Far as i know the term slenderman cropped up around 15 years ago, if it was used earlier i havent been led to the proof.
The idea of him is clearkly much older. Ive read about "the Knight" and the hieroglyphs, but I would like to talk abiut something more recent, maybe 20-25 years ago.
Nightmare Before Christmas came out in 1993. I did not see it in theatres. I cant remember when i finally did see it, TBH, maybe a couple years later.
What i do remember is being told of Jack Skellington.
It was a classmate. I think actually a childhood friend who i considered my best friend. I havent talked to him since elementary school. Moving away caused us to drift apart.
What i was told about Jack Skellington was terrifying to me. Pure Nightmare Fuel. I cant remember all the particulars. I believe i was told that he was a tall skinny skeleton dressed in black. That much was accurate.
But i was also told he was a shapeshifter. In particular that he could turn into a schoolbus and eat children once they had all boarded.
The weird thing is I dont think i knew at the time that Jack Skellington was the name of the star of TNBC. I had probably seen commercials for it but not made the connection.
At some point I did see the film and made the connection. ~Oh~ i thougbt with relief ~ my friend just ripped off some movie~.
So i waited for Jack to turn into a bus and eat kids. It never happened. I was confused.
So where did my friend get these ideas? Jack never shapeshifts in the film, he just dons a disguise. Jack never kidnaps kids in the film, he just gives them scary gifts.
My friend described Jack like a predator lurking in our world. A lone wolf. Not the king of a town in another dimension who briefly visiter one night and has a qt ragdoll girlfriend.
This discrepency never left me. I never got to resolve it. Kingdom Hearts helped keep TNBC alive in my mind. So did my crush on Sally and seeking some 34 on her.
I dont remember when I learned of Slenderman. Or when I made the connection between him and Jack, as I know others did independently.
Seeing the image of Jack/Slender together in the "Beware" documentary this week made me come back to dwell on this all over again.
Where did my friend get this idea? Did someone else give it to him? How many kids in the area were doing this?
I assume it was 93-95 that my memories are from. I didnt have internet. It was a new thing. I dont think any kids had it. So this had to have been spread by word of mouth.
A kid-eating schoolbus could have been an older reappropriated idea. Not sure. I would be interested in learning if there were older referencss to it or not.
Even so... why append it to Jack and not some other animated movie star? Why did a shapeshifting childsnatching skinny tall guy in a black suit click? Why is that what i was told?