Slender: The Arrival launches on PlayStation 4 today, and while the Slender Man phenomenon has died down in the last few years, he's still super creepy. Did you know he was invented on a message board?
While a writer over at Giant Bomb, I profiled the history of Slender Man. You might think he's a product of Hollywood, but Slender Man's origins are, in reality, the Something Awful forums.
Cue the "Create Paranormal Images" thread from the Something Awful message boards in the Comedy Goldmine category from April 30, 2009. User "Gerogerigegege" created the thread.
"Creating paranormal images has been a hobby of mine for quite some time," said Gerogerigegege in a thread that's now, amazingly, three years old. "Occasionally, I stumble upon odd web sites showcasing strange photos, and I always wondered if it were possible to get one of my own chops in a book, documentary, or web site just by casually leaking it out into the web — whether they'd be supplements to bogus stories or not."
The first few pages include your typical hair-raising submissions, including poorly Photoshopped ghosts and distorted faces with too much blur filtering. On the third page, however, user Victor Surge posts two altered photographs with accompanying stories. The faux accounts tell of "The Slender Man," a person, creature or thing that apparently stalks children. It's the fictional context, combined with the creepy photos, that cements "The Slender Man."
But Slender Man really took off when the YouTube channel Marble Hornets got involved. Here's one of its most well-known episodes, which is surprisingly effective for such a low-budget affair:
The channel finally stopped updating nine months ago. Ooooooo.
Slender Man really blew up when the jump scared-filled Slender: The Eight Pages arrived, even if his face reminded you the game was seemingly cobbled together out of a handful polygons.
Slender Man may be played out, but I still love 'em. My time with Slender: The Eight Pages and Slender: The Arrival were both properly scary. They come recommended for horror fans.
Still not sure how there hasn't been a proper Slender Man movie yet!
You can reach the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.