December 13, 2010

Behavior Part II: Reality

Today we begin with me covering my ass. Because we all know I took a long time on this entry, and after reading it, you may think there’s not much to show for it. However, let’s face the facts:
Of what I’m about to discuss, there is very little material to work with.
In the previous “Behavior” entry, we tried to decipher the general core of what Slender Man “does”, and we emerged with this- He makes his intentions known. Still, there are physical things He does, and more, to constitute a “behavior”. This is what we’ll be going over in this entry.

Marble Hornets: Entry#12


Thompson: It came. It came to us.
Witmoore: It approached and attacked?
Thompson: It appeared. No movement. Never saw it move. It was in one place, then another place. No movement.
Witmoore: Did it have any weapons? The bodies of the soldiers showed no marks that would resemble that of a knife or wounds of a gun.
Thompson: It came and they died as it did. They couldn’t fire at it.
Witmoore: Did it touch them?
Thompson: I don’t know. I heard them fall down. Heard them die.
-BashIronfist, MonkeyMaker, SA

Pushing aside initial responses discussed previously, Slender Man does extremely little upon first encounter. Usually, He is known to merely be there. Standing quietly, watching eyelessly. He shows Himself seemingly only on His own volition, yet there is much talk that we can somehow “call” Him to us; whether with our knowledge of Him or by some other means. (Mogadishu wrote, “The tulpa is manifest. All it takes is that split second of fear when the tree outside your window casts a shadow just right, and He knows.”)
From here, it gets less nebulous.

Rodzby, Rodzby, sittin' in a tree
First goes your nerves, then goes your mind
Then comes the Slenderman to stick you in a pine
-Phy, teasing an SA peer

Stalking is across the boards a Slender Man behavior. While in many cases closely linked to canon Slender Man merely arrives and chooses His victims (survivors tell us the story later of course), in vast accounts more and making up most of the canon, He instead makes Himself perfectly known, and begins to appear to His intended victims repeatedly. In many ARG cases, this causes the victim to go on the run[i] to no avail, and in most canon stories, the victims unanimously die rather than go missing. There is very little to this stalking pattern, it seems. Slender Man is simply there when He chooses to be. The style also seems consistent. He may appear outside a window every night, or in the tree-line, or in the very room, or just wherever the victim happens to go. But He does it consistently.
An aspect of this “stalking” stage (which seems to be the only stage really) is the idea that He can “call” to us. We know what supposedly happens to His direct victims, and while looking this over on the original Something Awful thread, user Phy made an interesting connection:

In reading this thread, I'm struck by one behaviour[…] in particular, that of… impaling… victims in a tree, while removing and reinserting their internal organs. It's remarkably akin to the feeding habits of shrikes, also known as butcherbirds.
See, what a shrike will do is capture a smaller animal - anything from a cricket to a smaller bird or mouse - and kill it. Shrikes are songbirds, and their musculature is pretty lacking compared to a straight-up raptor like a hawk or owl, so their kill is messy and inefficient, consisting of many pecks and bites to the head and neck. This continues until the prey animal is either dead or too tired to fight. But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that as weak as their jaws are, their claws are weaker, and they wholly lack talons. They're built to perch. So… it will take its prey to a thorny tree, or bush, or even barbed wire, and it will ram its prey down on a spike so that it won't move when the shrike tears it apart. It's a songbird that's learned to kill, and it does so far more cruelly than any raptor.
Anyone ever hear the Slender Man sing?
Wikipedia on Lanius excubitor, the Great Gray Shrike: ‘This species will lure birds closer by mimicking their calls.’

This idea of Slender Man “luring” us or “calling” to us is reflection of a natural phenomenon. While whether this function is used to the same ends as the songbird or not is uncertain, there is pathos intentionally and inextricably linked to it.
“But this is Slender Man,” you may think. “Surely He doesn’t have to resort to this- He could just appear[ii] wherever and whenever!” As always, I agree with you. While His intentions[iii] remain utterly unfathomable, they are as we know, “known”, and have lead many to speculate that fear itself (remember the magic words, golom, tulpa, and anima?) is a major vehicle for what He does.
For now we must move around this obstacle of thought, and return to our planned discussion.

A Preferred Victim

We’ve already gone over Slender Man’s apparent link to children. So let me explain with impressions instead.

According to witness statements, over the past several weeks a man had been coming to the girls' bedroom window at night, where he would tap on the glass, 'make faces', and watch the girls.
Police investigators initially dismissed the account as a dream, as the bedroom window is on the second story, with no support beneath it. "[Alice] Elkins reported that, on the night of her sisters disappearance, they were again awakened by a tapping at the glass," Sergeant Hohne explained, "She heard her sister get out of bed, and have a short conversation. When she didn't hear her sister get back in bed after several minutes, she got up and went to the window, where she saw her sister in the side yard, 'hugging the tall man'. According to the witness, the man looked up at her, grinned, and indicated that she was to come down as well with a 'snaky arm'. It was at this point that Miss Elkins became extremely frightened, and returned to bed. The tapping continued for some minutes, but finally ceased."
–Mr. 47, SA

“The second photo is of an elementary school fire in 1978. No official cause was ever found. Seven students and a teacher became trapped and died before firefighters could respond. Many of the students and teachers from the time have a history of anxiety disorders and panic attacks, even those who weren't at the school on that day. At least one has since committed suicide, and several others legally changed their names once they reached adulthood and have disappeared.”

What does it mean for Him to appear so widely to children? Fans of the Candle Cove creepypasta, the novel “It”, or the countless horror films of the same vein already understand the differentiation of a nightmare creature[vi] within the mind of an adult and the mind of a child. Children more openly accept or fall into a situation an adult would flee from, which from an adult perspective garners even greater terror. A child may not even respond the way and adult does when confronted with Slender Man. It’s true that He has the unique quality of drawing His victims in if He chooses, but as evidenced above, a simple variation of personality between two children can make one fall into His “embrace”, and the other shy away. Since we observe the Slender Man mythos from the adult perspective, this is a critical reaction- and is due to a natural instinct to protect our children, and by “our” children I don’t mean our own personal spawn but any child we perceive to be in danger.


"I've had this dream before
A thousand times or maybe more
In the dream I see you there
And feel your breath upon the air”[vii]

This often mentioned piece of fear has very similar roots to the one mentioned above. An embrace is recognized throughout the animal kingdom as a sign of affection, love, and/or comfort. It expresses alliance with other mammals and personalities, is a form of physical intimacy engaging a statement of physical trust, and psychophysiologically creates an “affection bond” in the mind, whether we like it or not. (You know how someone you despise may hug you without your permission, but you suck it up and take the hit for the sake of peace, only to feel kind of dirty later? Yeah, no matter who it is with, an embrace creates a psychologically tangible bond without your permission- thus, the irreversible feeling that you got “too close”.) Furthermore, as humans, we heavily associate an embrace with family, specifically mother and father who cradled us from infancy, and also good friends and lovers.
It’s no wonder the idea of this “embrace” causes fear in us. To be physically close to Slender Man alone is enough, and physical touch would be met with a very carnal sense of resistance, but this is nothing to say of receiving this intimate gesture. It could very easily have played out that Slender Man only had whatever “embrace” it took to crush us or kill us in some way. That is the top level of fear in an embrace from Slender Man- that to be in his grasp equals death. But it didn’t happen like that. It happened on the level below the surface, in which He draws us into His embrace, and lets us live.


But there is still a level beyond the stalking. One that draw clues on His intentions, or puts a name to what He does.

I had another dream about the Slender Man.
The first involved me and a bunch of kids that for some reason I was in charge of. I decided to take them down to the park so they could run around, play on the swings and stuff like that, but as we got closer to the park gates, a thick fog started to creep its way over the ground and soon our vision was pretty bad due to how thick the mist had become. I could see the park's trees vaguely in front of us and then I had a horrible thought. "This is when he comes," I thought to myself, looking around at the fog. I wasn't scared, though. I knew he was out there somewhere, but I felt no fear about it, as if it were just natural that he would be.
I turned to the children and told them that we wouldn't be going to the park today because of the Slender Man hiding in the fog. That was it. Last night
, in my dream, I woke up in bed. (I may have actually woken up, but that thought is a little too creepy, so I'm going to say I only 'fake' woke up in my dream, for my own comfort). My room was dark, obviously, and I couldn't see anything clearly. My eyelids were heavy and my eyes were burning with tiredness. I was looking towards my computer desk which is beside the bottom of my bed when I suddenly realized there was someone else in the room, just out of my field of vision, standing right beside the bed head and just beside my pillow, if that makes sense. I knew that if I raised my eyes, I would see him. I knew it was The Slender Man without even looking, something just told me that it was him. I moved my eyes a fraction upwards, but was compelled to stop at a sudden surge of bizarre panic that told me I really did not want to see him. He was staring at me, I knew that much, and even though I felt nervous about not being able to see him, any time I moved my eyes I felt this stab of intense fear that made me stop. So, fully aware of this other presence in my room, so close and watching me so silently, I closed my eyes and hoped to fall asleep soon, expecting to feel his hands on me at any moment. I fell back asleep and that was that. –TheRiffie, SA

You really want to know? How would you feel if you found out he does it not to live... but for fun? He doesn't need to do this... he wants to. As for witnesses, some times they are targets, and some times, just being imprinted with the real image of the Slenderman or what he does is enough to drive a person to the deepest paths of despair. I link it to some one who witness first hand a terrible crime (say for example a rape/murder at a young age) How some people, after awhile it goes away, where as others, if chews away at them, always popping up, as a reminder of seeing the horror again and again. That's what he does, don't try to reason the whys and hows. Because there will never be an answer that will make you understand or happy... or make you sleep again.
-BooDoug187, SA

And I fell asleep to the sound of wet leaves brushing against my window. And I dreamed of a thin man who looked at me, even though he had no eyes, and tried to touch me, even though he had no hands. I dream. About the sound of wet leaves sliding softly across a window, and the way he is still watching me, even though he has no eyes. – Irisi, SA


[i] known as a “runner”, to be discussed fully in a later entry
[ii] to be (you guessed it) discussed fully in a later entry
[iii] gonna be all over this one in a later entry
[iv] always looks like the kid is giving Him the finger, to me
[v] does not get more canon than the original post
[vi] an excellent video game
[vii] “Damage In the Dream” by Anti-M

1 comment:

  1. I quite like that last image with the stick insect. Never seen that one before, but the two layers of hiding going on in the image make it pretty cool.