Slender Man Mythos
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The tulpa is manifest. All it takes is that split second of fear when the tree outside your window casts a shadow just right, and he knows.

The Slender Man mythos is best understood as a chaotic writing experiment created by the internet’s collective insanity. It all started with a post by Something Awful user Victor Surge (real name Erik Knudsen) on a thread called “Create Paranormal Images”, and has since expanded into multiple narratives verging on the enigmatic character of the Slender Man. The mythos is unique among horror stories in how entrenched it is in the realm of urban legend and Alternate Reality Games –a postmodern boogeyman for the Internet era. The mission of this wiki is to preserve and restore this context to the mythos and to provide a practical introduction to newcomers through its most influential content. Here you will find stories, images, videos, and discussions of the tall man stalking the backwoods, so that it may find its way into your dreams (and home) as well.

Original Mythos

That the Slender Man originated on Something Awful forums is common knowledge to most, but significantly less appreciated is the remarkable continuity of the free-for-all that was the Original Mythos. Which is to say, continuity in the spiritual sense: even as details on the monster’s behavior and implicit true nature varied widely between stories, the general atmosphere of paranoia, dread, and inexplicable childlike curiosity did not. Having started with the premise of “Create Paranormal Images”, the majority of Original Mythos posts put up a pretense of reality in their chosen medium (e.g. newspapers, journals, government documents); however, some still assumed the form of standard prose, and discussions of the Slender Man as the forum’s creation naturally turned into metafiction. The Original Mythos’ line between fiction and reality was as tenuous as it needed to be, setting a precedent for every series to come.

Marble Hornets

A mere ten days after the Slender Man’s creation on Something Awful, one post on the forum introduced what would become the first and ultimately best-known video series inspired by the mythos. Marble Hornets is a standalone series in the sense that it shares no continuity with any others and its character of the Operator is considered distinct from the Slender Man; however, many agree that it had more of an influence on other series than even the Original Mythos. Whether or not Marble Hornets constitutes an ARG has been the subject of some debate, but it certainly has ARG elements in the form of supplementary (but not plot-essential) coded messages and responses to viewer inquiries –especially the early “J” conversations from Season One that were all but forgotten. However, the series’ restrained acknowledgment of its online format is really to its advantage because it is also a story where glimpses of the “outside world”, where the characters might find safety from the monster and the mental illness and the expertly-utilized abandoned locations, are all but nonexistent.

Just Another Fool

Just Another Fool, the first Slender Man blog, could also be called the first Slender Man ARG due to two journals’ underappreciated role in resolving its notorious cliffhanger ending. The latter journal’s meaning, as explained by the author under the “Source” tab, causes Just Another Fool to have more going for it than its status as essentially the Original Mythos in blog form: it also gets into existential horror, making it the in-between of the Original Mythos and Everyman HYBRID with a unique appeal of its own.

Everyman HYBRID

This series is the least ambiguously an ARG, and one that is so innovative as a story that its place in the Slender Man mythos is practically incidental, although certainly to its advantage. It, and the two series listed below, share continuity with many others in ways that still allow them to stand on their own –as it should be, since Everyman HYBRID’s spin on the Slender Man mythos is metafictional in a way that one would be hard-pressed to emulate. It operates under the pretense that Marble Hornets is fictional and could inspire a group of friends to joke about the Slender Man before encountering it in reality; however, the integration of other urban legends in conjunction with the Slender Man, as well as original lore that plays out in the most beautifully elaborate ways, is what really sells the series. The complete lack of a fourth wall in regards to what the ARG players can receive certainly helps, too.

Tribe Twelve

Long gone are the days where people would cite Marble Hornets’ influence over this series’ beginning as anything more than a footnote, because Tribe Twelve has evolved into one of the most immaculately plotted and paced series in the entire mythos. Its ARG element comes in the form of answers to viewer questions and more frequent acknowledgment of its online format, which allows the original lore it brings in to play upon contemporary fears of surveillance all the more –demonstrating also that being watched is a primal fear, of course. Tribe Twelve has perhaps the best, and certainly most stylized, special effects of any series, serving its visual storytelling well in conjunction with its abundance of nightmarish imagery.

Dark Harvest

This series is a unique hodgepodge of different genres, essentially a loving homage to paranormal found footage, action, conspiracy theorist sensibilities, and cosmic horror simultaneously. It is one where humans are no less unpredictable and frightening than the monster itself, causing all signs of security to steadily vanish over time. Dark Harvest presents not only responses to viewer questions as an ARG element, but also savvy acknowledgment of the online format’s consequences in terms of what information is safe to release.

For more on the Slender Man mythos and this site, see the About page.

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