As always, tomorrow there will be a liveblog chat thingy for the new Friendship Is Magic episode at 2 p.m. However, I will once again not be around for it; I will record my own impressions of the episode some time early next week when I finally get to watch it.
So, you may have seen floating around the Internet that there is an apparent appearance by the Slender Man creepypasta in the most recent episode of Friendship Is Magic, “Pinkie Apple Pie.”
|A detail from the episode, roughly 16:06, showing
a few frames at a slowed speed. An apparent blank-
faced figure in a suit slips behind a tree in the background.
I can confirm that the image is legit; with some difficulty I managed to find it in the episode itself. The question, therefore, is if this is intentionally a reference to the Slender Man, and if that intentionality matters.
Certainly it looks remarkably like the usual depiction of the Slender Man: a faceless, thin man with no face and extremely pale skin, wearing a neat, conservative black suit with a red or black tie. However, when it comes down to it this is a blobby purplish shape and two dark shapes sliding around in the background; framed as it is in the image above it looks unmistakably like Slendy, but in the context of the full scene it is quite clearly made of similar shapes and colors to the background trees, suggesting the possibility that it could just be an error–different layers of the background are moving in different directions and speeds to simulate camera movement, and it’s possible that one layer is moving incorrectly.
But in a sense that doesn’t matter. Part of what makes Slender Man such an effective creepy pasta is that many of the works involving it, particularly Marble Hornets and similar web series, hide Slender Man in many shots, training the viewer to hunt for Slender Man. The most frightening part of such videos is the few minutes after watching when, trained to look hard for Slender Man, the viewer starts seeing him everywhere, because the basic shape of a light-colored roundish thing on top of a tall thin dark-colored thing is surprisingly common. Much like the infamous “face on Mars” photo, which is actually less than half of a vaguely face-like formation, plus a shadow that tricks the brain into assuming the other half of the face is hidden beneath the shadow, anything vaguely Slender Man-like becomes Slender Man.
So, yes, I look at that image, and I see a very clear and obvious Slender Man. But I’ve watched a lot of Marble Hornets and Tribe Twelve and Everyman Hybrid, so of course I would.
…it doesn’t help that the original Slender Man mythos has him mostly targeting children, while most of the actual stories and shows have him targeting young adults. The ponies in many ways combine features of both, especially Pinkie…