God, but I’m getting old. It is a continual shock to me how out of touch I have become with pop culture. It’s quite disturbing to see a reporter ask a bunch of 12 year olds if they know the Slender Man, and seeing them all say yes while I’m going, “Who the hell is the Slender Man?”
For those of you who are in the same boat, the Slender Man is a fictional (yes, kids, fictional) character who is freakishly tall and skinny, wears a dark suit and has a white, featureless face. He’s sort of a modern day boogie man who cropped up on the internet back in 2009, the brain child of writer Eric Knudsen.
Kids love scary stories. Actually, so do I. But I come at it from an adult perspective. I know that the odds are pretty remote that someone is hiding under my bed or in my closet. I don’t need a night light to go to sleep. And I also am capable of anticipating the consequences of my actions. Unfortunately kids don’t think that way.
No, I’m not one of those people who think the media and violent video games are the root of all evil. And I’m sure that the vast majority of the kids who read about the Slender Man just get a delicious little shiver down their spines and then go on about their business. But unfortunately there are a few out there who are, shall we say, wrapped a little less tightly than the average, and for them the Slender Man has become a bit of a cult anti-hero. They actually believe he exists.
I came across this character while watching a documentary called Out of the Woods, about two twelve year old girls who allegedly stabbed another twelve year old girl a total of nineteen times, leaving her for dead. They said they wanted to impress the Slender Man. Fortunately the girl crawled out of the woods and was rescued by a man riding by on a bicycle or this story would have ended even more tragically. There will be a trial soon.
It doesn’t bother me that the Slender Man was created. Scary can be fun. What troubles me is that so few of us adults have ever heard of him. That makes you wonder how many other things the twelve year olds of this world are keeping to themselves. What else are they finding on the internet? What else are they choosing to believe without the rational moderation of an adult? That’s the real scary story here.
You’ve got to love photoshop.
[Image credit: ign.com]