Monthly Archives: August 2013

Slenderman’s Coming For You

Howdy, folks. This is the first post I’ve written expressly for misterio press blog, and I’m excited to share it.

Today, we’re going to be talking about an Urban Myth called Slenderman. The unique thing about Slenderman is that he got his start online. Every evolution of him can be traced back to something that originally appeared in cyberspace.

Before we start, let me make one thing clear. This article is not intended as a definitive post on this topic. It’s merely a starting point for those brave enough to venture into the world of Slenderman.

Firsthand Experience

The best way to introduce y’all to Slenderman is to share the experience of someone who saw him:

As to personal stories, when I was four or five, we were driving home from my grandparents’ house through a dark part of the city. I saw a tall, slender man walking toward the car as we rolled slowly by. He looked eerie to me so caught my attention. As we came parallel to him, he happened to enter the glow of a streetcorner light and I saw that his face was like ashes. It looked as if it would crumble at a touch, all dark grey, wrinkled, and papery. I was startled and said, “Mummy, look at that man.” She craned around and said, “What man?” He was gone. No sign of him. Had he merely turned the corner we would still have seen him. No idea what that was but it fits the meme.

~By Gene Stewart

Find Gene online: Facebook, Website

Who is Slenderman?

This is a list of Slenderman descriptions I’ve collected:

  • Unnaturally tall and thin figure who wears a suit and has no facial features
  • A fairy from the Black Forest
  • A boogeyman who lives in the woods
  • A shapeshifter who assumes the form of trusted adults to lure his victims (usually children)

What Does He Do?

The following is a list of Slenderman’s interactions with his victims:

  • Can extend his arms (tendrils, tentacles) to trap his victims
  • Able to appear and disappear at will (teleport)
  • Has the ability to brainwash his victims and control their actions
  • Kidnaps children
  • Starts fires
  • Causes sickness
  • Mutilates victims

First Mentions

Slenderman began on The Something Awful Forms in this 2009 thread as “paranormal pictures” contest. Forum users posted photos to which they had added supernatural images. A user named Victor Surge posted the following two images with accompanying captions.

The Pictures

Picture Number One:

Licensed on Creative Commons

 

Click here to see Senderman Picture Number Two

The Captions:

Caption 1:

We didn’t want to go, we didn’t want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time

~ 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.

Caption 2:

One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as The Slender Man. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence.

~1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.

These two images and their accompanying captions spawned all sorts of discussion and stories. The idea of Slenderman later morphed into fiction, videos, and video games.

The Fiction

Creepypasta, a website where readers are invited to contribute creepy, shocking stories, has a whole sub-genre of scary stories which center on Slenderman. Click here for the Creepypasta Slenderman Tag.

The Games

Slender: The Eight Pages and Slender: The Arrival

Slenderman’s Shadow

Slenderman for IOS(The linked game is one of several. Go to the iTunes Store and do a search on “Slenderman” to see what I mean.)

The Videos

Marble Hornets

The Slenderman phenomenon/story morphed into a You Tube Video series called Marble Hornet.

The story on which the You Tube videos is based is that of Alex Kralie. A film student, Alex stumbled on “something troubling” while shooting his first full length project Marble Hornets. Click here to read a longer version of this story.

If you just want to watch the videos, go to the You Tube Channel for Marble Hornets.

The Documentary

There is an Irish Slenderman Documentary on You Tube. Click here for Part 1 of 5.Look for subsequent installments in the “recommended videos” section.

Slenderman’s Origins

Mythology from all over the world seems to support the existence of Slenderman (or something like him). Here are two of my favorites:

Der Ritter or “The Knight” — Germany

418px-Der_Ritter

This is a 16th century woodcut by Hans Freckenberg. The woodcut was re-discovered inÊHalstberg Castle in 1883.

“The Faceless One” — Wales

Hush, thy childe, do not stray far from the path,
or The Faceless One shall steal you away to Fairieland.
He preys on sinful and defiant souls,
and lurks within the woods.
He has hands of ebony branches,
and a touch as soft as silk.
Fear The Faceless One thy childe,
for he shall take you to a dark place.
And what shall become of thou?
Noone knows, so be good, thy little one-
Alas! He is here to take thou away!

This lullaby dates back to the 18th century. Like many lullabies of the time, it was didactic in nature, intended to teach children not to go near the forest.

Have you ever heard of Slenderman? Ever seen him? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Sources:

Special thanks goes to Gene Colwell. He gave me more information on Slenderman than I dreamed possible.

Special thanks to Gene Stewart for providing an “up close and personal” experience with Slenderman.

Slenderman on Know Your Meme

Slenderman in Mythology and Culture

The Abilities of Slenderman

“Why Slenderman Works: The Meme That Proves Our Need to Believe” by Patrick Dane

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie is the gal your mama warned you about, the one who cusses a lot and never washes her hands after petting the dog. She’s the author of Forever Road, Book 1 in the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series. Peri Jean sees ghosts, a talent she often wishes she did NOT possess.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Ukuleles, Grass Skirts and…Spam?

What comes to mind when you think of quintessential Hawaiian flavors? Pineapple, coconut, maybe poi? Well, add Spam–that salty, slightly greasy, canned “meat product” from Hormel Foods of Austin, Minnesota–to the list.

Hawaiians consume more Spam per capita than any other place on the planet, with an average consumption of more than twelve cans per person every year! Hawaiian grocery stores have entire aisles stacked high with the iconic blue cans, and you may be surprised to find unique flavors that were created especially for island tastes, including Honey Spam, Spam with Bacon (seems redundant) and Hot and Spicy Spam.

can of Spam

photo courtesy of Hormel Foods

Spam first came to Hawaii after World War II, when meat was expensive and lack of refrigeration made it difficult to transport from the mainland. The canned meat, which didn’t spoil even in the heat of the tropics, had been a staple in military rations and quickly caught on with island cooks as a substitute for ham, bacon and other hard-to-get pork products.

Every year in April, Waikiki hosts the annual Waikiki Spam Jam festival. The weekend festival runs for several blocks down Waikiki’s main street, Kalakaua Avenue and includes live entertainment, Spam-themed merchandise for sale, and food booths—most featuring creative uses for the well-loved meat mélange. This year’s surprise new treat was (drumroll, please) Spam cheesecake!

Waikiki

Waikiki, the home of the Spam Jam Festival

The festival benefits the Hawaii Food Bank and festival-goers are urged to bring food donations (Spam’s always a favorite contribution). In 2012, the festival collected 2,200 pounds of food and almost $25,000 for the food bank.

So, if you want to throw a backyard luau, don’t forget the Spam! Here are a couple of recipes to get you going.

SPAM MUSABI (similar to sushi)
Ingredients:
2 slices Spam Classic
3 oz. cooked short-grain rice (such as Cal-Rose)
1 Tbl. ginger sesame sauce (such as House of Tsang Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce or Sam Choy’s Cooking Sauce)
1 sheet nori (black dried seaweed, the kind used for sushi)

a musabi press

Spam Musabi Press (available from Amazon.com)

Preparation:
Fry the Spam on both sides until lightly browned and crisp
Place the rice in a musabi press or a small can.
Drizzle the sauce on top of the rice.
Cut a piece of the Spam to fit the size of the musabi press or can you are using and lay it on top of the seasoned rice.
Press down on the rice and Spam until it is a compact square.
Remove the block from the press.
Lay the nori, shiny side up, and top with the Spam mixture. Wrap it around the Spam mixture.  Cut each musabi in half (to make it bite-size).

Your Spam musabi should look something like this:

Spam musabi

Recipe and photo courtesy of Hormel Foods

 An even easier luau favorite is the HAWAIIAN SPAM-BURGER.

Ingredients:
One 12 oz. can Spam (any flavor) cut into 4 slices
Sliced pineapple rounds (8 oz. can or fresh)
Bell pepper sliced into thick rounds
One Tbl. prepared mustard (any kind)
3 Tbl. Mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, chopped
Four slices Swiss cheese (if desired)
Four hamburger buns
Lettuce leaves

Preparation:
Prepare your barbeque grill for cooking burgers.
Grill the Spam, pineapple rounds and green pepper 5 to 7 minutes, or until heated and beginning to char.
Stir together the mustard, mayo and chopped garlic.
Spread mustard mixture on both sides of buns.
Fill each bun with Spam, pineapple slice, green pepper slices, and cheese. Add lettuce.

A Spam burger with pineapple ring

Recipe and photo courtesy of Hormel Foods

Have you every had any of these Hawaiian delicacies? Do you know any other unusual Spam recipes?

Posted by JoAnn Bassett. Joann is the author of the Islands of Aloha Mystery Series, cozy mysteries set in the Hawaiian Islands. She’s a wink-and-nod fan of Spam, but admits she’s got a ways to go in perfecting her musabi technique. You can follow her progress (and see lots of photos of her “research” trips to Hawaii) on her Facebook page as she writes book five of the series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

When Life (i.e., True Crime) Imitates Art

We’re starting a new feature here at misterio press in which we bring you some real-life examples of mysteries. Today, Stacy Green is dusting off a true-crime tale from her Thriller Thursday archives, a real life Bluebeard.

line drawing of Bluebeard

Barbe bleue by Gustave Doré (public domain)

In The Legend of Bluebeard (in Tales of Mother Goose, Charles Perrault, 1697), a hideous man with a strange blue beard and a wealthy estate, has had several wives who disappeared. His new wife is soon left alone on the estate, after he hands her a set of keys and tells her she may open any room she wishes, except the small closet at the end of the basement. Naturally, as soon as he is gone, she rushes to the basement closet, only to find the seven previous wives, their throats slashed from ear to ear. Bluebeard discovers her treachery and vows to put her to death, but her brothers arrive to save her and they kill Bluebeard. The wife inherits his fortune, and she and her family live happily ever after.

A children’s fairy tale, meant to teach heaven knows what, but in the early 1900’s in France, a real-life lonely-hearts predator earned the chilling nickname of Bluebeard.

Short and bald, with bushy eyebrows to match his equally overgrown beard, Henri Landru wasn’t exactly an Adonis. He wasn’t the type of man you’d expect to woo hundreds of women, let alone bilk them out of their life savings. And yet he did. A second-hand furniture dealer and automobile mechanic, something about Landru lured women to him.
headshot of Henri Landru

He killed at least ten of them.

Born in 1869 to an average French family, Landru’s childhood is reported to have been uneventful. He attended Catholic school and was drafted into the French Army at age 18. He married in 1891, quit the military, and began working as a clerk.

Unfortunately, his employer swindled Landru out of a large sum of money. Landru was furious and turned to a life of crime and revenge. He began swindling lonely widows he met through his legitimate furniture business.

Between 1900 and 1908, Landru served several stints in prison for fraud. He was released in 1908 with the understanding he would re-enlist in the French Army. Instead, he honed his skills and continued to prey on vulnerable women.

His first known murder victim is Madame Cuchet, a 39-year-old widow. Cuchet’s brother was suspicious of Landru, but she ignored his warning. She and Landru moved to a villa in Vernouillet with her son. Mother and son were last seen alive in 1915.

Landru later gave Cuchet’s watch to his wife as a present.

Next was an Argentine widow, Madame Laborde-Line. She told friends she was marrying an engineer from Brazil, but the two moved in together. Laborde-Line was last seen in July 1915.

Then came Madame Guillen, a 51-year-old widow, followed by Madame Heon. Both visited Landru’s villa in Vernouillet and disappeared. Andree Babelay, a servant girl, also disappeared. No one knows why Landru chose to kill her–she certainly had no money to offer.

Landru eventually left Vernouillet for a new home in Gambais, where he had a large cast-iron oven installed.

drawing of oven in Landru's kitchen

Landru’s own drawing of the special oven he had installed in his kitchen (public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

His first known Gambais victim was Madam Buisson. It took Landru almost a year to estrange the wealthy widow from her family. She was last seen in 1917.

Madame Louise Leopoldine Jaume disappeared in September 1917.  Annette Pascal vanished in the spring of 1918. Marie Therese Marchadier disappeared in late 1918 after visiting Landru in Gambais.

For years, Landru wasn’t suspected in these women’s disappearances. He worked hard to separate his victims from their families, then worked even harder to make the families believe their loved ones were alive long after he’d killed them. He sent postcards, forged letters, pretended to be an attorney, etc.

Then the sister of Madame Buisson, the first Gambias victim, began searching for her. She wrote to the mayor of Gambais, telling him that her sister’s intention had been to run away with a man named Guilett (Landru’s alias). The mayor suggested she meet with the family of Madame Collumb, who had also vanished under similar circumstances in 1917.

Landru’s aliases were soon discovered, but his known residence at Gambais was empty. Buisson’s sister refused to give up. She remembered what her sister’s lover looked like, and in 1919, spotted Landru strolling out of a shop. She lost him in the crowd, but the owner of the shop told her the man’s name was Guilett, and he lived on the Rue de Rochechouart with his mistress. Landru was soon arrested.

Landru's mug shot

Landru’s mug shot

They didn’t have much to hold him on. Police searched the homes and gardens in Gambais and Vernouillet but only found a memo book where Landru had recorded his finances. Authorities spent two years investigating, eventually discovering that he had met all the women mentioned in his notebook through marriage advertisements, and they had all disappeared. He’d also recorded one-way trips from Paris for each victim, but round-trips for himself.

Still, no bodies. The break came when neighbors at Gambais mentioned noxious fumes coming from the kitchen. Police searched the iron stove and found bones, as well as women’s fasteners. Landru was charged with 11 counts of murder.

In 1919, there was no term like “serial killer.” Only Jack the Ripper was widely known to have killed multiple people, and a murderer like Landru was a shocking affront to the French people. His trial lasted a month. He believed that without a body, he could stonewall the court and kept virtually silent during trial. A jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to death.

In February, 1922, Landru faced the guillotine. He showed little remorse for his actions, although he did express embarrassment that his wife would discover the affair he was having at the time of his arrest.

Some argue that because Landru killed for financial gain rather than sexual motives, he can’t be classified as a serial killer. Rather, he’s more of a Black Widow killer, killing his mate for gain, with no remorse.

What do you think? Do you think Landru is a true serial killer? Should he have been convicted, with no actual bodies?

Posted by Stacy Green. Stacy has a bunch of impressive writing credentials, including a degree in journalism, but she considers her greatest achievement to be her daughter, Grace. She is the author of the stand-alone thriller, Into the Dark, and Tin God, the first book in the Delta Crossroads mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

You Know You’re a Mystery Fan If…

Hi, everyone! It’s Kathy, bringing you a Just for Fun post today.

I’m assuming you’re over here at misterio press because you love mystery stories, right?  Me too!  But have you ever wondered exactly what separates us mystery fans from “normal” folks?  Here are a few items to consider, under the heading of:

You Know You’re a Mystery Fan If…
1.  You know the 10 Rules of Golden Age Detective fiction.
2.  You know that Hercule Poirot was Belgian, not French.
3.  Should you ever meet a butler, you would be on your guard.  (Because “the butler did it” is such a cliche that it could now work in reverse, right?)
4.  You’ve played so many games of Clue that you have to erase old character/weapon/ room grids because you’ve run out of them (but first you relive your brilliant victories)

Clue game

Hasbros’ Clue, Classic Edition, sold by Winning Moves on Amazon.com

5.  You endlessly watched episodes of Scooby Doo when you were a kid. Like, groovy, man.
6.  You now make your children watch re-runs of Scooby Doo on Cartoon Network.
7.  If you could ever do a police ride-along, it would be with Lieutenant Columbo.
8.  You bring the complete Sherlock Holmes collection of stories with you to college.
9.  (from the Facebook crowd):

comments from my FB friends

…sometimes I worry about these folks.

10.  You avoid:  large, gloomy mansions in the midst of thunderstorms; invitations to remote islands by an unknown benefactor; and having sex with your boyfriend after the kids you’re babysitting have gone to sleep (oops, sorry, that’s the one in horror movies).
11.  You celebrate your 10-year wedding anniversary by going on a murder mystery weekend (hey, hubby had fun, too!)
12.  And finally, you know you’re a mystery fan if you own one (or more) of the following:

 

 

 

You like to snuggle up under your crime scene throw to watch NCIS or Criminal Minds.

 

 

 

target alarm clock

Lock n Load Alarm Clock (sold by Loveseason on Amazon.com)

 

You literally shoot your alarm clock every morning to get it to shut up.

 

 

 

 

 

You then take a shower with the help of this heart-thumping bathroom decor:

 

 

 

 

bloody footprints bath mat

bath mat (sold by Spinning Hat on Amazon.com)

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve equipped your kitchen with the brass knuckle meat tenderizer and…

time bomb kitchen timer

(sold on Amazon.com)

 

 

 

 

….the time bomb kitchen timer!

And you send your kids to school with sandwiches wrapped in these:

 crime scene sandwich bags

(sold by Accoutrements on Amazon.com)

 So, how do you show your love of mysteries?  Tell us about it!  We’d love to hear about the demented fun things you do for your passion.

Posted by Kathy Owen (aka K.B. Owen). Kathy is a recovering former English professor with a PhD in 19th century British literature, and the author of Dangerous and Unseemly, A Concordia Wells mystery. She is currently raising three boys and working on Books 2 and 3 in the Concordia Wells mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)