Slender Man | The Documentary

"We didn't want to go, we didn't want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time..."

There is a figure that does not hide or lurk in the shadows, but stands tall and unseen in the light of day - visible only to its prey as it stalks them. It appears as an extremely tall, thin humanoid in a formal suit with impossibly long limbs andno face to speak of. Its origins are as much a mystery as what - if anything - it wants. Its presence is associated with paranoia, delusions, and even physical illness. Those who see it are often driven to scrawling strange messages and scribbling sketches of a dark, faceless figure - prior to their going utterly insane, or disappearing entirely. The less you know the better, for knowing too much may make you the subject of its interest.

Or, if you prefer: The Slender Man is an internet-born character-entity originating from Something Awful, created by user Victor Surge in the "Let's Create Paranormal Images" thread (Slender Man posts start here, though most of the images are now gone). It soon reached memetic status, spreading through several blogs and videos, and quickly became the horror we know and fear today.

There are three main projects that are most commonly associated with the Slender Man mythos:

In addition, there is many a strange story from people who appear to have seen him, as well as photographs by people who have not been heard from since. A more-or-less full list can be found at here; the TV Tropes articles for the works can be found in Recap.The Slender Man Mythos.

The Alternate Reality Game site Unfiction has a whole forum dedicated to the mythos, as well as a dedicated stand alone forum at Slender Nation. Reviews of stories can be found at The Slendy Review blog. Non-story information can be found at Encyclopedia Slenderia. compileTRUTH also summarizes some series. An extensive fan site is in the works, created by one of our tropers. Fans can also submit their Slender Man theories to be examined and expanded on via an in-gameYouTube channel at FearPlay - Nerdy Horror

And now he even has his own video game titled Slender, available for free. Another video game, which is an expansion of the original with a story and more levels, was released in collaboration with Blue Isle Studios. It is called Slender: The Arrival, and is availabl to buy on Blue Isle Studio's site.

A film titled Entity was also pending release, but was canned in 2014.

Not to be confused with The Thin Man.
These stories provide examples of:
The Adjectival Man: Guess.
Affectionate Parody: Splendor Man! Yaaaay!
LittleKuriboh offers Concrete Giraffes.
As a follow-up, Marik does a Let's Play of Slender.
As does Supergreatfriend, in a fashion.
Slendy makes an appearance again in another of Marik's playthroughs, this time of SlenderTheArrival
From the creator of Tribe Twelve, There's a Monster in My Closet.
Slender Man sings his favorite songs.
Slender Madness
Woman cosplaying as Pinkie Pie sings "Giggle at the Ghostie" to Slender Man. Hilarity Ensues.
He may be an Eldrich abomination, but at least he pays his rent on time.
Slender Man talks about his life. And now there's part 2.
The Slender Man Song!
Slender Man vs Gangnam Style
The Marble Yellowjackets series (warning: slightly NSFW)
Slendy is just misunderstood.
Apocalyptic Log: A good number of reports on this creature are found in this format.
Alternate Reality Game: Most (if not all) of the projects within the mythos.
Altum Videtur: As many a horror movie or story would suggest, Latin can be creepy!
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: This disclaimer on the first Encyclopedia Slenderia post.
DISCLAIMER: Reading about Slender Man has been known to result in paranoia, loss of sleep, and the death of you and everyone you hold dear. Anyone who continues to read on is fully accepting the risk that a man in a suit may rip out their favorite organs as a result. I don't want to wind up with any lawsuits from people claiming that it's my fault they were killed. Because then we'd need to figure out how a dead person hires a lawyer, and how to transmit funds to the afterlife, and it would just get really messy legally.
Bait and Switch: Some series hide the fact that they even include the Slender Man, most famous of which beingEveryman HYBRID, but The Dead Are Watching wins out for even hinting at Slendy for five months of the series run.
Badass in a Nice Suit: Although there's been some question as to whether he's even wearing a suit.
The Bad Guy Wins: Most stories that have actually finished either go for this or cast doubt on the Slender Man being present at all. Of course, one could consider it unfair to actually defeat a communal character with finality.
Batman Gambit: Zero and several others put themselves in harms way intentionally in combat against Slendy, in the hope of evoking enough emotion from the remaining slenderbloggers that they could agree upon a 'canon' story in which he is injured. It didn't work
Battle Theme Music: Hosozukuri from Breeze in Monochrome NIGHT has made several songs based on other bloggers, including her song Resolve which is meant to be a battle theme for people fighting against Slendy.
Being Watched: He's watching you, always watching! He doesn't have a face, but he's always watching!
Berserk Button: Shelby calling out the mainstream and a few less but still fairly popular blogs. The shit storm was magnificent and if you really want to see it, well one Blogger took screen caps. Ask him for them anytime ANYTIME
The Blank: The most common depiction of the Slender Man involves no actual facial features on it's face- just blank whiteness. Among his original attributes was that his face would appear different to every viewer, however; considering this, it's likely that his facelessness on the original photoshops was meant to be some sort of Glamour Failure, but everyone decided to run with him actually being faceless. Variations include a wrinkled, alien-ish head that couldn'tpossibly have facial features and a writhing, twisted ball of flesh.
Blue and Orange Morality: Across the different facets of the mythos, it's difficult to say whether the Slender Man can be consistently considered totally evil, to be working toward a discernible goal, or to even be intelligent by our standards. For example, The Tutorial asserts that staying on the third story or up of a building is probably a safe bet, since based on the author's experience Slendy can't comprehend the concept of a human taller than him and will simply ignore said human.
Breakout Character: This is how Slendy started off in the original thread. Another character, the Masked Man (AKA "Masky") has branched off of the Slender Man mythos, primarily from the Marble Hornet videos.
Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: After people in the original thread started giving themselves nightmares with their own stories, this comment was left:
The cure to the phobia you guys have given yourselves should be a sequel series of images showing the Slender Man going through everyday activities, such as mowing his lawn, walking the dog, sitting down to breakfast with the family and eating fried human flesh.
By the Eyes of the Blind: Slendy is often portrayed as invisible to the naked eye unless you are his target, although he can usually be picked up on video.
The Call Knows Where You Live: He likes doing this to people, as Jay, Noah and the HYBRID guys can attest.
Caramelldansen Vid: Yes, really. Word is out on whether or not this makes him less scary. Two, actually.
Child Eater: At least, he seems to prefer them in his initial incarnation. Most blog and vlog iterations of the mythos, however, seem to imply that he's indifferent as to who he hunts/eats

Slender Man makes an “appearance” at the University of Virginia — one of countless doctored shots that have made the Internet rounds since 2009. (Bob Mical/Flickr)

He lurks in the background of gritty black-and-white photos — a gaunt, too-tall figure with skeletal limbs. Some say he lives in the woods and eats children, a kind of demon descended from eastern European myth. Some say he stalks human prey indiscriminately, wherever he can find it: in basements, outside half-open windows, along lonely streets late at night when only occasional headlights cut across the road.

Some say he has no face. Others, that his face looks different to everyone who sees it. But whatever they say, everyone generally agrees on one point: that Slender Man, perhaps the Internet’s best and scariest legend, is indeed a legend — an invented character who can be traced back, quite linearly, to an obscure forum where in 2009 users Photoshopped old pictures and improvised a back story for their creations.

Tragically — and chillingly — two 12-year-old girls in Waukesha, Wis., seem to have missed all of that. On Saturday, according to local news reports, the girls lured a friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times in some kind of tribute to Slender Man. The girl they stabbed is hospitalized in stable condition. The perpetrators will be tried as adults.

“Many people do not believe Slender Man is real,” one of the girls said, according to the criminal complaint. “[We] wanted to prove the skeptics wrong.”

But as dozens of forum posts, newspaper articles and a handful of academic papers show, there’s nothing to prove. Slender Man is a fascinating case study in the creation and codification of Internet myth. And at the end of the day, that’s all it is: a myth.

The invention of a “mythological” monster

In the myth, Slender Man has many origins: Germany’s Black Forest. Ancient Egypt. Cave paintings in Brazil purportedly depict his movements.

In real life, the story begins in the forums of Something Awful, a humor site for people who enjoy joking about things like Dungeons & Dragons, porn and 3-D printers. But the forums can take trickier turns — they’re well-known for tricky Photoshopping and general prankery. On June 8, 2009, a new forum thread invited users to “create paranormal images through Photoshop,” which many users did. But the creation of one user, Victor Surge, struck a particular chord: He posted two photos of children haunted by a tall, shadowy figure with tentacles for arms, along with blocks of ominous text:

we didn’t want to go, we didn’t want to kill them, but its persistent silence
and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time . . .
1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.

For weeks, Surge continued posting doctored photos, newspaper clippings and child’s drawings of Slender Man, gradually pulling other users into the myth. They contributed their own Photoshops and stories, drawing parallels to older legends and nudging the story along. By mid-June, the thread was solely devoted to developing the mythos of Slender Man, which now — at least according to one authoritative PDF — runs 194 pages long.

Because Slender Man was developed collaboratively, by a community of anonymous contributors, that mythos is spotty and varied — much like a more organic urban legend would be. In some stories Slender Man has multiple arms, like tentacles, and in some he has no extra appendages, at all. Sometimes he seems to kill his victims themselves, in vague, mysterious ways that the faux news stories and police reports never seem to specify, before disemboweling them and bagging their organs. Other times, Slender Man somehow compels his victims to kill each other — a particularly grim plot line, given the recent attack in Wisconsin.

In one of the faux news stories, a horse farmer named Ted Henderson shoots his wife in the chest at the Slender Man’s behest, only explaining the crime to his psychiatrist at a mental institution three years later.

TED: Ran… ran inside… got gun… Tracy crying… Judi screaming… r…ran to them… He had them… was holding them…

DAUTON: Who had them?

TED: Skinny fella… suite… Looking at me… Judi screaming… shoot me… SHOOOT ME SHOOT MEEEE!

“Tracy,” the couple’s six-year-old daughter, is never found.

How a horror story becomes a legend

That vagueness — the infinite mutability, the fuzzy details, the ability to adapt Slender Man to just about any time and place — is a large part of what pushed the story off the Something Awful forums and into the Internet mainstream. Slender Man gradually spread onto other niche forums, like 4chan’s paranormal board. From there, it would inspire a popular horror Web series called Marble Hornets, several indie video games and an untold trove of submemes and fan art, as well as earn prominent pages on Wikipedia andCreepypasta, a site dedicated to Internet horror stories. Creepypasta is, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the place where the Wisconsin girls first read the story of Slender Man.

By 2011, the legend had become so deeply embedded in the Web — and so divorced from its blatantly fictional origins — that even its original creator, Victor Surge, couldn’t believe how much it had spread.

“I didn’t expect it to move beyond the SA forums,” he said in an interview with the Web site Know Your Meme, later adding:

An urban legend requires an audience ignorant of the origin of the legend. It needs unverifiable third and forth [sic] hand (or more) accounts to perpetuate the myth. On the Internet, anyone is privy to its origins as evidenced by the very public Somethingawful thread. But what is funny is that despite this, it still spread. Internet memes are finicky things and by making something at the right place and time it can swell into an ‘Internet Urban Legend’.

That same year, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported an entire feature on “the Internet-concocted creature… scaring today’s teens silly.” Only two years had passed since Surge invented Slender Man, and its origins, the Tribune ruled, were already “difficult to pinpoint.”

The Internet is ‘full of wicked things’

That obscurity is, of course, responsible in part for Slender Man’s scariness: It appears to eliminate the fourth wall entirely, making Slender Man less a ghost story and more a plausible entity. The further the myth gets from its origins, the easier it is to sift out truth from fiction. “The Blair Witch Project” used some of the same techniques.

And yet the character’s appeal goes far deeper than that, says Shira Chess, an assistant professor of mass media arts at the University of Georgia and a scholar of the Slender Man myth. In fact, Chess is unsurprised that people, including teenagers, frequently buy into the Slender Man myth — in short, we’re hardwired to believe.

“We tell ourselves stories because we (humans) are storytelling animals,” she wrote in an e-mail. “And, to that end, horror stories take on a specific significance and importance because they function metaphorically — the horror stories that are the best are often metaphors for other issues that affect our lives on both cultural and personal levels.”

Slender Man, Chess says, is a metaphor for “helplessness, power differentials, and anonymous forces.” He’s an infinitely morphable stand-in for things we can neither understand nor control, universal fears that can drive people to great lengths — even, it would appear, very scary, cold-blooded lengths.

For whatever reason, Slender Man does seem to have resonated particularly among teenagers; perhaps that’s the demographic most susceptible to scary stories, or perhaps they’re the people frequenting sites like Creepypasta most often. (Creepypasta, for its part, released a statement early this morning expressing its condolences over the Wisconsin incident — and reminding critics that the site exists to share scary fiction stories, not to encourage any actual, real-life scares.) But the girls in Wisconsin, at least according to statements they made to police, truly believed Slender Man was real: He teleported and read their minds, they claimed. He watched them and threatened to kill their families.

“They hoped [their friend] would die,” Ellen Gabler wrote in the Journal-Sentinel, “and they would see Slender and know he existed.”

But Slender doesn’t exist — at least not outside of the YouTube videos, wiki pages and horror forums that have grown up around him.

Said Russell Jack, the police chief in Waukesha, “the Internet can be full of dark and wicked things.”

The Slender Man is an alleged paranormal figure purported to have been in existence for centuries, covering a large geographic area. Believers in the Slender Man tie his appearances in with many other legends around the world, including; Fear Dubh (or, The Dark Man) in Scotland, the Dutch Takkenmann (Branch Man), and the German legend of Der Großmann or Der Grosse Mann (the Tall Man).


The Slender Man is a being (male in appearance) who looks like a man with extremely long, slender arms and legs. He also appears to have 4 to 8 long, black tentacles that protrude from his back, though different photographs and enthusiasts disagree on this fact, and therefore it is theorized he can 'contract' these tentacles at will.

He is described as wearing a black suit strikingly similar to the visage of the notorious Men In Black, and as the name suggests, appears very thin and able to stretch his limbs and torso to inhuman lengths in order to induce fear and ensnare his prey. Once his arms are outstretched, his victims are put into something of a hypnotized state, where they are utterly helpless to stop themselves from walking into them.

He is also able to create tendrils from his fingers and back that he uses to walk on in a similar fashion to Doctor Octopus. The superhuman stretching ability could also be seen as a similarity between himself and Mr. Fantastic.

Whether he absorbs, kills, or merely takes his victims to an undisclosed location or dimension is also unknown as there are never any bodies or evidence left behind in his wake to deduce a definite conclusion.

His face is pale and slightly ghostly, and almost appears to have been wrapped in a type of gauze or cloth. his facial features are also an object of debate, and many people believe that his face looks different to each person, if it is seen at all.

He sometimes is portrayed wears a hat, which is sometimes a bowler, a fedora, or sometimes a tophat. He may also be seen wearing a long flowing necktie or scarf, which is either red or grey.

He often keeps his long, pale hands crossed politely behind his back or hanging loosely at his sides. His suit is black, sometimes portrayed as pinstripe in artwork, a common misconception thanks to the very similar Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas. He has long coattails which he lets flow proudly. He wears long dress shoes, which are always shined a perfect, gleaming black.


Much of the fascination with Slender Man is rooted in the overall aura of mystery that he is wrapped in. Despite the fact that it is rumored he kills children almost exclusively, it is difficult to say whether or not his only objective is slaughter.

Often times it is either reported or recorded that he can be found in sections of woods, and these generally tend to be suburban. He also has been reported seen with large groups of children, as many photographs portray. It is commonly thought that he resides in woods and forests and preys on children. He seems unconcerned with being exposed in the daylight or captured in photos.

It is often thought as well that he enjoys stalking people who become overly paranoid about his existence, purposefully giving them glimpses of himself in order to further frighten them. For this reason, it seems like Slenderman very much enjoys psychologically torturing his victims.

He also often appears to float or drift around rather than walk, which suggest the possibility of him being an ethereal being rather than a creature or a man. This would also explain why he is able to remain mobile in spite of his poorly proportioned body.

Even though Slender Man was fabricated on SomethingAwful forums (or was he?), some people have already claimed sightings. He is seen mostly at night peering into open windows and walks out in front of lone motorists on secluded roads.

His main intentions appear to be kidnapping children, as when he is seen near them in photographs, they usually disappear shortly afterwards. The Slender Man has also inspired many stories such as those of Marble Hornets.

In the end though, his purpose remains unknown.

An interesting take on Slender Man by a pasta member who is relying on the Marble hornets series for evidence/facts:

“There has been a big misconception about my pal the Slender Man due to the appearance of this article. He does not have hair or a face. Everything else is correct. There is also some questioning as to whether or not there is more than one. I find that unlikely. It's most likely Slendy fucking with your head in order to make you think that there is more than one, which he has been known to do. As of now, Slendy has 3 or 4 known accomplices.

These are Hoodie, Maskie, The Rake and possibly The Observer. Not much is known yet because the next episode of the Noah Maxwell ARG has not yet been released. In the Marble Hornets ARG, Hoodie and Maskie are possibly his followers. In the Everyman HYBRIDS ARG the Rake seems to be working with him, but we aren't really sure if that is true or not.”

Historical References
Brazilian Cave Paintings

The earliest argued reference to the legend is within the cave paintings found in the Serr da Capivara National Park in the Northeast of Brazil, which are believed to date from as far back as 9000 BC. These paintings show a strangely elongated character leading a child by the hand, but make no reference to the extra appendages.
Egyptian Hieroglyphs

The next known possible reference to the Slender Man comes from around 3100 BC in lower Egypt, with references to the "Thief of the Gods" or the "Thief of Kuk" becoming common place during the reign of Pharaoh Wazner. Hieroglyphic carvings representing the Thief were found in the pharaoh's tomb, who was rumored to have had some kind of encounter with the entity. The carvings resemble a strange figure with multiple upper limbs, one that has never been found in any other hieroglyph language.
German Woodcuts

Renowned German woodcutter Hans Freckenberg created at least two woodcuts featuring a character he described as Der Ritter (The Knight) during the mid-sixteenth century that were discovered in Halstberg Castle in 1883.

Whilst Freckenberg was well-known for his realistic depiction of human anatomy - something that was unusual among woodcuts of the time - these pictures featured a skeletal, multi-limbed character.

Historians are unsure of the exact symbolic nature of the character, with some claiming that it is a personification of the religious wars that raged in Europe at the time, while others say it represents the mysterious plagues that have been believed to be the reason for the mysterious abandoning of the Hastlberg Castle and the nearby village in 1543.

However, many insist that Freckenberg was attempting to represent "Der Großmann" (the Tall Man). According to legend, he was a fairy who lived in the Black Forest. Bad children who crept into the woods at night would be relentlessly chased by Der Großmann, who wouldn't leave them be until he either caught them or they were forced to tell their parents of their wrongdoing. Even then, there is a chilling account from an old journal, dating from about 1702:

“My child, my Lars… he is gone. Taken, from his bed. The only thing that we found was a scrap of black clothing. It feels like cotton, but it is softer… thicker. Lars came into my bedroom yesterday, screaming at the top of his lungs that "The angel is outside!" I asked him what he was talking about, and he told me some nonsense fairy story about Der Großmann.

He said he went into the groves by our village and found one of my cows dead, hanging from a tree. I thought nothing of it at first… but now, he is gone. We must find Lars, and my family must leave before we are killed. I am sorry, my son… I should have listened. May God forgive me.”

Romanian Mythology

There is also a Romanian fairytale which tells the legend of the Tall Man, featuring this description which may have taken to refer to the Slender Man

"The tall man stood in a clearing, dressed as a nobleman, all in black. Shadows lay over him, dark as a cloudy midnight. He had many arms, all long and boneless as snakes, all sharp as swords, and they writhed like worms on nails. He did not speak, but made his intentions known,"

In the fairytale, the Tall Man causes a mother to kill her husband and child, before he slid from a fireplace and "clenched her in his burning embrace."
English Mythology

There is also an english myth referring to the "Tree Man", whom is said to have a slim body with apendages that looks like tree branches.

He is only known to be seen in the woods and was used as a story that parents told their children to thwart bad behavior. There have been quite a few disappearances of children that have been said to be linked to the "Tree Man".