A Digital Fairytale: Marble Hornets & The Slender Man

I suspect I’m a bit late to the party on this one, but that means that other people must be too, so I’m going to write about it anyway and spread the word as I think it’s quite exciting. One suggestion, though: don’t watch this alone, late at night, in the dark. I had to sleep with the lights on last night, and even that didn’t stop the bad dreams.

Marble Hornets is difficult to describe. Part Youtube series, part ARG, it documents the story of Alex, a student filmmaker who suddenly and mysteriously abandons his film, entitled Marble Hornets, once he comes up against “unworkable conditions”. Despite his initial plans to burn the tapes, he is persuaded to instead give them to Jay, our protagonist, who chucks them in the back of his closet. A few years later, and after Alex’s disappearance, Jay is inspired to sift through the footage in the hopes of discovering what happened. As he does so, he uploads any clues he finds onto Youtube.

The resulting clips chronicle Alex’s slow slide into paranoia and madness as he is tormented by a shadowy figure; The Slender Man. The Slender Man was already known online as an internet-born myth, created on The Something Awful Forums; he is tall, he lives in the woods, and he wears a business suit. He appears across the internet in the background of old photographs, always lurking on the edge of sight as children play unawares in the foreground, or striding almost invisibly through forests as twisted and spindly as he. Things get even more disturbing when Jay’s behaviour begins to mimic Alex’s, obsessively filming and uploading his every own move and blacking out for periods at a time, unsure of where he has been or what has happened.

In a sinister turn of events, Jay is soon contacted by a second party, another Youtube user called TotheArk, who begins sending cryptic video responses with veiled messages and hidden codes. We are unsure whether TotheArc is friend or foe; he seems to be toying with us, egging us on.

What is so interesting about the series is its interactive aspect and web 2.0 narrative. Not only do we follow Jay’s encounters on Youtube, but he also has a twitter account, further blurring the lines between the real and the unreal. The series has a dedicated team of followers over on Unfiction and Something Awful trying to unlock its mysteries, and as Jay investigates what happened to Alex, we too turn detective, tracking events as they unfold across the internet and seeking out as much information as we can find. We become another layer of the story. We feel we are part of the narrative. We start looking over our shoulder and behind doors, convinced that the Slender Man is lurking there.

The story is as yet unfinished, leaving us with a host of questions to puzzle over in the meantime. Who (or what) is TotheArc? What happened to Alex? Is Jay destined to go the same way?

Are we?

For fans of: House of Leaves, The Blair Witch Project, The Rake, Hush (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

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13 responses to “A Digital Fairytale: Marble Hornets & The Slender Man

  1. I have to admit i think slenderman is fake for one If u look at jack in Nightmarebefore christmas he looks alot like him and in Minecraft adventure update Enderman sounds and looks alot like Slenderman Eg. SLenderman Enderman all you gotta do is take away the S and the L THATS why i think slenderman is a fake. Probably made by jack and then it was the slenderman and NOW its Everyones favoirte Enderman.

  2. Enderman was based off of Slenderman. Not vice versa. Slendy was part of a competition on somethinghorrid forums to create your own horror. It took off in popularity, due to it’s, well… scary nature.

    • NOT quite right, Slendermans are creatures from old mythology and cultures;
      “Slenderman has no exactly defined or specified history, however contributors have placed early sightings of Slenderman-like beings known as Der Ritter and Der Großmann in early 1600s German and before, where it took the dress of a knight or royal figure. Germanic fairy tales and mythology also makes use of the creatures to be used as cautionary tales for children. ”
      http://theslenderman.wikia.com/wiki/Slender_Man

  3. xXSlimeXx
    Notch got the idea of the endear an from the Slenderman you know

  4. he got the name Slenderman from a painting and the characters like Jack(Nightmare Before Christmas) probably came into being from people drawing from the photos of the Slenderman in some way

  5. @xXSlimeXx

    The Slenderman exists from 1985 drawings idiot..
    Notch hat the insiration of him by creating the enderman

    • You’re the idiot, sir.
      “Slenderman has no exactly defined or specified history, however contributors have placed early sightings of Slenderman-like beings known as Der Ritter and Der Großmann in early 1600s German and before, where it took the dress of a knight or royal figure. Germanic fairy tales and mythology also makes use of the creatures to be used as cautionary tales for children. ”
      http://theslenderman.wikia.com/wiki/Slender_Man

  6. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

  7. Slender man isn’t an internet born myth. The myths about Slender man have been around longer than the internet, the myths come from all around the world.

  8. Well after reading this,it leaves me thinking of my friend which i think is paranoid. She keeps on wanting to return to the forest that is up on the mountains. She recods EVERYRHING and takes pictures. I dojt even know anymore because i try to help het but…well yeah i dont know. She has nightmares and she is freaking me out. Today,she went up again to the forest…

  9. i dont know for sure, but i think he is real. ive had a friend dissapear in the woods or days and come back maimed, saying thet he had escaped a “tall man” , my family thought nothing of it, niether did i until i heard of the myths about a year and a half ago. i asked him exactly what he looked like, he said too tall to be human, to skinny to be alive, no hands, no eyes, no mouth, or nose, no face all together. extremely pale. he would take pictures, and videos, a few of which had some pretty wierd evidence. one picyure was of just the forrest, but in the background, behind a tree, you couldclearly see a figure of some sort. but it wasnt really behind the tree, it sort of came out of the tree. ypu could see a head, but no face. arms, but no hands, more like branches.ive als0 heard of other sightings that sound convincing.

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