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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...
~ Caption from the original Slender Man post on the Something Awful forums.

Basic Description

The Slender Man is a supernatural creature with nebulously defined characteristics and abilities. In almost every description of the Slender Man, his attributes will vary, sometimes greatly. However, his basic appearance and traits are relatively consistent across different accounts. He generally appears (in modern times) as a tall humanoid creature in a black or grey suit, red or black tie, and white shirt. His face is totally white, completely devoid of facial features. He has no hair, and generally has normal-looking bare hands, albeit with fingers longer and bonier than a typical human. Slender Man has been depicted in imagery and literature at anywhere between 6 and 10 feet tall, depending on the situation, though in video he is usually only around 6-7 feet tall.

He behaves in what might be seen as a passive-aggressive manner, often stalking targets for years at a time before ever attacking. It’s understood that he tends to torture his targets mentally, over long periods of time, using fear and paranoia to drive them to insanity. No one has ever satisfactorily explained the reasoning behind his tactics or the way he chooses his victims, and his purposes and/or motivations have yet to be fully ascertained. He is rarely, if ever, portrayed in a good or benign light and is generally understood to be a malevolent force.

There are two main descriptions of the Slender Man’s behavior. Originally, he was portrayed as being not only malevolent, but also extremely dangerous. He would stalk its targets, impale them on trees, and remove their organs. In comparison, contemporary depictions have turned him into a more passive-aggressive creature. Instead of an active chase, he is more likely to let his prey devolve slowly into madness until they are unable to cope with their situation, often watching from afar as this takes place. If angered, it will charge the aggressor and vanish with its victim to an unknown location. Modern interpretations also show that The Slender Man interacts oddly with electronic equipment and causes massive interference with audio and visual recording devices. Sometimes an individual can determine if The Slender Man is near simply by how certain electronics act. Radios, televisions, and cameras are especially susceptible. How powerful this effect is seems to vary, which could be due either to The Slender Man's state of aggression, or other outside factors that he may or may not be controlling (eg: weather, cell phone signals, etc.)

In almost every contemporary description, The Slender Man is associated with stalking, often for extremely long periods. It is not unusual for a person to be trailed by The Slender Man for hours, days, months, or even years. However, he usually appears when least expected and where the victim is alone and the most comfortable (home, school, work, outdoors, along trusted roads, etc), and often times he also strikes when the target's defenses are down, sometimes to the point where they simply have no will to fight him off any further, making for an easier kill.

One of the most common features of The Slender Man, generally accepted among both fans of the mythos and victims, is that he will target those who reach a certain level of understanding about it. These accounts vary from person to person, but it seems that being a victim of The Slender Man is almost contagious or memetic. One can become his prey by encountering someone he is already chasing. Basic research and even collecting images doesn’t appear to incur its notice, someone has to delve into the mythos in an almost obsessive way.

Canon History and Information

Originally he killed its victims by impaling them on the branches of very tall trees and allowing them to bleed to death. The victim’s organs would be individually removed and placed in plastic bags, which were then returned to their original positions in the body. The victims' corpses did not show any sign of a struggle. However, as time has gone on, it would seem that Slender Man has abandoned this practice.

New accounts of The Slender Man's powers, abilities, and attacks show some drastic differences from his original behaviors. Gone is the original desire to impale targets on trees, his overtly aggressive attitude, and the tendency to target mainly children. He now appears to target people who encountered him as children, often stalking them for years. It does so in such a way that the target is often unaware of his presence for months, years, or even decades. The Slender Man’s stalking behavior is remarkably passive. He torments an individual by repeatedly appearing and vanishing – usually without harming the victim in any physical way. He invades the mental safety of his prey by appearing inside their house, outside their home, on roads they travel, at their place of work when they are alone or ensuring only the victim can see him, or while the target is sleeping. The sporadic and unexpected nature of these manifestations causes fear and unease, which eventually can grow into incredible paranoia. This period of stalking can last anywhere from several minutes to decades. The longer Slender Man stalks a victim, the greater strain on their mental health, which may be one of his goals.

Prolonged stalking causes what has been named “Slender Sickness,” which is both a mental and physical ailment and can cause paranoia, nightmares, coughing and difficulty swallowing, convulsions, exhaustion, vomiting, hallucinations, etc. The physical symptoms naturally affect an individual’s mental health, but it is believed that Slender Man exerts a direct effect on the mind as well. However, this phenomenon and Slender Man’s control over it have yet to be fully explained.

Facts:

  • One of the most powerful new traits Slender Man exhibits is some form of memory inhibition. Like Slender Sickness, this effect can be caused simply by proximity, although it seems to vary as to exactly how powerful. In some cases individuals will forget the past few minutes, but extended contact has led to people awakening in locations they are unfamiliar with, with no memory of how they got there. In some cases, it is believed Slender Man itself will deposit a victim in an unknown location and leave them to awaken after an attack (possibly to continue stalking them further.)
  • On June 8th, 2009, a “’paranormal pictures” photoshop contest was launched on the Something Awful (SA) Forums.[1] 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. Something Awful users soon began sharing their faux-paranormal creations with layered images of ghosts and other anomalies, usually accompanied by a fabricated witness account to make them more convincing. On June 10th, SA user Victor Surge (real name Eric Knudsen) posted two black and white photographs of unnamed children with a short description of “Slender Man” as a mysterious creature who stalked children. On June 11th, 2009, Victor Surge continued to improve upon the myth by adding another picture and a fake doctor’s account

Sources:

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