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It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt: the modern mythological monster ‘Slender Man‘, a meme born on the Something Awful forum just short of five years ago (June 10, 2009), is today being blamed as being the inspiration for an attempted murder. Prosecutors say two 12-year-old(!) girls from southeastern Wisconsin took another girl into the woods, stabbed her 19 times, and left her for dead. The victim managed to crawl to a sidewalk, where a cyclist found her:

One of the girls told a detective they were trying to become “proxies” of Slender Man, a mythological demon-like character they learned about on creepypasta.wikia.com, a website about horror stories and legends. They planned to run away to the demon’s forest mansion after the slaying, the complaint said.

“I recognize their young ages but it’s still unbelievable,” Court Commissioner Thomas Pieper said during one of the girls’ initial court appearances Monday.

…Both girls were charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide Monday in Waukesha County Circuit Court; they each face up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

Readers of our Fortean anthology series Darklore will be well-acquainted with the Slenderman, as in Volumes 6 and 7 writer Cat Vincent explored the mythology at length. His introduction to the topic, written some three years ago, seems eerily prescient now:

We don’t often get to see the birth of a monster.Just over two years ago, a new monster was born. Because it was born on the internet, we can see the exact moment of its conception. We can follow its growth from a pair of photographs into a full-fledged mythology. We can see the point where it crossed over from a merely imaginal creature into something that haunts the minds of many. And we can see exactly when it became a creature of true occult significance. Its path is clear and distinct. Its legacy is undeniable.

The monster’s name is Slenderman. And its influence continues
to grow.

Cat finished that essay by saying “On the internet, nobody knows if you’re a dog. Or a tulpa. And if enough people describe something as a thought-form…could this collective imagining actually make that form manifest?” If this horrible event is indeed some sort of ‘manifestation’ of the thought-form, let’s hope that it’s the end of it as well.

For those interested in learning more about the topic, both of Cat’s articles are available on-line: “The Slenderman” in PDF format on the Darklore website, and “Killing Slenderman” here on The Daily Grail.