"Slender Man," an Internet meme that first appeared on the CreepyPasta Wiki in 2009 and has since spawned videos, stories and other online material, has allegedly inspired a brutal, real-life attack in Wisconsin over the weekend, authorities say.
NBC News reports that a pair of 12-year-old girls in Waukesha, near Milwaukee, allegedly invited a third 12-year-old to play hide-and-seek in some nearby woods Saturday morning. Officials say that two of the girls then turned on the third, holding her down and stabbing her 19 times. The victim survived, and her alleged attackers are now being held on $500,000 bail each. The prosecutor has said he plans to try them as adults, meaning they could face a possible sentence of more than 60 years in jail.
"Slender Man" is a spectral character created online and imbued with a phony back-story that includes bogus historical references and manipulated photos showing the lanky, faceless specter in the background of everyday scenes. The girls reportedly told police they wanted to kill the victim in order to become a kind of agent of the character. For more on the Slender Man myth, see the video below.