Mar 11, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The Slenderman: A Creature That Might Have Been Around Longer Than We Knew

There are very few people who haven't at least heard of the Slenderman - a creature that surfaced more than a decade ago and that began as a piece of creepy entertainment and that - as some say, now - lives in the form of a Tulpa/thought-form. Whatever you think of the pale-faced phenomenon, there's no doubt there are more than a few weird aspects relative to the overall story. One is the possibility that the Slenderman has been around for a long, long time. No, I don't mean in the world of stories, books, and on-screen entertainment. Rather, I mean that the skinny, black-suited thing has been seen long before anyone had thought of such a thing. With that said, let us have a look at some of the stranger parts of this very odd affair. We'll begin with one Harold T. Wilkins. He was a Flying Saucer sleuth who, back in the 1950s, penned a number of books on Saucers and aliens, including what was certainly his most well-known and popular title, Flying Saucers on the Attack. Wilkins was also someone who found himself on the receiving end of a number of Men in Black-themed reports. One such report described certain, uncanny events that occurred in Los Angeles, California in 1953 and that are highly relevant to the theme of this article.

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(Nick Redfern) The ultimate Man in Black

Wilkins' source of the story insisted on anonymity, but revealed that it all revolved a particular attorney’s office in downtown L.A. According to Wilkins’ informant, a pair of men dressed in black appeared at the building one evening and demanded to see the director of the company. The pair insisted that they be hired to investigate recent reports of missing persons in the city. Those mind-controlling skills of the MIB ensured that they were quickly, albeit briefly, hired. But, there was something about the pair that was just not right. Actually, there were a few things that were just plain wrong. Horribly wrong. Those employees who caught sight of the MIB –who spent most of their time locked in one particular office and who spoke with practically no-one – said they were very skinny. They were both in excess of six-and-a-half feet in height. And they were described as having strange hands and fingers – the latter being extremely long and rubbery, as if they lacked joints and bones.

On one occasion, according to Wilkins' notes, one of the staff – to her everlasting horror – saw the fingers of one of the MIB stretch to lengths of around eight or nine inches, something which, she added, made the man's hands appear to resemble huge tentacles. In days, the MIB were gone, never to be seen again. Of course, we should not understate the importance of the revelation that one of the tall and skinny Men in Black had tentacle-like fingers. We are clearly, right now, deep within the absolute black heart of Slenderman territory. It should be noted that much of the story told by Harold T. Wilkins ties in deeply with the imagery of the Slenderman. For example, the both the modern day "it" and the Slenderman of the modern era wore black suits. There were those rubbery, tentacle-style digits at the end of its hands. I should stress there is no proof - at all - to demonstrate that the skinny, dark-suited, prowling figures in Los Angeles had a connection to the creation of Erick Knudsen in 2009. But, the story is undeniably strange.

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(Nick Redfern) A skinny monster that has been around for decades?

Could all of this have been nothing other than a big, eerie, coincidence? I guess so. But, there are other examples, too. In other words, the Slenderman of the recent years was most assuredly on the roam decades ago. Let's look at some more of those examples: In 2001, a man named Mike Johnson saw something eerily like the Slenderman on England's Cannock Chase. While in a strange, altered state of mind, Mike encountered a figure that was not just tall, but too massive for a human – somewhere in the region of nine feet. The entity was dressed in a dark gray-colored outfit that fitted him, or it, tightly. The thing’s head was bald and elongated, and his neck was incredibly long. As for the arms of the entity, they reached past his knees. What was particularly odd was the fact that Johnson could not make out the face of the thing. It was as if there was no face – or that it was somehow blurred. That's almost a perfect description of the Slenderman (the tentacles aside).

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(Nick Redfern) The mysterious Cannock Chase, a Werewolf Lair

David Weatherly (the author of Black Eyed Children and others) generously shared with me several pre-2009 cases from his files. In 2004, a man named Matt told David that he had been plagued by a tall, thin figure in Ohio woods as a child – 2004 being long before Eric Knudsen’s Slenderman ever became a definitive phenomenon, and equally long before the term "Slenderman" was created.  Matt related to David: "I know that I saw it. I remember having horrible dreams for the longest time but my parents kept telling me I was just having nightmares and there really wasn’t anything out there. But he was; I know that he was out there every night for a whole summer. He was always standing in the trees at the back of the yard." In light of all this, we might consider thinking that although the Slenderman was an online creation of Eric Knudsen, somewhere - and somehow - the imagery was already in the minds of many, even if they didn't realize it.

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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