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2013-10-24

Slender Man found at Bandera library

By John Hegemier Director, Bandera Public Library

Kat, a precocious Bandera youngster, paid the Bandera Public Library a visit last week. She shared with me a fantastical tale that was as interesting as it was false. It was a tale about a boogeyman named the "Slender Man." It seems that the Slender Man is responsible for the disappearance of a large number of people - predominantly children. Kat even showed me a little drawing that contained some symbols and the words "You're Next." She claimed this drawing had some talismanic power that could conjure up the Slender Man and even direct his malevolent attention to a specific individual. I was interested in her tale partly because she was so animated by the subject but also because another youngster had six months prior to my conversation with Kat told me with equal conviction a similar story about the Slender Man.
Naturally when presented with information that needs in-depth research I turned to that trusted repository of all human knowledge, Wikipedia. I learned that the Slender Man is a fictional character that was created in 2009 as an entry to an online photo editing contest. Since then the character has taken on a life of its own. There are several video series on YouTube, a twitter feed, video games, and a number of independent films featuring the Slender Man have been produced or are in production.
The BBC has called the Slender Man, "the first great myth of the web." His legend is broadened by the connective nature of the internet and the ability of many individuals to contribute to the mythos. This form of myth creation harkens back to a time when tales were told around campfires and many individuals added or subtracted to the narrative. Over time these many iterations were distilled into a single story line that reflected the most basic fears and aspirations of a culture. This process of story creation by a community lies in contrast to the creative process employed by the solitary writer working in the print media. Professor Tom Peddit of the University of Southern Denmark has described Slender Man as being the first example of the closing of the "Gutenberg Parenthesis;" the time period that covers the inauguration of printed media and the beginning of the web.
As part of its Halloween celebration the Bandera Library invites youngsters of all ages to swing by the library on the evening of Oct. 31 from 6-7 pm. Visitors will be able to check out the recently renovated children's area. Candy will be passed out. Jon Kindred will be reciting the poem "Little Orphant Annie," by poet James Whitcomb Riley. It may not sound like a Halloween poem but it speaks of goblins. Mr. Kindred is an excellent public speaker. Hope y'all can make it.