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The “Slenderman” Stabbing   Leave a comment

So I have had a post I’ve been working on for a little bit now about Slenderman, creepy pastas, The Fear Mythos, etc and how they utilize the internet in a unique way to create a new form of storytelling. I was going to link some of the better examples of this, along with my personal favorites, and spread the word on a genre that most of the internet is bored and sick of.

This morning though, I read this.

For those of you who can’t click the link, and/or have been living under the digital equivalent of a rock for the last couple of days (like I have,) here is a quick summary: two twelve year old girls in Wisconsin premeditated and attempted to murder a friend of theirs by stabbing her 19 times and leaving her for dead in the woods. (The victim survived and is amazingly in stable condition.)

The reason they gave the authorities for doing it? Because, after reading about him on the internet, they thought that Slenderman was real. The murder was to appease him, so that he would appear and make them his “slender-proxies” and take them away to live with him in his “slender-mansion.”

My thoughts on the situation:

These two girls are obviously insane. I could understand a little better if they had stumbled upon an ARG like Marble Hornets, or a slender-blog like Just Another Fool and mistook them for reality. Part of what makes those stories interesting is how they represent themselves as taking place in reality, and other people have done it before. But they went to the creepy pasta wiki. Not only does that site itself have disclaimers all over it stating that it is fiction, but it has members making comments about the stories, lists of different authors and stories, and it in no way pretends to be anything other than a fiction site. So, these girls would have to ignore all the signs and signals that Slenderman is fake, and then build their mistaken belief. They also mentioned that they could here him telepathically. No sane, rational mind can believe that.

Because they are insane, I do believe throwing the book at them and leaving them to rot may not be the best way to handle things. Even if they are tried as adults, I believe they could still be helped. They could be schizophrenic, sociopaths, etc and only a trained professional can really tell what they need. So I’m not sure what the sentence should be. I will have to what and see the judge’s opinion.

One thing I am sure of though, is that the website is in absolutely no way responsible, and should not shut down/censored/harmed in any way. Any suggestions to that effect are asinine and completely misguided. Anybody who feels that way is wrong. I hate it when people try to blame t for peoples irrational behavior. Sure, these two girls were inspired to commit murder because of this art. But millions of other people did not. They saw all of this for what it is: Art.

I also noticed how horrifically ironic this situation is. It plays out exactly like many Slenderman stories do. The protagonist learns of his existence, starts to feel watched/harassed by him until finally they break and either commit suicide or get killed by him, or they decide to become one of his proxies, usually by doing something awful, like murder. Then, people hear about what happened, and start to research Slenderman themselves, starting everything over again.

This also reminds me of another slender-blog I have read. This one was a run of the mill blog, but it had a twist ending. The last parts of the blog involved the character hunting down some slender-proxies to kill them and get an anti-slenderman artifact. He succeeds, but in the end the artifact fails and it ends with him going on the run, with the assumption he dies. But then about a month later someone starts posting, claiming to be his brother. He says that the author had been suffering from mental illness, and that he was taken in by the authorities due to his assumed connection in a string of murders. He said that all of the stuff that he was posting on the blog wasn’t true, and were the delusions of a mad man. The truly awful part is the implication that the internet community pushed him towards it, by playing along with his insanity. Thinking he was just another game.

Now, the real author came out and assured everyone it was a story. But it makes me think, could something similar have happened in this situation? Could a member of the forum, thinking they were playing a game, have misguided them and sent them down this path by telling them,”Yes, he is real,” and causing this tragedy? Could this just be a game that went a little too far?

There is probably no way to find out. But the thought will probably keep me up at night.

-Shaman

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Posted 06/06/2014 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

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