Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Franchise: The Slender Man Mythos aka: Slender Man
"One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze, taken one week earlier. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as 'TheSlender Man'. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence."
"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..."
There is a figure that does not hide or lurk in the shadows, but stands tall and unseen in the light of day - visible only to its prey as it stalks them. It appears as an extremely tall, thin humanoid in a formal suit with impossibly long limbs and no face to speak of. Its origins are as much a mystery as what - if anything - it wants. Its presence is associated with paranoia, delusions, and even physical illness. Those who see it are often driven to scrawling strange messages and scribbling sketches of a dark, faceless figure - prior to their going utterly insane, or disappearing entirely. The less you know the better, for knowing too much may make you the subject of its interest.Or, if you prefer: The Slender Man is an internet-born character-entity originating from Something Awful, created by user Victor Surge in the "Let's Create Paranormal Images" thread. It soon reached memetic status, spreading through several blogs and videos, and quickly became the horror we know and fear today.There are three main projects that are most commonly associated with the Slender Man mythos:
In addition, there is many a strange story from people who appear to have seen him, as well as photographs by people who have not been heard from since. A more-or-less full list can be found at here; the TV Tropes articles for the works can be found in Recap.The Slender Man Mythos.The Alternate Reality Game site Unfiction has a whole forum dedicated to the mythos, as well as a dedicated stand alone forum at Slender Nation. Reviews of stories can be found at The Slendy Review blog. Non-story information can be found at Encyclopedia Slenderia.compileTRUTH also summarizes some series. An extensive fan site is in the works, created by one of our tropers. Fans can also submit their Slenderman theories to be examined and expanded on via an in-game YouTube channel at FearPlay - Nerdy HorrorAnd now he even has his own video game titled Slender, available for free. Another video game, which is an expansion of the original with a story and more levels, was released in collaboration with Blue Isle Studios. It is called Slender: The Arrival, and is available to buy on Blue Isle Studio's site.A film titled Entity is also pending release.Not to be confused with The Thin Man.
DISCLAIMER: Reading about Slender Man has been known to result in paranoia, loss of sleep, and the death of you and everyone you hold dear. Anyone who continues to read on is fully accepting the risk that a man in a suit may rip out their favorite organs as a result. I don't want to wind up with any lawsuits from people claiming that it's my fault they were killed. Because then we'd need to figure out how a dead person hires a lawyer, and how to transmit funds to the afterlife, and it would just get really messy legally.
Batman Gambit: Zero and several others put themselves in harms way intentionally in combat against Slendy, in the hope of evoking enough emotion from the remaining slenderbloggers that they could agree upon a 'canon' story in which he is injured. It didn't work
Being Watched: He's watching you, always watching! He doesn't have a face, but he's always watching!
ALWAYS WATCHES...NO EYES.
Berserk Button: Shelby calling out the mainstream and a few less but still fairly popular blogs. The shit storm was magnificent and if you really want to see it, well one Blogger took screen caps. Ask him for them anytime ANYTIME
Blue and Orange Morality: Across the different facets of the mythos, it's difficult to say whether the Slender Man can be consistently considered totally evil, to be working toward a discernible goal, or to even be intelligent by our standards. For example, The Tutorial asserts that staying on the third story or up of a building is probably a safe bet, since based on the author's experience Slendy can't comprehend the concept of a human taller than him and will simply ignore said human.
Breakout Character: This is how Slendy started off in the original thread. Another character, the Masked Man (AKA "Masky") has branched off of the Slender Man mythos, primarily from the Marble Hornet videos.
Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: After people in the original thread started giving themselves nightmares with their own stories, this comment was left:
The cure to the phobia you guys have given yourselves should be a sequel series of images showing the Slender Man going through everyday activities, such as mowing his lawn, walking the dog, sitting down to breakfast with the family and eating fried human flesh.
By the Eyes of the Blind: Slendy is often portrayed as invisible to the naked eye unless you are his target, although he can usually be picked up on video.
Child Eater: At least, he seems to prefer them in his initial incarnation. Most blog and vlog iterations of the mythos, however, seem to imply that he's indifferent as to who he hunts/eats.
That said, even though most b/vlog iterations seem to limit him to victims in their mid-twenties, it's not uncommon for one or more members of the group to have a childhood connection to Slendy, returning his focus to children somewhat (albeit, now grown-up). For example:
Marble Hornets has Tim, who was not only seemingly committed for paranoia, suicidal tendencies, and seizures, but was trapped in a hospital fire, yet miraculously survived. All of these are Slender Man calling cards.
Everyman HYBRID, at the very least, has Steph, whose immediate family were murdered by him, leading her to feel stalked by him ever since. It's also been hinted at, however, that all of the main characters have a childhood connection.
Tribe Twelve has practically every major character. Both Mary Asher and Milo had regular, or semi-regular, contact with Slender Man during childhood. Additionally, Noah was revealed not only to have been observed by the collective as a child, but to have survived a house fire when he was younger. Whilst the house fire is suspicious enough on it's own, Noah's parents mention seeing someone suspiciously Slender-like walking through the rubble. Noah's grandfather, Karl, also grew up in a German community near the Black Forest that used folktales of the "Great Man", who supposedly lived in the woods, to frighten their children into obedience. It should be noted, however, that Karl did not have a direct encounter with Mr. Tall, Dark and Faceless until adulthood.
Some of the ARGs, such as The Tutorial, claim this is the cause the Slender Man existing in the first place.
Meta-example too. Some forumgoers began wondering if their collective imagination could manifest Slender Man to reality.
Some characters believe this is the way to kill him.
This is actually how Slenderman appeared in the setting of Glimpse The Beyond RPG. Magi theorize that all appearances of Slenderman are actually Tulpas, paranormal creatures that are invisible and incorporeal in their basic form, but can become visible and corporeal by taking the form of legendary creatures, Slenderman being one of them. If a player does some metagaming, he or she can see that game mechanics definitely make this possible, since A) a legendary creature must have between 150 and 200 General Points for a Tulpa to take its form, and B) Slenderman has 170 General Points.
Combat Tentacles: Slendy is sometimes depicted with tentacles supplementing or replacing his arms.
Continuity Lockout: Starting to get there, what with the increasing number and interconnectedness of the various works. Marble Hornets, the major codifier of the Mythos, is a notable exception, as it tells its story in a minimalist manner without referencing any other sources.
Daylight Horror: Many vlogs/photoshops take place during the day, making the mythos even creepier in some cases.
Decoy Protagonist: Frequently the narrator of the ARG will disappear or meet a bad end, leaving another to figure out the first blogger's password to pick up the torch. Sometimes it's a family member or a close friend, or someone that had been leaving a lot of posts in the comments section. Occasionally the new protagonist is a former antagonist.
Potentially lampshaded with the second one - within its series, that theory is reiterated here and another character in the same series provides a very different theory shortly after. Even within the writer's canon, the explanations vary wildly, leaving us ultimately with no real answers at all and showing this trope at work even as the characters are discussing the Slender Man in-universe (the prominence of the theme of the Slender Man as a nihilistic metaphor within this particular mini-canon suggests that this is a deliberate attempt to show explanation of the Slender Man as futile).
He may have a (still-evil) opposite in The Rake, however. It's not yet clear whether or not they are enemies though.
See the aforementioned "Masky" under Breakout Character...he could be a good or at least less evil counterpart to Slendy, as he seemingly hasn't caused anyone real harm yet, and has in fact removed them from dangerous situations.
The Fair Folk: One of the earliest stories of what Slendy may be; that he's a malevolent fairy that lives in the forest and preys on naughty children. Several theories presented during FearPlay also speculate on the subject, including the possibility that Slenderman may, in fact, be an entire forest.
Faux Affably Evil: One could argue that his penchant for dressing in suits qualifies him.
Filler: Frequent in all the video series and blogs, but also justified: the bloggers are putting up all the mundane stuff from their lives or of their projects, except Slender Man just so happened to get involved. This is becoming less common now that more blogs are starting with the protagonist already aware that they're being stalked by The Slender Man.
Foil: The Slender Man is often considered to be the foil to the standard Haunted House. While the Haunted House is usually in a more rural setting as something stationary and traps its victims, The Slender Man is often found in an urban environment and stalks his victims. Further analysis here.
Also from Marble Hornets: Video distortion occurring whenever Slendy or one of his agents is close at hand, sometimes going as far as happening whenever he comes into frame (it's a useful tool since distortion can be used to hide many of the obviously fake aspects of whatever prop or costume is being used in that series).
The Operator Symbol, once again originating from Marble Hornets, which has become a central symbol in the mythos.
Slendersickness: Warning, prolonged exposure to Tall Dark and Faceless can lead to chronic respiratory problems and related symptoms.
Some mysterious (often masked) yet apparently human figure related to Slender Man in some way (whether or not he is an actual agent of Slendy is debatable since Marble Hornets never explicitly states that this is the case). Extra points if the series is a vlog and the figure in question creates a separate Youtube account for posting video responses.
Unsure if this was worked out beforehand, but when Nessa of Enter Light was taken by proxies and eventually turned into a slenderpuppet, several other bloggers immediately began posting about being attacked.
Foreshadowing: If any character gives a brief blurb about childhood fears or skeletons in the closet, expect Slendy to be directly connected to all of them.
This is an invoked given, what with Slender Man's behind-the-scenes style making it where both the characters and readers don't realize that he's involved in certain situations until much later.
There's also the frightening implications that come up in blogs with an Unreliable Narrator, namely, that the protagonist that we've gotten so attached to has been manipulating us into viewing things from his or her warped perspective.
Go back really far, and you get the gurumuka of the Australian Aborigines on Groote Eylandt, sort of a cross between Slendy and a vampire... which is unnerving when you consider the number of Slenderblogs set in Australia, as well as the purported Australian origins of the first two photos.
There's been several Slender Man inspired crimes recently. One of them would, in an ordinary blog or vlog, imply the attacker is turning into a Proxy. Slender Man is theorized to have been created through the Tulpa Effect, AKA the 'Make Lots of Stories and Think About It A Lot' Effect. Put two and two together, you get... four.
Genre-Busting: While the majority of stories in the Mythos follow the standard Cosmic Horror Story style, a growing number have begun to mash together genres which one wouldn't normally associate with Slender Man; for example:
Hazardous Water: The Slender Man often has some form of connection to water. Can You See The Words plays it the hardest by far—every reference to water is struck out (when asked about this by a reader, the protagonist simply replies with something vague about correcting mistakes) and the blog links to worldwide news reports on floods.
Tribe Twelve references this in the video where Noah flies to meet the Hybrids. On the plane, he shows that it is raining outside, and says it makes him nervous... then Slendy teleports into the plane. However, Noah does not recall this (which isn't shocking considering the nature of Slendy's doings) but what IS notable is that nobody else seems to remember, either. That part isn't as normal. We heard them all screaming and panicking, so they obviously saw him... assuming he was really there.
There is a belief among many that the Slender Man actually has a negative connection with water. Usually, one couldn't hurt the Slender Man, but there have been cases in which people could attack him successfully. This has always been near a body of water.
Heroic BSOD: Main characters often suffer breakdowns due to particularly devastating encounters with the Slender Man.
Make It Count mentioned Rocks State Park in Maryland as a location, and also talks about the lack of cell service. A reader who lives in the area vouched for the accuracy of this.
Hollywood Atlas: Averted, as the authors of the mythos set their stories where they live and write it specifically to be as normal and real as possible. None of the Australian stories feature stereotypes of any kind, and the one set in England barely even acknowledges their location.
Invisible to Normals: More than one ARG has implied that only Slendy's targets can actually see him in real time; however, he will always appear on digital video unless he, say, breaks the camera like in Seeking Truth. This leads to protagonists reviewing video and wondering why they didn't notice the surprisingly obvious ten foot-tall faceless man when they actually shot said video.
A variation shows up in one of the earlier Marble Hornets (Entry #12): The crew filming near the Tower see Slendy standing in the open but none of them seem to notice how he's eight feet tall, the fact that he has no face, or the way his arms dangle in the most chilling fashion.
This could be a reference to earlier versions of the legend stating that his face is different to each person seeing him, but recordings only show a blank spot where his face should be, and occasionally that his height doesn't seem to register immediately. They didn't notice because he looked normal to them at the time.
Word of God on both actually says the antagonists are anti-Slendies. This is more apparent in Lake Reflections, where the Tall Man is ultimately a benevolent influence on the protagonist's life.
Logic Bomb: According to Wild Mass Guessing, he only exists if you're thinking about him. Now try not to think about him. However, he can only be seen by those who already know him. So how did people get to know him in the first place? Before its apparent demise, A (of A Lack of Lexicon/Defining?) suggests that the creator of Slender Man made something similar to the Slender Man, which it decided to use as the source of its power, or that it was a coincidence.
If interprented with Carl Jung's theory of the collective subconcious, Slenderman has always existed in our minds and the person who created the Slenderman drew from that subconcious unknowingly and unwittingly unleashed him!
Zeke and Noah guest-starred in the Everyman HYBRID chatroom on Sunday, March 20, along with EMH boys Jeff and Evan.
Ron from Drew's Box 'o' Stuff, Pete from Search and Reveal, Clarice from Unchained, Slice from Live in the Light, Yggdrasil Core/Hellfire from Copper and Crome, Black Leaf and Al(x)nw from The Land of Black Leaves and Casting Aside My Sins, and Liam and Johnny from Bordorline all teamed up for one hell of a crossover in Febuary and March.
Here's this diagram◊ courtesy of an Unfiction forum member. Best part about that diagram? For all it's glory and complexity, it's still a SIMPLIFIED version of the crossover web. You'd need several pages to keep track of every single minor crossover that has occurred within the Mythos.
Motif: The tensor product symbol (generally called the "Operator symbol" in mythos-related contexts) is a calling card for the Mythos and is typically written as (X) in text. Some in-universe characters (such as M) theorize that it's a Slendy-repellent, while others think it calls him towards them.
Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Some of the stories state that Slendy only goes multi-armed when he's about to go in for the kill. So basically, if you see him with more than two arms, you're screwed.
Although, he has been known to use his multiple appendages to scare his victims.
Multiple-Choice Past: There's no 'definitive' version of the creature or its back story, which the creators encourage.
Nightmare Fetishist: Even though Slender Man was made to be terrifying, he still has quite a fan base. In-universe, this can be how Slendy ensnares his victims. "Ooh, this is a pretty creepy meme, I'm going to read more..."
No Ending: Some of the blogs/video-blogs end quite abruptly, occasionally with the implication that Slendy nabbed the blogger.
Nothing Is Scarier: In many of the stories, we see the result of the Slender Man's presence instead of witnessing the events firsthand.
Numerological Motif: Strings of identical digits seem to hold some significance with Slender Man. For example, in Entry #26 of Marble Hornets, he appears on camera in Alex's house on April 4 (4/4), 44 seconds after the clock strikes 4:44, and in Entry #29, he appears at the 55 second mark in the 66 second long video. In Just Another Fool, its implied that he attacks Logan at 11:11 on November 11. In Tribe Twelve, in the 'Night Recording' entry, Noah wakes up coughing at 3:33 on the dot, and in the 'dot dash' video from Everyman HYBRID, the old woman that Jeff visits to obtain information lives in room 222, and in that same audio file Jeff discusses a fire that occurred on some day at 5:55.
Oh, Crap: The feeling any character gets when they realize that Slender is watching or nearby (usually both).
Online Alias: Some of the characters use their "real names", but many of them stick to aliases. J, M and Zero come to mind the most.
Ominous Fog: In one of the early stories, Slender Man's touch could melt victims into a mist... and, in fact, was the source of the mist clinging to his home forest. Several of the initial pictures of SM have him partially hidden by fog.
Organ Theft: Well, actually, it's more like Organ Borrowing And Haphazardly Replacing.
Plaguemaster: First seen in Tribe Twelve and then later in other blogs, people associated with Slendy tend to come under an odd Sickness, the symptoms of which include coughing, bleeding from the mouth, nose, or eyes, vomiting, disorientation, potential black outs, and potentially fevers. how this happens is unknown.
Playing with Fire: Places that have to do with Slendy tend to inexplicably go up in flames.
Real After All: Or Is It? - There are quite a lot of similarities between the Slender Man and the "Smiling" or "Grinning" Man mythologies. Although the Grinning Man/Indrid Cold has his own mythology, it is possible that the post on Something Awful was inspired a bit by it.
There is quite a large variety of ghost stories you can find with varying levels of similarity to the Slender Man. It can get pretty unsettling the more you find.
There are eroticnovels with the Slender Man as the hero out there. Sleep tight.
Rule of Scary: Beyond being a suit-wearing, too-tall, too-thin humanoid with enormously long arms, there's little consistency to what Slender Man is. For instance, the earliest incarnations had his face vary from viewer to viewer and depicted him forcibly amassing a cult. Neither are common now. Nobody really cares—if it's scary as hell, go with it!
Although Slendy and Phantasm's Tall Man aren't too similar beyond the names and suits, the original Something Awful poster did use the latter as a template when Photoshopping his images. Despite noted similarities, said poster had never heard of the Chzo Mythos's Tall Man.
Yggdrasil allusions also pulled up a House of Leaves reference in Just Another Fool, namely Logan living on Ash Tree Lane. Several other short stories also involve a lot of House of Leaves references (such as A Lack of Lexicon, which has a ton of references) as well, likely due to the appeal that the work has to lovers of the mythos.
Slice of Life: Due to the nature of journals and blogs, a good portion of the AR Gs and stories lean toward this. Granted, the slice of life includes the occasional bit of weirdness or horror, but most of them still need to work, shop, and interact with people. It could be argued that part of the draw is watching how a regular person goes about his life with addition of the paranormal.
The Fear Mythos, which maintains that the Slender Man is only one of many different monsters that terrorize humanity.
The Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name forums created a less scary version known as Slendercow. It is quite Narmy, and its one true weakness is Sunny D. (These forums are quite cracky, and thus this almost makes sense.)
Surprise Creepy: A popular method for developing Slender series is starting out the series in question a a normal (and generally boring) blog or vlog. After a few entries (sometimes foreshadowed by the presence of mythos elements or not), slendy will make his grand entrance and things will go downhill from there.
Surreal Horror: The fact that the central figure of the Mythos is a tall faceless guy in a business suit is surreal as is, but the numerous works tend to get very weird once Slendy starts driving people insane.
Tulpa: This is a fairly common theory about Slender Man's origin.
Unreliable Narrator: Very common. But did the Slender Man drive the narrator crazy, or was he already crazy and using Slendy as an excuse? And then come the cases where the narrator isn't so much crazy as just lying.
Urban Legend: Not deliberately manufactured so much as a creepypasta which took off so wildly (surprising even the original author) that many later listeners/readers would not know its origins despite full explanation being only a few Google searches away.
Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: a distressingly common Feature Of qUite a few of the sleNDer blogs is to have whoever is tYping Only capitalize the letters that can be Used to spell out whatever message they want readers to decipher.
A Rainbow Life actually has the blogger Lampshade this, stating something along the lines of "oh, sorry for the random capitalizations, my fingers keep slipping."
When Trees Attack: His tallness and multiple arms are reminiscent of a tree. In some interpretations, he actually is a tree impersonating a man, though the inverse is just as likely true since most of the photoshops have him in a forest surrounded by long spindly trees. In Marble Hornets, one of the characters tells a story about criminals being tied to trees and kept alive for years as the growing branches stretch their limbs out of their sockets, implied to have some connection to Slendy.
Word Salad Horror: While the Slender Man himself is mute, totheark and many protagonists that get driven insane frequently speak with surreal, ominous gobbledygook.
Your Mind Makes It Real: The Slender Man. The more you think about him, the more likely he'll appear. To you. And no one will know. Have fun!
you finished Reading the page? good for yoU. everythiNg is fiNe. just don't lOok out your windoW.