Slender Man is often described as a thin, faceless, 8-foot-tall, semi-human monster with tentacles that stalks people, particularly children, who it abducts, murders, or deeply traumatizes. Some of its evil actions are carried out through "proxies," which are human servants that Slender Man communicates with telepathically. The two 12-year-old girls who carried out the 2014 Slender Man stabbing in Wisconsin claimed that they were acting as proxies. You can learn more about the murder they tried to carry out below.
The reality is that the Slender Man character and legend is fictional. It is nothing more than a boogeyman for the Internet age. Slender Man's origins can be traced back to a creepypasta Internet meme from 2009. The term creepypasta is a portmanteau of the words "creepy" and "copypasta," with the latter being coined in 2006 on the imageboard website 4chan. A copypasta is a block of text that has been copied and pasted around the Internet. Therefore, a creepypasta is basically a scary version of a copypasta, or to be more precise, a short, readily available scary story that people copy and paste across the web.
As explained above, the Slender Man origins can be traced back to Eric Knudsen, who created the supernatural figure in 2009 as part of a Photoshop contest in the forums of the Something Awful website. A thread challenged users to "create paranormal images." On June 10, 2009, Knudsen submitted his first two Slender Man images, which are displayed below, along with the accompanying captions.
Original Caption: One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as "The Slender Man". Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence. – 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.
Original Caption: "We didn't want to go, we didn't want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time…" – 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.
No. Like the supernatural monster himself, the 2018 Slender Man movie is not based on a true story. The script by David Birke is a work of fiction inspired by the Slender Man legend. The Slender Man murders in the movie were not based on the 2014 Slender Man stabbing, nor does the movie reference the incident. However, the father of Anissa Weier, one of the attackers in the stabbing, has called the horror film "extremely distasteful," saying that the movie is "popularizing a tragedy." He started an online petition to call on Sony to pull the film from its release schedule. The petition currently has over 19,000 signatures. The trailer for the movie depicts schoolgirls who are haunted by the character, with one stabbing herself in the eye. The higher-ups at Sony are worried about further blowback on social media should the release proceed as planned. -Variety
Those who have been tricked into believing that Slender Man is real sometimes point to "evidence" that Slender Man sightings date back to 16th-century Germany. They often refer to the woodcut pictured below (left). It depicts the so-called "Tall Man" (Der Großmann), who has a bony spear for an arm and spider-like legs. According to the story spread on the Internet, he was a fairy who lived in the Black Forest and would chase bad children who crept into the woods at night.
A little research reveals that the image has been doctored. It's actually a print of a 16th-century Hans Holbein woodcut that shows a two-legged skeleton (Death) driving a lance into a knight. The original print can be found at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
While exploring Slender Man's origins, we learned that creator Eric Knudsen cited several sources as being the inspiration for his supernatural character. "I was mostly influenced by H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King (specifically his short stories), the surreal imaginings of William S. Burroughs, and a couple games of the survival horror genre; Silent Hill and Resident Evil," Knudsen told a blogger during an interview. "I feel the most direct influences were Zack Parsons’ 'That Insidious Beast', the Stephen King short story 'The Mist', the SA tale regarding 'The Rake', reports of so-called shadow people, Mothman, and the Mad Gasser of Mattoon." Knudsen also admitted to using the Tall Man from the 1979 movie Phantasm in his original images.
No. The Slender Man murders in the 2018 movie are fictional and are in no way tied to real events. However, there was an attempted murder that was linked to the Slender Man fiction. It occured in Waukesha, Wisconsin on May 31, 2014. Two 12-year-old girls, Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, stabbed their friend Payton Leutner 19 times after luring her into the woods and holding her down during a game of hide-and-seek. They told police they did it to appease Slender Man.
They used a five-inch-long kitchen knife, stabbing Payton in the legs, arms and torso. Two of the stab wounds hit major organs, with one penetrating her heart and missing an artery by less than a millimeter. “If the knife had gone the width of a human hair further, she wouldn't have lived,” said cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. John Keleman, who operated on Payton. The other strike punctured her diaphragm, slicing into her stomach and liver. To save her own life after Anissa and Morgan left her to die, Payton crawled from the woods to a narrow path where a cyclist found her. She was in surgery for six hours. Dr. Keleman had to crack open her chest to save her life.
In a statement released to the media, Eric Knudsen responded by saying, "I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Wisconsin and my heart goes out to the families of those affected by this terrible act." -NBC News
Eric Knudsen's real identity remains largely unknown. While researching the Slender Man legend, we learned that he was living in Nagasaki, Japan at the time he created Slender Man. Believed to be from the Chicago area, he got married in 2011. As of 2014, he was living in Florida with his wife and toddler. You can browse some of his artwork on his DeviantArt account and Instagram where he posts under the alias "Victor Surge." -Heavy.com
Eric Knudsen, who uses the alias "Victor Surge" online, responded to this question during a SlenderNation Podcast interview by saying, "I can show you all the source art I used to make him. You wanna see all the little bits and pieces that went into Slender Man? Here they are. They're in this folder called 'Slender Man'. Here they are. This is what you're afraid of, on my computer screen...and your brain."
Watch an interview with the creator of the legend. Then check out the YouTube video series that helped to popularize the Slender Man legend and build on the mythos. Also, check out the movie trailer for the 2018 film that features fictional Slender Man murders.