simply takes his victims to an unknown location or dimension. “He is very mysterious,” said Breslin.

Where did he come from?

Slender Man was first mentioned June 8, 2009, in a SomethingAwful thread titled “Create Paranormal Images” by Victor Surge. Surge created Slender Man for a contest in SomethingAwful that called for contestants to create photos that contained a “supernatural” being and to pass them off as legitimate pictures. A couple weeks later, a YouTube member called MarbleHornets created videos that contained “found footage” of Slender Man, and a legend was born.

Fairmont junior Logan Schade says he first learned of Slender Man when he ran across MarbleHornets’ channel on YouTube. “I screamed and chucked my Xbox controller across the room,” he said.

Slender Man is said to have been around for centuries. Slender Man believers have tied him to ancient myths from around the world, such as Fear Dubh, better known as the “Dark One” in Scotland and Der Grosse Mann (“Tall One”) in Germany.

“I think it is silly how people get so worked up over Slender Man that they feel the need to connect him to old myths,” said junior Mary Shampton.

The earliest mythological link dates back to 9000 BC. Some cave paintings in Serr da Capivara National Park, which is located in the northeastern Brazil, depict a strange figure leading a child by the hand. Extra appendages are shown on the figure.

Another source comes from ancient Egypt in 3100 BC. Hieroglyphic carvings referencing “Thief of the Gods” were discovered in the tomb of the Pharaoh Wazner. The carvings depict a strange figure with multiple upper limbs.

The Game –‘Slender: The Eight Pages’

The game Slender: The Eight Pages is a horror/survival video game based on the Slender Man concept. “I loved how it was accurate to the MarbleHornets series,” said Schade.

In the game, the main character is wandering in the woods at night looking for eight pages with drawings that appear to have been done by children related to Slender Man. The pages are scattered throughout the woods, and with each page gathered, more knowledge is released about Slender Man.

Every time a player finds a page, the music quickens and get more ominous, which signals that Slender Man is closer to catching the main character.

Since the game is set at night in the woods, the setting is very dark and it’s difficult to see. A flashlight is provided, but it has limited use. Once the flashlight’s battery has run out, the game becomes even more difficult. The character also has begins with only a certain amount of stamina, and when it run outs, the main character becomes very slow. Being unable to run ultimately makes it easier for Slender Man to catch the player.

“Never go into the house unless you are on the last page, or else he will very rudely abduct you,” advised Schade.

The Slender Man follows the main character throughout the entire game. If the character is too slow or if Slender Man gets too close to the character, the screen goes fuzzy, the character dies, and the game ends.

Several Fairmont students find the story of Slender Man thrilling. He is the person they imagine when things go “bump in the night.” Even though some find him terrifying, others feel that he brings excitement to their lives.

“I enjoy Slender Man,” said Schade. “He’s fun in that scary kind of way.”