Slenderman in the 1800s

The Internet seems to be abuzz about sightings of tall, thin men, garbed in all black, for the past few years. Such a creature has been dubbed ‘Slenderman’ and is the subject of many fictional short stories known as ‘Creepypasta’. While many simply dismiss claimed encounters as kids with overactive imaginations which are fueled by the mass of stories, there are some researchers who have taken a more serious look at possible encounters. There is a common theory that Slenderman is a thought form (for information about thought forms, click the link here)

One of the most interesting parts of the Slenderman enigma is that some have connected him to various stories and creatures throughout world mythology. One only needs to do a quick search and they would find a multitude of information on mythological creatures that Slenderman is similar to.

I am including two stories, both from the late 1800s, of creatures which seem like relatives of the Slenderman. Both are courteously provided through Albert Rosales’ extensive database, he can be found here.

Location. East Moorestown, New Jersey
Date: October 1885 Time: night

There were reported sightings of an apparitional figure by trainmen and others near the East Moorestown station. On one occasion startled members of a train crew thought they had hit someone walking along the track, only to find no trace of the ostensible victim. “Ignorant to this affair, Mrs. Cassidy, an intelligent lady of Moorestown, and her sister, walked over the track at this point a few nights after. She said yesterday, ‘We were walking slowly along, and I was never thinking of ghosts. I suddenly cast my eyes to the right and cried out: ‘Oh my! Look there. What is that?, and my blood stopped in my veins and I was paralyzed with fear, for right in front of me stood a tall, thin figure, dressed in black, with a crape veil over its face. It could not have come in that door there and must have been nearly seven feet tall. My sister said, “Oh that is some widow,’ but it suddenly whirled away with a whizzing noise like pheasants make when they rise and fly away. Then my sister was frightened and we both went down town. I met my brother and told him about it. He said we were cowards, but came back with us to the place we saw the ghost. It was quite light, as the moon was just breaking, through the clouds. “When we arrived at the place my brother saw it too, and started to run after it, but it suddenly vanished. It did not seem to have any feet, and though I don’t believe in ghost, it was the queerest looking thing I ever saw.”
Tom Cassidy, Louis Certain, Tom Morany and William Budd, four incredulous citizens concluded to ferret out the mystery and bravely face the foe. Friday night, after coming from their work on the railroad, they visited the haunted spot, determined to shoot the rascal who would penetrate such a humbug on the community. Tom Cassidy described their meeting with the ghost thus: “We were walking along the road, not thinking of the thing just then, when a tall, thin form, too large to be a man, stood in front of us. It was dressed in woman’s clothes and its face was craped. It wore something on its legs that looked like gum boots and its tall form swayed to and fro, like the boughs of trees when the wind blows through them, and made a similar noise. Louis Certain yelled out, “My God what is that ghost?” Then Bill Budd drew a revolver, and he ran a square following it. He could not get nearer than ten yards to it, and when he thought he was gaining on it, it suddenly disappeared in the woods. The strangest part of the affair was that the ghost ran along the sandy road and when we afterward examined the road not a track or trace of one could be found.” William Budd said, “I am a very fast runner, but I couldn’t keep up to that thing. I don’t believe it is human, for it does not run like a man. I wanted to fire at it when it ran away from me, but the other fellows told me not to shoot, and then when I was going to draw the infernal thing disappeared. I never did believe in ghosts but that is one.” One man said: “John Dargan’s horse saw it on the road, near Gillingham’s house, on Thursday night, and frightened at it. People say they cannot get a horse in Gilligham’s stable on account of it. Their house is empty and some think it stays there.” Isaac said he saw it come out of Gillingham’s yard and it looked like a man seven feet tall. He passed it and it disappeared, but he was certain it was not a human being.The ghost has been seen at various times by different people along the track, and all bear testimony to its great size, its somber appearance and the whizzing noise it makes as it sails along. Large crowds have congregated to see the mystery, but it generally appears when only three or four are present. Some of the citizens say that just two years ago a similar apparition clothed in white was seen at the same place. It manifested itself to a great many in the community and some think it but a reappearance of the old ghost, clothed in black.

Source: Jerome Clark IUR summer 2003

And here is another report, in which multiple creatures are seen:

Location. Fredrikstad, Norway
Date: late June 1881 Time: late evening

The witness lived in a house close to an old church in Fredrikstad and worked in western Fredrikstad and would return home in the evening; it was often quite late before returning home, as it was a long way to walk. Then one evening a few days after midsummer, he was sitting together with his wife next to the window eating a meal when they suddenly saw several completely black human-looking creatures standing outside the church gate, on the road that went past the church wall. He thought these figures were strange-looking and his wife thought the same, but thought no further on the matter at the time, as the road was usually well travelled by both driving and walking people. But their attention was attracted by these creature’s strange movements and appearance. They were all of equal height and very thin, a long smock hid their feet. They had small heads without any head-dress or gear and their arms were held straight forward on all of them which made it look like they had only one arm. They seemed to play and dance with each other, going back and forth, ‘compared to the movements of the northern lights on a winter’s light’. Stunned he asked his wife what kind of strange people were these, but she didn’t answer she just stared. Suddenly and in an instant they all disappeared at the same time appearing to walk directly into the church wall, the witness estimated that there must have been 10 to 12 figures. A few moments’ later three more appeared again on the road, making the same movements as the first ones, and disappeared on the same spot on the wall, and they never saw them again. It had been rather light outside and it happened relatively close to the witnesses so they were convinced that it had not been a trick of the light or confusion. The incident lasted about 10 minutes.

Source: Ole Jonny Braenne in Magonia exchange list, quoting “Spokelser” (Ghosts) 1913, pages 10-11

So what do you think? Tell me in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *