Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘children’s games turned dark

Two Young Girls in Waukesha Try to Kill Classmate to “Please Slenderman”

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Yesterday, news broke that not fifty miles up the road from me in Waukesha, WI, two twelve-year old girls had tried to murder their equally young classmate.

Their motive? To please “The Slender Man,” also known as “Slenderman.” This is a fictional character who’s often depicted wearing a black suit — with tendrils coming out the back — and lives in a mansion in the forest up North.

I’d never heard of The Slender Man before the two girls were arrested and charged. Apparently, this Internet sensation has been around since 2009. And as the CreepyPasta.wiki site itself said, most people know that The Slender Man is fictional.

However, these two twelve-year-old girls didn’t realize this. And because they didn’t, another young girl is in the hospital right now, recovering from nineteen stab wounds — one of which missed a major artery by what’s been reported as “a millimeter” by both WTMJ Channel 4 and WITI Fox 6 in Milwaukee.

As Jim Stingl, opinion writer for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, put it:

The pair of shaggy-haired sixth-graders, according to the charges against them, plotted a murder for the most outlandish reason. They wanted to please Slender Man — a make-believe demon that became real in their jacked-up imaginations — and run away to live with him in, of all places, the Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. They had packed bags and were going to walk there after the slaying.

For most of us, it’s a freak show. For the 12-year-old victim clinging to life, and for her family and friends, it’s a nightmare worse than anything you’ll find on Creepypasta Wiki.

As a writer, I am appalled by this tragedy.

I’m frustrated that these two young girls could plan for what’s been reported as a year to kill a classmate without anyone knowing except themselves. (This according to just about every news person working for HLN Cable News this afternoon, including Dr. Drew Pinsky, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and Nancy Grace.) I’m shocked that anyone would believe a character clearly drawn as fictional (a really slim man in a dark suit with tentacles, whose face you can’t look at lest you drop dead on the spot) could be somehow appeased (or worse, joined) by killing a classmate.

But I’m also not happy with some who are blaming the website CreepyPasta.wiki for this particular crime, merely for having what’s the Internet equivalent of what used to be called “campfire horror stories” on their site.

As a post called “Fiction, Reality and You” from user Sloshedtrain at CreepyPasta.wiki says:

According to the story, the girls read about Slenderman here on this wiki, and of course the usual response lead to hostility and blaming towards the wiki by some “very concerned parents”. Some calling for the censorship and shutdown of the wiki.

Will these people succeed on their quest? Most likely not. These are the same people who think violent video games help create mass murderers, because it is convenient to blame and point fingers.

Besides the backlash, this incident shows what happens when the line of fiction and reality ceases to exist. When a person truly believes that Internet short stories are cold hard facts. When a person attempts to replicate works of fiction to the point others are harmed. And for this, I’m going to make myself loud and clear:

ALL WORKS PRESENTED ON THIS WIKI AND OTHER SITES (INCLUDING SLENDERMAN, JEFF THE KILLER, BEN, SONIC.EXE, ETC) ARE FICTIONAL STORIES AND CHARACTERS (Note: bold-face type and punctuation were rendered exactly as in the original document. BC)

So there you have it. Two twelve-year-old girls try to commit murder, because they cannot separate reality from fantasy, and are now being charged as adults.

It’s awful. It’s shocking. It’s disgusting. It’s distressing.

But as a fiction writer, it makes me wonder . . . will I start having to say in every post, “Remember, this is a fictional character we’re talking about” because I write YA fantasy and my target audience isn’t that much older than these two deluded young girls?