It began in 2009 with a few doctored images on the internet as part of a photoshop contest to create paranormal images. The creation of Victor Surge a.k.a Eric Knudsen, the images and accompanying text were such a perfect representation of a paranormal myth that they spawned threads, cosplay,”creepypasta” fan fiction, and even video games.
In 2014, after the Slender Man myth had taken on a life of its own in the ether of the internet, several attacks, all carried out by teenage girls 12-14, were blamed on the girls’ exposure to the myth. In early May 2014, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weie lured their “friend” Payton Leutner into the woods, stabbed her 19 times, and left her for dead. When questioned, the girls claimed they believed the Slender Man to be real and had carried out the attempted murder in order to appease him.
The new documentary will tell the story of what led to the terrible events of that May day, and will include interviews with the accused girls’ families.
One interview that is likely to be absent would be that of Knudsen. The accidental creator of the Slender Man mythos has said little in response to the attack, stating simply through a representative, “I am deeply saddened by the tragedy in Wisconsin and my heart goes out to the families of those affected by this terrible act.” Knudsen also stated that he would not discuss the incident further.
Like many artists before him, Knudsen will have to live with the heavy knowledge that someone took his work too far. This incident is far from the first time young people have been inclined to violence that would later be blamed on works of fiction.
Beware the Slenderman airs January 23, 2017, on HBO.