Slender Man Is Coming
216 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:22 Sep 2018
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Slender Man Is Coming

Creepypasta and Contemporary Legends on the Internet

Utah State University Press
The essays in this volume explore the menacing figure of Slender Man—the blank-faced, long-limbed bogeyman born of a 2009 Photoshop contest who has appeared in countless horror stories circulated on- and offline among children and young people. Slender Man is arguably the best-known example in circulation of “creepypasta,” a genre derived from “copypasta,” which in turn derived from the phrase “copy/paste.”
As narrative texts are copied across online forums, they undergo modification, annotation, and reinterpretation by new posters in a folkloric process of repetition and variation. Though by definition legends deal largely with belief and possibility, the crowdsourced mythos behind creepypasta and Slender Man suggests a distinct awareness of fabrication. Slender Man is therefore a new kind of creation: one intentionally created as a fiction but with the look and feel of legend.
Slender Man Is Coming offers an unprecedented folkloristic take on Slender Man, analyzing him within the framework of contemporary legend studies, “creepypastas,” folk belief, and children’s culture. This first folkloric examination of the phenomenon of Slender Man is a must-read for anyone interested in folklore, horror, urban legends, new media, or digital cultures.
Contributors: Timothy H. Evans, Andrea Kitta, Mikel J. Koven, Paul Manning, Andrew Peck, Jeffrey A. Tolbert, Elizabeth Tucker
‘[A] timely volume of essays on an important topic—the contributors are doing groundbreaking folkloric work. By illuminating a contemporary phenomenon, these essays make us rethink our understandings of folkloric processes throughout history. The volume is perhaps one of the first dedicated to the Slender Man phenomenon (certainly the first by folklorists). . . . [T]he authors make significant contributions to theories of ostension, play, questions of real/fake, semiotics, community and individual creation, digital communication, cosplay, and transmedia studies.’
—Michael Dylan Foster, University of California, Davis

'This seminal work is a valuable read for people interested in legends, children’s folklore, or horror. Any folklorist particularly interested in ostensive practices, monsters, and digital folklore, to name a few, will find this work extremely useful.'
Western Folklore
'Slender Man is Coming is essential and enjoyable reading for anyone working on belief, legend, the folkloresque, and related topics, but it can be recommended more widely, too. The book would be a useful outreach tool to offer those outside the discipline who are unaware of folkloristic thinking about legend ostension and crime, as it offers a brilliant informed view on the relationship between online narratives and violence in real life.'

'A valuable collection of the ongoing work to apply folkloristic concepts to the emerging field of discourse generated by the Internet. . . . The book is essential for legend scholars and for those documenting how tradition continues to penetrate and inform the Digital Revolution.'
Journal of Folklore Research

‘Blank and McNeill's
Slender Man Is Coming is remarkable for the approaches it opens up. . . . If the contributions in this excellent volume are to be taken as a guide, scholars of the speculative and the fantastic looking to study viral internet legends should be looking to folklorists for their cues.’
—The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

Trevor J. Blank is associate professor of communication at the State University of New York at Potsdam. He is the editor of Folklore and the Internet and Folk Culture in the Digital Age, coeditor of Tradition in the Twenty-First Century, and author of The Last Laugh: Folk Humor, Celebrity Culture, and Mass-Mediated Disasters in the Digital Age and Toward a Conceptual Framework for the Study of Folklore and the Internet. Follow him on Twitter: @trevorjblank.
Lynne S. McNeill is assistant professor of English in the Folklore Program at Utah State University, cofounder of the Digital Folklore Project, and author of Folklore Rules. Her research interests include legend, belief, fandom, and digital folklore. Follow her on Twitter: @lynneSmcneill.
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