Teen sets house on fire because of Slender Man

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

We’ve been hearing more and more about people’s obsession with Slender Man. Earlier this year, a young girl was stabbed 19 times by two friends who were obsessed with Slender Man and they claim that they did it as a sacrifice to him. And now, a recent ABC news report shows that a 14-year old girl was arrested because she set her family’s house on fire after reading about Slender Man and journaling about killing her family.

She fled the scene and slept in a park bathroom nearby, then texted her mom later saying that she was sorry.  Police recovered a bag with water, cookies, knives, and lighters. The girl was charged with attempted murder and is waiting to see if she will be tried as an adult. Thankfully, no one in the home was hurt, but the house itself was destroyed. (1) 

Victor Surge is credited with creating the Slender Man image in 2009 in Photoshop, posting black and white images with eerie and disturbing captions. The image is a tall, faceless creature that stalks children and young adults. For many people who enjoy horror and paranormal movies or stories, it is simply entertainment and nothing else. But, others have taken it even further and believe that Slender Man is real. They want to be like him – they act out, and prey on the fear of others. 

Violent media and images like Slender Man have intense effects on children and young adults.  For the people that have become enthralled with Slender Man, their sense of reality slowly becomes skewed.   These people often have deeper issues going on and are struggling to make sense of who they are in society, so they turn to characters like this. Allowing them to see these images time and time again will damage them. It can rob their innocence and begin changing the way they view the world and their relationships with others. 

If your child has shown interest in Slender Man, encourage them to break away from reading stories or watching videos that glorify him. Encourage them to engage in activities that help educate them, or other activities that build up others. Without that, we are teaching our kids that it is ok to celebrate violence and lack empathy. 

 

1. Marry, Rheana. “Teen Inspired by ‘Slender Man’ Set House on Fire, Police Say.” ABCNews. September 6, 2014.  Accessed September 26, 2014. http://abc7.com/news/teen-inspired-by-slender-man-set-house-on-fire-police-say/297467/