This story from folklore, collected and transcribed by author W.K. McNeil in his book, Ghost Stories from the American South, and narrated by Mr. Creepypasta, purportedly provides evidence that the creature / entity Slenderman (or “Slender Man”) existed well before its supposed “invention” in the late 2000s. The story, about a boy and his family out in a rural area, who take on the boy’s cousin for a summer, and the disappearance of one of the boy’s sisters mysteriously one night, is hair-raising if for nothing else than the fact that creatures / men such as these do exist, at least in folklore, and that they may still be around today.
Well, I’ll you, when I was younger, a cousin of mine came to live with us. He was older than me and my sisters — maybe sixteen or seventeen — and we was the only folks he had left in the world, really. And he was the awfullest liar you’d ever know, anything he’d tell you was a lie, almost. I liked him all right. We slept in a loft during the summer because it was cooler up there, me and him, and in the winters we slept on the floor closer to the stove. My sisters had their own room.
So one night my cousin wakes me up by punching me in the shoulder, and it’s summer so we’re up in the loft, and my first thought when he wakes me up is to just push him out, because I’m not happy at being waked up, you know? But before I can say anything he puts his hand over my mouth and even though it’s dark I can hear that he’s scared. “Listen,” he says, and so I listen real careful. It’s this scratching, like something on the roof, and the roof is right over our heads, mind you, ‘cause we’re in the loft. I was a trifle rattled, but I wasn’t having none of it. “So?” I says to him. “It’s just some raccoon or a cat.”
“No,” says John, “I heard it before I waked you up, it’s like footsteps, like someone’s walking up there.” I wasn’t taking no truck with that, I told you he was the awfullest liar. So I went back to sleep, but the next day my cousin tried to tell Pap about it, and Pap wasn’t having no truck with it, either. But one night later on, while we was all having supper, Pap sent out my youngest sister to fetch water from the pump we had in the back. After a while we heard Lily scream, and it was Ma who got up first, and then Pap.
The rest of us stayed at the table because we was like to get in trouble if Lily was hurt and we was there to gloat. Soon enough, though, we heard Pap and Ma shouting too, so me and John went out to see if they needed our help. All they had was the water pail Lily carried out, and there wasn’t no other sign of her.At first I didn’t understand what was going on, with both Ma and Pap shouting, and by that time my other sisters come out and they started crying, and my cousin was just standing there in the yard looking off toward something.
“It’s the man walking yonder!” he yells, and he’s pointing out across the field. No one’s listening to him but me, and he keeps saying it: “It’s the man walking yonder! It’s the man walking yonder!”
You already know it was suppertime, so you know the sun was setting and it was hard to see. But when I looked out over that field at the back of the house, the whole thing was lit up orange, and there was a row of big black trees that was the edge of the woods, you know? And I swear to you that I saw one of them trees moving, like a man walking away. But it couldn’t have been a man, ‘cause there ain’t no man that tall and skinny.
Pap seen it, too, I think. He took us inside and locked all the doors, and he made us keep still while he got out his rifle. We waited like that all night, Ma crying the whole time. When the sun come up we took a wagon into town and told folks what happened, though as I recall nothing much came of it. John ran off a few weeks later, and we got a new house closer to the mill where Pap worked. I still can’t manage to look at trees during sunset though, especially not on windy days when they all move back and forth, like a man walking away.
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