Encyclopaedia of the Impossible: The Slender Man


Previously: Robert the Doll.

I know, I know – Slenderman? Really? Not unlike Jude Law circa 2004, this particular creature has gotten a little overexposed in recent years. But given that he’s ultimately the reason The Ghost in My Machine exists, I think he’s earned an entry in the Encyclopaedia.

I first wrote about the Slender Man – it was only later that the two words melded into one, becoming a proper name in the process – in 2011. The inaugural entry for the “Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren’t” series I ran on Crushable, it was the beginning of a rabbit hole I fell down and from which I have yet to emerge. The mythos has grown considerably since then; in fact, it’s gotten so big as to be unwieldy and – I think, at least – a little clumsy. But even so, it’s only fitting that he make another appearance here.

Type: PE (Preternatural Entity).

Period/location of origin: Conflicting. According to one account, subject first appeared on the Internet on June 10, 2009; according to another, the first piece of documented evidence dates from an unknown location in 1983; and yet other accounts claim subject has existed since time immemorial. Determination: Inconclusive.

Appearance: Subject appears to be a tall, thin, male humanoid dressed in a black suit. At first glance, subject may be mistaken for a businessman. Further examination reveals its height and build to be unnaturally extreme; additionally, what look to be arms may in fact be tentacle-like appendages. Suit may be indicative of subject’s attempt to blend in with its surroundings. Subject has no discernable facial features.

Modus operandi: Subject has been known to appear several days prior to the disappearance of a child or children; this appearance, however, may not be noticed until after the fact, evinced in subject’s presence in photographs taken at the time. Subject’s victims, however, are not limited to children; adults may be targeted in a complicated and exacting process involving the removal of internal organs, which are then bagged in plastic before being replaced in the body cavity. The bodies may then be found impaled on tree branches.

Targeting by subject may not result in immediate death for victims; frequently, subject leaves no trace of attack, simply spiriting away victims to an undisclosed location. In these cases, the ultimate fate of victims remains unknown.

Subject displays stalking behavior; once targeted, victims may witness subject watching them on roads, at their place of employment, or inside or outside their home. Subject may also observe victims while they sleep. In some cases, subject may select victim at an early age, follow victim throughout his or her life, and attack once victim is grown. In the period preceding an attack, victims may present symptoms of an influenza-like illness, including excessive coughing, difficulty in breathing, nosebleeds, and mild amnesia.

Subject’s method for the selection of victims is unknown. Attacks appear unprovoked, although it is worth noting that subject is especially attracted to victims suffering from mental illness.

Initially subject was believed to have operated alone; however, general opinion now believes that subject may be in league with one or more entities. Subject may also employ humans as puppets or proxies to act in the material world based on its wants and needs.

Containment: Unknown. All attempts to contain subject have been unsuccessful.

Additional notes: Many theories exist regarding subject’s origins. Some believe subject may have some connection a variety of folktales and legends; these legends range from German myth of Der Grossman and the Welsh story of The Faceless One to the Japanese ghost variety noppera-bō  and the Babylonian demon alû. Others believe subject may be a result of the Tulpa Effect, in which its creation and continued survival depend on the collective thoughts of separate individuals. Still others maintain that subject functions according to quantum mechanics.

Electronics may malfunction in the presence of subject; in particular, footage recovered from video cameras used to film subject frequently contains significant audio and visual distortion. This distortion may be witnessed in such video accounts as Marble Hornets, EverymanHYBRIDMLAndersen0TribeTwelve, and DarkHarvest00.

Subject also bears a striking resemblance to a creature featured in an award-winning episode of a popular television show from the late 1990s centering around the exploits and adventures of a teenaged monster hunter.

Recommendation: Subject is to be avoided at all costs. If you suspect you or someone you know has been target by subject, seek assistance from a qualified person or persons immediately. Prepare for the worst.

Good luck.


Recovered Photographs from the Stirling City Library Blaze.

The Slender Man Wiki.

Known Your Meme: Slender Man.

How the Internet’s Creepiest Meme Mutated from Thought Experiment to Hollywood Blockbuster.

[Photo via]


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