The Slender Man and the Philip Experiment
By Chris Capps
One of the most popular emerging ghost stories coming out from the past decade is the gradual appearance of an entity known as the “Slender man” on forums and social networking sites. Unlike so many other figures in our modern mythology, this one can be traced back to a single source. Its creation was public and contributed by several different people. The case of Slender man was closed, so it seemed, before it was even opened. But in this case the mysterious figure did not die with so many others. It spread by forces unknown until it was no longer on the Internet. Slender man, according to a growing minority, had become real.
At least that’s what the mythology of this mysterious phantasmal figure suggests. Given the relative level of anonymity many sources are granted as they broadcast their experiences and the experiences of friends, reliable sources are often difficult to pinpoint. Of course the idea of Slender man would not be all that terrifying itself, except for an experiment conducted in Toronto Canada which artificially created a “ghost” by essentially doing exactly what the Slender man mythology did – with troubling results.
The Philip experiment in Toronto constructed an artificial paranormal entity and created the background story of a man named Philip, then brought in a team of mediums in an attempt to contact whatever entity may have been present in its place. Not only did the spiritual mediums introduce “Philip” by name, soon after several strange occurrences took place suggesting the entity was in fact not only present, but unusually powerful in the presence of those who had created it secretly. The “ghost” was recorded lifting a heavy table in the presence of the mediums and even made attempts to communicate with its “creators” during the course of the experiment while they were in the room.
So disturbing was it, in fact, that to this day the “Philip Experiment” remains as one of the strangest paranormal experiments ever conducted. And while the subjects involved were unaware that they had contacted a purely fictional entity as the experiment was running, the results speak for themselves.
So how is this any different than the creation of the entity known as “Slender Man” and indeed several other figures of urban legend lore? If validated, it would raise several questions about paranormal phenomena in general – as well as give those who contribute to the lore keeping of a culture a great deal to think about. After all, if the only prerequisite for encountering something is a genuine belief that it exists or even a story connecting it to a space, this would give many second thoughts about looking in the mirror and saying “Bloody Mary.” What may have begun on the Something Awful forums as a way to disturb and entertain could have therefore ended up as much more. And as the greater consciousness of the world has begun absorbing this figure into the wider spectrum of popular culture, it has changed – even being featured on talk radio show “Coast to Coast AM.”
Of course it also raises a question about just how much influence this mysterious effect can have on the universe around us. Filling the void, scientists often use the words “quantum physics” when trying to explain mysterious or seemingly nonsensical effects in an otherwise orderly universe that seems to follow safe Newtonian physics. But with the validation of quantum entanglement and the understanding that the brain itself is a quantum computer, perhaps in time we may understand why thought can have such an effect on the world around us. And if observation casts away the shadows of our environment, we can only wonder if Slender man is watching us now in some unobserved corner in the mean time.
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