It’s incredible to see what ideas or stories from the internet eventually cross over into the mainstream pop culture. The tale of the Slender Man is probably one of the most incredible, yet terrifying examples of this phenomenon. What started as a creepy photo for a photography contest quickly became the basis of a number of video games, web series, and a major studio film in 2018. Still, the mystery of this digital folk tale continues to engage the curiosity of those who come across it through a web series (Marble Hornets), alternate reality games (Slenderblogs), or creepypasta stories that have surfaced. Of course, his true terrors are yet to be discovered.
With this in mind, Slender Man has invaded the international consciousness and is constantly evolving. Fans of the popular villain have added their own take on Slender Man throughout the years, which has made the list of facts about him longer and scarier. Then again, the few things we do know about this frightening figure are enough to keep us wondering if that shadow in the corner of the room is just a trick of the light or something far more sinister. Here are some facts you would want to know just in case.
15 SMELLS LIKE BUTTERY POPCORN TO KIDS
One of Slender Man’s biggest known behaviors is his predation on children. There are thousands of pictures featuring the bald, skinny, faceless man wandering around elementary schools and playgrounds just sorting out who his next victim will be. The images are nightmare-inducing, and while children aren’t his only victims, he does have a knack for luring them away.
This is evident in one of his more peculiar skills. His scent can change depending on the age of his victim. When he is preying on adults, they usually smell a rotting corpse as opposed to the scent of delicious buttery popcorn, which is the lure he gives off to children. That simple change allows the Slender Man to induce a sense of comfort and safety to his child victims. Next time you hear a kid mention the faintest whiff of this popular movie theater snack, just know he might be around.
The Slender Man’s proportions shouldn’t allow him the movement he’s witnessed to achieve. His arms, legs, and torso, are too long and thin for him to move faster than the average human being. Yet, he can sneak up on any person who tries to break away from his field of vision. This ability to move faster than he seems capable of has largely to do with something called Slender Walking. It is a form of teleportation that allows him to be anywhere.
This instantaneous movement he has allows him to prey on his victims easier. It also helps him terrorize his victims further because they never know how or when he will decide to pop up and take them. An explanation for his teleportation is that he may be a fourth dimensional being who comes here to prey on us all.
13 PIED PIPER CONNECTION
Slender Man has been tied to a number of folk tales and myths, but one of the most skin-crawling ones comes from a little town in Germany. It is the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, which dates all the way back to the Middle Ages. The town of Hamlin hired the Piper to get rid of the rat infestation that was plaguing its citizens by using his magical instrument for a fee. When the town refused to pay the Piper for his services, he decided to use his instrument to lure the children of the town away and disappear.
This terrifying tale shares similarities with some of the fictional accounts that surround the Slender Man. While he doesn’t wear the multicolored costume of the Pied Piper, he does kidnap children through mind-control. This may prove that Slender Man has a bigger foundation in reality than we think.
12 SLENDER SICKNESS
There are symptoms connected to a possible Slender Man stalking that are a part of what's more commonly known as Slender Sickness. It can manifest itself as coughing fits/coughing blood, nausea, paranoia, vomiting, and extreme exhaustion. There have also been symptoms like amnesia, bloody noses, and a fever tied to the Slender Man’s victims, but those occur fewer than the others.
A possible explanation for the Slender Sickness is that the Slender Man is a radioactive entity. This is linked to the similar symptoms one may experience if exposed to radiation poisoning. This could be tied to something called Sigma Radiation which was found on different cast members of the online series EverymanHYBRID, a series responsible for adding to the mythology. It has also been found on a piece of clothing thought to be tied to the Slender Man or his suit on the same show.
11 PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE
While not much is known about the Slender Man, it can be noted that he loves to psychologically torture his victims. They often experience a surge of paranoia that is not wholly a symptom of the Slender Sickness, but also because of his ability to teleport from one place to another. His victims have to constantly worry about what lurks in the shadows because at any moment he will take them.
The fact that he can kidnap these people at any moment is distressing enough, but since he doesn’t take them right away it seems like he may enjoy playing a game of cat and mouse. He wants them to experience the Slender Sickness as it increases their paranoia while simultaneously giving them reasons to be scared. This is indicative of sadistic behavior and may be a driving force behind his actions.
Proxies are those who serve at the whim of whatever the Slender Man wants them to do. He has influence and ultimate control over these people. They can either be children or adults depending on who or what he wants. They serve as agents of his nefarious activity as he does not do much directly to anyone or anything. Each “Proxy” has a marking on them which may be in reference to their purpose given to them by the Slender Man.
Instead, the Slender Man uses these “Proxies” to enact whatever harm he wishes to afflict. It must be noted, these mind-controlled people don’t acquire any supernatural or extraordinary abilities due to their relationship with the monster. The only difference is their behavior changes erratically. There is a hierarchy to these “Proxies” where each type of person receives different instructions. They are called Hallowed, Berserkers, Sleepers, Agents, and Revenants.
While most believe the Slender Man works alone other than the "Proxies" he uses to orchestrate his elaborate terror, he has been known to work with a partner in some capacity. This partner’s name is “The Rake.” Some have speculated online that there is more than one Slender Man, but according to a creepypasta member referencing Marble Hornets, a web-series about the Slender Man, this is not the case. Rather, the Slender Man works with other creatures that may have come from the same fourth dimension that he is from.
This creature known as “The Rake” is much more animalistic than the skinny, faceless man in the suit. It is a human-like creature that inhabits the rural areas of Upstate New York and has even been witnessed once in Idaho. Those who have seen the creature have had either deep traumatic fear or even a loving playfulness with it.
8 REALITY BLURS
While the Slender Man is one of the first occurrences of viral digital folklore, there have been instances where people accounted for actually seeing the figure. This reason alone can be attributed to much of the success of the Slender Man’s following. Though people understand that the Slender Man is not a real entity, most still suspend their own disbelief to create more lore about the creature.
This need to believe in the Slender Man to further immerse themselves in a story adds an authenticity to the folklore. This has been exhibited in people calling paranormal and conspiracy shows like Coast to Coast AM asking about the Slender Man as well as news publications writing stories on the phenomenon. This has led to several tragic incidents which we will talk about later in the article.
7 APPEARANCE CHANGE
While the Slender Man has no face, he has been known to change the appearance of his face and even his clothes to the people he’s preying on. He can take the form of a loved one or some unsuspicious character like an old woman at a supermarket without one ever knowing he’s there. This ability may be attributed to his powers of mind control where he can make his victims become proxies of his sinister plans
If he can control the actions of the people he takes control of then he must be able to control their thoughts and warp the images they see. It is also noted that he can impersonate the voices of people his victim knows to ensure that they come with him when he finally decides to stop torturing them and lead them into the woods to disappear forever.
6 NO ONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENS TO HIS VICTIMS
After Slender Man has used his victims to inflict harm on others and scaring them half to death, they usually end up wandering into the woods. They go missing. It makes those who have read up on his folklore speculate about what the hell happens to his victims when they disappear. The truth is there is no real explanation as to where his victims go or what Slender Man does with them.
Since no one knows what the Slender Man does to his victims, some have speculated that he may have no real motive to his actions. Most believe that he commits these atrocities on unsuspecting neighborhoods simply because it’s entertaining to watch people suffer to him. His senselessness makes him all the more terrifying.
5 THE ORGANIZATION
There is a fictitious US Government organization that goes by a bunch of names like The Organization, Unknown Organization, The Bureau, or the Optic Nerve that follows and studies the Slender Man phenomenon. They were more popular in early Slender Man stories, but have had less time in the limelight of any recent folklore. In the popular Slendervlog, DarkHarvest00, a video shows a possible agent of this organization coming to interview the bloggers about the death of one of their friends tied to Slender Man.
The organization prides itself on secrecy, but there have been some details about them that have been exposed. They have a basic understanding of the creature and refer to him as The Tall Man or S. Man. They have also interviewed and detained victims on occasion. One of the biggest revelations from this organization is that they have no clue how to stop the monster.
4 HISTORICAL REFERENCES
When one thinks about Slender Man, it’s usually as the fictitious piece of digital folklore that he is, but there are some strange images that have popped up around on historical grounds that may feature his image. A Brazilian cave painting has been said to depict a historical moment when the Slender Man was terrorizing people from long ago. It depicts a man with elongated limbs leading a child away by the hand.
There have also been Egyptian hieroglyphs that portray a creature with multiple arms known as The Thief of the Gods. Other ancient civilizations depict creatures similar to the Slender Man, which only further creates an air of reality around this terrifying folk monster. This ends up creating a really interesting theory about the power of belief and this being's existence outside of the recent lore.
3 THE TULPA EFFECT
The theory behind the existence and creation of the Slender Man has largely to do with a mystical occurrence referred to as The Tulpa Effect. A tulpa is defined as a thought-form, or the collective belief of something by a large population of people that effectively bring that thing to life. Tulpas are concepts that come from Tibetan mythology where an individual would create it as an extra body to travel and understand different spiritual realms.
The Tulpa Effect is the unintentional creation of a being or thing by the group of people who carry the belief. Some people have stated that Slender Man has become a real thing due to various people shaping his story through Alternate Reality Games such as EverymanHYBRID and other Slenderblogs. His realism is a product of these people's widespread belief.
There is a cult that’s devoted entirely to Slender Man that’s called Novus Ordo Europa or The Order. They worship the Slender Man and call him a deity named Gorr’Rylaehotep. Their ritualistic behavior has people outside of The Order believing them to be a cult. There are three chapters throughout the United States in New Jersey, New England, and in the South. Each chapter has different functions within their organization such as people titled Overseers serving as supervisors.
Their beliefs and practices come from a book known as the Collective Knowledge within their organization. Each member has a copy of this book which they make sure never leaves their possession for fear that an outsider might get their hands on it. They also have laws they follow and their book has a timetable for an upcoming event they’ve dubbed the Fourth Dawn when children will journey to the fourth world.
1 REAL-LIFE CRIMES
The most infamous incident around this urban myth, the Waukesha Stabbing, was the tragic stabbing of a twelve-year-old girl by two other girls of her age. They stabbed the poor child 19 times. When questioned by the authorities about their reasoning behind this serious crime, the girls simply said that it was part of their plan to become proxies of Slender Man. The girls also stated that they were afraid that if they didn’t commit the murder that Slender Man would kill their families.
It’s a horrible tragedy that has led to controversy with a major studio who made a horror film surrounding the Slender Man lore. A petition has gone around trying to get the film’s release pulled completely. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only crime that has occurred. A thirteen-year-old tried stabbing her mother and another girl, 14, tried lighting her house on fire with her family in it, all in the name of the Slender Man.