Sightings of “Slender Man” in Gresham, Oregon on Thursday prompted some residents to call police. “Slender Man” is a fictional character that originated from a 2009 meme. “You see heads just turning, people freaked out. He just kept looking at us,” resident Randi Wicht told KPTV.
“I kinda froze, I wasn’t sure if I was really seeing what I was seeing,” said Rosa Higdon. “You couldn’t tell if it was a joke or serious, you didn’t know whether to laugh or to be worried, it was kind of confusing."
The town was already on edge. Just that morning, the local high school went into lockdown after a false report of a gun. “At that time I called the non-emergency number for Gresham, just with everything going on...it’s really creepy,” said Wicht.
Wicht wasn’t the only one. Police said they received several calls about “Slender Man.”
Turns out, the person dressed up as the meme-based creature was an actor advertising a local haunted house.
“We don’t mean any harm we just have our characters out there having fun, that’s what they are, they’re actors. We wanted to create an uproar, people to go 'hey, there’s a guy on the street, what’s he doing,'” said Nate Fultz with the House of Shadows. “We can’t stop what we’re doing, we understand people are upset about it but we can’t stop doing what we do, it’s Halloween season.”
Some residents said they wished the advertisement was a little more clear.
“At least show you’re for a haunted house, because nobody had a clue what was going on. You saw people crossing the street, looking away and running to their car,” said Wicht.
In 2014, two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls stabbed a classmate as a sacrifice to the “Slender Man.” Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser lured 12-year-old Payton Leutner into the woods after a sleepover, then stabbed her 19 times to impress Slenderman. The two girls thought that by stabbing their friend they could be Slenderman’s servants, which they believed would protect their families from his evil wrath.
This year a court found Weier mentally ill and not criminally responsible for her actions. Now, she will go to a state mental hospital. She could be released in three years, according to local TV station WISN. Geyser’s trial is scheduled to begin in October, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.