The Slender Man Revisited

During a recent family vacation we stayed in a Minnesota lake house, and Laura, Isaac, and I took one of the basement rooms. The first night I was tired, but excited and still getting used to the new place, so I had trouble sleeping. In the low lights I imagined a tall, still figure, and soon I was second-guessing making the barefoot trip across the cold floor the restroom. In this unfamiliar place, my mind had conjured the image of the Slender Man.

On the heels of this garden variety midnight dread, I dwelled on something even worse: a news story that a friend had clued me in on about a real life crime and its connection to the Slender Man. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I wrote this, and The Stake kindly obliged to publish.

The Stake

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by Levi C. Byers

Three girls, all friends and classmates, have a slumber party on a Friday night in small town Wisconsin. The next day, two of the girls lead the third into some nearby woods. They have a kitchen knife and a plan. They proceed to stab their unsuspecting companion 19 times, transforming her from friend to victim, and themselves from normal pre-teens to attempted murderers.

This event occurred on May 31, 2014, reported amid the troubling tide of mass shootings that are on America like a plague. Some rough similarities between this crime and others might be drawn, such as speculation about the role of mental illness. There are differences, though. The perpetrators were female. They were young (all 12 years old). There were no guns involved. But the most curious distinction of all was the motive, plainly stated by the attackers: they acted in service of the Slender…

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