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Slender Man blamed for teen arson attack, but is the creepy figure really responsible?

A 14-year-old girl set fire to her home while her family was inside.
Sep 5th 2014, 6:11 PM 25,468 25

A FLORIDA TEEN has admitted to setting her family house on fire while her mother and 9-year-old brother slept inside.

The 14-year-old girl from Port Richey told investigators that after an argument with her mum, she soaked a towel and bed-sheet in bleach and rum before setting it on fire in the garage early Thursday. The teenager then packed a bag and went to sleep in a nearby park bathroom.

slendermanagain

Her family escaped the fire after an alarm woke them. Her mother initially wasn’t sure if her daughter was in the house or not, but firefighters soon found that she wasn’t.

The teenager later sent a text to her mum which read:

Mom, I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I did it. Did any of you get hurt?

She later admitted intentionally starting the fire to police and was arrested for arson and two counts of attempted murder. During investigations, the teen told police that she was a frequent reader of the website CreepyPasta.com and dark manga graphic novel Soul Eater.

Despite little evidence directly linking the girl to a Slender Man ‘obsession’, the fictional horror figure has been known to appear in Creepy Pasta stories and was given the blame in many reports on the incident.

slenderheadline1 Source: New York Post

slenderheadline2 Source: Complex

slenderheadline3 Source: NY Daily News

Why Slender Man?

According to the SunCoast News, investigators claim the teen was ‘obsessed’ with Slender Man and read websites depicting detailed murders committed by the character.

Speaking during a press conference on the incident, Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said that, while the websites may have not directly led to the fire, they are “things on the internet that are disturbing and causing kids to lose a sense of reality and caused a horrible incident to occur today, that could’ve been tragically worse”.

IMG_2601 Source: Wikimedia

It’s not the first time Slender Man has been blamed for an attack.

Back in July, Slender Man was attributed to the stabbing of a classmate in Wisconsin by two 12-year-old girls. An incident in June where a 13-year-old stabbed her mother was also speculated to be linked to the character. Her mother told WLWT:

We found things that she had written and she made references to Slender Man. She also made references to killing.

What came first, the thoughts or the Slender Man?

The teen involved in the arson attack wrote of thoughts of murder in a journal found by investigators, such as “If this keeps up there will be no safety in this house”.

However, the only eBook directly mentioned in this case by police was cult manga graphic novel Soul Eater, which tells a story of collecting and ‘devouring’ tainted souls, and is unrelated to Slender Man, who mostly appears in user-generated stories on CreepyPasta.com.

soul-eater-2398271 Source: Mangareader

WTSP reports that, besides a reference to the Wisconsin stabbing, the Florida teen didn’t write much about the internet meme in her journal.

At this time, investigators have no evidence to believe that she set the home on fire because of the violence found on these websites, but authorities remain concerned.

Nocco said that while the stories are possibly not directly related, he wished to alert parents to the disturbing content and called for the content to be removed from CreepyPasta.

creepypasta

The website, which consists of user-submitted paranormal and horror stories, issued a lengthy statement after the Wisconsin stabbing, deflecting the blame and pinning it on the larger society and attitudes towards mental health.

I’ve received both messages of concern and blame, and while it seems that the Creepypasta Wiki is bearing the brunt of media attention and finger-pointing, I feel it’s necessary for me to make a statement.

This wiki does not endorse or advocate for the killing, worship, and otherwise replication of rituals of fictional works. There is a line between fiction and reality, and it is up to you to realize where the line is. We are a literature site, not a crazy satanic cult.

For most of you reading this, you’re probably thinking this is a no-brainier that stories here are mere fiction and know that they are just mere fiction. This blog addresses to newcomers and “die-hard believers”, who will otherwise, likely to believe in these stories.

I don’t believe that it’s the fault of Slenderman or horror writing in general that this happened. I remember reading scary stories and watching slasher movies when I was a child and young teenager and while they certainly gave me nightmares, they did not instill within me a desire to murder my friends. 

Hopefully, the gruesome crime that happened in Wisconsin will not repeat itself again, and our hearts go out to the families affected by this crime.

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Nicola Byrne

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