Today’s time vampire is unknowingly brought to you by loyal reader (and canning/kitchen goddess, check her out) Christina. Or rather, she brought it to me. It was apparently brought to her by fangirl celebrity Cleolinda. But Christina had to go and tweet about it and then I had to go and check it out… and then… suddenly it was three hours later.
Our vampire… and he might actually be a vampire; no one’s really sure… is The Slender Man.
If you’re not already familiar with the Slender Man, he is a testament to the internet’s role in developing tradition. It’s a supernatural creature that was created on Something Awful in a thread inviting people to post fabricated paranormal images. User Victor Surge posted what the internet tells me are the first images and “information” about The Slender Man. The images were so creepy, and the idea seems to have struck enough of a chord, that other people started posting their own. Most of the time with “excerpts” from reports or narratives that were made extra eerie by their vague, elliptical nature.
Here’s the catch in case you missed it above: it’s all made up. (There’s an academic term for this incidentally: fakelore. You say “fiction,” I say “fakelore.” You say “tomato,” I say “tu madre.”) Somewhere out there the ghost of Richard Dorson is shaking his fist and saying, “I warned you!” But this is the internet, where just like in the real world, people come in halfway through a conversation and get the wrong idea. Images get taken out of context. And the next thing you know some guy in Japan swears he saw the Slender Man hanging out near a playground.
And more importantly, posts about it online where a google happy folklore nerd like myself can read all about it. What the internet has that oral tradition lacks is it keeps a record of itself. So you can actually go back and find the origin of the story (“Ur-type” is what us folklorists call it) and trace its evolution. It’s a combination of supernatural creep and folklore nerdgasm that will never not be entertaining for me. (By the way, thank you google: enabling time vampires since… whenever you started being so thorough.)
So anyway, this time vampire is also like a game of telephone (or perhaps an STD). Cleolinda gave it to Christina who gave it to me who is giving it to you. Enjoy the powers that photoshop has to keep you up at night and the power that the internet has to insure legends never die.