The image of Slender Man is striking, showing a freakishly tall faceless figure in a black suit.
He tends to lurk in woodlands, and other desolate places where you wouldnt want to bump into him. Hes often pictured luring away children.
Slender Man is fictional, but the implications of the character became very real in 2014, when two teenagers stabbed their classmate, citing the horror figure as their reasoning.
A horror film – titled Slender Man – is due to be released on 24 August here in the UK. Find out where the story came from, and what happened as a result.
Slender Man originally came about after a Photoshop competition on the Something Awful forum in 2009.
Users were challenged to create paranormal images, and someone called Victor Surge submitted ones featuring a likeness of the character we know today beside some children.
There were two images, each featuring creepy captions. The first was, We didnt want to go, we didnt want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time… – 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.
The second read, One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as “The Slender Man”. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence. – 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.
From there, the character took off, and creepypastas (online horror stories that are easily copied and shared) began appearing all over the internet.
The stories came from different authors, and in each one he looks different and acts differently.
In some depictions he has a face that can change to what someone fears the most, while in others hes completely faceless. Some stories tell of people simply going missing, while others give more detailed or gory accounts.
Since then there have been videos of Slender Man with millions of viewers, as well as video games and fan art.
Things went from the online world to the real world in 2014, when two 12-year-old girls – Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser – in Waukesha, Wisconsin held down and stabbed a classmate 19 times
They reportedly told police that they wished to commit a murder as a first step to becoming proxies for the Slender Man, having read about it online.
The girls also apparently stated that they were afraid that Slender Man would kill their families if they did not commit the murder, and one still claims Slender Man watches her, can read minds, and could teleport.
The victim of the attack survived, and although the girls were found not guilty due to insanity, they were sentenced to long periods in mental institutions.
Upcoming film Slender Man focuses on the folklore of Slender Man rather than this tragic story, but some reports say that scenes were still cut to ensure there are no copycat attacks from those that watch and to respect the victim of the stabbing.
Its rated 15 here in the UK.