Earlier this year, HBO aired Irene Taylor Brodsky’s highly-anticipated documentary film Beware The Slenderman. The film chronicles the case of two middle school girls who attempted to kill a classmate as a sacrifice to the mythological Slender Man, a fictional character who originated on the internet and is depicted as a tall man with no face wearing a suit.
Shot over the course of eighteen months, the Beware The Slenderman documentary explores how the Slender Man legend became a cross-medium phenomenon, and discusses mental wellness in adolescence, parental responsibility, and societal pressures in middle school — and how a fictional story can exacerbate existing problems in teens.
Watching the documentary is chilling, to say the least. Maybe you're not brave enough to watch it (I don't blame you), but this isn't the first boogeyman to scare a generation and it certainly won't be the last. Whether it was the Pied Piper, the Chupacabra, or the Wolf Man, there is always going to be a monster going bump in the night. So, if you are interested in true crime or the unfurling of an urban legend (or both), you might want to do some reading after finishing Beware The Slenderman. Here are some books that will interest you.
1'Urban Legends: The Truth Behind All Those Deliciously Entertaining Myths That Are Absolutely, Positively, 100% Not True' by Richard Roeper
Written by a credited journalist, this book attempts to debunk many of the contemporary myths of the 20th century. Mostly humorous, but partly serious, this book is an effort to retell, embellish, and disprove all the urban legends that you've been wondering about all your life.
2'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote
One of the most classic narrative non-fiction books about true crime in history, In Cold Blood details the savage murder of four members of the Herbert Clutter family, the subsequent investigation, and the capture, trial and execution of the two men for responsible for the horrific crime.
3'Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde' by Jeff Guinn
Getting to the true story of the infamous duo, this book works to uncover the grit behind the Hollywood glamour. Guinn also looks at the reason why their mythology continues to thrive. While it seems like the "real" Clyde and Bonne were much less suave than their celebrity counterparts, their story is much more fascinating and just as bloody.
4'Because I Said So! : The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids' by Ken Jennings
Pulling from medical case histories, scientific findings, and first person experience, Ken Jennings examines cultural fears passed down from generation to generation in his book Because I Said So.
5'Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder' by Ann Rule
The book tells the shocking story of Diane Downs, a beautiful young mother who shot her three children, killing one.
6'Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets' by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman
Learn about all the odd, strange and straight up bizarre urban legends of the United States of America.
7'The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders' by Anthony Flacco, Jerry Clark, Michael Stone
In the early 1900s, Gordon Stewart Northcott committed at least 20 murders on a chicken ranch in California. He also held his nephew, Sanford, captive for two years, and forced him participate in the murders. This book tells Sanford's story — and details how he moved past his horrifying past to carve a promising life for himself.
8'Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away with Murder' by Vincent Bugliosi
O.J. Simpson's case has been portrayed extensively in film and television, this book lays out all the facts and argues how Simpson got away with murder.
9'The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America' by Erik Larson
Larson tells the stories of two men who lived during Chicago's World Fair at the turn of the century: the architect of the beautiful fair — and the serial killer who preyed upon its visitors.
10'Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base' by Annie Jacobsen
One of the most famous cultural legends of this generation, Area 51 has spawned films, television shows, and cults. In this book, Jacobsen includes interviews 19 men who worked on the secret military base and can shed light on the scientific and intellectual secrets being held there.
11'The Creepypasta Collection: Modern Urban Legends You Can't Unread' by MrCreepyPasta
Finally — from the source of the Slender Man phenomenon — comes an anthology of horror for a new age. Nightmarish, haunting, and surprisingly groundbreaking, these short stories will be sure to give you goosebumps long after you've forgotten about the Slender Man.