I’ve mentioned before that I was a lurker on the Something Awful forums at the time Slender Man came into being. I still find Slender to be an interesting character, the first real internet-created monster, who went from a concept to full blown character in just a few days, and is now the star of stories, games, and videos. It’s probably akin to being someone who picked up the very first issue of X-Men when it first hit the stands now seeing Marvel’s mutants starring in a massively popular film chain.
The point is, though, that Slender Man is fictional, just like all of what came to be called Creepypasta. There is nothing special about Creepypasta – it’s just horror stories, no different than what Stephen King writes, or Lovecraft, or Poe, or even Shakespeare. They are stories intended to make you scared, but they aren’t real. The best stories do always have a seed of truth in them, but that’s different than expecting Carrie to be a real telekinetic girl, or chanting made up words hoping Cthulhu will rise from the depths. Most people understand this. Most people don’t need to be told that these are works of fiction.
Sadly, most does not mean all. And now we turn to the sad tale of two twelve year old girls from Wisconsin who decided Slender Man was real, Creepypasta was real, and made a plan to murder their friend in sacrifice to Slender Man.
The two girls made a plan to kill their friend during a birthday sleepover. After twice having to change plans because they couldn’t go through with it, they finally stabbed the girl 19 times after luring her into a nearby forest. The girls then left the victim to bleed out and headed into the woods where they believed there was a mansion where Slender Man would be waiting for them. Fortunately, the victim managed to crawl out of the woods. She was found and rushed to the hospital where she is in stable but critical condition. The two girls were found a few hours later, wandering near a road on the edge of the forest, the weapon in a backpack.
The girls made it clear they had done this horrible act in an attempt to appease Slender Man, whom they believe to be real. They also believe Slender is the leader of Creepypasta, and that to join this world, one must commit murder. These two twelve year old girls convinced themselves that not only is a meme real, but that he lived in a magical mansion in the woods nearby. Sanity is clearly not a friend of these two.
I have to wonder, though, what on earth could have pushed them into believing this. When stuff like this happens, people try to immediately blame whatever is convenient, i.e., I’m sure the Creepypasta Wiki will be dealing with all sorts of angry parents who are too stupid to realize that a site dedicated to amateur horror stories did not drive two little girls to attempt murder. Thing is, this sort of stuff usually happens for personal reasons. Murder is a personal thing. It’s not about outside influences usually. That’s what we’d like to think, because no one wants to believe that someone can just become that fucked up in the head all on their own, but it can and does happen. Usually the influences that cause this are local – bad home life, school bullying, something like that. Blaming Creepypasta or the authors there is just not fair.
This story hasn’t kicked up a lot of national coverage yet, but it might…a cheap and easy way to show the “dangers of the interwebs” to idiots who would rather believe whatever the talking head on tv says than actually find out what happened.
It’s just a really sad day when someone uses something that was meant to be fun and interesting as an excuse for hurting people.