The Slender Man is essentially the Boogey Man for millennials. All I’ve ever really known about it is that it’s a relatively new urban legend, and the internet absolutely obsesses over it. I had NO idea of Slender Man’s connection to such a horrifying real-world crime.
The Slender Man fictional supernatural character that originated as an Internet meme created by Something Awful forums user Eric Knudsen (a.k.a. “Victor Surge”) in 2009. It is depicted as resembling a thin, unnaturally tall man with a blank and usually featureless face, wearing a black suit.
Stories of the Slender Man commonly feature him stalking, abducting, or traumatizing people, particularly children. Fan fiction relating to the Slender Man includes literature, art and video series.
As for the HBO Documentary, Beware the Slender Man, the film will focus on a near-fatal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
On May 31, 2014, 12-year-old Wisconsin residents Morgan E. Geyser and Anissa E. Weier allegedly stabbed a classmate 19 times with a knife in order to impress Slender Man, an unusually tall, faceless internet monster created by a Something Awful forum user. The victim survived the attack (which was planned months in advance), and the now-14-year-old perpetrators, one of whom “filed a plea of not guilty due to mental illness,” are being tried for first-degree attempted murder as adults. “Many people do not believe Slender Man is real,” one of the girls said, according to the criminal complaint. “[We] wanted to prove the skeptics wrong.” Geyser and Weier, who are seeking separate trials, are currently being held in at a juvenile detention facility.
Shot over 18 months with heartbreaking access to the families of the would-be murderers, the film plunges deep down the rabbit hole of their crime, a Boogeyman and our society’s most impressionable consumers of media. The entrance to the internet can quickly lead us to its dark basement, within just a matter of clicks. How much do we hold children responsible for what they find there?