You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Springfield police open death investigation after woman’s body found

‘Slender Man,’ the horror story behind the Wisconsin stabbing

In the wake of a Wisconsin stabbing that left two 12-year-old girls in custody and another girl fighting for her life, outlets have attempted to explain the fictional creature that allegedly inspired the attack: Who is Slender Man and why were two girls willing to kill for him?

Slender Man, or The Slender Man, first showed up on the website Something Awful in 2009 during a Photoshop contest. The character is often depicted as a slim, faceless man in a suit and tie and sometimes with tentacles. (Via CNN)

The creature came from the mind of Eric Knudsen, who was known on Something Awful as "Victor Surge." Knudsen didn't think his creation would take off.

Knudsen said, "Some people had joked in the thread, 'Wouldn't it be funny if these ended up on paranormal websites?' ... I don't think anyone expected that to happen." (Via TLDR podcast)

But it did, and soon enough Slender Man was showing up all over the web, from sketches to homemade films. 

>> Read more trending stories

This video posted to the YouTube account MarbleHornets has more than 1.3 million views. 

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the two girls that stabbed 12-year-old Morgan E. Geyser 19 times had learned about Slender Man via Creepypasta — a website devoted to scary or unnerving short stories. 

The Journal Sentinel reports, "The suspects believed that 'Slender' ... lived in a mansion in the Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin." The suspects said reportedly told police they had to kill to show their dedication to Slender Man and become his "proxies." 

But how did this clearly fictional Internet meme become an all-too-real urban legend for the suspects of this vicious crime?

An assistant professor of mass media arts at the University of Georgia told The Washington Post it goes back to how humans interact with storytelling traditions: "Horror stories take on a specific significance and importance because they function metaphorically." The paper adds Slender Man is "an infinitely morphable stand-in for things we can neither understand nor control, universal fears that can drive people to great lengths — even, it would appear, very scary, cold-blooded lengths."

That's one of maybe countless explanations that'll be presented as to why Knudsen's Internet creation reportedly led these girls to attempt murder. Meanwhile, an administrator on Creepypasta posted a message to the homepage. 

It reads, "This incident shows what happens when the line of fiction and reality ceases to exist. ... Hopefully, the gruesome crime that happened in Wisconsin will not repeat itself again, and our hearts go out to the families affected by this crime."

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation World

Springfield police investigating body found in duplex as suspicious
Springfield police investigating body found in duplex as suspicious

SPRINGFIELD -- (UPDATE @ 11:05 p.m.) Police are trying to determine whether the woman lives in the duplex where she was found dead. They are also trying to determine her age.  The Clark County coroner's investigator has arrived. Springfield police have opened a death investigation after a woman’s body was found in one side of a duplex...
Professor: ‘10 concerts’ Facebook meme may reveal answer to security questions
Professor: ‘10 concerts’ Facebook meme may reveal answer to security questions

If you’ve opened your Facebook app recently, your feed has likely been flooded with statuses of your friends posting “10 Concerts I’ve Been To, One is a Lie.” A meme prompted the engaging challenge, in which people ask their friends to comment which concerts they truthfully attended. But national security and information experts...
Biopic  in  works  will look at troubled life of Bobbi Kristina Brown
Biopic in works will look at troubled life of Bobbi Kristina Brown

Bobbi Kristina Brown’s life seemed made for television. As the daughter of legendary rhythm and blues singers Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, she was destined for greatness. But her life came to a shocking end in 2015 when she was found facedown in a bathtub. In part, her death was caused by drugs, including morphine and alcohol. Now a made-for-television...
Fire official closes Hotel Dayton because of damage from heavy rains
Fire official closes Hotel Dayton because of damage from heavy rains

The Hotel Dayton has been closed for tonight because of water damage from the heavy rains that hit the area.  Battalion Chief Terry Overton, Harrison Twp., said roof contractors were working and did not anticipate the coming storms.  The heavy rains sent water through the roof, into the ceiling and onto wires in the building, so power to...
Baby revived with naloxone, mom facing charges
Baby revived with naloxone, mom facing charges

A Pittsburgh-area mother is facing charges after police said her 10-month-old ingested heroin and fentanyl. Laurel Hopta, 27, was charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. Police said when they and paramedics arrived at the Aleppo Township home, they saw Hopta standing outside fully dressed in warm clothing, clutching her baby, who...
More Stories