Two 12-Year Old Girls Tried to Murder Their Friend and Blamed it On an Internet Meme

Tuesday, June 03, 2014 - 12:47 PM

Two young girls in Wisconsin stabbed their friend 19 times, and told police that it was to honor the mythological internet creature The Slender Man.

The full story is here. TLDR spoke to Slender Man's creator, Eric Knudsen, a few months ago, if you want context on the story and mythology behind it all.

Honestly, it feels weird to post this. I'm worried that the implicit message is "In light of this recent tragedy, here's an old episode of ours to listen to." But it feels worthwhile insofar as it provides context for anyone coming freshly to this story. We're also trying to get ahold of Knudsen for comment. Obviously it's not his fault that disturbed people are alleging that his piece of art influenced them, but we'd just like to hear how he's grappling with this awful thing. 


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Comments [8]

mamallama from NY

Please don't blame fantasy and mythology. Every diagnostic indicator for developmental psychology clearly shows that practically all children of normal intelligence and above (except for children who have specific diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder) understand the difference between fantasy/pretend play and reality by the age of two.

Since the beginning of recorded time (at the very least), in every single culture in the world, there have existed mythology, fairy tales, religious tales, tales of the supernatural, etc. Just read someone like Marina Warner to get a better idea of how essential mythology and fairy tales are to the development of human intelligence and the transmittal of societal codes and mores.

Certainly any child (or adult) who plays video games constantly, who lacks human contact and touch, has a dysfunctional family unit and lack of education and love (not to mention in the case of a child, a lack of adult supervision) can certainly lose the ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality. But I'm sure it will come out about these young girls that there are/were a lot more additional toxic things that were going on in their lives besides an internet meme. There always is.

Jun. 08 2014 12:17 AM
Terry from Manhattan

I would really like to see a story that discusses how young children do not have the ability to understand mythology and reality. In the age of the Internet where very adult themes are with in incredible easy reach of unsupervised children, and when adult shows of pure immersion fantasy are trending very popular today, how can we guide our children so they do not fall into a perspective like these two attempted murders.?

Jun. 04 2014 07:57 AM
Ruby Road

Derek from L.A. only wants to a quick summary of a story...that is a huge problem for this world.

Jun. 03 2014 11:31 PM
Derek from Los Angeles

I clicked on this specifically because I was hoping for a quick summary of the meme and its history. Three sentences would have sufficed, had they been the right three sentences. Seems to me that's exactly what a blog called "TLDR" should supply. Instead, it links to a ten minute long AUDIO interview.

Let me introduce you to another meme: AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

Jun. 03 2014 10:35 PM
drturi from Phoenix

Police: Wisconsin girl, 12, stabbed 19 times; WHY Two 12-year-old girls arrested? RTpls

Jun. 03 2014 05:52 PM

After hearing the story this morning, I was hoping you would follow up with the creator. Although the Slender Man mythos grew exponentially on the internet without him, one has to wonder how he's feeling.

Jun. 03 2014 03:14 PM
Cody Worsham from Baton Rouge

Thanks for posting. I get feeling weird, but this provided context I was looking for.

Jun. 03 2014 01:41 PM

"Is he evil?"
"I'm not sure. He's known as wanting to kidnap children."

This says volumes about our society. Volumes.

Jun. 03 2014 01:35 PM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by Meredith Haggerty. You can subscribe to the TLDR podcast here. You can follow our blog here. I tweet @manymanywords and @tldr.

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