Withering Walkers

I think it’s kind of a funny coincidence, how you’ve collectively “invented” the slender man myth, when he actually might as well have been based on some really old stories from ancient Norse times.

I should probably elaborate a little on that. Back when I was in high school, my history teacher was a really nice old guy that had been a professor at uni until he quit for personal reasons and moved back to the rural area of Norway where I grew up.

I was a huge geek back then (still am, actually), and I would sit and listen to his old stories for hours and hours. Got good grades, too.

Anyway, he told me about some of the things people believed back before Norway became a christian nation, about the story of Nøkken, the evil shrieking spirit that lived in ponds and rivers and drowned people, and about the lanternmen that would lure you to your death. What kind of stuck to me, though, was his story about the “withering walkers” (closest translation I could manage).

According to him, in old old times, people used to blame the walkers whenever somebody disappeared in the woods, close to the black mounds of earth known as faerie mounds or close to the mountains. They were thought to be “svartalfar”, or black elves/faeries, and that doesn’t mean they were anything like tolkienesque or D&D elves. They were the dark people, monsters that lived underground and only ventured out to steal children and abduct travelers.

If you didn’t do the prerequisite offerings, the walkers would come and take your children from your home, or take them when they were outside playing in the woods. Sometimes, they’d even come for adults. In appearance, they looked like tall, thin people, but completely black. No face, no features, no nothing. Just a tall, thin humanoid figure.

Yeah. So slender men have existed for a long time.

Archaeologists did make a big discovery a few months ago in the northern mountain regions of the middle country though, they found human remains in caves scattered all across the slopes. Carbon dating put them at between 700 AD and 1200 AD, which is really strange, because the vikings never buried people in caves, and as far as we know, caves were never used for anything death-related, and certainly not over that long a time period. Kind of makes you wonder if all those old stories really are pure superstition. After all, the walkers were supposed to “pull you into the earth”… And people have been disappearing from that area for ages. It already has a bad reputation, so why not add weird corpses to the list? Ugh…


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