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It Came From The Internet

Slender Man:

By Alex Pearl ’10

America is home to many strange cultures, two of the most unusual being myth culture and Internet culture.

The two contenders – myth culture with its blurry photographs of furry, scaly, gargantuan or anthropomorphic beasts and Internet culture with its keyboard cats, advice dogs, Numa Numa guys and bottomless supply of trivia – have recently given birth to a horribly misshapen but largely terrifying new creature: The Slender Man.

Slender Man is a tall, thin and long-limbed man dressed in a business suit with no face who wanders around heavily wooded areas and steals people.

As if that wasn’t creepy enough, he can elongate his limbs and cause multiple appendages to appear at will. A scarier notion is that this ability doesn’t seem to be necessary to catch his prey.

Created on the Something Awful forums by users who wanted to frighten paranormal enthusiasts elsewhere on the Internet, Slender Man has grown in popularity and spread from highly-edited photographs to several ARGs (Alternate Reality Game), in which users relate their horrifying “encounters” with the Slender Man.

The first and most popular ARG is entitled “Marble Hornets,” a series of videos about a filmmaker simply named J whose friend Alex Kralie ceased production on a movie project for unknown reasons. Taking the footage for himself, J begins to sort through it and finds that Alex has encountered something terrible. At least, before he disappeared without a trace.

Another ARG involving Slender Man is a blog titled “Just Another Fool,” telling the story of Logan, a young man who receives an unusual notebook, which he gave to his friend Matt before he shipped to Iraq.

After an ambush and a violent case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Matt began to draw disturbing images in the notebook as his only method of communication.

Logan received the book from Matt, but mysterious circumstances lead to his loss of sanity and eventually his disappearance.

Most of the Slender Man mythos centers on this: Slender Man’s attention causes his prey to develop an increased sense of paranoia, memory loss and an intense, racking cough. He appears most often around wooded areas, possibly due to his “tree-like” appearance, and he rarely leaves evidence of his victims or their fate.

It may all be made up, but Slender Man shows that the Internet is ready and willing to oust the Bigfoots and Nessies out there in a heartbeat. Of course, if it isn’t an elaborate hoax, then stay away from the trees.

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