Slender Man inspired preteens to kill? Website defends content
The website that officials said helped inspire two Wisconsin girls accused of stabbing a classmate brushed off criticism on Tuesday, condemning the attack as an “isolated incident.”
A 12-year-old Waukesha girl who survived being stabbed 19 times was found Saturday by a bicyclist, police said. Shortly afterward, two 12-year-old classmates were arrested and told police they were inspired by a creepy, fictional character known as Slenderman on the website Creepypasta Wiki, authorities said.
According to the website, “a creepypasta is a short story posted on the Internet that is designed to unnerve and shock the reader,” and Creepypasta Wiki is a user-edited database of those stories, similar to Wikipedia.
“I’m going to make myself loud and clear: ALL WORKS PRESENTED ON THIS WIKI AND OTHER SITES (INCLUDING SLENDERMAN ... ) ARE FICTIONAL STORIES AND CHARACTERS,” a site administrator identified as Sloshtrain wrote Tuesday after the attack drew national attention to the website.
“This wiki does not endorse or advocate for the killing, worship, and otherwise replication of rituals of fictional works,” the administrator wrote, also offering condolences to the families affected by the attack. “There is a line of between fiction and reality, and it is up to you to realize where the line is. We are a literature site, not a crazy satanic cult.”
Both alleged attackers have been charged as adults with attempted murder. Police said they had been plotting the attack against their classmate for months. The victim was found by the cyclist after crawling for help.
An attorney for one of the suspects said he was concerned about her mental health and would repeat his request for the court to move her from juvenile detention to a mental health facility, the Associated Press reported.
Anthony Cotton said Tuesday that he would meet with his client later in the day, but that based on what he knew thus far he believed she has serious mental health problems and should be in a hospital, the AP reported. He said a judge rejected his request to move the girl Monday.
The affidavit for the charges was not immediately available, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel obtained a copy, which included a description of one of the girl’s statements to police:
"[Suspect Anissa E. Weier] told police that Slender Man is the ‘leader’ of Creepypasta, and in the hierarchy of that world, one must kill to show dedication. Weier said that [fellow suspect Morgan E. Geyser] told her they should become ‘proxies’ of Slender Man — a paranormal figure known for his ability to create tendrils from his fingers and back — and kill their friend to prove themselves worthy of him. Weier said she was surprised by Geyser’s suggestion, but also excited to prove skeptics wrong and show that Slender Man really did exist.”
Slenderman doesn’t actually exist, of course, and is relatively young as far as creepy urban legends go.
According to the Internet sleuths at Know Your Meme, the character was created in 2009 as part of a Photoshop contest on an Internet message board.
The concept of Slenderman went on to have lasting power at the Creepypasta Wiki, which hosts photos and anecdotes purporting to show the creepy figure popping up at historical sites over the years.
Along with stories about ghosts and UFOs, these sort of creepy characters are a staple among the gothic underbelly of the Internet, and — if Creepypasta Wiki’s Twitter followers are any indication — are pretty popular with young people.
“This should be a wake-up call for all parents,” Russell P. Jack, Waukesha’s police chief, said in a statement Monday. “Parents are strongly encouraged to restrict and monitor their children’s Internet usage.”
In response to similar criticism, Sloshedtrain cited the site’s popularity as a defense.
“These are the same people who think violent video games help create mass murderers, because it is convenient to blame and point fingers,” the administrator wrote, adding: “Something like this was bound to happen, considering the size of the Creepypasta community. All it takes is one person to do something insane and radical in the name of someone or something.”
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