Tuesday, July 26, 2011

30 Odd minutes

Tonight at 8PM catch my interview with Jeff Belanger and his crew at 30 Odd minutes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Werewolf Book 2nd Edition

Brad Steiger's new edition of The Werewolf Book is out in September, with a few stories by yours truly. Updated and expanded, this is a must for the lovers of Lycanthropy!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


He was officially created in an internet contest when the readers of the “Something Awful” forums were asked to create a paranormal entity in a thread named “Create Paranormal Images”. The scheme was to create eerie images and use them to trick people on paranormal forums into thinking they were genuine. Users started photoshopping images by adding fake ghosts and other bizarre figures, usually accompanied by a fake back story to make them seem authentic.

On June 10th of 2009 a user named Victor Surge posted to the thread with 2 photos and an explanation that the entity stalked children.

The myth of Slenderman was born.

The explanation that Victor Surge included with the photos was the haunting detail that the photographs were taken on a day on which fourteen children disappeared. He then further explains that the library where the photo was found burned down a week after the pictures were taken. This Slenderman entity was a shadow creature, overly tall and thin. It had long arms that stretch to inhuman lengths to ensnare its prey. To add to its unearthliness, Slenderman had no face. His primary motivation at first was to kidnap and kill children. Supposedly, he is seen right before the disappearance of a child or even a mass kidnapping of multiple children. He seems to prefer silently stalking in the midst fog enshrouded streets and wooded areas so he can obscure himself from the casual eye. However, children have been able to see him when adults in the vicinity could not. The mythos also states that children also have dreams or nightmares concerning The Slender Man before their disappearance.

Quickly the mythos was expanded. Once Slenderman was seen, he would stalk you for the rest of your life. His goal was to slowly drive you insane by appearing in your periphery, eventuallythreatening you with death. Soon his victims no longer were limited to children but teenagers and adults were soon to become stalked by the tall faceless man. The mythos quickly gained some trappings of Ufology’s Men in Black phenomenon as he appeared in a dark modern suit with white shirt and black tie. He also gained added appendages, which sprout from his side like tree limbs. One UFO site adds: “Once his arms are outstretched, Slender Man’s victims are put into something of a hypnotized state, where they are utterly helpless to stop themselves from walking into them. Slender Man is also able to create tendrils from his fingers and back that he uses to walk. Whether Slender Man absorbs, kills, or merely takes his victims to an undisclosed location or dimension is also unknown as there are never any body’s or evidence left behind in his wake to deduce a definite conclusion.”

Soon image board across the web contained threads including original Slenderman art as well as stories. Soon blogs were dedicated to the mythos and Youtube videos chronicled the diabolical entity’s torment of a few ill fated individuals. There is even an alternate reality game: Marble Hornets that combines Youtube and twitter accounts to build a narrative surrounding a film student's discovery of horrifying film footage his friend had taken.

Some say the Slenderman myth is inspired by archaic archetypes of folklore, like death stalking the plague riddled inhabitants of Medieval Europe as depicted in Hans Holbein's 16th century woodcuts of the Dance of Death. But recently the mythos and folklore has begun to manifest itself into real life. On November 6th 2009 a young man called Coast to Coast am with an encounter his girlfriend had with an entity resembling Slenderman. It started a flurry of listeners to call, relating their own stories of Slenderman type encounters. Here are the calls.

Some take this call to be a hoax, or the ramblings of some people who mistakenly perceived the game of Marble Hornets to be a real account. Or in the case of the mother who called, (The Buffy episode is called “Hush” which was the 10th episode of the 4th season which aired on December 14, 1999) it is attributed to someone who has inserted a dramatic television show’s visual story telling into her past dreams. But I do not think this is what was happening. I too have received stories of various encounters of Slenderman. The first came in August of 2009, from a woman named “JoAnne”:

“…from childhood I have seen this demonic figure. He is a tall shadow. He has no face, but he has long arms. Out of the corner of my eye on certain nights I see him and his arms seem to be reaching out to me, and when I turn to look at him, the thing is gone. I have the real feeling that if I don’t turn around to look at him his arms will catch me up and I will die.”

“JoAnne” then described some personal details of her life that accompanied the “Slenderman” appearance, which included child abuse and neglect at a young age. Close to the end of her letter she made the chilling announcement,

“I am afraid that he is stalking me, and that one day I will not be able to catch him trying to snatch me up. This fills me with such fear, word can’t describe. Sometimes I think I am going nuts. I feel like he is going to get me when I don’t expect it. Some nights I can’t sleep, noises outside make me jump. When the wind cranks up and things start to rattle, I am so scared. I need help!”

I responded to “JoAnne” and gave her some simple prayers and commands for the entity to leave her alone. I have tried to contact her numerous times, but I never get a reply. One part of me feels it might be a psychotic incident with prolonged effects on her mental state, but when I started to receive other similar letters, I began to think twice.

I received an anonymous comment on my blog dated January 12, 2010 that in part reads:

“ My name is____. I am being hunted by a shadow creature. It is tall and thin and tries to catch me in its long arms. I saw it in a dream, and now it is real. All I see in the face are two eyes, and when I look in them those arms try to get me.”

And a more recent and extensive one comes from a few weeks ago:

“…every night since the start of June, between 12 and 4 in the morning I get a phone call from my ex-girlfriend. She has been attacked or being stalked by a ghost or something more. Let me tell you a bit about her before I go any further. She has severe depression, insomnia. She also has some mental trauma, what kind I will not say, because that is between me and her but as far as I know, that could be the entire reason why this is happening. Anyways since I've been dating her, a person she calls “The Man” has been giving her distress. Apparently he's been around a lot longer then I've known her, but she says that it wasn't that bad when she was younger. Her first experience with “The Man” around 7 or 8, she would see a man with no real face, just a body and a blank mass where a face was, in her backyard standing by the fence. Not really believing in ghosts, she freaked out and called her mom saying there was a person outside, when her mom got there, she seen a glimpse of a person before he vanished behind the fence. How much of this is true, I dont really know, I was just told these stories by her family when I came over now and again. . About a year ago, she called up around midnight complaining of “The Man”. She said she could feel some one watching her through her windows, and she wouldn't get out from under her covers to turn on a light or do anything. But back then I was her boyfriend and had to fight the big bad monsters for her, so I had to couch her on what to do and when to do it so she wouldn't be scared. I would always tell her its ok and that she will be fine. There were several instances where I believe either she was possessed or just the trauma of her past affected her to the point where she developed a split personality. Its also a reason why I think the trauma and 'The Man' are linked. I could immediately tell something was different because of her eyes. Normally they were a pretty blue, but then they were cold and grey. Finally after we broke up after three years in January, the man seemed to disappear. Up until June she talked to me occasionally but never past midnight. But now she calls every night between 12 and 4 complaining of The Man. I guess hes been watching her more and more. Every night he looks through her window or watches from the woods when she walks through her house…”

So is this some sort of fiction become reality because of the overworking of imagination and psychosomatic power like a tulpa? Or is it a demonic entity that has taken on the guise of an internet mythos to feed on fear and destroy the minds of those that fall into its deception?

I was about to go with the latter until recently when I heard a few stories that place the Slenderman in paranormal experiences before the mythos was ever created. First came from a coworker within the month.

Around 2002 she worked at another location and made friends with a woman who had paranormal encounters. One of the most chilling was when in the middle 1990s when the middle of the might she woke up to see a tall dark and thin humanoid figure at the end of her bed. It reached out its arms and its finger elongated to an inhuman length and reached toward her head. She was paralyzed, even though she tried to scream and move she could not. As the tendril fingers wrapped around her head she lost consciousness. Soon after she that noticed she was sluggish. She became ill, had frequent headaches and nausea and could not sleep. So she sought medical help, and as a consequence had an X-Ray done of her head and upper torso. The Doctors found a small metallic object had been implanted into the base of her skull. When the doctors tried to remove the foreign object they found that it had become entangled into the central nervous system at the spinal cord, and it was too risky to remove. The woman even showed the operation scar to my coworker as proof. But my co worker still did not believe the story, which aggravated her friend very much. The friend then brought her X-ray to work and showed my coworker the proof. A small metallic object had been implanted at the base of her skull in such a location that made it inoperable.

Was this woman an alien abduction and implant survivor? At first look that seems the conclusion, but the appearance and after affects of the encounter matches the Slenderman mythos so closely it makes one ponder. In fact after telling my coworker of the Slenderman mythos, she was shocked and a bit unnerved. It fit perfectly. But why the implant? Perhaps to follow you the rest of your life?

Click on photo to order on Amazon

A few weeks ago I put a request out here on my blog for any readers who had a Slenderman experience to write in and tell me about it. It so happens that the responses also predate the invention of the mythos. First from a man in the idwestern United States that wishes to be anonymous because of his position in society:

“Dear Pastor:

I stumbled onto your website much by accident and was intrigued by the 'Slenderman' story. I have vivid memories from childhood regarding a throng of these people emerging from the woods near our house, which was about a quarter mile from the edge of a large state forest in _______________. As a child growing up in the 1950s, my mom always warned me about "gypsies" who occasionally made their way through our neighborhood. Even so, I was intrigued nevertheless. I recall one occasion quite vividly. I was about 4 or 5 years old, playing in the back yard. I recall going into the garage, which was separate from our house. I became aware of a swishing sound, like someone walking through tall grass. I glanced out the garage window and saw an entire line of these 'Slender people' coming out of the woods just beyond our neighbor's house. They were heading our way. I was momentarily frozen. What do I do now? Fearful the "gypsies" might carry me away, I retreated into a corner of the garage and watched the procession through a crack in the wall. This was something out of storybookland! They were all slender, but some were taller than others. A few wore scarves, but their garb appeared drab with colors faded. There were a few slenders of small stature, whom I took to be children. They were holding the hands of the ones wearing scarves. I could not see their faces, but I recall their fingers were exceeding long. When they crossed into our backyard, they continued walking single file in zombie-like fashion. When they reached the coal shed (which was behind the house but about 10 feet from the garage) they divided into two lines. One line went between the coal shed and the house. The other passed between the coal shed and the garage. They continued in their slow, relentless pace, walking past the side of our house, down the road and up the hill in their slow, plodding fashion. As soon as they were out of sight, I rushed into the house. My mother immediately locked all the doors and drew all the window shades until my dad came home from work. Over the intervening years, I have often wondered about that day. Who were those strange people? Where did they come from? Where were they going? Your photo triggered recollections of that afternoon in the garage, but I saw more than just a shadow person. I saw the whole clan!”

And another from “Jason” in Ohio,

“My 22-year-old brother used to have dreams about Slender Man as a 7 year old, and he doesn't even know about the "Slender Man" myth. We were talking about weird experiences in our old house and he started telling me about his dreams about a tall guy without a face.

He also said that when he was in that house by himself, he was at the other end of the hallway, and he saw a creature similar to that lean out the door of his bedroom and look at him.”

And a last short remark from another anonymous,

“… at times thinking I see him out in the streets. But it's happen way to many times for it to be a coincidence”

So what is happening? Encounters of a being similar to Slenderman have been happening for decades. What shall we make of this?

As many things we have explored here together, I leave it to you, dear reader. Is Slenderman nothing but a mythos made up on a website on June 10, 2009? Or is it an archetypical vision of death which stalks us all, and only a few can perceive it? Or is it a real demonic presence taking on the mythic form or a tulpa formed by the mass conscience of internet readers?

You decide, and leave your comments.

For I myself, I first read about Slenderman in its full mythical glory about 6 months ago before piecing together the jigsaw pieces. And even then I was unnerved as I have not been in many years. Is there something in the dark? I hope it is not the stalking Slenderman.

UPDATE: My new book "Slenderman: From Fiction to Fact" is out on Amazon for just $10. Click on the link below to purchase my Slenderman book:

Until Next Time,

Pastor Swope

Ο Χριστός είναι η νίκη

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Eerie Erie Pennsylvania

My new book, Erie Erie: Tales of the Unexplained from Northwestern Pennsylvania is out!

From the historical accounts of the mysterious Giant Indian Mound Builders that pre-dated the Indian inhabitants of the area, to the curse of the Erie Indians; the book focuses on odd history and strange supernatural happenings that have occured in the Tri-State area of PA-NY-OH for the past 2 centuries. The book also focuses on the frequent UFO sightings over and under Lake Erie which makes one wonder if Lake Erie is an Underwater UFO base? There is also a section on odd cryptids that have been sighted in the area since the times of the Native Americans: Bigfoot, the Thunderbird and Phantom Panthers. This book is not just for the local residents, it contains many chapters that will entertain the Fortean investigator in all of us.

Find it on Amazon here:

Or avaliable at The History Press online here:

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I know that "Slenderman" is a fictional character made up in an internet contest a few years ago, but I have been getting some letters of real encounters with the odd man in a variety of situations. If you have had an encounter with the spooky fellow yourself or know of someone who has, I would love to hear the story. Write me at theparanormalpastor@roadrunner.com and indicate if you wish to remain anonymous or not! I will be writing the article at the end of the week.