By AL J. Vermette


      After 30 minutes watching your two kids run around the playground, it’s time to go home and make
them dinner. As they played on all that the playground had to offer you snapped a few photos of them to
show their father later that night.  “Okay kids, it’s time to go home.” you call out and hold your cell phone
toward them for one last picture before taking them to the car.

      Later that night when you and your husband are sitting down, you show him the photos of the kids
playing at the park. As he looks over each photo, a look of horror draws across his face. “What’s the
matter you look like you just saw a ghost?” you ask.

      “I don’t know maybe I am……here have a look.” he says while hand your cell phone back to you.

      You take a look…..a good look at each of the photos you shot of your kids playing alone in the parks
playground. “Oh my God what is that?” you scream as in each and every shot you took of your children has
an image of a tall man standing behind your babies. He’s in every shot and with each one, the man tall,
sickly thin and with no facial features to make out seems to be getting closer to your girls with each photo
shot with a clear attempt to cause them harm. Screaming your run to their bedside to check on them and
through the grace of God they are okay in their beds.

      As you return to your husband, you look over each and every shot you took of your kids playing when
you know that they were alone…..and yet in each of the pictures you took this tall, skeletal looking dark
figure is standing ever closer to your children. You are now the newest victim to have photographed a
creature born of nightmares and cyber urban legend.

      He is called Slender Man and since 2009, this odd, slightly built yet very tall male figure has been
popping up all over the internet as the new modern Boogie Man of the 21 century. Like The Hook Man,
Bloody Mary and the Woman in White, this urban legend has spawned his own folklore and since the
World Wide Web is the newest form for connecting people, it was only a matter of time before a monster
found its way into the wires of cyber space to wreak havoc over the internet.

      However, unlike other folklore creatures, this monster really has a birth time and place and here’s the
kicker…..Slender Man is completely not…..I say not real and yet people have tried to kill in his name and
his name and image can be seen everywhere. It was in 2009 when a young shitter bug entered a contest
on a web site called Something Awful web form. The rules for the contest were to take a normal looking
photograph and edit it to make it seem that something strange, extraordinary or supernatural. So Eric
Knudsen entered the competition, he shot black and white photos of children and blended them together
creating an image of something that seemed like a very tall, sickly looking male image with most of his
facial features blurred out. The image was then over laid with that of children playing in the foreground
creating a very disturbing photo of this unknown creature looming in the back ground as the children
played.

      After Eric posted his very strange photo to the web site, others took note of the strange creature and
soon others were making their own tall, dark demon in the background with young children in the
foreground as the creature looked over them, looming and waiting to snatch them up at any moment. Soon
this skeletal male figure had a name and was starting to be called Slender Man.

      As others added their own take to the Slender Man myth, a whole back story and history started to
come forth as the creature developed traits such as he’s very well dressed in a suit, is very tall and thin
with a nearly blank face showing little to no facial expressions. He was even given in some photos a set of
tentacles on his back from where he reaches out to snatch his young victims.

      At one point, Slender Man really started to take on a life of his own as more and more photos people
posted to the internet started showing up with the monster standing with or near children on playgrounds,
in schools, in back yards and so forth. Anyone that did not know that this was only a prank by shutter bugs
toying with a made up monster thought, the creature was in fact real bumping him into the UFO and
Bigfoot category of urban stories. Some were so convinced that he was real, rumors started forming that
Slender Man would actually harm children after being found in their family photos. There was even a Found
Footage film on You Tube Slender Man and his evil deeds. Some even say that the creature after being
seen, creates a sort of Slender Sickness where people after seeing the photos lose their minds and a
forced to kill.

      A case in point here was in 2014, two teen girls thought the creature so real that they would kill in his
name. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier brought their own friend into the woods of a nearby park to play
hide and seek. But when they girls were alone with their intended victim, they attacked her and using a
kitchen knife, stabbed the poor girl nineteen times and left for dead. Despite her wounds, the girl crawled
out of the woods where she was found, saved and recovering from her attack. When the two girls who tried
to kill her was taken in by the police, they said they did it in the name of Slender Man.

      Slender Man has even made it on TV with an episode of the long running series Supernatural and who
knows, he may just be the next Freddy or Jason. He is the most feared creature of the new millennium and
although in truth, he is nothing more than fan fiction as more and more photos and short stories featuring
the spooky man released upon the world, whether you believe him real or just fun fiction shared across the
World Wide Web, one thing is for sure. Sender Man is here to stay…..or until the next cyber monster
comes along.
Creature Feature
Slender Man