You know, that’s a very good question. While we’re all a little scared of the Slender man, it’s hard to put your finger on why. There are a lot of stories about what exactly it is he does. For this special Halloween blogging, I’ll examine what exactly it is that he does.
Let’s go back to the original Something Awful thread. In his first appearance, one of the photos appears with the line “We didn’t want to go, we didn’t want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time…” The other photo’s description was quoted beneath the photo in the last entry, but I’ll post it again: “One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as “The Slender Man”. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence. 1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.”
Let’s look at what it’s implied he does. He’s seen around children, and causes them to disappear (or maybe he abducts them). Contrary to popular belief, however, it’s not just children. Even in the earliest sources, the photographer disappears as well. This are not necessarily deaths, though. Disappearances play a large part in the Slender Man Mythos. Most of the crew of Marble Hornets seems to disappear, Jeff’s girlfriend in EverymanHYBRID is missing, and Seeking Truth revolves around some missing teens.
Although the first quote is confusing and there’s really no context to go with it, he seems to have some sort of hypnotic power, suggesting to people to do things he tells them to. This is enforced in a few other places: totheark in Marble Hornets seems to be under the control of Slendy, an EverymanHYBRID video not posted on the main account (and possibly not canon) shows that Evan may be under his control, and in Seeking Truth, Albert Copenhagen shows some signs of being controlled by him (although some speculate that he’s completely lucid and follows Slendy out of his own free will).
Other early myths about him had him disembowel people and impale them on trees, removing their internal organs and then stuffing them back in in plastic bags. While this seems less likely and isn’t used as frequently (mostly because it’s hard to portray in YouTube videos), there are some works that use the concept. EverymanHYBRID, for instance, has a video where the Slender Man appears, after which they find plastic bags containing blood tied to trees.
However, the most chilling aspect of him is psychological, and in many series, it seems like he is simply toying with his victims before ultimately abducting or killing them. Many things hint at this—when his victims record themselves alone and asleep, the Slender Man will often appear but take no steps to kill or abduct them. In Marble Hornets, there are many very close encounters with the Slender Man, in both Alex and Jay’s recordings, but they’re rarely attacked. They just wake up the next morning, unable to remember anything other than what was in their tapes. In fact, in one totheark video, the Slender Man walks right past a vulnerable Jay to look at the camera. His haunting is more psychological than physical.
Looking at these points, I think that I personally am going to come to the conclusion that the people he kills outright aren’t his primary victims. There are a few stories like that, but in most stories, he toys with people beforehand. His true victims are the ones he taunts. The ones he teases. The ones he psychologically assaults until they break, before gaining control over them and leading them off. He does kill them eventually, but like a cat playing with a mouse, simply killing them isn’t enough.
While most of the blogs/web series I’m currently looking at are ongoing or unconcluded, I have finished Just Another Fool, which supports this theory pretty well. In it, Matt is driven pretty much insane, possibly due to PSTD, but likely due more to encounters with the Slender Man. He is implied to have been ultimately strangled to death by Slendy. Logan, likewise, goes insane and runs off before eventually becoming another victim.
That’s the gist of what exactly it is that he does. There are other things, of course, but those will be covered in other blog entries.