Friday, December 11, 2015

Tall Man, Slenderman

While the slenderman is a modern creation born on the Internet, the creepy figure clearly has deep roots in various supernatural legends.  While some consider him a completely modern manifestation, a bit of research points to the figure of slenderman being a reinterpretation of a much older boogey man and/or a conglomeration of various elements from older tales.

One of these elements relates to stories of a figure often called the "tall man."  This figure can be found with some variation in several cultural tales.

Folklorist Ernest Warren Baughman did a comprehensive study of tales from both North America and England and collected a vast amount of information.  In his book, "A Comparative Study of Folktales of England and North America," we find this curious item relating to a "tall man."

"The older people would say they would see men about ten foot tall, in a black suit walking through the lane.  A number of people have told me that.  I never saw it because I was - I never believed in ghosts."

When asked where these incidents were occurring, the gentlemen replied: 

"In Church Lane.  In Quaker Neck. 
But this relates back - you can go into Melitota or Georgetown - everybody in that time has a similar story - They've seen these men or man walking, shoes cracking, like you got a new pair of shoes on you can hear this but - and this thing would disappear - I mean - But I actually never saw it.  I don't know what relationship it had to anything else."

The somewhat broken style of the account is due to the fact that the accounts were transcribed from interviews and were not edited, but rather, printed exactly as they were related.
Baughman's book was published in 1954, so the tales were all collected prior to that.  This particular piece came from the oral folk traditions of Kent County, Maryland.

Certain elements from the above account are certainly slenderman-like.  The tallness of the figure and the fact that it wears a black suit are the most clear connections.

In 2012, a movie titled "The Tall Man," starring Jessica Biel was released and instantly correlations were drawn to slenderman. 
Its clear that the disturbing figure of the slenderman, in his various forms, is going to continue to exert his influence in modern times.

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  1. I use to dream about a figure in a Victorian suit with a tall, stovepipe hat and an incredibly slender body. Curling, silent movie-villain moustache, waxed upward. My friend said a comic novel called The Invisibles featured a similar character called the "Infernal Tax Collector." I believe he also wore white gloves. Tails on the coat. I got the impression he was slender but strong like iron. In my dream, he called himself the "Revenoor." (Revenant? Revenue?) Anyway best regards, Tom B.

    1. in my dream he was all white wearing a all black two tailed suit appeared as if it was waiting on me based off of it posture.