For this past week, I have been visiting Germany. Mostly the southwestern areas, near the Black Forest (oder der Schwarzwald). Many fun times have been had there.
What does this have to do with Slender Man? Surprisingly, a lot. Germany is the country which most often is tied into Slender Man’s history or previous appearances; for example, TribeTwelve’s “My Grandfather Karl” video. I expect that dozens of hypotheses can be made to try and explain why Germany is so often connected to Slender Man. Is it because of a connection to the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales? Some cultural perception we see Germany in? Is it just because the stories about him being from Germany were popular enough to become accepted canon?
And since I’m currently in that country, let’s talk about it for a bit. So what is this Black Forest? Well, it is a forest.
After traveling through the region for a few days, I can say that it does look like the kind of place you’d expect to see Slender Man in. Trees everywhere, older style buildings, and since I’m visiting in the winter, the weather was overcast and misty.
This atmosphere is not helped the number of Operator Symbols in the country. Seriously, this sign is all over the place. Epileptic Tree Time: The prominence of operator symbol imagery in Germany is due to a cultural memory of their historical encounters with Der Grossman. Yeah, that doesn’t have any evidence or support behind it, but it sounds cool.
Now onto Der Ritter, or “The Knight”. According to the story, the name comes from two sixteenth century woodcuts by Hans Freckenberg. These images featured a skeletal figure with multiple limbs, which contrasted with Freckenberg’s usually more realistic style.
In reality, there was no famous woodcut artist named Hans Freckenberg, and the Der Ritter woodcut is just a photoshop of this picture. In the past I have expressed disappointment that, with all the wide variety of German folklore that can be picked from, whoever created Der Ritter chose to make something which can be disproved by five seconds of searching online. Which does not help my suspension of disbelief in any way. However, as time has passed I’ve become more accepting of the story, if only because I like the connection to Germany.
As Der Ritter is a historical persona/event in the Mythos, it doesn’t often appear in contemporary stories, unless they are investigating Slender Man’s past. That doesn’t mean it’s never important; Der Ritter was the main example for Robert’s original Core Theory. It also adds a sense of time to Slender Man; the story says, “He’s existed for hundreds of years, and here’s how the people back then saw him.” There is the fear that we do not just face a monster, we face a monster that is centuries old, which has survived all attempts by mankind to fight against it. If the entire history of the human race has been unable to stop it, then how can we?
Although, admittedly, the entire history of the human race didn’t have nuclear weapons.
Nor did they have the power to launch Slender Man into the sun.
I’m pretty sure once a Runner gets his hands on a rocket, a method to keep Slendy contained in one spot, and enough fuel, we’ll have this fight in the bag.
Also, pictures of the Black Forest! Just pretend Slendy's hiding in them, because I don't want to carry around a giant Slender Man mannequin all through Germany.
Nature and stuff.
Of course a random fire has to be somehow related to Slender Man!
Yeah, at one point I was hallowed and turned into palette flipped Redlight. This sorta thing happens all the time on my vacations.
Black Forest Wikipedia Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_forest
Slenderbloggins - Struwwelpeter Analysis: http://slenderbloggins.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/struwwelpeter-analysis-with-broekchen/