So let's begin with the big bad question on everybody's mind.
What the hell is Slender Man?
Is that ever a hard question to answer.
I think we can all agree It's not just some guy in a suit who gets a kick out of scaring the shit out of people, but other than that what can you say about It? Is It an alien? A ghost? A killer meme?
Well first of all, no, no, and hell no. That would be freaking stupid.
No, It's a lot harder to pin than that. One thing I've learned over the years is that you can't take personal accounts as facts. For example I've had a gent pop in a few years ago, and he seemed to think that this thing was some kind of stupid animal; that he was impossible to beat physically but it was a breeze to outsmart him. Then just a few weeks later, I interviewed an old woman who told me that he was inescapable, that he haunted her mind sharing knowledge from a higher power, enlightening her with grand knowledge from beyond or some shit. Both of them were pretty far gone when I spoke to them.
Out of everyone I've met over the years, I've recorded their accounts and nothing ever really matches up just quite right. Everyone's account has a little bit of differences to it. Sure you have the obvious similarities, no face, the suit, freakishly tall, peeping in through your bedroom window, etcetera. But for everything these accounts had in common, there's about five things that are different. What's even weirder are the types of people who he chooses to come after.
Before the internet epidemic, (and now there's a video game too I find. Friggin inspired that is,) the people I encountered were very different. They were from different countries, with different economic backgrounds, different ethnicities, different ages, different personalities; almost nothing in common besides the giant killer octopus man coming after them.
Nowadays there majority of the people I meet are within a certain age range, about thirteen to twenty-nine, all of them from first world countries, kids and young adults who spend time on the internet and get a lot of exposure to this stuff, but even then the only commonality is the age and access to internet. All the other aspects, that being sex, ethnicity, background and personality, show no patterns.
And that's not good news when you're me. There's no written work about Slenderman outside of some questionable German literature that will get you nowhere, and there isn't a way to scientifically study It without getting shot in the head. All I have to go on are the accounts of the stalked, and the autopsies of proxies. And if the accounts are all different, the cause of death are all different, and the victims are all different, it makes it almost impossible to narrow down anything for sure.
Here's a list of commonalities in victims:
* Visions of Slenderman, who is always dressed in a suit, always is tall with spindly or tentacle like arms, and always has no face. It's also important to note that the operator symbol and uneasiness around forests or trees is also consistency.
* Nightmares, and difficulty sleeping. Whether it be from PTSD, extreme anxiety and paranoia, or interference from Slenderman himself is still unclear.
* Extreme emotions. Feelings of anger, irritation, impatience, hopelessness, depression, fear, anxiety, and sadness are all enhanced beyond normal. Even if you're the kind of person who holds in emotions or is relatively calm, your feelings will be a great deal more intense and every little thing, no matter how insignificant, will feel a hundred times worse than it should. This might be another thing from stress, but it's relevant to positive emotions too, especially in proxies. When you feel happy, you feel really happy.
* Susceptibility to illness and severe health conditions. This one I'm a little less certain on, and it seems to pertain more to the very far gone people. The closer you are to death the more physical symptoms of illness will affect you. Vomiting, coughing, trouble breathing, fevers, nosebleeds, hallucinations, fatigue, and in rare cases heart attacks and strokes will occur, even without the victim contracting any disease or having any previous health condition. Whether this is because of the conditions a lot of the stalked are exposed to or is an actual effect that comes from being near It, still isn't clear. The most common is trouble breathing, (isn't that right Danny?)
* Loss of memory and frequent blackouts. I can't tell you how many times I've woken up the other-side of the country in some dirty roadside motel with no idea of how I got there. And you can't just blame it on the substance abuse either. I've been out for months at a time. I don't know what happens in those spaces of time. I don't know where I go or what the hell I do, but that's a problem the stalked are always dealing with. 9 out of 10 of the people I talk to have had this happen multiple times. It's one of those fun things you just have to get used to.
* Death of immediate family, or very close friends. This one has always been the most troubling for me. When I say immediate family or close friends, I am referring to people who are not afflicted or have no prior experience to the Slenderman. The reason they die is by association with the stalked, not because they have ever been exposed to Slenderman, and it is extremely common. If you are one of the stalked, chances are the people close to you are the ones in the most immediate danger. The people you spend the most time thinking about. For a lot of them I think they were murdered by proxies, but that still begs the question why Slenderman doesn't have the proxies murder just any innocent people. Why only the ones with close connections to the stalked? But if you're wondering about that question, then you have to wonder what It's motive is. Is it to kill people, or drive them crazy, or turn everyone into proxies? People usually split on this one. Can't decide if the Slenderman does what It does for it's own survival, or if it has a greater goal in mind. That's one of those things that seems to fluctuate. But taking out a person's family does seem like a very human approach as opposed to an animal one. Making it's victim suffer as opposed to just killing it. It isn't a smart move from an objective point also as it just draws more attention to the Slenderman, but hey, maybe that's the point.
* Supernatural Phenomenon. Here's where shit starts to get teeth grindingly frustrating. Obviously if you got a monster stalking you and screwing around in your id, you're bound to go a little cuckoo. So sometimes you can't take everything you hear at face value. When your friend start shrieking about the walls closing in on them and you know they aren't, it's time to come to some conclusions about your friends mental health. However, once back when I was about seventeen, I passed out and somehow managed to jump from Texas to a forest in the middle of California in the space of a half hour, and after you've lived to see a seven foot tall tentacle man in a suit, you find yourself becoming a great deal more open minded. So I hear talk about a magic trail of leaves that proxies use, or dimension hopping, or trees that bleed, or proxies with magical powers and it's hard to know whether it's the truth or just mindless babbling. The only way I know to be sure is if I'm sober and I see it myself. I know that may sound hypocritical, but seeing is believing folks when you live among maniacs.
*A sudden passion for artistic pursuits. This is a big one, and it's especially bad for people who already had a passion for artistic pursuits. I once let a former painter spend the night in my parlor, only to wake up the next morning to find he'd painted a mural of a forest in his sleep. Kids have their creepy ass crayon doodles, teens have their spray paint operator symbols, spend some idle time with a pen and some hotel stationary and you'll find a very terrifying image you didn't really intend to draw in the first place. It applies to music too, as well as writing or prose. Proxies love their prose. Easy way to tell if your friend is a proxy, is he spouting shit about the looming and prevalent night? Experimenting with some freestyle slam poetry? Using a bunch of metaphors? Yeah, shoot him in the head.
*The need to document. This one falls right in line with artistic pursuits and the idea that the Slenderman is all about spreading the word. It never really occurred to me that writing down my experiences could be a bad thing, but it is. Especially blogging, which fuck me I guess for anyone who gets themselves into trouble because of this shit. It's an urge. All of you have some twitchy fingers right? You want to write stuff down, preferably where everyone can see it. You want to spread the word, to let people know what's going on. But when you do that, you risk exposing someone else to Slenderman. You risk creating another victim. You risk infecting them.
Because when you get down to it, that's what it feels like doesn't it?
That is what It is.
A fatal disease.
Deep in your brain there is an infection. I don't know how it gets there, but trust me it's there, and that is where he comes from. I've opened up proxies and done some poking around and in every single one, stretching from the medulla right into the temporal lobe, was an infection. A black substance that had rooted itself in the brain and grown, tainting the blood there and consuming the brain one piece at a time. From what I could tell it wasn't fatal, the black stuff seemed like it was substituting blood, although I don't know how that's possible. Looking at it, you'd think someone had planted a tree in there. Because that's what it looked like. A tree. I've done one or two autopsies on some dead runners who had died fairly sane, and there were traces of it too. I've tried some surgery once or twice, see if I could remove it, but it always grows back.
This is a theory, but I think that all it takes is some concentration, just thinking and believing in a being to the point he haunts your every waking moment, and your marked. The only way I can think to kill it would be to surgically remove it from a person's memory, but that's impossible. And electroshock therapy is only a quick fix. And it still doesn't explain how a vein on a person's brain brought a being into physical existence. There may be other aspects. I think there's some kind of gene a person can inherit like hemophilia or something, but I'm still not sure. And I don't think the goal is to kill us, I think it's to use us. To bully us through psychological torment into positions where we can accomplish some measly task. Kill the right person, demolish the right items, deliver the correct information, and then it disposes of us. That's not to think we're not in control, I do believe a lot of this is the power of suggestion.
Our feelings and dispositions affect so much of your experience, which would explain why accounts never match up quite right. In some cases, I think this disease is enough to alter the reality around you, to change the laws of physics, if you believe such a thing is possible. But it gets him right in your head where he can manipulate you as you please. Your feelings and goals are your own, but they are being used against you. And whether it's apart of some master plan, or if it's just the normal of affect of a disease is still unclear. But it explains how proxies come to be and it explains why so many people believe with all their hearts that they are doomed.
One last commonality I've recorded.
* Violent tendencies and urges, as well as an apathy to death and killing. I think that one speaks for itself.