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).
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One of the main issues facing Slender Man investigators in the fact that "his" appearance seems to be subjective, with reports varying largely from area to area. This is often put down to cultural bias, with the observer projecting his fears into the sighting and recollections being blurred. However, it is generally agreed that it's appearance is that of a pale, emaciated male figure, with an apparent height of between 7 and 9 feet tall. The figure is often described as wearing a black suit, although it seems to be a relatively recent addition to the mythology.
One of the more unusual aspects of the Slender Man's appearance is the description of additional appendages or limbs in reported sightings. witnesses have described these as being "a snaky arm," to rope-like in appearance. These appendages are apparently only visible under certain conditions; and can be used for mobility as well as, perhaps, weapons.
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.
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.
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 lgend, he was a fairy ho 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 chillding 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 ysterday, 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."
There is also 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 stoon 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 know,
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."
Selected 20th Century Appearances
The number of Slender Man sightings has increased dramatically during the Twentieth Century. This is generally attributed to increased media coverage and access to news reports from around the globe. However, allegedly intercepted messages from an unknown source posted on an internet forum have brought forward two further hypotheses:
TO; OPTIC NERVE HQ
FROM: FIELD AGENT *, N American branch
SUBJECT: RISING S MAN REPORTS
DATE: JUNE 16h 2009,
1234 hours Something Agent , from the Japanese field office, told me has been kicking my head for the past couple days. She said that maybe this thing isn't breeding… but these others are WAKING UP. That maybe these things have been hibernating for god knows how long and how they are up and feeding. It makes some kind of sense with the stories of this thing dating back to the Dark Ages of Europe and beyond that. That leaves the six million dollar question… If 's theory is true… how many of them are there?
Henderson Horse Farm Incident 1953
The Henderson Horse Farm, located outside Tryon in Polk County, NC, was situated on land owned by the Henderson family since the mid 1800s. By 1953, the farm was owned and run by Ted Wilcox Henderson (41 years old), Judi Henderson (wife, 36), and Tracy Henderson (daughter, 6). On the morning of June 15th, neighbors called local police complaining of hearing screams and the sounds of gun fire originating from the property.
Sherrif Clint Denterman and two deputies, Dan Parks and Chris Fine, arrived at the farm at 8:34 AM. They found that horses in the barn had been torn apart, "almost as if attacked by wild animals." Inside the main house, reports stated the presence of fresh blood throughout the living room, kitchen, and hallway.
Ted Wilcox Henderson was found in the bedroom, barricaded behind furniture. Next to him was the body of his wife, killed by a shotgun blast to the chest. Ted still had the weapon in his hands. Dan Parks was quoted as reporting:
"Ted had a freaked out, far off look in his eyes. He seemed to not realize that we were in the room. We asked what happened. Where was his daughter. But he didn't answer."
Ted was charged with the murder of his wife. However, due to his catatonic state, he was admitted to
Jenkins Mental Hospital in Sandy Plains, Polk County. Ted remained in a catatonic state for over three years. On the third anniversary of the murder, Dr Dauton on June 15th, 1956 refer to a "Skinny fella… suit… looking at me…" who had taken both Judi Henderson and her daughter Tracy. Ted claimed that Judi begged him to shoot her, and felt that he had "saved her" by doing so. However, after lamenting that he had been unable to stop the "skinny man" from absconding with his daughter, Ted commenced to "slam his face repeatedly" into the steel table at which he was seated, having to be restrained and sedated by hospital orderlies. Less than seven hours later, at approximately 3:00 am the 16th of July, Ted was found dead in his room after apparently escaping his restraints and chewing through his own wrist, severing the ulnar artery and bleeding to death. The body of Tracy Henderson was never found, however a photograph taken about a week before the Henderson Farm incident shows what appears to be a suited man standing in front of the stables, which some claim to be the Slender Man.
Stirling City Disappearances 1986 - 87
Stirling City, Butte County, CA has been an apparent hot spot for Slender Man activity during the mid
1980s. Following the 1986 Stirling City Library fire, a small number of photographs were recovered, including one that had been taken only a week earlier on June 1st, 1986. On this date 14 children disappeared, followed less than two weeks later by the disappearance of the photographer, Mary Thomas. Some theorists claim that the figure on the left in the photo is the Slender Man, although officials have stated that the apparent extra appendages on the character can be dismissed as film defects.
Five months later, the body of one of the children, four year old Joseph Pertman, was found in the Great Swamp Nature Preserve in Kingston Falls, NJ. Deputy Sherrif Jim Stolz told reporters from the Associated Press that the body was still in early stages of decay, indicating that he was alive for at least four months after his disappearance. It was also reported that the body was found in a state of "bizarre contortion," although the cause of death was never officially established.
On April 21st, 1987 the Stirling City Post ran a story regarding a rash of animal mutilations in Stirling City, that the Butte County Animal Control Department were attributing to coyotes. As man as nine dogs and cat had gone missing since January, and had been found in various states of decay. many of the pets had been disemboweled, or otherwise seriously mutilated. Animal Control Officer Joel Driscol was quoted as saying that the wounds were "unusually precise" and that it was "rare that a wild animal would leave so much of the carcass uneaten." Also quoted inn the story was a local man, David Elkins, who was the owner of the latest victim - a cat that had been disemboweled and mutilated.
On July 12th, 1987, police were called to the Elkins' residence in Stirling by David Elkins, who had reported that his eight-year-old daughter Katrina had gone missing. The only possible witness to the disappearance was Katrina's ten-year-old sister Alice, with whom she shared a bedroom. SCPD Sergeant William Hohne reported that the last time Alice saw her sister, she was outside the window "hugging the tall man." According to further statements by Alice, over the previous weeks a man had been coming to the girls' bedroom window at night, where he would tap on the glass, "make faces," and watch the girls. However, police investigators initially dismisses the account as a dream, as the bedroom window was on their house's second story with no support beneath it.
"[Alice] Elkins reported that, on the night of her sister's disappearance, they were again awakened by a tapping on the glass," Sergean Hohne explained, "she heard her sister get out of bed, and have a short conversation. When she didn't hear her sister get back in bed after several minutes, he go up and went to the window, where she saw her sister in the side yard, "hugging the tall man." According to the witness, the man looked at her, grinning, and indicated that she was to come down as well with a "snakey arm." it was at this point that Miss Elkins became extremely frightened, and returned to bed. The tapping continued for several more minutes before it finally ceased."
Alice Elkins' body was never found, and no charges were ever brought regarding the case.
Jasper, Alberta Disappearances 2009
On January 10th 2009, three skiers - Amanda Fischer, Douglas Bellanger, and Natasha Pierce - disappeared leaving their cabin in Mica Mountains Resort of Jasper, Alberta. A day earlier, another friend, Thomas Chambers, left the party to return to Calgary, apparently due to health concerns. He was questioned by RCMP following the disappearances and allegedly informed them that he had left due to recurring nightmares featuring a tall man in black peering into the cabin windows at night.
Investigators confirmed they had ruled Chambers out as a possible suspect, but considered him a key witness. A source within RCMP, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed to the Calgary Sun that officers had confiscated a digital camera and a camcorder at the time of the interview, which were never returned. RCMP were, however, unable to question Chambers further, as he vanished on January 21st. His home was found ransacked that morning, he was never found.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Park Officials commenced a month-long search, culminating in the discovery of Amanda Fischer's remains high in a tree, in a severely contorted condition. The bodies of Bellanger and Pierce have yet to be recovered.
The Suited Demon
Popular guro author Go Waita created almost 230 stories during his 40 year career, most of which featured his most renowned created, the Suited Demon; a tall, slim man in a dark suit who would kidnap, rape, and murder young girls in the woods. During an interview with Hiro Koga in the February 2009 issue Deadly Doom Delights magazine, Waita claimed that he did not create the Suited Demon, and that he was in fact a real creature that he had witnessed murder his seven year old sister as a child. Waita explained to the interviewer that the "real" Suited Demon was not interested in raping his victims, but his editors and publishers insisted on the graphic sex scenes being added.
Waita went on to say that "I tried to draw different things… normal pictures, portraits, even other types of stories… but it always comes comes up… for forty god damn years!" before becoming too agitated to continue and ending the interview. Hiro Koga stated in the printed article that he considered scrapping it completely before receiving a call from Waita insisting that he print the interview in full. Less than a week after publication, Waita burnt his studio to the ground, committing suicide in the process. Because of this, many understandably cast aspersion on the mental sate of Waita during the interview, and therefore dismissed his claims of the origins of the Suited Demon. Some theorists, however, are prepared to accept this as yet another case of a confirmed Slender Man sighting.
Possible Influences in Popular Culture
As well as the Suited Demon mentioned above, theorists postulate that a number of popular culture characters are based on the idea of the Slender man. In an interview with Wizard magazine, Dr Octopus creator Stan lee claimed that while looking for inspiration for a new Spider-Man villain, he remembered a story his Romanian-born mother Celia had told him about a man with "many boneless arms," and took that inspiration to create the distinctive tentacle harness used by Dr Octopus.
In the Phantasm movie series, the recurring character of the Tall Man shows an obvious physical resemblance to the move humanoid appearances of the Slender Man. Similarly, the character of the Reverend Henry Kane in Poltergeist II: The Other Side and Poltergeist III is also thought to be modeled on the Slender Man.
The television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured an episode in it's fourth series entitled Hush. In this episode, a series of creatures known as The Gentlemen steal the voices of the population of Sunnydale, rendering everyone in the town unable to speak. They then proceed to remove the hearts of their victims, who are unable to scream during the attack. Again, the appearance of the Gentlemen as emaciated, tall figures in dark suits seems to resemble reports of the Slender Man.