How did we get here?
Firstly, let’s start with the two biggest questions: what is a creepypasta, and who the fuck is Slender Man?
A creepypasta is an internet short story designed to scare/disturb the reader. The term ‘creepypasta’ comes from ‘copypasta,’ a form of internet meme that involves a paragraph of text being copied and pasted, usually as a joke response to a post or comment on a video. Creepypastas themselves can be described as horror-centric bastardizations of this concept. The most infamous of these stories revolve around haunted video games, supposedly ‘lost’ episodes of popular TV shows, urban legends, mythical beings, serial killers, etc. The most infamous of these creations include the following:
- Jeff The Killer: the story of a bullied kid who becomes a psychopath after being burned in some kind of fire. He’s mostly associated with the famous image of his ghostly white face, creepy eyes, large red smile, and his catchphrase ‘go to sleep.’
- Squidward’s Suicide: told from the viewpoint of an anonymous Nickelodeon intern, this story involves the alleged lost episode of Spongebob Squarepants in which a distraught Squidward Tentacles commits suicide by self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Also notable for mentionings of interspliced images of mutilated/dead children.
- Suicdemouse.avi: the other big-hitter of the lost episode genre, this story is about a long-lost Mickey Mouse cartoon so disturbing, so mysterious, and so evil that it caused a security guard to off himself. No joke.
- BEN DROWNED: the original haunted video game story about a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask that allegedly contains the soul of a child who drowned to death.
- Candle Cove: the basis of the first season of Showcase’s Channel Zero, this lengthy work focuses on members of a messageboard discussing and rediscovering the mysterious children’s show Candle Cove.
- The Russian Sleep Experiment: long considered a classic creepypasta and a genuinely good horror story, this one details the horrific experiments held in Russian in which political prisoners are forced to stay awake for days on end, with the ensuing chaos being recorded for scientific purposes.
These are just some of the heaviest hitters in this niche world of digital genre fiction. Some of my personal favourites include Gateway to the Mind, 1999, Normal Porn for Normal People, the Holders series, and Götterdämmerung (the only Slender story I care about). And that’s not even touching upon the entirety of the Slender mythos or the SCP Foundation, two major offsets of the Creepypasta phenomenon. Those are their own niches within this larger niche, both of which are worthy of separate discussions and or analyses.
Then, of course, there’s the big bad voodoo daddy of creepypastas, the lean mean child-killing machine himself, Slender Man. It’s hard to believe that the information age’s take on the boogeyman originated on one of the internet’s most infamous forum sites as part of a Photoshop competition. Going by the alias ‘Victor Surge,’ Eric Knudsen first introduced the world to that mysterious, faceless, black suited monstrosity known as Slender Man. It can be argued, however, that Slender’s true popularity took off once the freeware indie game Slender: The Eight Pages was released by Parsec Productions. Now this is something you really can blame all those YouTubers for making popular.
All of this led to the stabbing committed by Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser back in 2014.
My personal experience with all of this internet nonsense kickstarted back in grade nine, when I first learned of the Lavender Town myth. As I covered in my previous post, this involved the original first generation Pokémon games having a hidden frequency in the music for the game area Lavender Town that caused seizures, hallucinations, and nightmares in those who heard it. Unlike that Porygon episode that actually DID cause seizures, this one remains an oft-referenced urban legend among Pokémon fans. Many creepypastas have no basis in reality and are just really convincing works of fiction. Many of these stories use popular and well-established media as jumping off points for their stories; unfortunately this also leads to many half-assed, half-baked stories being written and traded around more frequently than others. The only creepypasta I’ve found to actually exist is Robert the Doll, an Annabelle-esque toy with a long and storied history as an artifact of pure evil.
Now, this has all been a primer for what’s about to be discussed as we move forward. In the following posts, I’ll be getting into the details of this case, the documentary, and just what the hell this all has to do with Slender Man.