Jekyll’s Advice 6: Masks

 

We all wear masks, don’t we?

Sometimes they’re literal.  Sometimes they’re metaphorical.  But every single one of us is wearing a mask at this moment.  Hell, I’m a mask myself.  That’s not a typo, either.  I’m not wearing a mask.  What I mean is that I, Jekyll, am a mask.

Confused?  Let me explain.

Pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Jekyll is just a persona, as is Hyde.  There’s a guy behind the personas, who will remain nameless because a mask is useless when it’s not being worn.  Personas are basically just invisible masks that we wear over our entire selves instead of our faces.  Ever try to behave in a certain way to impress a girl (or guy)?  That’s a persona.  Ever find yourself projecting a certain image online?  Again, a persona.  We all use personas without even trying to.  It’s just human nature to behave differently around different people.

So what do masks and personas have to do with the Slender Man?  Quite a bit.  After all, I’m not the first person to talk about the concept of masks.  M and Maduin have both mentioned masks, the former believing that they act as an eye to keep the Slender Man rooted to this plane, and the latter believing that they allow you to “take on a role” more easily.

While I don’t exactly trust M’s advice on this particular matter, it’s one that has merit, at least in theory.  As a result, I tend to carry a mask around with me at all times, stowed away in a backpack.  In practice, though, it can become a problem.  It’s much easier to go unnoticed than to go noticed, and if I’m going to go faceless, I’d prefer doing it by blending into a crowd instead of hiding my face behind something else.  Put on a mask in public, and people are just going to stand and stare.  But again, M’s theory does hold some weight, so it’s at very least worth trying out, though I’m not about to go out of my way to run any sort of tests.

As for Maduin’s masks, I think that they’re a great idea.  Again, I’d recommend not trying it out if it gets you weird looks, but it sounds like it works well for steeling your mind, and it’s something you can do privately.  When you put on a mask, you become an actor.  When you become an actor, you take on a persona.  When you take on a persona, even if it’s just another aspect of yourself, you become more focused, because you’re thinking about the persona and not just you in general.  A human is a vast concept.  A jumble of thoughts.  A miserable pile of secrets.  A soul endlessly seeking to understand.  Hell, I know myself better than anyone in the world, and even I barely know myself.  A persona, on the other hand, is much more defined.  It is, essentially, a mask in personality form.  When you’re in a particular persona, you’re much more focused.  So I’d highly recommend associating a mask with a persona, and then becoming the mask every time you put it on.

This is why you want to choose a name and an avatar carefully, as the image you choose for yourself is the one others will perceive you as.  Who am I to you?  Nothing but a name and two masks.  How would you recognize me if I walked down the street?  You wouldn’t.  But you’d recognize my persona instantly if I posted on your blog, just because you’d recognize the name, the image, and the writing style.  An avatar and a username is how you present yourself, and they become your mask, whether you intend for them to or not.  Make sure you make it a mask you like.

Finally, I’m sure you’ve noticed that these “proxies” are the ones who use masks the most.  My theory is that this is a defense mechanism.  Either establishing a more concrete (albeit narrower) personality allows them to hold a greater sense of self, or pretending to be someone else helps them live with themselves after doing the unspeakable.  Either way, it’s a defense mechanism.  Just an interesting thing to note, although I’m starting to slip more into Hyde with this philosophizing.

Well, that should do it for what I wanted to say.  Remember, stay safe, and stay sane.

-Jekyll

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Jekyll’s Advice 5: Cameras, Technology, and Sleep

 

Cameras.  When you think about the Slender Man, you tend to think about them as well.  After all, filming seems to be a form of compulsion (Hyde’s going to be posting about compulsions later, so be looking forward to that).

And the fact that it’s a compulsion is exactly why you shouldn’t film yourself.  If that’s not reason enough for you, consider this: the Slender Man is often believed to be something of a cam whore, trying to appear in as many photos or videos as possible, presumably so he can post them to MySpace where people can tell him how sexy that photoshopped body looks on him.  Only instead of photoshop he uses video and audio distortion and instead of being a fifteen-year-old girl he’s a Lovecraftian eldritch demon or something.

Basically, he seems to be drawn by cameras.  Not other technology, really.  Just cameras.  Whether he has any other effect on technology seems to vary from person to person.  He’s never fucked up my iPod—although that may have something to do with the fact that I don’t have an iPod because fuck Apple.  I just used “iPod” because you’d all recognize it easily, and I’m sure that your mp3 player or other technological device of choice can easily be put where “iPod” is in that sentence.  Or maybe not.  Maybe there’s just something about iPods that turns them into pieces of shit whenever the Slender Man comes knocking.  But anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent.  Basically, keep an iPod or something on you in case it does create a nifty little Slender Man burglar alarm, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work.  And if he does mess it up, be aware that it just might be what’s drawing him in the first place.

But why use cameras in the first place, apart from compulsion?  After all, it doesn’t start as a compulsion.  Probably to make sure nothing goes wrong when you’re sleeping.  But guess what’s much more reliable than using a camera to keep an eye on you while you sleep?  That’s right, not using a camera to keep an eye on you while you sleep!  Well, assuming that cameras draw him, at least.  If you have to keep an eye on yourself, find someone to watch you while you sleep.  Nap during the day.  Make sure you sleep somewhere near a light sleeper so that they wake up if you suddenly decide to get yourself a midnight snack.

Really, sleeping is when you’re most vulnerable, and what’s worse, it’s unavoidable.  You will have to sleep sooner or later, and the deeper you sleep, chances of something going wrong are (probably) higher.  If you sleep normally, you risk the Slender Man…doing whatever it is he does when you’re asleep.  If you don’t sleep at night, other people will get suspicious and you risk getting them involved.  If you’re worried about sleepwalking, you can handcuff yourself to your bed—but then what happens if you need to run?  With sleep, you’re kinda boned.  There are a few different approaches you can take, but in reality, they’ll only maybe work.  You just have to figure out what works best.

-Jekyll

Jekyll’s Lessons 4: Trust

 

I’m not going to sugar-coat this: a lot of you are fucking morons.  Some of the moves you make look Jay looks smart.  And this is the guy who decides to go visit abandoned houses at night.

And you know why I say you’re all so stupid and genre blind?  Because you go around automatically assuming that everyone out there wants to help you.  That nothing could possibly go wrong.

I’m not going to make many friends by doing this, but then again, I’m not one for making friends in the first place.  But let’s begin, shall we?

I’ve seen a trend lately of bloggers coming across another blog, going “hey, you seem pretty cool—let’s get in contact!” and then deciding to meet up.  Like, in person.  With someone on the internet that you don’t know.

Now, I don’t know about your parents, but my mommy always told me not to give out my personal information to strangers, because you never know who exactly is going to toss you into their van.  And Chris Hanson told me that there are plenty of people on the internet who need a good dose of having a seat over there.  And while you eventually catch on that not everyone is out to kill, rape and, or kidnap you and realize that it’s okay to talk to strangers, by that time you should (hopefully) be equipped to tell who’s a predator and who’s the person who’s more or less just like you (note: if you are, in fact, a predator, I apologize for the redundancy of that sentence).

But here’s the thing: in the scenario we’re in right now, there is, in fact, a good chance, that everyone is trying to kill you.  People are not as trustworthy as they seem.  Let me give you some examples.

We all remember Robert Sagel.  The man responsible for Core Theory.  A man who started to emerge as a leader.  And what happened?  He went insane.  He claimed that he had a pocket knife that could kill the Slender Man.  A pocket knife.  The man that everyone put so much faith in, the man who would lead us to victory—and he’s now so distrusted that people are more willing to think he’s dead, even when he himself is telling people that he’s alive.

Or Maduin, the Jester.  The badass in the bunny mask who had the balls to prank the Slender Man itself.  And now, after we’ve been trusting him for nearly a full year, we’re being given hints that the Jester may not be who we think he is.  That he’s less trustworthy than we first assumed.

And then there are the things that absolutely stun me.  Robert and Maduin at least worked to gain trust before it was lost.  They were actually doing something other than running around aimlessly.  But some of you ass-backwards idiots?  You don’t seem to notice that all these other bloggers are unreliable chucklefucks.  Even if you’re completely convinced that the person you’re talking to doesn’t secretly mean you harm (doesn’t matter whether they’re running or working for the Slender Man, considering how sociopathic some of these people are), what’s to say that they won’t just lose their Marble Hornets at any time?  What’s to say they won’t betray you to save their own life?  And what makes you think that you’ll be safer in a group in the first place?  Fish in the ocean are a lot harder to shoot than ones in a barrel.

Let me tell you about the pinnacle of stupidity that I’ve seen.  A blogger (or rather, a friend of a blogger who sometimes posts on the blog) gets married.  He decides “hey, let’s invite all these people on the internet that I’ve never met who are all being stalked by the Slender Man and gather them all in one convenient place!  And let’s maybe even invite a few of the people working for the Slender Man because, hey, even though they work for the thing that’s probably trying to kill us, they seem like okay people!”

Really.

It’s worth noting that everyone at said wedding was attacked and that said blogger getting married ended up being killed shortly after (although I’m not certain how related that death was to the wedding incident.  Maybe karma realized that he was breaking Darwin’s Law and the universe decided to correct itself).  None of the bloggers died, which I can only attribute to either the best luck ever or the providence of some retarded higher power (because I don’t know what other sort of higher power wouldn’t just roll its eyes and let the gene pool take care of itself).

Put simply, you people are all too fucking trusting.  You’ll rather have the company of self-admitted murderers and even people working for the Slender Man over your own common sense.  I’m not saying cut yourself off from everyone entirely.  I’m just saying that, if you’re to the point where you’re considering these unstable people you know from the internet who may turn on you at any time your best friends…well, it’s either time to cut ties or to consult someone about your gambling addiction.  Because even the highest rollers don’t bet their lives like this.

And to be brutally honest, if you die or even just get yourself hurt because you trusted the wrong person…well, no offense, but you probably deserved it.

-Jekyll

Jekyll’s Lessons 3: Crowds

 

Well guys, we’re on our third bit of advice, so I guess that you could say that three’s a crowd.

Lame jokes aside, let’s get into the lesson for today.

While you may think it’s a good idea to run away to protect everyone you know, you can do it just as well (and expose yourself a little less) by just keeping your mouth shut.  Sure, there are some risks, but running isn’t going to draw him away from your family or friends.  If he wants to kill them, he can still do it, whether you run or not.

But no matter whether you want to run or not, it’s a good idea not to play lone wolf.  Ever.  See, staying in crowds, or in large groups (of the blind, of course—that they’re blind is absolutely essential) can, apart from keeping your mind off of the Slender Man (covered in a later post), keep you physically safe as well.  Let me explain.

People who don’t know about him usually can’t see him.  In a large crowd, chances are that not many people are going to know about him.  He doesn’t often seem fond of revealing his presence to the blind, preferring more subtle approaches.  This is just a guess and just my own personal appearance, but he doesn’t like to go after more than just a small group at once.  When was the last time you heard of him spontaneously appearing to a huge group?  You’d think that’d be on the news, wouldn’t it?  He tends to stay invisible to the blind.

And if he does show up?  Most people aren’t going to see, notice, or recognize him without prior knowledge.  And why would he draw attention to himself?  Again, he’d reveal himself a bit too much by disemboweling someone in the middle of a crowd.  Crowds, for whatever reason, tend to keep him away.

And if they do see him, well, that’s maybe M’s third rule (the one I trust most, though it’s probably not completely reliable) at work—keep your eyes open.  If he’s locked into this plane by people constantly looking at him and keeping him from planeshifting or slenderwalking or whatever you kids these days call it.  Maybe even if they can’t see him, that still works.  I don’t really know.  All I know is that, for me, it works.

Oh, and if you’re in a crowd and he’s nearby?  DON’T RUN.  That’s exactly what he wants you to do.  He wants to get you alone.  Isolated.  Away from the crowds where no one will notice you screaming.  Instead, stay calm.  Keep a level head.  That’s the most important thing.  Stay with a group.  Convince them to come home or let you spend the night if you have to (although that’s a bit riskier and might put them in danger…you’ll just have to gamble).

Whatever you do, DON’T PANIC.

It’s the worst possible thing you can do.

-Jekyll

Jekyll’s Lessons 2: Notebooks

 

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking.  This sounds like a terribad idea.  Notebooks are what drive you crazy, not keep you sane.  But it’s not what you’re thinking about.  Hear me out, here.

You want to know how I first realized it was all real?  Because I was watching for lost time.  I’d keep a notebook that, every hour, I would write a brief description of my last hour in.  Normally it was something extremely short, like “10-11 AM: in class” or “3-4 PM: sat on my lazy ass in front of the computer.”  Stuff like that.  It took maybe three seconds to write.  And if I lost time, I’d know right away if I had.  In fact, maybe just focusing on what I did with my time prevented me from losing some.  Thankfully, though, I did lose at least some time.  I say “thankfully” because that way I actually knew I was being stalked and not just paranoid.  One of the best weapons you can have is being certain.  A known known is much preferable to a known unknown.

Keeping a notebook early on is key to survival.  If you’re not being stalked, no problem.  You’re not losing time, and the worst that happens is people look at you a bit weird and you lose maybe a minute of your day writing down what happens.  But if you’re losing time, you’ll know right away.  On top of that, you can also track your sanity by your handwriting (check how later entries compare to earlier ones, and watch out for handwriting that isn’t yours).  If you end up completely flipping your shit, you’ll also probably end up subconsciously doodling all sorts of creepy stuff all over the notebooks.  But at least you’ll be aware of your mental state and how you’re using your time.  Later on, it can become either an obsession or an anchor (I’ll explain both of those in due time), but if it becomes an obsession, stop writing in them right away.

That’s today’s lesson: notebooks are to the stalked as towels are to hitchhikers.  Use ‘em and don’t lose ‘em…unless, of course, they become problematic.  In which case, lose them as quickly as possible.

-Jekyll

Testimony/Jekyll’s Lessons 1: Quick Thinking

 

I’m sure you’re all wanting a bit of backstory. How I came to be stalked by the Slender Man in the first place. Well, I’m not going to make up some sort of crap about how I was stalked by him for ten years and that I had nightmares about him as a kid. No, when I was a kid, my nightmares were about the Big Bad Wolf knocking on my door and saying “little pig, little pig, let me come in.” Also, I know what you’re thinking and fuck you, it was terrifying when I was four.

But anyway, I’ve been involved for about a good old earth year now. My friend showed me Marble Hornets late last summer, and it scared the shit out of me in the best way possible. I’d never really seen any horror movies before, but I loved this. Of course, I had no clue what the fuck was going on (by about Entry #18, he refused to even say anything whenever I asked him what the hell was happening), but he explained the Slender Man when we finished Entry #26 (back in those days, there wasn’t a second season and we actually had to wait for a long enough time between the entries to justify the complaining). Naturally, I looked him up. Found the Something Awful thread, found the subforum on Unfiction, found the Slender Nation, found the TV Tropes Page, found EverymanHYBRID, found TribeTwelve, found the blogs.

A few months later, found myself in a world of trouble.

I heard about the Tulpa Effect, and I laughed at it a bit, even if it was a nice theory. But then, as all of this tends to do, it started feeling real—too real. It started with the dreams. Clearly just my subconscious messing with me, latching onto a new obsession. I didn’t think much of it, considering that I’d also had dreams about Megatron and the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz (dressed, for some reason, in biker leather) showing up at my dorm and having dinner with my family (because they were there too for some reason). Started seeing things out of the corner of my eye. Again, just my subconscious messing with me. Got a cold and a terrible cough. Now, that was enough to make me suspicious. I knew it was coincidence. But I also overthink things. It’s what kept me alive. What worked for sure? What didn’t? How would I recognize his hallowed/agents/proxies/whatever? How would I avoid becoming one? How do I keep everyone around me from being dragged into this, and if someone does get dragged in, how do I keep them alive?

That’s the key to staying alive: having a plan. Wait, no, that’s actually the worst way to try staying alive. People with no plan can at least wing it when things go wrong. The key to staying alive is having plans. Plural. Multiple. Every corner, every angle, ever fucking last possibility must be covered. You’re safe because you’re on the roof? Well the Slender Man must also be safe, because he’s up there with you. Think you don’t have to worry about Revenants because they don’t exist? Tough. Reach was loyal to the Slender Man to the end, the revelation was a lie, and there’s a superpowered human ringing your doorbell. What now, chucklefuck? Laughing off Breaker and H(a)unting for having multiple Slender Men? Think fast, douchefag: there’s a whole army of them and they’re all coming after you. No matter how convinced you are that it’s not going to happen, there’s one thing you have to keep in mind: it might. And survival all depends on whether or not you keep that might in mind.

I’ll be going over some strategies in the future. Keep in mind that these are personal strategies, and therefore nothing more than good suggestions. I have one rule and one rule only: the Slender Man is unpredictable, and what works for me may not work for you. And vice versa, of course. What works for you may not work for me.

Well, I think that’s about all you need to know for right now about how I got involved in all of this. I’ll elaborate more on specific points later, but I don’t want these posts to get too long. I know how much everyone hates having to read long posts.

-Jekyll