A new kind of bogeyman?
Posted by Fox The Rebel
There seems to be a new bogeyman in town, stalking the dreams and nightmares of those unlucky enough to draw his attention. Faceless, shadowy and with few weaknesses, only madness and a slow death awaits those who would stand in the way of whatever ancient, unfathomable mission drives him onward to destroy adults and consume children alike. Tall, slim, and wearing an old fashioned black suit, he uses his tentacle-like fingers and elasticated arms to draw his victims into a final, horrific embrace before snatching them away never to be seen again. He is the Slender Man, and not only has he has been cutting an ever widening path of destruction across the world wide web in recent years, but it now seems that he has made the leap to the real world, much like that other urban legend, the Shadow People, did before him, and is currently being experienced by people who are supposedly unaware that his origins as a completely fictional pseudo-entity.
Yes, sorry to say, he most definitely is not real, and for once I can promise you that it’s not just the Skepticism talking. The Slender Man was created back in June of 2009 as part of a faked paranormal picture contest over at the SomethingAwful forums, before rising in popularity to the point that he successfully made the leap over to 4Chan, Wikipedia and even deviantART. A simple Google search will provide all the relevant information on his true, faked nature, and so far at least not a scrap of real, tangible evidence has been presented to support his existence other than the testimonials of those who claim to have seen him and misattributed newspaper articles about very real disappearances that supposedly, and some would argue insensitively, are said to be the handy work of the Slender Man. That’s right kiddies, no need to look under your bed, this particular entity is about as real as Ronald McDonald and, arguably, half as scary.
Supported by a series of YouTube videos and an ever expanding back story which seeks to tie the Slender Man to such mythical creatures as vampires and fairy folk, I first came across this particular entity whilst listening to numerous Occult and Paranormal podcasts, and was intrigued to hear it mentioned repeatedly by different people, both hosts and guests, to the point where I had to concede that, in their minds at least, something seemed to be really going on. After doing some research online I was left to draw the conclusion that the Slender Man, while more fantasy than fact, had obviously struck a chord with some unspoken want or need within the psyche of those who on some level desired to see him. Simply put, the continued hysteria surrounding this particular pseudo-entity has literally created a monster, and it is safe to assume that the more people claim to have seen this particular bogeyman, the more will go on to claim to do so in the future.
And that is the very reason that I am bothering to mention what is obviously a fictitious, and arguably poorly designed pseudo-entity that requires no debunking, or even much effort, to prove as a fake. I argue that the Slender Man is useful to both myself and my fellow Skeptical researchers for an entirely different reason than good old fashioned monster hunting. If we acknowledge his presence in the psychology of those groups of people who believe uncritically in such things as ghosts and spirits, we can calmly observe his spread throughout the collective consciousness; a paper trail that can teach us much about how such urban myths breed when unchecked by trifling considerations such as the truth or good old fashioned facts. We missed out on being able to do the same with the Shadow People or the numerous other pseudo-entities that haunt the cobwebbed basement of our oh so civilised world, due in part to the youth of the internet when the original concepts surfaced and began to spread, but this time around we have all the information we need should we choose to use it.