Coincidently on the first day of E3 on Monday, June 9, I reported on an incident that involved two young girls stabbing their friend 19 times in order to appease the fictional monster Slenderman.
Even though it’s been two weeks or so since the actual incident happened (which was initially reported on Monday, June 2), it still hasn’t quite left my mind. Thankfully, last I checked, the girl who was stabbed was in a stable condition as of the day of the incident itself, and was released from hospital on Friday of that week.
Frighteningly enough it could’ve very easily gone the other way, as it was reported that a major artery near the victim’s heart was missed by a mere millimeter.
The two perpetrators, according to the report, were trying to become “proxies” of the fictional beast after reading up on it on creepypasta.wikia.com, a website about fictional horror stories and legends.
The two girls had planned to run away with Slenderman to his “forest mansion” in the Nicolet National Forest after killing their friend.
As news of the incident arose, an administrator of creepypasta.wikia.com itself published a statement on the matter, reiterating that Slenderman--and all works of creepypasta.wikia.com--are the stuff of fiction.
“This incident shows what happens when the line of fiction and reality ceases to exist,” the administrator wrote. “When a person truly believes that Internet short stories are cold hard facts. When a person attempts to replicate works of fiction to the point others are harmed.
And for this,” they continued, “I'm going to make myself loud and clear: ALL WORKS PRESENTED ON THIS WIKI AND OTHER SITES (INCLUDING SLENDERMAN, JEFF THE KILLER, BEN, SONIC.EXE, ETC) ARE FICTIONAL STORIES AND CHARACTERS.”
It was this statement that got me thinking about the fictional works we create today being possibly misconstrued by the younger generations of tomorrow.
Everyone likes a good fictional story, regardless of its genre or content, but the line between fiction and fact is something that’s seemingly becoming thinner and thinner in light of just how well fictional stories are told, as well as an individual’s ability to interpret said fiction.
The older generation of the internet, say for example the peeps who were born in the 80s and 90s, may know that works like Slenderman are of course just that: fiction. It makes for good reading I’m sure, but the monster is nothing more than a made up character.
The birthplace of Slenderman was on the Something Awful forums back in 2009, and we are aware that its introduction into videogames and fictional horror stories has catapulted its popularity throughout the past five years.
This stabbing incident is the first widely reported violent attack in an attempt to murder another human being in reference to Slenderman since the character’s inception. Another incident was reported to have happened shortly afterwards, as a mother claimed that her daughter attacked her in reference to Slenderman.
As younger generations are becoming introduced to the wonderful and bastardized realm of the internet, a lot of the “in jokes” and works of fiction and whatnot will be lost on them, and what we know as fiction could be interpreted as fact in their eyes.
Of course its all down to perspective and perception when it comes to the fine line between fact and fiction, but if told and/or written in a convincing way it’ll lead others to believe that fiction is real, like in this case the two girls believed that Slenderman and its mythology are real.
This incident just goes to show that misinterpreting the line between fact and fiction can be a very dangerous thing indeed. Personally, I see it as a warning for younger generations to be mindful that not everything they read / see on the internet is real, regardless of how convincing it may be.
Even in that case, they should be able to understand that actively conniving to murder another human being no matter what they believe in is just flat out immoral. Their conviction to commit such an act leaves me to think that one or both girls either have a neurological disorder of some description or they both were utterly convinced that Slenderman was real.
Nevertheless, I wish the victim a successful recovery--both physically and mentally.