“Boogeyman” can mean many different things to many different people. It may be an undefined horror; maybe an anthropomorphic burlap sack filled with worms, it can even be a really bad movie. But the common theme is that it’s something very frightening, particularly because it preys on children. Tasty, tasty children.
I picked this guy here, Slenderman, not because he scares me; on the contrary, he’s pretty interesting. While most myths and legends arise organically, usually through some misunderstanding or misperception coupled with overactive imaginations, Slenderman here is 100% artificial and man-made: a child of the internet. In 2009, as part of a forum contest to see who could create the creepiest picture, a guy calling himself “Victor Surge” posted two subtly doctored and otherwise innocent photos, along with some descriptive text blurbs. For one of them:
“One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as “The Slender Man”. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence. – 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.”.
You can check out the whole story here and here. Since that beginning, the Slenderman myth has been fleshed out, and a past has been created for it, including articles, pictures… it’s really quite impressive.
I feel good horror has quite a lot of subtlety to it. People jumping out at you with a chainsaw isn’t horror – it’s shocks. The best horror is the stuff that leaves you on edge, but you’re not quite sure why. The kind where you think you just saw a shadow move, but you’re not sure. And that’s one of the reasons I like Slenderman: the myth may be artificial, but there’s a definite element of genuine, subtle creepiness to it.
Question for readers: I was hesitant about adding the baby rattle – do you think it was too much? Or maybe too little?