Campus News

Making myths

In a Boston Globe article about the legend of Slender Man—an invented character whose origin can be traced back to an online forum—Shira Chess said she is unsurprised that people frequently buy into the tale.

“We tell ourselves stories because we (humans) are storytelling animals,” said Chess, an assistant professor of mass media arts in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. “And, to that end, horror stories take on a specific significance and importance because they function metaphorically-the horror stories that are the best are often metaphors for other issues that affect our lives on both cultural and personal levels.”

A member of Grady’s telecommunications department, Chess said Slender Man is a metaphor for “helplessness, power differentials and anonymous forces.”

Slender Man came back to the spotlight in June when two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin lured a friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times in a kind of tribute to the character.