Oct 20, 2020 I Nick Redfern

Why the Slenderman Doesn’t Go Away

In 2017, New Page Books published my book, The Slenderman Mysteries. Much of the book was focused on the history of the skinny creep in the worlds of online stories, games, outright made-up tales, and Youtube's  Marble Hornets, which - few will likely need telling - was clearly inspired by the Slenderman phenomenon. And, of course, there is no doubt that the saga of the Slenderman has reached extremely disturbing proportions. In 2014, Newsweek reported: "In late May, in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, Wisconsin, two 12-year-old girls allegedly lured a friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times." The terrible attack was undertaken all in the name of – yes, you’ve guessed it – the Slenderman. It was an affair that shocked the people of Waukesha to their very collective core. The Slenderman has curious origins: his/its "existence" started with one Eric Knudsen. In the summer of 2009, as I said in my book: Knudsen, using a pseudonym of "Victor Surge," uploaded a couple of doctored photos of the Slenderman to the forum of the Something Awful website. In no time at all, others began writing – and posting online – their very own tales of the Slenderman. Short stories, blogs, novels, online games, chat-rooms, and more soon followed - all in the name of the creature. Then, something menacing and sinister happened: people began to see the Slenderman. Not just on the Internet, not just in novels or in the pages of comic-books, but in their homes. In their bedrooms. In mysterious woods. In dreams that rapidly escalated into full-blown nightmares that seemed real. The Slenderman had come to life.


You may be surprised (or, you may not be surprised) to know that I still get a lot of feedback from people who have read my The Slednerman Mysteries and who want to share their experiences with what they absolutely believe is a real Slenderman. Or, maybe, an untold number of Slendermen. What I have found eye-opening - and that I continue to find eye-opening - is that most people who engage me in conversation on the subject are of the opinion there are two forms of Slenderman. One is the wholly fictional one, and the other one is a "thought-form" version that has come to life. The latter is also known as a Tulpa. I'm someone who has a fascination for this issue of creating life out of the imagination. And, I feel it's important to address this matter, as it's the witnesses to the creature who are taking their valuable time to share their experiences.

First and foremost, what is a thought-form? Let's see. The Can You Stand the Truth? website states: "Tulpa (Tibetan: སྤྲWylie: sprul-pa; Sanskrit: निर्मित nirmita and निर्माण nirmāṇa; 'to build' or 'to construct') also translated as 'magical emanation, 'conjured thing' and 'phantom' is a concept in mysticism of a being or object which is created through sheer spiritual or mental discipline alone. It is defined in Indian Buddhist texts as any unreal, illusory or mind created apparition. According to Alexandra David-Néel, tulpas are 'magic formations generated by a powerful concentration of thought.' It is a materialized thought that has taken physical form and is usually regarded as synonymous to a thoughtform. One early Buddhist text, the Samaññaphala Sutta lists the ability to create a 'mind-made body' (manomāyakāya) as one of the 'fruits of the contemplative life.'"

Check out this too: "In Tibetan occultism, thoughts can create a phantom form called a tulpa. Of temporary duration, tulpas usually assume human shape and are created to be sent out on a mission. In her explorations of Tibetan thought, Alexandra David-Néel successfully created a tulpa, though it was not what she intended and for a time eluded her control. David-Néel sought to create a lama who would be 'short and fat, of an innocent and jolly type.' After several months of performing the prescribed ritual, a phantom monk appeared. It assumed a lifelike form over a period of time and existed almost like a guest in David-Néel’s apartment. The tulpa tagged along with her as she went out on a tour. To her distress, the tulpa began to change." Indeed, it became sly and downright dangerous. David-Knéel was forced to destroy the monster she had created.

For so many people who have very generously shared their experiences with me, the Slenderman is all too real, even though it most assuredly did not begin that way.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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