How is Slender Man Internet Folklore? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

How is Slender Man Internet Folklore? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

here's an idea Slenderman is the internet's legendary full creature sorry but you know it is Halloween tomorrow and we're all getting a little bit into the spoopy spirit some hundreds of years ago we started carving faces into gourds and gathering around bonfires during this time of the year because of the imagined presence of spirits and fairies children and the poor went door to door collecting cakes which when eaten were thought to free a soul from purgatory but now spirits and fairies have expanded to include ghosts goblins vampires and witches made of plastic and soul cakes have changed into mini Snickers except for that one lady down the street who hands out those tiny boxes of raisins what is her deal the costume practice of guising turned into being able to get a sexy costume version of a disappointingly vast array of objects and characters sexy chinese-takeout really really and the internet has become a part of the festivities people change to horrific twitter avatars and make how-tos for their crazy costume creations there's a Google doodle more instagrams of spooky nail art and you can shake a femur at and scary stories or videos many of which feature Slender Man which is who are going to be talking about right now Slender Man is one of the Internet's very few reoccurring and arguably its most frequently encountered threatening paranormal Ghoulies as his name suggests he is a man shake but a slender one and not like Fassbender slender more like creepy slender like the silence or Conan O'Brien or the ice cream truck driver from Legion Slender Man doesn't have a face but he does have a suit and sometimes upwards of six tentacle-like arms and though it's not entirely clear what he does when he gets you it probably not make you tea and show you the cross stitching he's been working on Slendy first appeared in photographs on something awful but has since shown up in all kinds of creepypasta which are like scary stories that are passed around the internet that you maybe saw me talking about in this ancient know your main video link in the doobly-doo Slendy is the frequent topic of visual art usually lurking in the shadows he's in video games where you have to actively evade his terrifying pursuit and he's in videos most notably Marble Hornets tribe 12 and everyman hybrid where his mere presence causes bizarre distortion in camera gear and fits of coughing and extreme paranoia in the characters the Slender Man media complex is comprised of many mediums and tells hundreds if not thousands of stories BBC Radio 4's digital human host Alex Curtis key even asks if it might be the first great myth of the web and it doesn't feel like too far-fetched of a question either slender man's countless authors have accidentally or not developed a rather complete feeling Slender Man mythos like according to the legend baddies depicted in prehistoric Brazil ancient Egypt 16th century Germany and Japan bear a strong resemblance to mr. slend was he really invented by Victor Sir John something awful or was he channeled is it possible that he is a constant and pervasive presence throughout all of history some stories place him or beings like him in Germany around World War two and in other parts of the world around various horrific events both major and minor links to some stories in the place where links go one explanation for his existence is something called topa which Indian Buddhist texts described as a mind condom an has been willed into existence because he is in the subconscious of many many people in the West we call this a thought form and therein lies what might be the best and most interesting thing about no-face long arms while he does have a form that's recognizable and a general air de terror he is not one thing in one place with one motive he's a nebulous psychically crowd-sourced terror he's literally the Internet's nightmare its legendary creature the power of collective belief or the collective ruling system well and of course he's in great ghuli company though we know that other legendary characters like the grey man Manticore Mothman and spring-heeled Jack aren't can't and shouldn't be real there is a set of information and circumstance that gives us some of us more than others permission to believe there's something about acquiescing to the possibility of their mythical existence that is well fun but on top of painting a world that is a little bit more mystical a little bit more impossible or beguiling than it really is telling those scary stories like the one about the driver who flashes his lights Bloody Mary or the Haunted Mansion on the edge of town helps us adjust or maybe even grow up a little bit one theory is that these folk stories help us express our subconscious or that which is normally taboo folklorist Alan Dundas says that folklore provides a socially sanctioned outlet for the expression of what cannot be articulated in the more usual direct way but I think there's something else to be said about wielding the scary story about knowing that the boogeyman is not real about knowing a story that your friends don't and about being able to affect them with its use scary stories almost always take place in a world that is like ours but with one terrifying addition in the epistemology of the horror story Susan Stewart writes that contrary to the distinction between true and made-up stories the horror story exists in a peculiar place between the real and the fictive as such and given the piece-by-piece narrative construction of the horror story quote the listeners welfare becomes increasingly implicated as the narrative sequence proceeds there is this solar system then at the center of which is the story itself in orbiting around it is the knowledge that it's fake buying into it anyways because it's fun the teller wanting to scare their friends and providing both fright and the information of the story itself that their friends can tell again or build upon to make their own and that last part about building on existing stories is just as true for the Jersey Devil the owl man and werewolves as it is for Slenderman the rake and who was foe and every other not scary Legend Internet or otherwise for that matter because for whatever folk archetype exists the Internet has it analog the trickster and the troll face the strong man in Chuck Norris the innocent and bad luck Brian and while we might not have campfires we do have wikis and message boards fan fictions and copy slash creepypasta the point being that folklore isn't necessarily a thing that only happened in the past and that for as long as there are folks that wherever they are they're probably minting new lore the internet is no exception and if anything it has made such a pronouncement even more true in his introduction to folklore in the internet trevor blank writes that due to its inclusivity the Internet has helped to reefa silat 8 the spread of folklore through electronic undo its so while when someone says folktales you might think of dusty old tomes Grimm's fairy tales or stories from before electricity let alone YouTube and creepypastas the truth is that folklore and its impact is just as present and maybe just as inescapable as the Slenderman himself what do you guys think what are some of your favorite internet folktales or scary stories Slender Man or otherwise let us know in the comments and if your story is too long for the comments I made a post for scary stories specifically on the subreddit so there's a link in the description and if you're not too busy sewing extra long sleeves for your Slender Man costume please subscribe there was a lot of the Internet's Native art form on last week's video let's see what you guys had to say about controlling versus being your avatar so first and foremost Jamin is here from game/show and also very tall no I'm wearing lifts uh we made sister episodes last week so Jaime's here to talk a little bit about his reaction to the idea of being versus controlling the Avatar right yeah so like that conversation about like agency and being force controlling for the avatar makes me think about my own emotions and whether those are real or whether those are like surrogate emotions for some other experience so like if I'm not actually the avatar right then not that feelings the avatars feeling the feelings I feel like anger for example for those real feelings or watching my son get hit by a car it's definitely in the game right because I always thought like in-game I always thought one of the magical things about games was that those were real experience I was actually getting a glimpse of what it might be like to go through X experience right that you're like stepping into this person for a second and realizing what it's like to have like whatever that experience is right so sort of like what Gonzalo Frasca was talking about right like the idea of you know you're embodying this this this moment right exactly and the worry is that like if those memories aren't like real memories like I'm not actually getting a taste of what that experience might be like yeah then it's no more different for games and like remembering being at a movie here right so then that feels like Kabul so it's like it like a weird simulation of emotions as opposed to an actual and eggs aesthetic exactly and that and that's and that's the line between controlling and being exactly so it's tied to like whether you actually you all those things are out which one kind of bummed me out is like I feel like I'm not actually feeling those emotions all right you found a bummer they would become a little much huh that's really that's really interesting that's what I was thinking of well thanks for coming by Jay yeah no work and I'm gonna go I'm gonna go actually hang out with Jamin on gameshow so if you want to go see my reaction to his video you should go check those out and just check out gameshow in general so thanks for coming by Jamie yeah no worries man to everybody who recommended that I play the Stanley parable I know it's once the Macri release comes out it is gonna be the first thing I do I'm gonna cancel all of my plans but I just ah yeah it's on the list I really want to play it Jay random hacker 17 23 42 says that special-ops the line is a really great example of being versus controlling your avatar and that the point of it is maybe to get to a place where you just want to turn it off I don't I be curious to know if other people who played it feel the same way the suma 5 says that when they feel like they're playing their character then they have a very hard time choosing the evil path if that is an option that they have and actually up until recently I had the same problem I would always have to play through the game through the good path and then I would go back and do the evil path as kind of lüt you know I would I don't know build up some karma I guess I don't know what my reasoning was as Nexus 4 seems to say that you really are your character in Minecraft because of the amount of agency you have that it's just tons of agency in that you know you can step back from all these things that you've built and feel like you really did those things which yeah I mean you invest I'll even invest a lot of time in Minecraft to buy like as not a and Devon expect I had really similar experiences in both of these games and Dragon Age Origins and The Walking Dead game I felt so much like the character I was playing that it was yeah I was trying at times very invested no opti moose and Brian grinning left really great comments about the nature of Dungeons and Dragons and how you are in tabletop games expected to kind of be your character and I think that that influences a lot of how I play video games actual like I want to experience that thing of being the character that you might otherwise be controlling so yeah this is really great inside Jerry Turco says that playing XCOM enemy Unknown has caused him to think critically about sending people into war and that you know like most like a lot of people do with ex-con named his characters after people that he knew and then had a very brutal realization when his wife's character was put in danger he goes Pinto Bosco points out that at the very least the way that we talk about the things that we control indicates a sort of embodiment and makes a really good observation about driving in the way people control their cars and think of it as an extension of themselves philosophy two points out that the dialectical interplay between agency and structure does not stop in games and extends all the way up to real life which yeah Jeff Murray was actually talking about consumer behavior and not games specifically so he has a wide wide range of applications for that idea Charlie is so cool like points out the last thing that you have to do in the last of us as a moment that made him question the very character he was playing which is actually the moment that inspired me to write a lot of the episodes so yeah I agree that's a really the end of that game is is something else this week's episode was brought to you by the hard work of these spoopy Ghoulies we have an IRC and a subreddit links in the description this week's tweet of the week is every tweet my idea chain underscore ebooks but also one buy us a qib that points us towards a roy christopher article about shared memories and pop culture which has tons of Blade Runner references so good in my book


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