Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Slender Man" Preliminary Hearing Underway

Back in June I covered the story of two Wisconsin teens, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, who attempted to murder one of their friends. When arrested, they claimed that they had committed the crime in order to appease Slender Man, a fictional character who appears in many online horror stories. This week the state of Wisconsin held a preliminary hearing for the two girls.

When asked if she really believed Slender Man would harm her family if the pair didn't carry out their plot, Weier responded: "Well, yeah. He's 6 to 14 feet tall, has no face and always wears a red tie."

She added: "I was really scared. He could kill my whole family in three seconds."

At other times, Weier seemed to comprehend the reality of what occurred, taking some responsibility for the crime, crying when she described Leutner's screams, and saying she wanted to call her mother but Geyser said they couldn't.

Geyser, on the other hand, told a detective Weier was calling most of the shots, and brought up the threat from Slender Man, but also admitted at one point, "I honestly don't know why we did this."

Her interrogator, Waukesha Detective Tom Casey, said he felt Geyser was actually the person most responsible for both plotting, committing and trying to run from the crime.

As I see it, the most significant fact about this case is that the two girls were 12 years old when they committed the attack, and I have to say that I disagree with prosecutors who want to try them as adults. Usually that move is reserved for children who are closer to adulthood, or those who actually kill others. The victim in this case was injured, but survived.

The idea that "Slender Man" would actually appear and kill their families seems ridiculous to an adult, but some kids are impressionable enough to take it seriously. Most people are completely unwilling to translate such musings into actual violence, but it also is true that 12-year-old brains are still developing and may have trouble reining in such impulses. Clearly something like that took place here. Either that, or at least one of the girls is a budding genuine psychopath.

There's still no evidence that "Slender Man" is an actual spirit, or that these girls were influenced by anything other than their own imaginations. The debate over the intersection between magick and popular culture is ongoing, but I have a hard time accepting the notion that quantity of attention will inevitably endow a meme or thoughtform with independent consciousness or spiritual power.

Working magicians can create spirits, but in my experience doing so is more technical than simply paying attention to an idea. I would be equally skeptical of someone who claimed he or she could create a working computer by dumping a pile of microchips in a bucket.

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