(Note: If you are concerned about the May 30 stabbing in Wisconsin and its relevance to Slender Man, please see our statement here. Our thoughts are with all the families and communities involved, and we hope for a complete and speedy recovery for the victim.)
Last week in Open Doors’ Critical Thinking and Feeling class, instructor Adena Koslek decided to play the student. She asked the class to design an activity that would bring her out of her shell, as her “student self” was feeling a bit anxious about participating, though underneath it all she really wanted to.
After some brainstorming, the class introduced “Shy Adena” to Slender Man, an Internet horror legend.
The class then encouraged Adena to play one of the Slender Man video games, which involve the player exploring a dark house or a landscape with only a flashlight, looking for signs to lead her to safety, only to have the Slender Man appear. When he does, the player character’s vision warps as she meets her doom.
The class then brought the game to life for their shy student. Two members put up signs for Adena to follow around Eastown, ostensibly to bring her to safety, while one member, dressed in black, played the Slender Man, appearing just as she thought she was going to make it.
The fun and thrill of being scared out of their wits inspired the class further, and they hope to develop a short horror film (in cooperation with their Film Studies class) for their end-of-the-year project.
Who knew that this is where the class would lead? The journey of real-world learning is often so surprising, so laugh-out-loud fun. It can start with the Internet as a window to the world — it can move into local community and creative endeavors. It can be as thrilling and surprising as spotting Slender Man — one just never knows.