03:13 - Source: CNN
Girl stabbed in homage to Internet meme?

Story highlights

"Slenderman" character allegedly inspired 12-year-old girls to stab a classmate

Slenderman was born in 2009 in an online forum for people who create fake supernatural images

He's appeared in fan art, short stories, videos, video games on Web

Police: Girls said the attack was meant to impress the fictitious bogeyman

CNN —  

He’s the Internet’s own monster, a ghoul who lurks in its darkest corners and, like the Web itself, has mutated time and again to suit the dreams and desires of his devotees.

He is Slenderman, a menacing, faceless specter in a dark suit – sometimes portrayed with octopus-like tentacles – known to haunt children and those who seek to expose him. He was born in 2009 in an online forum for people who enjoy creating fake supernatural images.

And, on Saturday, police say, he played a role in the attempted murder of a 12-year-old girl in suburban Milwaukee by two female classmates who stabbed her 19 times. According to police, the girls said the attack was meant to impress the fictitious bogeyman.

To be clear, the origin story of the monstrous character (sometimes referred to as The Slender Man) in no way urged readers to kill to earn his favor. But Slenderman has undergone hundreds of permutations online in his five-year existence.

In June 2009, a Photoshop contest for images that appeared to be paranormal was launched in a forum on the website Something Awful. According to