This story is so full of WTF, I almost don’t know where to begin. Two 12-year-old girls — their names have been published elsewhere, but as they are minors, I am choosing not to — are accused of stabbing another 12-year-old girl 19 times and then leaving her for dead in a Wisconsin woods. CNN said the victim had to literally “crawl to her own rescue” and was found on the side of a road by two passerbys on bikes, who called the police. The little girl immediately told the police who was responsible for the attack, and the two accused girls were taken into custody. According to police, the two had been planning the attack on their friend/classmate for months, with the intention of killing her, in the hopes of impressing someone called “The Slender Man.”
According to Wikipedia, the myth/legend/lore of Slender Man “originated as an Internet meme created by Something Awful forums user Eric Knudsen (a.k.a “Victor Surge”) in 2009.” “Slender Man” is an example of what those in the internet horror world call “creepypasta,” which is “a short story posted on the Internet that is designed to unnerve and shock the reader.” Wikipedia goes on to explain:
[Slender Man] is depicted as resembling a thin, unnaturally tall man with a blank and usually featureless face, and wearing a black suit. The Slender Man is commonly said to stalk, abduct, or traumatize people, particularly children…The Slender Man is described as very tall and thin with unnaturally long, tentacle-like arms (or merely tentacles) which it can extend to intimidate or capture prey. It has a white, featureless head and appears to be wearing a dark suit and tie. The Slender Man is associated with the forest and has the ability to teleport.
Aleks Krotoski, a commentator for BBC Radio 4, called the Slender Man “the first great myth of the web”. The success of the Slender Man “legend” has been ascribed to the chaotic, ambiguous nature of the Internet. While nearly everyone involved understands on some level that the Slender Man is not real, the Internet offers up a mess of conflicting perspectives, blurring the boundary between fiction and reality and obscuring the character’s origin, thus lending it an air of authenticity. Victor Surge (real name Eric Knudsen) has commented that many people, despite understanding that the Slender Man was created on the Something Awful forums, still entertain the possibility that it might be real.
Apparently, the little girls found out about Slender Man on CreepyPasta.com and believed him/it to be real. By sacrificing their friend, the girls allegedly believed they would be able to join Slender Man’s “realm.” CreepyPasta.com posted a statement in light of this upsetting story, expressing their condolences but also noting ”it’s hard to justify pinning blame on an entire genre of writing.”
The victim miraculously survived the brutal attack and is recovering. The two accused attackers are being charged as adults and are currently held on “preliminary charges related to attempted first-degree intentional homicide.”