The Rise and Fall of Slender

The Internet is a wonderful place full of
things that can make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel inconsolable and uncontrollable
rage to the point that you brandish a katana and obliterate your desk… and give you a
scare. It’s a vast landscape of things both new
and old and really old that can make a simple mind melt with knowledge. No matter how many years pass and how many
changes occur to the Internet, there are always three constants in your Internet browsing
life: Your first time on the Internet, The first time you see something that’s not
safe for work, and creepypasta. (Wait, what do you mean?) Yes, that’s right, no matter where you go
on the internet or how far you venture away from the Wikia forums, one thing that will
always follow you to every comment section you go is a good creepy story. Good may or may not be an understatement,
but some of the writings that surfaced from the depths of the internet’s iceberg tended
to be on the scary side. You’ve probably noticed that on my channel
I tend to cover a lot of scary games and creepy TV shows and creepy guys, and this next point
won’t mean any significant change for my channel so don’t worry too much, but to
start off a new series themed around horror in general on my channel, we’re going to
cover things that audiences may find a little… terrifying. (You really tried to make that sound epic). But more on that at the end of the video,
judging by the subject matter and the fact that you clicked on this video knowing what
you’re getting into from the title and the thumbnail, we’re going to investigate the
impact, the origins and the fall of the Slender Man. Before we get into the nitty gritty of the
mythos behind Slender Man, we need to look into what exactly the internet was like when
he was created. The Slender Man is officially classified as
a creepypasta. But what exactly is a creepypasta? In the many years that you’ve had access
to the internet, I’m sure you’ve encountered a weird message that looks like a threat directed
towards you or your loved ones claiming that you should copy and paste this message to
as many people as you can to spread the world or else there’s going to be trouble. Nowadays you’d probably look at that message
and chuck it right in the bin laughing it off but you don’t have the benefit of hindsight
and being older in general, so of course you load all of your friends’ Skype histories
with that message in particular, which would help to spread the word of the thing that’s
out to get you. This thing could be either an urban legend
or a scheme to get rich quick by sending this quick witted Nigerian prince some dollar. This is not exclusive to the Internet in general,
as chain letters have existed for centuries: Caecilius would awaken from his slumber in
his stone house and receive a scroll from Daedalus warning about Jeffery the Murderer
and he’d have to spread the word by owl lest he get banished from the realm of the
living, the knave! I completely sidetracked. Anyways on the Internet at least, this act
was commonly associated with creepypastas. Creepypastas are horror-related images, stories
and urban legends that are made by people on the internet with the intention of scaring
readers, with stories tending to use the paranormal in order to keep readers from turning the
lights off when they go to bed. Originally, like I said before, creepypastas
were made with the intention of being spread across the internet. The term “creepypasta” comes from the
words “creepy” and “copypasta” Coined on 4chan in around 2006, a copypasta is a
block of text which is copied and pasted across the Internet. This term translated over to creepypastas,
where these posts would be short horror stories written anonymously and reposted endlessly. Basically like what Reddit and Twitter is
nowadays, but back then the reposts still felt fresh and creepy. The origins of creepypastas are still unknown
to this day as the anonymous nature of these writings made it so the history of the genre
itself was difficult to study for budding writers looking to make it in the field. Among the earliest creepypastas were Ted the
Caver for example, made in 2001 which started as a series of blog posts that ended up getting
creepier and creepier as time went by. The earliest creepypastas were created and
posted on the Paranormal board on 4chan, and in the late 2000s, websites dedicated to creepypastas
started to pop up, such as and the creepypasta wiki, as well as r/NoSleep
created between 2008 and 2010. In recent times, the definition of creepypasta
has shifted from poorly written anecdotes that you copy and paste to random people on
the internet to poorly written anecdotes that are permanently archives on sites across the
internet for people to eventually make a video on said story, probably mocking it in the
process. It’s also shifted from people writing stories
anonymously to people making names for themselves in the creepypasta community and leading people
to wait for new scary stories to tell in the middle of the day in broad daylight. So now you know the bare minimum about creepypastas
(I’ll probably make an entire video on them but I’m not promising anything) I think
it’s time to talk about how the Slender Man fits into all of this. The year is 2009. The world is officially scheduled to end 3
years from now, someone’s been playing a little too much Plague Inc and infected the
entire cosmos with the Swine Flu and Blue Pocahontas from Outer Space is released in
cinemas. You wake up, it’s a hot summer’s morning
and you visit a website which goes by the name of Something Awful. That’s the name of the website, it’s Something
Awful. Can you stop doing that? Anyway, Something Awf- shut the FUCK UP. Something Awful also known as SA is a website
that hosts a bunch of stuff like blogs and forums and the like. You look at the website and the subject matter
just reeks of 2009. The funniest thing you ever saw on the Internet
at that time was that one rage comic about Troll Science mixed in with Dreamscape Trance
Music. On the site itself there’s a forum thread,
which details a Photoshop contest where users are challenged to create paranormal images. You scroll through the thread and you look
at some of the images submitted, none of them look to scary, you can probably deal with
them… and then you encounter this. It’s a post by Eric Knudsen, under the pseudonym
of Victor Surge. It’s a black and white photo of a group
of children. But there’s something wrong with the image. There seems to be another being in the image. A tall thin figure wearing a black suit. Probably look at that and think that it’s
possibly the most scuffed ad for Armani Jeans that you’ve ever seen in your life.There’s
something different about this post as opposed to the other ones that are on the forum thread. Unlike the other submissions to the contest. This post by Surge came with text! We love a good backstory! The text under the first photo stated that:
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. Right then, this may be more than what it’s
cracked up to be… and there’s a second image as well, which also has this tall thin
figure in said image… under this photo, the quote stated that: [This is] 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. Photographer; Mary Thomas, missing since June
13th 1986. And now the Internet has something new on
its hands to blow up out of proportion and make it seem like a much bigger deal than
usual. Something like this is way too spicy to just
leave alone in a thread like this to fade into irrelevancy and rot! So posters to the thread decided to expand
on the character of the Slender Man, adding their own contributions to the thread, whether
it be by text or by visual means. H.P. Lovecraft is cited as one of the main inspirations
for the creation of the Slender Man, as well as the work of Zack Parsons, more specifically
“That Insidious Beast,” also posted on Something Awful, which is an odd set of stories
set in “a world that is not quite our own”. He also based the Slender Man on reports of
shadow people sightings and Mothman, among other things. The main goal for the Slender Man, as outlined
by Surge, was to make something whose motivations can barely be comprehended and also cause
unease and terror in a general population.” This plays into a primal fear a lot of people
have, when it comes down to it. There’s no reasoning with said creature,
it’s literally evil for no reason. You spent fifty centuries on a sculpture that
you forgot to save? Well to bad he just destroyed the whole thing
and there’s nothing you can do about it! Immediately after the creation of that thread,
the Slender Man went viral. Everyone on the internet flocked to the mythos
of Slender Man like moths to a flame. This is where the topic of creepypastas come
back into the mix, as the legend of Slender became the basis of many a creepypasta and
many a cosplay. After it eventually got separated from its
original creator, the Slender Man became the main basis for several stories from multiple
different authors that all covered an overarching mythos. From this, the Internet started to get a little
feel as to what Slender Man does and why he could be seen as extremely dangerous: First
and foremost, the Slender Man is tall. In literature surrounding him, Slender is
up to around 15 feet tall, if he was in your house he’d have to squat down to even be
seen as threatening. This is as opposed to in videos and video
games, where he is depicted as around NBA player height at 6 to 7ft tall, so at that
height if you saw him you’d probably be able to spark him out. In terms of his appearance, he is commonly
portrayed as having a completely blank face, devoid of all emotion and staring into your
soul until you lose all grasp on reality. While people can probably laugh at this now,
a completely blank face staring at you would probably be just a little bit unsettling wouldn’t
it? As well as this, he also sports some very
long arms, which would do extremely well in a basketball game: come to think about it
he’s the ideal NBA player: long arms, very tall body and blank expressionless face that
would be great for all the cameras around the arena! Now if you wanna go scare people, you have
to make sure you’re dressed for the occasion and the Slender Man makes sure he is with
a bespoke suit that can only fit him and his long arms, ensuring that he’s well dressed
for your funeral. From all of this, you may be wondering how
or why he likes to torture people and why he’s seen as very dangerous. Well the “why” I can’t answer and I
don’t think anyone can no matter how many pieces of headcanon you create to try and
justify your Slendy fanfiction. The how I can most certainly answer, though:
in most if not every adaptation of Slender, the titular character is known to stalk its
prey for days, weeks, months, YEARS on end until they eventually cave into their own
sanity, unable to cope with the situation that they’ve found themselves in while he
watches from afar. Getting too close to the Slender man is said
to trigger what’s known as “Slender sickness”. Which is a rapid onset of paranoia, nightmares
and delusions that are also accompanied by nosebleeds! So Slender is pretty much your teacher calling
you up to give a presentation about video games to your entire class. This wasn’t always the case however, as
the previous entries for what Slender’s behaviour was like were MUCH MORE EXTREME. Originally, Slender Man was portrayed as being
extremely dangerous, in that he would stalk his targets, impale them on tress and remove
their organs. That was just a little bit too extreme, so
his behaviour was tweaked and fixed as the passive aggressive programming he has today. One other important aspect of the Slender
Man that has always stayed the same since his very beginnings was his ability to distort
and cause major interference with audio and visual recording devices, which in turn would
lead into one of the most iconic sounds associated with the Slender Man introduced in the games
which I’ll get into later. Back on the Something Awful thread, a post
was made by a username named “ce gars”. This post was concerning a friend that he
had in film school called Alex Kralie, who was having issues shooting his very first
feature length project, while he was shooting the film he was experiencing weird happenings
that he couldn’t explain. The feature length project in question was
known as Marble Hornets and the video series was published as an ARG on both YouTube and
Twitter, using both platforms to document the filmers’ experience with the Slender
Man. Inspired by the Slender Man mythos, Marble
Hornets began on the 20th June 2009, a day after the Something Awful post. On an initial budget of just $500, the two
original creators, Troy Wagner and Joseph DeLage set out to create this web-series,
with realism being the intention: as opposed to having the episodes released on a schedule,
both of them decided to post each of the episodes at random lengths and at random times. Marble Hornets was written, direct and starring
the two as the main characters and followed Jay, a man who makes an attempt to find out
what happened during the filming of Alex’s film, Marble Hornets, that caused him to end
the project abruptly after only two months of production. The web-series used YouTube to its advantage,
as the found footage nature of the channel led people to believe that the events of the
series were real, with people drawing comparisons to Lonelygirl15 for its realism and it being
a more effective horror film series than what was available at the time. As of writing this video there are 92 videos
on the main channel, 87 of which are main entries to the series and they are linked
with videos on another channel known as totheark, a channel that uploaded cryptic videos that
were played a hand in the main story that was ongoing. To this date, Marble Hornets can be seen as
the perfect adaptation of the Slender Man mythos in found footage form, effectively
using YouTube to its advantage and genuinely having people guessing whether the events
of the show were real or not. And then they made it into an actual film
with a budget. We don’t talk about that. Marble Hornets also introduced the idea of
proxies in the Slender Universe: Proxies are humans that fall under the influence of the
Slender Man. Other adaptations used this meaning, but during
early MH, proxies were just seen as violently insane. I don’t want to venture too much into spoiler
territory as it’s a very entertaining series that is best that you probably go into blind,
although it could be a potential topic for another video in the future… the early success
of Marble Hornets led more adaptations to be created such as EverymanHYBRID and TribeTwelve. The early foundations of Slender Man were
now set and it had been rooted in Internet folklore as a classic. But it was still missing something that would
elevate its popularity and make sure that its legacy was here to stay. And that came around in 2012 with the release
of- After many videos and literary adaptations
of the Slender Man, one thing that the legend was missing was a game adaptation. Well we ended up getting that in 2012, when
Parsec Productions decide to create what was known then as just “Slender”. In the game you are shoved into a dark, scary
forest armed with nothing but your flashlight and you are given a simple objective. Find eight pages that are strewn everywhere
around the forest, each of them ominous drawings that are mildly to do with the lore of the
Slender Man. Seems simple enough? Only problem is: the forest is fucking massive. The entirety of Los Santos has absolutely
nothing on how big the forest is in this game. While you’re looking for the notes, you’ll
begin to notice that you’re stalked by a malevolent being that seeks to do unspeakable
things to you if it catches you during the game. This of course is the tall white man that
is somehow in the forest with you… but why can’t you just turn back and go home? The gate is right there. Just go home and have a wank!! There was something about the original Slender
game that seemed to click with people when it first came out in 2012. First things first, unlike many popular horror
games that came out at that time period, such as Resident Evil 6, this game was different! Instead of spawning in a forest packed with
a Kar98K and a pump shotgun and UI on the screen telling you who you’re playing as
in third person view as an objective and a countdown flashes on your screen… the game
decides to scrap all of that and go for a more minimalist approach. In the earliest version of the game, all you
were greeted with was a title card. Then you’re in the game with one objective. Collect all 8 pages. Simple enough right? Wrong! Slendy was not going to let you win the game
that easily, who’d you think you’re fooling? As you continue collecting all of the notes,
some ominous notes start making themselves known. When the game started all you were greeted
with was… silence. There wasn’t any overwhelming gust of wind
that would send you flying through the forest as the trees trash about. All there was were your footsteps and the
odd cricket. As you collected more notes, the music started
working in layers: so the first layer was just a low booming sound. This progresses into a sound of a cat being
thrown onto a piano several times, then the moans of the damned, then the sound of several
guns going off then an aggressive growling noises and then some bongo drums and monkeys
chanting in the distance and then…. Nothing. Until you get caught by Slender and another
cat is kicked onto a grand piano and slammed shut! The point is, with minimal resources, the
game still managed to make itself seem creepy for people who were interested in those kind
of scares. There were many different alternative modes
to the game, such as the coveted $20 mode, where instead of the creepy crashes of the
damned triggering when Slender catches you, he only wants you to give his lunch money
back as Gimme $20 by Ron Brownz plays in the background. This was obviously removed in later versions
due to the DMCA getting a bit angry. There was another mode that was made where
it’s just in daylight. I mean you can make things in broad daylight
scary if you put your mind to it… yeah it just isn’t scary. And there was yet another mod that was created
for the game where you can just shoot Slender Man and the game’s over, you’re done! Now originally when the game came out, if
you were unlucky enough to have your flashlight run out or Slender just whips you around to
take a good long hard look at him… your game crashes to the desktop. Of course this isn’t ideal so in later versions
upon getting captured by the Slender Man, you were given the option to start over again. This then evolved to the game actually having
a menu screen this time complete with load background noises that would put CS:GO to
shame and destroy your speakers. Upon release of the game, it gained a lot
of exposure and popularity because it was pretty much babby’s first horror game on
YouTube, as per usual. People on YouTube loved recording their reactions
and screaming their tits off upon sight of that tall, well dressed figure! The official website for the game actually
crashed because so many people wanted to try it out! But what the game was missing was a story. As far as everyone who played the game understood,
you are in a never ending loop of spawning in a forest with Slender Man constantly after
you. Because of this, Parsec Productions went into
hibernation to work on a new game in the Slender Man mythos. Slender: The Arrival was released about a
year later on March the 26th 2013, and it’s damn near the closest thing you’d get to
a full on Final Fantasy 7 Remake tier remaster of the original source material. It even had a remake of the first game, which
was subsequently named The Eight Pages. Since this game was pretty much what the first
game wanted to be but didn’t have the budget to achieve it, the game had a lot of explaining
to do as to why the hell you were in the forest in the middle of the night looking for pages. Well in The Arrival you play as Lauren, who
is friends with Kate, the main character in the previous game, and after the events of
it, you are visiting Kate who plans to sell her massive mansion in the great old forest
of NOWHERE, MIDDLEOF. What is with horror characters and having
Tories for parents? The house is massive, how can this only be
for one person? Kate has to be selling this at 9k a month,
minimum. Anyway, you visit her house and to your shock,
there’s drawings everywhere! Kate is literally a child though, how did
she get up there to draw those markings, did she get a ladder and draw them on? You continue investigating and you hear a
SCREAM in the woods! Now you gotta go and try and find Kate, and
this becomes the basis for the entire game as you uncover the mystery behind everyone
who seems to have disappeared at the hands of the Slender Man. The game is much more polished than the first
in terms of its aesthetic, but there are many problems with it which admittedly had been
fixed in later builds of the game: the game was too short, repetitive and frustrating. The problem with the game was that everything
kind of boiled down to the same gameplay mechanic over and over and over and over and over again. Collect this, collect that, turn on this,
turn on that. I will give the game and its previous incarnation
the benefit of the doubt as they were arguably the pioneers of this trend, but even then,
it got a little bit tedious every time you loaded into a level and it tells you to go
and flush 12 toilets or something. During the game there is a point in which
you travel into an underground mine, where you’re tasked with turning on some generators
in order to get out, and you are chased by a figure that really seems to hate it when
you flash a light at it. In the game it’s referred to as the chaser,
but this is a callback to what Marble Hornets called a proxy: throughout the rest of the
clues that the game provide, you eventually find out that Kate is now a Proxy of the Slender
Man. That sounds like a really scuffed metal album…
or a cult. It turns out that Kate is a proxy after the
events of the original Eight Pages, with new lines stating that the Slender Man has plans
for her. Now I’m not going to spoil the rest of the
game as despite me lamenting its shortcomings, it’s still a game that should be experienced
once blind, so you can go get it on Steam if you want. Or just watch a playthrough if you’re too
scared to do that. With the release of these two games, Slender’s
popularity exploded on the internet. In 2011, Notch added a new hostile mob to
the game, and when people noticed that it had some similarities to the Slender-Man,
he went and named it the Enderman. People were starving for some tall-man content,
to the point that several spin-offs were created from the Slender Man mythos, the most popular
and well known one being Slenderman’s Shadow. This game was basically Slender on steroids:
instead of one location where you’re collecting 8 pages or notes or something along those
lines; you are given 8 DIFFERENT MAPS, different ways in which to do the same thing over and
over and over and over again and more ways to collect the same notes over and over and
over again. These games were released between August 12th
and October 8th 2012 and they were extremely popular due to the fact that they made for
good YouTube content! Plop a Flip camera in front of your screen
and use your Android front camera to record yourself failing to collect 2 notes on Slender
Mansion for easy YouTube revenue! All the games were the same kind of premise
as the original. You just spawn in a random map and start collecting
notes with the same noise progression as all the games as you start collecting more notes. This specific gameplay type wasn’t really
new to the whole horror genre but it changed a lot, as more game developers began to use
this formula to generate scares such as Baldi’s Basics in Education and Learning, a game that
was created in a game jam competition and was one of those games that looked like it
was a fun, poorly made and lighthearted educational game, but it devolves into an extremely creepy
premise, set in a school and having you as the player character collect 7 Notebooks,
all while answering maths questions along the way. The popularity of that game led to other versions
of the game being created such as Advanced Education with Viktor Strobovski. That game would give anyone PTSD over their
GCSE results as the questions require to think a little bit more about them, and unlike Baldi’s
Basics, you don’t have the luxury of the entire game being paused while you answer
a question, which would lead to this happening. The effect of Slender’s gameplay model had
a very big effect in the horror industry as the minimalist approach to the game, only
giving you one goal with absolutely no help whatsoever, gave rise to more indie developers
making games that use this mechanic in different and unique ways, such as, ironically enough,
The Joy of Creation: Reborn, which was pretty much a Slender copy where you collected items,
but in that game you avoided animatronics: even the last level was set in a forest. Even though Slender was seen as highly influential
in this field, a lot of events would take place, especially in 2014, that would damage
the reputation of the Slender Man and lead it to become more irrelevant and looked down
upon in the public eye. On May 31st 2014. Two 12 year old girls in Wisconsin stabbed
a fellow 12-year-old classmate, Payton Leutner over 19 times. The reason? They wanted to appease the Slender Man. They claimed that they wanted to commit a
murder as the first step to becoming proxies for the Slender Man, as they had read about
it online beforehand. First off, who was giving these girls access
to these sites in the first place, and why were they in that corner of the internet anyway? It should be well known that people on that
corner of the internet aren’t exactly the biggest moral arbiters of truth out there. *COUGH*. Payton ended up surviving the stabbing and
returned to health in September of that year, but the effect that it had on the greater
community was immense, with several documentaries and media outlets using the events to highlight
the dangers of children using the internet, since these girls were of such a young age. The events of the stabbing irreversibly altered
the legend of the Slender Man forever and the community that surrounded the mythos as
people, especially adults began seeing Slender Man as something that could be psychologically
damaging to children who read up on things surrounding him and real life cases of people
going crazy over the so-called effects of the Slender Man. Most of the original websites and documents
of the Slender Man also began to get less and less popular, with a lot of them simply
shutting down because literally no one cared about him anymore. This was until Sony Pictures, the masterminds
behind hits such as Into the SpiderVerse, Hotel Transylvania, Don’t Breathe and The
Emoji Movie announced a Slender Man movie!! This movie would surely bring the public right
back in favour of the Slender Man, an actual proper film adaptation that’s released in
cinemas and not direct to DVD? And it’s not a fan-fiction tier film attached
to Marble Hornets? Count me in, this is gonna be GREAT! The film sucked. If all the events after the unfortunate stabbing
weren’t enough to kill it, the film certainly put the final nail in the coffin. Now I won’t go over the film in detail as
there’s a really good video reviewing the film by Elvis the Alien, which is available
on his channel now, go watch it! But the film was a box-office bomb. If you didn’t know that the film even existed,
then I don’t blame you because it looks like no one did. The film also received reviews that would
make The Emoji Movie shed a tear, as the Verge would later describe the film as being a nail
in the coffin of a dying fandom. Which takes us to today, where Slender is
treated like a meme nowadays: the scare factor of the Slender Man seems to have gone completely
and it’s now hard to take it seriously, with the games being an utter bore-fest and
nothing much going on in terms of the franchise, with the theatrical film being released many
years too late. Despite this, Slender’s influence in the
horror community can’t be forgotten, as the effect that one simple Photoshop had years
and years ago is one that can still be felt today, albeit a lot less intense than how
it was at its peak. This is yet another video that a lot of people
in the comments and on Twitter asked me about and I decided to finally cover the franchise
and character that a lot of people seem to have forgotten nowadays. I’m not completely changing my channel into
an entirely horror related channel, don’t worry, I’m just catching up on the spooktober
content that I’ve apparently missed. If you enjoyed this video be sure to leave
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