Slender Man, the fictional internet character blamed for a spate of brutal attacks in the United States, is now said to be haunting a UK beauty spot.
Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, is already home to an eerie entity known as the “black-eyed child”, and now a sighting of the 8ft tall horror character has been reported at the same spot.
Slender Man has been cited in an upcoming court case for two girls who allegedly attacked a friend of the same age at a slumber party, stabbing her 19 times and leaving her in the woods in Wisconsin in May 2014.
Miraculously Payton Leutner survived and managed to crawl to a nearby road where she was found by a cyclist who raised the alarm.
The suspects, both of whom have been charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, have claimed they were trying to prove the existence of Slender Man. After the attack the pair were found walking toward a national forest where they said they believed Slender Man lived in a mansion.
According to Know Your Meme, which tracks internet trends, Slenderman came into being in 2009 after an entry for a competition on the online forums Something Awful to create “paranormal pictures” was submitted by Eric Knudsen.
The popularity of the character promptly exploded, with numerous fan sites creating their own Slender Man stories, putting him in fan art, videos, video games and other media. Some websites host what appear to be photographs of him, lending the made up character an air of authenticity.
Knudsen’s creation appears to be a mysterious figure who stalks children.
He is most distinctive for his blank, featureless face, his extreme height and dapper appearance – (“He often keeps his long, pale hands crossed politely behind his back or hanging loosely at his sides. He has long coattails which he lets flow proudly. He wears long dress shoes, which are always shined a perfect, gleaming black”).
According to some descriptions, he has between four and eight long black tentacles, which protrude from his back. He is also said to be capable of causing memory loss, insomnia, paranoia and coughing fits.
Paranormal investigator Lee Brickley has visited the area numerous times to probe the mystery.
He has supplied the following eyewitness account to Huffington Post UK:
Date: 2nd January 2015
Location: Castle Ring
Report: While taking a midnight stroll around Castle Ring last Friday morning, I happened to notice a strange figure in the distance. It appeared to rise out of the trees and hover over the path around 100m in front of me. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the stories of Spring-Heeled Jack, but if you have, this thing seemed to look pretty similar to all those old artists impressions. It was very dark, but I could see it clearly because of the lights coming from Rugeley. It was also a pretty clear night. If I were to compare it to anything, I would say it looked like a stereotypical Victorian gentleman. Long black overcoat with a Homburg hat. Except, I know this was no flying human. I know that because it had blood red eyes that shone in the night sky. It also had a mouth full of teeth that seemed to look like razors. Whatever it was, it stopped hovering and descended back into the trees. Needless to say, I did not investigate any further.
Brickley has also been alerted to three other alleged Slender Man sightings in the area – alarmingly inside houses.
In one report from Pye Green dated 19 December 2014, the witness said:
I was awoken yesterday morning just before 2am by an odd scratching noise in my bedroom. I instantly sat upright in bed in an attempt to discover whatever was causing the sound. To my astonishment, there was what seemed like a sphere-shaped shadow by the edge of my wardrobe. As I tried to get out of bed and investigate further, the shadow began to stretch towards the ceiling. It was at that point I found myself faced with the most disgusting and horrific creature imaginable. It was about 8 feet tall, and had a white face with razor sharp fangs. It almost looked like a vampire. I fell back into my bed and the creature started moving towards me. Its arms stretched out to almost twice their original length, and I felt claws scraping at my skin. I let out a scream in fear for my life, and the creature retreated back into the corner of my room. It then shrank back down into a ball and slowly faded away.
A further sighting, dated 27 November 2014 from Slitting Mill said:
I don’t really know who else to turn to. The weirdest thing happened last night, and I just don’t know what to make of it. At half past two in the morning while I was sleeping, I heard a bang that woke me from my dream. As my eyes opened, I saw a man floating over me. He was so close that I would have headbutted him if I moved an inch. I could see into his eyes. They were a fierce red colour that shook me to my very core. Although he didn’t speak, I knew what he was thinking. It was as though he was talking to me telepathically. He definitely wanted to hurt me, but there was something stopping him. It was almost like he was someone gaining power from scaring me though. Maybe something bad will happen when he gets strong enough? For what it’s worth, I’m not a nutcase, and I work for a local business of which you will be familiar. It just seemed the anger in his eyes grew stronger as I was feeling more scared. The ordeal ended when the man (who was completely dressed in black with a hat to match) floated higher and higher above my until he hit my ceiling and disappeared.
Brickley told HuffPost UK he believes some of the incidences can be put down to sleep paralysis, a temporary inability to move or speak that happens when you’re waking up or, less commonly, falling asleep.
He said: “I am drawn towards the idea of sleep paralysis due to the fact that three of the sightings happened at night when the victims were in bed.
“However, that doesn’t explain the sighting at Castle Ring. I think that could be a genuine paranormal encounter.
“Cannock Chase is considered by many to be a portal area. It could be that people see whatever they fear most, yet it is the same force or entity that scares them.
“As far as portals go, I always describe them as a place where it is possible to get a glimpse into the next world. A place where strange and unusual creatures manage to make appearances. There are many reasons Cannock Chase might be one such area. The Iron Age hill fort Castle Ring was once home to a Celtic tribe known as the Cornovii, and they performed satanic rituals and blood sacrifices. It is entirely possible they might have opened the portal around two thousand years ago when they resided in the area.”
Brickley added: “As far as the attempted murder case in America goes, I am obviously a little concerned that the increase in Slender Man sightings could bring with them some nasty events. I just beg people who might see this creature to stay calm and keep their heads.”
Slender Man has also been linked to the stabbing of a woman by her 13-year-old daughterand the murders of two Las Vegas police officers.
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The girls in this case reportedly told detectives they learned about Slender Man on online fiction forum Creepypasta Wiki.
Literature on the site reads: “Whether he absorbs, kills, or merely takes his victims to an undisclosed location or dimension is also unknown as there are never any bodies or evidence left behind in his wake.
“His face is pale and slightly ghostly and almost appears to have been wrapped in a type of gauze or cloth. His facial features are also an object of debate and many people believe that his face looks different to each person, if it is seen at all.”
Meanwhile Cannock Chase has made the headlines repeatedly over alleged sightings of the “black-eyed child.”
Brickley tells HuffPost UK: “In my opinion, the black-eyed child seems to be some kind of demon.
“While it might seem like a standard spectral encounter, almost all the reports involve the child leading people towards potentially dangerous situations.”
Cannock Chase has a long history of eerie happenings, according to the BBC, including sightings of a “werewolf-type creature” and a Pig-Man.
Witnesses recall a human body in tattered clothes, a distorted face, an unmistakable snout and the shrill squealing of the Pig-Man heard from miles around.