The medium is the message”- Marshall McLuhan
Recently, I have fallen into a bit of a Slenderman groove. I am sure this will be met with a lot of eyerolling because I am about four years late to this party but as a creation, Slenderman is a fascinating phenomenon.
Despite being visually creepy, Slenderman highlights the strength and weaknesses of the Internet simultaneously. In fact, I think Slenderman is a subversive masterpiece in terms of monster creation. Of course when Victor Surge first created him, he was just a creepy picture with minimal back story. Now he is a cultural phenomenon and terrorises the dreams and thoughts of many. What makes Slenderman a fascinating study is that he is the the personification of how modern myths work. At the core of Slenderman, most of us know he is created. You can trace back his history to specific posts and websites. The internet ruins the myth but at the same time, the Internet gives it an authenticity and connectivity that continually builds upon it.
To first understand the Slenderman myth lets look at how he was created. Know Your Meme chronicle :
On June 8th, 2009, a “’paranormal pictures” photoshop contest was launched on the Something Awful (SA) Forums. The contest required participants to turn ordinary photographs into creepy-looking images through digital manipulation and then pass them on as authentic photographs on a number of paranormal forums.
His original posts can be found here at SomethingAwful. So there that is. Undeniable proof that Slenderman as we know him is an internet creation. There is some contention about Der Großmann and something that Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw created, but Slenderman as we know him is a fake and started here. The two photoshopped photographs came with captions that stated:
“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.